I’ve had a love-hate relationship with goals. My tendency is to set them too aggressively, and then a little voice steps in and informs me that I’m not getting any of them. I remember setting a goal of 10 books in a year in one of Dean Wesley’s Smith’s workshops. How many did I get that year? None.
Big change this year was one of the issues with my day job cleared up. I was the only one doing a job for at least two people. When I took leave, the work stopped and nothing got done, so I was perpetually behind and stressed out. Imagine having hard stop deadlines that must be completed and then having a crisis that sucks up an entire week. That was a normal for me. It made it hard to come home and do actual writing. A lot of times, I’d hit the weekend, when I should have lots of time for writing, and all I could do was … nothing. I’d tried Writing in Public until suddenly everything collided at once, and it was just too much for me.
This was a novel that was the result of Writing in Public. I did a redraft of the story because I knew I had structural issues. This was an area I had a lot of trouble with for years, and the only solution craft books provided was to outline. Somehow, I was supposed to get structure from outlining, and instead, it broke my stories.
The Novel Structure workshop had been available for several months from Dean Wesley Smith, but my creative brain went for the Research for Fiction Writers first. Then it wanted the Novel Structure, and then Secondary Plots, and then Teams. One right after another. It was an interesting few months!
This book also marked my first professionally designed cover. I realized that I was never going to get into paper books if I didn’t have someone else design the cover. I have a PC and not a Mac, where the software is readily available and easy to use, and I haven’t had the energy to spend trying to figure out what to do to create it.
This was my first book in the GALCOM series, inspired partially by the Ghost on Drugs anthology call–it was a short story that turned into a novella. Kevin J. Anderson did a call for military science fiction for a story bundle. My head went, “It’s not military science fiction.” It has military in it, but the main character is a civilian. But I pasted in the information and the links, and next thing I know, I’m in a StoryBundle. Holy cow! Someone even wrote me and said it sounded like something Baen would publish!
This is the second book in the series. It’s up with the cover designer now for a face-lift and a print cover. I’m also thinking of doing a large print version.
And it’s getting a name change to Ghost Ship.
I love the original title. It fits the book.
And it’s the same name as a travel book series. No one’s ever going to be able to find it. So title change it is! The new cover and title should be out sometime in March, or possibly late February. Depends on when I get the cover.
Digital Minimalism: Reduce the Clutter on Your Computer Now
This is a non-fiction book that was the result of attending the BookBaby conference and hearing Joanna Penn speak. The title is an Amazon search keyword, and when I searched on it, I found a New York release for February 4 on that topic. So it became my first attempt at meeting a deadline, which was December 31 to allow me another three weeks to get copy edits, a cover, and a print/ebook build. I finished the book two weeks early, and it’s in with a friend for copy editing. Cover will be premade.
The book will be released on January 29. I’m hoping that when people go in to buy the other book, they’ll see mine below and buy it, too.
This year, I decided I’m done with short stories for now, and this time I’m going to stick with it. I’ve always thought if I could nail a pro published story–and I was getting personal rejects from pro editors–it would help my sales. However, the market contracted for me this year. Too many of the pro markets have been focusing on political topics. As reader, if I ran across an anthology with an obvious political subject, I’d pass it on it. While it’s impossible to avoid politics (especially in science fiction), I don’t want someone to get on a soap box and lecture me on it. Not fun for this reader. I doubt if it would even be worth the time to write the story, especially since it would likely never fit into the calls.
Besides, I need to focus on longer fiction, and my series fiction, particularly.
I stepped off the deep and started a mailing list this year. If you’re interested in signing up, you’ll get five very short emails a week. Includes writing tips, some videos/podcast, and whatever else I find that is interesting.
New for 2019
This if the fourth book in the series and my commitment to simply hit a deadline I set. So January 31. This one takes what I learned in all four of those workshops from a year ago and is doing something I always wanted to do: More action. I get to blow up a space station!
I’m also going to plan to get some reviews for this one.
A new historical mystery series with Al Travers, private investigator. It’s set in 1947, Los Angeles, California, and the character is connected with Hollywood. It’s an interesting time in history because World War II has just ended, and the studio system is about to end. This one is a product of the Research for Fiction Writers workshop. I read books on this era when I was growing up. And I grow up in Los Angeles in the 1970s–it wouldn’t have been that different from the 1940s.
I haven’t decided on a deadline for this yet. I’m going to Superstars in early February, so I’m not sure how that’s going to impact my time. I may alternate with this and the GALCOM titles because this will have a different cover artist (the one who did Cursed Planet only does SF and Fantasy). Gives me a chance to be more flexible on schedules and still get books out.
I also have titles for additional GALCOM books, though I haven’t decided on what’s next. But they are:
- Giant Robots (from my writing group. Brought back memories of Johnny Socco and his Giant Flying Robot.)
- Space Murder (inspired by a premade cover that said Deep Space Murder. Ghosts and murder..yeah, I could deal.)
- Zombie Planet (no clue other than the title…but zombies and ghosts…mmmm.).
- Space Pirates (ghosts and pirates)
- Space Ghost (it’s an Amazon search term)
- Shuttle Crash (really, how can I not do a story like this?)
- Most Dangerous Planet (probably not the final title, but it’s a version of Most Dangerous Game)
- Ship Graveyard (inspired by an episode of Space 1999, but really, a staple of all action-adventure).
Any title anyone wants to see?
Travel Tips for Writers (tentative title)
A non-fiction book on some aspects of travel no one talks about. Everyone else talks about how to get the best deals. Mine’s on the parts that get people into trouble if they don’t pay attention. My day job is travel administrator, so this is a topic that will play to an expertise. I’ll use a premade cover.
Writer’s Toolkit: Time Saving Strategies
This is a book that was the result of my day job. I was so overwhelmed at one point that I was reading all kinds of time management books. One was on systems and talked about going through processes to identify unnecessary steps. So I went on a hunt to do that for my work-related tasks. But there are a lot of places where writers add unnecessary steps.
I’m also pondering doing a book on Scrivener for Windows and one on picking writing workshops without getting burned or scammed.
That’s going to be the start of my year.
What did you accomplish in 2018? What do you want to accomplish in 2019?