HAPPY NEW YEARS!
Well, it’s been an interesting year, with ups and downs. There were moments where I was bouncing out of my chair in excitement, and there were moments of total self-doubt that forced me to curl up in a ball and cry.
As is my tradition, it’s that time of year when I look back at the year that has just been, and what I have actually achieved, then set new goals for the new year. For better or worse, here’s a look at 2017.
This time last year, I had five main goals for my personal projects:
- publish a book about the things I’ve learnt about building an online platform;
- finish the draft of Eagle Order;
- publish a few short stories;
- write another manuscript;
- and spread the word about Black Wolf Editorial Services.
Back in June, when I examined where I was at with my goals, I celebrated the fact the Hidden Traps had just gone on pre-sale, and admitted that my other goals were taking me a little longer than I first anticipate.
In September, I revised my goals to something a little more realistic. Back then, I said that I wanted to
- finish the draft of Eagle Order;
- start the next manuscript (another thriller) and get that one drafted as much as possible, so I can build an editorial synopsis at least;
- get in the manuscript to the publisher for the traditional publication contract to be published in 2018;
- look at starting the next book in the Hidden Traps series: this time looking at websites for writers;
- and enjoy life with my husband and family.
I look at those goals (and older posts) now and realize that I’ve been sitting on a little secret for months on end. In September of 2018, I will be traditionally published.
Putting Science into Fiction
I knew about things back in January 2017, when Dan Koboldt had approached me and asked if I would be interested in taking part in an anthology based on his Science in Science Fiction blog post series. Of course, I answered YES! I was so excited about all of it, but I couldn’t say anything. In fact, I wasn’t allowed to say anything until Dan had announced on his blog that the book was going forward. That was in June 2017. Yet, I couldn’t really shout out about my involvement until contracts were signed in August.
I will have three chapters in this book:
- Holograms in Science Fiction
- The Weapons of Star Wars
- and Imaging Over Long Distances
The final drafts for the chapters, along with special images, have now been delivered into Dan’s hands and the editor at publishing house. All I can do now is sit back and wait.
It’s an agonizing process. I want to bounce up and down in excitement. Every email from Dan about the progress of the project contains another little tidbit of information that has me screaming out wanting to shout it out from the roof tops, but I can’t. I have a sneaky suspicion that the next 6-9 months are going to be torturous, knowing that I have to keep my mouth shut about certain things.
I am SOOO looking forward to this book being released. I’ve seen the Table of Contents, and stuff my chapters… I want to read the rest of the book — NOW!
(Ahh!!! The torture!)
Regular readers of my personal blog (and the blog on Black Wolf Editorial Services) will know that I’m super excited to have successfully written and published Hidden Traps. It came out in August 2017.
I do find it a little frustrating to know that it’s already out of date due to recent changes to Facebook and Twitter, but I’m still proud of what I’ve accomplished. It’s the book that I wanted to write. It’s the book that I wish I had when I started building my personal platform in 2014.
I still intend to write a book about the basics of web design and another looking at conversion rate analysis for writers, but those books will take me some time. That is particularly the case with the conversion rate analysis one. I still need to conduct my little experiments to determine which tactics actually work and which don’t. Sorry, but I’m still a scientist at heart. It’s still facts and figures.
Eagle Order and Other Stories
The draft of Eagle Order is FINALLY complete.
While I was going through the full-out drafting stage, I’ve discovered a few things about my own writing process. As much as I like being a pantser (a person who just writes whatever comes to their mind), it’s been a hard lesson to learn that to make it in this business, I’m going to need to be a plotter to a certain extent. It’s not that pantsers don’t make it — Stephen King is a self-professed pantser and look how big he is. But for me… I get a little too distracted by the shiny new thing. My stories get a little too derailed and I struggle to bring them back in a cohesive fashion. Even if my plotting consists of a loose structure with key checkpoints along the way, I still need to plot. Lesson learnt.
