As the year draws to a close, I’m making plans for 2018 and looking back at what I accomplished with 2017. I’ve started keeping a diary/journal/organizer where I write down my goals and try to organize my time so I can look back and see what I’ve done.
Books: My (big) writing goal this year was to get out the first three books of the Crossroads of Worlds series. That didn’t happen. But I’m glad that I aimed high and got close.
I did get out the first two Crossroads of Worlds books, Strangehold and Sorrow’s Son, and a prequel novelette, Fire on the Hill. I’m proud of these books and hope they’ll continue to find an audience in 2018. Go, little books, go!
I learned a lot about writing and self-publishing this year. First, I learned that everything takes longer than I think it will. Not that I didn’t know this before—but I’ve always worked before on no particular schedule, just writing as it suited me. This year I tried to set myself a schedule. And since I was actually writing with a deadline in mind, I could really see how much longer parts of writing—particularly editing—take me. I also learned how to format, what it’s like to work with a cover designer, and a story editor, and all of this was highly educational to say the least.
Short Stories: Daily Science Fiction published “An Invasion in Seven Courses” in February, my short story that came from mishearing a history show as talking about a defensive cookbook, which got me thinking about what kind of cookbook that might be, and what kind of recipes it might have, and what, exactly, it could defend against. (Before I wrote it, I wrote down about five different settings the idea might work in, but the historical one drew me most, maybe because of the documentary we were watching when I had the idea.)
I also had a short story reprinted in Cicada, “Your New Voice and You,” originally published at Daily Science Fiction. This was really cool to me for two reasons. First, it’s my first-ever reprint! Second, Cicada found the story at DSF and reached out to me to reprint it. That was an amazing feeling—after constantly sending stories out into the world, this magazine came to me because they liked the story that much (and of course, it fit their theme for that issue!). That felt like a writing milestone.
I self-published two short stories, the first for practice with formatting, etc., and the second because I had already formatted it as a giveaway for my newsletter, so why not?: The King’s Monster and Misericordia (originally published in the Fantasy Faction Anthology.)
Art and Craft
I didn’t embroider that much this year, but I made a ton of hats right before Christmas and remembered why I love knitting so much. I also made a bunch of wee crochet Pokemon, to the delight of my kids and their friends. I also left a few at Pokestops in my neighborhood, where i hope they found homes with people who enjoyed them.
I once again completely tanked Inktober. I had a fun idea and a strong start, but ran out of steam. Oh well. Maybe next year.
But I got (back) into calligraphy again. For anyone interested in trying their hand at it, I’ve found The Postman’s Knock to be an amazing resource.
This was a big travel year for me, and I loved it. Last year, my sister-in-law and her husband and kids moved to New Mexico. They were our neighbors for a decade before that, first in the same apartment building and then in the house across the street, so we really missed them when they left. They also welcomed a child in March, so at the end of May, we piled in the minivan and drove across the country to visit and meet him, camping along the way. It was an incredible visit and a revelation to watch the countryside change from Alabama to New Mexico. They live near Sandia Mountain and we took a hike around the top of the mountain. It was gorgeous. Definitely want to do more family road trips in 2018.
In August, I was fortunate enough to go with my mom and sister to WorldCon in Helsinki, stopping in Amsterdam and Stockholm along the way. One of my college roommates lives in Rotterdam, and she was able to come meet us. We also ended up visiting Amsterdam during Pride Weekend (unintentionally.) It was a blast, and the hotel kindly provided earplugs for the nightly festivities.
I had no expectations of Stockholm, but I ended up loving it. It’s a beautiful city, with the original medieval city a smaller island within the larger city. I loved it, and would love to go back someday. We visited many, but not even close to most of the city’s plethora of museums.
Helsinki was another creature altogether. Rather than staying close to the old town there, we stayed closer to the convention center, in a a more residential area. Visiting the historical areas was fantastic, but it was also really nice to see the way more people who live there actually live.
WorldCon itself was pretty darn fantastic. The panels I went to were aces, and it was just neat to be around a bunch of people who love SFF. This does not necessarily include my mom to the degree it includes my sister and I, but she went along and seemed to have a pretty good time regardless.
I am probably in the best shape of my life. In 2017, I upped my workout game, adding TRX (bodyweight resistance) and HIIT classes to my schedule. My fitness center is changing up their schedule in January, so I will probably shuffle around my schedule a bit, but I have been able to feel my improvement in that my formerly hard classes are now my easier classes. Cool!
It’s also become clear to me that I need to change some aspects of my diet, so that’s going to be more of a focus for me this year. More Vegetables, Less Wine 2018.
Personally, there were a lot of tough things going on this year in addition to the maelstrom of the news cycle. But there were a lot of good things, too. I’m going to try to remember the latter, and take that forward into 2018.