Well folks, despite all my melodramatics, we’ve made it through yet another year of writing! It’s been a busy one, full of work travel, moving (again), and many ups and downs. So let’s wrap up 2023 on a good note, shall we?

Lies I Told Myself

Remember when I said I wasn’t going to write a novel in 2023? And then proceeded to write a new novel? Good times.

At the beginning of the year, I was incredibly burnt out from writing four novels since 2020 and living in the query trenches. I needed a break. I wanted to give short stories a shot. But my overactive imagination got the best of me. And beginning in June, I pulled out my mom’s typewriter and started jotting down a story about two women who die, but don’t stay dead.

Do I regret breaking my self-imposted hiatus? No. Not at all. I loved typing up this book, because I wrote it for me. I knew from the beginning I wasn’t going to query with it, and that was freeing in a way I hadn’t expected. Do I know what the heck I’m doing when it comes to self pub? NOPE! But I’m learning more every day, and I can’t wait to publish this book and learn even more about my own writing and being an indie author.

Short Stories and Long Journeys

While I didn’t take a full break from novel writing, I did enjoy trying my hand at short stories. And I’ve been so pleased with the reception those stories have received! This year, I got to see two stories I wrote out in the world, and I have a third already scheduled for 2024. Seeing my name in an anthology is such a wild experience. Like “wow! I wrote that!”

Writing shorts has also opened another door in my writing. Ideas I’ve spun up that never felt right for a full novel have fit so well in the short story format. I want to write even more in 2024. Try out weird or scary or different ideas. It’s gonna be a lot of fun!

A Review of Writing Techniques

This was the first time I wrote a full manuscript on a typewriter. It was a completely different experience. I wrote the entire thing in chronological order. Mostly because I had to. I know I could have rewritten pages as I went, but it felt more natural to keep moving forward, rather than ruminating on if the first chapters were any good. I knew I would address those issues as I edited. I just needed to get the words down.

I’ve spoken to a few folks now who swear by drafting by hand in journals. There’s something about the physicality of it that works your brain differently. I was able to keep working on the ideas themselves, rather than being caught up in if a word was underlined in red because of a typo. So I think I’d like to type the next novel this way! We’ll see how it goes!

The Flashlight Method

This year I learned there’s a name for the chaotic method I tend to write with. The Flashlight Method describes writing without a full outline. However, instead of completely pantsing it, you outline the next few chapters as you go. So you finished writing chapters 1-2? Outline chapters 3-4. And so on. Like building a road as you’re walking, or hiking a trail in the dark with only a flashlight to go by. You know where you’re trying to get, but you’re getting just a peek at a time on your way. It works really well with how my brain functions! If you want to learn more, there’s an article on Scribophile about it!

Queering My Reading List

I read 46 books this year! And hopefully I’ll be up to 48 before it’s actually New Years. Something I’ve been actively working on is reading more books by queer authors. Reading more books that reflect my own personal experience (minus the dragons) is so fulfilling. So I want to continue looking for queer stories and queer authors, especially in the fantasy genre. It’s hard to pick a favorite read for the year, but A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee and Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers had me by the throat (for different reasons). And it looks like so many queer books (like mine muahaha) are coming out in 2024! So I’m excited to keep adding to my list!

2024 Goals

As is to be expected, my major goal for 2024 is to published FIRST COMES DEATH in April. I have a good bit of work to do between now and then. Editing, admin, advertising. But I have friends helping me stay on track (shout out to Lillian and Valo). Right now, I expect to send FCD to my beta readers by the end of 2023, which means I’ll be doing all kinds of fun admin in January!

I also have two other secret-ish projects I plan to publish in the new year: a queer anthology in June and a very witchy book in the Fall. So send some good energy my way as I try to get all my ducks in a row!

Reading wise, I want to keep discovering more indie and self-pub authors to fill my shelves, as well as Jewish SFF authors.

Chihiro’s Cat Corner

I keep telling Chihiro that we’re Jewish. But she keeps ignoring me and sitting under my roommate’s Christmas tree. I suppose we shouldn’t put too much pressure on our children to follow traditions perfectly. So happy holidays and a happy new year!