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.

Writing Goals for 2020

Each year in January, I sit down with a pen and a pad of notebook paper and write out all of the pieces that I’m working on. That includes any works in progress, stories looking for a home, plot bunnies, and trunk babies. It really helps me to wrap my head around where I do (and don’t) need to focus.

These are just writing goals. It doesn’t really focus on the final edits and checks that are still to come in for Broken and The Seeking. Nor does it include all the marketing work that will also be going on behind the scenes throughout the year. This list only focuses on writing.

The first thing I noticed, especially comparing this list with my 2016 and 2019 writing goals is that I have a bunch more novels on the list this time! Yes, most of them are admittedly plot bunnies, but I’ve already sketched out character concepts and plotlines for some of these. I’ve also begun writing on a couple of them!

I really enjoy writing series especially in YA Fantasy, and my Two Sorceresses (title TBD) book is going to be the beginning of that. I’ve been turning the plot for that book over and over in my mind to figure out how I want to pace it, who the characters are, and how the plot will ultimately go. It’s going to be dark, magical, beautiful, and sincere.

The Smiling Man (title TBD) is a YA Horror book that came directly from a nightmare. Some of the scenes in this book will be so creepy and unsettling, that I almost decided it was too frightening to put down onto pages. But then again, I decided if it scared me, it should scare others too.

Chosen is my current work in progress. It’s book 3 of the Stolen series and I am both excited and overwhelmed by the prospect of finishing my first original series. There is so much I want to say still and only a single book to pack it all into. My next project, once the Stolen series is done, will be The Blood of Kanta, the sequel to The She-Wolf of Kanta. This will be a full-length book, unlike the novella that is already published. I’ve planned out the basics already, now it’s just a matter of finding the time to write it.

I’ve also listed all of my short stories that are currently either out on submission, to be published, or looking for a home. Some of these I think I could tweak a little and get them out in the world, but generally I try to prioritize my books over short stories.

You’ll notice a few of those short stories are already available to read, such as The Mysterious Disappearance of Charlene Kerringer, Against Our Better Judgment, and The Blade Filled with Stars. That last one is automatically available when you sign up for my mailing list!

I’m so excited for this year, but I’m also anxious about the number of releases I have. I sure do hope my books live up to expectations, but I guess that’s a fairly normal fear for an author, right? Especially one who has only been doing this for a couple of years and is still figuring this all out? It would probably be my boggart.

What are your writing plans for 2020? If you post your plans as well, please tag me so I can see them! Let’s all cheer each other on to becoming better writers this year!

Writing Goals for 2019

Every year I write out a list of the stories I’m currently working on, or stories that I’m planning to work on. It’s kind of become my New Year’s tradition to post up what I call my WIP To-Do list.

So here we go!

2019 WIP To-Do List!

Look at all those novels!

Wait, where are the short stories?

So you might notice a change from the lists I made in Jan 2016 and Jan 2017. I don’t have a section for short stories on this list. That’s because I really am just no longer focusing on them as much as I used to. I’m still writing them on occasion and granting access to my Moonlight Wanderers Facebook Group members, or to my mailing list subscribers, but I’ve really pulled back on how many short stories I work on these days. I may submit to a few anthologies on occasion (I have one pending right now actually), but I’m just not going to put a bunch of my time into that.

There are a few reasons for this. First of all, I’m really trying to get my novels off the ground. I want my stories to be front and center more often. Usually in anthologies, my work is appreciated, but doesn’t go far enough out there to get a mention in reviews, which can be tough. In my longer pieces though, readers get more engaged and I get far more comments on my work (both good and bad haha) which I appreciate.

Second of all, I just don’t have the time anymore. I used to browse prompts on Duotrope to see what could spark my interest and get the creativity flowing, but these days I have so many ideas that I’m usually juggling multiple books at once in various stages of publication. Novels and novellas take time to write, to plan, to flesh out. The world-building is far more intense than what is typically seen in a short story, so my energy is stretched pretty thin.

Finally, there’s the payment. It’s a dream goal to one day have a story picked up by a professional short story market, but in my now nine years of writing professionally, it just hasn’t happened. I’m shifting my focus to books because I feel like I can reach an equal level of happiness through that instead of writing a new story regularly to try and grab the interest of flooded professional short story markets.

I see my books as building a structure. I’m not making much right now with it, but eventually I want to. I want my books to be loved, my characters to be cared about, and for readers to fall into my worlds. I just don’t have that kind of flexibility with short stories. So now I’m focusing all my energy on novels.

Are those new books I see?

You’ll see all three books of the Stolen series up there: Stolen (coming out Jan 22!), Broken (my current WIP), and Chosen (my next WIP lol).

One Way Down (book 1 of the Colton Fen series) is probably the oldest manuscript on this list and will soon be getting quite a facelift. Smoke and Witchcraft, the sequel, will also likely be getting a huge edit either this year or next.

The Seeking is finished, I’m just waiting for some time to breathe before I submit it around lol.

Then we start getting down into my planned books, and I don’t think I’ve posted about these before. Please note that these titles are just placeholders. It takes me ages to figure out a good title haha.

Here’s a quick run-down:

  • The Two Sorceresses – A Snow White retelling that I’m keeping pretty close to the chest. Once I’m done with the Stolen series and the Colton Fen series, this is what I’m planning to tackle next.
  • Cruise Ship – A YA Horror on a cruise ship? Oh yes. And it’s the slipstream kind, so you know it’ll be fun.
  • Southern Gothic – An homage to one of my favorite comic books with a nice horror twist. This one will have many types of monsters too.
  • Mercy’s Revenge – The much asked for sequel to The She-Wolf of Kanta! I’ve had so many people want this book that I’ve lost track. I don’t know if I’ll get to this novella this year, but if not it’s definitely planned for next year.

So there you have it – my WIP to-do list for 2019! Yes, there is a lot to do, but I feel really good about this year. I’m also thrilled to share my WIP plans too, though if you follow me on Twitter you kind of got a peek at these back in December.

Happy 2019, everybody! And please let me know if you also do WIP To-Do lists! I find they’re really motivating to do each year and really help me to plan out my beats throughout the year during the writing/editing/publishing process. Cause you know it’s easy to forget about the road when you’re on the path.