Saturday, December 28, 2013

Looking back, looking ahead

About this time of year, I do a post looking back upon that year, and usually I do a post looking ahead to the year to come. Not wanting to break with tradition, this is the post for 2013, looking into 2014, as always with a focus upon my reading and writing.

2013 was a year that kicked me pretty hard, then kicked me again while I was down, and again, and then yet again. It never seemed to end, for me and my family. Bad news swamped us more than once, the worst being my spouse's Stage VI breast cancer diagnosis near the beginning of the year.

That being said, it is almost a year later, and she is still with me, and she is conscious and able to walk some, at least with a walker and some help. She has some good days, but also plenty of bad days. Most times she's not in too much pain, or at least not so much that she can't deal with it through medication. Her life expectancy is unknown, which could mean anything from a few months to a few years to, on the off chance, a decade or even two. Some of this might sound frightening, but you kind of, sort of come to live with it, to take each day one at a time. And as scary and sad as all that might sound, the important part for me is that she is still with me.

So, as bad as the year started, it has also been kind to us in its own twisted way.

And the people I could thank, those who have helped us through these tough times, I couldn't name them all. I don't even know the names of all of them. But ... thank you, everyone.

Now about my reading and writing for 2013 ... all I mentioned above about the cancer and the other bad stuff that throughout the year, yeah, it had an effect upon me, especially my writing habits, maybe not so much my reading.

In 2012 I was fortunate and busy, pumping out about 600,000 new words of fiction, all of which has been published or self-published since then. 2013 wasn't so kind. I think maybe I'll have about 150,000 words of new material, hardly any of which has been published as of yet.

On the plus side, I did a fair amount of work this year in traditional publishing. I can't talk about it, but hopefully most of that will see the light of day sometime next year. Through these writings, I had some experiences working with other writers and a handful of editors, all of those experiences quite positive. I found it quite interesting to be working with others again, and for traditional publishing, as until this year I'd mostly been doing my own thing, or occasionally having contact with traditional publishers but with few fruits for my labors. So, 2013 was good in a lot of ways despite my lack of writing.

As for reading, I read more than my usual amount of non-fiction, and I strayed further from speculative fiction. In fact, I hardly read any fantasy in 2013, and I'm feeling the need.

Which brings me to 2014.

I'm hoping soon, perhaps in the next couple of weeks, to dropkick myself back into some fantasy reading. It's been far too long. I strayed from the genre a couple of years ago because I was feeling somewhat burnt out on it, but the time is drawing near, very near, for me to jump back in. I'm looking forward to it.

As for my writing in 2014, I hate to make predictions, especially after getting slammed with personal stuff in 2013. However, I am about halfway through my next Kron Darkbow novel, and I hope to have it finished and edited and ready for self publishing sometime in the first quarter of 2014. As things stand, this will likely be the longest novel I've ever written, probably about 160,000 words when I'm finished with it, so it's taking a little longer than usual to wrap up.

After that novel, I'm not dedicated to anything in particular, but I have been feeling the urge to come up with a sequel for my 5-part Mage Hunter serial, which has been relatively popular, selling nearly as well as my best-seller, the Kobalos Trilogy. I do have a story idea for this sequel, and hopefully it will have gelled a bit more in my mind by the time I can get to it, if I get to it soon.

Other than that, I have no specific plans for my writing in 2014. Thousands of ideas float around in my head, but which one I'll get to at any given point is up in the air. It usually depends upon my frame of mind. Epic fantasy will almost assuredly be on the menu, but I might step over into the horror field again as it's been a while and I'm missing the fun of working in that genre.

Time will tell.

I do hope 2014 is a better year for myself and my loved one's than was 2013. I also hope I manage to write a whole bunch more in 2014.

Again, time will tell.

I hope some of you will enjoy the ride with me.

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