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Eston in 2022

Posted: February 19, 2023

It is time to take a pause and look back at what I've accomplished so far, more particularly in the year 2022.

If you're familiar with these posts, you know that they are usually long. As such, feel free to jump directly to the section or sections that interest you by using the list below.

The most exciting surprise of 2022 was when my wife, Leigh, announced that she was expecting our fourth child. I can now say that we had a boy last month, making it two boys and two girls. Both baby and mommy are healthy and doing well, although the return home had its challenges. After a few weeks, we are slowly adjusting to a new routine.

Although the family is doing good, 2022 saw us fighting sickness for most of the last six months of the year, since the children returned to daycare. For my part, the biggest challenge was making it through the daily routine, while being exhausted or sick.

At first glance, it looks like 2022 was uneventful on the writing front. In reality, it was surprisingly productive. I completed the writing of The Stranger of Ul Darak, contributed a short story (Zebu) to Winter Paths and made significant progress in The Baneseeker Chronicles. A lot also happened behind-the-scenes, with an updated website, the launch of my newsletter The Red Dragon Insider, an increased effort in marketing, as well as taking part in a few live events.

Learn more by visiting these sections:

Writing in 2022

Writing on the bus to MontrealAfter two months without putting down a word, I started working on Zebu in March. This became my contribution to the new anthology by the Seasonal Collective: Winter Paths.

Zebu is a story that I wrote several years ago. At the time, I sent it to beta readers and shelved it as completed... But never published it. I felt that something was missing. When I started brainstorming for Winter Paths, the image of Zebu trying to reach the top of a snowy mountain seemed like the perfect story for the collection. I worked on it through March, before putting it aside until June. I came back to it in July, completing it in August. Winter Paths was published in November and you can get your copy here.

Even though I had a tight deadline for Zebu, I remained committed to publishing The Stranger of Ul Darak later in 2022. To that end, I worked hard on it between April and June, getting it ready for my editor. I also completed the back cover blurb with the help of Terry Armstrong, and had Tom Edwards update the cover. Even with this progress, there remained many other pieces to complete, including the glossary and the inside illustrations. I learned fairly late that the artist I had in mind for the inside illustrations wasn't available. For weeks, I searched for a replacement and was starting to be discouraged when I found Sarah Obtinalla. Her art is amazing. I was delighted when she accepted to work with me on the book. This was in early Fall and by this time, it was obvious that I wouldn't be able to publish Stranger in 2022. So, I made the decision to push back the launch to Summer or Fall 2023. Although I hate delaying a project, it was the best decision, both for the book and my own sanity.

During NaNoWriMo 2022, I jumped into The Baneseeker Chronicles. At this point, I already had a completed draft for the first story and a few chapters for the second. I kept a great pace for about half of the month, using a trip to Montreal to boost my progress by writing on the bus and in the hotel room. After two weeks, exhaustion got a hold of me and I had to put writing on hold. I had completed about 25,000 words of the 50,000 target, which materialized into a complete draft of the second story and about half of the third. Taking everything into account, this was satisfying progress.

As some of you probably already know, one of my favorite part of the self-publishing process is working with different artists. I'm in awe of how they take a few pointers and come up with pieces of art. Around two years ago, I sent a message to my subscribers wishing them happy holidays and included a painting from Eva Christensen. When I started looking for an artist for The Baneseeker Chronicles, I remembered that painting and contacted Eva. She was happy to join me and try painting some scenes from the series. Although she eventually had to step away due to conflicting priorities, we worked together for a few months over the fall and she was able to paint an amazing piece depicting Lyna, the main protagonist of the series, standing in front of the Territories of Sij. You can view the painting by visiting the Baneseeker Project main post.

Based on the tracker I keep, I wrote for 160 days in 2022 (sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes a few hours). I spent half of those days on The Stranger of Ul Darak, a quarter on Zebu, and the remainder on The Baneseeker Chronicles (stories 2 and 3).

Like in 2021, I used the month of December to rest and did not get back into writing until January of 2023.

Publications in 2022

Winter Paths: An AnthologyIn November, the Seasonal Collective published its second anthology: Winter Paths. This is a collaboration between the same 9 authors as the previous collection: Sandra Bunting, Pierre Arseneault, Chuck Bowie, Angela Wren, Monique Thébeau, Jeremy Thomas Gilmer, Allan Hudson, Angella Cormier, and myself. Once again, I did the formatting of the books, both electronic and print. As mentioned above, my story for this collection is Zebu, the story of the archmage as he is dying and trying to reach the summit of a mountain.

I personally thoroughly enjoyed the collection, which offers a wide range of genres and stories.

