Ruminating on 2018

As the year comes to a close, it invites reflection. What did I accomplish? What do I regret? How did I grow?

Ruminating on 2018

Accomplishments and Growth

In comparison to 2017, I can honestly say that I’ve been in a much better mental place. I still miss my dad–and I always will–but time and new experiences have offered their salve.

  • Writing, both journaling and the three novels I’ve been readying for release,
  • Drawing, whether little doodles or letter art or sitting down with my sketchpad,
  • Language learning, because Duolingo is awesome (Spanish and Hindi for now)
  • Reading, especially to the munchkins but also some great series I’ve discovered,
  • Gratitude practice, which I can’t recommend highly enough, and
  • Exercising, from HIIT to yoga, barre to Zumba,

These activities have all helped changed my perspective, keep me busy, and bring different kinds of joy. An analogy that really resonated with me was that grief or loss is like a bubble of a fixed size in the ever-expanding bowl of our life experience. As additional bubbles fill the bowl, the loss bubble doesn’t get smaller, but its proportion in comparison to our life experiences starts to shrink. I think we also get used to the new normal of not being able to share the new experiences of life with our lost loved one. Regardless, it still sucks and the strangest moments remind me of my dad, but I don’t want to dissolve into a puddle of helpless tears at every juncture.

The kids are also more independent and conversant, so it’s fun to see the thoughts coming out of their heads and to play games with them that I genuinely enjoy too. Their personalities are so different, and their capacity to learn and to help and to love brings such satisfaction to my lifelong wish to be a mother. Whether cooking with T or folding laundry with D, we find ways to work together productively and teach each other life skills. T’s love for science, D’s for cuddles, and both of theirs for having someone lavish attention on them warms my heart.

Growth as a writer? Not that you’ll notice since I haven’t released anything, but my writing provides better description and pacing than before. I’m conscious of active word choices and I’ve developed a draft-edit-complete method that really works for me. It helped me speed through Book 2 and is going to help me wrap up Book 3 at pace.

Regrets for 2018?

Can one have regrets without having regrets? Because while there are things I would like to have finished (ahem, release Sea Dreams), I do know that the delay will benefit the book’s quality. Finding time to finish the first draft of Book 3, Sea Treasures, has been a struggle despite having taken time off for medical stuff.

After surgery in mid-November to remove what turned out to be a benign liver cyst, it took rather longer than I anticipated to get back on my feet. Work stuff took priority, and then we had family travel plans thereafter. I’ve really tried to be present for the time I spend with the family, to make the best memories I can, so I can’t regret that choice. All of these activities translated to limited writing time in the last quarter of the year, inevitably delaying the release of Book 1.

The delays in the writing also paid off: I found more beta readers who were willing to share their feedback, and the slow pace of my draft have resulted in some quality writing that should (hopefully) require less editing time. I’ve also updated some things in Book 1 to make more sense and add consistency to the series.

Looking Forward

I’ll be discussing resolutions for 2019 in my next post, but obviously the first three books of Sea Deception will be released in 2019.

Previous Posts

2017 2016

Back to Goals

This month has had me refocus my energy on my writing projects. While I’m still trying to get back to my social life, I’ve found some solace in my virtual scribbles. So what have I been working on?

Redeeming the Demon’s Daughter

This retelling from the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, tells the story of a mermaid who falls in love with the monkey god, Hanuman, but must resolve her feelings for him against her loyalty to her father, the demon Ravana.

I’m really excited to share this short story, which allowed me to account for a character forgotten by the epic. We know what happens to Ravana, to Hanuman, to every other character connected to them, but other than their love story, no one knows anything about Suvarnamatsya (sometimes Suvannamaccha). Her voice was so clear in my head, and her story so needed a conclusion.

Right now, the story is done and awaiting cover art: I’ve got an awesome artist painting me a cover, focusing on Suvarnamatsya and the choices that dictate her future. As soon as the cover is finished, I’m going to get the story up on Amazon, free for the first month. If you’re interested, be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get an email once the story is released so you can get it for free.

I’ve got a Saturday Snippet coming up for Redeeming the Demon’s Daughter coming soon too. You can take a look at the difference in the opening scene between the first and final drafts.

Sea Deception

I got editor feedback for Novella 1, Sea Dreams. She was incredibly helpful, offering me suggestions to make sure the transitions are solid and that the main characters equally claim the reader’s attention. There were some opportunities I missed that she identified, and I look forward to making her suggested changes and adding her suggested scenes or feelings to really pack the right punch.

On the bright side, she LOVED the characters and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. Luckily for you, you will not have the same problem once you start reading it: I’ll be releasing the entire trilogy back-to-back-to-back, probably with pre-orders.

Which brings me to what else I’ve been writing: Novella 2, Sea Rivals, is getting close to being wrapped up, too. I’m going to take some time off Sea Rivals to polish up Sea Dreams, but I’m getting pretty close to another finished draft for the trilogy.

And in case you missed my tweet, I finally finished naming a major character, “Kai Sterling.”

Blog Stuff

I’ve made a lot of promises for upcoming blog posts and just haven’t finished writing them all yet. The next one might just be a general compilation of “Why Engineers Shouldn’t Watch TV” in combination with what else I’ve been watching.

Stay tuned and don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter!