2017 Goals

2017

It’s that time of year again. When I set goals in order to pretend that I have something resembling focus and not just magpie energy for the year to come and share them on my blog here. At the end of each year I assess how well I did in accomplishing my goals and set new ones. It’s an important thing for me, this setting and sharing of goals. Setting them and having them written down in concrete language really helps me regain my focus when I lose it (which is often), evaluate progress, get things done and also, look back over time and see a bigger picture of things I’ve accomplished. Sharing them on my blog here with you is equally important because it provides a sense of accountability which can be a huge motivation at times when I need it most.

My Goals for 2017

  • Write the first draft of Deadmonton — my Winterknight Towers book
  • Participate in the release and promotion of Dream Eater to the best of my ability
  • Publish D is for Dinosaur in February
    • Promote it to the best of my ability and hit my launch and sales goals
  • Have Equus ready for a summer publication
    • Promote it to the best of my ability and hit my launch and sales goals
  • Announce [Top Sekkrit Anthology #1] and hit all the publisher’s deadlines for it. (Announce in February?)
  • Announce [Top Sekkrit Anthology #2] and have it ready for a November publication date
  • Have a successful open submissions period for Fire: Demons, Dragons and Djinns and hit all my deadlines for it
  • Announce E is for REDACTED and hit all my deadlines for it for a 2018 release
  • Take a vacation in July. For real.
  • Promote Haunted Hospitals to the best of my ability upon its release.
  • Read 30 books that are not related to work, including those on my partial reading list.
  • Spend at least half a day a week away from the internet, writing.
  • Create and release the Magical Menageries colouring book

I think that’s enough, don’t you? LOL

I have several other miscellaneous things that I’d like to do (acquire a book during WWP’s open submission period next month, participate in Advent Ghosts, participate in NovPad, do another charitable blog tour, self-publish Shadows…) but the stuff above, those are the things I feel a real need to do. The other things I’m being more flexible about. I’d like to do them, but I’ll be okay if they don’t happen.

Looking back at 2016

Each year I set goals for the year to come and share them on my blog here. At the end of each year I assess how well I did in accomplishing my goals and set new ones. It’s an important thing for me, this setting and sharing of goals. Setting them and having them written down in concrete language really helps me regain my focus when I lose it (which is often), evaluate progress, get things done and also, look back over time and see a bigger picture of things I’ve accomplished. Sharing them on my blog here with you is equally important because it provides a sense of accountability which can be a huge motivation at times when I need it most.

Today I’m looking back at what I wanted to do in 2016 and evaluating how that all turned out. Goals I’m counting as achieved are in bold 😉

My Goals for 2016

  • Speed up my blog/website

So, largely I dealt with this by changing webhosts so it kinda feels like a cheat — but it DID speed up the website significantly. For a while last year it was painful just to try and load a page but now, with the new hosting plan, things go smoothly. Definitely a quality of life upgrade LOL

The book has been written, turned in, edited and copyedited. It’s all done and waiting for release which will be coming August of 2017. I’m super excited to see it go out in the world and I’d work with mark again in a heartbeat 🙂

  • Announce D is for… anthology and prepare it for an early 2017 release

D is for Dinosaur has been officially announced, edited, formatted and all that fun stuff and it’s scheduled for a February 2017 release. In fact, you can actually enter to win a copy if you were so inclined 🙂 This anthology is kind of a monster (well over 100,000 words) and might be the strongest volume in the Alphabet Anthology series to date 🙂

  • Release C is for Chimera on April 19th
    • Promote it sufficiently to break the sales numbers for A is for Apocalypse (based on the first three months after release)

C is for Chimera was released, as planned, on April 19th. Though A is for Apocalypse continues to be the bestselling volume in the series, C is for Chimera‘s reviews are pretty damned good, so I’m not going to complain. I think maybe apocalypses are just more popular than chimeras are LOL

  • Release Sirens (July?)
    • Promote it sufficiently to break the earn out its advance within the first year. Bonus points if it’s in the first six months.

Sirens went out into the world to rave reviews. It didn’t earn out its advance in the first six months but it’s on track to have done so before the year is up.

  • Attend the ‘Despite Excuses’ writing retreat in California this July

Done. I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done but I got to hang out with some awesome people in a beautiful setting so I’m still going to call it a win.

  • Take August off. With the exception of attending When Words Collide… which is work but also isn’t :-p

I mean… I may have worked a wee bit in August, but not a whole lot. Really.

  • Write the first draft of Deadmonton (My Winterknight Towers book), beginning in November and using NaNoWriMo as a springboard to get started

This didn’t happen. I did participate in NaNoWriMo but I didn’t have enough space in my brain to work on Deadmonton. I’m going to have to write this in 2017 though otherwise I’ll be running up against deadlines and I really don’t want this to be a last moment kind of thing.

