Me: A Year in Review 2016

I started doing these a few years ago to help work through the let down after the holiday season and unpack the year in a way that lets me look forward to the coming year and remember the lessons, good and bad, from the current year. So let’s talk about the year that was.

Professionally, it was a good one. My second novel was published and I signed a contract for the third and final book in my Dominick Prince trilogy. I also started writing that book, TRIGGER SWITCH, and I’m so happy with how it’s turned out so far. The sales for this series won’t set the world on fire, but having contracts for these books has given me the freedom to try some interesting things that will pay off in the next book I write. These books have made me a better writer in so many ways and I can’t wait to see what happens next with my career.

I traveled a bit more extensively for this book that I did for the first one, and I’m not entirely sure it was worth the cost. June is a hard to time to draw folks out to events for a new writer and I think I was better served by my online promotional efforts than by the in-person events. As much as I love indie book stores and travel, I think I’ll be cutting back substantially on that front in 2017.

Personally, my family life was amazing, but my health was concerning. For the second year in a row, I spent significant time in the hospital and was sick a good chunk of the year. I have three weeks of sick days and, again, for the second year in a row, I exhausted them all. This is not sustainable, I realize that. And the good news is since my last hospital stay I am healthier. I’ve lost a bit of weight and, until the holidays, was eating well and resting well and I hope to continue that into 2017 because my body is only going to give me so many chances before it puts me out for good.

The worst part of all of that is it put me behind on quite a few projects that created a huge amount of stress in the middle chunk of the year and until recently for all involved. In many ways this was my most successful freelance year, certainly in terms of income and cool projects I got to work on, but my relationship with deadlines was even more fluid than usual and that has got to change in 2017 as well.

The kids continued their path toward world domination, though we’re still in the experimentation phase of finding activities and such that work for them. We also fought a few new battles on the educational front and continued others we began last year. Public education is in a crisis right now and we’re lucky to have the time and resources to look out for our kids and make sure they survive in tact and ready for the real world rather than becoming economic cogs for a world that doesn’t exist anymore.

As far as reading goes, my goal is always a book a week, or 52 books in a year, and this was the first year I did that and blew way past that number, but I can’t talk about why that’s the case until next year. Needless to say, many good books were consumed as well as a heaping amount of mediocre twaddle. Next year I hope to read 52 books, all for pleasure, and get back to my year-end roundups.

Now, let’s talk about what’s in store for the year to come. I have to actually finish that third book I started this year and i hope to start a new book as well. This will be my first one written on spec in a while and I’m terrified and excited in equal doses. This will be a standalone and hopefully will take everything I’ve learned from writing the last three books and blow it up a level or two. Next year will also be the first year in forever that I will get back to short stories. I just sent off the contracts for my very first commissioned story and there’s another anthology I want to write a story for. I’m also toying with the idea of writing a longish short story to include as a coda for TRIGGER SWITCH, ala John Scalzi’s great book REDSHIRTS.

My editing business is humming along nicely on a series of excellent referrers, but I’d love to find another great publisher to work with in addition to the one I currently work with. Individual authors are fun clients, but I think I have a lot to offer in the way of experience and help for the right small press if the price is right. I’ve not been particularly impressed with the exploding trend of under-funded, under-resourced small presses putting out inferior work. But overall, I’m pleased with where the publishing industry is going and I think the last vestiges of bitterness I felt after the Exhibit A debacle have disappeared.

So thanks again to everyone who helped make me a better writer, parent, and person this year. For those who I disappointed this year, I genuinely hope to do better next year and I appreciate your patience. Viva La 2017.