Brand New Year, Brand New Goals

Usually I post my annual check-in around the beginning of the year, but already 2021 has proven it’s a little different than normal.

Between checking the news on a regular basis here in the U.S. and working on my latest work in progress, The Blood of Kanta, it’s taken a bit to wrap my brain around 2021. If you follow my mailing list, you’ll have likely already seen all these plans, but I like to share things publicly too on my blog every year. You can go back and check out my previous entries from 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2020.

Last year the pandemic threw a huge curve-ball in my plans, but I also had several experiences that made me re-examine my work and my publishing process. Here’s a quick overview:

  • At the start of 2020, I had a short story coming out in Masks, a Mardi Gras anthology alongside some incredible authors. I had a second short story coming out in an anthology with the same publisher that was set to come out in December, but then the publisher closed its doors suddenly. Although the anthology was picked up elsewhere, I kind of wanted to take the reigns back on my short story, and now I’m planning on publishing it this October in my own collection of tales, The Impostor and Other Dark Tales.

    I made some truly amazing friends throughout this journey, but I still felt singed by the whole experience. That made me start looking at my writing differently and led me to the next step.
  • In 2020, I got back most of the rights back to The She-Wolf of Kanta, and have since decided to turn it into a full series, The Wolves of Kanta. This ended quite amicably, but I had been considering expanding on this universe for some time. Now I’m aiming to re-release The She-Wolf of Kanta along with two sequels in 2022.

I’ve always considered myself a hybrid author, with one foot in the small press world and one in the independent publishing world. I’m very proud of the Stolen series. The final book, Chosen, releases on March 23rd from Parliament House Press, who have been amazing to work with. However being hybrid means that I also publish independently, so I’m going to try my hand at that next year. It’s going to be a learning curve since I plan to tackle physical books and ebooks, in a series that doesn’t yet have a solid ending.

With that in mind, here’s my overview for my writing for 2021, and where I’m planning to go next.

Listing of my books and stories that are currently in progress.

There’s a lot listed above, but here is a quick run-down of what I’ll be working on this year:

It’s sure to be a busy year, and it’s already started off pretty darn busy. It’s going to take a lot of learning, a lot of writing, and a heck of a lot of editing, but I’m excited to see where this all goes!

If you want to follow my progress, check out my mailing list or follow me on all the social media channels. I’ll be posting regular updates and sneak peeks as I continue on this journey.

Join Me For A Reading

Tomorrow at 9 PM EST I’ll be taking part once again in the Southern Nightmare Reading Series with the Atlanta Chapter of the Horror Writers Association!

It’s always great to hear authors read their works, and I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside many of my fellow readers this year. If you dropped by the Decatur Book Festival last year, you might have seen Marc and I sharing a table!

One of the things I love most about being part of this group is getting to see my fellow authors grow as I grow with them, and it’s so cool to see where people are today compared to a few years back. Being an author is an ever-changing journey and a challenge, and having a group of friends to cheer you on is empowering!

I hope you’ll come join us! The event will be streamed live on Facebook. Check out the link listed below for details:

https://atlantahwa.com/the-southern-nightmares-reading-series/

Chat With Me At Multiverse

Come see me at Multiverse this weekend!

This weekend you can attend a FREE virtual convention that covers everything from writing to fandom love. It’s a three-day con and there are going to be some amazing panels to watch. No need to sign up, just show up. They’ll have information going up soon on how to get on their Discord server so you can chat with folks in real time throughout the convention.

I’m going to be in a panel on Sunday at 1:00PM on Characterization: Crafting a Villain with some absolutely fantastic fellow authors. Panelists will be watching and commenting live on Discord in the #write channel. Come join our discussion on crafting villains!

In addition to the panel, I’ll have one-on-one mentoring opportunities available Sunday afternoon. Have you ever wanted to pick my brain on publishing? Or on writing? Or on whatever writerly problem you want? This is your chance! I’ll have 8 fifteen minute sessions available, Sunday afternoon after the panel. Pick a slot and you can chat with me on Zoom.

