2018 State of the Siddoway

Blows cobwebs away and wipes off dust

Anybody there?

Man, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated the blog (if you want to get the most current news and updates about my books, you should sign up for my bi-monthly newsletter) but I’m a sucker for tradition and nothing is more traditional around here than my State of the Author and Author Resolutions posts! That being said, I’m combining tradition with a bit of a new approach for these two updates. They’ll both be rolled into one called — if you haven’t guessed based on the title of this post — State of the Siddoway. Yes, I know Brandon Sanderson does State of the Sanderson. No, I didn’t know that when I started writing State of the Author a few years back. Yes, I am paraphrasing with my last name now but hey, great artists don’t copy, they steal!

Now back to the stuff you actually care about.

2018 quick recap

This year will go down as one of the most pivotal of my life. First and foremost, I married the most amazing woman who is my #1 fan and a huge supporter of my writing career. Sometime between wedding plans and beginning a new life I managed to keep writing. Although I didn’t have any new releases this year, I published the Gryphon Riders Trilogy Boxed Set and released the series out in audio form as well! After the crazy grind of 2017, I had a hard time getting back to writing my 3,000 words per day and as such, the rough drafts of Djinn Tamer 1 and 2 took longer than I had planned. The entire series was supposed to be finished by October, but we’re just getting ready to do book 3 now (more on that later).

Overall, though, I think I managed to strike a healthy balance between life, the day job and writing. It’s a lot to take in but being consistent with the same amount of manageable words each day goes a long way.

  • January – February: Djinn Tamer Planning
  • March – July: Djinn Tamer: Starter rough draft, Gryphon Riders Trilogy Boxed Set publication
  • August: Wedding bells
  • September – November: Gryphon Outcast Trilogy planning, Djinn Tamer: Rivals rough draft, Gryphons Riders Trilogy audiobook launch
  • December: Holding Out rough draft, 4 book Teutevar series planning

2018 by the numbers

Estimated rough draft words written (books only): 165,000+
Books published: 4

  • The Gryphon Riders Trilogy Boxed Set
  • Windsworn (Audiobook)
  • Windswept (Audiobook)
  • Windbreak (Audiobook)

Best of 2018 (in no particular order)

Movies

Ballad of Buster Scruggs
This was just some gorgeous storytelling all around that covered the spectrum of human emotion. Plus I love westerns! Check out this movie on Netflix

Hostiles
A masterful, heart-wrenching film with an amazing cast. (And another western!)

Bohemian Rhapsody
A great look into the foundations of Queen, this movie inspired me as a creative. The soundtrack was going to be great regardless, but was really utilized to full effect.

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse
I didn’t expect to love the latest Spider-Man as much as I did. An all around fantastic blend of animation, writing and acting. My favorite Spidey installment so far.

Books

Age of War (audiobook) by Michael Sullivan, narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds
What an end to this book! I’m eagerly awaiting the fourth

Ready Player One (audiobook) by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton
Wil Wheaton was a phenomenal narrator and I just loved this book all the way around. The movie, sadly, was not at the same level.

Mistborn – The Final Empire, The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning (audiobooks) by Brandon Sanderson, narrated by Michael Kramer
I only started my Sanderson journey in 2017 but loved the end of the first Mistborn trilogy and enjoyed the western flare in the second era series almost as much. Michael Kramer brings these books to life!

Dragon Age: The Calling & Dragon Age: Stolen Throne by David Gaider
Any fan of the Dragon Age games will love these books and the author is one of the writers from Dragon Age: Origins!

Fire and Blood by George RR Martin
I was wary going into this but there have been several nights when I’ve stayed up way too late reading up the history of the Targaryens in Westeros. It’s not Winds of Winter, but still an excellent read for GOT fans.

The Bear and the Serpent by Adrian Tchaikovsky
An intriguing second book in this series that took some twists I wasn’t expecting. I enjoyed the continued exploration of this quasi- North American fantasy world with shape-shifting tribes. I’ve already got the third on pre-order when it releases in January.

