My Writing Year in Review

Everybody does these, right? Usually in an annual holiday letter, but I don’t subject my friends to that. Just my blog readers. LOL!

Okay, here’s what I did last year.

Book Events

I had book events in Staunton, Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, Roanoke, and Richmond. I think that’s all of them; I’m sure I’ve forgotten one or two. In some ways, I like in-person events better than going live on Facebook. I go for the interaction and being able to converse with someone rather than hearing me speak to me on Facebook. Nothing against it. I do better in a real crowd.

I’m always looking for new opportunities for these events, so if you know of any in your area, let me know. I’ll pack the car full of books and head your way.

Writing

I wrote a lot this year. Between at least bimonthly blog posts, bimonthly newsletters, NaNoWriMo, and rewriting a couple of MSS, I’d say I logged 200K – 300K words. Not bad considering I took most of September off for medical reasons and all of December, too.

Reading

I set 52 books as a goal for my Goodreads Reading Challenge in 2019, and I read 54. Of course, that’s not counting magazines, newspapers, and literary journals. The author of the most books I read? John le Carre. (I’m working my way through his books in their order of publication.) The most compelling book I read? Fascism: A Warning by Madeline Albright. The most disappointing book I read? A Warning by Anonymous; I learned nothing I didn’t already know. The best book I read? The Testaments by Margaret Atwood.

Editing

In addition to putting my final edits on four of my books to be published next year, I did three editing projects–all full-length novels–for clients. They ranged from sci-fi/horror to medieval fantasy to Christian fiction. (Yeah; I know you’re raising an eyebrow at the latter. I helped a friend in need, which was pretty Christian of me, you might say.) These projects helped me hone in on weaknesses in my own writing, but mostly they made me feel good for helping other author friends out.

Publishing

A slow year in a sense. I published two reader magnets and one novel, book three of A Perfect Hatred. I had two short stories published in the anthology, Skyline 2019, and one story, “A Visit from Grandfather Frost,” won first place in fiction for that anthology. As I’ve focused on the four-part series, A Perfect Hatred, I haven’t been writing much short fiction or submitting short stories to journals and other anthologies. I’m hoping to change that in 2020.

Speaking of 2020…

In mid-January, a novella will come out, A Change for the Better. Back in 2017, I wrote two novelettes (Who Watches the Watchmen? and Hidden Agendas) based on events in 2016, and I thought I’d liven them up a bit and combine them into a novella. (Translation: They weren’t selling well individually, and I thought a novella with a fresh title and a new cover might improve things.)

On April 19th, 2020, the 25th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, Collateral Damage will come out. This is the fourth and concluding book in the series, A Perfect Hatred. I started writing what became this series back in 1997, and 23 years later, I can see the conclusion ahead. I feel a certain sense of accomplishment at that, as well as relief that I don’t have to travel those dark roads anymore. But I’m also sad; I put so much of my heart into those books, it’s difficult to accept typing “The End” on them.

Possibly in late summer, a collection of short stories might come out. I’m hedging a bit because it will all depend on how smoothly preparation goes for a trilogy coming out in the fall (see below). The short story collection is called Spy Flash III: The Moscow Rules. You’ll hear more about this later. I hope everything works out to publish it, because I’m really fond of these stories. (Spy Flash III because I have two other collections of short stories titled Spy Flash (2012) and Spy Flash II (2016).)

In late fall, specifically October, November, and December, a trilogy I’m calling The Balkan Trilogy will flash-publish in print. In other words, one book a month for three months, which essentially means all three will need to be ready in September. The trilogy title is Self-Inflicted Wounds, and the three books, respectively are, Welcome to Belgrade, Dangerous Truths, and And Justice for All. The year 2020 is the 20th anniversary of elections in the former Yugoslavia that put an end to the reign of terror perpetrated by Slobodan Milosevic. Self-Inflicted Wounds takes place in 2000, leading up to that election. The Yugoslavs got their first free and fair election right; not so true for us that same year.

So, yeah. That’s a lot.

Holiday Greetings

From me to you, my best wishes for the holiday season. There’s about three dozen holidays celebrated by various cultures around this time of year, so pick yours and have a happy one!

I live for your constructive comments.

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