2015 In Review, and 2016 Goals

calendarpagesMy overriding goal for 2015 was to get books out the door. I actually made a lot of progress, but I don’t have much to show for it. I did put a story out in a Christmas anthology (Demon’s Delight), but that is my only publication this year. That story is something of a prequel to my urban fantasy novel Hell Bent, but that hasn’t been published yet. Mostly, it was a year of editing, but I’m mostly done with two books. Hell Bent is back from the copy-editor, and I’m working on the cover and production now. Debts of My Fathers (the very-long-awaited sequel to Ships of My Fathers) was just handed off to the copy editor today. So while I say I made some progress, I ended the year with the same number of books in the queue as I had at the beginning of the year: six.

2015 was also the second full calendar year that I’ve been suffering from this chronic back pain. Specifically, I have two herniated discs on either side of the T7 vertebrae. I had a total of four cortisone injections, but they were not very effective. I did a lot of physical therapy. It improved things, but I kind of plateaued with merely moderate chronic pain instead of severe chronic pain. As a result hitting that wall, the physical therapy folks kind of fired me. Looking back on it, I think I hit the wall because they weren’t pushing me hard enough, i.e. the necessary strength training wasn’t using enough resistance to get the results they wanted. So, I’m looking at physical therapy again with an eye towards pushing to more strength training.

2015 was also the year that I caught a lucky break and found almost-but-not-quite-yet colon cancer while it was still in the PREcancerous stage. Had I not been suffering from all the chronic pain and doing lots of extra tests because of it, we would not have seen this for another 3-4 years, by which time it would have been stage-3 or stage-4 cancer. The doctors were able to excise it with clean margins in a fairly simple operation that only kept me off my feet for a week or so.

And 2015 was another tough year for me and my special-needs kids, especially with my oldest son. We’re now getting additional help from the state and county organizations, and I have hopes for greater levels of intervention in 2016.

So, my goals for 2016 are about the same as my goals for 2015: Get Books Out The Door! I think I have a much better chance of achieving that this year though. Two books are approaching the finish line, and then I have the rest of the year to do more. I’ve been heads-down on getting Debts handed off to the copy editor, so I have not yet done proper planning for 2016, but it’s quite conceivable that in addition to Debts of My Fathers and Hell Bent, I might also get their sequels out before the end of the year. So after a couple of years with virtually no publications, I might manage four books this year. But like I said, I haven’t done proper planning for the year yet.

Still, I can confidently state that I will get Debts of My Fathers and Hell Bent out this year, probably in Q1. I’ll make another post later on once I’ve sat down and planned out the rest of the year.

2015 Goals

TheBrassRingNothing complicated this year.  I’m just trying to get books finished and out the door.  Right now I have six books in the queue, and I want to get as many of them out the door as possible.  Maybe that will be one.  Maybe it will be all of them.  But that’s going to be my main writing focus for the year: getting books out the door.

2014: Year in Review

CalendarObliqueThis past year has been a mixed one at best.

The bright point of the year was that I got a job, which relieved a lot of financial stress. On the other hand, though, it took away a lot of my writing time.

My goal of writing a million words fell flat on its face, mostly because of the job. I think before I started work, I was on pace for about 650,000 and accelerating, so it’s conceivable I could have made it, but the second half of the year pretty well tanked in my writing. I did manage a NaNoWriMo, but mostly due to a Herculean effort over the Thanksgiving holiday. Anyway, I stopped keeping good records in the later months, but I’m pretty sure I ended up in the neighborhood of 450,000 for the year.

But I did not get a single book out the door this year, and for that I consider the year a failure. I now have six – yes, SIX – novels in the queue. Two are technically still in the draft phase, but they’re close to done. Mostly everything is held up in edits, which I suck at. And alas, most of these aren’t the kind of edits I can hand off to an editor. These are essentially writing additional scenes and rewriting others to fix story problems. The actual grammar and language stuff goes pretty fast, and I DO get professional help with those.

But I get stuck on these story-level edits, and I’m still trying to fix that as a process problem. It’s not that I don’t know what needs to be fixed. I’m just having a hard time making progress on them. I once quipped, “I spent about forty hours this month not editing that book.” That is, I dedicated forty hours to the work but got virtually nothing done in that time. This is probably one of those things that I’ll eventually figure out, and once I do, I’ll look back on my lame excuses with the same scorn that I currently do for things like, “I don’t have the time to write” or “I don’t have any ideas”, etc. But in the meantime, I’m pounding my head against this wall of edits.

