- Revise and query After Wendy
- Get Annwyn's world and magic system into a workable state
- Start drafting the horror/mystery collaboration, title TBA
- Finish one manuscript
- Write every day
- Finish all client edits by February 29
- Seek out agency internships
- Read 12 books for fun
- Read at least 24 books total, including ARCs, research, and work-related titles
- Put together buddy reads
- Say "no" more
- Set boundaries
- Spend more time with the people I love
- Remove people from my life who either don't appreciate me or no longer bring me joy
- Treat myself to small adventures every two weeks
- Go on a date once a month
- Workout five times a week
- Reset my diet, paying particular attention to macros
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Minimize social media time
- Explore new music
- Go on more spur-of-the-moment adventures
It's been a roller coaster of a year, but I have plenty to be thankful for and a hell of a lot to look back on. It's been a reflective year full of changes. While I didn't fulfill my writing goals, I grew a lot and found that I'm done catering to other people. This year was spent ruminating on the past, looking toward the future, being transparent and open, refusing to compromise who I am for someone else's comfort, and determining who and what is truly worthy of my time.
This year, I tackled a lot of trauma and self-doubt. I changed career paths (from editing to pursuing an internship at a literary agency). I said "no" more often, putting my needs above my desire to be liked and respected by those who hardly show gratitude for all I do. I also happened upon my best friend in a critique group. 2023 was a solid year—the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. I couldn't end on a better note, really.
Favorites of 2023
Reads published in 2023: Wild Spaces by S.L. Coney and Untethered Sky by Fonda Lee
Read published before 2023: City Song by Oliver Blakemore
Indie read: Beyond the Bounds of Time by J.P. McDonald
Yet-to-be-released read: Eldritch Punks by Oliver Blakemore
TV drama: The Queen's Gambit
TV crime/thriller: Inside Man
Teen series: Heartstopper
TV comedy: The Office
Rewatches: The OA and Peep Show
Teen-centric movie: Metal Lords
R-rated movie: Nope
TV Special: A Whole Lifetime
Most played artist on Spotify: The Story So Far
Lipstick Covered Magnet has been nominated for three awards:
- Writing the Future We Need: Mental Health Representation
- Best Use of Tropes
- Side Character MVP
I have no idea who nominated my book, but it's an honor to know that someone enjoyed my book enough to throw it into the ring. If you've read my book and would like to cast your vote, you may do so here: 2023 Indie Ink Awards
Here are my annual Christmas watches, listed in no particular order:
- 8-Bit Christmas
- "Seasonal Beatings" - Peep Show
- A Christmas Story
- Christmas Vacation
- Violent Night
- "Christmas" - Friday Night Dinner
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
- Home Alone
- Edward Scissorhands
- A Boy Called Christmas
July has been nuts! With the family vacation behind me, and my son's best friend moving away this week, it's been a hectic and emotional roller coaster.
Yet I still finished the Secrets of Annwyn scaffolding outline and prologue. Given how long Annwyn has taken up real estate in my head, it's freeing to finally get it down on paper. With over 60,000 words in character and plot development, and another 40,000 words in false starts, I'm on track and falling in love with writing again.
After Wendy is coming along. Transcription-style revisions are murder, but I'm trekking along and making it shine. If all goes well, I'll have a polished first act by the Colorado Gold Conference in September.
The kids go back to school on August 14, and I can't wait to have more time to write and create.
On the docket for August: writing 15,000 words of Annwyn; revising chapters eight through ten of After Wendy; editing; judging RMFW's anthology submissions; and perfecting my pitch for Colorado Gold.
Favorite Universal Studios Attraction: Hogsmeade Village
Favorite Re-Watch: Peep Show
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Eldritch Punks by Oliver Blakemore
The Water Outlaws by S.L. Huang
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
For the past two months, I've been hard at work world building the Doors of Annwyn series, revising After Wendy, and drafting a sci-fi short story. I'm hoping to have the prologue for The Secrets of Annwyn finished by the end of July, the sci-fi story, "A Message from Beyond", complete and ready for submissions by mid August, and the After Wendy revisions nearly complete by the beginning of September.
Favorite read: Wild Spaces by S.L. Coney
Favorite watch: The OA (a rewatch)
Summer Tenative TBR:
Brainwyrms by Alison Rumfitt (Tor Nightfire ARC)
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
It by Stephen King
The Water Outlaws by S.L. Huang (Tor ARC)
This month has been a bit of a mess. I began with a couple short stories and ended with the goal of penning 126,000 words (or so) of The Secrets of Annwyn by mid-August.
Despite my reluctance to begin my epic fantasy series too early, I've since backpedaled, realizing I would much rather write about Cassilyn, Fenwick, and Marlowe than anyone else. I have set a goal of 8,400 words written a week and believe that's manageable—even with the looming summer break at the end of May.
Apart from Annwyn, I've been reading through After Wendy and making notes for new scenes. Fingers crossed I have it revised, polished, and ready to go by September, when I pitch to an agent in person.
I will be attending the Nebula conference from the comfort of my home in a couple weeks and will be attending—and running a workshop—at the Colorado Gold Conference in September.
Favorite Watch: Nope
Favorite Read: The Gemarine Chronicles by JP McDonald
Fractal Noise (ARC) by Christopher Paolini
Demon Riding Shotgun by LR Braden
Conscious Designs by Nathanial White
Wistful Ascending by JCM Berne
The First Bright Thing (ARC) by JR Dawson
This month has been interesting. After pushing off Annwyn's first draft, I've focused my creative efforts on smaller works of fiction. I'm currently writing a climate-focused story for an upcoming anthology and will move onto a piece about a clairvoyant soon after.
In April, I plan on revising and adding to After Wendy, polishing my short story, working on Annwyn's cultures, and outlining a vampire apocalypse novel.
Favorite read: Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh
Favorite listen: The Publishing Rodeo Podcast
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
Fractal Noise (ARC) by Christopher Paolini
Witch King (ARC) by Martha Wells
Looking Glass Sound (ARC) by Catriona Ward
Schrader's Chord (ARC) by Scott Leeds
The Many Doors of Annwyn series has been rattling around in my head, in varying fragments and stages of maturity, for three years. Now that I have a real grasp on the series' scope, I've come to the realization that I'm not yet skilled enough to tackle such a complex world.
For those who aren't writers, this admission might seem odd. If you have the ideas, aren't you ready to put pen to paper? Unfortunately, it isn't that simple. Yes, I have the main plot threads nailed down, but I don't yet know how to turn the vision I have into the story I wish it to be. If I tackled it now, I'd only fall short of the world I want to create, both for myself and for my target audience. It would be lacking the worldbuilding and complexity a project so epic and fantastical desperately needs.
So, as much as it pains me to say it, I've taken a step back. I hope that after another book or two I'll be ready for Annwyn, but it's impossible to determine how much time it will take to reach the level of craft I'm aiming for.
What comes next will be a fantasy, though I'm not sure where I'm going with it yet. I'm also working on a sci-fi short story that I'll share in a newsletter once it's polished and ready for submission.
With reluctance, I am pulling After Wendy from the query trenches. The market is saturated with retellings, the word count isn't standard, and it doesn't fit neatly into genre expectations. While I would love to see this book in print sooner rather than later, I am shelving it because I don't feel it would do well as an independently published novel either. While there are romantic elements, I worry there isn't enough for those seeking a YA romance. Instead, it's a coming-of-age story with a romantic subplot and a fair amount of monsters and bleakness. Maybe once the retelling craze has died down, I'll give it another go.