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Looking Ahead to 2018

I’ve been making a mental list of things to put on my 2018 calendar. Most of these are not writing related, but they’re things to look forward to.

February – San Francisco Writers Conference; The Book of Mormon
MarchMonty Python and the Holy Grail + Q&A with John Cleese
July – family vacation in NYC

Those are the big things, the events that are already scheduled. There is also a chance we’ll be going to Paris over the summer, but that’s not settled yet.

As for writing, I’ve mentioned my goals for the year before, but to reiterate:

  1. Find an agent for Hamlette or else prep it for self-publishing
  2. Finish Changers: The Great Divide
  3. Finish Faebourne
  4. Write Epiphanies

I’m giving myself through April to find an agent for Hamlette. If I don’t, I’ll self-publish it. I’ve had a couple of agents pass on it but say they’d like to see Epiphanies when it’s done, which is why it’s on the list. I should get going on it, but I do need to finish Changers 2 and Faebourne as well. Hopefully I’ll have more editing jobs, too.

What are you looking forward to in the new year? Any plans? Goals? Tell me all about them in the comments!

Old Person Rant

I am—and I’ve learned to embrace this—a get-off-my-lawn type. More than that, I’m a get-off-my-street type. There is simply no basic sense of community or common courtesy any more that I can find. The kids down the street from us have loud motorbikes of the kind that are made for dirt. But do they go where there is dirt? (And our town has plenty of places that fit the bill.) No, they’d rather ride them loudly up and down our street and annoy everyone. And their parents don’t stop them, I assume because the parents would rather that the kids be the community’s problem than theirs.

Whatever. I’m clearly not a people person and not fit for society. There are days when I wish whatever cosmic power exists (and I do think there must be something, though whether it cares or is paying attention . . . but that’s another conversation) would just wipe us out and get it over with, give the world back to the plants and animals, because we suck. People suck, yes, even me. Though I at least have enough sense not to irritate my neighbors by riding loud bikes in front of their houses, or blasting music that can be heard two blocks away, or popping off firecrackers when the fields are really dry and could go up like tinder.

Bottom line: I should live out somewhere far from the rest of the general population.

An Author’s Birthday Wishes

So it’s my birthday this weekend, and like many authors I have a few modest wishes. Not that I expect readers to get me anything! But if you’re so inclined . . .

  1. Buy one of my books. For yourself or a friend. Or even just read it via Kindle Unlimited.
  2. Leave a review for one of my books on Amazon or Goodreads or your blog or wherever.
  3. Tell a friend about my books.
  4. Draw some fan art or write some fan fiction based on my work. Not all authors appreciate that, but I love it! Be sure to send me a link!
  5. Give to a charity. I particularly like to support animal rescues and environmental advocacy, but [almost] anywhere will do. I have enough—more than enough—and I’m really fortunate and grateful on that score. So donate to those who need it, or to causes that need the support.

And now it’s time for me to go blow out some candles and make one last wish: that my latest manuscript finds an agent. I’ve had some nibbles, so let’s see if I get any full-on bites.

IWSG’s 5 Year-End Questions

Find this list and more here.

  1. What didn’t you complete this year? Is there a chance you will finish before year end? If you don’t, this task will likely be at the top of the following year’s list.I didn’t finish Changers 2, so yes, it’s at the top of my list of goals for 2018.
  2. What things worked and didn’t work for you this year? If you have one, did you get your newsletter out on time? How did you do on the social media platforms you frequent? Is it time to think about dropping any and focusing your efforts in one or two places?Attempts to build my newsletter didn’t work. Social media was relatively stagnant. I think it’s time to focus mostly on getting more stuff written and published.
  3. What do you hope to achieve in terms of writing and publishing? This is the fun part where you get to document in black and white what you will be writing and decide on deadlines.To finish Changers 2 by May. To finish Faebourne for an October release.
  4. Is there any area or special skill set you’re interested in that you could take the time to learn to enhance your personal development? This could be learning a new programme or researching a genre you may be interested in learning to write.
    I want to learn to use Scrivener more completely. I have it and have tinkered with it a bit, but I know I’m not using it at its full potential.
  5. In all of the figuring you do, don’t forget your personal life. Do leave yourself some wiggle room to try some fun activity that’s new to you or simply time to work on being a better you!I have one great vacation planned and hope to add to that.

