2021 Summary & 2022 Goals

I am no good at keeping resolutions, no matter what time of year they occur. However, I am one to abide by arbitrary markers of time (I have a compulsion to get out of bed only at 15-minute intervals on the hour), so the New Year is a good opportunity for me to take stock of the previous 365 days and set myself some goals to at least aim for in the next set of 365.

Reflecting on the previous year, I don’t really want to talk about pandemic stuff, because it’s not like it passed by anyone’s notice that it happened (and is still happening). I didn’t get COVID that I know of and I’m all up-to-date on my shots, and that’s as much as I really want to say in terms of the pandemic contextualizing what I did and did not accomplish over the course of 2021.

What I did in 2021

Ramped up my freelance editing work. I was invited to join Reedsy toward the beginning of the pandemic, but at the time I was more focused on my own writing. I didn’t get around to actually signing on with Reedsy until this summer, after hearing another professional editor speak highly of it as a platform and as federal income support began to run dry. The editing market is still not ideal, but it’s enough to keep my bills paid. (For anyone looking to find out more about my editing services, you can check my editorial site or my profile on Reedsy.)

Continued with Grumble Pak. My friend Eli and I started our podcast Grumble Pak last year, and while our production has slowed down compared to then (running out of video games to talk about), we’ve still been putting out new episodes every couple of weeks thanks to Eli’s audio editing skills. We’re on hiatus for the holidays now, but hopefully we’ll be returning with a new episode soon. In the meantime, our backlog is readily available. We can also be found on Twitter.

More game design. So much so that I think I might…actually be good at programming now? Over at Mortis Games (also a joint effort with my friend Eli, as well as my friend Stacie), we’ve been working on our big project deadland, the game that I keep pitching as “goth Stardew Valley”. I’ve been writing monthly(-ish) developer logs over on our itch.io page, for anyone who wants to take a more detailed peek at the progress we’ve been making on that front. Right now, we’re still designing the core game mechanics with the goal of getting a playable demo put together. You can follow our updates at our itch page or Twitter.

Collecting and cataloging video games. I’ve decided to 1) get more organized with my video game collection, and 2) expand it! I’m documenting my efforts over on TikTok (mostly to make sure I keep up with it), but I’ve made an inventory of all of my physical video game copies, and I’m currently at the stage of testing my older game consoles. It has so far been a fun experience (if slightly frustrating trying to figure out how to get those old consoles to play nice with modern technology), but today I woke up early to bid on an eBay listing for an obscure game console from the 90s, so I’m not super feeling the joy of this project at this very moment.

In terms of events, I attended some conventions—a mix of virtual and in-person, as well as a fan and as a panelist. I was even able to get back into cosplay for one of them (see the pics below!). It was a relief to be able to participate in con spaces after missing it entirely in 2020, and I didn’t even find it to be any more exhausting than I normally do.

Jasmine in cosplay as Terra Branford from Final Fantasy VI Jasmine in cosplay as Kaie Ono from NEO: The World Ends With You Jasmine in cosplay as a casual streetwear version of Anders from Dragon Age II

Finally, I did some writing. Not as much as I wanted to (which, isn’t that always the case?), but some. At this point, I’m mostly wavering between two projects in need of revision before I send more polished versions to my agents. One is close to ready to go, however, which leads me into my goals for 2022.

Goals for 2022

Refocus on writing. I plan to keep doing freelance editing (again, my bills), but also set aside more time specifically for writing. 2021 was a pretty bleh year in terms of writing creativity, so I’m hoping to start off 2022 with lighting a fire under my own ass to push myself to get back in the zone with that. In addition to wrapping up those two projects that I’m currently revising, I want to start drafting a few new projects.

Read more. As an extension of the above, I would really like to keep my brain in Book Mode by reading more. 2021, in addition to being a sort of writing slump for me, was also a MAJOR reading slump. I’ve decided to set myself a reading goal up on The StoryGraph—a softball goal of 12 books in the year, which I will hopefully be able to increase sometime around spring or summer. If 2021 was a big video game year for me, I want 2022 to be a big book year…while still playing as many video games. Maybe less Twitter…

Otherwise, I plan on continuing onward with all my 2021 goings-on that I mentioned above, although my current convention plans for the year are up in the air so far. Honestly, I don’t have any big goals for 2022, aside to keep making progress on what I was working on in 2021. With any luck, at some point this year some of those projects will be completed enough to share more with everyone, but until then, I’m ready to just keep plugging away at it.

DisCon III Schedule

 Greetings once again! I’m here with another convention schedule, this time for DisCon III. Reminder: I will be attending online only, so all of my panels are virtual. Keep in mind as well that all of the times listed below are in EASTERN Standard Time, rather than my usual Pacific. Here’s the full list:

Panel: An Avatar of Your Own—Bodies in Video Games
December 16th, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm EST

Panel: Creating a More Accessible Convention
December 17th, 10:00 am – 11:00 am EST

Panel: The Best Video Games of the Last Ten Years
December 17th, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm EST

As always, you can refer to my Upcoming Events page for the same info, and you can also check out the full DisCon schedule here!

