Closing Out 2016 – What To Expect In 2017

So… 2016. That was something, wasn’t it? Some ups, some downs. But, all in all, it was certainly 366 days of, well, interesting events. But, enough about that. This post is about what I did in 2016 (or didn’t do) and what my plans are for the coming year.

To wrap up the past year, what have I got to look back on? Sadly, not a lot. Since I set out to “seriously pursue” this writing thing about five years ago, 2016 has got to be one of the absolute least productive years I’ve had. Just by sheer word count, it was utter shit. I wrote almost nothing new this year and nothing was finished. Not gonna make excuses (much). There was one major highlight out of 2016, and for me, it was a pretty big one. My first novel, Frostwalker, was released as an audiobook, narrated by Jack Wallen. It’s been somewhat successful, and my future novels will almost certainly be going to audio when they are released. Seriously, if you’re an indie author, do not overlook audiobooks!

I’ve talked about it before, but the current day job I have is simply exhausting, mentally and physically. That said, I’ve been trying to make progress. That lack of time and energy isn’t the only thing holding me back – I’ll get back to that in a moment.

First, there’s something that needs to be said. The past year and a half of this “new” job has brought about changes in my life that are still being figured out. It’s not just the exhaustion and demands the job puts on my time. For most of my adult life, we’ve been poor. Varying from just “first world poor” to some close calls that have nearly put us on the streets. Without the support system of extended family, we would never have made it. Now, at last, we’ve reached a place that we’ve never been at before – we’re more or less financially secure and self-supporting. It’s hard to describe what it’s like, and 18 months later, we’re still discovering ways that this has changed our lives. This is a good thing, but man does it ever cost a lot in time and energy. It’s not easy to put into words, but if you’ve ever been poor and finally made it (most of the way) out of that, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. So, this past year has been amazing in a lot of ways, but it’s been a big adjustment.

So, back on topic, what was it that made the past year such a disappointment with regards to my writing? I think, mainly, I’ve gotten stuck in a first draft hole. Those who have been following me the past couple of years have heard about my second novel, currently under the title A Man With A Gun. The first draft of AMWAG was finished on February 8th of 2015 – damned near 2 years ago. That date was also the end of my last solid stretch of daily writing. Since that time, I’ve had a few weeks here and there where I put in some words on a couple of small projects that may or may not become finished works. But, I keep getting stalled and losing motivation.

What happened? Well, once that draft was finished, I hit the brakes and decided to breathe for a bit. Meanwhile, I set about finding beta readers for AMWAG. It’s been hard to do. I’ve had a lot of difficulty finding people to read the manuscript, mainly because my usual readers are unavailable, or just too busy. Some have read it, both from my usual suspects, and a few new folks. I’ve gotten some feedback, and a lot of it is looking really good. Meanwhile, I had those side projects that I kept trying to work on, but they kept fizzling and stalling for me.

The issue arises due to a personal quirk I have. To put it simply, I don’t like having too much going on at one time. This has always been the way of things with my creative outlets. I don’t like working on something when another project is calling for my attention. Part of becoming a better author is getting to know how to access your creativity and how you work. Discovering what is the process that works for you. For me, while I know it’s maybe not the best or most efficient process, it really is difficult to move forward on one project while another is unfinished.

Right now, it feels like A Man With A Gun is what should be the focus (and it should be, I think). However, due to the scattered way the beta reading has been going, one or two readers here and there, always someone new going through it, I keep waiting on all the feedback.

Looking back, I should have set a deadline for when to end the beta phase. It’s been too easy for me to set aside other projects and tell myself, well, right now AMWAG is what I’m working on, so this just can’t have my focus. It became a crutch. So, to end that, I’m going to set that deadline here and now. The first round of revisions on A Man With A Gun is going to start February 1st of this year. So, if by chance you are currently one of the folks reading the manuscript for me, having your feedback to me before then would be nice. If you’re interested in reading the first draft, feel free to drop me a line, but be quick about it!

Another goal, this one a little less solidly defined: I want to have A Man With A Gun released before the end of the year. Should be easy to hit that one… Then again, I had hoped to have it out last year.

But, that’s not all that’s going on in 2017. There’s another (somewhat major) endeavor I’m hoping to undertake. As most of my followers know, I’m also a gamer. While my gaming has taken a serious hit, and obviously, I have to balance my very limited free time with the writing, I do plan to use it as another creative outlet.