Happy, er . . .

If you’re wondering where I’ve been, well, I’ve been hit by a deluge of sorts. Our hot water heater quit working, our HVAC system needs some fixing, we have new windows coming soon, and—oh—I cracked a filling that will need to be replaced.

But there are good things, too! On the books are a nice dinner out for my birthday and tickets to Star Wars.

These are the reasons I’m not getting much blogging—or work—done. But then again, at the holiday I always expect to be distracted by various other things going on. I’ll try to enjoy myself (except not the dentist thing) for now and hit the ground running in the new year.

How are your holidays?

Crossroads

So I had an agent for Hamlette. She really only had one place in mind to send the manuscript. That editor/publisher passed on it, and the agent recommended I simply self-publish. There were a couple of reasons for that. 1. She knew I’d self-published with moderate success in the past. 2. She told me she was too busy with other clients to keep submitting my work. (Also, YA was not her typical genre, so I suppose her contacts might have been limited. I had suggested other places to submit, but she didn’t want to do that.)

I won’t pretend this hasn’t been a blow. It feels like quite the knock back, in fact. That same agent had told me she’d get me placed on some conference panels, but that seems unlikely now as well.

As for Hamlette, I have some queries out to agents. And I’m also still considering self-publishing if I don’t receive any nibbles. But I’m feeling bruised right now and very tender, so I don’t think it’s quite the right time to make any big decisions. I’m going to focus on my upcoming birthday, and the holidays, and try to find the joy in those things instead of dwelling on this particular morass. Maybe things will appear clearer and brighter in the new year.

The Naughty List: A Holiday Writing Tag from Jenna Moreci

Find it for yourself here.

THE RULES:

1) Provide a brief description of your novel before beginning. NO MORE THAN 5 SENTENCES.

2) If your cast is fewer than 15 characters, you can’t use the same name more than twice. If your cast is larger than 15 characters, you can’t use the same name more than once.

MY NOVEL:

16-year-old Nerissa Dey is the daughter of an A-list actor. When her dad dies unexpectedly, Nerissa hurries home from boarding school to discover her mom has married her dad’s brother. Now she’s living out a Shakespeare drama and trying to avoid the tragic ending.

THE QUESTIONS:

#1 Which character is SO into the holidays, they nearly cause a street-wide power outage from all their Christmas lights?

Mrs. Polley. Hey, she bakes cookies practically every day.

#2 Which character attends the office new years party with ONE date… and goes home with someone else?

Liam. He’s not a player or anything, he’s just easily distracted by a pretty face.

#3 Which character is more than happy to steal Hanukkah gelt from poor, unsuspecting children? [Note: Hanukkah gelt = chocolate coins]

Uncle Eoin, of course.

#4 Fill in the blanks: I saw ____[character]____ doing a whole lot more than ____[verb]____-ing Santa Claus. They were full on ____[action]____.

Rosalind; kissing; snogging.

#5 One of your characters decides to pregame before church and passes out in the middle of the Christmas service. Which character is it?

Ophelia Chase (Nerissa’s mom).

#6 Which character hasn’t been seen since winter began because they refuse to deal with the snow?

Nerissa!

#7 Which character completely forgot about the holidays and ends up regifting to everyone?

Also Nerissa.

#8 Which character has such crappy luck, they only discover their potato allergy after pigging out on latkes?

Gwendolyn. Poor girl.

#9 The Krampus has arrived to punish your very bad characters. Which character is kinda into it?

Rosalind.

#10 One of your characters should be on the naughty list, but has convinced Santa to clear their name. Which character is it, and what was their means of persuasion?

Nerissa’s mom Ophelia. She paid Santa off.

IWSG: Regrets?

It’s time again for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Posts go up the first Wednesday of each month. Read more posts and/or join in here.

Question of the Month: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

I recently posted a retrospective of 2017 in terms of my writing, and overall it’s been a really good year. However, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do some things a little differently! For one, instead of releasing one book in February and another in May, I’d have spread them out more. I had strong sales over the summer, but due to a lack of anything new (except my Moriarty story), things began slumping come October. Well, I attribute at least some of that slump to having no other big release. I know part of it is probably holidays, too. I really should write something seasonal . . .