What do we plan for 2020?

Oh hey, we are putting this post out in a more timely fashion than last year! Do we deserve an applaud, or what?

Last year we more or less failed at our plans, but we also had a lot of things come up we absolutely didn’t anticipate. Such as getting to be a judging blog for SPFBO, me starting a part-time freelance business, going to Dublin for WorldCon among other things. But our enthusiasm is still strong, and we are here again to set up some reachable goals so we could watch how much we actually achive (or not) in this year ahead.

Jen

2020 is here and again it’s time to set a few reading goals. I failed pretty hard at last year’s goals but getting to do SPFBO more than made up for it. My small goals are basically the same as last years.

Bingo

I’d like to try to finish up r/fantasy Bingo though I think it’s going to be tough to complete this year with 9 squares left to clear – the deadline is April, so unless I actively seek out the shortest books possible for my remaining squares, I’m thinking it’s going to be tight.

Series

Last year I had planned to kill off a few that I had on the go, which somewhat worked but then I started a few more so I think I lost ground on this goal. Here’s hoping I can gain some of that ground back this year.

Reviewing

I have some requests to finish from last spring and then it will depend a lot on if we do
SPFBO in which case, I’ll just pick them up as I can fit them in. I’m pretty happy with what I get for requests and as have found some great books that aren’t on most people’s radars. It’s all good!

Books and hopefuls for 2020!

MD Presley‘s fourth and I think final book in the Sol’s Harvest series.

Richard Nell‘s third book in his Ash and Sand series Kings of Heaven (I do still need to get the second book read but I have every faith that it will live up to expectations)

Mike Shackle‘s follow up to We Are The Dead!

Don’t know if they have anything coming this year but anything Jon Hollins, T. Frohock, ML Wang, and KD Edwards want to throw at me!

Cheers to a new reading year!

Timy

Life definitely had thrown some absolutely unexpected curves at me last year, so I’ll try to keep my goals at a more reasonable level this time around both regarding reading/blogging and my personal life.

Requests

Oh man, I failed so much at getting to my requests, I still have a few left from 2018… I’m sorry guys, I will do my best to get to everyone I promised to. The truth is, I took up too much which I couldn’t handle, because I’m not the type of person who can do anything when there are restrictions. Setting up a reading plan 6 monthts in advance sounded reasonable until I realised that not having any freedom at choosing my next read (well, when you have to pick from 4 books that’s not much of a choice) makes me suffocated. So, this year, I’ll take my monthly reading plans more lightly and make sure to leave enough space for at least 1 book I pick up on a whim. That being said, my reading time kinda dropped after I decided to change my full time day job into a part time one and then I started freelancing in the other half. Then we got to be SPFBO judges and that also takes up a considerable time. And thus I utterly failed at getting to my requests as well as to catch up with ARCs and new releases. And to be perfectly honest, I like how my time schedule looks like at the moment, and I will not force myself to read more or to read books I don’t feel like reading. If that means I won’t get to all these books below, then I’m sorry, but I need to draw the line somewhere and apparently my mental health and peace of mind is a tiny bit more important to me. I’d rather not push myself to burnout as I did previously.

My current requests, ARCs and books I’ll try my best to get to in 2020, though I can’t promise anything (in no particular order):

Menna van Praag The Sisters Grimm
David Hambling War of the God Queen
Michael R. Fletcher Smoke and Stone
Mike Shackle We Are the Dead
Justin T. Call Master of Sorrows
Amy Kuivalainen The Immortal City
S.C. Flynn Hidden Faces
Graham Austin-King Faithless
Clayton Snyder River of Thieves
Staci Olsen Defender of Dragons
Cameron Johnston The Traitor God
Steven McKinnon Wrath of Storms
R.M. Garino The Gates of Golorath
Jordan Loyal The Skald’s Black Verse
D.M. Murray Too Cold to Bleed
JC Kang Songs of Insurrection
Steven A. McKay The Druid
Craig Schaefer Bring the Fire
Melissa A. Joy Keys of the Origin
Mike Shel Sin Eater
Kevin Wright Lords of Asylum
Matt Larkin Tides of Mana

SPFBO

With an interesting turn of events, RockStarlit BookAsylum had become one of the SPFBO judges! We are currently way into the Final Phase of SPFBO5 and we are reading the finalists as we speak. Not quite sure how the rest of the year will go, wether we’ll be back for another year or not. The team and I will have a conversation once SPFBO5 will be over and decide how to go on. This competition is definitely something that’s close to my heart so I’d rather not turn my back on it, but all depends on how I’ll be able to manage my time and what the others’ plans are.