To that end, I (and my wife) plan to begin streaming video game sessions on a regular basis. This will be another way for me to connect with you folks out there. If you’re the sort who likes to game, and especially if you enjoy livestreams, please consider stopping by. Most of my streaming will probably be late night, since I am (and always have been) the second shift sort. If the streaming works out, I hope to bring it together with my writing platform as a part of how I interface with those of you out in the wider world.

So, that’s that. Here’s hoping that 2017 will be a productive year! Good luck out there!

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The Frostwalker Audiobook Is Out!

I’m happy to announce, after much struggle and a great deal of effort on the part of the fantastic Jack Wallen, the Frostwalker audiobook is now finished and available for sale!

Let’s just go ahead and get it said: You can grab this great story, read by a great narrator at Audible and Amazon right now. It’s also available on iTunes!

FrostwalkerAudiobookCoverFINAL

Come for the story, stay for the venison!

It’s been a long, sometimes difficult process. While Jack worked quickly and without complaint, he also waited patiently for me to find the time to go over the various iterations of the audio files. As I’ve discussed recently, my current situation has left precious little time and energy for creative pursuits, but Jack was very understanding whenever I was slow on my end. Sometimes, I was very slow indeed.

I also learned a great deal about how one goes about creating an audiobook, and had some great chats with Jack along the way.

So, now what? Now you go get it! But, more than that, I would like to ask my friends and followers, readers and fans (yes, Mom, this means you) to help get the word out. Frostwalker isn’t a new release, but it’s currently my only full-length novel (more on that in a moment). With such a limited catalog available, I need all the help I can get letting people know about my work. If you want to help an indie author out, the best thing you can do is tell your friends about them! Please do so, and thanks in advance!

What else is going on? There’s good news there, as well. First and foremost, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally managed to return to writing – a little. The day job is, frankly, a serious drain on my energy, even when it’s just the normal eight hours. However, the past week has seen slight progress on a couple of stories I started work on last summer.

Beyond that, I’m also still in the early stages of revision on my second novel, A Man With A Gun. There are more (new) beta readers looking at the manuscript. Soon, I hope to begin edits. Yeah, I know, you’ve heard that one before, but seriously, the book will be coming out eventually! Heck, if you really want to give it a read, you could always volunteer to be a beta reader and help make it the best book it can be.

It’s been difficult, but I do hope that this recent return to writing will be a long term development. I’ve missed sitting here at my writing desk, putting on my writer hat, and… well, you know! If you want to be a writer, you gotta write!

I hope to begin doing more frequent updates in the future. For now, thanks for stopping by!

Starting 2016 With A Bang – Frostwalker Audiobook And 2015 Wrap-Up

So, it seems that all of the time left in 2015 has leaked out and now we’ve got a whole other year ahead of us. That went fast!

To kick off the new year, how about we start with a major announcement? After two and a half years since initial publication, the Frostwalker audiobook is almost here!

The audiobook will be narrated by the inimitable Jack Wallen. Many of you will know him, either through his own fiction, the numerous audiobooks he’s narrated, or possibly even from his stage career. Principle production is complete and now we’re into the nitty-gritty of polishing up the final product.

While the final release date for the audiobook is still undecided, it shouldn’t be too far off. For now, here’s a look at the audiobook version of the Frostwalker cover art:

FrostwalkerAudiobookCoverFINAL

Looks kinda familiar…

So, that’s pretty cool! But what else is going on?

Well, the short answer is: Not much. As I discussed previously, my employment situation changed and the new job has utterly devastated my productivity. The good news on that front is, I’m beginning to adjust a bit, and I do think I’ll be able to eventually start devoting more time to this whole author thing again soon. It likely won’t be much, but with luck, it will be enough to make progress on my various projects. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Unfortunately, no further progress has been made on any projects since the last time I posted. My final word count for 2015 came to 95,795. If you recall, my goal set at the beginning of the year had been to average 500 words per day. In the end, I only managed a smidge over 262 per day, on average. The first half of the year had seen daily averages well above target, but after faltering during the middle of the year, then getting this new day job, that was doomed.

I’m not sure how feasible setting a goal like that is for this year. With the situation as it stands, I’ve held off on setting a concrete word count goal. But, there are things I plan to get done!

One particular item, A Man With A Gun still needs to be finished up and prepared for publication. Technically, the manuscript is still in the first draft stage, and there are still copies out with beta-readers. The focus for now will be on getting A Man With A Gun through the editing process, and ready for release.

A whole new year is set out before us. A lot can happen in a year, as the previous one has shown. Here’s hoping for a productive and successful 2016!