This time of year is both something I dread and cherish.
The cherish is easy. I get to see my extended family including my son who has grown up and moved to another state, and of course, there will be pies ;).
The dread is also pretty easy.
I start the year with grand plans, strategies that attempt to survive first contact with the enemy, in this case Father Time. At the end of the year, I have to evaluate the success of those strategies, identify where and when strategy devolved into tactics and further into a desperate scramble. Sure, some might have survived the year, but any that didn’t require reassessment before I set out my 2016 plan.
Some things that went wonderfully…and others were mixed.
I released a new book in all three of my series:
Trainee (Seeds Among the Stars, Book 2)
Gifts (The Steamship Chronicles, Book 3)
An Innocent Secret (Uncommon Lords and Ladies, Book 3)
Each of these books has something in common with characters who strive to do the right thing but don’t always succeed. In other ways, they are completely different.
Trina, and now Deluth, challenge the perception of spacer and colonist as they learn their own strengths and how to overcome their weaknesses during spacer training. It’s easy to blame others for your struggles, but in Trainee, Trina discovers circumstances are rarely that simple.
Sam has no choice but to be herself, and that self appears alien to many. Even worse, to do the right thing means fighting off demands from mechanical constructs that might not help her friends. Good thing she has Nat to keep her strong and stand between her and the others when their fears might get the best of them. (Note: If you haven’t tried this series, the first book is free in eBook everywhere.)
Which brings me to Georgie. A delight and a frustration both, Georgie danced her way up the line in the series and quietly settled into place as “next” all without my permission or approval. Her partner in life, Freddie, is the more realistic and grounded of the two, but together they balance each other out…except where scheming is concerned. They create much of their own disasters, but are willing to work hard to recover from the events as well. (Note: Subscribe to my Romance Release Announcements to read the story of how they first met as children.)
I enjoyed spending time this year with each of them, and hope you all will continue to find much to like as well. As endings go, what is an end for me is only a beginning for new readers who can discover these stories at any moment and be transported into outer space, the past, or an alternate steampunk history.
I obviously finished An Innocent Secret earlier this year, but I also completed the first draft of The Steamship Chronicles, Book 4, which will take my readers back to England and the adventures Lily and Henry find there. For those of you who have read Safe Haven, Parson and the rest have a new role to play. I had a sense of what would be in this book from the start, but my muse slipped in some extra elements that proved quite fun to write.
This is where things took a twist. The first volume of The Steamship Chronicles is composed of three interlinked stories. While each book has its own internal arc, the three comprise a greater story. I wasn’t surprised when the second volume seemed to follow the same pattern though whether two or three books is still to be determined. It does mean when NaNo came around, I jumped into the fifth book instead of following my plans.
Along with the fact that I took a break from Apprentice (Seeds Among the Stars, Book 3) for NaNo, I am finishing my NaNo novel this month. So I’m currently writing two books with the hope of finishing at least one before December 31st and the other soon after.
Starting in February, I began giving my newsletter readers a sneak peek into pre-publication short stories I plan to release later. I’ll admit it’s been a bit of a struggle with everything else, but I’ve had something for most months and my newsletter subscribers seem to enjoy them. It also means I’m that much closer to releasing them for all my readers. I’ve also sent out a number of short stories this year, resulting in an anthology acceptance and an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest.
So, it was a busy, productive year. I didn’t succeed in all my plans, but I did manage a good number of them. The one I regret the most is not starting to edit a series my dad wants me to share with all of you. It didn’t happen this year, but I’m making some changes in my process to free up more writing time, so here’s hoping for next year.
As to those strategic plans, one thing I did was only set the dates on my schedule for the first six months. After that, I knew what I wanted to release and what I wanted to work on, but I assigned them more based on how the earlier months went. This proved a relief as real life events played havoc with my schedule, so I’ll probably do that again. The time things took also seemed longer than expected, so I’ll be outsourcing some of those steps (such as the covers for one series), and try to be more aware of my timeframes. I definitely have things to revise in my planning for 2016, but the good news is some of my plans, and the tools I created to support them, did exactly what I needed them to and kept me on track.
What about you? What is one strategic plan you made that worked beautifully? Or one that hit a wall when tactics came into play?
Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Conclusions – review of 2015 goals and completed projects” — December’s topic in Forward Motion’s Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. Read the thoughts of nearly twenty different authors at various stages in their careers on this same topic. The next posts in the series are by Lisa Janice Cohen and Bonnie R. Schultzman.
Check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour to learn more. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour on the group site. Read and enjoy!