2017: Year in Review

KomainuThis past year was an eventful one, to say the least!

By January, my science fiction novella/novellette Adam’s Stepsons, which I had come back to after a long ( ~ 18 year!) hiatus, had already been rejected by three separate SF magazines. So I made the decision to go the self-publish route.

But before that, I sought out some advice from a fellow self-publisher, Greg Spry, whose debut novel I very much admired (Beyond Cloud Nine). He pointed out several areas to be corrected/emended/improved and although I initially resisted further changes, I soon realized that he was right.

Lesson 1 learned: Always listen to advice about your writing. It helps.

Of course, this wouldn’t have happened if I had been able to get somebody to read my story before sending it off to magazines.

Lesson 2 learned: Get a beta reader. Or two.

By the end of March, I had revised the story by adding a new chapter and fleshing out the details of the relationship between the two main characters. Then I submitted the story to as many appropriate contests that I could find. And approached online reviewers. And did a review swap.

And of course kept writing. Or at least, kept trying to find time to write.

Time passed. Life interceded. By which I mean I had loads of work duties, martial arts practices (and subsequent lack of cartilage in both knees!), and family time (including weekly piano and swimming lessons and a summer trip involving poison snakes and canoe rides).

I got sidetracked by a project about my own family history. I took copious notes about relatives in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Spent more time with folks dead than living. You get a strange feeling when, after searching for some long lost relative you never knew you had, you then find out first when and how they died before you find out when and how they lived.

Also, I read book after book about German and Irish history. Then found out there were French Canadians in the family tree as well. Too much! Several thousand words and hundreds of photos and maps stored for the meantime, I set it all aside and took a break with my actual, living family.

By the fall, my SF short stories had racked up an impressive collection of steady rejections. But my novella had received honorable mention in the Reader’s Favorite yearly contest, been named a Finalist in the Independent Authors Network as well as a Bookworks Selection.

Encouraged, I managed to get down close to 30,000 words of a SF novel (Bringer of Light) whose basic outline I’d inherited from a friend (meant to be originally a jointly-authored story, then turned over to me entirely).

Then I hit a major block. And the holidays came soon after. And then I got another award. Yay!

Which brings us to now. 2018: The Year of the Dog.

So what does 2018 bring?

  • The completion of Bringer of Light! (I hope! There are two more books in the series mapped out already, after all…)
  • At least one short story published in a magazine somewhere! (The goal…)
  • Losing at least 10 lbs! (OK, that’s not a writing goal, but still…)
  • Writing at least one blog post every week! (Um. How about at least one every two weeks…) And…
  • Avoiding Facebook! (Yeah, right…)

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