New Year’s Resolutions

It is a New Year and even though it feels kind of overwhelming to be thinking about resolutions at all I am going to take a stab at it. It helps that I’ve already got a schedule through April.

There are a couple of carryovers from last year, and I’ll get through those. But mostly these are new goals (eek) so let’s look at that.

  • Finish Daughter of Madness. This is the big elephant in the room. I’m hoping for an April release date. I am excited for folks to read this book, but it’s been in the works for a while now and I’m very interested in shifting gears to something else.
  • Finish APM. I may have mentioned this project before. It’s something I’ve been scribbling off and on for a few months now, and the goal is to get a draft wrapped up by March.
  • Successfully attend Futurescapes. Did I tell you all I got into this workshop? No? Well APM is the thing I will be work-shopping there, thus the need to have it finished in March. I told you it’s going to be a busy few months.
  • Successfully attend my planned events, RAI and MystiCon. These always both simultaneously inspire and take a lot out of me, so we will see how it goes! We’ve already started on MystiCon programming, actually.
  • Figure out my next novel project and start on it. Right now I’m on the fence about what project to pursue next. The next Creation Saga book is obviously high on the list, but I’ve had a couple of new novel ideas kicking around for a while and I would like to get started on them. I’ve also been researching doing a serialized novel or novella project for release on Patreon or Gumroad. A lot of this decision is going to depend on what happens between now and April, and whether or not people continue to support my Patreon, which I need to overhaul to comply with a more realistic projection of how much time I will be spending on it and what I can produce.
  • Be better at not over-committing myself, and on following through. I like to juggle things, and I like to be busy. I also enjoy my free time and alone time. It’s a conundrum. Keeping a good balance of juggling so that I don’t get bored and stay productive, and rest so that I don’t get burnt out and stay productive, is really hard. It might be easier if these were the only projects I were juggling. They’re not, and that will probably never be the case. Personal life, and, more often, work life will continue to intrude. I have to find a way to make all of those things balance, and it’s a constant negotiation. It’s one I’ve failed at the end of this year. We have to push ourselves and take chances, so I’m not exactly upset about failing that recently, but life is a marathon, not a sprint, or at least we hope it is. I’ve been sprinting this year and I need to learn to respect my limits.
  • Keep up with my short story craft. One of the things I’ve been glad of this year is that I’ve been exploring new mediums, including short stories. I am not a natural short story writer, I don’t think. It’s hard to tell for sure, of course, but so far I’ve been short listed twice and never successfully sold something. Considering my production rate, I don’t think those are terrible numbers, but having a short story publication under my belt can only help both my self-publishing sales and my chance of diversifying my income and market reach through traditional publishing. All of which is to say that getting a short story published, or five, would be great. So I’m going to keep chipping away at that and hope it works out.

Okay, those are my goals! There are decidedly less than last year for sanity purposes. I look forward to chiming in on my progress in June!

Hope you all have a great 2018! Let me know if you have any fun goals for this year.


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December is come

It is the end of the year.

Jeez, that’s intimidating. The end of the year. We’ve got not a lot of time to get caught up with our writing progress and start thinking about next year’s goals. Also it’s the time of year when the “Best of” lists are coming out, which means I need to get my thinking cap on and review some of the magical worlds I’ve experienced this year. Look for my own best of list in the next week.

But first, let’s look at what has been accomplished this year. I’ve written a minimum of 60,000 new words of fiction this year, as well as all of my weekly blog posts at about 1,000 words a week. I know I’ve been productive. But have I met the goals I set out to meet? Let’s take a look.

