Welcome…to the end!
Of the longest and shortest year in recent history, that is.
If you’re reading this post, then congratulations, you made it through 2020! That in itself is a monumental accomplishment! For some, this has been a devastating year, filled with setbacks, immeasurable losses, and some of the worst consecutive historical events in recent times.
But today’s post is not to recount the global hardships, there is plenty of news coverage for that. Today, as it is every year, I present to you my annual ‘looking back, looking forward’ blog post. And I have a lot to write about, because while most folks have had to hunker down to survive 2020, it has been a busy, busy year for me.
Down For The Count…Twice!
It began with recovery. In December 2019, I had just undergone a hip surgery to remove excess bone growth and repair a torn labrum. For New Years Eve 2019, I was still on crutches and unable to put any weight on one of my hips. Recovery mostly went well, and at one point when I had to stay home from work in March due to suspected COVID infection, I was able to walk over 3 miles.
And then I did yard work sometime after I recovered from COVID (never confirmed I had it, Colorado had no available testing kits at the time,) I pushed myself too hard and re-injured it enough that I set my recovery back a good 2 months.
Worse still, during one of my last physical therapy sessions, something pinged in my other hip during a particularly strenuous exercise, and I knew almost immediately what had happened, because the doctor warned me it would eventually happen – my other hip’s labrum had just torn. I gave it a month or so to see if it recovered, and when it didn’t get any better (and in fact was getting worse) I called up the doc and made an appointment. Sure enough, same deal – excess bone growth, torn labrum.
And so, amidst a global pandemic (but thankfully between surges in infection rates,) I found myself under the knife again. Thankfully, this surgery went more smoothly, and recovery has been considerably easier.
The Most Productive Writing Year Ever!
For all of the bad that’s happened, something wondrous has come of it – I have written an entire trilogy in one year!!
Yup, you read that right, I finished writing the third book in the Chronicles of the Sentinels trilogy ahead of schedule!
Thanks to three different time periods of being stuck at home away from work, and not being able to go on trips or visit places like zoos and museums (and not being physically able to do projects around the house beyond basic cleaning,) I’ve had ample time to write.
So what does that mean? Well first of all, the trilogy is written, and book 1 is mostly polished. I have some final pieces to polish based on a 3rd beta reader who is an Aussie and was able to give me some feedback on the two Aussie characters in the story, but other than that, it’s ready to pitch to agents (more on that in a little bit.) Book 2 and 3, however, are still in need of serious work.
Book 2 has been through a single round of beta reading, and I will go through their notes this week and implement necessary changes. After that, I will print out a hard copy so I can put it through another round of proofreading and editing. Book 3 has only just gotten into the hands of beta readers, and I will await their feedback with excitement :D
Current numbers for the entire trilogy?
That’s a lot of words for one year, especially for someone who is still only able to write part-time! And actually, those aren’t the only pages I’ve written. In between books 1 and 2, and between books 2 and 3, I wrote 10 chapters of the Sword of Dragons book 4 (totaling 30,000 words,) and a short story.
Soooo…yeah, this has definitely been a productive year! On top of that, I’ve read a lot of books, especially in the urban fantasy genre to help keep me inspired for Chronicles of the Sentinels. Among these were almost all of the Iron Druid Chronicles, six Dresden books, and five Guild Codex books(by Annette Marie,) plus an assortment of other books.
The End of 2020
I know I’ve been more fortunate than others, and for that I’m eternally grateful. I’ve only glossed over all that has happened to my family and I in 2020, and we’ve seen and been affected by many of the major events out there. However, through it all, I still have a job, and I still am alive and (mostly) healthy.
I’m ready to say goodbye to this year. I’m hoping next year is a year that things turn around, on more than one front. But most of all, I’m grateful for my amazing wife, my Starshine, Beck, for being there with me through all of this.
And to two of our friends, who have been our ‘COVID buddies,’ friends we’ve spent time with during all of this, trusting one another to stay healthy and safe and help each other survive the isolation, Wayne and Hannah. I’m so glad to have these two in our lives!
Likewise I’m grateful for our friends Nick and Natalie, our west-coast brother and sister that we’ve spent time with virtually quite often this year, through video game streaming and occasional virtual Cards Against Humanity parties.
Looking Ahead – 2021 and Pitching and Writing
What does 2021 hold in store? First and foremost, I hope an end to the pandemic. I miss going places, like to the zoo or the botanic gardens or museums. Second, healing – I want to go hiking again!
But there’s something else I’m hoping for. With an entire urban fantasy trilogy written, I hope this is the year I find an agent willing to take a risk on me. To that end, one of the most exciting moments ahead for me is a virtual pitch session arranged by the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers organization. I hope so much that I’ll be given a chance, and that the agent I have selected will be interested in my work.
But, should that not be the case, I plan to continue to query agents throughout the year on Chronicles of the Sentinels – Legacy. I believe this is the most well-written, interesting, and unique story I’ve written yet, and it represents my greatest chance at traditional publication.
On top of that, as editing on books 2 and 3 of Chronicles winds down, I’ll be picking up book 4 of Sword of Dragons again and intend to finish writing it in 2021. Depending on how fast and how well that goes, there could be a 2021 publication date for it, but as I’ve learned throughout the past 5 years, it’s better not to rush these things. As always, I’ll make sure those on my mailing list, and those following me here, will know all about my progress.
Book 4 so far has represented a combination of the writing style fans of the Sword of Dragons have come to expect and the lessons I’ve learned and applied writing Chronicles of the Sentinels, and I’m quite pleased with how the first 10 chapters came out. I’m looking forward to finishing this book, and seeing what all of you think of it :)
It is difficult to know where things will go from there. It may depend greatly on agent and, subsequently, publisher interest in Chronicles book 1. If there’s immediate and earnest interest, I know that book 1 likely won’t see a publication for another year or two at best, if what I’ve read about the publishing industry is true. Having said that, I have no doubt there’ll be work to do during all of that time, including further editing based on agent and, later, editor feedback.
I also have another book series that is itching to be told, and after I finish Sword of Dragons book 4, I may write the first book in that series. But that, my friends, is a tale for another time.
For now, I shall bid you all a fond farewell. And tomorrow, we shall finally, inevitably, be able to truly look back with 2020 vision.
Thanks for reading!