A new year approaches: 2020, the year of the double crit, and it’s time to set some goals and make some plans. 🙂
My primary, short-term goals are more of a “to-do” list than actual goals. I have things piled up from this year that will need to be taken care of before I can take on new things. Here’s my list of “things that are left over from 2019 that I have to finish before the end of February 2020“:
-Write, edit, polish, submit short story to the anthology I’ve joined
-Complete the two Kingdom scrolls I’ve been assigned to do (SCA project)
-Finish my Valkyrie hood so I can fight in it at Estrella (SCA project)
-Full construction and embroidery on a commissioned Viking hood, hopefully before Estrella (SCA project)
-Full construction and embroidery on a Hedeby bag for my husband (SCA project)
-Embroidery commission for some friends (SCA project)
^^ These are things that have to be done. I have set a firm deadline for them, so I’ve gotta follow through.
Then there are some less-deadliney things. These are more the goals/plans that I’m making for the upcoming year:
-FINISH FIRST DRAFT ON BOOK 3
-Book 2 revisions/marketing/promotion (after back from beta readers–this will have a deadline because, well, publishing lol)
-Two current novellas-in-progress
-Potentially three more novellas (a trilogy)
-Teach more SCA arts classes
-Learn more SCA/medieval arts
-Get back into rapier fighting (now that I’ve lost enough weight that I feel comfortable fighting again–when I’m off restrictions, that is)
-Recertification for work
-Take better care of my mental health (and start asserting myself in those times where I normally back down and give in)
-Read more books
-Continue to build my social media presence as an author and build my brand
-Do more SCA (and mundane) sewing/embroidery/arts for myself and my husband
-Continue with my keto diet and weight loss, adding exercise as tolerated (once I’m off restrictions from my podiatrist)
-Work more with my co-author on our horror novel to get the first draft of that finished and in the editing process
This is by no means a comprehensive list, because, frankly, I haven’t thought about it that much yet. I’ve got so many things in the first list to get finished that I haven’t activated my “2020 vision.” Lol
But wait! 2020 isn’t just the start of a new year–it’s the start of a new decade. So, then, I’ve got 10 years’ worth of goals to devise. Let’s see what I can come up with here:
-Complete the 5-book ABNORMAL series and start on the ABNORMAL LINEAGE spin-off series
-Continue to take advantage of writing opportunities to participate in box sets/anthologies and grow as an author
-Expand body of written works to include more genres/standalones/etc
-Find an effective way to save money for attending conventions/book signings as an author–and then attend more signings and conventions 😉
-Strive to achieve Laurelhood before 2030 (which is, oddly enough, both within my ability to achieve and totally beyond my control haha)
-Work on overcoming (or at least adapting to) my social anxiety to where I can function better at social events, like conventions or SCA events
-Continue building an author network
-Learn more about generating graphics for book covers, book marketing, and other things
-Maintain the weight I’ve lost, get to a healthy weight, and try to find an exercise plan that works for my lifestyle
-Learn how to pattern more complex clothing (Viking I can do, but that’s too easy–I want to learn the concepts behind patterning that get me from measurements to finished garment without necessarily needing a manufactured pattern)
-Accept my grey hairs wholeheartedly
-Find a better balance between work/home/SCA/writing that encompasses all the things I need to do as well as all the things I want to do as well as omitting the things I don’t want to do lol
-Take more vacations
-Make my health a higher priority, in as much as it comes to calling out when I’m sick and not trying to “soldier on,” taking time off when it’s physically or mentally needed, and recognizing when I’m taking on too many projects for my mind and body to handle
It’s a tall order, but these are my goals for the next two months, the next year, and the next ten years. Note that I’m calling them “goals” instead of “resolutions.” I make the distinction because I’m not “resolving” to change things, but rather setting what I hope are realistic goals that will improve my writing career, further my SCA learning/experience, and keep me mentally sound through it all.
2020 is just another year, but at the same time it’s not. As long as I make an effort to do the things I want to do in the coming year/decade, 2020 is whatever I make of it. 🙂
It’s going to be a year of puns and bad dad jokes. You might ask why…Well, I happen to be lucky enough to have a day job at an eye clinic–and it’s fixing to be 2020 all year long.
What’s in store for me for 2020? Let’s see…. Fingers crossed that Book 3 finally starts to behave and I can get it finished. Re-release of WHISPERS OF DEATH, complete with new cover design and revision of the inside text. *Hopefully* completion and release of ESCAPE THE LIGHT (ABNORMAL Book 2). Release of the WICKED SOULS box set in September. Two more box sets. Wait…three. Three more. Which means three more stories to write/edit/etc. And one of those stories may or may not lead in to a novella trilogy. So there’s that on the writing front.
