Here’s to another year in the books and the unwritten chapter ahead of us! November 2023 marked my ten-year anniversary as a published author. It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since a young indie author first uploaded Out of Exile to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Reflecting over the past decade of my author career, I’ve made many mistakes and learned much along the way. I’ve leveled up my storytelling chops and have come to know hundreds of readers. This support helps me each time I sit down to plot a new book. I’m grateful for your time and kind words as I continue honing my craft and chasing this wild dream.
I’ve spent more time thinking about my writing career this year than perhaps any other to this point. I suffered a strong bout of burnout in late winter/early spring that led to a self evaluation of where I am, and, more importantly, where I’m headed. I learned to give myself a little pat on the back when my default is to push harder and chastise myself for slacking off. While some of my goals and dreams have changed as part of this internal evaluation, my desire to continue improving my craft has not.
January – February
Storm Totem revisions engulfed my life for the first two months of the year. On a tight deadline, I somehow added nearly 7,000 words to my second draft, after the developmental edits. We also launched the Storm Totem Kickstarter in February to great success. Shout out to every Backer!
Copy edits for Storm Totem came down to the wire to finish in time for scheduled audiobook narration.
Burnout struck hard after the launch of A Spring for Spears (not because of anything related to the SFS launch). I struggled to find any creative energy with the outline and draft of Sword Summer before me (again, not related to the specific project). In retrospect, I wrung myself dry to get through Storm Totem at the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022. Something finally gave. I found my creative energy at an all-time low.
May – June
The months of Kickstarter fulfillment and Sword Summer. Slowly but surely, I chipped away at the outline and the story took shape. Setting aside time in my schedule to read more and find other creative sources helped me get back on track.
July – August
With a chunk of world lore taken care of, we began production on the Elestrals short stories. This was a fun shift to a different world and format (I don’t write short stories often) that also helped recharge my creative batteries. Beast Mage launched on Amazon and Audible in August to a roaring start (my best release since Gryphon Riders). Elestrals work continued throughout the rest of the year.
Somehow, summer came and went. Storm Totem launched on Amazon and Audible to great success, just like Beast Mage. Team Siddoway had a blast at Fan X hanging out with Katie Cross and meeting new and old readers alike. We’re already set to return to Fan X in 2024. See you there!
Return of the Gryphon Riders (sort of)! The Gryphon Riders Kickstarter wasn’t something I had planned at the beginning of 2023 but slowly took shape over the summer. Thanks for making the first ever Derek Alan Siddoway omnibus a reality! I can’t wait to get the first proof in hand early next year.
I celebrated 10 years as an author and got to work revising Katie’s draft of Sword Summer. Here’s to the next decade!
Sword Summer revisions wrapped up mid-month, and I turned my attention to the State of the Siddoway, as well as ironing out the details in my 2024 production schedule.
Storm Totem successfully launched on Kickstarter in February, with the consensus being the sequel was even better than Beast Mage. After some extensive revisions, the world and Kellen’s character really expanded (in my not so humble opinion). Given how tight production was for Storm Totem, I’m baking in some additional time for Mana Beasts 3. We’re at a critical point in the story where the series plot needs to be watertight. Speaking of Mana Beasts 3, expect to see it in Fall 2024. This breaks the spring release schedule from the first two books, I know. I promise, the wait will be worth it!
Wolf Song Saga
I wrapped up revisions on Sword Summer a week ago and now the book is off to Katie to narrate! After originally listing the pre-order as “Fall 2023”, Sword Summer is scheduled for release on Friday, February 2, 2024. We appreciate your patience as we’ve navigated busy schedules and unexpected events in our personal lives to get this book ready to go. Sword Summer is a bit shorter than A Spring for Spears. That said, I think the story expands the world and our characters. Katie and I both had a great time writing it and can’t wait to share it with you. While the world of Wolf Song is fresh on my mind, I’m going straight into plotting and outlining for book three, Autumn of Axes, in January.
We’re writing a Silver League book in 2024! Will it release in 2024? Probably not. What matters is that A.J. and I are committed to get this next installment into Jackson’s story underway. We’ve had a couple of great planning meets already and will sit down soon to map things out so the words can flow in the second half of next year. After listening to Djinn Tamer fans and some internal consideration, we’ve decided to postpone Syndicate’s release until after the first few Silver League stories are out. (This may or may not mean we’ll have some cool crossovers in the works).
I’m constantly amazed and humbled by the number of readers who reach out asking about Silver League. It makes my day every time I get a message. Thank you for your patience—you’re the best! We’re dedicated to making Silver League an amazing ride.
A Gryphon Riders thing happened this year! We recently concluded the Gryphon Riders Deluxe Limited Edition Omnibus in November. Huge shout out to everyone who supported this project. Revisiting the world of Altaris and its characters felt like a homecoming. Production on the omnibus should begin early 2024. As soon as Kickstarter fulfillment concludes, we’ll take stock of how many copies we have left. Eventually the remaining ones will be for sale via my author bookstore, so if you missed the campaign, keep your eyes open!
I’ve got plans for a new Gryphon Riders novella that I’m looking forward to writing (perhaps even a series?). I expect that will be a 2025 project, however, as I work to close out some other series first.
Over the past few years, I’ve grown an impressive Evernote file with all sorts of plans and ideas for the Teutevar Saga rewrite. Experiencing the Red Rising series this year inspired me even further. I love the world of Peldrin and the characters in it. I can’t commit to a timeline for the rewrites, but if you’re a fan of Teutevar, be assured that it’s building up steam behind the scenes.
I’m blessed to be part of the Elestrals team! Building and shaping an entire universe that exists in so many formats is such a rewarding experience. And we’re just getting started! If you followed along with the Elestrals Kickstarter, you’ll know I’ve been brought on to produce eight short stories in the world. One is in post-production (final edits) and the second isn’t far behind. If you loved Djinn Tamer and Mana Beasts, you won’t want to miss these! Stay tuned for an official announcement regarding their release schedule.
I recommitted to my weekly Pokemon news email this year and am proud to say it’s still going strong. Writing in Cooltrainer Ace’s voice in each Thursday’s newsletter and sharing the latest Pokemon happenings is a nice change of pace from fiction. If you’re a fan of anything Pokemon and haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for?
- Books finished/revised: 3
- Books published: 2
- Rough draft words written: ~49,262
- Words revised: ~258,629
- Books read: 48
- 2024 – Elestrals Shorts, Autumn of Axes (Wolf Song #3), Mana Beasts #3, Djinn Tamer: Silver League (production)
- 2025 – Djinn Tamer: Silver League, Mana Beasts #4
- 2026 – Mana Beasts #5
- 2027 – Mana Beasts #6
- 2028 – Mana Beasts #7
- TBD: Gryphon Riders, Teutevar Saga relaunch, Djinn Tamer: Gold League. 48