  • Hire an editor for Shadows and prep it for release

Shadows is in the hands of an editor. I have no timeline for its release, but I’m progressing in the right direction, anyway LOL

  • Host a December blog tour to celebrate the holidays and benefit the food bank.

The Giftmas Blog Tour this year raised $521 for the Edmonton food bank, which is enough money to provide more than 1500 meals for hungry families. This was hugely important to me on a personal level and I am ridiculously proud of what we accomplished.

2016 was an emotionally difficult year for me (we lost my mother-in-law, our dog, some important celebrity voices and politics have been rough) but professionally it was good. I got a lot of things done, read a lot of books and lined up plenty of projects for 2017.

So there were plenty of bright spots in the darkness. I only had to look to see them.

Oh look, here’s one now!

 

Looking Ahead -- My goals for 2016

Goals for 2016

Looking Ahead -- My goals for 2016Each year I set goals for the year to come and share them on my blog here. At the end of each year I assess how well I did in accomplishing my goals and set new ones. It’s an important thing for me, this setting and sharing of goals. Setting them and having them written down in concrete language really helps me regain my focus when I lose it (which is often), evaluate progress, get things done and also, look back over time and see a bigger picture of things I’ve accomplished. Sharing them on my blog here with you is equally important because it provides a sense of accountability which can be a huge motivation at times when I need it most.

Over the past couple years my goal lists have grown and grown becoming quite long and complicated. So, too, has my career when you count in the things I don’t talk about here (such as freelance work and ghostwriting). It was kind of beginning to feel overwhelming, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what I’m going for so I think it’s time to simplify a wee bit. Thus…

My Goals for 2016

  • Speed up my blog/website
  • Write the Haunted Hospitals book with Mark Leslie.
    • I’ve begun working on this in February. My goal is to have the first draft of my contribution done by the end of April. I’ve never written anything like this before though, so I’m unsure how reasonable this goal is.
  • Announce D is for… anthology and prepare it for an early 2017 release
  • Release C is for Chimera on April 19th
    • Promote it sufficiently to break the sales numbers for A is for Apocalypse (based on the first three months after release)
  • Release Sirens (July?)
    • Promote it sufficiently to break the earn out its advance within the first year. Bonus points if it’s in the first six months.
  • Attend the ‘Despite Excuses’ writing retreat in California this July
  • Take August off. With the exception of attending When Words Collide… which is work but also isn’t :-p
  • Write the first draft of Deadmonton (My Winterknight Towers book), beginning in November and using NaNoWriMo as a springboard to get started
  • Hire an editor for Shadows and prep it for release
  • Host a December blog tour to celebrate the holidays and benefit the food bank.

I’ve also got several projects that are pending or in limbo right now including a brand new anthology series (Keep your fingers crossed for this one, especially!), three stand-alone anthologies I’d be co-editing (with three different people) and two collaborative poetry projects. I’ve deliberately built some empty spaces into my project calendar for the year to address these projects. Also, you just never know when I’m going to be distracted by something shiny and need to take a little detour for a while 😉

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

Looking Back at My 2015 Goals

All rights reserved by Rhonda ParrishEvery year I set goals for myself, and then at the end of that year I look back at them to see how I’ve done. It helps with my productivity and gives me at least the illusion of some sort of focus 🙂 Now is the time for me to look at my 2015 goals and see how I did to help me determine what my 2016 goals will be.

My 2015 Goals:

Goals in italics are ones I’m saying I accomplished 🙂

Health

  • Weigh less at the end of the year than I do at the start
  • Run 5k
  • No working on weekends and minimal working on evenings.

Huh. Yeah. So… totally failed at those first two, but I think with some small exceptions I did pretty well at not working on weekends and evenings. It’s a thing I need to continue to focus on because I really want to have a bit of balance in my life, but I definitely did better in 2015 than 2014 so I’ll take it 🙂

Editing / Publishing

  • Publish the final three issues of Niteblade and then close down that aspect of the magazine
  • Complete Corvidae and market it to the best of my ability
  • Complete Scarecrow and market it to the best of my ability
  • Publish B is for Broken and market it to the best of my ability

I published B is for Broken (and it’s awesome) but I may have dropped the ball a bit in the marketing department. It has significantly fewer reviews than A is for Apocalypse and its sales numbers are also much lower. Part of the issue, I think, is that ‘Broken’ is a much more nebulous concept than ‘Apocalypse’ but some of it was definitely me. It’s been a learning experience though, especially in regard to choosing anthology subjects that are easier to market.

