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

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Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 49

Hi Blogland,

Last week felt unreasonably long. Like, each day just took forever and was needlessly complicated. I slept a lot of cope with it, which made achieving my goals a little tricky.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish reading A.V. submissions
  • Read Lies Sleeping
  • Write 2k words

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish reading A.V. submissions
    • Yes? I just did them this morning before I opened WordPress. I’m counting it.
  • Read Lies Sleeping
    • No. But, I did finish Skyward!skyward
  • Write 2k words
    • No, but I got real close.

Weekly Word Count: 1,586

I don’t really feel like I accomplished much this week. I wrote some overdue blog posts, and spent a lot of my free-time (such as it is) binge reading the newest Sanderson book. I did play some Red Dead Redemption 2, and on Sunday we made a fancy dinner, bought a Christmas tree, and assembled our new coat rack!

I was way too excited about that coat rack, by the way.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Lies Sleeping
  • Write 2k words

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got going on right now. The blog posts should be easy since I’ll have the Skyward review to write. The new Peter Grant book isn’t very long and they always read fast, so I’m sure I’ll get that done as well. Really, the only question mark on this list is the writing. I’m feeling a bit mentally checked out right now, which is pretty typical post-Nano. We’ll see if I can pull out of this funk.

If not, that’s what video games are for.

So yeah.  I’m feeling good about my odds of meeting my reading goal for the year, and I’ve done a lot of writing this year. Just gotta stay productive and coast on into the new year.

Talk at y’all soon.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 48

Bloggos!

I maybe spent the bulk of my weekend playing Red Dead Redemption and completely forgot that I was not a rough and tumble outlaw trying to eke out a living in the late 1800s in the Wild West. As such, I did not post either of the blog posts I’d hoped to and for that, I’m sorry.

What in tarnation was I supposed to do, anyway?

Last Week

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

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. There was just the one post, actually.
  • Read A.V. submissions
    • Yep! I’m really impressed with the submissions so far, and can’t wait to see what we finally publish.
  • Read Skyward
    • …no. I made some progress, but not nearly as much as I should have, thanks to my galavanting across the virtual plains.
  • WRITE!
    • Yep! This week was pretty much just icing on the cake so any writing was going to put this goal in the black.

Weekly Word Count: 1,434

Image result for red dead redemption gif

So aside from doing my best Billy the Kid impersonation what the heck did I do this week? Well, I wrote a bit, which was enough to tip my word count over my goal for the month, so that’s amazing. I read all of those Audient Void submissions, and have a handful more to read today. I read 80ish pages of Skyward, but it won’t be enough to finish the book before I have to return it on Wednesday. It’s a pretty big book, even if it reads super fast there’s only so much I can accomplish in two days.

I’m thinking if there’s anything else I accomplished this week, but I think this was really it. Madhu and I went for a Walk ‘n’ Talk, we got rained on and sought shelter at Starbucks.

I got a lovely rejection on That Which Illuminates Heaven, and have it out again already. I’m still waiting to hear back about Lifelike and The Cost of Rain. Just that constant, low-key buzz of stress. Forever and ever, amen.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish reading A.V. submissions
  • Read Lies Sleepinglies sleeping
  • Write 2k words

This should be fairly doable, if I can just keep my gaming time down to something like reasonable. Once I return Skyward I’ll be diving into Lies Sleeping, which I know will read very quickly. Writing goals can go back to something like normal. A chapter a week would be ideal, but December is a busy month so I’m giving myself some leeway on that. Besides I did well enough in November that I bought myself a bit of breathing room for this month. But I’ll get more into that in the next post.

Tomorrow is my birthday, which is nice. I already got my present from Trevor, and have been playing it for a week or so now. Spyro is just as much fun as I remembered, and it was a beautiful work of fan service to see my favorite childhood game fleshed out in today’s graphics.

I also commissioned a friend/artist on tumblr as a little gift to myself, and as soon as I get it, I’m sure I’ll post it everywhere I possibly can.

So yeah. You’ll see me around a bit this week, to make up for all the missing posts from last week. And if I’m dedicated, you might just get a book review at the end of the week.

Image result for fingers crossed gif

 

Until then, 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

The Recap – October 2018

Bloggos!

It’s November! Whaaaaaaaat? How can that be? It’s NaNoWriMo season already?

whaaaat

What in tarnation did I even do with October?

October Goals

  • Tumblr prompt
  • Edit That Which Illuminates Heaven
  • Research/Outline for NaNo project
  • Keep reading!
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Finish chapter 7 of Sanctuary

How’d I Do?

  • Tumblr prompt
    • Yes. Although, it’s been so long now that I hardly remember doing it.
  • Edit That Which Illuminates Heaven
    • Yes! It took six drafts, but the final proofread is done and ready to be put into the computer. I plan to submit it tomorrow.
  • Research/Outline for NaNo project
    • Yep! Over 4,000 words of research and not a whole lot of outlining. Which is still more than I’d normally do.
  • Keep reading!
    • Yes! I read three books, all of which have been reviewed here.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep. Both Lifelike and The Cost of Rain received rejections this month, although Lifelike did get a really wonderful personal rejection. They have both since been submitted to the next magazine on the list.
  • Finish chapter 7 of Sanctuary
    • YES! It took an age, but I finally made this happen.

Total Monthly Word Count: 2,628

This month was a strange one. It was extremely productive, as you can see from the above list of successes, but I didn’t really feel like I accomplished much in the day-to-day. Writing was minimal, which sucks, but was also the plan.

Editing was in full swing this month, with That Which Illuminates Heaven seeing multiple revisions, a full proofread of The Charlatan and the Coinshot, and reading submissions for The Audient Void (still ongoing).

Reading was slow but consistent. Three novels in a month is nothing to sneeze at and is probably better than the reading that will happen in November.

Submissions are still rolling along. I was just telling my husband how now I’m less anxious about them and increasingly becoming more and more impatient. I’m getting so close, getting wonderful feedback and reaching high levels of consideration. I’m ready for someone to finally say “yes”. Sadly, I know this feeling to be premature. I’ve only submitted 22 times this year, both stories combined, and many stories have to go out to more magazines than that before they’re published. I have a long road ahead of me yet.

Sanctuary is still hanging in there. I’m feeling pretty far away from the project right now, which is logical since I won’t be working on it at all this month. Maybe after two months of posting The Charlatan and the Coinshot I’ll feel a little more energized about this longfic.

November Goals

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

I don’t think there’s really much more to put here. National Novel Writing Month pretty much monopolizes all my time in November. If I can read a couple books and keep up with my short story submissions this month, I’ll be happy.

And, yeah, that’s what’s up. That’s where I’m at on this first day of November. Feeling pretty great about October, even if I didn’t at the time, and looking to ride that momentum and success into and through NaNoWriMo.

Unless I read an entire novel in the next two days, you won’t hear from me again until Monday. You know, weekly goals and whatnot.

Until then, Blogland!

 

BZ