I guess I’m a little late; the year rolled over a few days ago. Time to recap 2016 and look forward to what 2017 has to offer.
It was an exciting time for me, as in July I self-published my first novel, When the Watcher Shakes. I got a lot of great feedback from people on it, and I’m proud of it. I also made some updates to this website—making a page for my book, of course, and also getting a custom domain. I worked with a lot of great people during the production of When the Watcher Shakes, and if you are interested, you can read about them and many other great resources for writers using the Writer Resources section of my website. I hope to continue to make additions to this section in the future. I hope it helps people. I know I always am looking for new options and resources. In fact, while I did love my experience with Design for Writers, I found out about a great artist who will be making the cover to my next book (more on that in a later post).
I learned to use Scrivener, and in fact I wrote my next novel using it! It is hard to start out, but once you get the hang of it, it is worth the effort. At least it was for me. It just doesn’t work out for some people, but that’s why it’s great that they offer a free 30 day trial, so you can know for sure before you buy.
My short story, “Drifting Into the Black”, was reprinted in Dark Horizons: An Anthology of Science Fiction. I’m super stoked to have a story in there, and the book is good reading.
I started substitute teaching at the high school and middle school where I lived in Wyoming. I met a lot of great kids and teachers. We also moved from Wyoming back to West Virginia at the end of the year. I’ll miss the great people I got to know in WY, but it sure is good to be back home.
I attended the Boise BookFest in Boise, Idaho. What a great time! I met other writers, met new readers, and had a blast.
I joined the Horror Writers Association as an Affiliate Member! Really looking forward to getting to know the great folks in the HWA.
Goals I set in 2016:
- Publish When the Watcher Shakes on Amazon by June – Accomplished, but a little late—Published in July!
- Finish the rough draft of a new novel by the end of the year – Done!
- Get more short stories written and submitted – I think I wrote three or four new pieces of short fiction last year, and have been submitting them with the rest of my old unpublished stuff. One earlier story has been accepted and will probably be published sometime this year.
- Feature author interviews on my blog – Not accomplished. Not even attempted, actually. I got so busy with other things, that, as you know, my blog kind of suffered. Hopefully I will be better this year.
- Remember the date – After a while, I did get used to it being 2016. Now I have to rid that habit all over again. It’s 2017, it’s 2017, it’s 2017…
Looking ahead: 2017
Well, of course I plan to publish another novel this summer! I am going to assume that my schedule will work out like last time and I’ll be able to publish it by July in ebook and POD via Amazon/CreateSpace. I will, of course, update you as I know more and as we move forward. If you sign up for my mailing list, you definitely won’t miss the release date!
I’m already trying to figure out my third novel. I have a few different ideas in my head right now, but soon I should be able to nail down just one to focus on. Then I will need to do a bit of research, but I hope to start writing the rough draft by May, maybe earlier. If I can finish that one before the summer ends, I’ll feel pretty awesome. I’ve been thinking that, if I’m able, I should try getting two books a year written instead of one. To some, this seems like a lot (to me!). To others, this is nothing. I heard a writer speak last year at the Boise BookFest who said that she wrote twelve novels every year! That’s a book a month! That’s madness! But it inspired me; if she can do twelve in a year, surely I can do two—or at least, maybe one and a half…One and a half. That’s a good goal, I guess.
Another goal is to qualify for Active Membership status at the HWA. I can accomplish this in a few different ways, which they detail on their website. I’m aiming to sell some short stories at pro rates, but if I can qualify based on WTWS royalties instead, I’ll pretty happy about that.
I need to get more writing friends, especially those in my genre. Since publishing WTWS, I’ve actually been starting to really get connected and meet some great people. I hope to further those relationships and even start new ones. Sometimes writing is lonely, and it’s great to know that there are some down-to-earth, real people going through the same thing.
I have a reading goal; among other fiction, I will read two Ray Bradbury stories and two Ernest Hemingway stories a week, from these books:
Last goal: Be a better blogger. …But…but…okay. I’ll do my best. Sorry I’m so terrible at updating this thing. Blogging just doesn’t come natural to me. But I’ll try.
Happy new year!