Hello You Beautiful New Year

There’s a lot of weirdness we’re pulling away from as we leave 2016 behind; a crazy election year, a heavy focus on the passing of celebrities, new life being brought back into old words, and chances to grow and expand in our lives. I’ve been altered heavily over the past twelve months (for better or worse), and the next dozen are terrifying. The change, the loss, the creation, and the opportunity to forge a new year is scary when the road is open to you. But I think it’s important to pause and look back at some of the largest events of the past year before we dive forward into what 2017 may bring us.

The two biggest events for me in 2016 took place in the birth of summer and the birth of winter. Through March to May of last year I and several other gamers rebooted Hiddengrid. June saw the release of our Patreon, our first Season 3 episodes, and the first real income of the year. It’s been a slow burn these past seven months but I’m happy to see the folks supporting us. We’ve only missed a few weeks, and with good reason considering the next big 2016 event, but overall, I’m proud of the work we’ve done. Our episodes are shorter, more focused, and we’ve got a strong group of gamers supporting us. Like before though, not everyone can keep with the episodes long term.

The other big event took place two weeks ago. My dear friend, writing partner, and creative consultant, Andrew Eckhart, passed away sometime in the morning hours of December 21, 2016.  Andrew was the author of Last Mage: The Interview, a fun, Whovian-esque novel he wrote as part of a serial fiction challenge. The two of us raced on writing projects while he wrote that book. I finished my draft of the Key Worlds novel, Rebin, before he finished Last Mage, but of those two works only one of them is published. Andrew was a major inspiration to me, and there’s not a piece of fiction I’ve written since we met in 2009 that didn’t have some impact from him. We worked on podcasts together ranging from the Trans-Dimensional Café to two seasons of the Hiddengrid. We gamed together, wrote together, and challenged each other to greater heights. 2017 was supposed to be his year as he was planning on taking two-three months off the day job to focus on writing. This week would have been the two of us working on writing sprints together, but those dreams are scattered. I’m flying solo now.

It’s time to look ahead. 2017 needs to be a year of transformation and beginnings. The early part of the year will see the publication of my first book. The current goal is Valentine’s day, February 14, 2017. I’m only a few chapters away at this point from finishing the first draft and ideally, I’ll have it completed by the end of next week. The update post next Tuesday will let you know if I’m on track with that. I’ll also working on new short fiction and possibly flash fiction once the first draft of Doppelganger is completed. By this time in April I expect to have increased my fiction offers to reach a novel, two short stories, and possible a collection of previous works. I’m iffy on that last bit. By the end of the year I want a second novel and at least ten short stories available to buy. I’ve already got pricing ready, I just need to write the damn things.

Beyond writing, podcasting will see a spark of activity in the coming weeks. Hiddennode posts will become a weekly thing again, although those will mostly reflect these weekly blog posts. Hiddengrid has some plans for the second quarter but for the next three months we’re looking at keeping the status quo. I’ll also be generating more content for Seize the GM, so head over there to you want to see some more of my RPG focused writing. I’ve been told my “stat blocks” for the podcast are a bit larger than the show can handle, so I’ll be writing shorter ones for the podcast and longer ones for the blog posts.

Finally, one of the aspects I’ve been missing from my 2016 activity has been reading and reviewing fiction. I’ve been bad about getting into other books and I need to take part in the writing from others if I’m going to improve my craft. In 2015 I had taken time started to work on studying other novels from a craft perspective but for some reason I stopped when I started to write full time. Now’s a good year to change that. I’d like to resolve to read 26 novels this year. More would be ideal but I think one every two weeks is a reasonable goal.