Ringing in the New Year (2021)

Bernie Anés PazLife & ThoughtsLeave a Comment

Hello everyone! I wanted to make this post earlier, but you know how that usually goes. Anyway, I wanted to post an update on myself and discuss the progress I’ve made on my next novels.

The short of it is that I’m doing much better at the moment; things in my personal life are on an upward trend and will hopefully remain so. Cradle of Sea and Soil is also doing well and is slowly getting attention from readers, bloggers, and indie review outlets as they churn through their backlogs. Overall, the reception to it has been positive so far, which is honestly something I really needed going into this year.

2020 hit me harder than I thought it would, even considering the pandemic, because of some surprises. I also swapped jobs and moved in the middle of it all, and wasn’t exactly in the best mental place towards the end because of some stuff I’d rather not talk about here. As a result, I struggled to get any reading done (I just couldn’t focus on the books, which sucked because novels have always been a kind of escapism tool for me). My daily word count progress also took a hit which resulted in delays and shifts in plans. I actually wanted to release Stormbringers at the end of 2020.

The real kick in the stomach was when I took a break from everything in December and tried to relax a little with my gaming backlog—only to have Cyberpunk 2077 become the singular biggest gaming disappointment I’ve experienced in recent memory. I know most of you don’t care or even think it’s a huge deal, but I’ve been looking forward to this game since I heard about it nearly 8 years ago, and it was being pushed as this amazing open world experience you could lose yourself in.

I blocked time off to see family and at the tail end planned to vacation away from all noise and troubles of my life by immersing myself in the game… only to have it turn out to be a steaming piece of crap. I spent two days roughing it, grew frustrated, and then just gave up. I’ll play it when the game’s actually finished in another two years, but I think I made it halfway through and there’s simply no way it’s ever going to be more than mediocre at its best.

So, yeah. Funnily enough, I told myself way back at the start of 2019 that I’d make 2020 “my year,” so I guess you have me to thank for all the crap going on because some great power out there has a really dark sense of humor.

2021 is going to be a fresh start though, and I’m determined to allow it to be one. New endeavours and new opportunities all around. Chief among those is of course entering 2021’s SPFBO, which I am very much looking forward to. I also hope to ease back into my old reading habits and begin writing up reviews about whatever indie novels I read each year. I really don’t have the time (or desire) to become a book blogger, but I figure I’d at least talk about the best indie novels I’ve read since they generally need more help getting visibility.

That’s about it for things involving me personally. I’m healthy and at least have a job, so I guess things could be worse. We’ll see how 2021 pans out!

Stormbringers & Nightmarian

Here’s a small progress update for the curious: Right now I’m spending most of my time drafting and doing some rewriting, and in between breaks to distance myself from the novel (and/or clear my mind), I’m continuing to work on Nightmarian. This is just part of my creative process; I always like to have another project as an outlet for writer’s block or while I’m chewing on a plot point or something within my primary work because that other project allows me to remain productive.

Nightmarian’s series (The Eldest Throne) is also a lot less ambitious than Islandborn in some ways, as I was trying to do specific things in the latter that required a lot of research and careful tuning. Nightmarian, on the other hand, is fully grown from my imagination, so it’s proven easier to write.

I’ll probably end up releasing both fairly close to each other. Previously, my focus had been on Stormbringers, but it’s Nightmarian that I hope to submit for 2021’s SPFBO. Now that I have a better idea of production timelines involving editing and cover design, I’d feel more comfortable having my submission completed far ahead of the entry date, as I missed last year by around two weeks (I ended up delaying further since I had the time).

Afterwards, I intend to focus on finishing the Islandborn trilogy with its last book, tentatively titled Oathborn, and mostly have it sketched out already. While Stormbringers places more emphasis on Ixchel and Peacemaker’s companions, Oathborn will highlight Kisari and the solution she might offer the world in response to the events at the end of the second book. I’m pretty excited about it, so I can’t wait to finally get Stormbringers out into the hands of my readers.

Cradle of Sea and Soil Gets Some Love!

I’m also ridiculously pleased to say that while Cradle of Sea and Soil wasn’t for everyone (the mother/son dynamic, unique cultural ticks of the Islandborn, and the novel’s slower opening pace seemed to turn some people away), most of those who ended up reading through seemed to really enjoy it.

It somehow made Arina’s top 10 reads of the year, which is high praise indeed! I’m all kinds of awkward when it comes to my work and have always (and probably always will) struggled with putting myself out there, so this is a bit embarrassing. It’s also, however, thrilling, and the kind of shot to the arm I really needed going into the year.

Set Sykes also wrote a crazy in-depth review over that I just loved reading through. He’s a great guy and honestly, like with Arina’s review, this really helped brighten things up for me during a time when I could really use it.

Definitely give it a read! A ton of the insights about the book are spot on. So much so, that it’s actually pretty impressive.

Looking Ahead

Let’s just end things by saying that I have high hopes for 2021, both within and without. Stay safe and remember to take care of yourself mentally as well. It’s more important than ever these days.

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