It’s also been a very rough year for me personally. I have special needs kids. I don’t talk about them much – at least not in specifics – but it’s been a hard year, especially with my oldest son, but even my youngest son has caused his share of gray hairs. My daughter, on the other hand, has been a delight. Still, I worry for her, growing up around her brothers who are causing me plenty of grief, even with thirty-six more years of emotional experience and perspective.

I’ve also been having a tremendous amount of physical pain this year. What started as an intermittent stabbing pain in my ribs in September 2013 has blossomed into near-constant agony throughout my torso. There are people out there hurting worse than me, so I feel lame complaining, but I also realize that I’ve probably only had three of four days since summer that the pain has not required a dose or two of Vicodin, just for me to function.

In the last couple of months, it’s gotten even worse while the source remains a mystery. A back specialist thinks the pain is being caused by pinched nerves. Apparently, I have herniated discs on either side of my T7 vertebrae, though how I did that is yet another mystery, since that part of the back is generally immune that this kind of problem. But after a couple of cortisone injections in my back, we’re starting to think there may be multiple sources to this pain. So I’m now being sent off physical therapy as well as a GI specialist. Apparently, there’s some chance the culprit is that bilious bag known as the gall bladder.

But whatever it is, I’ve spent much of the year exploring the upper ranges of the pain scale, determining the finer shades between an 8 and a 9. For those of you in similar situations, I highly recommend the alternate pain scale by Hyperbole and a Half.

So I go into 2015 with a few vague plans and a lot of an

End of July Update

CalendarObliqueThe numbers sucked, but they’re not the whole story. I only wrote about 30,000 words in July, with about half of that on social media. There’s probably about another 5000 words in there that didn’t get counted, and I’ve got some edits underway for Debts of My Fathers.

The bulk of that 5000 words is some world-building. As I’m working on the edits to Debts – and after completing the drafts to the third book, Oaths of My Fathers – I’ve realized that there are some history elements that I want to include in Debts so that it’s not all backloaded into the final books. That also means finally converting some of the back-story elements from vague ideas into more concrete words. I need to confirm a couple of dates and numbers, but then the brief histories of the Republic and the Confederacy will turn into a series of blog entries here.

I’m also making some improvements in my health. I’ve been back on the treadmill pretty regularly for about a month now. Quite some time back, I started on a project to walk a thousand miles. Both for my back and because of a history of anxiety and depression, I need to be walking more, some of it brisk cardio and some of it slower. Well, with some other problems and distractions (including a treadmill that had so many defects that it was eventually replaced by the manufacturer), that’s been a slow trip. However, I’ve been going well the last month or so, and if I can keep it up this month, I’ll pass through the 500-mile mark in early September.

I’m currently hoping to get Debts of My Fathers out in December. It still needs a lot of work, but at least now I have a good plan for what that work needs to be and how to get it done.

I also have to admit that yesterday’s apparent suicide of Robin Williams hit me kind of hard. I don’t feel like talking about my own bout of depression today, but it reminds me that life is painfully short, and that I don’t want to get to the end with nothing to show for myself.

In other news, I’m getting ready to rerelease Beneath the Sky with a new cover. It’s a significant improvement, but I might still revamp it again down the road. I’m also hunting for a cover artist to do the rest of the Father Chessman series. I’m reasonably happy with the cover for Ships of My Fathers, but I don’t think I’m capable of what’s needed for the rest of them.

I suppose I should also say something about the whole Amazon-Hachette thing, except to say that I don’t really have a lot to say that is my own. I’m not really on anyone’s side, except to say that Amazon has treated me better than Hachette, Patterson, Turow, or Preston ever have. I think I’m far better off with Amazon than I’d ever be with Hachette, and in that world-view where everyone else is Just Like Meyou’re probably guilty of this as well – I think most of Hachette’s authors would be better off on their own. That doesn’t really have anything to do with this pricing dispute between Amazon and Hachette, but it doesn’t predispose me towards Hachette or those shilling for it.

In the meantime, I’ve got books to write and kids to raise.

End of March Update

CalendarObliqueI’m a quarter of the way into the year, and I’m doing that accountability thing. Yes, still. And no April’s Fools jokes in this post. I think I’ve already burned my one writing-related April Fools joke, and it went pretty badly.

