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2019 in Restrospect

In my most recent post, I detailed how things have kind of been up in the air for the last year or so for me. Honestly, the stress has been probably longer than that, but especially since roughly last spring, I've just felt that I'm not doing as well as I should in a lot of ways. That maybe I'd reached the top of my writer journey because, dang it, sales weren't going up for me any more. They'd plateaued, and sure, that was probably because I had to stop advertising (pretty much at all), my social media presence was shrinking, and I just wasn't doing all the things that a successful author has to do to keep readers aware of my (and more importantly my books') existence.

But then ... I looked at what I DID accomplish this year. (warning, I use a LOT of ellipses in this post ...)

And put on a visual, it looks good.

So this is a little bit of a look back, a little bit of a celebration ... it's not anything deep. I tried to come up with a moral for the year I've had. Maybe it was God showing me what I could do if I depended on Him by Him taking away a lot of my crutches (like, you know, actually having a husband who was home every night instead of in a separate state ... having my own space ... being more financially secure) ... maybe this was a refining fire ... maybe it was teaching me something about what really matters ... but I don't know that I really did learn anything great and mighty from wading through this year. It just sort of was what it was ...

but there were books. I wrote books ... and these are the books I wrote and what came of them, so here we go, 2019 as told by H. L. Burke publications (with affiliate links, you've been warned).

To start with: my plans for 2019 were ... 1. finish off the Elemental Realms series (sorry, that got pushed forward again. There are a LOT of reasons, but mainly it's ones I'll go into shortly).

2. Publish Heart of the Curiosity (which I'd written the previous NaNoWriMo) ... this I did.

3. Try my hand at contemporary romance (I did, but it got ... weird).

So to start off the year I was going to write Elemental Realms. I think I even started a Google Doc to the effect and planned to re-read the previous books in the series so I could maintain continuity ... and then ...

There was a shiny.

There was the shiniest shiny that had a Han Solo inspired knight and fairy tale tropes and a CAT-ELF!!!

And out of no where, I devoted a few weeks of January to writing To Court a Queen, a fairy tale novella that was so so so much fun to write.

... I published it shortly after, just before Valentine's Day, in fact.

So with that accomplished, I decided to turn to my second goal: contemporary romance. So, I had a cat related story with a hint of romance I'd written for an anthology but had the rights back to and I was thinking, maybe I could write a whole series about match making cats and slink into the "contemporary sweet romance" space (because yeah, I love fantasy, but dang it, contemporary romance is dollar dollar bills, y'all ...)

So yeah ... If there was a way for me to write that without going bored out of my mind, I was going to do it ... and I thought making it cat-themed might be that way.

I wrote two stories on the theme and then ... kind of lost interest. I tried to think of more, but my heart wanted magic and dragons and all that good stuff ... but I did like the two stories I came up with, so I put them together into a collection with the previously mentioned one and BOOM! MATCH CATS!

So while Match Cats didn't prove the gold mine of me finally writing in a less "geeky" genre, it did provide me with some entertainment and time spent with imaginary cats, and that's always time well spent.

And with THAT experiment out of the way, I was REALLY going to work on the Elemental Realms series ... but then an imaginary human named Kajik got into my brain and started being so sad but noble and ... oh dang it, I'm writing about him, now ...

But now ... and interlude.

Because not all books are written in the order they are published. Heart of the Curiosity technically was not written in 2019, though a lot of the editing occurred within that year.

I wrote it over NaNoWriMo. A NaNoWriMo I almost skipped because of the recent loss of my grandfather, but which my brain wouldn't let me sit out. I already had the story planned out when I got the news about my grandfather's death, and I'd already pitched it to Uncommon Universes in a "hey, if I write this, would you be interested?" sort of way, so I devoted my heart to it all November, and it probably got me through some of my grief, but mostly, it was just another story that wouldn't shut up.

While I was writing the first book of the Ice and Fate Duology, Uncommon Universes was prepping Heart of the Curiosity for publication. It came out in June, and there was a snail race. It was fun.

So anyway ... Ice and Fate was supposed to be a single, standalone book called Daughter of Sun, Bride of Ice, but about 60k words in, I realized it was going to be too long for a single volume, and I ended up breaking it up into two volumes (the second of which is Prince of Stars, Son of Fate.). I really wanted to finish them back to back and release them close together, which I did for the most part, but honestly, the editing almost killed me (not literally, but dang it, there were moments I never thought I'd get them cleaned up, not because they were particularly rough, but because EVERYTHING was flying at me. I was trying to negotiate an extended stay at my parents, a new job, buying a home, my girls adjusting to a new area ... and my cat's extended illness. It was not a great environment to try and get out two books over a short span.).

I've posted about the experience elsewhere, but for better or worse, it's over, and dang ... I like those books. Kajik is still one of my favorite heroes I've ever written, and that's saying a lot.

After that ... I was pretty much done, honestly. I kind of told myself, I've written enough books. It would be all right if I didn't write any more for a long while ...

and this last one doesn't really count as a book, but it's a cute short story, and I like it and am going to mention it anyway.

I had a fun idea for a short story featuring Jericho and Rill, my two favorite characters from the Spellsmith & Carver series, so I wrote it and published it in a few weeks this fall.

So yeah, I'm adding it on here ...

and then I was ... done?

No, then I decided to do NaNoWriMo again, but that book (even though it is finished) will not be coming out until late 2020, so ... not counting it here.


Or maybe the Puss in Boots retelling I've been longing to do.

Or something with dragons ...

Or I could, you know, really take a break ..

I don't know ... We'll see how it goes. I often joke I've made a career out of chasing shinies, and I doubt that will change any time soon. I'm in this for the things I love to write about, and I never know what things those are until I find them (this is where I should probably insert a 2020 vision joke, but ... nah, I'm not that tired yet).

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