Events in 2022

The first part of the year went by without much happening, but in the fall, I did two book signings: one at the Chapters bookstore in Fredericton and one at the Chapters bookstore in Moncton. For the first, fellow author Hannah D. State joined me and although it was a fairly quiet afternoon, I had one reader stop by, saying: "Oh, I read that book." She pointed at Deficiency and went on to say that she enjoyed it greatly. I mentioned that Red Stars, my story in Autumn Paths, provided an opportunity to learn more about one of the character from Deficiency. She instantly bought a copy!

Then, in November, my good friend Allan Hudson and I participated in Turner's Christmas at the Coliseum in Moncton. We were there for three days and the reception was amazing. We will be heading back in 2023.

Updates on Projects

The amount of projects I have always exceed the time I have to complete them. I think this is a great problem to have. Although I'm including a brief update of my active projects below, the best way to stay informed about what I'm working on is to subscribe to my newsletter: The Red Dragon Insider.

The Stranger of Ul DarakThe Lost Tyronian Archives

For those of you who have been following me these past few years, you already know about the delays to this project, more particularly its first story: The Stranger of Ul Darak. I had initially hoped to publish the story in 2021, pushed it back to 2022, and it's now slated for 2023. It is finally approaching completion. The editing was completed at the end of 2022 and the inside illustrations are progressing well. I now have to review the comments by my editor, complete the glossary, and then go on to the formatting, which is the last step before launch.

As part of this exercise, I also plan on publishing a new edition of the prequel to the series: The Burden of the Protector. Tom Edwards updated the print cover. This edition will include a question and answer, as well as a sneak peek into the series. I'd like to release this updated version one month prior to the launch of Stranger.

The Baneseeker Chronicles

Lyna facing the Territories of Sij, by Eva ChristensenAs mentioned above, I've made significant progress in this series by completing a draft of story 2 and a portion of story 3. My hope is to be able to publish stories 1 to 4 in the span of the next two years. For each story, I'll be inviting readers to provide feedback and suggestions, in the hope of including some of them in the subsequent stories. I'll be releasing an early draft of each story in serialized format, meaning that one chapter will be released per week, allowing participants the time to read and comment on each. A few months after the initial release is completed, I'll be doing another revision, incorporating some of the comments received, before going on with the official publication.

I created a live post for this project, which you can access here: The Baneseeker Project. This post is updated regularly with my progress on the project. Alternatively, if you are subscribed to my newsletter, The Red Dragon Insider, I'll be sharing all the updates there as well.

Goals for 2023

With Allan Hudson at Turner's ChristmasOther than publishing a few short stories, including the two included in the anthologies Autumn Paths (2021) and Winter Paths (2022), I haven't published a book since Deficiency in 2020. It looks like this might change in 2023, because The Stranger of Ul Darak is close to completion. Launching Stranger is my priority for 2023 and I hope to have it ready by late summer or early fall.

I also plan on sharing the early drafts for the first and second stories of The Baneseeker Chronicles and hopefully receive some feedback that I can integrate in the final versions. If things go well, I might even be able to publish the first story sometimes in the fall.

As far as the business of writing goes, I plan on continuing to learn about marketing, although that will not be my focus for 2023. With the new addition to the family, it'll be especially important for me to make the time I have count, thus putting it mainly on writing. I read somewhere recently an author saying that the most important is to write regularly, even if it's only 15 minutes a day. In the past, I've shied away from short writing sessions, because they don't allow me to get into the story as much as I would like. That said, I've come to the realization that 15 minutes might be the only time I have any given day. So, this will be my goal for the year: write as often as I can, even if it's just for 15 minutes.

Final Word

Writing (part-time or full time) has many challenges and more often than I probably should, I find myself pondering the question: why do I write? The good thing is that so far, the answer has come easily to me. I write because I love it, more particularly, I love travelling to other worlds and exploring it with the characters. I love to dream. It's an escape, a way to relax, to recuperate.

Each author, though, writes for his or her own reasons. Recently, I was curious to learn about the reasons of why other authors wrote. I thought I'd leave you with a few quotes that resonate with me.

“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself…It’s a self-exploratory operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but of his divine discontent.”
– Harper Lee
“Why one writes is a question I can answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me — the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.”
– Anaïs Nin
“I just knew there were stories I wanted to tell.”
– Octavia E. Butler

Keywords:  Life , Writing


Also in the Series: Yearly Update

  1. Eston in 2019 (July 15, 2020)
  2. Eston in 2020 (April 12, 2021)
  3. Eston in 2021 (October 6, 2022)
  4. Eston in 2022 (February 19, 2023)
  5. Eston in 2023 (February 15, 2024)

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