Does anyone else feel like 2020 and 2021 blended together into a weird mega year? Certainly many amazing things happened in 2021, but much of the stress and anxiety of the previous year held on like a guard dog grabbing a burglar’s leg.
As I reflect on the past twelve months, I have a greater appreciation for the quiet times amidst the chaos. I’ve been thinking of the future in a new light and trying to enjoy the present. Maybe that’s because I became a parent this year, or perhaps it has something to do with reaching the ripe old age of thirty. Both require a heavy dose of introspection. Or maybe it’s just new dad brain?
Patience might have been the defining trait of the year. I wrote two books (nearly a quarter million words when you add them up). Given there’s only two weeks left in the year, it’s probably not a surprise that neither will release in 2021. I like to think that both lay the foundation for my next phase as an author, in terms of quality and process. I’m looking forward to sharing these new characters and adventures with you.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. It’s equally hard to give yourself credit for how far you’ve hiked through the forest when the path behind you bends out of sight from where you started.
Year in Review
January – February
Between juggling a day job affected by COVID-19 (including vaccine roll outs), and a Master’s Degree, I began work on A Spring for Spears, the first book in the Wolf Song Saga. I wasn’t writing consistently every day, just enough to keep the writing muscles warmed up and the story fresh in my mind.
March – May
With school behind me, writing for Spears (not a Britney biography, by the way) kicked up to 5-6 days per week on average. Our baby was due at the end of June and I wanted to leave myself enough time before then to work on the outline of Beast Mage. I wrapped up Spears on May 29 (30,000 words over my original mark) and took a deep breath.
June – July
After tinkering around with the idea for the Mana Beasts series for almost two years, I finally got to work on the project. This involved a significant amount of research into North, Central and South American native civilizations, with a focus on the Pre-Columbian period. Side note: did you chewing gum in Mesoamerica was socially unacceptable for anyone except old people or women of a certain (eh-hem) profession? Aside from historical research, I also worked on the world building of this new series, including the magic system and a fairly extensive map. The latter provided a welcome creative outlet in a medium aside from writing. Don’t ask how many hours I tinkered away on it. Baby came in July, which moved my focus almost entirely away from writing. It was a miraculous, exhausting, life-changing time.
August – November
Balancing a new addition to the family, I focused these four months on finalizing the outline of Mana Beasts book one, which came to be known as Beast Mage. With copious research notes, the outline, and world building documents in place, I started writing! Much like Spears, Beast Mage grew into a much larger book than planned, finished around 20,000 words over the mark. I finished on Thanksgiving Day, only a day after my original deadline!
Aside from the regular holiday happenings that geared back up after last year’s hiatus, I’ve spent the month planning out 2022 (more on that in a moment) and giving my website a much needed redesign. This amounted to a total makeover on the site, which you’re seeing right now if you’re reading this. I’m due to get Spears revisions back from my co-writer next week. Beast Mage is out with the content editor and beta readers as we speak.
The first book in this series, Beast Mage, is scheduled for a late spring launch. January – February 2022 are dedicated to revisions and edits. I will complete the final draft by the end of February, then send it off to the narrator for recording the first part of March. If you haven’t heard, you can read the rough draft now on Royal Road.
Beast Mage will be my most unique launch to date. After releasing the rough draft on Patreon, and then on Royal Road, I’m launching a Kickstarter in the late March-early April range to allow me to release the audiobook, paperback and ebook simultaneously. After the Kickstarter campaign is fulfilled, the book will be available for early purchase direct from me via my Shopify store before being published on the major platforms such as Amazon Kindle. I’m planning on all of this for the first half of the year. Fans of Djinn Tamer will really enjoy this new series. Book two begins production in Fall 2022!
Wolf Song Saga
Our original plan was to release A Spring for Spears in February 2022. Then, my co-writer, Katie, and I, both realized we had other launches coming in March. As a reader, I’m sure it sounds awesome to get two new books from an author you like in back-to-back months. That doesn’t work so well from the author’s logistical standpoint, unfortunately. Our new plan is to launch the book in Spring 2023, allowing us time to stockpile write the rest of the series. This means that all four books in the Wolf Song Saga will come out between Spring 2023 and the beginning of Winter 2024.
I can’t wait for everyone to meet Astrid. I think this collaboration with Katie Cross will be an absolute hit with my readers, especially the Gryphon Riders fans. Work on Sword Summer (book two) begins as soon as January or February, when Katie and I get together to rehash and finalize the outline. There’s a chance I’ll start on book three, Autumn of Axes next year, too.
After nearly three years, we announced a new Djinn Tamer book was in the works. Co-written with a new author that we connected with through last year’s State of the Siddoway, Djinn Tamer: Syndicate is not a continuation of Jackson’s story (fear not, we haven’t forgotten about Jackson and the Silver League). I believe fans of the series will still love this spin-off, featuring a new continent and brand-new Djinn. My role with Syndicate is more of a director or producer, meaning I won’t be writing or revising, but I had a large role in creating the book’s outline and will read the book before we publish it to suggest any last changes or additions. Syndicate is being written now and a rough draft should be completed by January. Look for a release late summer or early fall of 2022. Production on Silver League may start sometime next year, however I can’t commit to a date.
I know, I know. I haven’t forgotten about Gryphon Riders. In fact, I had all the intentions in the world to begin work on a rough draft of a new book this fall. My only excuse is: newborn baby. For any parents out there, no further explanation is required. For everyone else, all I’ll say is sleep is underrated, but so are babies. When they’re yours, anyway. I have a basic story outlined and truly want to return to Altaris as soon as the timing works out. Right now, that looks like it might not be until 2023. With two new series launching, I’m committed to finishing Wolf Song Saga before beginning another series in the Gryphon Riders universe. And as I mentioned above, I think Gryphon Riders readers will love Wolf Song Saga.
My note above about being committed to finishing series before starting new ones is directly related to Teutevar Saga. As I said in last year’s update, the only progress with Teutevar is via Wolf Song Saga, which is set during an earlier time in the same world. Given what I’ve heard from readers, I won’t begin work on the overhaul of Teutevar Saga until at least one new Gryphon Riders book is out. I heard y’all loud and clear!
I’ve got an absolutely full slate for 2022 and no one is more ready than me to release some new books! My Discord, Patreon and text community all started this year and have been a great way to get to know you. Come hang out! Each platform offers unique ways for us to stay in touch along with other perks or chances to meet other awesome readers. I’m focusing on adding even more value and entertainment to all three platforms in 2022.
I can’t say it enough: THANK YOU to each and every reader who helps make my dream a reality. Keep riding for the brand!