2018 Year In Review: Books & Writing & Dungeons & Dragons, Oh My!

Well, 2018 has certainly been a year, hasn’t it? Time to examine those accomplishments (or lack thereof) and decide what to do with the next 12 months (or not). As you can see, my motivation is at ebb tide at the moment of this missive, so maybe the act of looking back will help… let’s see…

I did manage to exceed my 2017 read count by a whole 176 pages! I was down two books though, with only 29. I do know that much reading that is not counted up includes tons of editing (re-reading), research for writing, and also research into Dungeons and Dragons rules and lore. I’m totally counting the Dungeon Masters Guide & Player’s Handbook for D&D 5th Edition this year! The D&D wiki is also a rabbit hole of infinite depth down which one should carefully tread, lest you be engulfed and never return! So, yeah, I’ll count all that as a win.

The writing has taken a backseat for a while, although I did publish my Horizon’s Unlimited Anthology. I wrote and expanded on several short stories and submitted those. One was over 22,000 words! I have not yet been able to settle into a mindset that will allow me to continue another novel. I also have picked up that new hobby that I mentioned before…

You see, early in the year… Feb/March? I decided to try my hand at being a Dungeon Master for D&D 5th Edition starter set campaign The Lost Mine of Phandelver. This RPG is supposed to be a fairly short introductory campaign to help new players and new DMs (Dungeon Masters) learn the ‘art’ of play D&D. I had played through that campaign myself as a player, so I was hoping it would prove to be an easy way to get started as the man behind the screen… Weeellll…

I have a tendency to embellish things when I think they are a bit on the boring side. My players also have this same characteristic trait. I quickly found that if I dangled a shiny side-story in front of them, they would instantly shoot off in that direction before I could comprehend what I had done to myself. This is how LMoP become a nearly year long campaign with a follow on Custom Campaign #2 to be run me in 2019.

Oh, and we’re maybe…sorta…kinda… going to try recording it an seeing if people on YouTube want to watch it. That means I now have to learn video recording & editing software, etc. I have already started this, and it will be time consuming. It is why the ‘plans’ that I mentioned back in November never really happened.

Anyway, that’s what’s up with my life and hobbies at the moment. But, let’s get back to the BOOKS!

I only had 4 books that (5 if you count my own, but I’m biased) made the 5 star cut this past year. 7 earned a 4 star ranking. There were some good comics/graphic novels in the mix as well, but I count them separately.

Here’s the breakdown for my reads & reviews this year.

Total books read for the year: 23 (+4 Comics/Graphic Novels + 2 RPG Source Books)

Total pages read for the year: 7,646

Book ratings: 5 – 5 stars, 7 – 4 stars, 11 – 3 stars, 2 – 2 stars, 1 – 1 star

Comic ratings: 1 – 5 star, 1 – 4 star, 2 – 3 stars

I would love to hear from any readers in the comments.

How many books did you read in last year? What were your favs?

Wishing you all Happy Reading for 2019!


Showcase of some of my favorites from 2018 are below…

Five Star Books

Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1
A Space Adventure Anthology
by J. D. BeckwithMy Book
Planetary: Mercury by Superversive Press (includes a short story by ME!)

My Review

A Place For War (Z-Day #3) by Daniel Humphreys

My Review

I Am Justice (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes #9) by Ryk Brown

My Review

Islands of Rage & Hope (Black Tide Rising #3) by John Ringo

My Review

Critical Role – Vox Machina: Origins #1, #2 & #3 by Matthew Colville & Matthew Mercer

No Written Review – Buy Here

Four Star Books

Planetary: Venus by Superversive Press (includes a short story by ME!)

My Review


Fade & Night’s Black Agents by Daniel Humphreys

My Review

Retaliation (The Frontiers Saga: Part 2: Rogue Castes #10) by Ryk Brown

My Review

Strands of Sorrow (Black Tide Rising #4) by John Ringo

My Review

CTRL ALT Revolt!
(Soda Pop Soldier 0.5)
by Nick ColeMy Review
Critical Role – Vox Machina: Origins #1, #2 & #3 by Matthew Colville & Matthew Mercer

No Written Review – Buy Here

 

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State of the Wampuscat – November 2018 (Week 46)

State of the Wampuscat

Week 46 of 2018

I don’t do this often enough. Blog about myself, I mean. I will attempt to correct that by forcing myself to type up some BS each week from now on.

