Category Archives: New Years

2016 in Review

Getting up this morning I knew it was time for me to write my yearly wrap-up, but I didn’t have a lot of motivation. On Christmas Eve my car stopped starting in a parking lot and had to be towed home. Getting it towed to a mechanic and repaired will be today’s problem. The day after Christmas I managed to sprain my big toe. I’ll spare you the grizzly details, but I dearly hope none of you ever do something similar. The pain is completely disproportionate to the injury, and every step is a painful reminder that toes are important and do something.

Thankfully, the lovely Andi and I had been talking about writing, life, and 2017. The exact inspiration I needed was sitting in my e-mail.

 

Looking back at 2016, what did you accomplish as a writer? Of what are you most proud? What didn’t go as well as you’d hoped? 

Earlier this year I started keeping a list of work accomplishments. It’s something I plan on continuing because it gives me perspective. With how long so many “tasks” (like writing a book) take and how they tend to flow into one another (from writing to rewriting, to editing), it can be easy to forget what I’ve done and this reminds me.

2016 Accomplishments

  • Heavily edited Fey Hearted
  • Published Fey Hearted
  • Wrote Michelle’s Case Files
  • Rewrote Michelle’s Case Files
  • Edited Michelle’s Case Files
  • Published Michelle’s Case Files
  • Finished writing A Witch’s Rite (this book was started in 2015)
  • Rewrote A Witch’s Rite
  • Edited A Witch’s Rite
  • Published A Witch’s Rite
  • Wrote Draft Zero of the Fey Hearted Prequel Novella
  • Wrote Draft Zero of a science fiction short story
  • Reorganize NEConneely.com and created book landing pages
  • Rebuilt my desk to be ergonomic (Big thanks to my husband for helping!)
  • Formatted Fey Hearted and A Witch’s Rite for trade paperback
  • Reformatted Witch for Hire, A Witch’s Path, A Witch’s Trial, A Witch’s Concern for trade paperback
  • Reformatted  Witch for Hire, A Witch’s Path, A Witch’s Trial, A Witch’s Concern, A Witch’s Rite, Fey Hearted, and Michelle’s Case Files Kindle files to look prettier and be cohesive inside the series.
  • Formatted Fey Hearted, Michelle’s Case Files, Witch for Hire, A Witch’s Path, A Witch’s Trial, A Witch’s Concern, and  A Witch’s Rite for iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and other retailers
  • Published Fey Hearted, Michelle’s Case Files, Witch for Hire, and A Witch’s Path to iBooks, Kobo, Nook, and other retailers

I’m really proud of that list. Several of those things took weeks or months. Others required learning new skills and programs. I did all of that in between moving, getting married, visiting family, having a honeymoon, and being plagued with an ulcer. Everything I’ve just typed is important. They’re the things I need to remember when I wonder where 2016 went.

However, I didn’t do as much pure writing as I’d hoped. That’s the one thing I’d really like to improve upon in 2017.

 

Looking forward to 2017, what would you like to accomplish as a writer? What might need to stay in place for those things to happen? What might need to change? 

In 2017  I want to write 1,000,000 words. It’s a big goal, one I may not make, but everything I write gets me closer to some of my smaller goals (like completing individual books). And the process of trying will be a reward of its own as I get back to the writing and stories I love.

To write a million words in 2017, I need to hold onto my determination and drive while I work on my time management and daily flow. I need to learn when to take breaks and when to look at the a blank page and feel an upwelling of  “I Can!” I need to walk forward boldly and with conviction, remembering to prioritize my goals because it’s easy for them to get lost and that’s unacceptable. I need to be a better me and a better writer.

Of Beginnings, Ends, and Abandoned Dreams

So much has happened in the past year. I keep looking around and asking myself how it came to be January. Surely, there are a few months to go before the new year. As it turns out, the calendar didn’t skip ahead; time simply passed at an unbelievable rate.

For me, this has been a year of change, a year in which I went after some of my dreams with a vengeance and other dreams found me. Many of the changes this year have been wonderful, amazing things that I thought I would only have in my imagination. To have them become reality, well, there are no words for how that feels.

I am so blessed to be a full time writer. I have wonderful fans that have made it possible for me to do what I love. I have a wonderful family, and I’ve been able to spend time with so many of them this year. I’ve been able to relocate back to Georgia, and reconnect with old friends. I’ve also been found by Prince Charming, which has been a wonderful thing of its own.

In all of these beautiful things, there are been some costs. That chemistry degree I worked so hard for? I’m not really using it. The family I have on the west coast? I don’t get to see them as much. That dream I had of living in a 600 sq. ft. home? Gone. Prince Charming couldn’t fit in there with me (not happily anyway). The idea of living deep in the mountains? That’s mostly gone as well. The dream of living on a house boat for a summer? Unlikely to happen. One dearly loved friend? No longer in my life.

There are so many good things in my life, and I’m very happy. But, I find myself mourning some of what I’ve had to relinquish. Oddly, some of the losses that sting the most are of things that shouldn’t be significant. That small house? It shouldn’t have hurt to let go of that dream, especially because it died due to Prince Charming, but it does. From time to time I think about what my life would’ve been like had I pursued that living situation. In my imagination, it’s simpler, quieter, and embodies the peaceful retreat I strive for in a dwelling.

In reality, that small home is very different. Its a sign that Prince Charming and I missed one another. We never did connect. It’s quiet because I’m hermit like, and when left alone will often forget to spend time with other humans. It’s simpler because there are fewer things in my life, and I know I’ll miss many of those things.

