2013 was a year of forward progress in my writing career, often self-directed. I began receiving the sort of rejections from top-tier publishers that validated the quality of my writing, the 'this isn't right for us, but we like your voice so please keep submitting' personal notes that mean my work is sufficiently professional to compete in the traditional marketplace and to make a proper showing of itself in the independent marketplace. I learned the term 'hybrid writer' from Kristine Kathryn Rusch's blog and became one, selling my work to traditional markets and also publishing it myself. It was a learning curve, both emotionally and professionally as I overcame a fixation on the publishing industry as the only viable outlet for my writing and grew my own publishing skills enough to release a paperback and multi-formatted ebook collection of my Pagan fiction and poetry entitled The Ruin of Beltany Ring: A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales. My 2012 Hal-Con appearance garnered me an invitation to Harbour Con-Fusion, and I learned that having something to offer readers beyond your self and your book is a great way to encourage reader engagement. In my case, I can teach, so I ran two panels at the con that I can tweak and run again at my next convention appearance. I joined the professional writing organizations SF Canada and the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia and was admitted to the WFNS council, which means that I'll be able to participate in the Writers in the Schools program here in the province. Finally, I had reason to be grateful for the support of so many people from colleagues to convention staff to fans, who invited me to guest blog, blurbed my work, offered me a place to interact with readers and bought my books. I specifically want to mention Deborah Blake while I'm writing about gratitude, who is a great champion of writers and who deserves every glimmer of brightness in her already shining career.
And now some specifics.
I began the year with a sale of poetry to Astropoetica, which has been on hiatus since the summer of 2012. However, editor Emily Gaskin has recently written that she's preparing to publish the next issue, so I'll be sure and let you know when those poems become available.
Ally Leja of Geek Inked Magazine wrote a thoughtful discussion of "From Our Minds to Yours", which appeared in The Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction: 13 Prize Winning Tales. Sadly, the collection has since gone out of print, but I still have a few copies if you'd like to buy one directly from me.
"The Daemons of Tairdean Town", which appeared in Scheherazade’s Façade, continued to receive positive reviews. One reviewer called it "...charming and heartbreaking and full of the unexpected" while another named it among her favorites in the collection.
Most of my success this year was the result of my self-publishing endeavors. Having approached The Ruin of Beltany Ring project with the singular goal of putting my writing in the hands of more readers, I would have to call the effort an unqualified success. Over a hundred people downloaded the book for free the day it was released, and over four hundred entered to win one of three paperback copies during my Goodreads giveaway. The collection was also quite well-reviewed for such a little book. One reviewer wrote "...the stories are so unexpected, so honest and heartfelt yet unyielding." Another wrote that it was "...wonderful, thoroughly amazing, always engaging." A third reviewer was incredibly complimentary, writing that "...the world would be the less for this amazing collection of stories and poetry."
Later in the year, Rhonda Parrish approached me with an opportunity to contribute to her forthcoming A Is for Apocalypse anthology, which I happily accepted. I'm working on that story now, which has an early February deadline.
And that's it. In previous years I've sold more writing, but this has been a banner year for growing readership, and I'm genuinely glad of that. Next year's work is lined up and ready to go, including the completion of two novels, a comic mini-series and perhaps a second collection of fiction and poetry. I wish you all a Happy New Year, and thank you for your interest in my work.