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State of the Siddoway 2022

Intro

It’s becoming a standard line in these posts for me to exclaim how fast the year has gone. With 2022, it was probably because the year was such a fantastic one. I’ve got many things to be grateful for in my author career and amazing readers are at the top of the list. In 2022, I learned to write while being a dad, which meant adjusting to get those words in during the early morning as much as possible. It made me waste less free time and identify little windows to get the work in. Hard work all around, but rewarding! Let’s get into it the nitty gritty.

Year breakdown

January – February

The suggestions from alpha readers and developmental edits on Beast Mage were fairly significant, including restructuring the midpoint of the book. Got through those in the nick of time to turn the book back to the copy editor and implement those edits. This felt like an absolute knock-down, drag out slog to get the book to Travis on schedule for narration. The launch of the Kickstarter made up for it by being an amazing experience and I’m pleased with how Beast Mage turned out.

March

The month of the Kickstarter! I can’t say enough how grateful I am for anyone who supported the launch of Beast Mage in this format, or later on in the year during the regular release. This had to be the most exciting launch I’ve ever done, and the format is one I’ll be using for most releases moving forward. We had a blast over the wild weeks of the campaign and can’t wait to bring you Mana Beasts 2 early next year.

April

Wrapped up the Kickstarter and got to work on fulfillment, including commissioning a map of Oras and lining up a few other digital pieces that weren’t already finished. All the nuts and bolts!

May-July

Continued Kickstarter fulfillment, including the audiobook and ebook, over this time. I also worked on the series outline for Mana Beasts and started writing the Mana Beasts 2 rough draft. It was a rough beginning to the rough draft, to say the least. After some struggles, I pushed on and wrote without a solid outline in place and made it through about 20,000 words this way.

August

Kickstarter paperbacks arrived! Spent several days holed up signing copies of Beast Mage, the Gryphon Riders Trilogy and Djinn Tamer before shipping them out. COVID went through the family at the start of this month, the first time for all of us. Thankfully, no one was too sick, but it knocked us out of commission for about a week. Later in the month, Katie and I decided to overhaul A Spring for Spears and take it out of the Teutevar Saga universe, which required a heavy revision to the already-finished manuscript.

September

Spent most of the month retooling the world that Wolf Song Saga takes place in and then finishing the overhaul of Spring for Spears. We had quite a few setting, and lore changes. The story remained mostly the same. I finished up just in time for Fan-X in Salt Lake City, my first convention as an author! My wife, Katie Cross, A.J. Cerna and Kiersten Michele had a great time at our booth meeting old and new readers alike. Katie, Brianna, and I are returning next year and would love to meet you if you’re at the con!

October – November

With Spring for Spears and Fan-X in the rearview it was time to turn back to Mana Beasts 2. I ended up doing a decent revision of the 20k words I already had and finally nailed down an outline of the entire book I was happy with. It became an all-out sprint at the end, but I finished by my November 18 deadline. I also worked on some of the lore and marketing copy for the Elestrals Trading Card Game which launched on Kickstarter in November and successfully funded. I’m excited to announce I’m in contract negotiations to continue working on the project by writing additional short stories/lore chapters throughout 2023. 

December

I wrapped up my version 1.5 draft of Mana Beasts 2 and sent it off to the developmental editor and my alpha readers. While I wait on their feedback, I’m working on the outline for Sword Summer, the sequel to Spring for Spears and the second book in the Wolf Song Saga. I’m also doing some preliminary work to prepare for the Mana Beasts 2 Kickstarter. We’ve got a tentative date of early February for launch. Before we kick off 2023, I’ll also go through my entire production schedule for the year and be all ready to rock when the new year arrives!

Project Updates:

Mana Beasts

Chugging right along! Fingers crossed the revisions of book two won’t be quite as extensive as book one. The plan is to start cracking on book three sometime next spring and hopefully get it out before the end of next year. The next audio recording slot I have with Travis Baldree isn’t until fall, so don’t expect it out before then since I’m committed to releasing audio alongside the ebook and paperback. I’ve got special plans for the Kickstarter for book three. The plan is to offer a hardcover set of the first three Mana Beasts books alongside the paperback, audio and ebook of book three. Excited to write it and make the hardcovers available!

Wolf Song Saga

A Spring for Spears is about halfway through audio recording, slated for a late spring release. (For real this time, I promise!). As I mentioned above, I’m working on the Sword Summer outline in the last two weeks of 2022. We had it mostly finished before the changes to A Spring for Spears required me to go back and rework the plot to fit in the revised story world. This one has been a long time coming. I know y’all want another Gryphon Riders book. That said, I think fans of that series will love this one just as much!

Djinn Tamer

Now we’re getting into uncharted waters. Syndicate, the Djinn Tamer spinoff, is still chugging along. I know everyone is eager for Silver League and it’s long overdue. I promise you all that A.J. and I are talking about it and figuring out how we can work it into our production schedules. It’s flattering to hear from so many people who enjoyed Bronze League and have been waiting for more. We’ll make it happen, I promise.

Gryphon Riders

This is the same boat as Djinn Tamer. I’d love to get back to this world. I’m hesitant to commit to when because it’s a finished trilogy right now and I don’t like having loose ends in a series (more on that when we get to Teutevar). At the end of this year, I’d planned to write a Gryphon Riders novella. With a few surprises this fall in my personal and author life, it didn’t happen. Moving forward, I’m still trying to work in something with Gryphon Riders when I have an opening, likely a shorter, novella-length story. This year marks 5 years since the release of Windsworn. I’ve been tempted to release a hardcover of the trilogy at some point to celebrate.

Teutevar Saga

It seems like I’ve had more readers ask about Teutevar this year than in the last three before combined. For those who aren’t familiar, this is my first published series, and includes a novella and two full-length books. At this point, it’s been eight years since the last book came out. I love the world and the characters and will return to is someday. That being said, my plan is to do a complete overhaul/rewrite of the existing books whenever that happens, which means I’ll have to block out a solid chunk of time to undertake that project.

2022 Stats

  • Books finished/revised: 2
  • Books published: 1
  • Rough draft words written: ~97,000
  • Words revised ~200,000
  • Books read: 33

What’s next

I’m setting up a process that will allow me to make 2023 one of my heaviest writing years in, well, years. My production calendar includes four books: Mana Beasts 2 and 3, A Spring for Spears, and Sword Summer (both in the Wolf Song Saga), plus writing on the Elestrals project and a few secret projects I’m hoping to fit in. If I don’t tell you what they are, you can’t be disappointed if they don’t happen!

It’s been an incredible year. I wasn’t sure how either the Kickstarter would go or the direct-from-me launch that followed for Beast Mage. You all pulverized our expectations, to say the least. I truly appreciate your support as readers, especially in such a wild economic landscape. I wish you a Merry Christmas (or a happy holiday of any kind that you celebrate) and an amazing 2023. As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing. Thanks for riding for the brand through another trip around the sun.

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