Well, it’s here again.
The time to bemoan what we didn’t accomplish, celebrate what we did accomplish, and plan for what we still want to accomplish in the New Year.
I don’t know about you, but the best laid plans do gang aft agley. (Thanks, Robbie Burns!) Even when I work in time for things that are likely to gang aft agley. Well, they don’t do it when I think they will, obviously.
Take this past year.
I thought there would be plenty of time to not only write a couple prequel novellas for my Raven Tales series, but I thought I’d be spinning a couple for my Weird West Steampunk crew as well. The year started off well. Both stories were begun. Were posted in the blogs as episodes.
And then I broke my foot.
Not on purpose. Really irritating as it meant I was supposed to keep it elevated and no matter what set up my brother came up with, I couldn’t get comfortable enough to put in sufficient writing time. For nearly six weeks I was out of finger dancing action.
The year began with the arrival of the copy edited manuscript for Raven’s Moon, the first of my urban-fantasy novels. In the past, there has been very little…er…damage done by an editor. Usually they did minor switches that improved or clarified things better. Not this time. This editor had no concept of either fantasy fiction or 1st person delivery, it seems. They totally DESTROYED the voice of my character and as he tells the entire story, she murdered it. Suffice to say there were many, many snarled (she thought I used that word too often, but she made me snarl) demands to put the text back the way it had been before her tampering. After that there were innumerable rereads as it kept coming back and I snarled more demands. Finally, it was back to being the book both my publisher and I had loved.
But then the manuscript for the 2nd book in the series arrived with some suggestions from the publisher that I needed to deal with. The “dealing” increased the word count by over 3,000 words, and that doesn’t count the manipulation of other things. Fortunately, no jokes were harmed in the process.
Oddly enough, all of this put me behind the eight ball on writing the 3rd book in the series, which was originally due on the publisher’s desk July 1st. Fortunately, she was very willing to kick the deadline back two months. Trouble was, I’d been away from the story for so long, it took weeks to get into the “flow” on it, but everything finally came together. Big sigh of relief on that.
However, we were now on top of the release date for Raven’s Moon, which meant book signings. Getting the “free” copy of the prequel that lead into the novel available. Doing the online stuff…and well, yeah, time flew by.
Considering I’d only considered the book’s release and the writing of the 3rd book and additional prequels in my 2019 plans, the year was in shambles.
But I learn from mistakes…or perhaps that’s misfortunes.
This year there is no new Raven book due, but I know there will be the rereads and the tinkering on books #2 and #3 on my schedule for 2020.
There were other things on my tally to do that collected dust rather than fall through the cracks. Reading all those marketing articles I print off, reading the marketing books I buy. All collecting dust.
I bought Kindlepreneur’s Rocket program this past Fall. Have I used it? No. Gotta change that!
In looking back at what you didn’t manage to accomplish in 2019, don’t forget to look at what you DID accomplish though.
For me, it was that I updated another two rom-com titles and got them back up – with new titles as well as covers – and am nearly finished with a remodel (because rereading the first book that went to print thirty years ago means a lot of cringing over the text – not the story, but…well, there was head hopping to cure!) and will burst into January with another remodel from things published in the early 1990s. Thumbs up on that.
I did quite a few new “ads”, which is what I call the cover with blurb or review bits that I post for FB and Twitter, so there was more variety. Wrangled some more reviews on books.
Kept up with my three local writing groups.
Wrote four short stories for anthologies, two of which were picked up and two got a pass. A historical romantic mystery got rejected twice. All of which simply gives me things to submit elsewhere in the New Year.
I also did something I didn’t think I’d do again –
decided to write a romantic-suspense tale. While I have a lot of fun with the snark of my fantasy tales, spending time with a hero who isn’t fighting otherworldly beings is great. Fell madly in love with him, so he’s definitely on my priority list to finish his tale. I started it during NANO in November so it’s very fresh in my mind.
But I am determined to get around to reading those marketing books, learning to use the Rocket program. Maybe even make another attempt to figure out the more expensive graphics program I bought five years ago! Yeah, it wasn’t just last year that some things got pushed aside. There are repeat contenders.
