…And a Happy New Year!

Happy 2016, folks!

If you know anything about author blogs, then you know what that means–it’s time to review the last year and look ahead to what’s coming in the new year. So let’s review, shall we?

In 2015…

Actually, the last year came perilously close to being a creative disappointment. I started out 2015 with plans to write and publish Ghost of a Chance, but the draft I’d started floundered, and then the Kickstarter I ran to try and breathe new life into it failed to gain traction. But then that all led to my publishing contract, which was pretty much the main highlight of my whole year.

With the contract in view, I started a new draft of Ghost for NaNoWriMo, and though I didn’t win, I did make decent progress, and with a solid outline to work from this draft is shaping up much better than the first attempt.

As far as actually finishing things, I wrote and released the mini-sequel Restless Spirits: Love Letter and wrote a short story to submit to a horror anthology. It was rejected, but I plan to keep trying to find a home for it.

As far as freelance work goes, 2015 was a big improvement over previous years. I had quite a few editing gigs, some of which were more enjoyable than others, all of which taught me a little more about my own writing; and a lot of book formatting work, which I enjoy mainly because it’s mindless enough that I can actually listen to podcasts and music while I work. Article writing was really where it was at during the last part of the year, though, and I was able to add some good pieces and respectable clients to my writing portfolio. My writing pay scale also shot way up, so that was pretty great.

Personally, it was a perfectly fine, if not particularly exciting, year. I struggled a bit with some chronic health issues the last few months, and we rounded out the year with a number of small household crises brought on by the almost endless rain, but nobody in the Bauhaushold suffered any major illnesses or hardships this year, so I’m chalking it up in the Win column.

In 2016…

I have a feeling 2016 is going to be a big year, at least professionally speaking. It’s certainly going to be a busy year. I have until August to turn in the final draft of Ghost, and I’ve got until April to complete revisions on Restless Spirits –which is slated for re-release on Halloween — and Love Letter.

Besides all that, I’ve got to come up with and implement a publisher-approved marketing plan, which will include a lot of activities that are way outside my comfort zone (which is partly why I’ve dubbed this year to be a Year Without Fear; more on that next week on the other blog).

Part of that means resurrecting this space as a full-fledged blog and not just a news page. So I’ll be trying to post here more regularly–or at least more frequently–and rambling about things like how the book is going, what I’m doing to get ready for the release, how my trad-pub experience compares to self-pub, etc. Even though so many blogging experts tell you not to, I may even delve into serving up writing advice, because after spending a year as a freelance editor I have a LOT to say on that subject.

I’m also open to answering reader questions and tackling reader-suggested topics. I asked my Facebook followers for some of each, and only one person responded. She had a lot of questions, though, so that should keep me busy for a while. Still, if you have any questions or suggestions for topics you’d like to see me cover here, drop them in the comments.

I also hope to step up my freelance writing game in 2016 and actively pitch articles and guest posts instead of waiting for clients to come to me. Currently I have one steady writing client, and I’d like to add a few more. I’ll also talk here about how that’s going and what I’m doing to help make it happen.

That’s probably an adequately full plate for the next 12 months or so, but even so I’m also hoping to do something with Dominion of the Damned this year, even if it’s just to come to a decision about what to do with it. I’m trying to decide whether to continue it on my own or try to find a publisher for it, and that discussion is a whole ‘nother blog post in and of itself.

Oh, and related to the whole book marketing thing, I’m also going to be starting a monthly newsletter. Currently my mailing list only receives an e-mail from me when there’s a new release or other major news to report, but I want to become more engaged, so I’ll be sending them a more personal e-mail at the end of each month. I’m still trying to figure out what will go in it. Right now I’m thinking an overview of how the book is going, a writing excerpt, and a book recommendation, or at least some discussion of what I’m currently reading. Anyway, if you’d like to get that and you’re not on my mailing list already, just click the button to sign up in the sidebar. You’ll also get a free short story collection if you do!

So that’s what I have going on in 2016. And it’s not overwhelming or panic-inducing at all! *grins somewhat maniacally and unconvincingly*

What about you? Anything big coming up this year? Did you make resolutions or are you just winging it? Tell us about your New Year’s expectations in the comments, and don’t forget to ask a question or suggest a topic for this blog if you have one.

I hope everyone reading this has a blessed, productive, prosperous and disaster-free new year!

PS – Eucha Falls is now a free e-book on Amazon, BN.com and pretty much everywhere else that sells e-books! Go get it!

What’s Next

So the Restless Spirits series won’t be happening. I don’t want to say it will never happen, because you never know what life will hold; but it’s not going to get written in the foreseeable future.

To those of you who backed my Kickstarter and did your part to enthusiastically spread the word, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m so sorry that those of you who wanted this book/series are such a tiny, tiny minority, and I know you’re probably as disappointed as I am. Let’s all raise a glass and pour one out for what could have been.

Moving on and looking ahead . . .

I’ve currently got two non-fiction books in the works. One, a comprehensive self-publishing guide, is about halfway written. The other, a spiritual memoir (I think), is still in the embryonic stage and figuring out exactly what it wants to be. For now, I’m going to focus on these two books, and get my fiction fix from writing short stories.

Once the self-publishing book is done, I’ll most likely pull Radium Town (my Weird Western set in my hometown of Claremore, OK at the dawn of statehood) out of mothballs and see about finishing that. A lot could change before I get to this point, but as of now I’m strongly considering trying to go the traditional publishing route with this one. But while that’s under submission, I’ll turn my focus to writing and producing the sequel to Dominion of the Damned.

