I got very sentimental this New Year’s Eve as I thought about letting go of 2012, a year in which some of my biggest dreams came true. It wasn’t just about my book; it was about E’s graduation, the grand finale to one of the first and biggest risks we took together in our lives as newlyweds. It was about watching our family grow, and moving to new places, and in many ways, saying goodbye not just to the past year, but to the past three, an era which 2012 saw draw to a close.

I thought, “2012 was good to us.” And then I realized none of what we accomplished last year happened in just 12 months. We worked and dreamed about some of these things for years before (in some ways, maybe decades) and the beauty of time passing and accumulating is that you never know where a milestone will land. Right now, we’re all reveling in the newness of 2013, when in fact, years from now, we’ll probably measure our lives not by years, but by the things we did that made us feel alive. Whatever we all need to do to make these next 12 months memorable, I wish us all the courage and dedication to do so.

Now, for some mini-updates…

I read a great post on Lindsey Mead’s blog about choosing words instead of resolutions; one word to define and live by in 2013. I don’t know what my word will be just yet, but I’m sure I’ll know it when I see it.

There may be a few changes coming to the blog soon. You might have noticed I didn’t do a Fresh Ink interview in December, and unfortunately I just didn’t have the time. With edits on my book due soon, freelance work getting busier, and my tendency to want to do shiny, new things and chase other opportunities, I’ve realized I need to redistribute my time. But I love doing Fresh Ink, and will continue to do so every other month instead of every month. I’ll also continue posting reviews for the She Reads book club, which has helped me discover some wonderful reads.

I’ve created a Facebook author page and would love it if you joined me there and helped spread the word to friends. I’ve found it’s this perfect sweet spot for thoughts and reflections that are too long to tweet but don’t warrant an entire blog post. And I have a few fun things planned there in the coming months that I hope will help us all get to know one another better.

My blog-baby turns two on January 12, and like last year, I’ll be celebrating with a giveaway. Last year, I gave away The Book You Most Want to Read, and it was such a big hit that I’ll be doing so again, but I thought it’d be fun to toss in an extra prize—2 for the 2 years. Check back on January 12 for more details.

Happy New Year, all. Hope it’s off to a great start!

Please and Thank You!

Just a quick post to let you all know that I’ve entered my blog in the Goodreads Independent Book Blogger Awards, and I would so appreciate your vote!

Four winners will be chosen from four categories (Adult Fiction, Adult Non-Fiction, Young Adult & Children’s, Publishing Industry) and will receive a trip to attend Book Expo America NYC in June. Voting closes Monday, April 23 at 11:59 p.m. eastern. Vote, help spread the word, and discover some amazing new blogs while you’re at it.

Here’s the link where you can vote for this blog:


And here’s the hug I will owe you forever and ever. 


The Book You Most Want to Read

I thought for weeks about how I could celebrate this blog’s one-year mark and celebrate the things it’s come to represent. One year ago today when I wrote my first post by hand, I didn’t really have a clue where I’d go from there. I wrote a lot about writing, and about books, and about how random things in my life gave me insights on the creative life and the importance of storytelling…but when I think about the ways the blog’s really evolved (in the ways that matter to me most) it all comes down to you. This blog has become a way for me to meet wonderful people like you, and I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you’ve all stopped by this past year, read about this journey, and most of all, talked to me.

So I wanted this one-year mark to be a big thank you, I wanted to be able to give you all a gift of some sort, and I wanted it to be personal. But as much as I wish I could do that for every single one of you I can only pick one.

Tell Me What Book You Most Want to Read

So here’s what we’ll do. I want to give you a book, but not just any book. I want to give you the book you most want to read. The one that’s been on your TBR list that you haven’t bought yet and you’re dying to get your hands on. Tell me what book that is and I’ll randomly choose a winner, buy them the book, and send it to them with a personalized thank-you note inside. (If you don’t like people writing in your books, just let me know and I’ll write the note on a card).

