Starting off on the cold foot

Ice bubble photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Ice bubble photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Where we are, we usually miss the brunt of winter storms. This means that although we’ve had temperatures into the single digits this week (Fahrenheit) and high winds today, we didn’t get half a foot or more of snow, and we’ve mostly stayed out of the negative temperature range. Still, the kids were home from school today (and they only went back yesterday!), with a two-hour delay in the morning.

I didn’t post a wrap-up of my 2017 here yet, so here goes:

Things I wrote, polished, and/or released

  • Treachery of Doubt (book 2 of Bodyguard of Lies)
  • Ghost Garages (book 1 of Boston Technowitch)
  • Siren Circle (book 2 of Boston Technowitch)
  • Dreamwalker (tie-in novella for Boston Technowitch, only available to newsletter subscribers)
  • Troll Tunnels (book 3 of Boston Technowitch, currently in edits)

Additional things I did

  • Wrote most of a second tie-in novella for Boston Technowitch
  • Worked on a couple of short stories (neither of which is ready for submission yet)
  • Completed a month of ink drawings for Inktober
  • Participated in programming for Boskone and for the Nebula Conference
  • Served part of the year as a Director-at-Large and the remainder of the year as Vice President for SFWA
  • Went to a writing meet-up in Manhattan
  • Went on a lovely vacation where I got to visit my mom, my younger brother and his other half, and my in-laws
  • Spent lots of family time
  • Got the downstairs family room painted and (with the rest of the family) organized and looking comfortable

Words written 2017: 253,721
Average words/day written 2017: 695
Best month for writing: November
Worst month for writing: June

As for 2018, I’m planning to do more of the same — more in every sense: more writing, more books released, more reading, more activity in the organizations I’m part of. I’m doing okay so far, though last year’s January was pretty good, too. It’s the long term where we see how things go.

Words written today: 1,130
Words written this month: 4,310


Ring out the old

Okay, so here we go with a brief 2016 wrap-up.

My plans:
Finish 2nd book in SF Bodyguard of Lies trilogy & get it up for sale
Write 3rd book in trilogy & get it up for sale
Write 4th cozy mystery & get it up for sale
Plan and start a new series

Finished 2nd book of the trilogy. Period. Working on edits now, and might get it up early January.

Other cool things:
Participated in StoryBundle
Ran for SFWA Board

Volunteer stuff:
Helped out a fair bit with my daughter’s class at school
Continued to format the SFWA Forum
Started some work with the SFWA Membership Retention/Satisfaction Committee

Horrible thing:
Our dog died

Some good, some bad, and I didn’t get anywhere near what I wanted written. ‘Sokay — I still have major plans for 2017, and I’m grateful for all of you who are here, reading me and encouraging me. Let’s have a fabulous year together!

Looking back

Back in January, I talked about my grandiose plans for the year. Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.

I didn’t finish the fantasy novel yet, although I did submit it to Viable Paradise.

I’m still working on fine-tuning the next cozy mystery, and I haven’t started the other series I mentioned I was thinking about.

I haven’t written the other middle grade novels nor the Dreampunk series novellas.

In fact, the only things on the list I’ve managed were the application to Viable Paradise and getting The Christmas Tree Farm Murders into paper (but not audio).

Yet for all that, I feel I’ve made progress this year. I’ve isolated things to work on improving, I’ve tweaked my work flow, and I think I’m finally getting a handle on how much I can reasonably expect myself to get done in a given time frame (the fact that it will never be as much as I want is depressing but must be accepted).

I’m going to see how some of what I’ve learned shakes out over the next two or three months before I set solid goals for 2014. I think the one thing I’m sure of is hat hey won’t be as far-reaching as this year’s were.

How about you? At the 5/6 mark of the year, what are you still aiming to get done in the next couple of months?

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “2013 project review” — November’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret and D. M. Bonanno.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!