The writing numbers: I wrote 51,758 words in March, bringing me up to 149,856 for the year. For the month, that broke down as 60% fiction (Oaths of My Fathers), 25% social media (Google+ mostly), and the rest scattered across private correspondence. Oaths of My Fathers grew to almost 83,000 words in March and is early in Act 3. I’m currently projecting it to close at around 110,000 words, give or take, and I’m pushing hard to make that happen soon.

I’m starting to get the beta feedback for Debts of My Fathers. I’ll be getting two or three more sets of feedback this coming weekend.

So, at almost 150,000 words, I’m about 100,000 words short of where I wanted to be. Not so good, but I’ve also fixed one bottleneck in my editing process, and I think I’ve come close to fixing another bottleneck in my fiction-draft process. So, while I am on track to hit only 600,000 words for the year rather than the 1,000,000, the challenge is starting to accomplish what I wanted – namely, forcing me to fix some problems in my writing productivity.

Meeting up with other writers: Not much progress on this in March, but I did go do the whole write-in-at-the-coffee-shop thing one morning. It was nice change of pace, and I banged out close to 2000 words in that session. In April, I will be returning to AggieCon for the first time in about four or five years, so that will be nice.

Beef up the website: Bleah, this is where I hang my head in shame. After accomplishing the move, about all I’ve accomplished is to create the email sign-up form, but I haven’t tested the email list yet nor have I done anything to let the old commenters know about it. And yeah, I didn’t do much in the way of actual content this month – too busy writing novels.

Health: This one held steady this month. I made no great strides, but I at least held back from the slip that was February. A number of non-health things popped up, including septic problems and three trips – one of which I’m on now. But at least my health has been decent.

That’s it for now. More coming soon! Pinky-promise!

Mid-March Update

CalendarObliqueIt might tip my hand as to what kind of month it has been that the last entry to precede this mid-month update was my end-of-last-month update. So, um… yeah, I’ve been swamped. Literally, I suppose.

So, remember when I said that hopefully March would be wet? Well, it has been, just not in the good way. Since the beginning of the month, my septic system has had three separate failures, each requiring a different guy to come out to fix it. The final fix is hopefully coming tomorrow, and that will be some work on the drainage field. It will be the most expensive, but it’s likely that the whole thing will come to about $2000. I do believe I have earned the right to say… shit!

Anyway, all of that came before, in between, during, and after two trips I made since the beginning of the month. The first was to a conference, and the second was to pay a surprise visit to my mother. She turned 80 this past week, and my brother and I went out Phoenix to surprise her. She was very pleased, but I must say, there was a moment when I thought we were going to have to pick her up off the floor. We might do it again someday, but not without a defibrillator handy.

As for my writing numbers… well, again shit. Not only am I behind on my writing numbers, but I’m behind on getting my numbers together that I don’t even know how far behind I am on my writing numbers. Anyway, I’m definitely in catch-up mode.

That’s it for now. I’ll say more when I’m no longer knee deep in… well, just be patient.

End of February Update

CalendarObliqueI’m two months into the year and doing that accountability thing against my goals for the year. Also, by coincidence, this is my first real post for the relocated blog.

So, for the big writing/publishing goals, it’s been a so-so month. In February, I wrote 55,192 words and “published” 15,826 of them. Let’s break it down.

Email/journaling/private: 3755 words. This was mostly email, but it did include the notes for an award presentation I did back at the beginning of the month.

Blogging/social media: 15,826 words. The bulk of this was over on Google+. The blog here had a lot of downtime while I managed the move. Part of this was that I didn’t want to stack up a lot of “scheduled” articles when I wasn’t sure when the move was actually going to occur, but mostly it was just that blogging fell off the priority list.

Fiction: 35,611 words. This was entirely work on Oaths of My Fathers, which is now just shy of 53,000 words and is quite thoroughly behind schedule. My original deadline was February 24th, and then I pushed that out to March 6th, but I can’t see how I’m going to hit that one either. Missing that one is going to be very problematic, because then I slide into spring break with the kids. So, I’m still pushing on this one, but it’s getting hard.

Overall, I’m at just over 98,000 words for the year, but I should be closer to 165,000. I went into February behind because of time spent editing Debts of My Fathers, and I had hoped to catch up with the drafting time on Oaths of My Fathers. Unfortunately, that’s been slow going. The one comfort is that the problems have not been book-specific issues. That is, I’m not floundering. I know where the book is headed, and I’m not running into any big problems on the way.

