Looking Back, Looking Ahead

2015 was a really tough year, both professionally and personally. It brought some significant changes.

I lost two grandparents. Moved countries — twice. Hunkered down in a windowless hallway while a firefight between rival military factions raged up and down the street. After nearly a decade as an aid worker, I left my day job, a decision that had as much to do with my own mental health as my dream to become a full-time writer. In so doing, I left friends and colleagues behind in an unstable place with an uncertain future. Death never seemed very far away in 2015. It visited friends, colleagues, family — too many.

There were victories too. I published two books, Master of Plagues and The Bloodforged. I was nominated for the Compton Crook for Best First Novel in SF/F 2014 (Darkwalker) and the RT Magazine Reviewers’ Choice award for Best Epic Fantasy of 2015 (The Bloodforged). I finished writing The Bloodsworn, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I also published an article I’m really proud of, When Mary Sue Failed the Bechdel Test, which bounced around the internet pretty widely. And though my books continue to fly farther under the radar than I’d like, they’ve been well received critically, which is cause for optimism.

All told, 2016 finds me in a very different place than January 2015, physically and emotionally. It’s hard to think of a time when my life was in greater flux. That’s scary, but also exhilarating.

I feel like I spent much of 2015 in retreat. Trying to get out of Burundi, out of my day job, out of a negative frame of mind. This year, I already feel like I’m moving toward something. And it’s awesome.

Watch out, 2016. I’m coming for you.

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