What a year, eh? It went by fast for me, thinking back on it. Now that it’s over, I must reflect. Then I can propel forward to 2021 and DO WORK!

2020 started off with me getting busy and starting my own publishing company, Paper Star Publishing! I did this as my own imprint to release my books on, making it easier to distribute my books. Absolute Essence was nearing completion, and set for release on February 29th (Leap Day). I was then slated to appear at the Des Moines Book Festival at the end of March, but… then Covid-19 happened.

Before that, however, and actually two days before releasing Absolute Essence, my wife and I found out some big news. We were pregnant! Woah!! We didn’t expect to get pregnant so fast after only trying for such a tiny window, but the news was exhilarating, amazing, scary, and as welcome as could be.

Throughout lockdown, while everyone else was binge watching everything available on every streaming service (we did too in between everything), we prepared. See, we were in a condo, and did not want to raise our kid there. So the house hunt began! We also had to prepare to sell the condo, so my focuses were on getting family stuff ready. That meant my authoring activities didn’t get much attention. That’s not something I’m upset about (priorities, duh!), but I do wish Absolute Essence performed better. I blamed the lack of book festivals and the like, but the attention just wasn’t there for me. No regrets.

We did find a new construction home in a nice suburb, a great spot for baby. Close to schools in a blossoming area, oh and did I mention we were having a BOY!? I would’ve been happy with either, boy or girl, but I’d have been in trouble if we had a girl. She’d have me wrapped around her finger. Aw, who am I kidding, this boy has me wrapped around his finger!!

The only issue with the house was it wouldn’t be complete until a month or two before baby arrived. Whew, we sure cut it close! We closed on the house in mid-September, then baby showed up at the end of October! Not too long to really get unpacked and enjoy the house, especially with my wife hobbling around at the end of her pregnancy just ready for baby to check out of his cozy suite.

Throughout all of this, my day job experienced a surge in business, keeping me busy throughout the weeks amidst the virus and everything else. Multiple weekends were spent at the office (and still are). I did take a nice little break from social media to help focus on the important things, and took what time off I could to spend with family and keep my sanity. I think it’s working, but that’s debatable!

In between everything, I have spent a little time revising DESCENT, the novella focusing on Zoë’s events during NAEVIA-18. It’s closer to being done, but I’m not rushing it. I also started working as a writer for an independent video game company, helping to co-write the script for a fantasy RPG, as well as writing side quests. It’s been really challenging to say the least, navigating a new world like this. I’m still learning throughout the frustration, and I’ve got a good friend working alongside me. I’m confident we’ll get through it, but as we slowly get that figured out I’ve shifted some focus back to my authoring activities. As noted, DESCENT is coming soon once I finish revising. Then I have a few ideas I’m outlining. One of them I’m really excited about and want to write as soon as I can. While all that is preparing, I’m doing my research on how to be more successful with this writing gig, listening to podcasts during middle of the night feedings and reading whatever helpful articles and information I can find. I’m just trying to improve my craft and improve on how my finished work can reach as many readers as possible.

As all that pans out, I’m just going to enjoy life as much as I can. This year was a roller coaster of emotions, which for me is something, as I stay pretty even-keeled on just about everything. I’ll focus on myself and my family first, then prioritize everything else from there! Even if it means shutting myself down from certain aspects, activities, or people. I’ve learned a ton since this little guy was born, and the biggest thing is what and who matters most. Don’t let outside influences that really don’t matter at all affect how you live your life! Do good. Be good. Everything will fall into place, and if it doesn’t, keep plugging away. You’ll get there.

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