There really is nothing about that dream dying that should bother me so. I know I would think I was happy in that small house, but I would really be so very lonely. You see, what I have gained far outweighs what I might perceive as a loss. I have gained Prince Charming, someone I would not wish to do without. I have gained more friends, more family, and a life I adore. Perhaps it lacks the simplicity and quiet, but I think, a few years from now, I will have no regrets.

Then, why does it hurt?

After more brooding than I care to admit to, I think it comes to a simply reason. I was attached to that dream. It was what I created when I had a more complicated life and was dissatisfied. It was what I created when I dearly wanted to be left alone to be myself. In that creation, it came to mean something more.

That small house came to mean much more than a home I wanted. It turned into a symbol for having control over my life, my dream job, and the simplicity I’d found so hard to achieve. Somehow, over a few months, that little home turned into a sign that I’d achieved many things I’d been trying to accomplish for so long.

In putting all of those emotions and desires into something as simple as the place in which I live, I did myself and my dreams a great disservice. Instead of working for each of those things – the life, job, and simplicity I desired – independently, I rolled them into one dream. One that was all too easy to crumble.

The end of the year often makes me reflect on time gone by, what I wanted, what I achieved, and what I let go. This past year was a time of growth, where many things changed, and I consider it a year of beginnings. It was when I focused in on writing, new relationships, moved back to Georgia, and learned about myself.

It was also a year where reality looked me in the eye and I had to make choices about what I wanted the most. In hindsight, there are things I could’ve done better, but I have no regrets. Those choices brought me to where I am today, and I like this place, even if there are bittersweet moments.

Next year, I want to embrace what I began this year, continuing writing books and loving life. With that as a starting point, I want to grow. I want to be strong enough to let dreams be themselves rather than infusing them with deeper meaning that could be a achieved in many forms.

Next year, I want to give life to more of my dreams, and keep them true to themselves. Next year there will be more beginnings, and hopefully only good endings. If I’m lucky, I won’t have to abandon any dreams. Now that would be something.

It was a crazy year folks

This has been a crazy, awesome, exciting year. You guys made it all of those things.

Thank you. Thank you times a hundred.

When I published Witch for Hire, I didn’t expect it to do much. I’d been working on it intermittently for years. The bulk of the story was written during NaNoWriMo 2010. Over the next few months, I finished the story and started the edits. For the next four years I occasionally did some edits and often did nothing.

In July 2013, I got a bee under my bonnet and decided that I had to publish. I’d like to say I had some great insight about how fantastic my work was or that I had faith that I’d find readers, but either of those would be a lie.

The truth was that I didn’t care if I failed.

If you’re an aspiring artist of any type, read that again. I didn’t care if I failed. I figured that it would be worse to be sitting in front of a TV years from now wishing that I’d done something with my writing than to publish and be laughed at. Truth be told, I hoped to do well, but that wasn’t the expectation. I figured that if I sold enough to buy a Starbucks goodie once a month I’d be doing good.

The first month blew that expectation out of the water.

Witch for Hire was published January 11, 2014. It sold two copies in the next three days. I bought one of those copies. On the fourth day it entered a free promotion. I woke up in the morning and 20 people had downloaded the book. I was ecstatic. By the end of breakfast it was up to 25 downloads.

The next day was even crazier. By late afternoon I’d had over a two hundred downloads and by the time I finished dinner over five hundred. The craziness continued for the rest of the promotion, and when it was done over 8,000 people had downloaded a book that didn’t have a single review by an author who hadn’t published any other works. To date, I’ve sold over 17,000 copies of Witch for Hire.

After publishing Witch for Hire, I got to work on A Witch’s Path. During NaNoWriMo 2011 and 2012, I worked on A Witch’s Path, but when I restarted on it in January 2014, it needed another 30,000 words and significant restructuring. A Witch’s Path was published September 5, 2014. It’s gotten better reviews than Witch for Hire, and I’m counting that as a huge success. Between publication and now, it’s sold over 5,000 copies.

After publishing A Witch’s Path, I got to work on my third book, A Witch’s Trial. I finished the draft of A Witch’s Trial at the end of November and it’s currently in my editor’s hands.

As soon as I finished A Witch’s Trial, I started on the fourth book. Right now I’m about halfway through the rough draft of the fourth draft and enjoying every second of it.

In early December, I got another bee in my hat and partnered with a voice actor who’s currently working on the audiobook of Witch for Hire. What I’ve heard so far is fantastic, and I can’t wait for it to be out!

This year has been a learning experience and a steep one at that. I’ve had to learn about pricing, perceived value, branding, marketing, production schedules, and so many other things. Some things I’ve done well, others not so much. Part of that learning experience has included my production process.

I know a lot of you had hoped that A Witch’s Trial would be out by now, but with the changes in my editing process, the release has been pushed back. Right now I’m eying February. This wasn’t an easy choice, but I’m choosing to give you a high quality product rather than a faster release.

I’m really excited about 2015 because I think it’s going to bring amazing things. A Witch’s Trial will come out, as will Witch for Hire’s Audiobook. The current plan is to publish the fourth and fifth books in A Witch’s Path Series, and at least one book in a new series.

There will also be some changes, most of which I hope will be good changes. With how amazing 2014 had been, I was able to drop to part time at work. To continue spending half my time writing, I have to maintain my income. One of the things I’ll be looking at this year is expanding outside of Amazon. If there’s a place you prefer to buy ebooks, let me know and I’ll look at that retailer.

2014 has been an amazing year, and this is the happiest and most accomplished I’ve ever felt. Alright guys, on to 2015!