New Year’s, New Look – 2019

I’m so excited to share this new layout with all of you! I really like this one. It’s crisp, super easy to navigate, and very professional looking. It also feels a bit more dynamic than last year’s. I’m not sure if that’s because of the contrasting aqua and purple (my favorite colors), or the widgets, or the site logo, but I do know I like it a lot.

Now, let’s get down to business and talk about what the heck happened in 2018!

In 2018 I said I wanted to:

  • Finish The Steel Armada
  • Finish Santa Sarita
  • Submit 2 short stories
  • Publish 52 blog posts
  • Read 65 books
  • Maintain my yoga practice

 How’d it go?

  • Finish The Steel Armada
    • …Yes! As far as I’m concerned, right now, this project is stamped ‘done’. It turned out nothing how I planned, and became almost a complete rewrite halfway through 2018. The Steel Armada became Exodus: Descent, a SolarPunk novella. I sent it to Tim the Agent™ back in August, but have not heard from him. I’m shelving it for now, though I have plans for future novellas set in the same world. So, final status of this project is: Done for now.
  • Finish Santa Sarita
    • No. I thought so, and then BAM, another sequel appeared. I bit off a lot with this one, and I’m a little worried about it. So, this will be a pretty high priority in 2019. I don’t want this project lingering over my head anymore. Project status: In Progress.
  • Submit 2 short stories
    • Heck yes! This was much easier to do than I thought when I made this goal. So much so that by the end of 2018 I had three stories out for submission.
  • Publish 52 blog posts
    • Yep. And then some. This was, hands-down, the best year the blog has ever had. 119 posts, an average of one comment per post, and over 5,000 hits this year has really blown my mind. Consistency really is key. Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 8.55.52 PM
  • Read 65 books
    • Yes! I read 67 books this year! It wasn’t easy, by any means, but I had just enough time and graphic novels to really pad my Goodreads Challenge.
  • Maintain my yoga practice
    • Hahaha. No. I got bronchitis two weeks into 2018 and fell out of my practice. I’m contemplating trying again this year, but with two jobs and some lofty writing goals, I’m not sure if I can dedicate the time.

2018 Total Word Count: 149,331 

Honorable Mentions

2018 was an eventful year, both personally and in my working life. I received a scholarship to attend the Oregon Writer’s Colony Annual Conference in April, which really affirmed that I’m on the right track and making strides in this whole writing life thing. Right about that time I started submitting my short stories for the first time in over four years. That was a roller coaster all its own, and has been a great learning experience and growth opportunity for me.

June saw my traditional wave of summer depression. I coped by binge-playing Horizon Zero Dawn and eating way too many Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

But, July and August were some of my most productive months of the year, with the completion of Exodus and the rough draft of my newest short story, That Which Illuminates Heaven.

September was the least productive month of the year, and reasonably so because we spent 12 days in Germany! It was an amazing trip, the exact vacation we so desperately needed, and our first journey abroad together. We hope to spend more time in Munich someday, especially for Christmas. And of course, we have other travel dreams! Ireland, New Zealand, Italy, the UK! The world is a big place, and I want to see as much of it as we can.

October was spent readjusting to working two jobs and outlining and researching for my new novel. Writing was limited and that sucked, but it was all part of the plan. It worked out, because I met my word count goal for November, with a startling 25k words! That’s about a third of the planned manuscript, which is kind of crazy if I think about it too much.

December is a busy month in our house, what with my birthday and the holiday. Add in the mental recuperation from Nanowrimo and it meant I just didn’t expect much from myself that month. But I did finish my reading goal while I let my writing muscle relax!Img bookstack 72

I read 16,300 pages across 67 titles in 2018!

I also flexed my editing muscle this year with The Audient Void. We released two issues this year, and are on the cusp of releasing a new chapbook of some of David Barker’s previously unpublished short stories, Half in Light, Half in Shadow.

2018’s word was FOCUS. It was my mantra, the thing I came back to when I felt out of control or like I was drowning in my workload. Based on how well my year went, I think it worked. So, I want to pick a new word for 2019:

INTENT.

I want to be purposeful in my writing, I want to take the time to better learn my craft and write with more intention. I don’t really know what that will mean for my writing just yet, but I bet I will by January 1, 2020.

What am I doing in 2019?

