It’s been a while…
I haven’t put out one of these in some time. I think the last one was 2020?
It’s been a whirlwind for me, especially these last couple of months. As you may know if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, or you have been around for a while, you might have already heard some of what I’m going to cover today, but stick around regardless, I’ve got lots of things to cover.
2022 was a lot of ups and downs. I’ve written some about my mental health and some of the self discovery that has come with it, a lot has changed for me since the last time I wrote one of these yearly updates, after the last one I took some time off for quite a while. if you happened to check out the linked post above regarding the Bearscape 2021, you’ll know next to none of that was finished. 2021 was a crazy year for me, my wife and I began the process of moving to a new state and trying to get settled in up here has been something else. At the beginning of 2022, I went into a downward spiral, and finally after lots of years of pretending, admitted to myself I struggled with anxiety and depression. Those things, in tandem with other day to day issues prevented me from doing much of anything as far as writing is concerned, however, I spent the first half of 2022 fighting, and lately I’ve been on the upswing.
This year, through my emotional turmoil and the need to make hard personal choices I was able to begin a new project or two, neither of which were a part of last year’s projection. I hesitate to write anything in stone this year, because the mind is fickle and I can’t promise anything, however, I’ve built my entire life on the notion that one day I will wake up and I won’t be here anymore so I want to celebrate the good and be honest about the bad for as long as I can.
Starting off, I tanked The Darling Bones, Coward and Gold Rush for the time being. All three of these novels were projects I desperately wanted to finish and publish traditionally, but the wind is pushing me in a different direction, and I’ve decided to shelve them for now. I may return soon, I may not. For now, I have much larger projects on the dashboard.
The Laws of Atla
This summer I began releasing a series on a whim, which I’ve since released (almost) every Friday afternoon. When I began, it was planned to be a short novel, maybe lasting ten months. In the time that I’ve spent writing it and building it into something more, it has become a much, much larger project and has become my primary focus. I want to talk about it a little bit here.
Sisters of Westwinter
Sisters of Westwinter is the first in a series of novels I’ll be releasing within the “Laws of Atla” series. It has been the project you’ve been seeing every Friday following the stories of Emry, Kerrick and Sekhenna, and has become a profound joy for me to create. This project has bee much different than others I’ve attempted, and as I continue to play around with release models I’m sure you will see more and more as the days go on.
SoW is going to follow a reliable, consistent release schedule until it is finished. Each week you’ll get a new piece of a chapter (I’d publish the full chapters but they’re huge, like 15,000+ words a piece.) until the chapter is finished, at which point I’ll post the whole chapter over on Vocal. I’ve got no intention of stopping this and will plan on releasing the entirety of Sisters of Westwinter this way.
This comes with some upsides and some downsides. Thankfully, this November I was able to get a few weeks ahead on Westwinter, and I didn’t need to write and edit a section the same week it released, however, going forward I’m going to be working on releasing more content than Westwinter, and wanted to get it out there that while it isn’t going anywhere, I’m going to work out a new schedule to release content with.
All in All, Sisters of Westwinter was the beginning of a sort of catharsis for me, where I accepted that I don’t have to write a million things at once and I don’t have to hit traditional publishing goals. I’d love for writing to be the way I make money (more on that later) at the end of the day, I just love making stories and I will do that for the rest of my life in one way or another.
Nightfall in Brahmir
Part One: City of Night: Ammon’s Reach
Man, oh man. What started as a one off idea for Mean for the Holidays turned into the most successful collection of writings I’ve ever put out. I am dumbfounded by the response to Brahmir and I am so excited that I’ve gotten some new folks in, and sticking around.
This book, far more than Westwinter was a big therapy session wrapped up in gross, mold covered paper.
I started Brahmir on a whim, looking for something to do for Mean for the Holidays ’22 with next to no clue what I could write and release over the course of 13 days, and it turned into magic before my eyes. It also was the way I was able to exemplify my struggle with depression and anxiety and I hope when you read it next, that it resounds with you as such.
The thing is, I have complicated feelings about, well, my feelings. It’s hard to pin down what sets me off and what is just a normal thing to experience. It took outside influence to point out my problematic emotional state because I had been so engorged by it, I’ve been writing down a lot of thoughts I’ve been having about my life and where I am and I wanted to turn that into something else, and with the impulsive decision to write Brahmir (with no outline, no notes, no nothing) I navigated my way through what my mind has felt like this year through the three main characters, Eva, Veinar and Olem. Not to mention the rest of the heroes and villains, it has become the most accurate expression of my struggle with my mental health and how it feels sometimes. To wake up and deal with the same thing you’ve dealt with for weeks is tedious, boring and painful. Not knowing why it’s happening only makes it that much worse.
That’s why you light the lamp, and you keep going.
For those of you who loved Brahmir, I’m not done there yet. I have a collection of side stories to release and originally intended to put them out over the final week of December as a little bonus before 2022 wraps itself up, but I need a break. (Just a baby one)
That being said, expect more from Brahmir in 2023, and eventually some more Brahmir related goodness will be coming your way, don’t you worry!
This year for NaNo, I took a different approach. I’ve finished four of the six previous years which I competed, and the two years I didn’t were due to mental health reasons, mostly that I didn’t have any mental health. This year my only goal was to reach the word count. I didn’t care how and I didn’t care if it was coherent or even a single story, and good news, I succeeded!
I clocked in a little over 50,000 before November came to an end and among those writings were a collection of things, some personal, some Westwinter, and some what will be my next full length writing project.
All in all, I’m pleased with my work this year especially given how little prep time I gave myself. It feels good to be back into the habit of writing, and I can feel the old power coming back to me one word at a time. Over the course of the last two months I’ve written just shy of 200,000 words which is huge, and justifies taking some much needed rest.
