2020 in Review


2020 was…well, it was quite something. But it really was a big year for the Spine of the Empire and my world. It felt like this was the year I just committed to…just going out there and doing things. Patreon was a big reason for this. A few of these accomplishments below were driven by having a Patreon page and communicating with you all. This post itself is because of that pressure to actually produce.

And so this post is a recap/review of the top nine highlights from 2020…ordered from least awesome to most awesome in my opinion. I had to refresh myself on all the things done this year!

#9 Book Formatting Changes

Okay, realistically, this is probably one of the most productive things I did, but it’s not ‘awesome’ or flashy.

I had to go through and reformat each book. It was necessary, it’s going to make my life a lot easier, and it was tedious. I’m so glad I did it and I don’t have to worry about it anymore. This was truly awesome form a workflow perspective. I don’t think about the formatting that much anymore, so I almost forgot about this…which was exactly the goal!

#8 Poetry Added to the Spine

I added my old poetry to the website because I hate myself and love my Patrons. It was kinda cool reading some of it and trying to get into my head space, but… poetry is behind me at this point. I used to think poetry was my future, and well, now it’s just my past.

#7 Merch Creation

MERCH! I technically started this last year, ish, but I branched into RedBubble this year. Fractal art, some character sketches, and more.

Not only that, I made Adagio TEA BLENDS for each of the Trinity and the One. It was a really fun process! It forced me to make like cartoon-y sketches of Balon, Dien, and Farrco too.

#6 Tarot Major Arcana Assignment

I assigned characters/concepts to each of the Tarot Major Arcana, which was a thought provoking, introspective process.

Minor Arcana will be a 2021 project…and I still need to make a deck of it all! This ranks high because it’s the start of my dream to have my own Tarot Deck.

#5 Book Art: Expansion Expression and Containment Collapse

It had been almost two years since I did any self-bound/book-art of my books. Of Fractured Edges, the wood one, was done in December 2018. I was way overdue to continue the process. And the process changed by having the artistic copy be paper mache rather than like a bound book copy. It was fun doing paper mache out of the pages of my books! Messy, but fun…and the results were fantastic!

Doing the Spiders is on my radar for 2021, but I don’t have a strong vision yet of what form they will take. So we’ll see!

#4 Short Stories

Actually a lot of activity in the short story space, which I did not expect!

I added Vashwva and revised it. Revising it was not easy and it’ll be a continual WIP for sure. It was always a ‘reach’ goal, and it feels good to know I actually tried to do it.

Not only that, but I released and wrote a completely new short story: Sepulcher of Shadows. A TMOL spin-off that was fun to write for the visuals and actually influenced Amethyst Shards a little bit…

#3 Amethyst Shards Pain and Suffering

I have to put this as #3 since it still looms over me. Amethyst Shards, book 10, is…hard. Like Emerald Haze was, like Containment Collapse was, but…also in a different way. Its theme has somehow become about burnout, which…is topical since I experienced that hard during this year.

It’s also the final entry in this ten book arc. There are lots of ‘endings’ present in it…loose ends to tie up. A sense of finality and marking the end of an era. I can’t explain it, but this needs to take time to be done right.

After that, well… there’s always going to be more.

#2 Emerald Haze Published

Emerald Haze Cover

Emerald Haze was published in 2020! Crazy! It feels like ages ago this happened. Emerald Haze was a critical, painful, important, lovely, intense book to write. It just…is something special to me. I was so happy with how it turned out. This has to be up at the top.

And yet it still only takes second place!

#1 Character Art Commissions!

I thought about this…and the commissions really defined 2020. Yes, Emerald Haze was massive, but this is something else. Commissioning art was a completely new experience for me that forced me to really think visually on certain aspects of my characters. It’s pushed me out there and now I have excellent artwork for some of my characters. I commissioned three artists and I learned something about my aesthetic from each. It’s truly been an experience having these artists bring my characters to life.

All of it has been wonderful:

It’s unreal, actually, the more I think about it. This was a step from it all just being some…thing I put my time and energy to create to having it be something that other people are involved in from a creative level. I feel more real. It does. It’s so awesome.

Conclusion

2020 was…well, it was more and less than I expected. Way more in different ways and way less in others. I wish I could have made more progress with Amethyst Shards and not have…well, dropped off as much with new writing during a chunk of the year, but I did do a lot of other major ‘cultivations’ that have really energized me.

At the time of this writing, I’m on an up swing again. Making more progress, being productive, so the year is ending right.

As always, thank you all for joining me on this journey and being a part of it!