Thursday, December 18, 2014

Yearly Round-up

As we draw to the end of the year, it’s bittersweet to reflect on 2014 and what I learned—where I was, and where I am now—and how I got to this place.
Before I begin, I have to stop and say how incredibly grateful I am for so many things—my faith, husband, children and home, of course, top that list. But I’m also deeply indebted to our extended families, friends—near and far, new and old—and the amazing network of my writing colleagues.
And to be honest, I haven’t accomplished all of my 2014 goals. I didn’t:
Lose weight (well, I did, but then I gained it back)
Finish reading the Old Testament (I’m slogging away in Jeremiah, but this doesn’t bother me since I’ll be reading the New Testament in 2015 and it’s much shorter, so by the end of 2015 I do expect to have read the entire Bible. Which, by the way, is not a first—but still a worthwhile goal.)
Organize my whole house. (But I did clean out the garage, my girls’ rooms and my closet, so it’s an improvement.)
On a personal level, 2014 was a bumper crop year.
Jared and Jen were married in the San Diego temple and all six of my children were able to attend.
Natalie left for a mission to Taiwan. One week later, Miranda left for a mission to Uruguay.
Nathan and Shirley welcomed baby Wrenn into the world.
Larry and I traveled to Boulder, Colorado. Stopped by the achingly beautiful Moab, Utah, and drove through the Rockies.
I went to Washington to visit my dad and family…more than once. And I went to Utah and Las Vegas…more than once. And China, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan (but just once.)
On the book front:
I published:
BEYOND THE HOLLOW and BEYOND THE PALE—books two and three of my Beyond series. Both have bounced off and on Amazon’s time-travel bestseller lists. As I’m writing, Beyond the Hollow is currently #25 on Amazon’s bestseller time-travel list. I believe that their success is largely due to fact that book one of the series is included in the Paranormal 13 anthology, which has been wildly successful. Here’s the stats as of right now:
#83 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Paranormal > Ghosts
#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Paranormal > Psychics
#3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Paranormal > Witches & Wizards
 For the most part, being included in anthologies has been great for me.
This year I also published STUCK WITH YOU, which was included in the Authors of Main Street Wedding anthology. But I also published THE WITCHING WELL in the Autumn's Kiss: Ten Contemporary & Historical Sweet Romances. This box set has languished from the beginning. I have my suspicions why, but since I’m only one of the ten authors in the set (and my book is the very last one) I haven’t had much sway.
My story, ANYWHERE ELSE, is in an awesome anthology of 101 stories written by bestselling indie authors, called 101 Stories, On the Go. This was an interesting challenge. The story had to be less than a thousand words. Mine is something like 997. I loved doing it, and I’m really grateful to have been included.
And just a few weeks ago, I published THE HIGHWAYMAN INCIDENT, the first book in my Witching Well series.
So, production-wise:
3 novels
One novella (and one novella that grew into a novel)
One short story
I found an editor that I love, and she is currently re-editing four of my books.
I discovered Draft2Digital, so I no longer have to pay for formatting.
I learned that anthologies can help sell my other books.
And getting picked up by Pixel of Ink is like having Heaven smiling down on you, and blessing you with enormous sales.
I also learned the awesome power of spreadsheets. I’ll admit that in the beginning, keeping track of my money versus man-hours was just depressing, but since I’ve started using spreadsheets and holding my feet to the fire and my fingers to the keyboard, it’s so much easier to see where I’ve been and where I’m going.
So, here’s my projections for 2015:
LOVE AT THE APPLE INN, a Rose Arbor novella to be included in the Authors of Main Street Love in Bloom boxed set. This is actually finished and with the editor. I’ll publish it on its own in early January, and it will come out in the boxed set in the spring. I hope to have its sequel, LOVE HITS THE ROAD finished close to the publication of the boxed set.
THE COWBOY ENCOUNTER, the second book in the Witching Well series. I’m about halfway through the first draft. I hope to have it published in March.
THE PIRATE EPISODE, the third book in the Witching Well series, is little more than an outline. I imagine a summer release.
Also, I have a teen-age witch who is whispering in my ear. I really want to tell her story…and I will. In time.
Wrap up
When Larry and I were first married, we owned a little pick-up truck and when we moved, and we moved a lot, everything we owned could fit in the back of the truck. And if it didn’t fit, then it couldn’t come. And then, like a snowball growing as it rolls downhill, we’ve grown. Our family went from two to eight to fourteen. We own stuff…way more than could ever fit into the back of Toyota pick-up truck. And we’ve learned stuff, made stuff, but I think underneath all that accumulation of snow and stuff, we’re still the same.

I don’t know where we’ll go in 2015. I bet we’ll go to Washington, Las Vegas, Utah and Colorado, because we love people who live in those places. I think I’ll publish at least four books, but I can’t be 100% positive. What I do know is that if 2015 is as kind as 2014, then I’ll be incredibly grateful…even more than I am now. 

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