Yeah, okay, so maybe I should have done the review before the year ended, but here it is! It's also IWSG day, and I'll answer the IWSG question below.
The first thing I have to say, because otherwise I'll feel a little discouraged about progress, is that we spent a little over half the year traveling. I don't get much writer-work done when traveling (despite the photo above, where I'm writing under non-optimal circs. That's my journal, which is usually as much as I manage). So some things changed: my blogging became less frequent and much more erratic, and I wrote very few pieces of flash fiction for the blog, but posted more photos.
On the other hand, I managed to write, submit, and get accepted (eventually), two short stories, one in the IWSG Anthology (take a look below at the lovely cover).
I'm rather proud that I was able to do major revisions of the Pismawallops PTA mystery I drafted in November and December 2018 during our quiet times in Christchurch in February and March, which allowed me to spend the summer dealing with editorial feedback and publish that book Dec. 6, 2019.
We also stayed home, mostly, in November (aside from a 5-day outing to San Francisco and Sacramento), so I managed to finish a very rough draft of the PPTA Mysteries #5.
And I shouldn't forget The Christmas Question, a novella that I conceived in late summer and managed to pull together in time to include it as a gift to my supporters with my December newsletter. Of course, I had hoped to also revise and include a second holiday-themed short story, but ran out of time. Maybe next year!
Looking at that list of accomplishments, I actually feel pretty good! I didn't meet my goals about writing and submitting short stories--but I exceeded expectations with writing longer works.
The business of writing:
This part is less encouraging. My sales most of the year were lack-luster, probably due to a lack of effort on my part in the marketing department. I ended the year strongly, with good (for me) advance and early sales of Death By Library, but I won't see that money until next year. This year, due to the expenses of bringing out a new book, I'm ending in the red.
Beautiful covers, all!
Now for the IWSG...
The first Wednesday of every month is the Insecure Writer's Support Group posting day, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It's a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Check it out here and join if you want support with your writing.
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.
The awesome co-hosts for the The awesome co-hosts for the January 8 posting of the IWSG are T. Powell Coltrin, Victoria Marie Lees, Stephen Tremp, Renee Scattergood, and J.H. Moncrieff!
I have always wanted to be a writer, and I have been writing stories since I first learned to write at all. But I did that for, erm, close to half a century before I published my first book, so what changed?
In some ways, nothing changed. I had been trying to complete, edit, and publish a novel since my grad school days (the one started then took something like 15 years from start to giving up). For two decades I wrote sporadically, working on several novels when I got the chance between school, work, and raising 2 kids. My first published book was written much the same way--one chapter/story at a time when I had a chance. It worked well for that book (unlike those first 2 mystery novels), because it was an episodic novel.
But why was that book published? Well, I'll admit it wasn't because I finally found a publisher. I didn't even try with The Ninja Librarian, because even I wasn't sure if it was juvvy or adult. What changed was that a friend I knew from another context told me about Createspace, and convinced me self-publishing was a legit means of sharing my work. After trying for so long to hatch a book without success, I liked the idea of just one out there, for my family to read if no one else.
So I'll credit Dixie with helping me get published, but I'll credit a number of teachers along the way, from Mrs. Eggleston in the 2nd grade to Ms. Holmes and Mrs. Hollister in high school, for encouraging my writing--and a special shout-out to all the other teachers along the way who put up with me introducing stories into all sorts of homework where they didn't belong.
How about you? Was there a special spark that got you going, or was it a natural bent from the beginning?