Friday, December 27, 2019

Roundup for 2019

As always (at least since 2014, when I started this tradition), here in the final post of December I review my goals for 2019 and how well I met them, in preparation for setting new goals for 2020 next week.

On the whole, I met and in some cases exceeded this year’s targets. See below for details.

(1) Publish Song of the Siren (Songs of Steppe & Forest 1), on schedule in late February. 

Met. Song of the Siren launched on February 19 with a number of lovely endorsements from fellow writers and, although nowhere near bestseller status, has done well in comparison with my other novels. It has also spurred sales of my earlier books, especially The Golden Lynx and The Not Exactly Scarlet Pimpernel.

(2) Produce a final manuscript of Song of the Shaman (Songs 2) and sketch out book 3, Song of the Sisters.  

Exceeded. Song of the Shaman is available for sale as of today and ready for its formal launch date on January 14, 2020, by which time I expect Amazon to have linked the print and paperback versions. Song of the Sisters is now on its second draft, and I have developed a complete outline for a historical murder mystery to be co-written with P. K. Adams and set in Muscovy in 1553. We hope to start the writing any day, with the idea of producing a full draft by next summer and, with luck, eventually a trilogy set in Poland-Lithuania as well as Russia.

(3) Conduct twelve New Books in Historical Fiction interviews.

Exceeded. Demand was heavy from January on, and at one point it looked as if I would have twenty by year’s end, but for various reasons I topped out at eighteen. I also hosted Q&As with authors on this blog about once a month in addition to the podcast interviews for the New Books Network, and I reviewed a number of other books either at length or as part of my quarterly Bookshelf rubric—most often both.

(4) Typeset/proof, produce e-books, and in some cases edit Five Directions Press titles scheduled for 2019.

Met. For a while, it looked as if Song of the Siren might be our only title this year, but in the end we had three. I edited Joan Schweighardt’s Gifts for the Dead (Rivers 2) while she edited Gabrielle Mathieu’s Girl of Fire (Berona’s Quest 1); then I typeset them both and produced the e-books after they finished proofing the typeset files.

(5) Stay current with online marketing efforts and outreach. At a minimum, I plan to keep up my weekly blog posts, maintain my website and the Five Directions Press website, and participate regularly if not every month in such group features as “Books We Loved” and “Five Directions Press Authors Dish.”  

Met. Although heavy work commitments meant that I was absent from social media more than is either desirable or wise for a small-press author, I did manage to keep up with my blog, maintain and update my website (hint: book links are now separated by series rather than all crammed into one page) and the Five Directions Press site. I submitted entries for “Books We Loved” in eleven out of twelve months and contributed at least three “Authors Dish” posts, as well as a Spotlight interview with P. K. Adams (conducted before we established the parameters of our joint project).

So not a bad show, all told. Check back next week to find out what I have planned for next year. In the meantime, my best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a peaceful and productive 2020!

Image: Purchased by subscription from, #c1219315_b.jpg .

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