At a guess, I’d say that each of you have a similar list of successes and failures to launch into the new year from. I discovered the Eisenhower Matrix in 2018 and have tried to slot things into the boxes of its design. There is the urgent/urgent box which are priorities – you know, like deadlines to meet, meetings to attend, workshops to do, daily social media posts and any other thing that requires ME to do it and by a specific date. Then there is the urgent/important box. This is where things are being prepared for the move into the urgent/urgent box. It’s where covers get built, manuscripts formatted for Indie release, those little “ads” for my social media posts get created, where proposals for workshops get written. Where I figure out where next to submit something.
There are two other boxes in Ike’s matrix, and one of them I still have to handle, though it would be very nice to hand these things off to a PA or graphic artist or formatter or whatever other person the job could be delegated to. It’s things that need to be done but could be done by someone else before they move into a totally ME box. The final box is for things that really should be tossed. You know, like depressing rejection letters, old files of things you have updated files on, things that you haven’t gotten around to reading and are now dated (those marketing blog posts I printed out to read and haven’t yet).
I also keep myself focused and seeing that I’m moving ahead by writing down the number of words in whatever manuscript I’m working on (and blogs written, lectures written) when I stop working for the day. By subtracting the previous day’s tally from it, I can see progress being made. I write these tallies down in an organizer that has spots large enough to write lots of stuff for each day. Maybe a 1/3rd of a page. It’s where reminders to write blog entries go. Where the start of workshops (and where they are being held) are noted. Days for my local writing groups meetings are in there. Any talk I’ve agreed to do goes in. The family birthday parties, too, as those days mean less writing time. If I took vacations, they’d be in there too. For those of you with kids in school, things you can’t miss (first or championship games, parent/teacher meetings) land here, too. Everything that I know in advance gets noted.
The trick is to look ahead a couple days in the event some rearranging of what you want to accomplish is required.
My 2020 Resolutions list isn’t a list at all, you see.
It’s a filled calendar for the new year. And barring any new disasters, this year I’ll accomplish more that’s on that calendar than I managed last year. This year, at least, I’m forewarned about things that will arrive from the publisher for my attention.
And, although I don’t have a new contract (yet) for the remaining Raven books planned, even without a contracted deadline, I plan to get a jump on things by writing the 4th book. After the romantic-suspense, and maybe the Steampunk. I dream big.
You should, too.
And with that in mind, why not start 2020 with a workshop with me?
It’s about Writing Comedic Mystery and starts January 6th!
Book 1 of The Raven Tales
Otherworld evil is loose in the real world. Bram Farrell, Private Investigator, must track it down and destroy it before it destroys him.
Bram Farrell has starred in twenty bestselling novels by writer—and witch—Calista Amberson. Her fans love the tall, dark, and handsome PI who vanquishes supernatural bad guys using his magical powers. So, when Calista uses her magic to pull Bram from his fictional world into real-world, modern-day Detroit, she rocks both worlds.
Every supernatural being on Earth felt his arrival in this dimension. They don’t trust Calie’s intentions and Bram doesn’t either. When the supernatural community hands him the job of discovering who killed the beings in the real world that match those he killed in each volume of The Raven Tales, he takes on the task. It’s a job he’s done in twenty books—he’s up to the familiar challenge.
Bram’s investigation turns up a lot of suspicious characters grouchy bar-owning trolls, a thirsty vampire godfather, a couple of murderous x-cage fighters, a suspicious minister¬¬—and the Devil himself. Things are getting dicey: Bram could use some help with this job—but whom can he trust?
Fans of Jim Butcher will fall hard for Bram and Raven’s Moon.J.B. Dane is a recovering romance writer with over two dozen titles under her belt. So when “Bram Farrell” walked into her office, she hired him on the spot. Together they kick Otherworlders’, er, nether regions, and write the second book in the Raven Tales series.
#urbanfantasy #PI #mystery #comedy set in #Detroit