If any of you have looked at my bio, you may remember that I’m an Engineer by trade. That’s the day job. By night, I’m a creator of elaborate schemes for writing books and becoming famous and then finding ways to avoid doing any of the actual things it requires to accomplish that. Procrastination is my favorite hobby, and I’m good at it!

However, I know that my dreams of being a writer with a legacy of well appreciated word-smithing that spans the generations is not going to happen without some buckling down. I’m turning 45 in a few days, so the clock is ticking if I want to get that bibliography nice and plump. It would also be nice to eventually see money flowing a direction other than AWAY from me in regards to the publishing of my stuffs. That means creating more stuffs, talking about stuffs, and doing marketing (yuck!) for my stuffs.

So, with all that in mind, I invite you to see the man and peruse the plan, as it were, of what I’m working on at the moment.

If you’ve followed the blog this year, you have seen mention of my anthology, Horizon’s Unlimited, as well as the 3 Planetary Anthologies from Superversive that were released with stories of mine in them. The summer was long and work went mostly full-time again–I do contract Engineering currently–so there was not a lot of new creation happening. The work schedule recently went down again though, so I have some free days now, but I’ve been playing catch up on postponed (pronounced procrastinated) projects around the homestead. Those are almost done(ish).

Between catch-up projects (and weekly D&D games) I have had some recent accomplishments. I was working on a submission for an anthology in Daniel Humpreys’ Z-Day series for a long while. [I just posted my review of book #3 in that series, A Place For War, on Friday, go read it!]. When I finally got some free time I managed to finish it. It suffered from the same struggle I always seem to have with short stories… keep them short! I submitted a whopping 22,099 word missive for that and hope that it can, and will, be used. Fingers crossed!

At the same time (first week of free time), I got word that my story submission for the Jupiter Planetary Anthology was on the ‘we like it’ table. I did some tweakage on that one, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be part of that anthology.

Earlier in the year, I did manage to write a few other short stories. I have a submission out for the Uranus (snicker) Anthology that I have not yet heard back from anyone about. It’s a funny one, and if they decline it, it may just get expanded into a novella and put on Amazon. I also have one submitted for the Luna Antho that I actually managed to keep short. I also have one that was rejected for the Saturn anthology that I plan to expand into a full novella for Horizons Unlimited Volume 2 or 3, and one that I wrote for Pluto that I plan to make a stand alone novel, possibly with a sequel/prequel setup that is still TBD.

So, there are ideas and plans. I do not have a shortage of things to write about. Unfortunately, I keep locking myself into a rut. I feel that I need to continue with the Horizon’s Unlimited series. I have several ideas and partial story plots in my mind, but they are for Volume 3 or even later. The part I need to write NEXT (Earth based events after Xolotl Ressurrected, but long before Quicksilver & Escaping Aurora) are just not fully fleshed out. I COULD finish writing the stories planned for much later in the timeline, but I’ve found that keeping track of what happens later and making sure what happens before doesn’t interfere with it are a bit of a challenge. For me, it’s better to write things in chronological order so that I don’t get confused or contradict myself by accident. So…

While I hate unfinished projects, I think I’m going to have to let those rest a while and just jump into something completely new until I can think the idea out.

The one thing I need to do at least once a week is post something here. This post was supposed to be done on Sunday, but I got side tracked with a Veterans Day picture post on Facebook (I do genealogy and have lots of military pics from family members that I wanted to share). So here I am in the early AM of Monday finishing out this thing.

I may not (probably won’t) be able to keep up with this, but here’s my rough plan for writing:

Blog:

Sundays: State of the Wampuscat (this is the first one)
Every 2nd & 4th Wednesday/Thursday: Book Review
Every 3rd Wed/Thurs: Short Story

Novels:

Horizon’s Unlimited Vol #2 – March 2019
eConscience Beta Anthology – July 2019
Horizon’s Unlimited Vol #3 – Nov 2019

In the mean time, inflate my ego and help me make progress by buying & reviewing my existing stuffs!

If you like intrigue mixed with humor, get my technothriller, eConscience Beta on Amazon.

But, if Science Fiction Space Adventure is more your speed, then you should check out my anthology, Horizons Unlimited: Volume 1.

Happy Reading!

P.S. Please enjoy this random cat pic…

Jinx-in-the-box