Resolutions for 2019 (or not)

Here we are in 2019, and the year is nice and shiny. I’m sitting here with a baby asleep in my lap, coffee with no sugar in it, and Switchfoot’s new song Native Tongue blasting on my speakers. The kids are playing New Years events in their various Nintendo games. I’m going to come back to this post at the end of the year and laugh at this.

I’ve been thinking about a word for this year. Last year was Steadfast. This year, I think it’ll be Kindness.

Last year, being pregnant and miserable, I wasn’t very kind to anyone. I had to work very hard, because I felt so bad. This year, I want to make up to my family for being such a grouch for nine months. My poor kids are troopers, but they need a mom who is much nicer. So does my husband, who puts up with so much.

And now for resolutions!

I resolve to read all the unread books on my Kindle.

Yep. That’s it.

Come on, I have a two-month-old baby. I’m not going to plan anything deeper than that.

Usually I have a list of all the books I want to publish in the upcoming year. But … same problem. Baby. If I release anything, it’ll be a bonus. At this point, I can’t promise anything. I do have three superhero books in the hopper, two finished, one half-written. Those are probably a lock. Beyond that, I have no idea. Right now I’m finishing up a self-indulgent romance fanfic that nobody asked for, but I’ve had fun writing.

I’ve been really brushing up on my artwork, trying to plug a lot of holes in my education, and really tackle the areas I’m afraid of. Like human eyes. Do you know how hard eyes are? ARGH. Thankfully, Google reveals billions of tutorials. If I work through even a tenth of them, I’d have a fantastic art education.

Kind of like all the tutorials I did to make this pic. It’s this joke about Bioshock Infinite … and this Sonic villain named Infinite … so it’s like … a crossover … yeah. But I had to do a ton of tutorials to make it, especially that logo. UGH especially the logo.

Anyway, that does it for resolutions. Read more books. Maybe write something. Maybe draw something. We’ll see how this year plays out. 😀

Choosing a word for the year

I don’t think I ever picked a word for last year. I was looking over my resolutions post from last year, and I seem to remember that it was something like Fun or Moving Forward.

This year, my word is Steadfast. It goes along with this Bible verse:

Hebrews 10: 35-36: Do not, therefore, fling away your [fearless] confidence, for it has a glorious and great reward. For you have need of patient endurance [to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising], so that when you have carried out the will of God, you may receive and enjoy to the full what is promised. 

This year, I’m going to keep on keeping on.

Last year, I was trying to take my art in new directions, trying out streaming with my husband, trying out new school things for the kids. Over the course of the year, what I discovered is that simplicity works best. When it comes to school, a pile of workbooks and read alouds has been great for us. I’ve found some holes in my kids’ education, and we’ve been fixing those this year. It’s been great to have that focus.

Streaming fell by the wayside when we found out that we don’t have the hours and hours of free time necessary to make streaming work. We’ve just been playing games together for fun. Same effect, less stress.

Books published last year were books 2 and 3 of the Puzzle Box trilogy, and the first book of a paranormal cozy mystery with dragons. I also made the decision to unpublish the Spacetime books and completely redo them from scratch. I was still learning when I wrote them, and they were pretty much an unreadable mess.

I also wrote two book-length fanfics toward the end of the year. I just couldn’t get the stories out of my head, and I was very pleased at the way they turned out. It also showed me that it’s better to write for fun than to try to write for money. I’ve been so money-focused for so long that I lost track of the fun. And my writing wasn’t very fun to read. So this year, I’m going to try to balance my writing with more fun. I want to dare to dream and experiment and write crazy things.

I do have the new first Spacetime book in revisions, as well as the second dragon cozy. I’m looking forward to publishing those in the early part of this year, before summer, probably. After that, I want to take a crack at writing a stand-alone fairytale fantasy. Kind of Sleeping Beauty meets Howl’s Moving Castle. Since it’s barely in the concept stage right now, I have no idea if that will be out this year or next. I’ve observed that fairytale fantasies tend to balloon to massive length their authors didn’t intend.

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Howl’s Moving Castle from the Studio Ghibli film

If you followed my blog last year, you saw all these little discoveries and growing pains. I want to thank you deeply for coming back and reading my strange little scribblings. I now have more blog followers than I’ve ever had before, and I’m excited and humbled to see you all.

I also want to blog more regularly–once a week, if possible. And good pithy topics. It’s hard to be pithy once a week, but it’s a good goal to have. Let’s see if I can’t knock the chupacabra blog post off the #1 spot for the year.

My top blog posts of 2017

As we hit a new year, it’s fun to look back and see what bonkers things people came to my blog to read. As usual, the Google image search sent lots of people here for my chupacabra pictures. But aside from that, here’s what else got hits:

#1. Stuff about the chupacabra, or Texas blue dogs

#2. Shouting into the void

#3. Shut up and take my money – a conversation about book piracy

#4. Marketing (and how nobody knows how to do it)

#5. 14 things I learned from urban fantasy

#6. The real reason that Christians don’t read fantasy

#7. Five worldbuilding tricks I learned from the show GRIMM

#8. Waterfall City vs. Theed, Naboo

#9. 23 books reviewed in a minute

As usual, my clickbait headlines did really well, as did anything with interesting pictures, like the angry post comparing Star Wars episode 1 with James Gurney’s Dinotopia. (I later realized that Disney’s Atlantis ripped off his second book, The World Beneath. But I don’t want to watch that movie again to prove it.)

I’ll do some more posts soon about what I learned in publishing and marketing this year. 2017 was a year of revelations, and it’ll be fun to boil them down.

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Sunrise of Baishi Mountain, from InterfaceLift