All of this means that you’re probably not going to see any new self-published fiction from me for quite some time (the short stories I mentioned will also be submitted to more traditional markets; I’ll probably collect and publish the ones I can’t find homes for, but that will be quite a way down the road, too). I’ll be self-pubbing the self-pub guide (be kinda weird if I didn’t), but everything else on the list, until I get to Dominion 2, I plan to submit to publishers and/or agents before they see the light of day.

It’s not that I’m giving up on self-publishing, but my ultimate goal is to be a hybrid author, and that means I’ve got to give the other side a chance. And clearly, I’m at a point in my career where I need help, because I’m not doing such a bang-up job of finding my reader base on my own. Even a small indie press would be able to open doors for me that I’m just not capable of opening on my own.

At any rate, this list is going to keep me busy for at least the next two or three years, so I’d best hop to it. Onward and upward . . .

Weekend Recap, Tea & Creativity, and Goals for February 16-21

Today is a snow day. Although work-at-home types like me don’t really get to take snow days, do we? If we did, instead of writing this in my office I’d be camped out on the couch with my crochet/knitting bag marathoning Gilmore Girls on Netflix… which is pretty much how I spent yesterday, come to think of it.

What’s weird (well, not “weird” so much as “typical for whacked-out Oklahoma weather patterns”) is that just two days ago it got up to 70 degrees and my husband and I spent the better part of Valentine’s day enjoying our backyard. We finally fired up our new fire pit (acquired a couple of weeks ago; before we could use it we had to obtain sand to line the bottom, a useful bit of info that they don’t bother to print on the box to save you a return trip to Home Depot) and enjoyed the sun for a good long while before heading inside for homemade pizza and a movie (we had talked about possibly checking out a new (to us) Thai place, but we were both so tired we decided to take a rain-check on that).

And then less than 48 hours later… Bam! Winter, biznatch!

It actually arrived shortly before we turned in last night, and I kept getting woken up throughout the night by the sound of ice and sleet hitting the windows (and, at one point, thunder). So I’m really having to push hard today to get past the urge to wrap myself up like a burrito and do what’s necessary to lay the foundation for a productive week.

Which brings me to this week’s goals:

Writing/Publishing

  • Write on the novel every day.

(I’m not attaching a daily quota. At this point, any words that get added are big progress.)

(I finally started reading this last night. Hopefully I can get through it all this week, but it’s pretty info-packed, so we’ll see).

Freelancing

  • Catch up on my editing queue so I don’t have to tell would-be clients that there’s a two-week waiting list.

Home/Health/Other

  • Complete various financial paperwork that needs to get done
  • Stick to my low GI/GF/DF diet all week long
  • Do our taxes
  • Keep up with Tea & Creativity

This last thing, Tea & Creativity, is something I started doing last week — taking a break in the afternoon to get off the computer, brew some tea, and spend the time it takes to drink my tea before it gets cold making art. So far, because I’ve always wanted to learn to draw, this has involved doodling (see below), but it’s by no means limited to that. I expect at some point there will be haiku or song lyrics or other types of verse, and possibly also dusting off the various musical instruments I never have time to practice anymore.

Coffee & creativity. #doodling while husband shops at Gardner’s.

A photo posted by Jean Bauhaus (@jmbauhaus) on Feb 13, 2015 at 9:16am PST

Although the point of this is just to have fun and relax and not worry about who will see it, I’m posting the results of my sessions on Instagram, and you’re welcome to join me there. If you do, let me know — we’ll start a hashtag.

Note that I left off exercise and cleaning goals. Trying to keep it simple this week. The house is just too cold to get motivated for either, plus the editing and taxes are going to keep me so busy that trying to fit in workouts and housework will just add unnecessary stress. I expect that once this cold spell is over, though, the weather will stabilize enough for me to start a regular walking routine, and hopefully also get motivated to do some spring cleaning.

Check back on Friday to see how it all goes this week. In the meantime, do you have any goals to tackle this week, big or small? Any words of encouragement to help me meet mine? I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments!

Weekly Plan Follow-up: February 9-13, 2015

bullet-journalI’m still liking my bullet journal. I wasn’t able to experiment with it this week like I wanted to, but in its basic form, it got the job done.

I didn’t meet all my goals this week, but it seems I never really do. Let’s look at how I did.

Writing/Publishing

  • Write at least 250 words per day on Ghost

HA HA! No. I think I managed a little over 300 words on Monday and over 400 on Tuesday, and nothing after that.

Nope, but I did finally finish Stephen King’s Dark Tower series last night. So I guess I’ll read LGD before I start in on another novel.

Freelancing

I got the big things that were making me twitchy crossed off my list, and I can take the whole weekend off with a clear conscious, so mission accomplished. Hallelujah.

Home/Health/Other

  • Stretch/work out at least 3 times this week (one down, two to go)
  • Vacuum the house
  • Wipe down sinks and maintenance clean 15 minutes/day

Ha ha ha ha!

  • Look into whether we can afford to get me health insurance before the deadline
  • Complete various financial paperwork that needs to get done

Nope.

  • Finish my crochet bunting (pieces are blocked — just need to assemble)
  • Stick to my low GI/GF/DF diet all week long
  • Vote in Tuesday’s local election

In my defense, I didn’t sleep that great this week, either. Also, Matt found reasons to go run errands every morning this week, save Monday, and all that going has left me worn out. Morning errands also make it really difficult for me to get focused and find my groove the rest of the day, too. If I had my way, we’d go do that stuff in the afternoons/early evenings after all the work is done, but he likes to get to places as soon as they open and beat the morning rush. And to be fair, traffic in the afternoons/evenings is a biznatch (don’t tell Tucco we said that) (oh yeah we also found time to watch Better Call Saul and so far it’s great).

How did your week go?