…and what have you done? 🎵 🎵 🎵
This was a rather unprecedented year for fuckery and I am…sort of pleasantly surprised at what I actually got done?
There were a lot of jokes early lockdown about “Now’s the time to write that novel!” and then of course no one actually got anything done because it’s hard to focus on art during such a period of instability (unless your brain was wired for it). And while I largely felt like I did very little…it turns out that is not the case.
So this will serve as my end-of-year recap and (likely) last post of the year (omg YEAR).
A post-Oblivion novella that serialized last year on Patreon and released January 28 2020 everywhere else. I was writing it concurrently with Blood Ties, but I didn’t initially know the two would tie together; I kept feeling like I was missing something toward the end of both of them, and then suddenly I put two and two together and realized how they fit. I think both stand alone fine on their own, but I hope some readers of this one had a “Aha!” moment when they got to the third part of Blood Ties.
That brings us to…
The zero of this one finished in January and serialized on Patreon, then released June 2 2020 in ebook and paperback.
I didn’t advertise it as a spinoff to not scare off new readers, which may or may not have been a mistake, I don’t know; I do think it stands alone fine but is much richer when you have the full history. I’d always known Elisabeta’s birth was in the cards (although I didn’t get to write it with the premature ending of the main series) but I had no idea she was going to be a serial killer until she started talking to me.
It has not done well enough to justify continuing the series, unfortunately. I’ve started Witch Hunt, and when it’s done next year it’ll serialize on Patreon and then release in paperback, but piracy was super high with this one and not enough sales to compensate. I had at least three more planned after that (Hell Fire, Soul Spell, Demon Fall) but that’s on hold right now.
A new series with a pansexual serial killer main character was definitely a risk and one I don’t regret taking–readers who bought it tended to love it, and even if I don’t get to do all the things I was planning with it, I’m very glad to have at least some of Elis’s story out there.
And my last big public release of the year…
I started The Silent Places early in the year and wrote it in chunks at a time before finishing and revising it during my birthday holiday in September. It went through several rounds of revisions and edits and released December 8 2020.
I had absolutely no idea where this one would go with readers. And I still don’t really know–it’s early yet (a week since release). But the handful of people who’ve read it and reached out have loved it, and it’s the kind of deeply personal book I hope hits the right readers when they need it most. There was a lot I wanted to say about survivors, trauma, and the broken system that fails victims, and I feel like I’ve at least done that as well as I possibly can–which is is the most I can really do. (And it has a cover quote from LILITH-FREAKING-SAINTCROW so omg about that still.)
Thus far it’s done okay–it had more preorders than the next Livi Talbot novel (so far) and it’s sold better in a week than Blood Ties did in six months, at least. Which is not enough to live on but it’s promising nonetheless, and I’m hopeful that’ll bode well for the next domestic thriller currently simmering in my brain.
With releases out of the way, what writing did I actually finish?
- Blood Ties–I finished it in January so I’m counting it
- Yampellec’s Idol–aka Livi #5. The stars did not align to get it out by the end of the year, but I got the zero draft done by May (and wrote about 80K to top off what I’d already written last year), the first round of revision done, and I’m hoping to finish the next big round by the end of the year. It’s currently up for preorder.
- The Silent Places–started and finished this year.
- Asset’s Protocol–a West-POV short story specifically for patrons.
- My Heart With You–a long West-POV story briefly released at Patreon (contains a lot of spoilers for the future of the series)
Then I have a list of projects started. The two I’ll mention:
- Witch Hunt–Elis O’Connor #2. I had to take a break when the piracy hit but I’m a few chapters into it and it’ll likely shift to my priority in the near year when I’m through Livi #5’s revisions.
- Season of the Bitch–Elis O’Connor #0.5. It was supposed to be a fun Halloween short story for Patreon but of course it’s going to be longer than that. Several chapters have posted and it’ll conclude either this month or next.
I’ve other things in progress I’ll talk about more when they’re closer to completion, but I’ve gotten substantial work done on other books as well.
In such a messed up year–in which I broke my fucking foot and didn’t go to the ER “because pandemic”–I feel super grateful to have accomplished what I have, to get a few new stories out there against enormous odds, and to mostly keep my sanity throughout. I am incredibly grateful to all the readers, returning and new, who’ve invested in my existing series and embraced the new standalone thriller. I am, as always, stunned and humbled by my Patreon supporters, who’ve managed to stick with me during a goddamn global pandemic when things are so difficult for so many–they’re why the Livi Talbot series has continued, no question.
If you bought a book this year, got it from the library, told a friend, wrote a review–thank you, thank you, thank you.
The holiday plans are pretty low-key here; I’ve been in isolation since March and that’ll likely continue until late next year when I’m eligible for a vaccine. And even then, I think I’ll probably stay the fuck away from most people because humans are gross and I enjoy not having contact with the majority of them. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It’s better than last year’s last-minute struggle to put together some kind of Christmas, which was not a fun time to be sure; this year I already have the tree up (which Shawn is determined to topple, god help me) and all my plans are quiet and relaxing. Shoutout to my close friend Danni–she of Blood Ties and Damaged dedications (I wrote both books for her)–who is determined I not miss out despite being alone here. She’s singlehandedly ordered a massive Christmas dinner currently chilling in my freezer and cupboard, and delivered a stack of wrapped gifts for me and the cats (that yes, I’ve had to hide from Shawn). Themes of found family permeate my books, and she is an example of why; I know the very best people, and very rarely are they related by blood.
If you’re able to gather with people in your household this year, you’re very lucky. Please don’t forget those in your life who’ve possibly had no physical contact with other humans since March–it’s been a very long road for many who have been trying to do their part to not spread a deadly virus to the vulnerable, and it’s not going to be over any time soon. Reaching out with Zoom-type holiday greetings in lieu of parties, bringing by a plate of food or dropping takeout at the door, wrapping a small gift for under their tree if they have one–I’m very fortunate to have friends who think of these things but not everyone does. It helps those isolated to be treated as though they’re being thought of at all.
Otherwise I’ve grand plans to watch Wonder Woman: 1984, binge Bridgerton, and have a quiet spa day with the goodies in my stocking.
Regardless of your circumstances, I hope you carve out time for a much-deserved lovely holiday season. See you in the new year!