 

image credit: “Natures Winter Bouquet” by Chris Breeze is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

New Article: “The best books with fantastical civic design” on Shepherd

For those looking for some new book recommendations this cozy season, I’ve written a list of my top five fantasy books that best incorporate civic & urban design into their world-building, now up on Shepherd, a new site for connecting readers to books. You can check out that article to see my recommendations, which include some of my all-time favorite books in general, to be honest.

And be sure to explore Shepherd for other book recommendation lists like mine covering all kinds of topics. Shepherd is still in beta, but there is still plenty there for readers to discover.

OryCon Schedule [UPDATED]

Hello everyone! I’m here with an update on my OryCon schedule. If you’re in the Portland, OR area on November 12th, you can catch me on the following panels:

Gender, Sex, Sexuality, and Expression: Breaking it Down for the Layperson
Fri Nov 12 2:00pm-2:50pm

Gender and Sexuality: The Divide
Fri Nov 12 6:00pm-6:50pm

I’ll also be around the convention for the rest of the weekend enjoying other panels and events, and I’ll be bringing along some new bookmarks to hand out 🙂

OryCon runs November 12-14 at the Jantzen Beach Red Lion Hotel. More details at OryCon’s website. Please take note of their COVID-19 policy listed on the front page of their website.

UPDATE: Turns out I have another panel! On Saturday, November 13th, I will also be doing a panel on writing! Details:

Panel: What Are You Writing: A Standalone or a Series?
November 13th, 5:00pm – 5:50pm

Also, you can now view the full OryCon schedule here! And you can check out the details of all of my upcoming events over here (I’ll be updating it soon with details on DisCon III).

A Small Autumn Update

It’s not the most concrete of updates, but since it’s been quiet here lately, I thought I would pop in to do a brief explanation of things that have been going on and things that are coming up.

Matters with the pandemic have certainly slowed down a lot in my writing life, including my own creativity of late. While I’ve been staying safe and physically healthy, my typical summer lethargy was exacerbated by being in Year 2 of a global pandemic. I’ve been very disengaged from the book world (both on- and offline) and very unmotivated to work on my own books. Since July, I’ve mostly been working at my editing job and sleeping, it feels like. Now that autumn–the best, most powerful season–is rolling in, I’m starting to feel a little energized and imaginative again, but I’m still working on breaking the habits I built up during this year’s Summer Depression. All that said, I don’t have anything to say right now about projects I’m working on.

However, con season is coming up for me, though the pandemic is also slowing things down on that front, meaning that I don’t have any schedules set in stone yet. What I can say is that I there are a two SFF cons I plan on attending in some capacity or another and that I have so far been invited to panel on:

First is Orycon on November 12-14. Currently, I am planning on attending in-person (I am fully vaccinated and happy to mask up and social distance!), but considering the trajectory of COVID-19 cases and limited ICU beds in my area, this may change depending on how circumstances are looking or if there are any changes with Orycon/venue policy, local pandemic mandates, or CDC guidelines that may impact my ability to attend. As always, I will update here with more info if there are any changes to my plans.

I will also be attending DisCon III (this year’s WorldCon in Washington, D.C.) virtually. I don’t know exactly what this will look like for me yet, but thanks to the remote option, I don’t foresee any situation where I will have to alter my plan to attend.

(I am also planning on attending Kumoricon in-person this year, but I will not be on any panels. Just cosplaying!)

I will update my Coming Soon page with all the details once I have them. Until then, I hope you are all continuing to stay safe and hygienic as we deal with more of all of this.

Upcoming Event – Storycrafting Sessions: Exploring Story Structure

Hello everyone! I will be once again joining Weeknight Writers for one of their Storycrafting Sessions mini-conferences. On Saturday July 3rd, you can join myself and a number of other excellent authors for this virtual and free conference on the craft of plot structure.

The full schedule is available here, and remember to sign up before the conference in order to get access to the links you’ll need to view the panels. You can catch me specifically on the Beyond the Hero’s Journey panel at 11:00 am PDT.

I’m so excited to be participating in another Storycrafting Session! If you missed the last one, you can catch recordings of some of the panels on the Weeknight Writers YouTube channel, including the panel I was on last time about creating magic systems:

Upcoming Event: Infinite Horizons Storycrafting Sessions: Worldbuilding Deep Dive Virtual Conference

Whew, that’s a mouthful. But it is also where you can find me on February 20th, talking about fantasy and sci-fi worldbuilding topics like magic systems and fictional economies.