Then, in SCA news, there’s Twelfth Night, which my husband is autocratting and which I have to make 2 undergarments and eleventy thousand buttons for. There will be Estrella War, which I hope to have at least one more outfit made for (and which I’ll finally be able to fight again for!). There are still commissions from 2019 begging to be completed…and who knows what new commissions will come in?
Work-wise (speaking of that eye clinic day job)….that remains to be seen. (Ha-ha) It’s not bad-bad, but it’s becoming…stagnant. That’s a good word for it, I guess. There’s no growth and no hope for improvement, from where I stand, but there’s also no way out, so I guess I’ll be there for the foreseeable future.
I’ve started making lists to keep track of what I need to do for writing and SCA. I’m starting to get helium hand when it comes to agreeing to do shit, and it’s making it hard to get the shit I already have to do done. Let’s hope that 2020 brings better time management, along with the ability to realize that I need to make time for both writing and SCA and that I need to take each into consideration when making agreements for the other. Just because I tend to compartmentalize does not mean my time will compartmentalize itself accordingly and give me the sections of time I need to do all the things.
My goals for 2020? I guess I can lay those out in a neat little list here. Give myself something to look back on and remind myself of:
-Finish Book 3's draft!!! -Finish edits/revisions on ESCAPE THE LIGHT and WITCHING HOUR: THE STROKE OF THREE -Draft/edit/revise CONJURING ASYLUM before the Feb 1 deadline -Finish cotehardie buttons and undergarments (in progress) -Finish revising WHISPERS OF DEATH and rerelease -Edit/revise SKIN DEEP -Draft/edit/revise TO MELT A FROZEN HEART -Make another apron dress and underdress -Pare down commission list and complete current commissions before Estrella War, then start getting smart about taking on more -Teach a couple of classes (in the SCA--not in writing lol) -INSERT OTHER GOALS AS THEY PRESENT THEMSELVES
It’s a deceptively accomplishable list. I say deceptively because there will inevitably be new opportunities and new commissions to take on. Estrella is only in February, and new writing opportunities are popping up left and right lately. That last goal, the one bold printed in all caps, is the kicker. I don’t yet know what new goals/deadlines will present themselves.
Okay, so I’ve done poetry, flash fiction, short stories, novels, and now novellas–so now what?
Well, I guess I’ll work on photo edits and graphics. Oh, and marketing (still), and content generation, and and and…
There’s a lot more to being a writer than just writing the things. I have to know what to do with the things once I’ve written them, and I guess know how to make the things pretty, and who to show the things to, and so forth and so on.
I am by no means a master. Mistress. Whatever. Point being, I still have a lot to learn, but I am willing to learn and grow and expand my wheelhouse.
Despite my growing repertoire, I’m still–now and forever, it seems–stuck on Book 3. I had been hoping that diverting myself to the two novellas would give my old noggin a rest and let me regroup, but sadly that’s not much the case. I still get stuck, and I still don’t quite know where I’m going with this any more than I did when I set it aside.
There’s some good news to it, though; I have a mockup of a cover design for one of the novellas. Observe what some stock photos and photo editing apps can do:
Will that be the final design? I don’t know, but I like what I have so far, and I’m kind of proud of getting there on my own.
I guess I’ve procrastinated enough, though. Book 3 is still waiting for me to add some words and get the story moving. Onward and upward–in word count, that is.
Now that I’ve got more publications pending than I know what to do with, I need to evaluate my writing style and see how to proceed with future works-in-progress.
I still love writing novels; I love every bit of it, even the bits I hate. Lol I mean, it’s hard, and it’s tiring, and the process is long and arduous, but the end result is amazing. With the ABNORMAL series especially, I get to create a whole new world for people to experience. However….
….Several of my new projects are short stories or novellas. Much shorter works, but still effective. I can even continue or expand the Abnormalverse within these short stories and novellas. And yeah, the process for these is quicker, and I can knock ’em out faster. But is that what I want to focus on?
At this point, I think it’s a wait-and-see type of situation. The main ABNORMAL story needs to take place in novels; it’s too vast, too broad for me to switch to novellas to tell it. But to be honest? I like writing novellas, too. I get to tell a concise, comprehensive story yet still reach a wider base. The problem is, I also get distracted. I mean, Book 3 is still chugging along, but I probably could have gotten a lot more done if I’d kept at it instead of sidetracking myself.
Do I regret the sidetracks? No. They’re all going to further my writing career, short though they may be. I mean, I’ve even reached international bestseller status in a matter of weeks just by participating in a novella box set (with another Abnormalverse story, I might add). I just need to find a good balance between work, SCA life, novel writing, and short story/novella writing. And the marketing for all the writing.