  • I am finishing the Tavi rough draft. I’m already a third of the way there. In an ideal world this rough draft will be done by the end of March/beginning of April. Realistically, this will take the first half of the year.
  • I will finish Santa Sarita. This is a big job still. I think, right now, I’m really stuck in my head about it. I need to sit down and start writing this story again and let it take the reins. I honestly think that’s the only way it’ll get done.
  • I will revise Cards. This is the project that comes after the Tavi rough draft. I wrote Cards back in 2014, and I’ve learned a lot since then. Much like The Steel Armada, I anticipate Cards will require extensive rewrites. But, I’m ready. I learned how to do that last year and I’m equipped with the skills and knowledge to do it again this year.
  • I will publish something! This is a tricky one. I don’t actually have much control over this goal. There are a lot of factors that go into getting a piece published and almost none of them are decided by me. But, I have three stories out right now. I want at least one of them to find a home.
  • I will publish two blog posts a week. I’ve got this into a rhythm now, so I’m confident I can do it again.
  • I will read 70 titles. I exceeded my reading goal this year, it only makes sense to increase it in 2019.

If time allows, I’d like to…

  • Make considerable progress (30k words) on From the Quorum. This novel is the first in a planned trilogy, and is my longest-lived idea. I first met these characters in 2009, and they are still around, patiently waiting for me to tell their story. I don’t know if I’ll make much progress on it this year, but  it will definitely be a priority in 2020.
  • Write a new short story! I have three out now that are performing well. It’s just a matter of time before one of them finds a home. It’d be nice to have one waiting in the wings and ready to go when that finally happens.
  • Submit Exodus to novella markets. I actually think this one is pretty likely to happen. But, with Tavi and Cards looming, this won’t be on my radar until the later half of the year.

There’s a lot to do in 2019. I probably bit off more than I can chew, especially since I’m working two jobs right now. There’s also always the reading and editing for Madhu and The Audient Void to consider.

So, in short, I’m a busy busy lady and nothing about that will change in 2019. I look forward to sharing that journey with all of you in the coming months.

I’ll be back later this week with the Monthly Recap!

Until then, Blogland.

 

BZ

Advertisements

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 52

Can you believe it, Blogland? 2018 has come and gone, and that means there’s a lot to talk about. However, this post isn’t meant for that. I have to talk about the last week of 2018 before I can start making plans for 2019!

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish any last minute reading
  • Write something

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep. Nothing too important or dense, but I made an effort to show up!
  • Finish any last minute reading
    • Yes! I finished reading Dragon Age: The World of Thedas vol. 1, just like I planned!
  • Write something
    • Yes! I wrote a little oneshot for a tumblr prompt! Hurray!

Weekly Word Count: 592

This week was really just a matter of tying up loose ends. I finished my lingering tumblr prompts, caught up on some reading, and made an effort to relax. I also picked up some stray hours between both jobs, so I worked a little more than I originally intended.

The really big question mark is, what the hell comes next?

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish listening to Spying on Whalesspying on whales
  • Write 1k on Tavi
  • Outline/Brainstorm for Santa Sarita

I’ll be honest, I haven’t really nailed down my yearly goals for 2019, which means I don’t have any idea of what my monthly goals should be, which in turn means… I have NO CLUE what I’m supposed to do this week. I’m gonna fake it ’til I make it!

I spent December decompressing my the marathon of November’s Nanowrimo. I won’t lie, I’d followed my story pretty much blindly until it took me to a scene I didn’t know how to get out of. I’d started to think I’d written myself into a corner, and then on my drive home last night my brain decided to notify me that we could proceed with the novel at my earliest convenience.

So, that’s nice.

For now I’m really marinating on what really worked in 2018. What were my successes? What were my obstacles? How can I learn from each of these in order to make the most out of 2019?

Tune in on Tuesday to find out, and for the traditional blog renovation!

 

BZ

The Recap – November 2018

Bloggos,

Video games are how I decompress, and apparently I really needed to decompress this weekend. I completely missed the fact that Saturday was the first of the month and spaced on writing up my usual monthly recap post! I’m so sorry for the delay.

November Goals

  • Write 800 words/dayLogo_of_National_Novel_Writing_Month
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep Reading!

How’d I do?

  • Write 800 words/day
    • YES! This was a really big win for me and I am still doing (exhausted) happy dances.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep! Both Lifelike and That Which Illuminates Heaven were submitted to various magazines in November.
  • Keep Reading!
    • Um… Yes! I read four titles in November, more than I thought I did.

Total Monthly Word Count: 25,069

November was intentionally straightforward. Three bullet points are not remotely daunting, but the prospect of writing 25,000 words sure as hell is. I needed to keep the docket relatively clear in order to make time and mental space for the giant hurdle I’d set for myself.  And it worked.

Did you see that word count? Did ya? It’s the most I’ve written in a single month in all of 2018 and I am ecstatic about it. I worked hard, stayed up later than I should, drank a TON of coffee, and committed myself to making the time to make my goals, which is the entire point of National Novel Writing Month. So, that was a wild success!

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 12.37.27 PM

As for submissions, my stories continue to do well but not quite well enough. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with every email notification, but it’s getting easier. I think I’m becoming desensitized. Which, if that could hurry the eff up, that’d be great. The sooner I don’t feel the sting of rejection, the better.

And then there was the reading. Despite my four titles and my one book review, I don’t feel very successful on this front. I tried to read A Map of Days, and had to abandon it because I simply wasn’t motivated to pick it up. I am on the cusp of doing the same for Skyward, although I am motivated to read it, only too late. I’m out of time with it and there are a slew of holds on it. I’m going to move on to Lies Sleeping and buy Skyward so I can read it at my leisure.

Adding two books to my Did Not Finish pile in November does not feel good, but I’m not really surprised either. There’s simply too much going on in the month for me to feel accomplished at everything I wanted to achieve.

December Goals

  • Write 10k
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Read three more titles!

Another straightforward month. It’s December, a busy time at Starbucks and in my personal life so I want to give myself some wiggle room. The holidays are stressful enough without adding my own unmet expectations into the mix. Besides, I want to end the year on a happy and accomplished note, so I can springboard into 2019 ready to shine!

I’m confident that I will make my reading goal for the year. I only have to read three more titles, and I think two of them are a shoe-in. I just have to pick a third book that will read quick.

Short story submissions will continue until each story finds a home. I am stubborn, infuriatingly tenacious, and there’s a steady supply of ice cream in my house. I will get these stories published!

The writing goal might be a close thing if I let video games get in the way. 10k feels like nothing after the blistering word count of November, but that’s kind of the point. I can’t write at that pace for two months in a row, at least not right now. I’ll just burn out if I try. So, I’m going to dial things back and write a little bit each week. Slow and steady wins the race or something.

Hopefully you’ll see some more book reviews this month, and I’ll get good news about one of my stories. Fingers crossed!

Until later, Blogland!

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 47

Oh, Blogland. How does November seem to fly by with ever increasing speed? How has Thanksgiving come and gone already? How am I supposed to get anything done if the whole world just keeps zipping past me?

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Audient Void submissions
  • Finish reading A Map of Days
  • WRITE!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yes. Barely. And let’s be honest, there wasn’t much substance there. But, that’s how I felt this week, relatively substance-less.
  • Read Audient Void submissions
    • …No…
  • Finish reading A Map of Days
    • No. And I finally bit the bullet and moved this book to my “Abandoned” bookshelf on goodreads. It just didn’t grab my attention enough to compete with Nanowrimo and Spyro. I’ve moved on to the next book in my TBR pile.
  • WRITE!
    • YES! Oh my goodness, so much yes!

Weekly Word Count: 8,682

Do you see that word count? Do ya? Holy moly do I feel like a rockstar whenever I think about it. Granted, I’m so tired from all the writing that I don’t feel quite as excited as I probably should about crossing the 24k word mark on my manuscript, but I still feel really good about my progress so far. Less than 1k to go this week to officially make my Nano goal!

With all the writing this week, it really makes sense why I fell behind on everything else. Honestly, I’m not really even mad about it. I’m bummed about the Audient Void submissions, but I should be able to knock those out this week no problem.

Also, I maybe sank more than eight hours into playing the remastered Spyro games… Trevor bought me the Reignited Trilogy as an early birthday present, and I’ve been playing it a bit over the weekend. Thank goodness the majority of my writing was already done by the time I opened my gift!

spyro gif.gif

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read A.V. submissions
  • Read Skywardskyward.jpg
  • WRITE!

I have a surprising amount of free time this week, which I’m really excited for. It’ll be nice to get caught up on my reading, finish up my writing for the month, and get some chores done around the house.

That’s if I can keep my Spyro time to a healthy level. Trevor bought me the Reignited Trilogy as an early birthday present, and I’ve been playing it a bit over the weekend. Thank goodness the majority of my writing was already done by the time I opened my gift!

So yeah. Writing, lots of reading, and plotting out how to wrap up this year. Can you believe it’s almost over already? We’re we just here, talking about the updates to the blog and all my dreams and hopes for 2018?

