Looking back on 2018

I posted this on Twitter about a week and a half ago, but I wanted to share it here as well:

Since everyone’s been doing threads talking about their accomplishments from 2018, I wanted to join in because I’m really proud of how much I got done this year. 🎉

I edited an anthology for the first time since 2015! It was a lot of work and will probably be the last time I do that, but I’m glad I did it and especially that my story, “CinderellA.I.”, which I’d been working on for over two years at that point, finally made it out into the world. Major thanks to my co-editor Amy McNulty for her help—it never would have gotten done without her! Magic at Midnight is now available at all major retailers and through your local indie.

I wrote a short story for Brave New Girls: Tales of Heroines Who Hack, a YA sci-fi charity anthology benefiting the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund. This story, “Sea-Stars and Sand Dollars,” is set in the Iamos universe and features two of my favorite characters, Tamara’s moms Bryn and Delia (“Mama D”), as teenagers. With hints of one of my favorite sci-fi series, SeaQuest DSV, and one of my favorite solarpunk concepts, seasteading, this story was a lot of fun for me—and it also let me flesh out a location that played into New World!

In addition to writing the story, I was able to provide an illustration for it to be included in the paperback. I used to draw almost constantly and once upon a time I received an art scholarship and even was accepted to a prestigious art college in San Francisco. Because of various life circumstances, I was unable to pursue that route and by early 2018, it had been several years since I’d drawn at all. I was rusty (it probably showed) but I’m still glad I did it. Using those muscles again after so long gave me carpal tunnel that still persists (as I type this wearing compression gloves 😒), so I was very grateful that my friend RoAnna Sylver did the inking (outlining my original pencil sketch digitally so I could then color it) which managed to save my hand enough to get the illustration done!

Brave New Girls: Tales of Heroines Who Hack is available now from all major retailers, and if you want to see the illustration, be sure to get a copy of the paperback from your favorite local indie!

I also published three other short stories on Patreon—while that’s only half of what I did in 2017, I did so much other writing this year I feel it evens out!

I signed my first traditional publishing contract for a novel (for another pen name), which is awesome but terrifying. 🙃 Hopefully it will go smoothly! I don’t expect I’m going to have any new releases for Lyssa in 2019 because of that, but I am still writing! And I should be back with at least one Lyssa book in 2020 (possibly two depending on how things go).

My first audiobook was released! Not that this is something I did, other than giving the narrator the script. 😅 Major thanks to my awesome narrator Adrian Mayes for putting in all the work on this one. But being able to hear an actor bring my words to life was an amazing thing/a goal accomplished!

The biggest accomplishment of the year for me was that I wrote my longest novel to date, New World, Book 2 of the Iamos Trilogy, which came in at over 100,000 words. 😱  That is a massive achievement for me, particularly because I’m such a slow writer. It was the length of Different Worlds and Cheerleaders from Planet X combined. Those two books took me two years to write… but I did it in one! I actually wrote 75,000 words in a little less than two months, by far my record. Sure, it made me sick as a dog—but I did it! Just one book left in the Iamos Trilogy…

Another goal accomplished this year, the Iamos Trilogy is now in the high school libraries of the town I used to teach in (I said hometown on Twitter because character count, but it’s actually the town adjacent to my hometown… though I went to school in their district as a kid!), something that was a goal when I started writing it. I’m so excited that the kids I wrote this series for have access to these books. I hope that they will pick it up and see themselves reflected in it!

And finally, I did my first-ever author event, representing Snowy Wings Publishing at Portland Book Festival with my friend and fellow author T. Damon! Even though I was exhausted and sick for almost the whole event, it went so well and was a lot of fun. Best of all, I met many wonderful readers! Doing an in-person author event was a goal of mine for a long time, so I’m super glad I was finally able to do it.

All in all, 2018 was a good year for me and the most productive I’ve had since 2015. An even though things will be quiet on the Lyssa front in 2019, I’m looking forward to bringing you new books soon!

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