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2019, Year in Review

It’s New Year’s Eve. Time to reflect on our struggles, our accomplishments, and celebrate that we’re still here, and what all we’re going to do in the coming year. So yes, I decided to be THAT level of extra and publish this post right at midnight, my time, about my feelings.

Ugh, what do I have to say about the start of 2019? I was coming off of a bad year, losing 75% of my pets. I was also in a horrible place because of drama within my medieval group coming to a head, stretched beyond measure between projects, and work was just not helping. Add in my health deciding to revolt, and there’s just no where to go but up.

(Ironic that I’m writing this while home with an upper respiratory virus, but you know, I digress.)

So how did it go? Well, I survived getting out from under my medieval fair group, which was a huge stress relief. To help process that stress relief, I started going through stuff in the house that summer, which…unbelievable helped and I’ll probably do it this summer too, get through all these tubs of stuff and shredding in the office. It just helped me organize my head space after that organization being a good eightyish percent of my life and social circle. I didn’t feel tired all the time, both physically and emotionally.

Which is about when Kari started having separation anxiety from being home alone without me or Tsuki…bad. Thankfully we caught the bald spots before she was completely down to the skin, but it still wasn’t good. So she went on meds, and I went on a kitten/young cat hunt, which is how we got Karu in our lives. I think he was more than just healing for Kari, he also helped me remember that yes, I do know how to be a responsible pet parent, it was just a whole lot of bad timing. Also, he’s the little ambassador of the house which means Kari can hide from people while he accepts their offerings of affection. He’s a joy in both of our lives.

The blog has gone up and down a lot, but I think I had to sit down and think about it. I don’t consume books or movies like I used to. Oh, I go to Marvel movies and Fast and the Furious franchise films and the occasional Disney movie, but I don’t go out nearly as much. I am fed up with a lot of anime and female characters in them. I don’t have time for tons of video games. I’ve talked about everything about RP as I can unless something new comes up.

Work has also eased up. I’m still keeping a look out for work more in the direction I want to be going or uses my skill set better, but I no longer feel like it’s me or this job. Really, I have to stick with the university or the state until my student loans are forgiven. They are just growing too fast for me to keep up with, and I know it’s what makes the most financial sense for me to do. It’ll give me a lot of freedom to sit back at 35 and go, “Okay, I forgave my loans, I’m a third of the way to paying off my mortgage, what do I want to do with the rest of my life?” Some of this is going to depend on where I am with my projects, but I like having a loose plan to play with.

Speaking of projects, I am so proud of what I’ve accomplished this year and yay, the rest of this gets to blab. Sun’s Guard Ten is out and did better than I expected upon release. (I had a low bar, lol, still do because it’s easier when there are three of a series to suggest purchase to Amazon.) I’m super excited to be getting this world started and available to you all. I also got Sun’s Guard: Page started, though it hit a couple hiccups. Note to self, don’t expect to write around the holidays anymore. But it is shaping up really well, and I like that I don’t have to introduce these characters again, but instead I get to delve more into my core group for this book.

I’m going to continue working with Johnny for the book covers, and I will stay on him a little bit more this year, starting next weekend. At least unlike a sword, the next cover is more up his wheelhouse, so it shouldn’t take as long. I felt bad about that, since swords are trickier than they look, but we managed to collaborate really well I think. I’ve done a little spot editing–mostly formatting and changing colors/fonts on the back cover to make it readable–but Ten shouldn’t be touched anymore and it’s going to be my template for when I get to Page. I have a timeline laid out and I know that it’s publication date is in October of 2020, specific day going to depend on art.

Other projects of this last year include Mystic Riders. Ginny and I have put a lot of time and effort into this project already, and I thought we were ready to start the blog, which was a lot more my baby. It was a bit of a give and take, and eventually we figured out that the game mechanic blog posts are hard to write when you weren’t the one who figured them out/understand them as deeply. I know a lot, but there are some elements in video games that I don’t where Ginny had more experience. In the end, it made a lot more sense for us to divide and conquer again. We have a good plan now that makes me confident that the blog part is only going to grow.

On the flip side, we’ve also started getting some artwork in, so we’re getting more that we can present to potential studios or computer programmers. Our tentative “business plan” is to finish getting some of this artwork, work towards me getting a computer that can run Unreal, and then we can get a demo built. After that, we’ll start option one, which is finding a production studio who will hire us for working on this game–it works a lot like querying a book. Most statistics I’ve seen don’t rate the odds of success on this very high, just because neither Ginny or I have ever marketed games before. (I’ve made one, but you know, it was for class so it doesn’t count.) The other option is to build a game company ourselves. I’m hoping when I’m 35 and out of debt, I’ll be brave enough to run with that idea. In the meantime, I have plotting, writing, mapping, and all sorts of other work to do.

I started a stand alone book, which I’m hoping I’ll put out sometime within the next couple of years, but I’m not rushing it at this point. Same for these short stories Ginny recently tweeted about. They are meant more to be my, “I don’t want to throw Caley out the window, what can I do instead?” works, less on a schedule. I do have a schedule of deadlines now to try and hold myself too, though I had to give myself an extension already on Page since I had a learning curve with the holidays, lol. Hopefully everything else stays on target into 2020.