No, the problems have mostly centered around some health problems with me and my kids. As I’ve said before, I have special needs kids, and this month has been more trying than most for the oldest boy. That has been quite stressful for me and has negatively impacted my own health. Anyway, everyone is seeing the doctors they’re supposed to be seeing, so hopefully we’re on the right track, but it meant there were about ten or twelve days in February where I hardly wrote anything at all, let alone whacking off 3000-4000 words on the new novel. For what it’s worth, though, three of the beta readers have finished Debts of My Fathers, and I’m trying to schedule time to get their feedback.

Published: This is the 15,826 words mentioned up top, and it’s all been social media and blogging. It meets the “get it out there” requirements of my annual goal, but it’s not the kind of publishing that pays the bills. But Debts is moving along and hopefully Hell Bent will be right on its heels, so by summer, I should be much closer to my goal.

Meet up with other writers I know online: I haven’t done much on this one this month, but I did go to ConDFW and spoke with another indie writer who is local but that I had not really talked to much before. He’s further down the road than I am with about ten books out, but he’s gotten them out in the last few years, not the last few decades. In other words, he’s had the productivity that I have not yet managed. I’m also making some progress in getting the rest of my local writing group onto Google+, which is almost this goal in reverse, but hey, it’s something.

Beef up the website: Hey, actual progress! It turned out to be about two weeks of research and emails only to discover that the move took only two or three hours of real work. The old website will continue to exist for another year or two to keep old inbound links alive, but no new contact will be posted there. Now that I’m here, I can get started on some of the improvements, including a mailing list to let you folks know when books finally get out the door.

This has been holding up a surprising number of other tasks, actually. More than just the mailing list, I’ve been waiting on this for a number of other publishing issues. Specifically, I have held off on spreading my books to the Nook and Kobo because the books link back to my website, and I didn’t want to put them out with a soon-to-be-old link. It’s also held off an updated cover to Beneath the Sky, again for the same reason. And believe it or not, it was going to hold up the release of Debts of My Fathers and Hell Bent if I hadn’t gotten it done by May. So, with this big item checked off, hopefully a lot more tasks will start moving.

Improve my health: Well, shit. If anything, I’ve gone backwards on this one. However, I’m trying a couple of new medications with my doctor as well as some other changes. I also found a new chiropractor who is a lot cheaper and much easier to get in to see. After three visits, my back and ribs and giving me a lot less pain, which is amazing given that I reinjured them this month in a kid-related incident.

So that was it for February. We actually started to get some spring weather, but the occasional cold snap have kept me from reseeding the yard just yet. Hopefully, March will be warm, wet, and quiet.

End of January Update

CalendarObliqueI hope to be doing monthly status updates on my big goals throughout the year, both to let folks know how I’m doing and to give myself a good kick in the ass. This is the first of those updates.

First, the numbers. In January, I wrote 42,906 words, of which 10,425 saw the light of day and hence fall into my “published” category. That’s roughly half as many as I should have written and about a quarter as many as I should have published. Hmm, trying to get those to 1,000,000 and 500,000 for the year. Am I worried? Not much. The justification is in the details, so here’s the breakdown:

Email/journaling/other-private: 7344 words. Much of this is just the overhead of being engaged with life and community. Nothing much to see here. Still, that’s only about 70% the rate I predicted in my planning calculations. I don’t plan on trying to increase this artificially. These are words I kind of get for free.

Blogging/Social-Media: 12,072 words. This is split pretty much evenly between my blog here and my activity on Google+. I don’t necessarily publish much original content over there, but I tend to post a lot of long comments. This one hit my original estimates pretty much even, though I’m heavier on the social media than I originally estimated.

Fiction: 23,490 words. The bulk of this was on Oaths of My Fathers during the last week or so, currently at about 17,500, and the rest was some back-and-fill on Debts of My Fathers before it went out to beta readers. Here, I’m only at about 40%, but I knew January was going to be a slow month for new words of fiction. My initial focus was to get Debts of My Fathers out the door to beta readers, and while editing can take a lot of time, it does not add many words. In many cases, it actually cuts them down. So, while I did get to add a few words to the total during my edits to Debts, the words-per-hour was abysmal. Still, I’m ripping along through Oaths at a pretty good clip, and if I can keep to the schedule, I will actually wrap it up late in February, and that will put me pretty much on target for new fiction written.

Published: This is the 10,425 words mentioned up top, and it’s woefully lagging behind the pace at about 25% what it should be. But this one is always going to move in ragged jumps with the publication of books. I’ve pushed Debts of My Fathers one step closer to publication, so I feel pretty good here.

