Monthly Report – January 2013

This is quite a bit late, and I apologise for the delay. Lots of things going on this month, and not all of it good, so things have been off-schedule for a while.

In my blogpost titled “2013 – What Now? Some Resolutions Maybe?” I mentioned that I was not going to set myself any individual project word-count goals, and that my big aim would be to do 450,000 words for the whole year. January, on the whole, wasn’t all that great since there were two trips to India involved (one coming back in the first week, and another going there in the last week), so that crimped by writing quite a bit, not to mention that my slump and procrastination continued.

Try as I might, I can’t fix this stupid procrastination. There’s always something that comes up, that totally screws with my writing moment and I end up doing nothing. I have no idea how to get it sorted. The reading progresses great, just not the writing.

Eh, whatever. It’s still better than doing absolutely nothing for a whole month! So here’s how my writing and reading in January went down.

2013 Writing Challenge

1. Dharamyoddha: Warrior of Faith

This is meant to be in the editing stage, but I chose to focus on Project: Cloak of Secrecy instead, so I didn’t get anything done. However, as I mentioned earlier, this is going to be a big project for the year nonetheless and as things currently stand, I am well into the editing part of it now. 8 pages (of 45) are already done for the first pass!

2. Dharamsankat: Crisis of Faith

Until I finish at least the first pass on the novella above, I won’t be getting a start on this short story. I don’t want to end up with too many unfinished or in-progress projects like I did last year. It gets depressing after a while!

3. Ragnarok Chronicles #1: Cloak of Secrecy

My second NaNoWriMo novel, I did far better at this than I expected, but not as much as I wanted to do. 9,400 words aren’t all that bad really, and I’m well into the second half of the novel, where my villains get really introduced and a lot of the world-building goes down as I delve into the lore of the setting I’m creating. So this has been quite fun. The project is taking a bit of a back seat for January however, as I want to focus on getting Project: Dharamyoddha edited so I can then start on Project: Dharamsankat.

4. Black Library

No novel submissions have been announced as yet, and the latest (relatively speaking) update was that they have yet to make much progress on the submissions from last year, for which they had gone through about 60% entries. Ah well. Not a big deal. I’m less inclined to submit to them any way as things currently stand.

5. Sons of Corax FanFic

I’ve been mulling over how to handle this, and I’m thinking that I’ll just go rewrite all the stuff I’ve written for the current chapter that’s supposed to go up and start fresh on it. Been more than a year since I’ve even read what I wrote, so that’s something! Perhaps the distance away has helped!

6. The Blog

My drive to get more exposure and viewership and readership for the blog continued very well this month. My “Names: A New Pespective” guest post series had some exciting authors drop by for a quick word on the topic of names – Tim Marquitz, Ciara Ballintyne, Jocelyn Koehler, Adam Christopher, Amanda Carlson, Christian Dunn, and Guy Haley – for one thing. The series has continued to grow beyond my expectations as I keep sending out invites to all these great authors and a good majority of them keep replying back to say that they would love to contribute. I don’t see how it can get any better than that, to be honest.

Then there was my post on my “Most Anticipated Releases of 2013“, which proved to be my most popular post ever and still gets a ton of views, week in, week out. I’ve made a tracking page for my reading progress on this particular reading challenge, which you can find here. There are some great books here, and if you happen to read any of them, then do let me know what you think!

Towards the end of month I also did a poll for the first time – the Reading List Poll – which proved to be another popular post. As a top incentive to get more people to vote, I added a giveaway, my first such, and it was a huge success. Although, this plan later backfired in the first week of this month as I was made aware by one of the publishers involved in the giveaway that I couldn’t give away their books since it violated their copyright terms. So I ended up closing the giveaway midway through, and that was a huge blow. In retrospect, it was an ill-thought out and rushed job on my part. I got caught up in the excitement of the whole thing and neglected to confirm and counter-confirm that what I was offering was completely in the clear. Once again, my apologies to everyone who entered and was later disappointed.

I mentioned in a couple previous posts that I was doing a bit of a face-lift of the blog, and I think I’m mostly done with all the things that I wanted to. The tabs up top have a lot more options, and several have drop-down menus too. Do me a favour, check them all out, and let me know what you think.

That was pretty much my month of January!

7. The Founding Fields

January proved to be a very trying month with respect to reviewing. The month started off well-enough, but then I posted my first negative review of the year – Pariah by Dan Abnett. And it was as if I’d let loose a flood. Of negative commentary. I got slammed for that review in several places, one of those being the usual suspect – WarSeer. A rather trying two weeks followed (will most likely blog about it this week), and that kind of soured my mood for a while.

Other than that though, it was all good times. I also shared the launch news for a new genre magazine, IndianSF, which is India’s first such online magazine to my knowledge, and it heralds some great fun times! If you read my post on the blog here, I also have more news on the topic. In a nutshell, I will be a contributor to the magazine starting with their upcoming March/April issue, as one of my reviews will be reprinted there. Looking forward to some great times in that regard!

I also did a post on “Top 25 Series I Want To Read In 2013“, in which I mentioned 25 different SFF series, all by different authors that I wanted to get a start on this year. Many of these are big names in genre fiction, and this list is my attempt to catch up with authors that my friends and fellow bloggers have been reading for years now. You can follow my progress for this reading challenge here. Thoughts and comments are welcome of course!