Armed with a Bingo

Probably the most surprisingly to me, I decided to take part in a Bingo challenge this year. I’ve wanted to try one for a while, but I’m not good with reading for prompts and also pressure to finish it (because I’m a perfectionist). And then I came across Armed with a Bingo (you can still sign up!) hosted by Kriti (Armed with a Book) and Ariel (@ariel_reads) and the prompts seemed like books I would read anyway and also 25 books sounds menegable to me with my currently limited reading time. Besides, the whole thing sounded rather friendly and cool so I jumped on board. I’ll have a dedicated page where I’ll update my reading. I decided not to try to decide ahead of time what I’m going to read for each prompt – though I do have ideas for more or less everything there – but I’d rather try to fit the books I read into the box. That way I save myself from pressure and I’ll just have fun without looking at it as a competition. So what if I won’t read a book for every square? I’m pretty sure the world won’t stop.

Books I’m looking forward to

2019 was a pretty good year for the genre, and there are a couple of books I absolutely look forward to read in 2020 (in no particular order):

D.P. Woolliscroft Tales of Ioth and hopefully the 3rd book in the Wildfire Cycle
Devin Madson We Ride the Storm
Mike Shackle A Fool’s Hope
RJ Barker Call of the Bone Ships
T. Frohock Carved from Dream and Stone
Graham Austin-King Sequel to Faithless
Benedict Patrick, Tyler Hayes, Steven McKinnon, AJ Norfield, Victoria Corva, Peter McLean Anything they throw at me
Anela Deen Between Savage Tides
Craig Schaefer Sequel to Ghosts of Gotham
Dyrk Ashton War of Gods
Josh Erikson Blight Marked

Beta reading / proofreading

In 2019 with a huge leap of faith went and realised my dream of becoming a freelancer. Well, a part-time one as we speak, but at least the first step is done. I was lucky enough to work with and get to know some awesome people, a few of whom I became friends with. After the initial good start, things dropped a bit due to SPFBO and me needing a break, but I’m hoping to get back on track. The goal would be 25 jobs this year, though 20 seems more realistic. Last year I haven’t done much marketing apart occasionally tweeting about it and relying my awesome friends who spread the word for me, and that worked to a point. I’ll have to look into more ways to get my services before people and also to improve myself as I go. I still want to look up some online curses which won’t require me selling a few organs, so we’ll see how that goes.

Until then if you or anyone you know needs a second pair of eyes on any kind of fiction manuscript, then please consider contacting me through my Editorial Services page. I promise I won’t bite. And this way you could help to make sure I’ll attend some cons later this year as I kinda depend on this money.

Blogging

As hard as it was to believe RockStarlit BookAsylum would be 1 year old, it slowly steps into toddler age. Crazy how fast they grow. Seriously though, the 2nd anniversary is coming up in March and we are still going strong. We’ll reach 500 blog posts in that month as well, so you really can’t say we just idly sat on our asses, hah. I have a few surprises coming up for the anniversary, namely 2 new features. One will be a once a month thing after March and the other… well, we’ll see if there will be any interest for that to make it into a more regular thing. The only thing I can say at this time is that one involves authors and the other bloggers, but it’ll be open to anyone later on. I’m really freaking excited about the author one, which is already under production and I’m about to see the first results, and OMG. Okay, I’ll stop being annoying now. For the anniversary I also plan to do a bit of redesinging too.

