Looking Back, Looking Forward

As you may have noticed, certain people are referring to 2016 as “The Year of the Dumpster Fire,” or similarly delicate epithets. And with good reason: between what seems like an unreasonable number of deaths of icons from all walks of life, paired with varying shades of political chaos, it’s been a pretty awful year for the population as a whole. However, I’m seeing a growing trend in these last few days of people saying “2016 was pretty awful on the whole, but I feel weird because it was actually a pretty good year for me on a personal level.” It’s the latter trend that I’d like to partake in today, and try to stay positive about things rather than being bogged down in grief. Now is a time for silver linings. Carrie Fisher’s passing hit us all hard, but I’m glad that she was first able to rewrite her legacy from one of an actress who “went off the deep end,” to one of a powerful woman, a strong actress and writer, and a potent voice in mental health activism. David Bowie may have left us, but he’s apparently left behind plans for posthumous collections which seem likely to include unheard material, and it has led to the vinyl release of all his previous albums, remastered from the original tapes—and they sound fantastic. For many groups, the leadership of their country has left them in fear for their lives and bodily autonomy, but within the voices calling for an exodus from this country or that, has been a group that reassures me of the potential for human kindness and sacrifice, one saying “I could leave, but it is my place to stay and support those who cannot leave.”

For me this was the year that I got engaged. The year my brother got married. The year that I graduated from my MA. The year that I made some important choices about where my future lies, and moved 1,000 miles (without leaving the country) to a position where I could enact those choices. This was the year where I left academia and began to be gainfully employed on multiple fronts.

I’ve made a lot of personal strides and I finally feel able to really focus on my writing career (if around two other jobs) as my primary goal in life. This year I officially started a draft of my new novel, started a Patreon, and received pledges that will not only help me to keep writing, but tell me that there are people out there who are still interested and invested in my writing.

I feel like I’m in a strong place to move forward, and I intend to do so in the coming year. While I predict that by midnight on the 2nd of January we’ll see someone post “Maybe 2017 will be better… [Insert headline of celebrity death]” it can still be a good year for us personally. I’m not saying that political troubles and popular culture issues won’t be present, but we must remember that we can push against political moves with activism, and that when someone dies, they leave a legacy; their passing should be properly grieved, but not negate our own ability to function in the long run.

In early January, I will be putting out the first short story for my Patreon backers (I’m taking a break from working on it to write this post). In 2017 I plan to visit writing conferences and network with those in my field. In 2017 I will finish and edit the fantasy novel I am working on. And in 2017 I will submit it to agents.

In 2017 I will survive, move forward, and be there for those who need me to be.

Free Short Story!

The $10/month tier of my Patreon commits me to provide at least one short story a month. As an example/proof of concept, I’ve posted one of my older short stories, The Weathered Man, to the public section of my Patreon.

If you want to receive the January short story from my Patreon, you must have pledged to the $10 tier or higher by midnight(PST) on the 31st. I hear there’s going to be a countdown.

The Season of Giving

As various memes have been reminding us, we are in the midst of a whole load of different holidays. Regardless of which of these, if any, you celebrate, and regardless of your views on the “happy holidays controversy” (personally, if someone says anything to me that demonstrates they mean “I wish you well at this time,” I’m not going to be upset, and I’d hope they’d do the same for me, no matter how I choose to express it), the majority of the holidays have a focus (sometimes obscured) on thinking of others and giving back to your community.

Now some of you might think that this is me putting in a plug for my Patreon, but it’s not (Did I mention I have a Patreon, now?). In this vast, expansive season of giving, it’s easy to get bogged down in shopping for gifts, planning for meals, and arranging get-togethers, and I wanted to take a moment here to provide a couple of suggestions for locations for charitable donations. (Note: I receive no gain from any of these, they’re just causes that are close to my heart.)

1. The Alzheimer’s Association is one of many charities that work against the disease. This one has been around since 1980, and seeks to both advance research in the hopes of eradicating it, and also to provide care for those who live with it. My family has been personally affected by Alzheimer’s, and it recently claimed the author Terry Pratchett. I have my Amazon Smile account linked to this charity.

2. Lost-n-Found Youth is an Atlanta based charity that works with homeless youths (13-25) and works to get them permanent housing and employment. They specialize in LGBTQ youths, which is especially good as a) a disproportionate number of homeless youths are LGBTQ, and b) other organizations have a history of ignoring or actively shunning them.

3. This is a gofundme page for a friend of mine who is currently transitioning. She lives in Georgia, so the environment isn’t great to begin with, and recent political changes aren’t going to make her life any easier. The page is asking for donations to aid with general costs that come with transitioning that aren’t covered by insurance and to enable them to be able to start a family one day.

 

Thank you for your time, and if you’re able to donate to any of these causes then it is much appreciated. Next week, I’ll return to my regularly scheduled programming of self-involved rambling and shameless self-promotion.