  • When Shadows is published market it to the best of my ability

N/A

  • Have the manuscript for C is for… polished and ready for publication

C is for Chimera is pretty spectacular. I’m going to reveal the cover and officially announce the release date here on my blog this Thursday. Meanwhile, I’ve already managed to garner a 1 star review for it on Goodreads despite the fact no one has read it but me. So that’s awesome. *sigh*

  • Have the manuscript for D is for… polished and ready for publication

I have the authors lined up for D is for [TOP SEKKRIT] but haven’t progressed further on this title yet.

  • Come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion.

Yeah… I really should do this 😉

  • Make progress on sekkrit collab with CJD

Making slow progress… but progress 🙂

  • Open to submissions for Sirens

I’m currently trying to turn my shortlist into a table of contents. There were about 200 submissions sent my way and even many of the ones I didn’t shortlist were really, really good. There are some very difficult choices in my near future.

Writing

  • Write and submit at least one new short story a month*
    • The ‘submit’ part of this is important. I can’t just write a first draft and leave it to moulder indefinitely. The story needs to be ready for submission and, in fact, submitted, within the month to count.

LOL Well, it looked good on paper.

  • Begin querying agents about Hollow
  • Self-publish at least one collection of reprints
  • Complete work on collaborative project with Marge
  • Successfully participate in April Poem-A-Day
    • This means actually writing a poem a day or at least having thirty poems written by the end of the month
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo*
  • Either complete the first draft of a new novel, or revise one of the novel first drafts I’ve already written (this can be completed in conjunction with NaNoWriMo or separate from it)

Reading

  • Read at least 50 books
    • Slush doesn’t count, nor do books by friends I read to critique.
    • Have at least 20% be non-fiction

I read 46 books according to Goodreads, plus 13 which aren’t on Goodreads. And those 13 don’t count slush or books by friends I read to critique. So I really was successful even if Goodreads doesn’t know it 😉

Misc

  • Create a website at poiseandpen.com
  • Attend When Words Collide and Pure Spec
  • Blog at least once a week
  • When someone visits this blog and leaves a comment — reciprocate.

I’m still not awesome at this. I go to the blogs of people who visit and I read but very often I can’t think of anything intelligent to leave as a comment and ‘I was here, but now I’m gone…’ just doesn’t work for me, ya know?

Kobo

As of New Year’s Eve of 2014 I’d sold a total of one book via Kobo**. One. For a whopping $0.45 in royalties. One of my goals in 2015 is to improve that. I don’t have a super firm goal in mind but it shouldn’t be too difficult to top one sale and less than fifty cents in royalties, right?

Success! Partly on account of a BookBub deal, but I’d beaten my one sale for $0.45 in royalties even before that. There is still plenty of room for improvement here, but there’s always going to be, isn’t there?

*under this name or as a pen name project. Either counts.
**this doesn’t count books I didn’t self-publish like Fae, Metastasis etc.

 

Overall I feel like I had a successful year. I did plenty of things that aren’t reflected on this list of goals and even managed to accomplish more than I failed at. On paper it wasn’t a spectacular year but my reality was pretty amazeballs 🙂

Women in Practical Armor

WomenInPracticalArmor

I have a story in this anthology!!!

Dudes.

I’m so excited I can barely speak in sentences, forget about paragraphs. So. To elaborate:

It’s an Aphanasian story featuring Bayne.

It’s my first pro-rate story.

I’m sharing a table of contents with amazing people.

It’s got that a-freaking-mazing cover.

And it’s edited by Ed Greenwood and Gabrielle Harbowy.

!!!

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Gabrielle before, and she’s awesome and I adore her. And Ed Freaking Greenwood?

Guys. C’mon. That’s just freaking nuts.

Playing D&D in the Forgotten Realms setting has consumed years of my life and Ed Freaking Greenwood read and liked my story.

I could just die.

In the meantime, while I flail and squee you should pop over to the Kickstarter, take a look at the perks and see if there’s anything there that tickles your fancy because I’m 1000% sure this anthology is gonna kick ass.

*flails*

ISSS 2015 Graduation Speech

This is my amazing husband.

He is my best friend, biggest supporter and I love him more than I could ever tell you (or, than you’d want to hear about, really).