Yikes. I think I may be getting old. Time is going WAY too fast these days.

Talk soon, Bloggos.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 46

Blogland,

This past week was a weird one. I felt monumentally exhausted all week, until Sunday arrived and I found myself just bubbling over with productive energy.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line edits
  • WRITE!

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line editsthe hanging tree
    • Yes! Finally. Don’t know why they took me so long, but at least now they’re done and I can continue reading the Audient Void submissions.
  • WRITE!
    • YES! Until Sunday I had only written 15 words on my nanowrimo novel, but then I went to the Write-in and joined some sprints in my writer’s discord to churn out the most words of the month yet!

Weekly Word Count: 5,943

So, the blog was pretty active this week, with three posts, including the book review and photo changes across social media. I took a big leap and had professional headshots done and I freaking LOVE them. Sorry if you follow me on multiple platforms and was inundated with my virtual squealing.

The Barker line edits are out the door and off to land on Dan the Designer’s desk, and then Obadiah’s for final approval. I look forward to seeing the final copy. I even managed to get some pleasure reading in this week as well, finally breaking the 100 page mark on A Map of Days, and finishing Monstress vol. 3. I’m hoping to finish reading the Peculiars book this week so that I can move on to the newest Sanderson novel. That one will only take me a couple of days to power through, I’m sure. I tend to inhale his books more than I do read them.Monstress vol 3

But, really, the highlight of this week was the writing. I’ll be honest, I spent the majority of this week avoiding any and all responsibility. I kept waffling on downloading the Spyro Reignited trilogy, and that indecision pretty much paralyzed me. I wanted to play so. freaking. bad. But, I know myself, and I know I won’t get anything else done if I let myself start a new game halfway through Nano.

On Friday, I think, I wrote a little tumblr prompt because I am a weak woman, and when I can’t seem to write the project I should, I write something else instead. That was 700 words-ish, and I think it was enough to remind my brain that we had work to do.

Saturday was Pre-Thanksgiving (aka friendsgiving), so there was no writing, but lots of fun and delicious food to be had.

And then Sunday I wrote over 5,200 words. I stayed up too late, but when you’re on that good of a roll, you don’t stop for something as trivial as sleep! The crazy part, to me, is that I’m already five chapters into this novel. Over 15k words. And really, I still have no idea where it’s going. This is the most panster/discovery novel I have ever written, and at first it was really stressful. Now it’s almost freeing. There are no restrictions on how characters can or should be. No rules as to what happens, no guidelines to hinder the possibilities of this book.

Which, of course, means the revision process will be a complete and utter nightmare. But who wants to think about that when I can think about how the seven Archangels interact with one another when they meet in my protagonist’s outdated kitchen?

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Audient Void submissions
  • Finish reading A Map of Days
  • WRITE!

You’d think with the Thanksgiving holiday, I’d have more free time this week. But, sadly, it’s not the case. Today I work at both jobs until 5pm, and then have my usual social engagement. Then tomorrow is another of day of both jobs until the evening. Wednesday I have a bit of free time, but it will all be devoted to prepping for Thanksgiving. Then the holiday itself, which will be busy and relatively screen free.

Black Friday I work and will finally have some free time in the afternoon. Each year my Nano chapter challenges Wrimos to write 10k words on Black Friday. I came SO close last year, crossing 9k, but I don’t plan to try for it this year. Instead, I’ll aim for 5k, since all my other goals are more or less Nano goals cut in half.

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 11.30.42 AM
The latest and greatest stats for my nano novel.

Then Saturday is another day with both jobs, and then Sunday is the final Nanowrimo Write-In. I may have to rely on the Write-In once again to hit the week’s word count goal if Friday doesn’t pan out.

So, yeah. Lots of reading this week, and LOTS of writing. We’re entering the home stretch of Nano, and I have just under 10k to go to meet my own personal goal of 24,000 words. Anything over that is just gravy on the mashed potatoes. I’m hoping that somewhere in there I’ll trip over the actual plot of this novel and know where to go in the coming months.

But that’s a discussion for another blog post.

Until later, Bloggos.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 45

Oi, Bloggos!

This past week was oddly eventful, which of course means I didn’t get all that much done. At least, in my estimation. Let’s see what the blog has to say about it.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line edits
  • Finish reading The Hanging Tree
  • WRITE!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. Not for the first time this year, but it has been a much rarer occasion than in previous years, so this is still a bummer.
  • Barker line edits
    • …No. BUT, I’ve got them downloaded and should be able to dedicate some serious reading time to them this week.
  • Finish reading The Hanging Treethe hanging tree.jpg
    • Yes! Finished it on Saturday.
  • WRITE!
    • YES! I’m writing pretty consistently, and while it isn’t happening every day, my word count average for November so far is 922. My goal is 800, so that’s rocking steady.