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
A solid narrator takes a great book to a whole ‘nother level. Such was the case with Kings of the Wyld, one of my favorite books of 2018 and quite possibly in my all-time list.

Orconomics & Son of a Liche by J Zachary Pike
I don’t read many humorous books and I don’t want to bill this series as such. Instead, I’d call it clever, hilarious fantasy with realistic, enjoyable characters and a more complex storyline than you might expect at first glance. Bring on the third!

Games

Pokemon Let’s Go
Yes, this game is a bit dumbed down but it’s just fun to play. Loved returning to the Pokemon Yellow of my childhood and hope this offshoot of the franchise continues making installments. A great, nostalgic game.

Most anticipated of 2019

GOT final season
I’m sure the grand finale will be well worth the wait…I suppose that applies for the books, too ;). Excited to see how everything shakes out.

The Hyena and the Hawk by Adrian Tchaikovsky
As I mentioned above, this series took some unexpected twists in book two. I love this world and can’t wait to see what the author does with the direction

Star Wars IX
I didn’t hate The Last Jedi but I didn’t rave over it, either. The last installment in this trilogy will make or break all three, in my opinion and I’m curious to see how JJ Abrams ties up all these loose ends floating about.

Age of Legend by Michael Sullivan
Age of War ended in an interesting place and it almost feels like Age of Legend will begin a new trilogy of sorts within the series. July is too far away!

What went well

Read more books
I really started leaning more into audiobooks in 2018 which allowed me to take a hack out of my wishlist on Amazon (that’s exclusively made up of books). At any given time, I’m probably in the middle of two print books, two ebooks and one audiobook. My non-fiction backed off a little this year, but I think listening to the written word and reading more fiction has helped to improve my writing voice.

More intentional with projects
It may not feel like it looking at my production schedule, but I’ve really narrowed my focus over the last year. All of the shiny, distracting ideas still pop up, but I’ve done a much better job filing them away for future reference. I can’t remember where I heard this from, but one author talked about how you never need to worry about forgetting an idea — the good ones always come back to you. While I’m still in the habit of chalking most of my idea down, I’ve definitely noticed that some characters and books refuse to be stored away.

What didn’t go well

This wasn’t exactly a negative, but I definitely had a hard time getting back into the swing of things after the furious pace of Gryphon Riders. There were plenty of things going on in my life to distract from writing (and many deservedly so) but even when I made time to crank out some words, it hit my flow much less frequently. I attribute this to a burnout from my production in 2017. I finally got past it in October-November and learned the importance of striking a balance. In order to keep the books rolling, I’ll be working with a number of authors in the coming years (see below for details).

A look at 2019

Man, this part is always fun to write, even if I can just look back at it in December on next year and get a good laugh. That being said, I’ve got a solid, achievable plan in place for 2019. It’s a little surreal to reach the point in my author career that readers are asking when I will be getting back to different series. It also make deciding what to write next harder, because I want to do it all! That being said, whether you’re a fan of the Gryphon Riders Trilogy, Teutevar Saga or anticipating the upcoming Djinn Tamers books, you should be able to get your hands on all three in 2019. I hope this will clear up some of the questions I’ve been getting lately about when I’ll be writing what:

Gryphon Riders

The bad news: I originally anticipated writing a three-book novella series in the Gryphon Riders world January through April. That project has been put on hold as I finish Djinn Tamer: Evolution (Book 3) and go into the planning and outlining for another series we’ll discuss in a minute.

The good news: I’m currently writing a short story in the Gryphon Riders world for an anthology coming out late spring/early summer 2019. Holding Out features a familiar golden gryphon and his rider, but I don’t want to give away anything else ;). The anthology as a whole should be excellent — there are some amazing authors joining in.