He also teaches in the Biochemistry department here at the University of Alberta. Occasionally that means he’s asked to make speeches. This year he was invited to speak at the ISSS graduation ceremony and I liked his speech so much I asked him if I could post it here. He said yes 🙂

Jopa

ISSS 2015 Graduation Speech

by Dr. Jonathan C. Parrish

Good evening, graduates, family, and supporters. I’d like to start by thanking ISSS for inviting me to speak here again. Graduation speeches are daunting things, there are some fantastic and inspirational speeches out there to hold up as standards, from the “Always Wear Sunscreen” speech – never delivered, usually attributed to Kurt Vonnegut, actually written by Mary Schmich – to the “Make Good Art” speech by Neil Gaiman. If you have not heard either of them I encourage you to find them. If you want, you can imagine me saying them, that would be swell.

Last year I thought I’d provide some of the lessons I feel have been important, punctuated by stories that illustrated them, this year I wanted to try something a little more coherent. I debated how to approach it, and what to discuss, without feeling that my own advice was overinflated or invaluable as opposed to amusing with brief insights. As a sign of how serious I am taking it, I even wrote it down!

As I only have a few minutes, what I’d like to offer is some small portion of my own philosophy. I’d like to talk today about the big picture. The mountain. The goal. The end of the rainbow. What is the big picture? I can’t tell you, because we each have our own. Some of us love the avant garde, some of us are realists, some of us are firmly couched in classical themes. The picture changes from day to day. From week to week, from year to year. We change, we adapt, we get bored, we move on. Changing is not a de facto failure nor a success, it’s just change, and that’s ok.

Choose your own path, follow your own counsel. Is it ironic for me to suggest this to you? You bet! Be unreasonable. George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying, “the reasonable man adapts to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress is made by unreasonable men.”

Within reason, of course, and feel free to change pronouns as you wish. But ask yourself this – do you want to be the next someone else or the first you? Keeping the big picture in mind will help you choose when to adapt and when to be unreasonable. You only have a finite amount of time and energy, especially the former, and you may find that things you change are changed back by someone else.

Christine Miserando, who suffers from lupus, uses spoons as an analogy to how much energy she can spend in a day. She starts with a limited number of spoons; everything she does uses one up and that determines how much she can do in a day. It helps her explain why some days it’s enough for her to get out of bed and brush her teeth, but the idea can be expanded to everyone.

In my field, structural biology, we have an analogy related to lysozyme – the basic idea being that each scientist only has so many structures in them. Lysozyme is easy to grow and solve (which is why it was one of the first proteins to be crystallized) and this is why we use it as training for novice crystallographers. But there are those who say if you can only solve so many structures, don’t waste one of them on lysozyme. Put your energy, when you do have it, into things that get you closer to where you want to be. Or away from where you don’t want to be. Or somewhere else, if you’re not sure. And that means keeping your mind on the big picture, so you know which way is which. And be unreasonable when it’s called for.

The next thing I’d like to discuss is purity of motive. Purity of motive is something I can’t think of as anything but a good thing. It means not just doing the right thing but doing it for the right reasons. Sometimes, I tell my classes that there are two ways of beating the curve: study and work hard and bring up your own grades or confuse everyone else in order to bring theirs down. Purity of motive then informs this choice – focus on what the point of education is. What the big picture is. It’s not the curve, it’s not the grade, it’s (hopefully) understanding, learning, growing that is the goal.

As much as I’d like to reassure you about this, it doesn’t end, either – in my work I am expected to justify everything I do each year, to compete for limited resources, to beat the curve. There are things I could do just to add content, to check off boxes, tick off to-do items on my annual report. But that is not purity of motive. What did you do at work today? I ticked off a box. That’s not focusing on the big picture, that’s being reasonable. If you are doing things solely to meet someone else’s criteria, you’re not having as much fun. And if you’re not enjoying yourself, then you need to re-focus on the big picture and find the path that takes you closer to that fantastic work of art, that big picture, in your head.

Things happen, day by day, week by week, we get into a state where we feel like we are constantly putting out small fires that keep starting, and it’s all we can do to check off the items on our to-do list. It’s hard to focus on the big picture, let alone think about being unreasonable. But even on those tough days there may be a moment to think about where you are headed and how you could work toward that goal even as you are putting out all those tiny fires.

Because there are much bigger fires waiting – and when those ones are out you can tell stories about the great fires you helped to extinguish and the ones you helped to start. You are university graduates, you’ve been given lighter fluid and a fire extinguisher. It’s up to you, now, to choose how unreasonable you are going to be.

And so to you, class of 2015, I congratulate you and I wish you the best, biggest picture to work towards. Go out there and be the best, first you. Give ‘em hell.

 


Personally, I am paying especially close attention these days to make sure I’m doing something each day beyond putting out fires and checking off boxes. That’s the part of this speech which spoke to me the most. Some days I do better than others, but by keeping the images of the fires and the checkboxes in the back of my mind, I’m finding it easier to stay on the path toward the ‘big picture’ that represents my larger life goals.

