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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.

When Mary Robinette Kowal asks me to be a panelist/moderator at the Nebula Conference-a professional conference for Science Fiction and Fantasy-I’m extremely likely to say YES. Not only because I have a decades long love for the genres but also due to my deep respect for Mary herself.

She is thought-provoking. She is also considerate. She writes wonderful novels. And she demonstrates via her actions the messages she presents via her words. Mary Robinette Kowal is one of those nifty people who inspire me to strive to do great things.

And so I’ll be in Chicago for the Nebula Conference, on panel and moderating. I’ll also be attending the many other interesting panels to expand my mind.

It will be my first Nebula and I have no doubts about it being interesting. 😉

ComingSoon copyI’m evolving this year and this conference will be a test of that evolution. I am Piper J. Drake when it comes to romantic suspense. But will PJ Schnyder continue on or will that alter-identity fade into the archives as Piper continues? It’s a question that involves publishers, my agent, and some deep thinking. Regardless, I intend to continue writing science fiction, paranormal romance, and steampunk in addition to my romantic suspense.

As a part of the evolution, my social media platforms are consolidating. So whether you are looking for PJ Schnyder or Piper J. Drake, you will find my thoughts here.

And I’ll hope to see you at the Nebula Conference in Chicago. 😉

PJ’s (Piper’s) Panels at the Nebula Conference

Saturday May 14 at 2pm

Being a Hybrid Author

Rather than choosing traditional publishing or indie-publishing, some authors are doing both. These panelists talk about the nuts and bolts of combining publishing strategies to diversify a writer’s income stream.

Moderator: Kameron Hurley

Panelists: Eric FlintCharles GannonAlethea KontisPJ SchnyderDan Slater

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Saturday May 14 at 3pm

Day Jobs for Writers

Discussion would include considerations for writers balancing their writing careers with day jobs from time management techniques to whether to have pen names to what not to Tweet in order to avoid getting fired. Bonus discussion on how experience in the workplace can impact your writing perspective.

Moderator: PJ Schnyder

Panelists: Rachel AcksDanielle FriedmanN.K. JemisinMartin L. Shoemaker

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Saturday May 14 at 4pm

Redefining Aliens of the Future

In early SF, aliens were often used as stand-ins, to represent groups of Others in our own societies. They are still sometimes inappropriately inserted into lists of marginalized groups by people attempting to downplay bias. In SF worlds where the human condition is portrayed with full diversity, what new roles can aliens take on to keep their relevance to their core genre?

Moderator: Juliette Wade

Panelists: Charles GannonNick Kanas, M.D.Fonda LeePJ SchnyderRachel Swirsky