Wednesday, January 8, 2014
First of all, 20 days before Christmas, I lost my job. It was shocking and a little heartbreaking. The company I worked for didn't really treat people well, but I believed in what we did and I stuck with it and put up with a lot of nonsense and pride and egos for a long time. In the end, I'm glad to be free of that place, and I'm glad I was let go because I probably wouldn't have had the courage to leave on my own. I'll miss seeing my friends who still have to work there. I'll also miss my apartment and my studio, since I can't afford to stay there anymore. But it's time for me to move on, and I'm looking forward.
While I'm searching for a new job, I'm taking some time to do a little soul-searching and figuring out what I'm going to do next. Last year, work had taken up so much time and energy that I wasn't really able to work on my books and artwork as much as I had hoped. So, right now is actually a good time for me to refocus on my first love of storytelling, and here is what I plan to do:
1. Prepare my portfolio for SCBWI NYC '14
Before I lost my job, I had already made arrangements to attend the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) national winter conference in NYC in February. I've never been to this conference before, and I'm not really sure what to expect. But I'm keeping my eyes open to any opportunities while I'm there. I'm going as a writer/illustrator, and I plan to bring a portfolio to be judged in the portfolio showcase. So, one of the things I'll focus on in the coming weeks is drawing and getting some portfolio worthy pieces to display.
Speaking of portfolio pieces, I do have one that I'm really honored to be able to include. The SCBWI North Texas chapter recently held a logo contest, and my design was picked by four fabulous judges, including awesome illustrators Dan Yaccarino, David Diaz, SCBWI (national) illustrator coordinator Priscilla Burris, and Simon & Schuster BFYR art director Laurent Linn.
2. Write new stuff pt. 1
Before I was swamped by work last year, I started writing a historical fiction novel about a girl who was sort of known as the Joan of Arc of Vietnam—except that she lived hundreds of years before Joan of Arc. There's not a lot of info about her out there, but what we do is that she was nuts. She fought to end slavery and led an army mostly made up of women to fight for freedom from the Chinese empire. She never married and apparently once said something along the lines of, "I'd like to ride storms, kill beasts in the sea, drive out the aggressors, reconquer the country, undo the ties of serfdom, and never bend my back to be the whore of any man."
In short, she was awesome. Plus, my family is from Vietnam, so I feel a pretty deep connection to her story. I hope the first draft will be complete in the coming months.
3. Write new stuff pt. 2
The untitled Seranfyll Book 3. I have not abandoned this series and do not intend to. Seranfyll (Book 1) had garnered some NY interest a while back, but since I haven't heard anything in a couple years, I'm moving forward on my own. No ETA on when it'll be complete, but I'm really looking forward to continuing this story.
4. Fix old stuff pt. 3
I'm in the process of going through Seranfyll (Book 1) and Eligere (Book 2) to fix typos and errors. I'm also going to redo the cover art so that they can be consistent with what I have in mind for the covers for the rest of the books. I may also switch distribution from CreateSpace to Lightning Source. And I may run a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to help cover some of the costs, including an Adobe cloud subscription and marketing and whatnot. We'll see.
And that's about as far as I've planned. There are other books and art and comic-related things that I'm into as well, but I can talk about those another time. It's only January 8, and there's a whole year of possibilities that can change things in the blink of an eye. I don't even know where I'll physically be located in a few months or next year. But I'm looking up and looking forward, and I love that I can take the time to work on these projects. And I can't wait to complete them and share them with the world.