🙂

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

2015 Goals

All rights reserved by Rhonda Parrish

I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions, because I’m crap at keeping them, but I do enjoy setting goals for the coming year each January. I find them super helpful staying focused and find the accountability which comes from sharing them publicly really helps as well. This year I’m a wee bit late on getting this blog post done, so it may be slightly less chatty than in years past, but without further ado, here are some of my work-related goals for the coming year (and health counts because you can’t work if you’re not at least a certain degree of healthy).

Health

  • Weigh less at the end of the year than I do at the start
  • Run 5k
  • No working on weekends and minimal working on evenings.

Editing / Publishing

  • Publish the final three issues of Niteblade and then close down that aspect of the magazine
  • Complete Corvidae and market it to the best of my ability
  • Complete Scarecrow and market it to the best of my ability
  • Publish B is for Broken and market it to the best of my ability
  • When Shadows is published market it to the best of my ability
  • Have the manuscript for C is for… polished and ready for publication
  • Have the manuscript for D is for… polished and ready for publication
  • Come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion.
  • Make progress on sekkrit collab with CJD
  • Open to submissions for Sirens

Writing

  • Write and submit at least one new short story a month*
    • The ‘submit’ part of this is important. I can’t just write a first draft and leave it to moulder indefinitely. The story needs to be ready for submission and, in fact, submitted, within the month to count.
  • Begin querying agents about Hollow
  • Self-publish at least one collection of reprints
  • Complete work on collaborative project with Marge
  • Successfully participate in April Poem-A-Day
    • This means actually writing a poem a day or at least having thirty poems written by the end of the month
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo*
  • Either complete the first draft of a new novel, or revise one of the novel first drafts I’ve already written (this can be completed in conjunction with NaNoWriMo or separate from it)

Reading

  • Read at least 50 books
    • Slush doesn’t count, nor do books by friends I read to critique.
    • Have at least 20% be non-fiction

Misc

  • Create a website at poiseandpen.com
  • Attend When Words Collide and Pure Spec
  • Blog at least once a week
  • When someone visits this blog and leaves a comment — reciprocate.

Kobo

As of New Year’s Eve of 2014 I’d sold a total of one book via Kobo**. One. For a whopping $0.45 in royalties. One of my goals in 2015 is to improve that. I don’t have a super firm goal in mind but it shouldn’t be too difficult to top one sale and less than fifty cents in royalties, right?

I’ll probably tweak this list as the year goes on, but for now I think it’s a very good jumping-off point 🙂

*under this name or as a pen name project. Either counts.
**this doesn’t count books I didn’t self-publish like Fae, Metastasis etc.

2014 Year in Blogging

Jetpack, one of the add-ons I use on my blog, compiled a ‘Year in Blogging’ thingy for me. I could have shared the whole thing here but meh, there was a lot of stuff on there no one but me would care about. There was, however, some bits I thought might be interesting to you as well.

Like this:

Posting Patterns

Actually, that may be a bad example LOL Could be I’m actually the person most likely to think this is cool… but c’mon, this is cool! It shows the days I posted blogs last year (the darker green dots are where I had more than one post that day). In 2014 I made 179 new posts. A pretty high percentage of them were guest blogs (more this year than in any year before) but still… that’s a lot of blogging for someone who is always complain/bragging about how busy she is LOL

This is where my visitors have come from:

From Where

102 countries! Holy freaking hell. That is so awesome 🙂 It looks like for most of those countries I only had one visitor*, but you know what? I’ll take it LOL

This is the thing I thought was pretty interesting. For two reasons. The first is because it’s fun to see which posts people want to read (looks like calls for submissions mostly… which I guess means most of my visitors are writers. No surprise there ;)). The other reason it’s interesting is because of what it says about comments.

Take a look:

MostViewed

#1 on that list, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a sorta review of Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name. When I tweeted a link to it, he retweeted it (*squee* Neil-freaking-Gaiman retweeted me!) so it’s not exactly a surprise that would be the most visited link on my blog last year. What did surprise me, was the fact no one commented. That got me thinking. I don’t get many comments on my posts just in general. At least, not *on* the blog itself LOL I get responses on Twitter and Facebook so I know people are reading and reacting to what I share but comments on the blogs are really rare with the exception of my B is for Brainstorming post, which has 50 comments on it (half of them are mine, I think LoL but still…).

I think the thing is I don’t tend to end my posts with anything that deliberately and specifically calls for replies from my readers. I plan to work on that for 2015.

I’m also going to try to be better about reciprocating visits to my blog. I’m not super awesome at that. No excuses. I’m just not. That is also on my ‘Work on that!’ list for 2015.