NaNo 17: Final Thoughts

Technically, I could write till I’m brain dead tonight and try to make 50,000 words. However, I have some final thoughts on NaNoWriMo that I want to write instead. (Plus, I’ve been fighting a sinus infection for the last week and lost miserably.) So, there’s the “official” goal of NaNoWriMo, which is…a lot more complex than it sounds, and then there are personal goals that you might have within the context of the challenge. Here’s my stance on this year.

The official goal is to write a complete, original book of at least 50,000 words. Well, this has always been problematic for me. Why? Because I am, as Professor Davis put it, a put-er-in-er. What he means is I get my basic framework out of the way in a rough draft, and then I spend the next couple of drafts adding to it to flesh out characters and scenes that might need it, fix my stimulus and response, and if there are any “blank spots” in terms of background or character descriptions, fill those in. Even then, my original books tend to run around around 40,000 for the first draft, and how much it gains varies considerably. I’m not a door-stopper writer, probably because I hate reading those. (Exception being Ginny’s stuff, which I get in nice bite-sized snippets for the actual story, and then when I’m editing the big book, I couldn’t care less.)

The second problem with this goal is that… I already know I can do it if pushed. If I absolutely have to, I will almost kill myself to turn out 50,000 words. But I will then suffer through three months or so of burnout trying to recover my health and motivation to write anything other than RP posts and the occasional fanfic. Not good, especially when I have an agent interested in Sun’s Guard: Ten, and I might be working on future books for that series soon… *crosses fingers*

This is where personal goals come into play. I realized that I was still in the same sort of “brain” as I had in college/grad school. Short bursts of turning out a ton of work, and then long breaks. The problem is without a set deadline, it’s harder to get the bursts going. I also work full time now, I am stepping up in my medieval group, I have a house to keep up with and no spouse to help, plus all my RPs (most of which I paused this year) and other things I do for fun. Add in the neglect I’ve been showing Ginny’s and my MMO concept, putting far too much work on her shoulders, and my crappy health lately? Yeah, writing hasn’t been happening.

Which just makes me more exhausted. Writing is my outlet. I enjoy it, it lets me create a world and people who have an important part to play. But God, it is exhausting to the old brain pan as much as it’s refreshing. And I have forgotten (if I ever knew) how to pace myself when I don’t have anything other than self-applied deadlines, and now that I’m out of school, I don’t know what is considered reasonable for me to do without causing burnout.

So my personal goal for NaNo was, while not to write every day because I knew that was impossible, but to write more and when I got tired, stop. If my head was hurting, or I had an anxiety attack, I was allowed to take the day off. Since it was Thanksgiving during this month, I made time for my family. And at the end of the month, evaluate what I learned.

The end results are pretty satisfying. In a rehearsal month (because yes, I have medieval fair rehearsal in November) when there is a major holiday where I am expected to see my family, and with not only a major anxiety attack one weekend and fighting a sinus infection, I turned out 33,000 words. That is at least half if not more of a novel. I also averaged anywhere from 1700 to 2500 a day on days where I could write, though the 2500 I could tell was me pushing a little harder than I should have. That’s about one chapter for me. It’s definitely a blog post, as you all can tell.

Right now, Heir to the Sky is at a good stopping place, so I’m going to call this the end of “arc 1,” even though I only gained one badge. Next year, unless I’m stupid behind on a deadline for a publisher, I’ll pick it up again for November 2018 and see if I can get us to the Mega Evolution. I’m still going to play the game (once I buy a new charger for the DS, Kari wrecked my only one) and get all my notes done so all I have to do is write… I might even do super-prep and get all my art graphics done instead of doing it as I go, just to save time.

While I may not have met the official goal of NaNoWriMo, I definitely met my personal goal. I know my pacing now, and I have a plan for the next few months. December is gift writing, January is working on Ginny’s and my game and querying Ten some more, since the agent hasn’t given me yes or no yet and isn’t exclusive yet either. February is actually going to be dedicated to some first-arc plotting for both Bree’s first book, Truth of Justice: Touched and Caley’s second book, Sun’s Guard: Page, and then I might start writing Touched if there’s time. March is going to be a “rest month” where I focus on fanfiction and catching up any RPs I’ve let slide, giving my brain a break, mostly because it’s the last month before medieval fair and that’s going to be eating me alive.

And of course, you can return here for your expected blog post once a week. ^_^ I’m not sure what next week’s is going to be, I have a couple half-started, so we’ll see!


New Places to Follow Me!

Hey everyone! Just a quick status update, I suppose, but I thought this stuff was important.

  • There’s now a Facebook page! That’s right, I’m now on Facebook in a capacity of being easily found. The page will list various status updates on different novels, depending on where they are at in the development stage, and will even occasionally give a head’s up to an e-book being free for a short time. The link is now permanently on the website, just scroll down and you’ll find it.
  • I’m now on Goodreads (as an author, not just a reader)! So if you want to add my e-books to your bookshelf, now you can! Just search for the title, the ASIN, or my name, and they should pop right up.

On more of a writing note, Bandit’s Escape is currently in the revision processes with a professor, and at the same time we’re trying to get Bandit’s Chance off the ground. My professor suggested (and I agreed) with getting all four books written and then trying to market it. Ideally, I should have a rough draft (very rough draft) of the fourth book and semi-finalized drafts of the first three in December 2014, and that will be the point where I start querying it out. It’s a year later than I was planning, but I’ll also be ready to move on to another project that point, I’m sure, so maybe it’s for the best that I wait till I have all four roughly done before I send it off to strange people.

And with those announcements, I leave you all in peace until Thursday, when there will be another review ready for you.