Here are all the main links you’ll need:

I’m super excited to get to chat with y’all one on one! There are also a lot of other folks doing mentoring too, including authors and editors. Some people will even be accepting pitches. This is honestly a fantastic free opportunity so make sure you take advantage of it!

Check Out the New Panel!

This weekend I got the chance to join some incredible authors in a panel for Next Chapter Con! We talked about the difficulties of balancing a day job with writing, how we got starting with writing and publishing, and what we have coming next.

I was so honored to be able to chat with these folks. They had such incredible insight and experience. It really made me miss being able to go to conventions again!

Watch the full panel below, featuring Dan Jolley, Bobby Nash, and Armand Rosamilia, moderated by Kenyon T. Henry. There’s also a special guest appearance by my kitty, Zoey, cause of course she wanted to be the center of attention haha!

Organization Ideas Using a Bullet Journal [#AuthorToolboxBlogHop]

Real talk, this week authors. I wouldn’t be nearly as productive without my bullet journal.

This weekend I’ve taken part in a panel with Next Chapter Con, I attended a meeting with our local Horror Writers Association Atlanta Chapter, I setup my next mailing list post set to come out September 19th, and chatted with some readers via email. That is a lot to keep track of for one weekend, and that’s not even everything on my to-do list.

A quick note before I begin. This post is part of the Author Toolbox Blog Hop, a series where authors help authors through all aspects of their author career. I highly recommend clicking on the image above and going to check out all the other amazing blogs in this circle.

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the benefits of using a bullet journal as an author, but looking down at my long to-do list and everything I’ve done this weekend, I think it bears repeating. Down to it’s most basic description, a bullet journal is a DIY to-do list to help keep track of goals, habits, lifestyle, etc. The beauty of it is that you can tailor it completely to your needs, unlike an organizer you buy and have to fit to your needs.

Above is a screenshot from one of my trackers. I used it when I got the first round of developmental edits back for Chosen, book 3 of the Stolen series. Now these are usually the edits that require the most changes for me. Sometimes they can require whole scenes to be removed or added, or even whole sections of the novel to be rewritten. I find this first stage to be one of the hardest parts of the editing process. Having a tracker in my bullet journal and adding a few cute stickers helps me to stay on track. I bubble in a circle when I’ve knocked out that many pages. I added a turtle at the bottom to remind me that being “slow and steady” is okay.

On this next example, I’ve listed out books that I’ve been inspired to write. (Sorry it’s blurred out, but there are some major spoilers on those pages!) Some of these may become future works in progress, some may never see the light of day again, but this is perhaps the most prized portion of my bullet journal. These pages actually came from last year’s bullet journal. I cut them out and pasted them in here, and then added more to one of the book ideas this year. It’s wonderful to be able to slowly build on these ideas as I get more inspiration for them, and bring the pages with me each year. I can slowly build on these concepts and return to them again and again. Right now I have four full pages dedicated to book planning.

You’ll also notice I’ve got tabs on the side of this bullet journal. I keep track of everything from Mailing List ideas, to wordcounts for works in progress, to my annual word tracker that I’ve included below. I’m a little behind on filling it out, but I’ll catch up soon.

Each year I change around the layout, add some sections I may or may not use, and get a better understanding of what I need to personally stay organized and on top of my goals. It certainly isn’t a perfect system, but it’s such a huge improvement from the stress and constant feeling of being overwhelmed that I had before I began using it. I can stay focused on my goals, encourage myself with my progress, and remind myself of why I’m doing this.

If you have never used a bullet journal, simply look up #bujo on Instagram, Pinterest, or Youtube. There are tons of ideas out there that might suit your needs. As an author, it’s been indispensable and I can’t even imagine how I would organize the multitude of things I keep track of now without it.

Here are some things I also track with my bullet journal which has made me very happy this year despite all the craziness going on:

  • Habit Tracker for cleaning, self-care, and productivity.
  • Movies and TV shows I’ve watched.
  • Books I’ve read.
  • Quotes I love.
  • Stories I have finished.
  • Music I love.

A bullet journal can be anything you need, whether for fun, physical and mental well-being, or for your author career. Do you have ideas on what you would use one for? If you keep one, I’d love to see pictures! I’m always inspired seeing how people use theirs.