And there’s one more thing. One of my goals for this year is to read more books—at least twice as many as I read last year. You know me; I read mostly fiction, and will always read mostly fiction, but this year I want to sprinkle some non-fiction and classics into the mix. But I need suggestions (from all 3 categories). I want to know what books you think I have to read. The ones that kept you up all night.

So to enter: leave a comment recommending a book to me and telling me which book you most want to read.

Tweet about this giveaway (mention @NataliaSylv so I can see it) or share it on Facebook and you’ll get an extra entry for each action.

You have until Tuesday, January 17, to enter; I’ll announce a winner on Wednesday. Use the box below (I’m using Rafflecopter for the first time to keep track of all the entries).

And you know that part about how I wish I could thank every one of you? I really mean it, so if you’re so inclined, email me your address anyways so I can send you a thank you note. I promise I won’t keep your address or send spammy things your way years from now.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Creative Commons License photo credit: The_Skinny_Boy

10 Months of Blogging & 7 Links: A Look Back

Let’s just say I’m fashionably late on this one. Earlier this month, Lori Parker invited me to participate in the 7 Links Challenge and I’m only now getting around to it. But I’m pretty excited because it’s like a greatest hits album for a blog. The 7X7 links highlight posts in certain categories that deserve a second look. For a lot of you who are newish around here, this may even be a first look.

Dandelion snowball

I'm not sure what this picture has to do with today's post, but I just had to use it.

So here goes:

1. Most Beautiful Post: My post about What My Mother’s Sewing Taught Me About Patience was a necessary nostalgia trip: it made me see things from my childhood that I didn’t notice until now.

2.  Most Popular Post: It seems writers are obsessed with finding time to write. My experiment of taking an entire workday to do nothing but write continues to get more and more hits every day. Maybe it’ll inspire you to try an experiment of your own?

3.  Most Controversial Post:  Authenticity plays a huge part in establishing an online presence, but here I admitted that my online and in-person personalities don’t always match up—and why I’m really okay with it.

4.  Most Helpful:  This one’s tough because I don’t like to give writing advice. What works for me might not work for others, so maybe my most helpful advice is to find your own.

5.  Most Surprisingly Successful:  Inspired by a writing prompt during Emily Suess’s Writer’s Week, I wrote about a self-portrait I took in my high school photography class, and what it taught me about taking risks. It really resonated with people, and I’m sure the title helped: I Once Shot a…

6.  Post That Didn’t Get The Attention It Deserved:  This is probably my third or fourth post, but it’s also one of my most personal. My parents’ divorce and what happened to our house while it all played out probably changed my writing forever: When the Wall Came Down, It All Made Sense.

7.  Post I Am Most Proud Of:  To be very honest, I’m probably most proud of the above post, but a close second is one less serious in tone. In Dear Characters, Please Leave Your Baggage Here, I write about how I smothered a new character that popped into my mind, to the point that she almost ran away in fear.

There you have ’em. Now it’s my turn to pass along the challenge to five bloggers.

1. Valerie at Bohemian Season, because she’s created the Anthropologie of blogs.

2. Mahesh Raj Mohan, a fellow freelance writer/Buffy the Vampire Slayer enthusiast/pediatrician’s child/so much more. We geek out over lots of things.

3. Barb over at Written Not With Ink, because she manages to find creative inspiration in things many of us overlook.

4. Brian D. Buckley, who keeps a spreadsheet of books he’s read (he’s got my “jot them down in a notebook” system beat). Bonus points: he’s not a genre snob. He’ll read anything proudly.

5. Parisian Feline, a fearless blogger who tackles issues surrounding gender, feminism, body image, sexuality, and more in a thought-provoking and brutally honest way.

Thanks again to Lori for tapping me for the challenge. I hope you all enjoy the posts and that you’ll share some of your own.

Creative Commons License photo credit: The Grim Atheist