Twelve reviews overall though, a good mix of novels and comics and audio dramas. A definite good start to the year.

I’m resolved to do a lot more reviews this year, for the reason that I want to improve my “feedback vs requested” score on NetGalley. I have this sneaking suspicion that somehow that statistic factors into a publisher’s decision to approve books, which is interesting in and of itself. I don’t have any proof of it, but it wouldn’t hurt to do it all the same!

8. 24 FPS, or, Just Beyond Infinity

No reviews here. Didn’t really see may movies this month, just Django Unchained and Dabangg 2, both of which were duds for me. Had a brief discussion about the former with some people, and came away from it with the reading of the angry-o-meter quite high. The gist of it was that I failed to see the deeper, underlying, subtle ideas at play and that my view, ultimately, was in the wrong. Whatever. It was like Prometheus all over again, a film that is terrible on the surface and gets only slightly better once you dissect the whole thing. That, to me, is terrible filmmaking. But what do I know eh? I ain’t no filmmaker!

Saw the old Total Recall as well last month, and while it’s not the best of films, it certainly is a good entertainer and better than the remake by far, the only downside being that it has neither Jessica Biel nor Kate Beckinsale.

On the subject of reviews. I might do a couple this month. Saw Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D yesterday and I really liked it.

9. NaNoWriMo

Stilling mulling over ideas for this. Nothing concrete. I did write about 1500 words of a particular scene for a fantasy short story that may or may not develop into a novel. Nothing firm yet. At the moment I’m thinking that this could be a good start for NaNoCamp in August, to boost the writing mindset since that’s the “mid-point” of the year and I’ll no doubt be hitting a rough patch by then.

So that’s all of what happened on that front for January. It’s a decent enough start I suppose, and I’m making progress on the novel, which is always a good thing. The writing for last month broke down as follows.

  1. Cloak of Secrecy9,402 words
  2. Untitled Fantasy Project1,555 words
  3. Founding Fields
    1. Reviews21,718 words
    2. Articles3,367 words
  4. Blog 8,665 words

Total: 44,707 words, almost ten percent of my year’s goals! I clearly need to do a lot more fiction writing though.

2013 Reading Challenge

Some progress on my “mini” reading challenges:

  • Top 25 Series I Want To Read In 2013 – The only book/series I got a start on from this list was Frank Herbert’s Dune. And the experience was just surreal and amazing. It was great to go back to the print version of this after so long. I have the first books of Bradley P. Beaulieu and Peter V. Brett’s books coming up this month though, so stay tuned for those!
  • Most Anticipated Releases of 2013 – I actually did not read a book from this list last month, but have read two this month so far, and there will most likely be two more before February is up.

The reading so far has been rather good, with only a few duds till now, like three novels. Haven’t read many comics though, which is something I need to step up. At the moment I’m not reading all that much outside of my weekly pull lists, and even that is being done sparingly, given that the last week of January and the first few days of February were taken up with being in a cousin’s wedding in India. However, I’ve been reading a fair few short stories, and those’ve been rather fun. Might get around to reviewing them sometime soon, so keep an eye out for that.

All in all, the meta-challenge counter was 35/250 by midnight January 31st. Again, a good start, buoyed by the many short stories (and flash stories) and comics I read. If I do pick up the pace though, I’ll have to increase the counter by May or June!

As ever, you can follow the progress on my reading for the year here.

While picking my top novels of the month was only too easy, picking my top comics was a whole lot harder. Yet, choices were made, and these are my top recommendations from last month’s reading list (with linked reviews).

Top 3: Dune Chronicles #1: Dune by Frank Herbert, Leverage: The Con Job by Matt Forbeck, and War of Vengeance #1: The Great Betrayal by Nick Kyme.

Honourable Mention: Brimstone Angels #2: Lesser Evils by Erin M. Evans, Chronicles of Light and Shadow #1: A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz, and The Right Hand by Derek Haas.

Top 3 [Comics]: Marvel Now: Thor, God of Thunder #4 by Jason Aaron, Star Wars #1 by Brian Wood, and TMNT: The Secret History of the Foot Clan #2 by Mateus Santolouco.

Honourable Mention [Comics]: New 52: Nightwing #16 by Kyle Higgins, Vampirella Strikes #1 by Tom Sniegoski, and New 52: Aquaman #16 by Geoff Johns.

You can find the full list here.

Some new acquisitions

  • Gotrek & Felix: Road of Skulls by Josh Reynolds – This novel is on my most anticipated list and I bought it for the reason that my print review copy had been inexplicably delayed (it arrived on this past Thursday!) and I couldn’t wait for it any longer since I really wanted to read it. And read it I did. This is definitely a top recommendation from me!
  • The Kassa Gambit by M. C. Planck – Yet another most anticipated novel, I bought it for the reason that I couldn’t find a review copy on NetGalley, and I’d read a review of it by my friend Sarah over at the Bookworm Blues, which convinced me to get it.
  • Seven Princes by John R. Fultz – The sequel, Seven Kings, is on my most anticipated list and I thought it best to read the first book before delving into the second one. This year, my experience with second books has been less than good so far.

Posted on February 10, 2013, in 2013 Reading Challenge, 2013 Writing Challenge, 24FPS, Book Lists, Book Reviews, Comics Reviews, Debut Authors Guest Series, Guest Posts, Monthly Reports, NaNoWriMo, Original Work, The Founding Fields and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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