Top o’ the morning, y’all!
I’m writing this on the morning of December 31, 2020, having left it to the very last minute. But I’m excited to reflect both on the year behind and the year ahead. Let’s jump right into it!
My goal in 2020 was to focus exclusively on publishing fantasy books through Waterstone Media, and I’m happy to report that goal was met! I’ve published four fantasy books this year that I’m really proud of. I both started and finished the Oblivion’s Gate trilogy, and I wrote a standalone novel in the Nightblade universe: Blades of Shadow.
I think it was in November that I learned that the first book in the Oblivion’s Gate trilogy, The Gate Beyond Oblivion, was named a 2020 SPFBO semi-finalist. I was hugely excited for the announcement, and am incredibly grateful to have been a part of the competition.
This past year has been my most productive since I started keeping track of my writing. I ended up writing just short of 600,000 words this year, which is over 100,000 more than any other year I’ve tracked.
In 2021 I’m hoping to do more of the same. My plan is to launch two new series over the course of the year, both of which are worlds I’m tremendously excited about. Perhaps not-so-secretly (especially after putting it up on the blog), I’m hoping to do six books next year. We’ll see. It’s possibly too ambitious, but I like setting such goals.
In 2021 I’m also going to be moving more toward direct sales. I’ve started the process this year, but you’ll see more of it next year. This will only affect readers if they choose! All my books will continue to be available on all bookstores, but I’m excited about the opportunity to sell direct to y’all without the big companies taking a fair portion of the proceeds.
And finally, in 2021 the Waterstone Media family will be expanding. I don’t want to say much yet, but there’s a talented storyteller who is already hard at work on their fantasy debut. It should be an exciting year.
I read a ton in 2020, and I read widely. The final tally will be over 70 books, including some doorstoppers. The series I’ve probably already said the most about was Malazan. It’s a series that seems to evoke strong emotions on the internet, but I think that’s a good thing. Personally, I fell on the side of loving it. I think it is my favorite enormous fantasy series.
Beyond that, I read quite a bit of Mark Lawrence, and fell in love particularly with The Red Queen’s War.
Outside of fantasy, this was the year of the thriller for me. I read tremendous books by my good friend Mike McCrary, as well as dove into the worlds of Dean Koontz for the first time since I was pretty young. Barry Eisler and Lee Child also wrote no small number of the books I opened on my kindle this year.
I didn’t read too much nonfiction this year. I’ve started diving back into philosophy, so Nietzsche, Kant, Plato, and Aristotle have all been revisited. It’s been a pleasure to read them with new, slightly more experienced eyes.
The only other nonfiction book I’d highlight is The Practice by Seth Godin. It’s a book I’ve gifted to most of my creative and entrepreneurial friends, and I found it fantastic. It’s about shipping creative work, and I thought it was really inspiring. I think it’s a book I’ll keep coming back to.
In 2021 I expect the trend will be mostly the same. I plan on reading a ton of fantasy and thrillers, and I’ll probably be diving deeper into philosophy. I’m also hoping to dive into the Western genre for the first time in my life.
This is a pretty short section. Truth be told, I didn’t watch much TV, nor did I see many movies this year. And none of the little I did see really inspired me much. Maybe this will change in 2021? I’m not sure. I’ve been surprised by how little I miss either medium. But life is change, and perhaps I’ll find something that brings me back to the big (or little) screen.
I did play and finish a couple of videogames, primarily the last Uncharted game. That was fun. Again, perhaps I’ll play a bit more in the upcoming year? I’m not sure. My steam queue is certainly large, but finding the time to play the games is challenging.
Overall, it’s been a good year for reading and writing, and I’m really excited for 2021 in both regards.
But what about you? What books, shows, or movies made your best of lists in 2020?