Weekly Word Count: 4,566

So, this last week was a bit of a wash. I got the “important” things done, but at the expense of the other goals. I’m pleased with my word count, although it is about 1k words shy of where I should be. Thank goodness for that 1,100 word cushion I came into Nano with, hehe.

As expected, my reading has slowed, which is unfortunate since there are so many good books out this month. I’ve got a copy of A Map of Days on my nightstand, a copy of Sanderson’s Skyward on the hold shelf waiting for me at the library, plus the next Peter Grant book is out this week and N.K. Jemisin’s short story collection comes out soon!

Yikes. That’s a lot of reading to get done before the end of the year. But, I only need to read three more titles in order to reach my goal of 65 books this year. I’m confident that I’ll pull it off.  Especially since I read The Hanging Tree, WicDiv vol. 7, and Saga vol. 9 this week.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line edits
  • WRITE!

So, all in all, a pretty straightforward week. I’ve got the review for The Hanging Tree to post this week, so I should have no problem with that goal, and with nothing else but writing, I should FINALLY be able to get those line edits done for Obadiah. Then I can get back to reading The Audient Void submissions.

This is a good opportunity to remind you all that The A.V. is open for submissions through the 15th of November! There’s just a few days left to send your Weird/Dark Fantasy poems and short stories to us!

a map of days

I’d love to say I could finish reading A Map of Days this week, but it’s almost 500 pages long, and with my work schedule and Nano there’s just no way I can get it done in a week. But, if it’s anything like its predecessors, it will go fast for its size. Fingers crossed.

Until later Blogland,

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 44

Bloggos!

Fall has finally arrived in Salem. The clouds and rain and the wind have all showed up today, greeting Monday with a pleasant dreariness.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish That Which Illuminates Heaven
  • Continue editing The Charlatan and the Coinshot
  • Barker line edits
  • Continue Research/Outlining
  • WRITE!!!!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep. The Nano prep post is up now!
  • Finish That Which Illuminates Heaven
    • Yes! I am super proud of this story and have sent it out for submission!
  • Continue editing The Charlatan and the Coinshot16f84a70-8aac-4b1c-8a3d-58061c8b2146 (1)
    • Yep. Got these edits all done, and the first chapter is up now!
  • Barker line edits
    • No. Sad to say, but I’ll have to work on them this week.
  • Continue Research/Outlining
    • Yes. I got more research on the catholic church and demons in general done.
  • WRITE!!!!
    • Oh man. Did I ever? My goal was 800 words a day, and I made it!

Weekly Word Count: 4,446

In four days I wrote more than I did in the entire month of October. I’d say that’s a win. It’s been an interesting NaNo already, mainly because I’m not used to writing an original novel for the month. Last year I wrote fanfic, and the words came much easier then than they do now. It’s also been years since I set out to write a new novel so I’m trying hard not to let my mind overthink and stymie my own work. Easier said than done.

I sent That Which Illuminates Heaven out on Friday, but I won’t hear anything back on it until the first week of December. It’s kind of nice to know to expect silence. It keeps me from obsessively checking The Submission Grinder as much. Of course, Lifelike and The Cost of Rain are both still out, so I’m never far from clicking the bookmark in my browser.

The Charlatan and the Coinshot is off to a decent start. Chapter two posts tomorrow, so hopefully there will be more interest as the month wears on.

It was my husband’s birthday this weekend, and we had a great time playing boardgames with friends and watching the Blizzcon keynote and live performances. We also spent a good chunk of time watching season two of Castlevania, which I highly recommend. And I managed to make some time for reading!

castlevania.gif

Whew. That was a lot of work. Now it’s time to do it all over again.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line edits
  • Finish reading The Hanging Tree
  • WRITE!

A little more straightforward this week, mainly because all of my personal editing projects are done. I just need to get the line edits for Obadiah done, and then it’s just reading and writing this week! I do have some social engagements this weekend, so I need to be sure to pad my word count earlier in the week to give myself some wiggle room.

I think I’ll have a book review up this week, simply because The Hanging Tree is so good so far, that I doubt I’ll be able to keep away from it.

Until then, Blogland!

 

BZ