Now that the draft of Eagle Order is finished, I’ll be able to knock it into some respectable form. Exactly when I’ll start the query process will depend entirely on where I’m at with other projects and how much time I’m able to dedicate to Eagle Order. However, I feel confident in saying that Eagle Order will be sent out the door in a much shorter time frame than Beacon of Hope was. (We’ll ignore the fact that I’ve currently shelved Beacon of Hope and intend to rework it, but that’s an entirely different story, and a decision that was made in November 2017.)
Other manuscripts have been shelved, while new ones are brewing that I’m getting excited about sinking my teeth into. I have discovered exactly what type of writer I am. I’ve stopped resisting the path that was constantly put in front of me and decided to embrace my true roots. The moment I did, things started to happen.
I found myself in a difficult position where I had to walk away from the writers’ group that I had poured nearly 3 years of my life into, forced to sit back and watch as others do nothing and tear apart the good name that I had built. But I couldn’t let my own name be dragged into the mud with it. The signs were there, and I finally paid attention. I got out before it fell completely apart, and I’m glad I did. Since leaving that group, I have been asked by other groups to present on various topics, been invited to join other writing organisation and to join their sub-committees (because I’ve built a reputation as a person who gets things done).
In February 2018, I will be presenting at the GoEngage retreat for LARP (Live Action Role Playing). I’m not into cosplay, as it is also called, but I was so chuffed to be personally invited to present by the retreat organizers. I’m going to be talking about world building, and how as a writer, regardless of the medium, you need to understand ALL aspects of the settings and cultures portrayed in your stories. I still have some work to do for that, but I’m looking forward to it.
Recent developments on other fronts have also started me thinking about how I might be able to run online workshops and webinars. I will need to do a massive amount of research on that. I have a few ideas on how I would like it to work, but I need to think it through carefully. If I take the wrong step, it can be disastrous.
Black Wolf Editorial Services is finally starting to gain some traction. I’m now starting to get the clients approach me for my thoughts on their work. There’s still a long way to go, and I honestly believe that it will be a work in progress for years to come, but I’ll get there.
The Personal Stuff
First thing: what did the pod people do with my children? I have witnessed it a few times now. They have actually been civil to one another. They are working through their differences and starting to find common ground.
I’m afraid — very afraid.
I haven’t started freaking out about my 16-year-old son learning to drive because, quite frankly, he doesn’t seem interested in driving. His birthday was back in September and he can’t be bothered even applying for his driver’s license. (I don’t know who this child is. I was chomping at the bit to get my driver’s license when I was his age.)
My 12-year-old daughter will be starting high school in February. Now before those in the US say that she’s a bit young, I should point out that in New Zealand, high school is for five years. She will be one of the youngest in her class, that’s for sure, but she’ll be the same age I was when finishing high school — 17. In fact, she’ll be two months older than I was. (She’s a May baby. I’m a July baby.) But she is soooo ready for this move. Even those at her dance school, who have watched her grow up, have noticed the change in her. She’s ready to be in high school.
Other aspects of life seem to be chugging along. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing. It doesn’t help when things like the ability to actually walk properly get in the way. (That’s another story. Let’s just say that my knee has decided it no longer wants to support my weight. No idea what’s going on. All tests have come up clear. I’m a conundrum.) I refuse to just give up on life and my dreams though.
So… What are my plans for 2018? Well, I need to make them public, so I have that level of accountability. Here goes.
- Celebrate BIG TIME when Putting Science into Fiction is published come US autumn.
- Knock Eagle Order into shape and start the submission process. I might look at submitting to PitchWars 2018, but we’ll see.
- Write a full draft of another novel. Exactly which one will depend on which of the countless stories flying around in my head comes to the foreground. There are two thriller stories that are fighting for attention at the moment, each with their own complexities and exciting twists. However, I have the Young Adult military science fiction also starting to demand my attention. And there’s the high fantasy series, of which the first book is Beacon of Hope, that is starting to wheel around in my head again. So many stories. So many shiny things.
- Continue to run workshops and presentations in the local community, and determine a way where I can extend this to the internet and the international community.
- Enjoy life. Find love again — in all aspects of my life. Connect with my husband and children on those deeper levels. And most importantly — LIVE!
For whatever it’s worth, make 2018 your year. I know 2018 will be mine.
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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2018