  • To make this marriage thing stick. To get the wedding plans planned and then let it go to be what it will be. To continue to remember that relationships are work and require cherishing just like any other small, precious, hopeful thing. Remember that time I got married? I did that. It was awesome. It’s like getting to know one another again right now in some ways. So much of our lives were on hold for the wedding, and now there’s free brain-power to figure out what’s next. But I think we’re doing pretty well with it, so I’m marking this one off. And I did this, and yea it was done, and it was good.
  • To find us a home and plant it with flowers and fruit and all good things. To experiment with growing sweet potatoes and lemon trees and mangoes, because I can. Okay, the only part of this I’ve done so far is the sweet potatoes. I KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE, HOUSE!  We’ve got a house! And I live in it! We need to do a lot of landscaping. And I planted some sweet potatoes, but I need to harvest them now that the frost has killed them. Success!
  • To attend all these conferences I’ve signed up for, and most especially to make it to WFC in San Antonio in October. Selfishly, I’m most excited about seeing my family there, but also super jazzed about Martha Wells being the head honcho for this go-round. I survived many of the conferences, and just remembered I still haven’t made reservations for WFC. Oops?  I did it! I so much did it! Wow that was an awesome accomplishment, actually.
  • To finish Daughter of Madness and get it to my readers, sometime this year, no matter that I’m behind. To not feel guilty about that behind-ness. To give you an outline of next steps with this, I need to: finish the rough draft, send it to beta readers and/or an editor for a look, and then do second rewrites as well as deep line edits. I’m also in the process of doing the cover design which will hopefully be finalized this month sometime, so be looking for that! (I am focusing on being excited, so excited, to bring this book to you and not intimidated by all the to do’s that still need doing.) Marking off half of this, which seems appropriate considering the timing. Check out my post from last week for more updates! Okay so, I’ve got a whole separate post on this you’ll get soon. Suffice to say that things are moving. And it is good.
  • To re-issue Child of Brii, taking it back to my original vision for it, before I got caught up in word counts and mess. I sort of did this. The book is back out there, anyway. I feel pretty okay about that. Did I mention I also made a print book of this? 
  • To start something new – either the last Creation Saga book, which I’ve honestly already got about 10,000 words of from cuts from Daughter of Madness, or the Child of Brii prequel I’ve got planned, or maybe both. Ideally I’d get the roughs for both finished this year but realistically it’s probably one or the other. And maybe… Eek, I have not done any of this. Okay so this one is complicated. I am mentally drafting the 3rd Creation Saga book, title TBA around the release of Daughter of Madness, but I can’t really strike it.
  • To start something entirely new – it might happen anyway if I’m being honest, because I’m excited about a great many projects right now. There are octopuses and mermaids and werewolves and princesses and warriors all begging for my attention at the moment, so you’ll know as soon as I do what I pick up next. Marking this off, but don’t consider it over. There’s more new stuff longing for passage through my pen. Yeah, about that more new stuff. I started a new book, and it was neither octopuses nor mermaids to my surprise….but witches. You’ll hear more when it’s time, but I am so excited about this project.
  • To put honest work into querying a project that I have previously referred to as ‘The Zombie Book’. This requires putting together a synopsis, since that’s the last element I’m missing, and updating my agents list for queries. I’d also like to finish the spin-off story from that novel, and hopefully find it a home, or maybe hold onto it until it’s time. I did this part, at least. And it was fun times, my friends. Now to do the rest. I have not gotten much farther on this, but I want to. Mostly DoM rewrites have really bogged down the time I can healthily spend not writing. That and moving. I did accidentally query a whole other project through PitMad, but that didn’t end up going anywhere even though it helped me to clarify some issues with that project.
  • To love and care for those important to me. To visit my brother finally, and to make time to travel with my soon-to-be husbandOh, we traveled. Did we travel. And more to come! And my brother is still cool, and we had many awesome drinks and foods.
  • To never stop believing in myself and my work. To continue to try to find homes for my short stories. To write new ones, as the mood takes me. To write for the sake of writing. This is an ongoing goal, especially the last bit. And it is a hard thing to do, every day. But I love writing, friends.
  • To take care of myself. To make sure I eat well and exercise, which is hard, and that I get enough sleep, which is easier but still doesn’t always happen. To climb some more mountains, and float some more rivers, and spend some time under the stars. I can’t mark this off because I want to do more of it! I climbed so many mountains! Also taking aerial silks has been a great way to meet my fitness goals.
  • To fear less and try harder. Basically, this is an ongoing life lesson, and I’m not afraid to work on it forever.