But there’s a couple more things on my list.
My newest project, all of it completely behind the scenes as of right now, started in November. I’ll be working on it over the course of next year and I’m planning for it to also be a primarily digital release, once all of its chapters have been put out there, I’ll be launching a physical version but that is quite a few months away. I still have most of the book to get done. I’m expecting it to be somewhere around 150-200,000 words and I’m currently 30,000 down. Once the year ticks over I’ll get back to work pounding it out and working on other projects. Before I leave you, I want to talk a bit about what I have planned for next year.
Post Hibernation – 2023
Sisters of Westwinter
First Draft: 15% Complete
Obviously, as I covered above I’ll be working hard on getting through this. I’m expecting this novel to clock in somewhere around 300,000 words before the final edits and will be trimming it down as I go. The digital releases will continue as scheduled with full chapters being released on Vocal when they’re finished. That being said, I do intend on switching up my release schedule and how much I release at one time. When I work out a certainty for it, I’ll let you know.
The Wilds of Atla
The TTRPG Setting for Atla is coming along, I realized almost immediately after I said I’d be dropping it that it was a long shot to get it finished in such a short amount of time, but it’s still coming and I will have a module started for you next year, almost certainly in Q1. I’m still planning on getting one-shot style adventures out following the course of the novel, but it’s going to take a lot of tweaking (your guy has never done this before, bear with me.)
You’ll get more news when I have more news to give.
First Draft: 10% Complete
As I mentioned above, again, I’ll be working on Sunkiller for the majority of 2023. I don’t think you’ll see anything from it until late fall or early winter next year, but I’m excited for things to get rolling.
78 Rings of Tarth-Himir: The Queen of Ravens (Tentative)
Outline: 40% Complete
This baby has been a monumental task, I’ve been working on the outline alone for a combined two years and I hope to finish it before the end of the year and (Lord willing) begin writing it as soon as Sunkiller is finished. That being said, I don’t have much to spoil related to this title other than the title of the series.
Like I mentioned in 2021, It’s about Tarot Cards and Authoritarianism, and it’s a fantasy novel, and one of the main characters is just a bumbling lil goofball but I’m sure you’ll love him.
The Grimoire of Finality
The Grimoire is going to catch a little facelift as I have time, historically when I’ve said that I haven’t done anything besides fixing stuff on the backend, and usually it’s been because I put WAY too much on my plate.
I’m getting better about that.
Still, over time I’m going to be making some small changes to the site until hopefully it’s easy to traverse and simple to find what you’re looking for. Some of the coming changes are as follows:
- An easy click through list for all of my series (Current Plans Below)
- Sisters of Westwinter
- Nightfall in Brahmir
- Links to Vocal Media content as well as my Ko-Fi shop (Coming Soon-ish)
- Clickthrough links to some other goodies (Clothing, TTRPG Content & more TBA)
I’m starting simple, and building outward. I’ve no intention of over promising anything as I now know my most toxic trait is putting too much on my plate.
If you’ve not noticed, I’ve upped my social media game a lot. Earlier this year, I spoke with my wife about some troubles I had with writing, and I’ve always struggled with not being known and not being seen by people who aren’t already on my Facebook feed, and our conversation led to me putting myself out there, realizing the reason I’m not being seen is because I’m not trying to show anyone anything, and I’ve got plenty of stuff for you to see. I hope you’ll see me through this new year as I transition from an empty blog to a very, very full one.
I’m prioritizing Instagram for the style of content I want to put out, and though it’s not popping off yet I’m going to be working on getting it moving this year with the intention of releasing a lot of poetry and some microfiction you’ll only be able to find on there.
Like everything else here, it’ll come when it comes. I want to prioritize the writing, can’t show you anything if I don’t have anything to show. You know?
Salt & Iron Productions
S&I is still in timeout, it will come back, I promise, but for now I need to focus on this. Writing is what I want to do, specifically writing fiction and poetry. I don’t need to bog down my day to day with a site I don’t actually do anything with, but one day it will be back and it will be a triumphant return.
That being said, I’m still going to do some of the stuff I’ve been sitting on for Salt & Iron, clothing releases and such are in the works, I’m just looking for the right time.
I fully intend on celebrating my birthday this year in the biggest way I ever have. I don’t want to spoil the surprise yet, but your man is turning 30 and I have just the plan for it…
Don’t forget to bring a sword.
Content Moving Forward
This section is kind of a tag on for anything I couldn’t clearly convey in an above section. Basically, I have a lot of hands in a lot of things and I will always do such. Between music, writing, poetry, art and graphic design, not to mention adding TTRPG design and (someday soon) Boardgame Creation, I’m everywhere all at once and at times it might get a little hectic, but I have big plans for my future and for yours, if you’ll have me there.
The most important among them, and the only one that matters as of this morning, is that starting in January I’ll be focusing on releasing more writing regularly than just Sisters of Westwinter. It’s my baby right now and I love it, but I have so much that I want to write and so much that I want to learn, so expect more good at the turn of the year.
You know, after a lil hibernation.
Alongside that, later in 2023 I’ll be launching a Ko-fi page for anyone who feels they are so inclined to support me with donations, I’ll work out the fine details and spill them to you later, but keep it on your radar if you want to help a starving artist afford to sleep in a couple of minutes. ❤️
This year was a ride, and I’m excited to start my next year and for it to hopefully be a bit more peaceful. We will see, though. Things change fast and my mind moves faster.
I’ll be posting some more frequent updates next year, I don’t want to bundle it all into a single textbook length post, but it’s all a learning process. All I know is that I’m surrounded by love and I’ve managed to cultivate a wonderful support group.
One thing is certain from this vantage point.
I’m going to keep going, because…