WinterSnowAs for the other smaller goals, here’s a quick look…

Meet up with other writers I know online: I haven’t done much here yet, but I have mostly laid out my convention schedule of the year. ConDFW in February is likely but not yet certain. AggieCon is a possibility for the first time in years, though I still have to deal with a conflicting engagement. ApolloCon is proving difficult due to child-care issues, but I think I’ve got that sorted out. ArmadilloCon should be fairly easy, but due to some other conflicts, I may only be able to do one day. FenCon is also pretty much certain but not yet nailed down. I confess that DragonCon is tempting, but I have to wait for a few other things to settle down before I can even seriously contemplate it.

Beef up the website: Nothing is visible yet, but I’ve actually been making good progress here. I will almost certainly be moving the blog within the next month to a new URL. MakingItUpAsIGo.com will forward you to the new one once it’s up and running. I already have the new URL, and I’m looking at a couple of other hosting services to see if I want to switch service providers at the same time as the move.

Improve my health: Meh, this one has gone nowhere. On the other hand, I haven’t exactly backslid either. January was a month of rolling crises here at my house, and I’m afraid to say that self-care like exercise is one of the first things that goes out the door when things get tight. Note to self and others: that’s not a particularly good strategy.

GroundHogSo that’s it for January. Let’s hope the good things continue in February and the bad things disappear like this nasty winter. So someone, please, put a shade structure over that damn groundhog tomorrow. He really needs to not see his shadow.


2014: The Next Step

It’s goal-setting time again! I avoid resolutions because they tend to take the form of “exercise every day” and crumble into disappointment by February. I aim for SMART goals. That’s one bit of corporate wisdom I’ve actually hung onto. The SMART acronym has a bunch of different expansions, but for me it means that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Not all good goals fall into this, such as my goal of making friends with more writers last year, but I still think it’s good to think about those criteria when setting goals.

It’s also important at times like this to think about goals instead of dreams. Goals are results that can be achieved through a series of my own actions without requiring the actions of others. Writing a novel is a good goal. Winning the Hugo Award for Best Novel is not a good goal, because it requires the actions of a lot of WorldCon voters. That, instead, falls into the category of dreams. The best I can do is to set goals that I believe will make my dreams more likely.

So, with that in mind, here are my big goals for 2014:

1. Write one million words.
2. Get 500,000 words out there (blog/publish/etc).

Crazy? Well, let me give you a little background. I honed my skills early on with NaNoWriMo, writing 50,000 words of a novel during Novembers over the years. 50,000 words never completed the actual story, but it was a good start, and I could finish it off in the weeks/months/years that followed. I skipped NaNoWriMo this most recent year to focus on the edits to Debts of My Fathers, and I really missed it.

Then I caught wind of another group challenge amongst my writer friends on Google+. The idea was to write one million words in 2014. The insane pace of it appealed to me – it’s like one and a half NaNoWriMo’s, twelve months in a row. In fact, it appealed to me a in a way that scared the crap out of me, the same way NaNoWriMo did a decade ago.

But to be honest, drafting new fiction has not been my biggest problem. It’s been editing it, polishing it off, and getting it out there door where readers can actually see it. At the moment, there are about 230,000 words sitting in my edit queue. (Closer to 270,000 if you count the work already done on Stone Killer.) If I were to simply crank out a million words… I shudder to think what my edit queue would look like then. It’s the very reason I did not do NaNoWriMo in 2013.

So, I added the goal of getting 500,000 words out there. That would clear out my current queue, plus some. Now, if I count some blog posts, social media, etc. – in short, anything relatively public – I’m really only looking at 350,000 words of fiction to get out there. That 350,000 doesn’t have to come entirely from fiction I write this year, so I’m already most of the way there with the three and a half novels in my edit queue. Still, I will have to get them out the door, plus one more that I write from scratch. So that’s four to five novels to publish, as one of them is quite short. As a stretch goal, though, I’d like to make that 500,000 words of published novels, or about six or seven novels. Otherwise, I’m going to end the year with an edit queue double the size I have now.

Are these SMART goals? I think they’re clearly Specific, Measurable, and Time-bound. I also think they’re fairly Relevant to achieving my long-term goals of getting more books out there. The real question is whether they’re Attainable. I will say more about that next week in my next writing column. It’s a little too long and philosophical to include here.

