Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Round-up

It's the end of another year (and what's with that, anyway? Used to be a year lasted for, well, months and months. Now it's about 15 minutes). and time for some reflection on what I've done, what I'm doing, and what I think I ought to be doing.

Don't worry. I'm not going to talk about losing weight (though I'm sorry to say I gained back all I lost trekking in Peru, and then some) or getting daily exercise (I do). I'm talking about writing.

The Year in Review:

This was a big year for me, writing-wise. I brought out the first mystery in the Pismawallops PTA series, Death By Ice Cream, in April. In November I not only published my first middle grade fantasy, Halitor the Hero, but joined forces with six other great writers and participated in the first Bookelves Anthology, a collection of holiday stories for children. I also managed to survive the April A to Z daily blogging challenge, and averaged about 2.5 posts per week the rest of the year, despite being out of the country for five weeks in June and July (and on the trail for three weeks of that time).

It was also a good reading year, as I kept up my better-than-two-books per week reading pace, posting reviews for many, both works for children and adults. I felt at times as though I wasn't reading enough (dang that Internet and its distractions!) and sometimes felt like I was being pushed too hard to read for a deadline. My reading and reviewing (and Internet usage) need to be examined.

I also began tentatively reaching a bit farther out to make more connections in the blogging world, although my reading and commenting dropped off sadly this fall. Rather, I never regained traction in reading or writing after our summer travels, though I did finish the not insignificant editing process for Halitor.

I also did several classroom visits at two different schools, and was well-received by the kids and teachers alike. These visits are highlights of my writing life!

What I didn't do was much new writing, aside from weekly (or nearly) flash fiction. Thank goodness for that, which keeps me sane when I'm revising! By a quick count, I did 37 Flash Fiction stories, if That is 37,500 words right there!

Reflections on 2014:

I feel like the year was a mixed bag. As my comments above suggest, I'm happy to have managed to publish two books in a single year, but those were both largely written before the year began, so I had a year very heavy on revisions. That was not ideal, and I need to work on making my revision process more efficient, so that I can spend more time writing!

My level of engagement with the profession went up, but not enough. Sales also went up, but again, not as much as I had hoped. I still need to work on the advance publicity for a book. I have my days of thinking that I need to hire both a maid and a marketing director, because I don't seem to be doing an adequate job in either area!

So...what about 2015?

So here's the deal about 2015: I want to write more than ever, and I want to shake up the blog a bit, connect more with more people, writers and readers, and use my time more effectively (online and off). Piece of cake, right?

My thoughts run something like this:
For the writing, I plan to finish editing Death By Trombone (the Pismawallops PTA #2), which I drafted during NaNoWriMo 2013! (I also don't want to get this far ahead of myself again; it was for that reason that I didn't do NaNo 2014). I hope to have my first cut done in a couple of weeks so that I can send it out to my first editor/beta reader. Then I can turn my attention to the next project: the Ninja Librarian's third book (still untitled). And I want to create my own short story anthology, using flash fiction I've published here, spruced up and expanded in some cases. And, of course, I'm starting to think about the next full-length novel after revisiting Skunk Corners. That's probably enough and then some!

As for shaking up the blog, I definitely intend to continue with the weekly Flash Fiction. I like it, and my readers seem to like it. I will also continue posting book reviews, but I may back off to one per week, so that I do children's books the 1st and 3rd weeks (to participate in the Kid Lit Blog Hop) and adult books the other weeks. I need to connect up with more people, so will look at participating in additional hops and tours.  Because I do want to continue to post three times/week, I will be filling in the other days with more varied posts, on writing and possibly on life (though my life isn't very interesting), and more photo essays of current and past journeys. I will also work on the flip side of blogging, visiting other blogs.

If I want a new time sink, I will endeavor to learn to make use of the Twitter account I set up last month!

What do you think? What should I do more or less of in my blog?

Oh--and Happy New Year!

Did you get a new eReader for Christmas? Load it with my new book, Halitor the Hero, a fantasy for 10-year-olds of all ages. Use the Smashwords code AV66V to get it at 40% off! Just click on the cover image:


  1. Wow, what a busy year. Best of luck with 2015.

  2. I don't know how any of us manage to fit it all in, frankly. LIke I was supposed to take today off... but the weather was poor (damp and windy), so maybe I'll take tomorrow off instead.
    Yeah, right.
    Just keep writing :)


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