I took the remaining Christmas decorations down last night and it got me thinking about how this time of year used to be so depressing for me. Eventually though, I stopped thinking about the past and missing the holiday buildup and started getting excited about the future and making plans and dreaming about the possibilities to come.
And that’s where I am today. Though, I have to say I’m a bit hesitant to get too excited about this year because last year started off great. I signed a new two-book work for hire contract and it looked like I was finally going to be back to a regular publishing schedule after going almost six years without a new book.
Then I wrote the first half of the next book before they canceled the contract and all the money I’d been expecting for the year evaporated. That was on top of the first book I wrote in that series getting absolutely hammered in reader reviews. It was a hit to my confidence that was worse than I’d ever had in my adult life. I didn’t recover my ability to write again until November.
But I did recover. And I ended the year on a great note. Thanks to National Novel Writing Month, I was able to get outside of my head for a bit and just put words down on the page. I didn’t meet the 50k word goal or even my own 30k word goal, but I got enough words down to break the logjam and regain my confidence. I also had worked out the remainder of the story, which was huge for me.
Now I’m on pace to finish this book, that I’ve been working on for almost four years, this month and I feel like it’s going to be the first one I’ll finish and not be disappointed with right away or feel like I have to immediately jump in and rewrite from scratch. I also was able to write my first new short story in a while and it ended up being one of the best stories I’ve written in my opinion.
It wasn’t all bad news last year though. I did publish two new novels, one of which hit the New York Times Bestseller List in June, plus I had my first major short story publication in a Mystery Writers of America anthology, which was a career bucket list item of mine. I do wish I would have been able to attend some mystery conferences to share those books with my friends, but hopefully this coming year we get back to all that.
This year, I’ve got quite a few projects in various stages of possibility and one of them I hope to share more news on in the next few weeks. I’m hoping this is the year I get back on track with my own writing career and get the key metrics of success in publishing that have eluded me so far like an agent and a major publishing contract. I’ll be doing everything I can to ensure I’m ready when luck decides to favor me. I’ll also be wishing the same for you.
I do have one final publication to mention and that’s the mass market paperback of Jackpot, the book I co-wrote with Stuart Woods. a vocal minority of his readers absolutely hated it, but I’m incredibly proud of the book and think it’s pretty good. So if you wanted to see my take on a spy thriller without coughing up hardcover money, this is your chance.
Happy New Year and Happy New Day.