Man, this was such a huge year. So much got done, and if there are a lot of things that didn’t get done, well, my goals were pretty ambitious honestly. Now it’s time to meditate on what I hope for the future, and come up with a new list for next year!


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2017: Looking forward

It’s a new year – indeed, it’s been a new year for about a week now. That newness has a lot of worry and strangeness caught up in it for me and mine, but also a lot of excitement and forward-looking hopefulness. There is the prospect of marriage, of maybe moving, of traveling. There is no doubt to me that 2017 will be a time of upheaval, much as 2016 was. Not all of those upheavals will be bad – some will be wonderful. But this will not be a year of placid waters, in all probability, anymore than 2016 was.

In 2016, I got engaged. I moved up in my day job. I published an audiobook, which was a weird and edifying experience. I mostly wrote a first draft, though I’m not quite done yet, and finished a few short stories. I read so many books that I’m a little baffled at how I found the time, and grew a whole mess of tomatoes successfully for the first time. I became a cat-mom, which has been incredibly rewarding. Mostly, though, 2016 has felt like paddling upstream, like fighting a current. In the last slow weeks of it, I found some peace with that. I’m ready to float downriver.

I grew up on a river that’s renowned, in places, for its rafting. I’ve canoed or kayaked it often, waded, swam, and generally frolicked in the at times treacherous waters.One of the keys to successfully navigating white water, in my experience, is to know where you are going, and to aim to go where the flow takes you. It is so important to have goals in this new year, so important to look forward – down the river, not back up it. To keep your eye on your destination, even knowing you might get shunted off to the side. You might scrape rocks, you may miscalculate. But the water will carry you down the river regardless, and as long as you know where you are going you can regroup. Don’t get thrown from your boat. If you do, float as far as you can. It’s not without its perils, navigating troubled waters, but it can be done with resolve and skill and a vision.

So, enough with fighting the river. I’ll look at where it’s taking me, and enjoy the ride.

These are my goals for the year of 2017. They’re a mix of personal and writing goals. I look forward to being able to tell you all about them in the coming months.

  1. To make this marriage thing stick. To get the wedding plans planned and then let it go to be what it will be. To continue to remember that relationships are work and require cherishing just like any other small, precious, hopeful thing.
  2. To find us a home and plant it with flowers and fruit and all good things. To experiment with growing sweet potatoes and lemon trees and mangoes, because I can.
  3. To attend all these conferences I’ve signed up for, and most especially to make it to WFC in San Antonio in October. Selfishly, I’m most excited about seeing my family there, but also super jazzed about Martha Wells being the head honcho for this go-round.
  4. To finish Daughter of Madness and get it to my readers, sometime this year, no matter that I’m behind. To not feel guilty about that behind-ness. To give you an outline of next steps with this, I need to: finish the rough draft, send it to beta readers and/or an editor for a look, and then do second rewrites as well as deep line edits. I’m also in the process of doing the cover design which will hopefully be finalized this month sometime, so be looking for that! (I am focusing on being excited, so excited, to bring this book to you and not intimidated by all the to do’s that still need doing.)
  5. To re-issue Child of Brii, taking it back to my original vision for it, before I got caught up in word counts and mess.
  6. To start something new – either the last Creation Saga book, which I’ve honestly already got about 10,000 words of from cuts from Daughter of Madness, or the Child of Brii prequel I’ve got planned, or maybe both. Ideally I’d get the roughs for both finished this year but realistically it’s probably one or the other. And maybe…
  7. To start something entirely new – it might happen anyway if I’m being honest, because I’m excited about a great many projects right now. There are octopuses and mermaids and werewolves and princesses and warriors all begging for my attention at the moment, so you’ll know as soon as I do what I pick up next.
  8. To put honest work into querying a project that I have previously referred to as ‘The Zombie Book’. This requires putting together a synopsis, since that’s the last element I’m missing, and updating my agents list for queries. I’d also like to finish the spin-off story from that novel, and hopefully find it a home, or maybe hold onto it until it’s time.
  9. To love and care for those important to me. To visit my brother finally, and to make time to travel with my soon-to-be husband.
  10. To never stop believing in myself and my work. To continue to try to find homes for my short stories. To write new ones, as the mood takes me. To write for the sake of writing.
  11. To take care of myself. To make sure I eat well and exercise, which is hard, and that I get enough sleep, which is easier but still doesn’t always happen. To climb some more mountains, and float some more rivers, and spend some time under the stars.
  12. To fear less and try harder.

