(EDIT: I started this on December 31st. Sometimes life gets in the way)

Here we are, at the end of 2013. Was it a good year for you? Was it everything you had hoped for, or are you just waiting for it to be all over?

At this time of year, we tend to do two things: reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the next. If you read my New Year’s post last year, you know I think resolutions are a pile of rubbish. However, I do want to take this opportunity to reflect on the past year, particularly as it relates to my annual goals.

You have either already read (or can read now) my recaps from Q1, Q2, and Q3 (as well as a special August summary since I had the month pretty much off). Here’s how Q4 went:

-edit navy novel (2 edits and ready for beta) (end of october)

This is a perfect example of life getting in the way. I was on track to have it done by the end of the year, but then something happened in my personal life that caused a temporary all-stop in writing/editing. I’m getting back to work on this and hope to be ready to send out for beta by the end of January/early February.

-select/edit stories for shorts volume 2 and get to editor (end of november)


-finish artwork for above stories (end of november)

Both goals, well past done!

-get to work on first draft of grandma’s house of afterlife novel (whichever is left)

Yeah, not so much…

So of the four goals, the two that were completed were done in prior quarters. Not great odds for Q4. When you look at the year overall, it’s not too shabby, but like many of you I’m ready to let 2013 become past tense. Why? Because a year just doesn’t live up to the hype that we tend to place on it. Just about every end of December we collectively think “What a crappy year, hope the next is better” but it never is. Not because life is shit, but because life is life. Good things happen all the time, but we as a culture tend to reflect on the negative things. Just turn on the news. It’s all about the negative.

Being a generally optimistic and positive person, I’m going to reflect on the good things that happened in 2013 and once again focus on the items I wish to accomplish this year. Since 2013 had so much moving around between quarters, I think this year I’ll just post my goals and update whatever I manage to accomplish each quarter. That seems easier, yeah? With that, my 2014 authorly goals:

-Become a member of the Horror Writers Association

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but it requires a certain level of sales to be accepted. Thankfully, those are coming soon…(EDIT: between writing this list and actually getting around to posting it, I have been accepted as an Affiliate Member in the HWA. Hooray!)

-Earn back my dues with sales

This will take me not only writing but actively submitting. See below.

-Send out Navy Novel for beta, rewrite based on feedback, submit for real

This book has taken far longer than I’d like. I was almost finished prepping it for beta in December, but then there’s that personal life thing I was talking about above. It happens…

-Finish at least two of the novellas in process (Return to Camp Hollybrook, Celery Hand Duran, 2 unnamed stories) AND at least one novel in process (the afterlife one, the grandma’s house one, 1 unnamed)

Two novellas may seem daunting, but considering Camp Hollybrook ended up being around 25k words and I average 1,800 words/hour when I’m spending dedicated time writing, I should have zero problem meeting this goal. Even finishing another novel shouldn’t be a problem. Wait, you ask, aren’t you super slow and all that? Yes, but I’m no longer working full time so I have a couple days a week home alone to write. That, along with my random nighttime sprints, should make for a MUCH more productive 2014. Of course, the lengthy part is letting the new books marinate for a few months each and then editing, editing, editing…

-Up my short game (finish drafts/finish rewrites for all the shorts in process; submit)

2013 was not a great year for me as far as short stories go. I kicked through a bunch in August, but aside from that it’s been a little here, a little there (unless you count Tales From The Underground, which I totally count as a major accomplishment for 2013 but don’t as far as writing new short stories since those were mostly all finished). I’d like to kick out at least 12 shorts this year (1 per month minimum). Starting now. I’ll be back in a few… … …Okay, first for 2014 is drafted. I always feel better when I kill some characters, don’t you?

-Maintain my short game (get them out and keep them out until published)

See above. In 2013, I probably sent out half a dozen short story submissions. 3 got picked up, so that’s not terrible odds, but still…

(EDIT: between writing this and posting, I edited and submitted 5 short stories that have been collecting dust. Not bad for the 6th day of the month…FOLLOW-ON EDIT: yes, I know it’s now the 8th. I’ve been working on this for over a week…I sucketh).

-Get more reviews posted

There’s quite a list of books I’ve either recently read or are reading right now. Knowing that reviews make the literary world go round, I’d like to get caught up. Books/stories that are either due for a review or will be soon include:

Words With Fiends by Matt Schiariti

Evil Jester Presents Issue 1

They Might Be Demons by Max Booth III

Slipway Grey by Mark Scioneaux and Dane Hatchell

Malice in Cornwall by Graham Thomas

Anthology Year Two: Inner Demons Out

The Barn by Jason Downes

Barren by Armand Rosamilia

-Get some music recorded

These songs in my head are starting to war with the stories. Unless you all want to read something like AAAAAAHHHHH! THE METAL WARS!!!! then I should get them out of my head and into SONAR. Plus, it’s damn fun.

-Keep up with friends and family a bit better than in the past.

This is something I’ve been pretty terrible at, and (as with most things), it took something bad to happen for me to realize it. If I keep pushing off the visits, the phone calls, even the simple emails, well…I just might never get the chance. When that happens, regret doesn’t go away easily.

Well there they are, my goals for the new year. As each quarter ends, I’ll post little updates on what I’ve accomplished, what I’m working on, and what might be changing. This also helps keep myself in line, as I feel a bit of pressure to actually have something worth posting. No one wants to read a blank slate. It’s a bit boring, yeah?

To all my friends, family, acquaintances, and folks who stopped by just to read: here’s to 2014. Thanks for stopping by, and no matter who you are, thanks for being you.