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The Hard Decision to Postpone Annwyn

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.

After Wendy's Untimely Conception

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.

February 2023: The Secrets of Annwyn and the Publishing Conundrum

Last week, I finally nailed down the main plot for The Secrets of Annwyn. This series, which has had its overarching conflict for going on two years, is officially ready to write. I'll be working on a map, my magic system rules and limitations, and character arcs before I begin chapter one next week. I hope to have a running word count to share next month.

After Wendy has proven difficult to sell. If you've been with me since Lipstick Covered Magnet, you won't be surprised by my inability to write to market. I'm hoping that a final revision, to add more monsters and tension, will bump up the word count closer to market standards. If I still can't find anyone interested, I might independently publish. Even if it means I make less money, I'd rather it be available to anyone who wishes to read it.

Favorite read: Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi

Favorite watch: The Queen's Gambit

March TBR (many rolled over from February):

Night's Edge by Liz Kerin (Tor Nightfire)

A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher (Tor)

Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle (Tor Nightfire)

Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh (Tordotcom)

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini (Tor)

January 2023: This Year's Writing Goals

The Secrets of Annwyn—first book in the high fantasy Doors of Annwyn series, completed first draft

A Part of Me—emo YA romance, finished and ready to query

Jagged Edges—Victorian horror, completed first draft

After Wendy—Peter Pan sequel, continue querying

Sci-fi pilot—script completed

Two sci-fi/fantasy short stories, submitted to magazines and anthologies

This month's favorite reads: Untethered Sky by Fonda Lee and How to Cook and Eat the Rich by Sunyi Dean

February TBR (all ARCs):

The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera (Tor)

Gwen and Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher (St. Martin's Press)

Hopeland by Ian McDonald (Tor)

Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi (Tor Nightfire)

Night's Edge by Liz Kerin (Tor Nightfire)

The Last Beekeeper by Julie Carrick Dalton (Tor Forge)

A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher (Tor)

Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh (Tordotcom)

2022 Wrap Up

A brief look at 2022's high and low points

This year has been full of highs and lows. I published my first novel, Lipstick Covered Magnet, and finished my sophomore title, After Wendy. I have been an ARC reviewer over the past year and have loved getting to read books before they hit the market. I've also relaunched my editing side gig, and it's nice to feel important and vital to another author's process.

But the querying process and self-publishing journey haven't been peachy. As I query again, I'm confronted with the rejection or silence from agents and the brick wall that rests between me and traditional publishing. "The market is already full of retellings," I was told. But I don't intend to give up without a fight. If it turns out that my Peter Pan sequel falls into a drawer, due to poor timing, I'm fine with that.

After this year's struggles with self-marketing, social media engagement, and the stress of constant promotion, I've decided to wait it out, until a novel of mine finally breaks through. Despite the anxiety and monetary strain that going indie with LCM brought, I'm happy I tried doing it on my own. At least now I know it isn't for me.

Favorites of 2022

Read published in 2022: The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

Read published before 2022: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Indie read: Traces by Sophie Johannis

Yet-to-be-released read: Maeve Fly by CJ Leede

Publisher: Tor

American TV show: Stranger Things 4

International TV show: 1899

Rewatch: The OA

Family movie: Pinocchio

R-rated movie: Barbarian

Album: Decide by Djo

Writing-related gadget: Alphasmart typewriter

November 2022 Update: The Many Doors of Annwyn, Sci-Fi Script, and Other News

November has been a bit of a roller coaster. I began the month participating in NaNoWriMo and ended it with two rambunctious children in the house begging for my attention. Needless to say, I didn't get much writing in once Thanksgiving (and my son's birthday) rolled around. But I did have a wonderful reading/Q+A at my alma mater, UCCS, and it was fabulous.

While I didn't make the 50,000-word goal, I wrote 28,000 words of The Many Doors of Annwyn before realizing the writing was good but the plot wasn't moving forward. I'll be spending two weeks to a month outlining my trilogy and worldbuilding before I start writing again.

In December, I'll be outlining, pulling together a query list, and blue skying (or brainstorming) my sci-fi TV series idea.

December TBR:

Dual Memory by Sue Burke (Tor ARC)

The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz (Tor ARC)

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

Wild Massive by Scotto Moore (Tor ARC)

Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

October 2022 Update: Querying Update, Current Projects, and Other News

My fantasy series, The Many Doors of Annwyn, has officially begun. I am 3,500 words into the first draft, and I can't wait to hit over 50k during NaNoWriMo!

After Wendy has been sent to ten agents, seven of which have rejected it. I intend to bump up the word count a bit, to somewhere closer to 60,000, in case that is the reason why it's been shot down. I was also told that there are many classic retellings/reimaginings releasing soon and that it might not be the right time to shop a Peter Pan sequel. But we'll see.

Apart from those two projects, I'm brainstorming for a TV series and am getting excited about an interdimensional travel short story.

November TBR:

Africa Risen

The Name of the Wind

The Fifth Season

The Ballad of Black Tom

September 2022 Update: Querying After Wendy, New Projects, and Spooky Reads

After Wendy is officially in the query trenches! I sent my first letter today and will update you monthly (unless I receive good news before then).

I'm currently outlining my fantasy series about Merlin's adventures outside of Camelot. It will feature doorways into other planes of existence, magic, the last living dragon, and rips in reality. The first draft will commence on Monday.

I have also been tossing around ideas for a heady sci-fi short story that I intend to build into a TV pilot. I'm still working out the finer details, but it should give off The OA vibes.

My Spooky TBR for October:

Lute by Jennifer Thorne (ARC)

Little Eve by Catriona Ward (Paperback ARC)

The Binding by Bridget Collins

Bone China by Laura Purcell

The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements

New Project: High Fantasy Series

As After Wendy marinates for another week, I've taken up my high fantasy series and hope to write in-world short stories starting Monday.

Though it's currently untitled, it will include:

  • A magic system
  • Rips in reality
  • A plague
  • Kingdom politics
  • Portals to other worlds
  • A wizard inspired by Merlin

Quick Update: After Wendy

Since releasing Lipstick Covered Magnet, I've been working on a YA Peter Pan sequel called After Wendy. I am currently 32,000 words deep and expect to have something ready for beta readers by the end of July. Stay tuned for more details.

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