I’ll be making a ‘Goals for 2015’ post in the near future (next week, I think), so I’m pondering these sorts of things a lot this year. Have you already made your goals for next year? What are they? I have some ideas of what I want to set as goals for next year, but perhaps yours will help spark something in my brain.

Also, do you have a ‘Year in Blogging’ or even a ‘Year in Review’ blog post? Link me, I’d love to see it 🙂 For real. These are the kinds of numbers I like LOL

*And I happen to know the visitor from one of those countries got blocked on account of they were trying to hack my blog LOL But ya know… everything counts, right? LOL

2014 Goals. How’d I Do?

So this is it. The time of year where I look back at the goals I set for 2014 and find out how well I did at reaching them. What’s usually most interesting about this time for me is seeing how my priorities have shifted over the course of the year, the number of things which were really important to me at the beginning of 2014 which I was happy to back burner (which is totally a verb) but the end.

Also, I have a rule. I may explain failures, but not excuse them. Who wants to read a whole blog post of self-justifications and excuses? Not me LoL

So. 2014 goals. How’d I do?

bold = success

tl;dr — Overall, it was a pretty freaking awesome year 🙂

~*~

Health

  • No drinking pop. Period.
  • Lose 20 lbs
  • Lower blood pressure (bonus points if I get to reduce my medication)
  • Run 5k

Didn’t do so awesomely here. Or well at all, really. I’m still drinking a lot of pop (diet pop, for better or for worse) and my weight has remained steady. Much, much too high, Diet Dr Pepperbut steady. I *was* making (very slow) progress on that 5k run thing before plantar fasciitis reared its ugly head but once it did I was less than enthusiastic about actively stretching to relieve it or exercising in a way which didn’t aggravate it so… pretty sure that counts as an excuse, not an explanation. The only thing I did manage here was to lower my blood pressure. Alas, I did not get to reduce my medication in the process so no bonus points for me. *pout*

~*~

School

  • This degree is taking a ridonkulously long time. I need to finish another course toward completing it this year. Bonus points if I manage two, but it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that this is honestly more of a hobby than anything and it must not negatively effect my work.

I didn’t find the time to finish even one course toward this degree. In fact as of last month I became inactive in my program, which is kinda crappy but I felt like my writing and editing took off to such an extent that it would be a bad choice for me to prioritize school over them at this point in time. So what I’m saying is, I’m okay with having failed to meet this goal. I think it was the right decision.

~*~

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Editing / Publishing

  • Complete Fae and promote the hell out of it.
  • Pursue other anthology ideas
    • I am really, really, really enjoying editing anthologies right now and I’d like to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of 2014.
  • Increase promotion efforts for Metastasis
    • I need to come up with a way to set actual concrete goals for promotion. Not only for Fae and Metastasis, but everything I edit and/or publish. Oh hey!
  • Figure out a way to set concrete goals for promotion. Set concrete goals for promotion.
  • Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
  • Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if interest exists
  • Publish and promote A is for Apocalypse
  • Solicit writers for B is for (haha not telling yet!) and begin that process
  • Continue to edit and publish Niteblade, keeping it something I can be very proud of.
  • Complete the edits on Grammy’s book

Wow. What a year it’s been under Editing / Publishing. Going to tackle all these one at a time…

This is the audience for the launch of Fae at WWC

Audience at Fae Launch at WWC

First, I did finish FAE and I promoted it to the best of my ability. That included getting over my anxiety about holding a physical launch party, and making sure I always had copies of the book on hand at every convention I went to (and I went to three) to sell. Some of these efforts were successful (the party at When Words Collide, for example) and some, like the postcards with discount codes I printed up for World Fantasy were abject failures. Live and learn, right?

I was also successful in pursuing other anthology ideas. My goal had been to have at least one more under contract with a publisher by the end of the year, but I smashed that to bits. I have two anthologies with signed contracts which I’m even now finalizing the tables of contents for and which will be published this year. They are SCARECROW and CORVIDAE. I also have a verbal agreement to begin reading submissions for a fourth anthology for World Weaver Press (tentatively entitled SIRENS: Sea and Sky) this year and publishing it next year.

I did not find any awesome ways to increase promotion efforts for METASTASIS, but even so it earned out all its production costs and began sending small (but emotionally meaningful) donations to support cancer research.

C.S. MacCath reading from her A is for Apocalypse story at WFC 2014

C.S. MacCath reading her A is for Apocalypse story at WFC 2014

I also didn’t come up with a way to set concrete goals for promotion, but I did get far better at tracking the results of promotions, so I’m going to call that a step in the right direction.

