So...we’re two weeks into 2011, and I’m doing a New Year’s post. But I have an excuse! My brother and his wife (and I) couldn’t get time off until halfway through Jan, so my family had Christmas last week. We went to the Everglades with my parents and then came back and checked out the new Harry Potter theme park at Universal. A good time was had by all. My guests left yesterday, and this is my last day of vacation. As far as I’m concerned, the Holidays just ended, and the new year has begun.
So I’m gonna do a bit of review.
A decade ago, in 2001, I’d graduated with my first degree (in biology) and been accepted to Purdue school of veterinary Medicine. However, by the end of the year (the first semester), I’d decided that I didn’t want to be a vet. It was one of the toughest (and best) decisions I ever made. However, I was deeply depressed and directionless for months afterward. I ended up in counseling and on medication. The horrible uncertainty would not end for another two years as I tried lit grad school, then teaching, and then finally set out on the path to anesthesia via nursing. I did all this to find a career that was compatible with my art.
In 2010, the academic chapter of my life finally came to a close. It was a big year for me - a lot of major transition. In Dec of 2009, I graduated from anesthesia school - probably (hopefully) the last and most stressful academic achievement of my life.
I don’t remember Christmas. I was studying for boards. I had an expensive degree and no way to use it until I passed that test. It wasn’t the hardest test I’ve ever taken, but it had the most riding on it. If I failed, I wasn’t sure how I’d keep it together economically or mentally. I have never felt so alone as I felt walking in to take that exam. It’s impossible to adequately articulate my elation and relief when I got that last question and knew - KNEW - before I even saw the piece of paper - that I’d passed. My New Year started Jan 15. A very difficult chapter of my life was over.
Then things got busy. I’d already signed on with JLR in Orlando, but I couldn’t bring myself to initiate any of the relocation process, or even take their money, until I knew I’d passed boards. Once I had my license, everything kicked in to gear. I moved from Oregon to Florida with my two cats. I bought a car, rented a house, and bought livingroom furniture - all for the first time in my life. I wasn’t able to start work until April, due to the credentialing process, but I had plenty to do. After I started working, I honed, tweaked, and practiced the skills I’d learned in school. I insisted and was finally put into OB service. I gained a new respect for my academic program. They taught me well. All that stress paid off.
I created a podcasting closet in my new house and insulated it. I bought new and better recording equipment. I had started releasing Cowry Catchers on the day I graduated. It seems odd, even to me, that I created so much audio during the busiest years of my life, but that creative outlet kept me sane. Over the course of 2010, Cowry Catchers earned me the most engaged audience I’ve ever had. Over the course of 2010, I released the full cast audio of the first 2 books of CC and got a better handle on marketing and advertising.
In April, I tried selling a short story on the Prophet podcast with moderate success. In Oct, I took what I’d learned from that and tried selling a Cowry Catchers story. That story has paid me 10 cents per word at this point, after all expenses. In Dec, I started selling eBooks. My writing has grossed about $670 this year. I’ve spent far more than I’ve earned (don’t get excited, IRS!), but this is still a landmark. I’ve never received that much for my writing. No magazine would pay me what I can generate for myself. I built a platform, launched a piece of fiction from it, and it flew! Near the end of the year, I taught myself to create eBooks, and by the beginning of January, Cowry Catchers 1 and 2 were available in the Kindle store and elsewhere.
In addition to all that, I adopted a 3rd cat, dated a guy who was not an Adventist (a rewarding experience, if kind of a sad finale), took a trip to Greece in a sailboat with 4 other people, and told my parents something important, but difficult. I went to my first sci-fi convention (Dragon Con - LOVED it), and got much more involved with the podcasting community as I involved more voice actors in my projects.
It’s been a really good year - hectic, stressful, satisfying, jumbled, terrifying, and glorious.
I hope 2011 will be a bit calmer and more focused. I have a contract wtih JLR, which will keep me here until at least April of 2012, and that’s the time frame that I’m looking at for some of my current projects. I podcasted 2 (of 5) Cowry Catchers books last year in fullcast audio. Fullcast is a lot of work, but tremendously rewarding. I’d like to get Books 3 and 4 out this year and then Book 5 done by April of next year. The illustrated eBooks will have to wait on the audio, because I don’t typically get all the illustrations until near release time. However, I may release the entire text as a package for $9.99 around the end of Book 3’s podcast.
I’ve got ambitious writing goals for 2011. My plan is to get up an hour early each morning and spend 20 minutes exercising and 40 minutes writing. On some days, I’ll probably write more than that, but even if I don’t, I can finish books at that rate. I’d like to write one novel, one novella, and write or finish at least half a dozen short stories.
The novel is The Scarlet Albatross - a dirigible story that happens in Wefrivain right after the end of the events in Cowry Catchers. It’s a stand-alone with a different set of characters. They may run into some characters from CC at the end. I will try VERY HARD to keep this under 100,000. I can write 100 word stories, 1,000 word stories, 5,000 word stories, and 300,000 word stories. But I have a hard time with anything between 5,000 and 300,000.
The other is a novella about what happens to the surviving characters in CC after the end of those books. While the plot arc of that series is definitely over at the end, the characters are still doing things. It may end up reading like a 6th book and will definitely be intended for fans of that series. Then, in the first half of 2012, I can hopefully edit Walk Upon High and be done with CC-related books for a while.
I’d also like a new website, and I will be putting out an anthology of Panamindorah short stories in eBook and audio later this year, as well as another paid short story on the website.
I could go on, but that’s enough. Happy New Year, all! May your 2011 be full of hope and creativity.