[[Welcome to my weekly writer’s diary where I’ll share my “Woot Woot!” moments and the not so “woot woot” moments of my writing world. And, yes, I might even share the occasional musing or two about reading and writing, two of my favorite things!]]
It’s Thursday ~ 12/27/12 ~ and…
…this is my last entry for 2012. Wow. Where did the year go?! Weren’t we just celebrating Independence Day? 🙂
Maybe not. But time sure has flown the past year and, looking back, I have a lot to be grateful for, both in my professional and personal life. The year hasn’t been all sun and roses but the good things so far outweigh the bad that I can’t help but focus today’s list on the good.
A Year in Review….
1. I finally launched my writing career and place my stories in reader hands. I had been focused solely on my romantic suspense series — which I’m still working on — but my wonderful critique partners convinced me that I had stories on both the light and dark sides of romance that readers would enjoy. So, on Valentine’s Day, I debuted my first romantic comedy, SATIN PLEASURES, on Amazon. This book was one that did well in the traditional markets, even won a few impressive accolades in writing contests, but there was never an open spot for it with traditional publishers. It made sense to give new life to one of my favorite contemporary stories. One, BTW, that was a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist!
2. The decision to release SATIN PLEASURES exclusively on Amazon turned out to be a good one. Although I did get the story into other formats for a time, I ended up coming back to Amazon because that’s where I found my readers. I sponsored three separate FREE days on Amazon over the year so that readers could sample my work. One of those times, I hit Amazon’s Best Selling list at #1 for two consecutive days. I can’t tell you how it felt knowing my story had been downloaded to so many Kindles. It was like hitting the jackpot. I ran around the house in a state of stunned confusion for nearly a week. Things like that just don’t happen to me. Now, if even half of those readers actually read it — we all know how many download books never to read them — I’ll be a happy writer.
3. I’ve learned a LOT about social media and being my own boss this past year. Nothing like jumping into the deep end, feet first, and then learning to swim! This was quite a shock to me. I’d aimed at the traditional markets for years and thought I was prepared for the concept of self-publishing — I do have over 30 years in business management, being my own boss, too — but I didn’t have a clue what it would entail to connect with readers on my own. But, decision made, I waded into the fray and built a reader base on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Triberr, my blog and website. I have to admit there were days I railed at the necessity because it takes so much time from my writing, which is really what I’d love to do all day, every day, but it’s getting easier. It only takes me the morning to get through my social media, eight emails, nine Yahoo Groups lists, and a partriiiidge in a pear tree! 🙂
4. Another first for me this year was my attempt to write a shorter story. Those who know me know that I write lonnnnnnng. My romantic suspense is going to top out at 90,000 plus…I think. Even the thought of writing anything shorter than 50,000 words gave me hives. My romantic comedies are around that word count. So, I could never envision myself writing shorter, and you know what they say about saying “never”! I had a Christmas story pop into my head at the end of October and decided to aim for a short story…or allow it to tear at my psyche for an entire ‘nother year. CATCH THAT SANTA ended up being longer than I intended, almost a full novella length, but it was the shortest story I’ve ever told and it released the day after Thanksgiving. It was exciting to know that I could actually do it. I’ve decided to try to write Holiday Shorts periodically, just for the fun of shaking things up a bit. I already have a Valentine’s Day story niggling at my brain so we’ll see how it goes!
5. On the personal front, I’m getting my health ducks in a row. Been working on losing weight and getting back on my feet. Literally. Spending the past two years essentially shutting down my activities prompted me and my docs into working harder to get my health back. I was fortunate to connect with superb orthopedic surgeon who gave me a whole new left knee for Christmas. I’m in physical therapy for next month or so, then it’s time to do the other knee. By springtime, this woman’s going to be as close to dancing as she can get! If nothing else, I’ll be on the back of a motorcyle with my dear husband and able to do some exploring again. 🙂
Looking forward into 2013….
1. I HAVE to finish KILLING SECRETS!!!! Soon. It may mean I have to put off writing the Valentine’s short story, but I need to turn my complete attention to finishing this first romantic suspense in the Thorne’s Thorns series. Like my readers, I’m eager to see it completed. I finally opened up the file last night for first time in two months and read the first seven chapters through. I LOVE this story and think you will, too. I’m setting a personal deadline of January 31st to get it done. I doubt I’ll have my second knee surgery before then so I’d like to finish it and get it published before I get sidetracked by health issues again. Cross your fingers!
2. If I have the time around KILLING SECRETS, I want to write my Valentine’s Day romantic comedy short story. But, if it comes to making a choice, my time’s going to belong to the suspense story. So, we’ll see.
3. I figure my next knee surgery will be scheduled around mid-February. This one is liable to lay me up a bit longer since it’s my right knee and the one that’s kept me mobile for past 5 years. Guess we’ll see how much rehab I can get into my left knee, huh?
4. After KILLING SECRETS is done, I already have KILLING PROOF queued up. Ben and Cynthia’s story is already started so picking it up next just makes sense. Ben is the second brother of the six who will get their own stories.
5. I’ve purchased a Dragon Writer program for my computer so I can save my hands and wrists. I intend to upload and master this program as soon as possible. It’s going to be weird reading my story out loud into a computer and I’m a bit intimidated at the thought of my husband or kids or grandkids walking into my office in the middle of a racy or murder scene. Maybe I need to have a clock on the door with hands that point to the kind of scene I’m writing telling them to walk in at their own risk! LOL
6. I’m going to explore new ways to connect with my readers. I’ve been essentially doing my promo solo, and I need to look into what a publicist might be able to help me with. After all, I’m a writer, not an advertising exec! (Do you hear Bones talking in your heads? I do! 🙂 ) The more time I can devote to my writing, the happier this writer will be.
7. I do have another full-length romantic comedy in my head that I’d like to finish in 2013, too. I want to get the first two suspense books out first, though, so don’t know the timing on the comedy. Aiming for early/mid summer.
I wish I could see past the summer months in 2013, but I’m still trying to get a handle on the current writing schedule around my personal and health things. I do know I’ll publish at least three stories in 2013. Four would be gravy. Five? Not completely out of bounds if I write a couple of shorts and wrestle my schedule into line.
Ack! Who am I kidding? If my schedule could be wrestled, it would be. I’m just happy to HAVE a schedule I can manage for now.
I would like to wish every one of you a HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope it’s everything you want it to be, that you realize your dreams and find the happiness you all deserve.
See you next Thursday — and a New Year — for another rousing entry in Karen’s Diary Drop-In….