We held another successful fundraiser for Niteblade in 2014, raising $510 and (even better for my ego) collecting a whole lot of really nice things Niteblade authors had to say about it.

I didn’t produce a NaNoLJers anthology last year, but that is because there wasn’t much in the way of interest.

A IS FOR APOCALYPSE is awesome. I did, in fact, publish it and promoted it as well as I could. I think in some ways it suffered for being launched so close to FAE but despite that sales exceeded my expectations and it has been very well-received including having stories from it on people’s top five lists, end of the year reading recommendations and getting a handful of nice reviews here, there and everywhere.

Not only did I solicit writers for B IS FOR BROKEN I’m nearly finished editing those stories and I’ve settled on the themes for the next two alphabet anthologies and let the authors know about them so they can decide to sign up, or not, in a leisurely fashion.

Niteblade had a fantastic year with me at the helm and though I’m partly saddened that 2015 will be its last year, mostly it feels like the right thing to do. End on a high note and go out in style 🙂

I completed the edits on Grammy’s book. Added the whole new section she wanted appended to the back, got it formatted, published and shipped to her in time for her to give out copies at Christmas. So, basically, I rocked it 🙂

~*~

Writing

2014 is the year of the novel. It is because I say it is, damn it!

  • Complete the novel currently known as ‘Hollow’
    • By ‘complete’ I mean have that sucker ready to start querying agents about
  • Complete the first draft of at least two other novels
    • One of these may be one of my pen name projects
  • Self-publish the zombie poetry book and complete my other plans for it
  • Write 350 words a day, five days a week. So 1,750 words a week.
    • Yes. A week. It’s not huge, but I’ve got a lot of other stuff on this list, damn it! :-p
  • Bundle up and self-publish more of my reprints
  • Complete sekkrit collaborative project
  • Participate in NovPAD and/or April PAD
  • Anything with the word ‘NaNo’ in the title is optional
    • …except NaNoLJers. Set up prompts for odd-numbered MondaysMythic_Delirium_paperback_cover-1024x760

Well, despite my intentions 2014 turned into the year of the anthology, not the novel. Hollow is done. Mostly. I had to do a whole extra draft I hadn’t counted on, but now it only needs a final spit polish and it will be ready to start querying. It’s finding the time to do that polish that is turning into a tricky thing.

I also sold my Aphanasian novel, SHADOWS, to World Weaver Press. That required a lot of re-writing and I anticipate at least one, possibly two more passes before it’s ready for release. It’s scheduled to be released some time this year though, so we’ll have to wait and see when that comes to pass 🙂

I did self-publish my zombie poetry book, and a collection of funny zombie reprints. I didn’t find time to ‘complete my other plans’ for the zombie poetry book, but who knows, perhaps a miracle will happen and I’ll find a way to do that this year LOL Could happen…

Still not finished my sekkrit collaborative project with Marge Simon, but working on it. Still working on it. Kind of like the tortoise in that story…

I participated in NovPAD and April PAD. I was not super successful at either but… I got a few poems out of them. I also participated in NaNoWriMo, however in recognition of how busy I was I re-named it MicroWriMo and aimed for 10k words. I wrote just under 8k. Meh.

Also, I had prompts set up and scheduled for odd-number Mondays for NaNoLJers and then I did something very stupid and deleted them all. So, that was a big fail right there.

~*~

Reading

  • Read at least 50 books.
    • Have 25% be non-fiction

Ocean At The End Of The LaneAccording to Goodreads I read 63 books (I really ought to keep track of how many stories I read in slush LOL) 11 of which were non-fiction. So, I surpassed the main goal but fell short on the mini one. Of those books my favourites, in no particular order, were:

~*~

Misc

  • Create a publishing website (company name, etc. but only to publish my own projects.)
  • Participate in A Month of Letters
  • Do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge
  • Blog at least once a week
  • Shoot at least one roll of analog film per month
  • Finish the ship cross stitch I started *mumble* years ago
  • Complete the top of the quilt I’m doing in memory of my mother and post it on JoFigure
  • Attend at least two writing conventions

Photo stolen from Billie Milholland --> https://www.facebook.com/billie.milhollandSo… the good news about all the things I missed on this list is that they are all still on my radar, and aside from A Month of Letters I can do them anytime. I’m surprised I missed A Month of Letters this year, so surprised I had to go and check my blog archives to make sure I really had. Weird. I do write snail mail sporadically over the course of the year anyway but historically I’ve really gotten a lot out of A Month of Letters so I’ll have to work pretty hard at re-adding that next year.

Also, I went to three conventions. When Words Collide is my new all-time favourite convention ever. Plus I also attended my second World Fantasy and went to Pure Spec here in Edmonton. The highlight of Pure Spec, for me, was the Character Death Matches (I participated and got my butt kicked. Fun!)

