Oh what a year it’s been, don’t you agree?
On one hand, I had some of my plans derailed, and things had not gone the way I thought they would. On the other, I was one of the lucky few who hadn’t been much affected by the unexpected situation that changed the way we live our lives. Yet, even for me, it was not a year of major achievements or hitting important milestones. Rather, it was a year of trying to move forward and succeed despite the odds.
I had plans—even plans that would spell out in capital letters, but in the end I settled for as much as I could do. After finishing Scars of Stone, book 2 of Pacts Arcane and Otherwise, I happily jumped into book 3, Shadows over Kaighal, hoping to finish it in a timely manner as well. Lo and behold, my laptop broke, and the replacement during the pandemic took long weeks. Before I had a chance to get back into my writing routine, we were moving apartments, and book 3 got delayed. And so it went.
At the end, Shadows over Kaighal are only 2/3 done, but the ending finally feels in sight.
In the meantime, I finished the first draft of a standalone fantasy, Memories of Sorcery and Sand that had been nagging me for quite some time now. As I’ve mentioned before it’s probably the most challenging novel I’ve ever written, but I’m hoping that as soon as I finish working on Shadows over Kaighal and Siege of Demons, the two remaining books of my epic fantasy, I’ll be able to focus on revisions.
And last but not least, I finally got to announce that By the Pact, the first book in the series mentioned above, is coming out in January. I’m beyond excited (and terrified) to see it out in the world, and I’m hoping my readers won’t be disappointed.
In terms of visual creativity, 2020 seemed much like my breakthrough year. No, I had not become an overnight successful artist, but I finally took steps to make my art progress more structured. I have upgraded my decade-old software and my over-decade-old drawing tablet, and this alone helped me better utilize digital drawing tools.
I’m still all over the place, trying various techniques and learning new things, but I feel like I’ve made huge strides with my art.
It’s also nice to see other people enjoy my art as well, be it as viewers on Facebook or Instagram, or purchasing stickers, t-shirts, or even duffle bags via Society6 and Redbubble. I’m quite humbled by the responses I get, and I hope to make even more graphics for others to enjoy.
Here are some of the pieces I made this year:
Book-wise and game-wise, it hasn’t been a good year.
I started reading quite a few books only to abandon them, sometimes as little as 10% into the book, but I did find quite a few pleasant reads. Out of them, two urban fantasies stand out: “Taming Demons for Beginners” by Annette Marie and “Magic Bites” by Ilona Andrews. I’m hoping the next year will turn out much more fruitful in finding books I truly enjoy.
I had little luck with games, too. I always hope to find that one game which will be so immersive that it’ll put me at risk of missing my deadlines, but most didn’t hold my attention long enough. There were, though, a few that would be worth a separate blog post.
With the pandemic restrictions, I didn’t get to explore Virginia much, and I’m simply grateful that my life had been quiet and steady enough. Though I did get to experience the challenges of moving apartments in the midst of a pandemic and my first full anesthesia when I had all my wisdom teeth removed.
Looking forward to 2021
Some of my plans got moved to the next year, and with a lot of uncertainty still much around, I’m hesitant to make more of them. Two things are quite certain, though: By the Pact is coming out on January 10th, and Scars of Stones will definitely follow later in 2021. And, of course, there will be art, too!
Anything else will depend of how the year treats all of us, but I’m hopeful that we’ll make the best of it!
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games.
Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English.
Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.