Friday, January 3, 2020

Ushering In 2020


As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions as a whole. The annual promises to lose weight, exercise more, master a foreign language or a new musical instrument, and read more books than there are weeks in the year tend to lose their charm—or at least their credibility—after several decades of repetition. That said, I do have goals that I hope to achieve as a writer in 2020. Even if there is no real penalty to not meeting the goals, having them keeps me on track.

Which I guess is also the reason for promising to lose weight, exercise more, and so on ...

Anyhow, here are the writing goals. Those others are between me and my waistline.

(1) Publish Song of the Shaman (Songs of Steppe & Forest 2), on schedule in mid-January. This novel follows the attempts of Grusha, another secondary character from the Legends series, to balance her Russian heritage with life in a steppe horde and her own needs against those of her six-year-old son, whose future presents an increasingly pressing problem as he approaches the age when his training for adulthood will begin.
This one is pretty much a done deal, because the print edition is already available and the Kindle edition up for preorder, with a delivery date of January 14. But I didn’t want to skip its place in the publication sequence, plus there is so much that goes into marketing a new book that its appearance becomes an ongoing project for several months.

(2) Produce a final manuscript of Song of the Sisters (Songs 3) and sketch out book 4, Song of the Sinner.
Songs 3 is actually in its third draft, resting except for collecting comments from my writers’ group before undergoing another round of revision for publication. So that should be doable by the end of the year. A full rough draft of Songs 4 is a longer shot, but I am starting to come up with ideas, so it’s worth including here.

(3) Complete my half of the rough draft of my first historical mystery novel, co-written with P. K. Adams and tentatively titled These Barbarous Coasts.


After a slow start over the summer, this one is roaring along. Patrycja and I have agreed on a full outline (although the plot is already twisting a bit, as my plots tend to do, and I’m struggling not to let it twist so much that I drive her crazy). She’s drafted the prologue and chapter 1, I’ve drafted chapter 2 and sketched the opener for chapter 5. And I have three more full writing days in my holiday leave before I have to go back to full-time work and writing weekends.

Will we make it? Who knows? But the chances are good, and the process is both entertaining and educational, since I’ve never collaborated with another novelist before.

(4) Conduct twelve New Books in Historical Fiction interviews. Also submit links to recent interviews every four weeks for featuring on the Literary Hub.

I have interviews scheduled through June, and the volunteers keep appearing in my mailbox, so I’m hopeful that I can meet—even exceed—this goal. I just sent in January’s interview for processing and interviewed Gabrielle Mathieu about her latest book—which is fantasy based on medieval Europe and can be cross-posted to both our channels—so I’m getting off to a good start.

As for submitting to LitHub, that’s a privilege, so barring memory lapse or computer disaster, I will certainly do my best to fulfill that goal—for my authors’ and the New Books Network’s sakes as much as my own.

(5) Typeset/proof, produce e-books, and in some cases edit Five Directions Press titles scheduled for 2019. The exact lineup is still in play, but in addition to Song of the Shaman (historical fiction/romance), I expect to work on Champion of the Earth—the second book in Gabrielle Mathieu’s YA fantasy series, Berona’s Quest—and River Aria, the third and last novel in Joan Schweighardt’s Rivers trilogy.
Not much to say here. If the books come in, I’ll find time to work on them.

(6) Stay current with online marketing efforts and outreach. This goal includes keeping up with my weekly blog posts, maintaining my website and the Five Directions Press website, and participating regularly in such group features as “Books We Loved” and “Five Directions Press Authors Dish”—as well as regular if not daily appearances on Facebook (as my author self and Five Directions Press), Twitter, and Goodreads.
This one is always a challenge, because there are so many other tasks to fill my days, and neither marketing nor social media are really part of my natural skill set. But we try.

And as always, I wish everyone a splendid new year, with love and success and happiness for you and those you love!



Image purchased by subscription from iClipart.com, no. c1869314.

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