Join myself and other writers as we discuss the various aspects of worldbuilding in speculative fiction. The conference is virtual and free but requires registration to attend panels. You can find the full schedule here with links to register for each panel, and you can check my upcoming events page for the details on the specific panels I will be participating in. Or you can continue reading here, because I’m going to post it all below, too:

Infinite Horizons Storycrafting Sessions: Worldbuilding Deep Dive Conference – Virtual

Panel: Hard vs Soft vs Hybrid: Creating Interesting and Effective Magic Systems
February 20th, 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST/10:00 – 11:00 AM PST
Register here (registration is free)

Panel: We Don’t Take Imperial Credits: Developing Economics, Currency, and Trade in Speculative Fiction
February 20th, 4:00 – 5:00 PM EST/1:00 – 2:00 PM
Register here (registration is free)

UPDATE: Registration for the conference has switched from EventBrite to Zoom Webinar Registration. I’ve updated the links accordingly, but if you already registered through EventBrite, you will need to register again through Zoom Webinar Registration. Sorry for the hassle.

Hope to see folks there!

I Am Running for SFWA Secretary

I have some exciting news today, particularly for my fellow Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America members. I am running for the office of SFWA Secretary. The SFWA Board’s Secretary is responsible for record-keeping for the Board, communicating with  potential qualifying market publishers, and compiling issues of The Forum Binary.

Here is my official candidate platform:

Hello! I am Jasmine Gower, and I am running for the role of SFWA Secretary.

I have been an Active Member with SFWA since 2018, following the sale of my debut novel Moonshine, published by Angry Robot. Beyond SFWA, I am involved in local SFF writer communities in the Portland, OR metro area, as well as queer and disabled writer communities online and locally. I also have a Master of Arts in Book Publishing from Portland State University, where I did over two years of publisher-side work at the university’s graduate press, Ooligan Press.

Beyond my publishing experience, I have a robust work history in documentation and record-keeping within various fields ranging from health insurance to academia. From taking meeting notes to accounting monthly expenses to fully rewriting department-wide workflows, I’ve done just about every type of record-keeping an organization could need.

I hope to serve as Secretary in order to give back to the SFWA community that has supported me in my early writing career. As SFWA Secretary, my goal is to ensure that SFWA documentation is kept running smoothly and accurately so that SFWA members can continue to get the most out of their experience with the organization. Additionally, I aim to work within the role to ensure that SFWA record-keeping is maintained as efficiently and accessibly as possible.

For all of the Secretary candidate platforms, see this thread on the SFWA forums (only accessible to SFWA members). Voting will take place beginning in March, and you can check the SFWA Elections page for more details. I’m so excited for the opportunity to run for a position that will allow me to become more involved in and give back to the SFWA community!

New Year, New Site

Happy 2021, folks! My website upgrade is complete. Along with a fresh new look, I’ve also made my Content Warnings page easier to access in the site menu and finally added some SSL (whatever that is) to my site to make it secure for your browsing safety. I may still be tweaking some things to add and alter some functions on the admin end, which, in my past experience with WordPress, may very well result in some site downtime, but everything on the user end is all new and shiny for everyone to enjoy otherwise.

I’m also setting for myself a goal to get more engaged in this space for both your edification and for SEO reasons. I know I say that every time my site needs an update, but we’re still locked in the pandemic and I currently have an abundance of time and a restless energy to do something. I’m thinking along the lines of essays, because I’ve been playing a lot of video games and have THOUGHTS about them. If that sounds interesting to you, of course, I already do my video game podcast Grumble Pak with my friend and roommate Eli Wennstrom, and we’ve got a number of episodes available already for your listening enjoyment. Another thing that resulted from Pandemic Gotta Do Something Syndrome.

Regardless of how well I stick to this New Year’s Resolution, of course, this will continue to be the landing page for news and information regarding my writing career, including book links, publication news, upcoming events, and whatever else is relevant to my published works. My freelance editor site is still up, as well, with all the details and rates for the editorial services I provide: consultation, developmental editing, copyediting, proofreading, and now also sensitivity reading for portrayals of genderfluid, aromantic, and asexual characters.

Anyway, that’s all I have now for the sexy new Jasmine Gower Dot Com. As usual, keep eyes on this space (or my Twitter, which is really the only social media site I use with any amount of regularity anymore) for more updates and content in this new year.

Website Update for 2021

Hi all. To celebrate the sending off of 2020, I’m going to be updating this site for the new year. More or less, all of the same information should still be here, but there will be a fresh new look.

Also, apologies to anyone who might have tried to contact me via the site contact form here lately. Managing spam bots through that has been a pain and half, so I’ve more of less abandoned it to the wolves. With the updated layout, I’m hoping to adjust my contact methods to ensure that only non-robots are able to reach out to me.

Anyway, things may be a little up-and-down here as I do some virtual construction. Thanks in advance for the patience, and I can still be contacted readily over on Twitter in the meantime.

Happy New Year!