Friday no flash

It’s been one of those weeks — actually, it’s been a pretty busy month, with back-to-back proofreading deadlines followed by being sick all of this week (because October and November, I always get attacked by the multi-week cold), plus tons of family stuff to do. (October is the busiest month for my son’s school band.) So I thought I’d just catch you up on a few things today, starting with stuff about my friends. (Or, er, more than a few.) Continue reading

Still working

Today’s the 15th — and no, the next cozy mystery is not done. I was trying hard to finish it before this next proofreading job landed. It’s a big job that’s taking a lot of my time and focus — and it landed last Friday afternoon. I didn’t spend any time on it over the weekend (to the best of my ability, weekends are family time, as are evenings), but it’s been gobbling hours left and right since Monday.

I’ve also got a couple of anthologies I want to submit to, which means finishing short stories by their deadlines. No, I haven’t been getting anywhere on them, either, except for brainstorming.

So I’m going to try for some late evening writing time (after kids are abed) and see what I can manage. Until further word comes, the mystery’s not done. Sorry.

Slight delay . . .

FYI: Still plan to have the cozy mystery finished by the 15th. The e-book may be available by then. The print version will probably be another week or so behind.

Recent comments I’ve made on Twitter or Facebook, which is where I usually do my brief updates and one-liners:

. . . I think I’ve found my writing motivation!

A client just e-mailed to ask if I can start work on a proofreading project early.

Boy just asked me who Baba Yaga is. So I gave him an abbreviated (and possibly not completely accurate, as I said “Russian” rather than “Slavic”) version, then (being me) went to YouTube and pulled up Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Oooooh. I discovered today that AQS [American Quilter’s Society] takes fiction submissions. “Whether they are mysteries, romances, or humorous tales, books that show how much quilts mean in the lives of others speak to quilters everywhere, and AQS strives to produce the best of these.” (They’re not interested in quilts in science fiction or fantasy, however.)

So how’s your Wednesday treating you?

Busy, busy month

It’s August! This means, as I mentioned last week, the buy-one, get-one-free e-book sale starts today.

Today is also release day for my friend Valerie Comer‘s Farm Fresh Romance, Raspberries and Vinegar. I’ll be posting a review of it next week, and she’ll be stopping by to do a guest post later in the month (the 26th).

She’s also asked me to do a post on her To Write A Story site, and I’ll put a link here to that post when it goes live — I think we settled on the 22nd.

I’m working on finishing up the second cozy mystery under my Sara Penhallow name, and of course I’ll be posting an excerpt of that as well.

Then there’s the flash stories — you should see more of Smoke and Drake this month.

And, of course, paying work, including both copyediting and proofreading.

I’ve a lot going on with the family this month, too. Our son has band camp the next couple of weeks, and everyone starts classes just before the end of the month — including our daughter, who will be going into kindergarten already.

As I said, a busy month coming up for me. What do you have on your calendar?

Catching up

Otherwise known as “five random things make a post.”

  1. I haven’t tried to get a picture of fireflies, but they’re back, the annual flashes of green in the trees and over the grass. However, here are some gorgeous long-exposure shots from a Japanese photographer.
  2. School’s out for the summer, which means my son is home and already doing the “I’m bored” routine. For the record, we’ve been to the library twice since he got out last Wednesday. It’s going to be a long summer. This week, I took the kids to buy summer clothes (for some reason, last year’s shorts didn’t fit any longer) — one at a time to preserve my sanity. It almost makes me regret washing the old clothes this weekend.

  3. I realize I haven’t drawn a number for the Sevy Series giveaway. There were two entrants, and the winner is:
    random number
    Widdershins, that’s you. Let me know if it’s okay to forward your e-mail address to Sarah-Jane Lehoux so you can get your prize.

  4. My efforts to write a short story a day during May? Yeah, that didn’t happen. I wrote one short story and three flash, plus started another five stories and started brainstorming a novella. I have more written now than I had at the beginning of the month, though, so I’m calling it a win.

  5. Back at the beginning of December, I talked about my desire to lose weight. So how’s that going, six months in? Um, not so well. The good news is I haven’t gained any weight. On the other hand, I’m only a couple of pounds lighter than I was on my birthday. I’m not giving up (My middle name could be “Persistence,” except of course, it’s not; persistence doesn’t start with an M.), but I will have to lower my expectations for what I’m going to achieve before December.

What’s new in your world?