~*~

And there you have it. My year in review or, more specifically, a look at the goals I set last year with an eye to seeing how successful I was.

On paper I wasn’t super successful, but as I mentioned at the start of this (very long) entry, it’s always interesting to see how my priorities shift and change over the year. While my health-based priorities remain the same and I really need to devote more time, energy and effort to them I’m perfectly good with the progress I made on my other goals. Writing a lot of novels got pushed back a bit in favour of editing a lot of anthologies, for example. I’m good with that, and very proud of the results.

I know a great number of my friends struggled through 2014 in ways that meant getting dressed each morning was a victory, but overall, 2014 was a very good year for me. How did it treat you? Did you accomplish most of the things you set out to do? Are you happy with what you managed?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer. I’ll be making a new set of goals for myself and sharing them here in the near future. If you do the same please let me know, I like seeing the goals other people set for themselves, sometimes they help inspire mine 🙂

To-Do List (Sorta)

Like most people I know, the past couple months have been pretty much a total blur for me. A blur of mostly good things, but still a blur. Not only does time move faster the closer and closer I get to my 40th birthday, but the amount of projects on my plate this autumn/winter was (frankly) obscene. Also mostly good, but an obscene number of them. One of the side effects of that was that I wasn’t writing. I was reading, editing, transcribing, formatting, organizing, shortlisting, etc. etc. but not writing.

Which, since I like to call and think of myself as a writer, was kind of a problem.

So last week I made a spontaneous decision to take this week off all of that and write. I even announced it on Facebook to make it all official-like. As you do.

That means this week I’m not reading Corvidae submissions, not editing stories for A is for Apocalypse, not looking at proofs for the December issue of Niteblade (though I’ll send them out to contributors when they come in LoL), not whatever-ing. I’m just writing.

But, me being me, I needed concrete goals or I’d spend the week meandering from thing to thing and not actually getting anything done.

Ta-da!

To Do

My primary goal for the week is actually the 10,000 words I need to write to be successful with my MicroWriMo goals but the To Do list is which projects, specifically, those words are going to come from*.

The ‘To Do’ section of this list is made up of the projects which have been in-progress for the longest time or, for whatever reason, are feeling like they are high-priority to me right now. The bonus/rewards are the more fun and/or less urgent things I’ve got on my radar. The way this system is going to work, each time I finish something on my “To Do” list I can either do another project on the To Do list (if I’m feeling uber productive) or I can choose something from the Bonus/Rewards section.

I am not crazy. I don’t expect to get this list done. I don’t expect to get even a quarter of this list done. I would really like to cross three things off the ‘To Do’ part. We’ll see if I can pull that off, but mostly it’s the 10k words that matters. And writing.

Anyway, at the end of the week I’ll post an update and we’ll see how I’ve done. Hopefully this public accountability will help keep me on track a bit 🙂

*Somewhat randomly, when I’m writing poetry while simultaneously dealing with a word count goal I count each poem I write as a minimum of 100 words because I find picking precisely the right words for a poem takes a lot more time and effort than the quantity of those words accounts for.

MicroWriMo

Participant-2014-Web-Banner

I am pretty freaking busy this November. Off the top of my head I will be:

  • Attending the World Fantasy Convention in Washington, DC
  • Attending Pure Spec in Edmonton
  • Editing the bulk of the stories for B is for Broken
  • Prepping the December issue of Niteblade
  • Doing the November Poem-a-Day challenge
  • Making final decisions for Scarecrow and Corvidae
  • Beginning edits on the stories in Scarecrow and Corvidae
  • Finishing revisions on Hollow and drafting a query letter for it (for agents)

annnnnd there’s probably about a million things I’ve forgotten.

That sort of looks (and rather feels like) a lame attempt at a humble brag “Look at all the stuff I’m doing!” but that’s actually not my intention.

The thing is, aside from the poem-a-day challenge, there’s not actually any writing on that list. As much as I love editing and going to conventions (and I really, really do) I have been so busy with that and revising various things that I haven’t written a word of new fiction in a couple months. That, to me, is completely unacceptable.

Especially in November, aka NaNoWriMo month.

However I’m not willing to commit to doing a full 50k words for NaNoWriMo either.

So I’ve decided to do MicroWriMo.

In November I’m going to write at least 10k words of fresh fiction. If somehow a miracle occurs and I end up with five times that much, well yay, but that’s not my goal. 10,000 new words. That’s my goal.

Wanna join me?

(I’ll be tracking my progress on the NaNoWriMo website, because why re-invent the wheel. My username over there is Midnyte.)