Looking back at 2014: I know I have been quiet ... (#SFWApro)

But I'm still here, recharging my batteries and making nefarious plans for more stories. 2014 was full of new experiences and busier than I originally thought. It was a year of writing, and, discounting blog posts, there were a lot of words. A few of the highlights include:

Self-Publishing. In January, I self-published a free short story "La Santisima" on Smashwords. "La Santisima" is also available through Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple, thanks to Smashwords publishing across platforms. As of this month, there have been over 500 downloads of the story on Smashwords alone, and that is with no advertising or major publicity. I've been very pleased by the reception of the story, and it has picked up several good reviews on Goodreads too.

Edited to Add a Short Story Publication: This is just a brief note. In the original post, I neglected to add that I had a short story, "Love, Crystal and Stone," published in the Neverland Library's Fantasy Anthology in 2014.

Website. Over the summer, the website underwent a complete overhaul, because that is what authors do when they are on a deadline. I had considered moving away from Squarespace, but two things held me here: 1) I have been very happy with the service that I've received from Squarespace; and 2) the templates and pricing are the best that I've been able to find. I'm exceptionally pleased by the flexibility of the new Squarespace templates. I want to thank all of the authors and bloggers who took the time to answer my questions about their respective hosts and platforms.

A Novel and a Novella. I completed a new novel, which is now on submission. As soon as I finished that, I dived right into my first novella, The Broken Road, and published it through The Story Vault. That was a fun experience where I had a lot of input on the cover copy and especially on the cover art. I enjoyed Travys' character and his world enough that I will continue his story in another novella in 2015. We will return to the Frayed Empire with Travys and Wende and a whole host of other characters for another badass trip to Heled, because flamethrowers.

Newsletter. I designed and started my first newsletter, which has proven to be very successful. If you want inside news about what is going on and my newest projects, sign up. It's very easy, just click the huge orange SIGN UP button on the right, and enter your email address. I'm not spammy with it. Frankly, unless I have some really big news about a new publication, the newsletter goes out quarterly. Sometimes I post excerpts of stories that I'm working on, and other times I host giveaways especially for newsletter subscribers.

Collaboration/Novellette. In 2014, I had a chance to work with Alex Bledsoe on a novelette. I think that proved to be the highlight of the year. I've long been a fan of his Tufa series so it was a real delight to work with Alex, and speaking from a creative point of view, I really learned a lot from working with him. In Hisses and Wings, we combine his Tufa with my Los Nefilim for a Winter Solstice story.

Los Nefilim. If you enjoyed Diago, Guillermo, and Miquel in Hisses and Wings, then you'll be seeing more of them in 2015. My final project of 2014 was a new novella tentatively entitled In Midnight's Silence and it is a Los Nefilim story. The novella is currently out with my beta readers. I hope to have their input sometime shortly after the first of the year so I can polish the story and send it to my agent.

All in all, it's been a very productive year for me. I've tried new things and stretched myself creatively. The Broken Road was a very dark fantasy, bordering on horror while Hisses and Wings was a much lighter tale. Working with shorter forms of fiction was more difficult, but ultimately more rewarding, because I learned how to economize both story and plot.

I'm looking forward to working on a new novel in 2015 (more will be coming about that later). For now, I'm writing a couple of blog posts that I promised some folks, who have been exceptionally patient with me. I'm also recharging my batteries and catching up on my reading, something all writers should do.

I hope that your year was productive, or peaceful, whichever you find most enjoyable. I wish you a new year full of love and good health, because with those things, all of the other obstacles are surmountable.

Be safe and be true to yourself.

I'll see you again in 2015.