It’s the end of 2019 and plans for 2020 are forming in the back of my mind as I attempt to focus on writing to finish the first novel in my new series, currently called The Missing.

Confession: this blog post is actually a form of procrastination. So I’m going to try to be concise a do a bulleted list.

What did I do in 2019?

  • released Fierce Justice
  • completed edits on Forever Strong
  • drafted the intro novella to The Missing
  • hopefully finished drafting the 1st novel of The Missing (in progress)
  • started physical therapy for nerve issues and extreme, chronic pain in my hands and arms due to issues in my neck/back/shoulders
  • starting learning to write via dictation
  • re-released 4 novellas formerly under my PJ Schnyder name
  • instructor and staff on the Writing Excuses workshop and retreat cruise
  • guest speaker at Surrey International Writer’s Conference
  • signing author at ApollyCon
  • featured author at Book Lovers Con
  • re-launched my Patreon to share task management & project planning, as well as lessons learned in writing via dictation

Those are the highlights, with a whole lot of hard work and some crazy obstacles to overcome behind the scenes.

It’s been a rough year, struggling with depression and anxiety along the way, and I am going to let 2019 go in the rear view mirror without too much examination. I’m also not going to plan too much about 2020 before it actually begins.

So that’s the end of 2019 and plans for 2020 are?

My focus will be on health, balance, and my writing. I want to dive into my writing and savor the joy of it.

There will be fewer cons or book signings and more writing retreats.

I love my readers and I’m pretty sure you all love me primarily for my books, so I’m going to focus on writing more.

Speaking of savoring…

Updates to Patreon

Sharing my journey in learning to write via dictation, as well as my tips on project planning and task management, has worked out well on Patreon. I intend to continue into 2020.

Based on a whole lot of stress cooking in 2019, with plenty of pics posted to my Facebook profile and Instagram feeds, the subsequent requests for recipes, then private messages from people asking me for those recipes again later when they couldn’t find the FB post where I’d provided the recipe or at least guidelines of what I did (because a lot of my cooking doesn’t involve me following a recipe) … I’ll be sharing recipes or relate how I cooked a dish on my Patreon, made available to public.

This means you don’t have to join a paid tier to have access to those posts, only follow me on Patreon. Patrons who did join a paid tier will have early access to my cooking posts, then the posts will be available to the public after a bit of time. Either way, it’s an easy place to go find those recipes and cooking instructions.

I will be adding a paid tier for those interested in vlogs (videos) of me cooking various favorite dishes, especially food I’ve included in my books as part of my character building. Shenanigans are sure to occur as I have fun with this and I cannot predict just how many bloopers are going to happen but I promise not to edit them out. Look to join the “Trail Cache” tier, or any of the higher tiers on my Patreon for access to those videos.

Piper J Drake at BLC19

It’s time to play Find the Piper at #BLC19! I love New Orleans and it’s one of my favorite places to meet readers and hang out. I’m really looking forward to returning to NOLA for the first Book Lovers Con.

Book Lovers Con has a different set up from many conventions, with reader events open to the general attendees and lottery events designed to make sure readers who signed up in advance have great focused interaction with authors. I did my best to be a part of both kinds of events.

To make playing Find the Piper at #BLC19 easier for those attending, here’s my schedule. I love meeting readers both familiar and new, so please do say Hello!

Faery Make-Up Party
Thursday, May 16, 2019 – 4:30pm to 7:00pm

Wheel of Romance Bingo
Friday, May, 17, 2019 10:00am – 11:30am, Empire A

All Law and No Order
Friday, May 17, 2019 – 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Get A Clue – Win A Squishable
Friday, May, 17, 2019 5:30pm – 6:45pm, Strand 13 B

Book Bash Signing
Saturday, May, 18, 2019 10:30am – 2:00pm, Celestin Ballroom

It Had to Be You
Saturday, May 18, 2019 4:00pm to 5:30pm, Empire C&D

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing’s Forever imprint, readers will receive ULTIMATE COURAGE in various reader events. I’ll have EXTREME HONOR, the first in my True Heroes series, at the Saturday Book Bash. I’ll also be signing TOTAL BRAVERY, the first in the True Heroes series taking our heroes and heroines to Hawaii, and my latest release, FIERCE JUSTICE.

For those who might follow me on Twitter and Facebook, or in my newsletter, you may be aware I’ve been facing new medical challenges this year. My physical therapy has progressed but nerves in my left arm are still making signing (or using my left hand at all) very painful for me. So at Book Lovers Con, I will be signing one book per reader and using a stamp made of my signature for any additional books. I very much hope you all will be understanding.

Play Find the Piper

Play Find the Piper at the RWA National Conference in Denver, CO on July 18-21! I’m delighted to be attending the Romance Writers of America annual conference this year and looking forward to such a fantastic gathering of great minds. We all share a love of romance, a passion for the written word, and drive to achieve in this very tough industry.

This specific conference is always a huge learning opportunity for me, both for writing craft and for the business of writing. There are panels and workshops on both topics presented by fellow authors I respect. There are round table discussions on current issues. And there are ad hoc discussions in every corner, every seating area, most definitely at every bar in and surrounding the conference hotel.

We’re together and sharing experiences, thoughts, and ideas. We’re sharing perspectives.

I get so much out of this conference and I love meeting the readers, bloggers, librarians, and other book lovers who attend and share their perspectives too.

Here’s where you can find me:

Thu
10AM Carina Press Open House and Author Signing
11AM Grand Central Book Signing
3:50PM Writing When Your Routine Is Disrupted

Sat
9:50AM Powering Up Productivity: Project Planning for Writers
3-5PM “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing
** Free & Open to Public

More details on the RWA annual conference here:
https://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=538

Can’t attend in person? I’ll have random FB Lives from me and other authors via my FB page throughout the week!

