This year has been complicated. In fact, right now, I’m waking up to the dawn of a new year in one time zone while it is still the previous year in the time zone where I actually live. I’m in between 2018 and 2019 and it’s an interesting time to look back and also to look forward, I think.

Matthew has been talking to me about what drives me. His perspective is valuable to me, not just because of who he is to me as a partner but also because he can observe objectively and provide shrewd insight.

We both agree that I am driven to continually accomplish and achieve, so much so that I run myself ragged. With every story, every deadline, I think if I can just finish this or hit that deadline, I’ll be happy. But then I immediately dive toward the next goal, writing the next story and hitting the next deadline. Where was the happy?

I agree with Matthew that I need to celebrate more. Savor. Be happy about what I’ve accomplished.

What did I do in 2018?

  • Moved from Phoenix to Seattle
  • released Total Bravery
  • turned in Fierce Justice
  • turned in Forever Strong
  • released Siren’s Calling
  • signed a 4 book deal with Sourcebooks
  • recorded 20 Minute Delay with Gail Carriger
  • featured author at Coastal Magic Convention
  • survived pneumonia, again
  • panelist at RWA national conference
  • survived medical challenges
  • instructor and staff on the Writing Excuses workshop and retreat cruise
  • panelist at Emerald City Writers Conference
  • featured author at Fresh Fiction Readers ‘n Rita’s

There’s more, though those are the highlights. Every book has an entire cycle of draft/edit/revision involved. Every convention or conference has preparation.

I also did all of this in parallel to my day job. I did this while Matthew was away on orders. I managed to keep Corbin and myself fed and in reasonably good health. I even improved both our physical fitness levels. I faced depression and anxiety, learned to recognize what they were doing to me, and am taking steps to navigate through.

That’s awesome. Looking back on 2018, it was a lot of accomplishments in the face of a number of challenges behind the scenes and I did some great things.

Looking forward?

I have hopes and dreams. I have ambition.

I want my writing career list to be more focused on actual writing.

I am exploring new genres.

I am trying to remember to celebrate with each accomplishment and enjoy each burst of happiness as I go.

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. 😉

I’ve written many, many words in the last year.

HIDDEN IMPACT released in November 2015 as the first Safeguard novel via Carina Press.

EXTREME HONOR released in January of this year, the first in my True Heroes series from Grand Central Publishing’s Forever imprint.

I’ve completed and turned in developmental edits for DEADLY TESTIMONY, the second Safeguard novel. And I’ve completed both my developmental/line and copy edits for ULTIMATE COURAGE, book 2 in the True Heroes series.

That’s four novels, a lot of words.

I have two more contractual deadlines this year and have still more words to write. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Matthew J. Drake and I drove into the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee today and we’ll be two of about twenty writers in an intensive writing retreat.

There will be many words.

image

All Aboard for a Cruise!

Piper’s last trip to Cozumel was 2003

In less than 48 hours, it will be all aboard the Independence of the Seas for the 2015 Out of Excuses Writing Workshop and Retreat for a Western Caribbean cruise!

The summer, it isn’t over yet.

I am about to embark on a nautical adventure of epic proportions with such great company as Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells. I admire all of these people, not only for their writerly works but also for their podcast: Writing Excuses.

I’ll be working on Deadly Testimony, a Safeguard Novel, on the cruise because if I don’t, my editors at Carina Press may be incredibly angry with me. (I’m on deadline!) Somewhere in there, I also hope to record the next episode of #EMEPiper. There may be a Piper Travels or Piper Notes video coming out of the cruise too. Hopefully.

But first and foremost: WRITING.

I’m looking forward to several of the workshops scheduled for the cruise. There’s sessions on description, worldbuilding, revision, giving critiques, deconstructing structure, writing with multiple viewpoints, dialogue, and much more.

It’s been more than a decade since I’ve been on a cruise and I’m delighted to be leading a discussion on one of the excursions at Grand Cayman as well.

There’s so much nifty about this coming week, I can’t even hope to describe it all. So there will be pictures and video and podcasting involved. 😉

See you when I return to port!

As you might know from seeing my “Piper’s Travel Hijinx” on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I am on the move rather often. Mobility is key to my productivity. Or more specifically, mobile writing. I’m always exploring technology solutions to allow me to write from anywhere, anytime. Recently, I’ve been pondering my choice in personal writing laptops. (I make it a practice not to write on my day job laptop. I keep the work for day job as separate as possible from writing.)

I’ve been an AlienWare user for a long time. I love the look and feel of these laptops. I used to play a lot of StarCraft II and World of Warcraft, so a gaming laptop made sense. I’ll also admit to recently giving Final Fantasy XIV Online a trial run. But writing takes priority over gaming in my time nowadays and the software I use for writing does not have the same heavy-duty system requirements that gaming does.

AlienWare laptops are heavy and bulky. They’ve gotten more streamlined over the last year or so, but there’s only so much streamlining to be done. Though the new M13 is interesting at 40% thinner than previous models, it’s still heavy on long walks through airports.

As an interim solution, I was using an iPad for a couple of years with a bluetooth keyboard. This was working but I truly missed being able to work in Scrivener. I struggled to do edits, almost always waiting until I could work on a laptop instead. Not a viable long-term solution.

And yet, a lot of writers love their Macs. Love them. I can’t count the number of times a MacBook Air has been recommended to me and Scrivener–my favorite writing software–was originally developed for the Mac OS.

I still love AlienWare and keep it at home for gaming. But now I have a Macbook Air specifically for mobile writing and my shoulders/back appreciate the consideration. Especially when I’m running through the airport terminal to catch a connecting flight. 😛

PipersMacBookAir2015