the writing life

Year End Post

I know 2020 sucked. It sucked bad. However, despite all that suckage, it was one of my most productive years ever. (If you don’t want to read happy productivity posts, stop right here.)

Even with having to continue running my household and working 30-35 hours a week at the side gig (which had a COVID19 outbreak in November), I managed to write and release:

  • 4 – 12K-15K novellas  (Something Wicked, Thoroughly Wicked, Bloody Wicked, Hauntingly Wicked)
  • 3  – 20K-30K novellas  (Cult of Lucifuge, Captive Vampire, Fated Vampire)
  • 2 –  45K – 50K short novels (Thirteen Covens: Darkness, Dark Prince)
  • 3 –  50K-62K novels (Coven Born, Coven Society, Coven Cursed)
  • 1 –  7K article (for an occult anthology) (Grimoirium Asmodeus)
  • 1 –  co-written 60K novel with my friend Andre Gonzalez. (Resurrection: Amelia Doss Book 1)
  • 2 – Private Daemonolatry projects (Catechismus Infernalis, Monograph II)

That amounts to almost half a million words, but not quite. Mind you this does not include blog posts, or other books I’ve been working on here and there, which won’t release until next year.

Plus – my publishing company also released two additional books from other authors. (Meditations on the Death Daemonic by J. C. DeCesari, and Patriotic Prowler by David Owain Hughes.)  I still had to coordinate those projects, run then through editing, format and release them, run all the social media and advertising on them, etc… Plus all that for all my personal releases, too.

This was a challenge I did for myself:

1. To see if I could hack a challenging publishing schedule while still working the side-gig, doing spiritual work, doing readings/workings for others, AND having family time.
2. To see if it was feasible.
3. To find out where my stress threshold was. (Trial by fire folks — FIRE)

What I learned:

1. I am a pretty tough cookie. I can hack deadlines. Not once did I have to push a deadline forward. I can master any schedule I set for myself, even if it’s one release a month. However — it was a HUGE struggle to fit everything in. My sleep suffered, and if the world hadn’t been closed, I would have had to avoid all social interaction anyway. My house cleaning suffered. I struggled to find time to run errands or order groceries. I took December off exclusively to clean the house from top to bottom and spend all my time with my husband, and cats.  (I EARNED December!)

2. That kind of punishment based schedule (i.e. negative consequences for missing a deadline), for me, is not feasible in the long term. I would burn out if I attempted that year in, and year out. Comparing it to my least productive writing years where I was lucky to produce one novel, one non-fiction, and a couple novellas, I think I’d be happy somewhere in the middle range. Like maybe 2 novels, a NF book, and a few novellas each year. I’m in an interesting position in 2021 because I have a lot of 3/4 done projects laying around (both fiction and non-fiction) and I’m hoping to complete some of those – especially since readers have been waiting for a few of them. ::cringe:: (Sorry.)   

I’m also did a re-title/re-brand/re-launch of my Gilded Lily series for 2021 and we’ll see how that goes. If anything it will make me feel like I’m getting a lot done.

I also have 5 projects (4 novellas and two half a novel with co-author) that do have deadlines for 2021 or that were promised to readers for 2021. But everything else is optional. I might even try to write ahead. Like take the first two months of the year and get all the scheduled novellas written and sent into editing (that’s only 75K words, which I can manage in 2 months easily). Then all I would have left (scheduled) would be the 60K I have to write for the co-written novels, which would only take me 4-6 weeks) leaving me with 9 months to finish all the half done projects and schedule them out for release, which would then, hopefully, give me time to write ahead a little. With writing ahead, I could easily finish up the last four Thirteen Covens, and then start writing ahead on other series’. Maybe completing all the series I have on the table. I suspect next year will be more NF heavy since I’ve been focused on fiction for the past two.

3. I started slowing down late August. I barely squeaked out Coven Cursed and made the deadline within a hair’s breadth. My threshold for the stress of a punishment-based monthly release publishing schedule is about 8 months. LOL  Then I got my second wind. Then I crashed and burned the end of November.  

I admire writers who can work on that kind of schedule and not burn out. I imagine it would have been MUCH easier if I didn’t have the side-gig and didn’t need health insurance, but the family-business and health insurance are both important, and it’s really nice to get out of the house a few times a week. That said, I’m only going to spend, at most, three months in 2021 busting my ass to meet deadlines. The rest of that time I’ll probably still write as much as I usually would, but it won’t be under the crushing pressure of deadlines (with penalties for missing one!). And I’ve also decided I’m only putting up pre-orders in on full series’ and things that are already done and ready to go.

May the coming year come with sufficient vaccinations for the population, and a break from COVID19, and may the future look brighter and healthier for us all. 


Steph is an award winning and bestselling author of thrilling steamy and paranormal romances, dark urban fantasy, occult horror-thrillers, cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, sword and sorcery fantasy, and books about the esoteric and Daemonolatry. A Daemonolatress and forever a resident of Smelt Isle, she is happily married and cat-mom to three pampered house cats. Her muse is a demanding sadistic Dom who often keeps her up into the wee hours of the morning. You can contact her at

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