Goodbye 2016

bye-bye-2016-photos-300x230As is customary when the end of the year approaches, we become reflective as we consider the year ending and what we would like to happen in the coming year. As I look back on 2016 I think it was an interesting mix of good and bad events, both personally and professionally.

Personally, I saw many changes in my life. While I won’t go into all the details on that, I will say that my youngest son graduated from high school and my daughter finished off 7th grade with straight A’s, earning a Presidential Achievement Award. By the end of summer my family and I rejoiced as my daughter won her first princess title, Miss Mahkato for the Mahkato Wacipi. She was so excited. And then there was the community of Standing Rock where we live. We saw Indigenous Warriors stand up to protect the environment and the subsequent upheaval that has caused in the surrounding areas. I am 100% behind the Water Protectors and #NoDAPL, and am glad that my children were able to participate in this movement and see activism first hand. But everything in my life wasn’t great. Unfortunately, my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor and later had a stroke. It was a very difficult time for our family as we grappled with the fragility of life and what it would mean if our matriarch wasn’t around. I’m happy to say that she’s healing well from these injuries and now lives with me full time. Finally, work continues to go well. I love what I do but I also came to the difficult decision of leaving IHS in 2017. It’s a decision that both excites and terrifies me. 

Andrew Promo 2Professionally, I also saw so many changes, specifically with my writing. Firstly, I published two books, Helios Beginnings and Helios Awakened. The prequel novella and Book 1 in my Adult Romance series, The Helios Chronicles. A series that follows Andrew and Madison as they fight for their love in a world set on tearing them apart. The first part of the series focusses on Helios’ past and how he becomes who he is and on the start of his relationship with Madison. A woman that will make him see he is worthy of love. While, it hasn’t made quite the splash I was hoping for just yet, I am extremely proud of these books and what they represent. I’m looking forward to releasing the rest of this series in 2017.

I was also lucky enough to participate in the second, Thrill of the Hunt anthology. I wrote a short story called Horror in Grieselton. It is sort of a prequel novella to mine and Deanna’s series The Diakrisis Tales. Man, I had fun writing that story.

15540775_1283401168384638_3865784777888875794_oAt the end of 2015 my daughter and I published our first novel, Thirty Eight. A coming of age story set against the backdrop of the Dakota 38+2 Ride. We had decided on using this book as a way to introduce the ride and what it represents to people who may not have heard of it and also donating all royalties towards the ride itself. With that goal in mind we attended several pow wows in 2016 where we signed and sold our books. And then we were given some fantastic news. Thirty Eight was selected by the Standing Rock School System to be the school wide read for the 2016-2017 school year. Every student and teacher in middle and high school would be reading it. What an amazing honor! At the end of 2016 we calculated our total sales and found that we had sold 425 books and earned $1283 in royalties which we presented to the Dakota 38 +2 Ride, along with a star quilt, on December 17th at the Flandreau Waniyetu Wacipi.

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winnerIn 2016, I also did something I never imagined doing. I participated in the National Novel Writing Month Challenge, also known as NaNoWriMo. At first I was like, sure, I can do this, no big deal and then as the month progressed I realized just how difficult this was to do. Writing 50k words in 30 days is extremely hard. But, I plugged away and ended up finishing the challenge and writing all but 3 chapters in mine and Deanna’s next novel, An Unexpected Gift. Its the first book in our Paranormal Young Adult series that follows a young girl named Parker Joseph who finds out that she has an exceptional ‘gift’ that will help her combat the evil that is surrounding her town. We still have three chapters to finish in it but are expecting to have it published sometime in 2017.

writing-just-do-it-logo1So where does that leave me as 2016 comes to a close and 2017 begins? Well, if things go as planned I will release 5-8 books this year. Helios Exposed (Book 2 in the Helios Chronicles) will be released in February while the final book, Helios Renewed, and the epilogue novella, Helios Forever should be out by the end of the year. In addition, I have a a mafia story called, Brothers Forever, that I’m expecting to release this spring and then Deanna and I are hoping to release, An Unexpected Gift, this summer. I do have another book finished, a novella called Beyond the Beach which is part of a series called Seasons of Love. A group of four romance novellas themed around the seasons. My plan was to release a new novella on the seasonal solstices (Mar 20th, June 20th, Sept 22nd and Dec 21st). Beyond the Beach is the ‘Summer’ story. I do know what the other three stories will be about but I’m not sure I’ll have the chance to finish them in time to start releasing the series this year. We shall see how it goes.

I’ve done a lot of writing and editing in 2016 and imagine that 2017 will hold the same for me. I’m looking forward to this coming year and what it will hold for myself, my children, my friends and of course, Winyan Press, LLC. I am choosing to look towards the future in a positive light and hope you all do as well. Have a wonderful New Year’s everyone and remember that…

Only you can tell the story that’s in your heart, so write it, in spite of the obstacles in your way!

Vintage alarm clock, open book, greeting text

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