Last year brought some new features which I’d like to continue such as The Questioning, Tales from the Asylum (will be open to anyone after SPFBO5 ends). As restless as I am, I probably will come up with a couple of new ones this year too (actually I already started A Week in My Head, which is some kind of weekly journal where I talk about stuff regarding life, mental health, etc.), because I like to experiment and I’d like to offer more opportunities for authors (and bloggers) to show themselves off a bit besides the regular guest post/interview posts. Which are cool, and I’ll do those as well as cover reveals (feel free to contact me if you’d like to be featured on the blog, btw.), but I like to do things on my own way. But you probably already realised that 🙂 Still, I’ll try to take part in more publisher’s events such as blog tours, cover reveals, etc. Generally I’d like to open a bit more toward trad publishing while keeping my doors open to indies as well. Maybe this will be the year when I’ll find that precious balance.

I also want to pay more attention to music again – though I’m continously fail at it *sigh*.

I will take part in Wyrd and Wonder this May and will be much more prepared than last year when I was just dropped into it!

In terms of stats, apart from reaching the 500. blog post, I’d like to get the views of the blog up to 30K in 2020. With my following growing month by month and the stats having generally a growing tendency except some spikes up or down, I think it’s a pretty reachable goal. Would be nice to get the number of WP followers up to 500 this year, but I’m not really fussed over that. Twitter being the platform I use most (plus the FB page and group, to which you are welcome to join), I probably will try to open to something else, maybe Instagram. Reddit is still totally outside of my comfort zone, so I don’t think I’ll ever be active over there. My GR presence (feel free to friend me) is pretty general too, which I also probably should use more, but oh well. There is only so much time I can spend on networking.

Writing

This past couple of days/weeks you might have seen me going on all about my current short story project(s). Back in 2018 I was ready to step back from reading to have more time focusing on writing. Instead, I started RockStarlit BookAsylum, and my life never was the same, lol. Seriously though, the short story/novella I spent working on and off for 4 years is currently under revising. It needs some parts added and then some more editing rounds, but at the moment I’m pretty confident about it. The current title is InkFeather and I thik that’s a keeper. With my new time schedule I’m trying to squeeze at least 1 hour of writing/editing time in so I could finish it in a more timely fashion.

At the same time, I started to do research for another short story/novella, which I plan to finish in a much shorter time than 4 years. For this one I actually will have some deadlines, which is good. I’ve been wanting to write a story based on Hungarian mythology/folklore for a few years now and looks like the time has come. I’m pretty excited about this one, because I take a rather different approach this time. Writing always has been a hobby of mine but I never really did much editing, or worldbuilding, just sat down, wrote and moved on. Now I’m doing research to be able to have a rich world and as accurate as I can make it, though I don’t have much to work with. I want to do this right. I have a couple of ideas, but nothing concrete yet regarding characters or plot. I think I’ll just let the world decide it for me in a way. I always had a clear scene or feeling in mind I wanted to capture and which started my short stories off, but this time I only have impressions so far. Not sure where this one will take me, but there are some plans in motion behind the scenes and I’m equally excited and terrified. 2020 gonna be a great year.

Travels/Cons

As far as travelling plans go, at the moment I have 2 definite destinations. I’ll have a short visit in the UK this February. A friend of mind invited me to her home for a weekend and that’ll be a nice getaway from everyday life. Also for the first time in years, I’ve no plans for my birthday (it’s in early February), so it seemed like a nice idea to jump over there.

I will definitely go to BristolCon in October and spend at least a day or two in town as well, because I just love Bristol.

No other definite plans at the moment, though I’d like to spend a week in Manchester and maybe go to EdgeLit in the summer. Not sure if I’ll be able to afford it though, so that’s on hold for the moment. No plans for visit London either, but I guess I can always spend a weekend there if some event comes up I’d like to attend *cough* Gollancz Fest *cough*. Anyway, I’ll keep my eyes open for opportunities to catch up with friends and authors in the UK.

Oops, this post ended up being rather long, so I guess I’ll shut up for now. I hope you all will have a great year in 2020 and that you’ll be able to reach all of the goals you’ve set up for yourselves!

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