Happy Holidays! (Whichever one you celebrate, I wish you well at this time!)

$1 Patreon Update

A brief, mid-week update on my Patreon today.

I’ve edited the reward for the $1 level. Now, as well as receiving my “endless appreciation,” it will give you access to my patron-only feed. This is the first place that I’ll post any major hints or updates about my writing and releases, as well as potential teasers for the monthly short story. Some of those updates will be posted to this blog a few days later, but some of them (particularly the hints) will be reserved exclusively for my patrons.

These rewards are also available to patrons at all the higher levels.

Support

Something a little different today.

Over the past few years, a reasonable number of people have asked me why I don’t set up a Kickstarter or a Patreon for my writing. I always thought the idea of a Kickstarter for a novelist was a little odd, and I was never too sure what I would have to offer Patreon backers.

However, enough people have asked me that I thought it was worth looking into, and I have, therefore, launched my own Patreon page!

*Pause for raucous cheers*

As it turns out, Patreon (and the internet in general) has some recommendations on what rewards might be of interest to someone supporting an author. I’ve gone with their $1 recommendation (that’s apparently how much they think my endless appreciation costs, which sounds about right), and their $5 (if I want to crowdsource an answer to a question, you’re the ones I’ll ask). I’ve also added my own ideas to provide a $10 and a $15 option. For the $10 level I have committed (perhaps ambitiously) to providing a 1000+ word short story for every month (there’s no upper limit to the word count, but bear in mind that I’ll be writing these around working on the novel). I assume that the $15 option will only be chosen by people whose primary motivation is to support me. For this level, you get an input into what I write for the monthly short story—whether that be helping me decide between options, or setting me a challenge (which can be a ludicrous as you like).

I haven’t set a lot in the way of goals on my Patreon for the moment. One piece of tech that will help me to grab every second I can for writing is about it. The biggest thing I need right now is time. Which you can apparently buy. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m now working two jobs, which leaves me scrabbling for time to write. Support through Patreon, even a little, will give me breathing room to not push for more hours at one of my jobs quite so much, and give me more time at my keyboard.

I know that a lot of the people I know personally are not in a position to support me, or provide support in other ways (even just sharing my posts is a big help as it gets my name out there). I don’t expect Patreon to be a huge source of income for me, but every little bit is appreciated.

Thank you.

A General Update

Hello, All,

I guess when I said that I’d post another update in “a couple of days,” I really meant “a week.” Not the best of starts. Never mind.

So, as you may know, my first novel, “Kingdom Come,” was published back in November 2014. For reasons relating to the publisher, it ceased to be available in July 2015. While I have some idea of how many copies people I know bought, I don’t really have any solid sales figures for that time. As I was doing an MA at UAlbany from 2014 to 2016 and didn’t have much spare time, this put somewhat of a halt to my writing career aside from the occasional short story.

However, having graduated back in May, I was finally afforded time to sit down and start writing again. Because of the way that things went with “Kingdom Come,” I’m putting the series on hold for the time being. There will be a sequel, and most likely many more after that, but I feel I need something unrelated to shop to agents before I can work at getting “Kingdom Come” republished and thus to a position where a sequel would be viable for print.

Consequently, in June I began working on a novel that has been burning away at the back of my mind for some time (I just looked back at my documents, and looks like I first made notes for it in late 2013). It is to be the first book in a fantasy series, and I’m really excited about how it is shaping up so far.

The one downside is that progress has been slower than I would like. I moved 1,000 miles in August, which made it difficult to write in that period. On top of that, I now work two jobs, and therefore have to fit writing in around those as well as keeping some time aside for a social life, eating, and personal hygiene.

That being said, I am making consistent progress. I took part in NaNoWriMo last month, and while I didn’t reach the 50,000 word goal (owing to the constraints previously mentioned) it has got me back in the habit of writing regularly.

Ideally I’ll have a first draft of the novel completed by the end of March, and I’ll certainly be pushing for that. However, how feasible that is will depend on how things look after the holidays. Once that period has passed, my schedule should be a little less fluid and it should be easier to work out when I can write.

I’ll leave it there for now, there should be another update within a week though.

Hello, World!

Happy December, all!

Welcome to my shiny new website! This site is still a bit of a work in progress, so there should be some changes coming in the next few months, some bigger, some smaller.

I’ve decided to enter the world of blogging. I’ll be aiming to update this space once or twice a week—I’ll see what sort of a schedule I settle into. This will be my space to provide updates on my writing career, as well as my unsolicited opinions on various books, music, games, or whatever does or doesn’t take my fancy at that moment.

You can either read my posts on the website or, if you prefer, click through to the wordpress site where you can leave comments. I’ll post to my Facebook page and my twitter whenever I put up a new post.

I’ll leave this greetings at that for the moment. I’ll provide an update on what I’ve been doing, particularly with my writing, at some point in the next couple of days.