It’s That Time of Year . . .

At the end of each year, it has become my tradition to review the goals I set and see how I did, and then to create new goals for the new year. I’ve been doing this for 8 years now, and I find it helpful for keeping my focus throughout the year – usually. Life happens when you’re making plans for something else, right? So, let’s see how I did:

1. I will get an agent this year. Period.

Well, I tried. I did begin to submit to agents again, and while I had favorable comments, I haven’t landed one just yet. So, we’ll be seeing this one again, I’m certain.

2. I will finish at least three novels this year, including rewriting The Afterward, finishing Namesake, and a third novel (yet to be determined).

That was very ambitious of me! And I did pretty well. The Afterward has been revised, I finished a novel called “The Year I Went Invisible” (though it needs a great deal of work still). I wrote (and sold!) two new short stories, and I’ve started a new novel that is moving along nicely (it doesn’t have a name yet, though). While I didn’t actually write three two new novels, I still feel pretty good about my accomplishments.

3. I will continue to look for opportunities to promote my work and to participate in at least one writing-related event each month. 

I came so close on this! I did find new places to market my work! And I took full advantage of every opportunity! I managed to be involved in 10 events this year! And for some of them, I was even paid! This one might be tougher with only one new book coming out this year, but hopefully, I’ll find some new resources as well.

4. I will attend two writing conferences or workshops to benefit my own writing.

I have to cheat a bit on this one, but to me, it still counts. In April, I was one of the presenters at the Writing for Charity event in Provo, Utah. However, I took full advantage of the times I wasn’t presenting and attended as many workshops as I could fit in during the day. Then in September, I joined the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers organization and attended their three-day conference in Denver. It was amazing, uplifting, and something I very much needed to do for myself and my heart.

5. I will offer four writing workshops  during the year.

And here, I exceeded my goal significantly. I began teaching for the University of Utah’s Lifelong Learning program again after not having taught for them in over 12 years. It is a wonderful, rewarding experience, and I look forward to the classes and my students each week. This coming spring, I will be teaching a class on Flash Fiction, and I have gained so much insight by reading in this area, so I’m very excited to share this with my students.

And so for next year? Well, I’m continuing to try to stretch a bit, but I’m also trying not to set myself up for failure or disappoint. Let’s be realistic: I have a full-time job; I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, and the giant furless mommy cat in my family. I have responsibilities and demands – but I also have a need to write, so I’m trying to find that balance between the real world and my writing ambitions. My family is supportive and willing to compromise (which is easier now that my baby is 19 and only lives here on school breaks), but I need time with them, too. In that realm of balance and ambition, here are the 2015 edition of my goals:

1. I will submit to no less than 5 agents each month.

2. I will write a minimum of 7,500 words each week.

3. I will participate in a minimum of 10 events which allow me to promote my books.

4. I will attend at least one writing event where I am NOT speaking or presenting.

5. I will continue teaching creative writing courses through Lifelong Learning.

Now, I’m adding a new twist: I have printed off my goals and stuck them to the wall next to my desk so that I can see them each day. I am inviting you to ask me at any time to provide a public update on these goals, which I will do. I’m inviting any encouragement, support, chastising, or harassment that you may feel is appropriate throughout the year. And I will thank you now, in advance, for doing so.

Here’s to the new year: may we all follow our dreams and continue to flourish and grow!

Awesome

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Looking Back, Looking Forward

Mimi has had a rough year.

My former writing partner and I have parted ways. Mostly amicably, but I’d be lying to say that on my side of the fence it was easy and without anger. Frankly, that’s all I’m saying about that. I disappeared for a while, but I couldn’t stay invisible for long. There’s far too much mischief for me to get into!

This year marked the one year anniversary of Beautiful Monster – a fine accomplishment of which I’m fairly proud. But it’s now part of the past and it no longer holds the meaning for me that it did in the beginning. I’m moving forward – but more about that in a moment.

In August of this year, my horror short story Rita was accepted for the Axes of Evil anthology that will be coming out in February of 2014! Chuppa Cabra House is the publisher, and they are FUN! to work with! Hoping to do a bit more with them at a later date.

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And even though it was written under my kinder, gentler moniker, I will take a little credit for Death’s Kiss being accepted for publication. My name won’t be on the cover, but I’ve been assured of a hefty acknowledgement by the author! This one comes out early in the new year, but no specific release date yet!

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Kind of an up-and-down year, but I’m looking forward now, and things look good from this vantage point!

First up is finishing another short story entitled Snow Queen. This is a bit of horror and a bit of naughtiness rolled into one rotten main character. It’s one of those “Be careful what you wish for” stories, and I’ve so much fun with it thus far. It may find a home in another anthology edited by my friend Alex S. Johnson. We’ll see. For now, I’m just enjoying the thrill of really giving this character what she deserves.

Now, that project I mentioned before. I’ve been working on a sequel to Beautiful Monster, but told from Brenna’s point of view. If you’ve read the book, that makes sense. If you haven’t – well! Why haven’t you? Brenna is a very different girl these days, and there are some interesting twisties and turnies in this story. Yes – Sterling will be there, but he isn’t the main character. And for those of you hoping for more – sorry. This will be it. We’re gonna stick a fork in this one.

Another horror novel is swimming around in my head and taking on a life of its own. I love studying phobias, and I’ve always wondered what would happen if a phobia ceased being irrational and became something real! I’m mapping out the story and the main character, and I’m trying to give this one a good ending – believable and desirable. Sometimes, what I want to do personally isn’t really what’s best for the story. Don’t let my sweet appearance fool you. I’m vicious to my characters.

So tomorrow I way farewell to the dregs of 2013 and I welcome the promise and excitement of 2014. It’s like meeting a new lover before you’ve ever touched! Just the promise of something new serves as the aphrodisiac! Welcome 2014 – I anticipate a delicious time with you!

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