A Look Back at 2019

Another year gone by so quickly! 2019 definitely came with its ups and downs and its life changes. 

Books

After the thrill of having a short story selected for Atthis Arts’ anthology, “Five Minutes at Hotel Stormcove,” I also published three novels in the Sea Deception series:

  • Sea Dreams
  • Sea Rivals
  • Sea Memories

I started the next book in the series, and I made some decent progress despite some plot hiccups. I am considering rebranding the three books in the Sea Deception series as the direction of the next books doesn’t really work with that series title. I’m about two-thirds done with the first draft of Bonds of Iron, and I have solid plans for another four books in the series.

While I didn’t get through NaNoWriMo with the word count I wanted, we had a lot of travel and family medical stuff going on that made November a difficult month to expect consistent results. However, any new words are better than none. Can’t edit a blank page, after all.

Blog

While I may not post as frequently as you might like, I wanted to consistently build up to twice a month before trying a greater frequency and falling short. I’m working on an editorial calendar to help me spread out different topics systematically instead of randomly, as has been my past MO.

Of course, I’ll still be writing Word Wednesdays, Saturday Snippets, and Why Engineers Shouldn’t Watch TV in addition to my random thought posts and writing updates. I’m also looking at adding a focus for the supernatural characters I write about (“Monstrous Mondays,” anyone?), but I’m open to suggestions of what you find interesting.

Other Stuff

As I’ve previously discussed, I left my corporate job to support the family small business full time. I’m still getting into the groove of this new role. Since you’re home, it’s easy to fall into the trap of either never ending your day or of spending too much time on stuff that needs to be done at home. What it’s definitely shown me is that I need to carve out appropriate time for writing that doesn’t interfere with what’s actually income-bearing.

Long-term, I think the choice to leave when I did will pay off in large dividends. We’ve already benefited from the flexibility in my time after dealing with the family medical portion of our year. Trying to scramble for childcare at the eleventh hour while also trying to meet end-of-year goals on a demanding project without adequate resources sounds like a recipe for a high-stress failure.

This picture also seems apropos—the expression on her face is at once annoyed, severe, and smoldering. It seems fitting to look back on the year knowing that I accomplished more than I expected yet not as much as I wished to.

A New Stargazer Conservatory Novel: Bonds of Iron

On Saturdays, you can check out a snippet from my latest writing efforts.  All snippets are copyrighted.  These excerpts from my writing are first draft, unedited words, and may not appear in the final work.

This is the opening scene of the new Stargazer Conservatory novel I’m working on, “Bonds of Iron.” It continues in the same world as the Sea Deception series, and I’m not done with Kai and Maryn yet.


Parisa ran out of the surf as fast as her legs could manage the waves. She couldn’t believe she’d made it this far without being caught. As soon as her feet hit the sand, she sped up, disregarding all the curious looks and running past the line of restaurants to the sandy pavement where the parking lot began. Water dripped down her legs, making tiny rivulets along her skin as she looked around wildly.

The doors to a minivan stood open, the seats filled with a group of laughing boys and a girl. Their damp suits and tired, reddened faces indicated they were leaving, not arriving. She noticed all of this without slowing down.

Perfect, Parisa thought. She ran to them, reaching a hand to rest on the upholstered seat where a guy was dusting sand off a flipflop. “Please, can you help me? Just pretend I’m your girlfriend or something. I have to get out of here,” she gasped out.

The group in the van all looked at her like she was mad, which she supposed could only be expected. Here she stood, barefoot, clad only in a wet bathing suit, water still dripping from her hair. She had no bag, no towel, no money… What was she going to do if no one agreed to help her? She couldn’t go back there, not again. They would punish her worse than before for this most successful escape attempt.

Parisa turned her gaze to the nearest boy. “Please…I have to get away from them.”

“Get in,” he said, extending his hand to her. “Let’s go, dude. We can text Matt to catch up with us later.” He gently tugged her until she was perched on his lap, much like the other girl on the far seat. The long legs of the three teenage boys along the bench seat readjusted so she could fit in.

“You sure, man?” The driver still hesitated.

The boy holding her studied Parisa a moment longer. “Yeah, I’m sure. She needs our help.”

Parisa let out another breath, this time in relief. The stitch in her side, the cramp in her leg, and the fear of still being caught all combined to leave her dizzy. The boy’s steady hands on her waist and his warm skin under her legs inexplicably calmed her. As the vehicle lurched forward, his hands tightened, one arm slipping protectively around her waist. Almost as if he really were my boyfriend, Parisa thought.


I’m well into this new novel! “Bonds of Iron” is a small departure from my mermaid series, “Sea Deception,” but it continues the story. Have you read “Sea Dreams” yet?