It’s still doable, right? I mean, I’m sure there are plenty of authors in the SCA. And, seeing as how authorship does not often equate to extravagant wealth, I’m sure they have day jobs to tend to as well. So there’s theoretically precedent for this being done.
Yeah. I can do this. Long or short, I can keep writing until I have no stories left in me.
I have made one big decision for the Abnormalverse, though: I’ve decided not to make the spin-off series to the original ABNORMAL series a YA series. I just can’t produce good YA material. Every time I try to get started with outlining and mind mapping the series, I get siderailed by things like….what the hell do teenagers do with their lives??? I’ve blacked out most of my teenage years out of self-preservation. I hated being a “young adult.” I like adulthood, where the filters are off and the censorship is minimal. So yeah, the Abnormal Lineage series will be, like ABNORMAL, a NA/A series. Let’s keep the sexyfuntimes while still having a good, solid story. 😉
Of course, I have to finish writing the primary ABNORMAL series first….
The preorder link for Wicked Souls: A Reverse Harem Romance Collection is LIVE!
What does that mean for you? It means you can reserve your box set for only $0.99 on Kindle NOW. This box set has some big names as well as some up-and-comers–like yours truly!
Why am I so excited for this box set? Well, it’s got a great story from the Abnormalverse in it, for one. For another, it’s a great opportunity to spread the Abnormalverse to other realms. Plus, as a bonus, it’s got tons of heat in the form of spicy reverse harem romances!
What is “reverse harem romance,” you may ask. It’s simple: a harem is a man with a group of women, right? Revere harems turn the tide and have the woman in charge of a sexy menagerie of hot men, ready and willing to please.
Reverse harem romance fits with the Abnormalverse because, as anyone who’s read Abnormal can tell you, polyamory is alive and well in the future where Abnormal takes place. This box set was practically begging for an Abnormalverse story, and I was glad to oblige. Wicked Souls is a new home for some familiar Abnormal characters, as well as some new faces.
I can’t give up all the juicy details yet, but starting tomorrow, Monday, Dec 2, 2019, I can finally share the project that I’ve been working with my Editor-in-Chief on! As you can see from the graphic, it’s a reverse harem box set, which means there’s going to be all kinds of wicked heat up in here!
I’ll add more tomorrow, once I’m able to share, and you can bet I’ll be ordering for myself!
Keep your eyes peeled both here and in my newsletter to get all the updates. I’ll also be posting on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram–everywhere I can!
I’m super excited about this project, and I’m sure you’ll be super excited once you see what’s in store.
Isn’t sunset beautiful in Arizona? All the pinks and purples and blues…sometimes brilliant oranges or vibrant reds. They’re different from any sunsets I ever saw in Alabama or Ohio.
It makes me think about the future–about what a sunset might look like in the world of Abnormal.
Abnormal’s skies aren’t pretty. They’re dingy and grey and polluted. But what would that do to their sunsets?
I imagine skies afire. I imagine flamelike skylines as the departing sun lights up the atmosphere. I imagine a strange beauty borne of death and destruction.
These are just some of the things I think about when I’m creating the world of Abnormal. What’s the weather like? The atmosphere? What’s the temperature on a sunny summer day? What about winter?
Yeah, the world of Abnormal is bleak and dying. But is it irreparable? That remains to be seen.
World building is not the easiest of things to accomplish. How does one make a world that is believable and familiar, yet far-off and alien?
I’m not gonna lie; it’s hard.
Sometimes I have to go back and reread my work to see if I’m missing anything, some small detail that will have the die-hard readers grumbling. If you haven’t pissed off a fan, have you really written anything?
I’m rambling, I know. I’ve had a bit to drink tonight (the first of four total Thanksgiving celebrations), and I’m tired and still a bit hungry–seeing as how, with my keto diet, I couldn’t eat my usual Thanksgiving fare.
I’ve got more to write on another Abnormalverse story this weekend. I’m about 1/3 of the way through, but I hope I can finish the draft and get it to my co-author to edit by the time the weekend’s done.
Then, hopefully, it’s back to Book 3 for more progress. Hopefully.
Speaking of the Abnormalverse, I’ve created a Facebook group for fans of the series and its offshoots. If you’re interested, or if you’re just a fan of sci-fi and dystopian fiction in general, click here to join the Abnormal Railroad. I’ll be posting memes, sharing articles, and providing updates on any goings-on in sci-fi/dystopia or the Abnormalverse.
It’s just another place for the Abnormalverse to grow and expand. If you’ve read ABNORMAL and enjoyed the story and the characters, join the Abnormal Railroad and see what’s up!
Ah, mental health days. They come and they go, and sometimes they hit like a freight train to the gut.
Yesterday evening I had one of those moments. I was riding high on a mania brought on by exciting new writing projects and opportunities, including two contracts signed in one day, and then the realization hit me:
I still have to go to my fucking day job.
Yeah, I’m growing and progressing as an author. I’m getting there, slowly. But I’m nowhere in the zip code of “writing for a living.” Nope. Not even on the same continent. Not gonna happen soon, unless something big happens first.
I’ve been at my day job for almost nine years, but it’s stressful and stagnating. I don’t have really much opportunity for growth and change, and sometimes I don’t even have the opportunity to get the training I need to do some of the positions I have there.
Some of you are probably saying, “Well, get another job.” Sure. In a small town. Where jobs are scarce to begin with. Oh, and I can’t afford to take a pay cut, so if whoever is hiring could just pay me what I’m making currently–which is so not minimum wage–that’d be great.
I find myself trying to think of what skills I may have to market, if I decide to look for a new job. I am semi-bilingual, but only in regards to medical Spanish, really, and mostly in regards to the eyes. Conversational Spanish is hard for me to remember, because it’s been so long since high school/early college. I suck at verb tenses. I am organized, a little OCD even, and I am one of those rare nerds who enjoys filling out paperwork. But what could I do with that? I honestly don’t know.
I need a change. Something to be different. This knowledge that I have to go in there five days a week and do the same shit every time is killing me. I’ve been in this routine for the better part of nine years. Sure, it changes on occasion, but not much and not often. It’s a grind, that’s for sure.
I think that’s what caused the depressive episode to slam into me last night. My time, at least 40-ish hours of it a week, is not my own. I can’t make decisions for my time, because I need this job. I need to keep plugging away, keep grinding at it. I can’t stop.
Resentment at my lack of choice is eating me up as well. I hate that I’m stuck, hate that I can’t escape. I know, I know, looking at it as a kind of prison isn’t helping matters.
One of my friends is trying to encourage me to at least give it a try to find another job, but I’m hesitant. Hell, I’m scared. What if I find something and it’s even worse? What if I can’t find anything that pays what I need to make? What if I find something great and lose it somehow (closures, firings, etc)? What if, what if, what if….
Maybe I’ll start with baby steps. Update my resume. At least browse job sites and want ads. Work my way up to actually applying.
I know the statistics in my area aren’t good. I don’t have any government experience, and that’s about the only type of availability in my “price range” that there is around here, without any experience, that is…
It’s the weekend. I’m home alone until Sunday afternoon, so I have all the time in the world–or at least thirty-six hours of it–to get shit done.
So why am I rooted to the couch, laptop in hand, working on a rough draft, when I could be sewing, doing laundry, or cleaning up–all the things I don’t have time for during the week?
I guess I’m just prodraftinating. It’s a thing now, I’ve decided. Basically, I’m avoiding all the work I need to do by working on the rough draft of my romance WIP. I’m at 12,600 words out of a minimum 15,000, and the story’s close to wrapping up, but I’m still far from “done.” My story has trapped me, and I have to see it through.
I’m loving my new characters, and it’s nice to take a break from the Abnormalverse (as I’ve dubbed it) for a contemporary story. No magic, no supernatural happenings, so evolutionary powers, no politics–just a story about a girl and a guy and a little happily ever after.
Once it’s drafted, though, I’ll have to dive back into the Abnormalverse for a couple of WIPs: my current 3rd installment of the primary Abnormal series, plus a new WIP that fell into my lap yesterday that takes place in the Abnormalverse but only features a cameo of my MCs from Abnormal.
The writing has taken a sudden leap in volume and prolificity (which, spell check says, is not a word, but I’m already making up words today so whatever). I’ve gone from working on one piece exclusively, with maybe a couple short stories or poems sprinkled between primary writing sessions, to having–let’s see–three active works-in-progress. It’s kind of cool. I feel like a “real” author. Lol
I do have to do some “real” work today, though; my co-host and I have two interviews to record for our podcast, so I’ll have to stop the writing for those at least. What I’ll do after is up in the air, because that just might be the pause button I need to get up and to other things. But those are almost six hours away, so maybe I’ll finish my draft first. Who knows. Ideally, I’d like to finish the first draft within my word count limit, but I might have to go back and revise to fill it in more.
My newest project should be interesting, and even though I’m toiling away at the contemporary romance story, the back of my mind is plotting and devising a strategy for this new WIP. I’m hoping I don’t completely stall out on the 3rd Abnormal book while all this other stuff is going on, but I was needing a break from it anyway. Maybe these other Abnormalverse stories will spark some new ideas for the primary Abnormal story line. Maybe. Who knows.
I guess I’m off to finish my draft now. My characters are standing next to me, arms crossed over their chests, tapping their feet as they wait for me to hurry the fuck up.
Y’all just calm the fuck down. I’m getting to you–just be patient. 😉