More good news:

Aside from Holding Out, I am also working with an author to produce a second Gryphon Riders Trilogy. I say produce, because I won’t be the one writing it but the project will be under my direction and revision to ensure everything fits right into the world. The Gryphon Outcast Trilogy featuring A.J. Cerna (my co-author on the Djinn Tamer series) will be released late summer/fall 2019. We’ve already completed a decent amount of the outline and I’m excited to share more in the coming months. The story takes place a few decades after the events of Windbreak and features a new cast of characters. Don’t worry, though, plenty of familiar faces will make appearances, too!

Teutevar Saga

It’s always great to hear from someone who wants to know when Teutevar Saga Book 3 is coming out. My answer as of now (December 2018) is probably not until 2020 or 2021. But don’t call me George R. R. Martin just yet!

I’ve wanted to get back to the world of Peldrin since the completion of the Gryphon Riders Trilogy and am happy to announce that a quartet of books (not just three, but four) are in the works. Outlining will take place late spring 2019 and writing the rough drafts of all four from June – December. Anticipated release of book one is January 2020. I’m working with another author on this series and there’s still a lot to work out so I can’t give away too many details but here’s a little snippet of the story premise: a coming of age story featuring a Valkyrie girl and her Amarok wolf.

I’ve also got a novella about Shamus and Brinhold that I would love to release when it makes sense. The rough draft has been completed since…2014, I think. It needs a solid revision and some edits but is otherwise good to go. If 2019 is the year that happens I’ll be sure to spread the word in advance.

Djinn Tamer

It’s a really great feeling when I’m reading the finished draft of a book and I can’t stop turning the pages. That’s the way I feel reading Djinn Tamer: Starter. I can’t wait to get it published on February 8. This series has been delayed a few months but the wait has made the books better. It will also result in them being released closer together, too! If you haven’t caught the synopsis in one of my emails yet, have a read:

Tame. Train. Battle.

Fans of Pokémon, Digimon, and Monster Rancher will love this monster-battling take on the LitRPG genre!

Jackson Hunt wants nothing more than to be a professional monster tamer — skilled trainers who raise and battle magical creatures called djinn. He longs for the day when he comes of age and can leave home to pursue his dreams of taming djinn.

Unfortunately for Jackson, dreams and reality don’t always coincide.

To help his grandmother make ends meet, Jackson spends his days doing manual labor on a breeder’s ranch — just about as far removed from the bright lights and roaring crowds of the (Djinn Fighting League) as it gets. But no matter how hard Jackson and his grandma try, it’s never enough.

Facing bank foreclosure, Jackson is desperate to save his home but has no idea how… until he discovers a young, untrained djinn left behind for him by his dead mother.

As time runs out, Jackson works tirelessly to raise and develop a bond with his djinn. But monster taming isn’t as easy as the pros make it look. Along the way, Jackson and his friends will delve into the shady world of underground fighting, experience the agony of defeat and learn what it takes to be a true monster tamer.

Will Jackson and his djinn level up fast enough or is his dream destined to die before it even truly begins?

We also did a redesign of the covers and now that they’re all done, here’s a first look:

Other plans

In addition to planning, writing and producing all of the books above, I really want to make Patreon happen in 2019. I’ve already been working on a plan for the different tiers and rewards and am really excited to share. When complete, my Patreon will showcase exclusive art, and some really awesome patron-only rewards. Stay tuned for more!

Another interesting project I’ve been dabbling in and want to do more consistently next year is hand-copying passages from my favorite authors and books. I’ve found this to be a great way to study writing styles of other authors.

Conclusion

2018 was a huge step forward in my career and 2019 is shaping up to be even more amazing. I’m involved with several really exciting projects and can’t wait for readers to experience all three of the worlds that will have new books out in the coming year. Whether you’re a fan of Gryphon Riders, an old school Teutevar reader or you’re looking forward to Djinn Tamers, it’s going to be a fun ride!

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