Authors at Top Floor Bar RT 2016*Rant warning/*

Planning to be at a con but not paying registration to be at said con, some call it “Bar Con-ing”, seems to be happening more and more and there are those who’ve taken the concept of Bar Con too far. Here’s the thing – Bar Con itself is a positive aspect of any con. The key consideration here is that Bar Con occurs because the con is happening. It’s a part of the con.

When you didn’t pay registration, but you’re at the con all weekend in the bar or lobby? Posting publicly in advance on your professional author pages or websites to tell readers you’ll be there and let you know if they want to buy your books? Selling books out of your bag or hotel room? Not cool.

When you’re sneaking into a panel or event to see friends? And oh, you didn’t plan to do it but you did? or it was for research? You didn’t pay registration. You’re hurting the con.

This is why we can’t have nice things, people.

Yes, there are amazing networking opportunities at a con, especially at the bar. Everyone goes to the bar eventually. And hey, if you’re not attending the con but you’ve set up some time to have drinks with an agent or editor or fellow author for networking while they’re in town? Cool. Or maybe you pick them up in the lobby and head off site for dinner. Great.

But “I’m attending… sort of” or “I’ll be at the hotel all weekend” or “come find me at the bar all weekend” and flying or driving long distances to get there? You are attending the con and not paying the con for the confluence of professionals and meeting of minds you want to take part in. The con suffers. You’ve hurt the con financially and if it deteriorates as more people like you do it, you wonder why.

You are part of the problem.

Authors and Readers having drinksBut the networking! “I need the networking and I can’t get ROI on the con itself”. I see this argument a lot from people. But did those people approach it in a constructive way? Reach out to agents and editors and industry pros who’ll be there to schedule meet up times that don’t conflict with con interests? Most of the time no. They sit at the bar where the magic happens because they might accidentally or randomly talk to an agent or editor who likes the convo so much they invite the author to submit their manuscript.

Yay! It could happen!

Yes, it could.

That agent or editor is also going to see the author doing this unprofessional thing. They will likely research the author online–because that happens when considering working with an author–and see that the author even posts about planning to do this unprofessional thing. Or the author posts after the con describing how they snuck into panels or events. Not only unprofessional but indiscreet.

Classy.

The writing career is tough. I get it. I live it. There are also nuances to every situation that could argue for why what a specific person is doing is not hurting the con and is important for their life or career. Bar Con is a great thing and valuable to career building. It is.

Piper at OtakonHowever, people have jumped way the hell over the line in taking advantage of it –taking Bar Con too far– and then they wonder why their favorite cons deteriorate. They say they only do it to this one con because whatever but really it’s like cheating in a relationship. If they do it once, they’ll rationalize doing it again and again. I’ve seen this at anime, SFF, and romance conventions. It frustrates me when those cons go down under the weight of this sort of behavior.

I prefer to contribute to the cons important to me and support them, as opposed to cutting corners and cheating the con.

*/end rant*

ETA: Brief recap to be clear…

  • Bar Con can be good when not taken too far. Meet ups and getting together can be super valuable. Bar Con in general = GOOD.
  • Sneaking into convention panels or events = BAD.
  • Selling at the bar or in the lobby or out of your hotel room = Tacky as hell. And Bad.
  • Camping out all weekend stalking agents and editors coming to the bar = Questionable results.

There can be times when Bar Con is great! It’s just lately, I’ve seen people take advantage to the point of extreme WTFery. There is the source of my rant.

What do you think?

Piper Surviving Deadlines by Focus on WritingI made a careful decision to have a stronger focus on writing this year. As an author, one might think I write, therefore I have a focus on writing.

But here’s the thing: when an author goes to events, the author isn’t writing much, if at all. When an author is doing book signings, the author isn’t writing much. The priority is to spend time with you, the reader, and rightly so. It’s important and I love meeting readers!

But all those events take away from writing time. There’s also travel that both takes away from writing time and is generally exhausting.

I maintain a day job career in parallel to my author career and I do travel 85% of my time for the day job. Add writerly events in there and I am sometimes away from home for up to 3 weeks at a time. I don’t take vacations, I take time off from the day job to attend writerly events and conventions. There’s no down time and without down time, my creativity suffers.

Last year was rough and much of it was due to the killer schedule I set for myself. I wrote 5 full length novels and several short stories through the course of the year in addition to throwing myself into my day job for the most challenging project of my day job career.  I am proud of my work.

There’s no way I can maintain the pace. I wouldn’t survive.

This year, I’ve decided to manage my time carefully and only attend writing retreats. At these retreats, my writing productivity has been amazing. My intent is to come through 2017 with high quality writing and the foundation laid to do great things with my writing career in the future. My priority is to provide great stories to my readers. This year, I’ll focus on writing.

Even if you don’t see me in person, you can play Find the Piper all over the internet for insight into my writing and hijinx:

Sign up for my newsletter for occasional news about upcoming releases plus exclusive excerpts and giveaway.

Check out the PJRA FB group for fun interaction, shared writing snippets, and occasional contests as my readers track my Travel Hijinx.

Follow me on Instagram for photos of my travels and behind-the-scenes insight into my writing only available here.

Listen to EMEPiper and subscribe to my Patreon to support writing-related creative content.

And of course, I can be found on FB and Twitter, as well as Pinterest and YouTube.

Come 2018, I’ll be looking at events again. I’ll be out there to meet readers and network with pros in the industry. Moving forward, I’ll be carefully balancing these priorities so my writing — the core of me as an author — is still strong as I participate in upcoming events too.

If you’d like me to attend your favorite convention or reader event, please contact the event coordinators and request me. It’s the best way to let events know you want me there. These events are for you, readers. Let them know who you want. 😉