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Looking Back at 2022 - The Year of Spacecat (and Looking Ahead at 2023 - The Year of ...?)
By Rory August Posted in Blog on January 2, 2023 0 Comments 6 min read
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2022 was an amazing year. 

I got to live out a dream researching H.P. Lovecraft’s hundred-year-old manuscripts at Providence’s John Hay Library; I got to present that research at the world-famous Necronomicon; I moved states (again); and of course, I self-published The Last Gifts of the Universe

The love and support this little sci-fi book has received has been beyond my wildest hopes and expectations. I still can’t believe how many people have read it, written to me about it, reviewed it, and — dare I say? — liked it. It’s a story that is close to my heart, one that wasn’t easy to share without the relative certainty of an agent’s or publisher’s backing, one that was hard to set free for fear of it being (perhaps rightly) ripped to shreds or lost to time and space.

Instead, Last Gifts’ reception has been a dream. I have met so many amazing readers, fellow authors, and book community superheroes who have supported me, encouraged me, and championed my work. Last Gifts’ incredible readers have helped achieve some pretty amazing successes this year:

What a year, right?

I am just so honored that my work has found its audience and that there are so many of you out there who have shared with me your kind words, your reviews, and your enthusiasm for this story. Truly, your support is an inspiration. Readers are a huge part of why I do what I do, and I’m excited to continue working hard to bring you the very best my brain has to offer (such as it is)!

So, what’s ahead?

In real life (AKA the day gig), the research that I presented at Necronomicon last year has been requested for peer review and possible publication in the next edition of Hippocampus Press’ Lovecraftian Proceedings! It’s an exciting opportunity and an honor to once again have my work considered in such esteem. Though non-fiction, the project is still very much a writing endeavor, and thus will require my attention and focus for the next few months. That leaves my fiction projects on the back burners for a little while.

I’m a believer in letting creative works take the time they need to take to be completed. It doesn’t always mean that what comes out is perfect, but taking the needed time does mean I can deliver you something as close to perfect as I can make it. So, while I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be able to release something major this year, I wanted to let you all know about the projects I’ve been working on, and what I’m excited to share with you next!

Last Gifts in Review

Firstly, I plan on releasing a sort of postmortem for Last Gifts around its publication anniversary, both as a way to look back on the year since release, and also hopefully as a helpful resource for fellow authors and writers looking at self-publishing as a possible path for their work. I’m not looking to build my own trench in the “trad vs. self-pub” debate, but rather to offer up my experience at face value, share some numbers, and get vulnerable for a few pages about the reality of releasing a novel solo (mostly it’s been a lot of good stuff, but every venture has its downsides!). I’m also excited to share the resources that I used and put a spotlight back on the community that helped me achieve all those cool things I talked about above.

Fiction Projects

While I always have a good two-handful’s worth of stories mulling around, I’ll share with you the two major projects I’m working on — the ones you can expect to actually read…eventually.

The first I’ll mention is a brand new story with the working title ‘Ward.’ It’s a Fantasy-Horror rooted in a liminal word trapped between a climate-devastated modern reality and a monolithic, monster-and-magic-infested eldritch empire. My fun pitch for it at the moment is Lovecraft meets Narnia, but queer instead of racist. 

It has been an absolute joy to work on, a bit of a break from the heavier elements of Last Gifts but also a dive into other themes and ideas (as well as monster fights) that I’m so excited to weave into a cogent story for you all. This is a second-priority project at the moment, but I’m hoping to provide more details by Halloween 2023!

The other story I’m delighted to share — the project that is currently my priority and the one that has me at the desk the most — is a sequel.

I am so excited to finally announce:


When I first conceived of the story for Last Gifts years ago, I knew that the book I wanted to write had a sequel. I wasn’t always sure if I would ever write that sequel, or if there would be interest in one, or if it wouldn’t be better off as the standalone piece I felt it could be. But, after this year and seeing how Gifts was received, I knew that I would need to finish Scout, Pumpkin, and Kieran’s story.

I’m scared to be writing it, and will be even more afraid to share it, but I hope fans of Last Gifts will be ready to join Scout and their favorite spacecat for one more adventure through the universe.

I’m not certain enough about the timeline to announce even a possible release date at the moment, but work is well underway! If you’re interested in updates and future releases, consider following me over on Twitter, which is where I most often post writing news, awards, and all that authorly good stuff.

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading. Now, go have a magnificent 2023!

Until next time,

Rory 🙂

new year self-publishing the last gifts of the universe writing update

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