It’s a hefty list. No doubt I will struggle with it at times. But I think it’s doable for the new year. I’m not worried about losing my seat in my boat, or rather, I can worry about it. But it won’t affect my resolve.

It’s 2017, folks. Put those paddles in the water, because here we go.

new-river-north-carolina1
Photo from Abingdon Outdoors.

A New Year

Happy New Year! (Belated, I know.) I’m spending the day getting settled back into work, where things move apace. This weekend, I got edits back from my lovely beta-readers, shot off some fireworks, ate lots of good food, and went on a hike. It was a good way to unwind from the tension of holiday deadlines. Here’s a picture from the mountains!

IMG_1135

Anyway, I also managed to get a little bit of writing done for the first time in two weeks, so I was pretty excited about that. With all the chaos of yuletide, I was pretty distracted on the whole writing end of things. I managed a tentative outline of the current work-in-progress, DoM, around the time of my last blogpost. I’ve written a couple of scenes since, but mostly in notebooks. But around the 20th or so everything got crazy with family in town and explosions of work during the dayjob. It was chaos.

Happily, chaos is over, sort of, and we can go back to the routine now. Which is the point of the post. It’s time to set my goals for the new year.

First, a recap. In 2015, I didn’t accomplish a whole lot in the way of writing goals, mostly because I was busy graduating from graduate school. I did finish Storm and Thorn, a novella project I had been working on whose title may yet change (and which may yet become a single, standalone novel. It is very much a work in progress in that regard, but I’m letting it rest for now). I wrote a few short stories, and spent a good amount of time editing The Zombie Book, another project which is a completed novel that has gone through a couple of rounds of edits at this point. Lastly, I finally started the sequel to Mother of Creation, currently going by DoM since I’m not ready for the title reveal as yet. I’ve managed to write about 24,000 words on that so far since September, averaging me about 1,400 words per week, a little lower than my goal of 2,000 per week. So I have been productive, despite life’s upheavals, if not as productive as I may have hoped.

With that in mind, here are my writing goals for 2016.

  1. Finish the first draft of DoM. I figure that if I can bring my wordcount back up to 2,000/week, it will take me approximately 33 weeks to finish the draft (assuming 100,000 words, give or take a few). That still leaves me on track to finish by August, so August is the goal!
  2. Be more proactive in marketing. I’ve learned a lot about new or better marketing ideas in the past months. This blog, hopefully someday to be a website in truth, actually came about because of my goal to be proactive in marketing, so rolling that into the new year seems a natural decision.
  3. Hire someone to fix this website. This pretty much speaks for itself.
  4. Query The Zombie Book. Still have to incorporate edits, but the goal for this book is potentially to go along a traditional publishing route. Which means we need an agent! Querying will ensue.
  5. Attend a conference or two. I’m already planning on attending the local MystiCon, and I am hopeful that I can also make it to World Fantasy Convention in Columbus this year. We shall see.

There are some other things I hope to accomplish this year, of course, but I think it’s important to keep lists small. In any rate, this gives you an idea of my coming projects. What are your resolutions?

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