Updated: Feb 27, 2020
As my homeboy Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote, "The year is dying in the night. Ring out wild bells and let him die."
I am a huge fan of retrospectives and goal-making and though my novel-writing career is in its wee infancy, I thought it would be helpful (To myself. To yourself.) to report on how things went this last year and what I hope to accomplish next year.
Things I did cartwheels about in 2019:
*I published a book! An actual book. It has pages, at least one typo, and stands forevermore as a record of where I began. I am both so proud of achieving this milestone and so hopeful that someday I will want to read it again.
*I wrote another book! Writing a sequel presented a few new challenges. My character already had a personality and she already had magic I'd hinted at in a previous book (sold at your favorite online retailer).
And the magic. OH MY GOSH, World Citizens. If I ever write mind-reading magic again, please whack me upside the head with the nearest Roget's Thesaurus. If that magic happens via touch and the book I'm writing is a romance requiring--I DON'T KNOW--the people to actually touch, grab the book and smack me again. It was so unnecessarily hard. I mean, I could have just given my main character the gift of spinning gold from straw and saved myself a ton of trouble.
Now, that said, I think I did it. The tension is *chef's kiss* and these crazy kids don't paddle their way out of The Rocky Shoals of Romantic Befuddlement for a good long time. Happily, Book Two did not take me three years to write and I learned, about halfway through the process, how to get quicker. After a round of publisher's edits, It will be ready to be released in a few months.
Thor is pleased with me.
*I dipped my toe into the eel-infested waters of book marketing. I'm sure I could have done better but, like a smart little Gretel, I left myself some breadcrumbs to follow for next time. I took copious notes (which advanced reader copies to send out, which book promotion sites to try, etc.) and that document is only going to become more refined as I go on. The most unexpected success came from the generous Bookstagrammers who reviewed and reposted Her Caprice with a lot of kindness and creativity.
Things I would like to do cartwheels about in 2020:
*I would like to remind myself that there is a lot of love to go around. There was tremendous satisfaction in telling Meg's story and I loved it and I love her. Putting out a second book is terrifying because now there are people with opinions who have read my material. (Existential Question: How can authors spend so much time writing a book AND be so anxious that anyone will actually read it?) Now that there is a second book it could be like meeting fraternal twins and thinking, "That's the pretty one. And that's the nice one." Instead, I'm hopeful that readers will think, "The apple is yummy in a very apple-y way. The orange is orange-ish-ly delicious. There is definitely room for all the fruit in my turban."
*I am going to finish the third book in my Regency trilogy. I have been fired up with a new story and can't wait to get the decks cleared. (The decks, as ever, will be cleared when the children go back to school.) Will it be the end of the series? For now, I think so. But it's a fun concept I can see revisiting down the road.
*I hope to outline my books before plunging into them so quickly. A little more plotting will, I hope, save me some time. I do like to discover things as I write but if I want to travel from The World's Most Gigantic Ball of Twine to The World's Largest Skillet (1,393 miles apart , fyi), it's nice to have a Rand McNally road map in the glove compartment.
*I'd like to write some contemporary novellas. It's such a different style than the one I use for the Regency era but I would love to play in a sandbox where it's reasonable to make metaphors about vulcanized rubber, decent candy and metal zippers.
That's it. Thank you for the support and cheerleading you've given me. Happy New Year, Peoples of the World! May your own 2020 be totally boss and inspire your own cartwheels.