So those are the big goals. I do have a few other smaller goals that are only tangentially related to writing.

3) I’ve become friends with a number of other writers and editors online, and now I’d like to actually meet some of them face to face. I’m not about to go stalking their neighborhoods or anything. Mostly I’m just going to start paying attention to which conventions they are going to and seeing whether or not they fit with my convention schedule. This might not happen until the 2015 WorldCon for some of the ones further afield, but I would like to meet up with some other south-central ones sooner than that.

4) I want to beef up this website quite a bit. In fact, it might even be changing names or URLs, but I will make sure everything forwards over properly. I also want to set up a mailing list for any interested parties, and if you’ve been commenting regularly on the blog or inquiring after future releases, I’ll try to get you onto it from the beginning.

5) Again, I want to improve my health. It’s been fairly poor this year, but I am taking steps to improve it. If nothing else, this most recent sinus surgery should help knock down the 4-5 sinus infections I’ve been getting every year.

That’s it for now. A modest share of those million words will end up here, so look for more content. I’m also fairly active over on Google+, so you can check me out there.

2013: The Year in Review

Each year I set out goals rather than resolutions, and as part of that, I monitor my progress and make some assessments at the end of the year. So, how did I do this year?

My writing goals this last year were to
1) Publish two new novels, and I managed only one: Ships of My Fathers
2) Write two new novels, and I only managed one and a half: Shattered and part of Stone Killers
3) Keep up the blog, and I feel down on that more than I wanted.

In more detail, I probably could have pushed Hell Bent (the first of my urban fantasy series) out the door this year, but I decided I should be focusing my efforts where I already have an audience in space opera, so I spent the latter part of the year focusing on getting Debts of My Fathers out the door. It is not out yet, but I did make progress.

As for the writing, I did crank out a draft of Shattered, my first attempt at a mystery, but it will need a lot of work before it can even make it to the beta readers. I started on Stone Killer, the sequel to Hell Bent, but when I decided to delay the release of Hell Bent, I put Stone Killer on hold. It’s still sitting in the draft mode about halfway through.

On the blog, it fell apart over the summer for one reason and then again in the fall for another reason. A full schedule of posts would have been 156 posts, and this little gem will bring it up to 107, or about 68%, compared with last year’s 135/85%.

I also had a few other goals where I had varying levels of success. I wanted to do better multitasking, so that when I was blocked (or waiting on someone) with one project, I would be working on another. I did some better this year, but there was plenty of room for improvement. I also set the goal of doing a little bit of marketing/promotion this year, and I dipped my toes in with some success. I think my biggest boost, however, came from Nathan Lowell pointing me out to his many fans – in whose number I am proud to count myself. Mostly, though, it was having some business cards and a book-promo card that gave me a more professional feeling.

I also had a vague goal of making friends with more writers, particularly those who are cohort, i.e. those in about the same place in our careers. This, I must say, was one of my greatest successes of the year. Between Google+ and a local Meetup group, I befriended several authors who are about as early in their careers as I am, give or take a couple of years. Some are coming up fast, and some are racing ahead of me. Others can use a hand up, and I’ve done what I can to pass along the help that other writers have been so generous to grant me.

I did battle two problems throughout the year that severely impacted my ability to make progress on these writing goals. First, as bad as my health was in 2012, it was worse in 2013 and included a hospitalization and then later on, some long-delayed sinus surgery. As if to make a point, as I write this, I am running a low fever from a GI bug that’s been working its way through the family since Christmas. I do have some plans to make this better in 2014, but only time will tell.

The second problem was from my kids. I don’t talk about this much, but I have special-needs children. This year, the eldest (who is autistic) took something of a turn for the worse in August, and it has made the rest of the year much more difficult. I don’t want to gripe with the details, but it as the kids say these days, my difficulties here are “totes legit!” I do not have much of a solution going forward except to stay the course and keep trying.

Still, I did start seeing some commercial success this year. At one point, an agent challenged me by saying it was not quite “quitting the day job” money, but I was able to reply that it was enough to pretty much pay all the monthly bills short of the mortgage, i.e. electric, water, phone, cable, etc., with a little left over. Some of my favorite people sold well and even won some awards. I also put out a novel that I’m very happy with, and I’m very grateful to live in a time that I can choose to do that rather than merely hope to do that. So, while I’m a little unhappy with the things I did not get done, I’m full of warm fuzzies for things I did get done.

Check back tomorrow where I plan to lay down some epic goals for 2014.