2017 in the Rear-view; 2018 Ahead

This is my obligatory New Year post. It’s taken me a couple of days to figure out exactly what I wanted to say. This is a long one, so settle in.

2017 in Review
When 2017 started, I was employed with an iconic Fort Worth company, but changes were underway. We all saw the handwriting on the wall and knew nothing good would come of what was happening. When there’s a restructuring involved and all the top brass gets, shall we say, let go, you know there’s a big shakeup coming. Plus, it was really hard to watch someone backstab her way to my boss’s job. My little world crumbled around my ears.

I loved that job. It was a great place to work and I had a lot of pride in what I did. When the new guys released my boss, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would be gone. But I stuck around for a few more months and watched things change and evolve and not in a good way. I hated what was happening and I mostly hated the people I worked with/for. I dislike people who will be nice to your face and then turn on you in a second, throw you under the bus, make you look like you can’t do your job.

By April, I’d had enough and started the long task of looking for a new job. I didn’t want to but I felt like I didn’t have any other recourse. With my boss gone (who I adored), I couldn’t stay and I refused to work for the new lying, cheating, stealing VP (the aforementioned person who stole my boss’s job).

Looking for a new job is probably one of the hardest things. I feel like I haven’t been able to catch a break these last few years. After working for an oil and gas firm for exactly one year, the bigwigs let everyone go. Then I found another job that was decent (the pay was awful) and my manager was probably one of the worst managers I’ve ever worked for in my life. And then I had this job with a manager I loved, who was honest and fair and probably one of the best examples of a human being I’ve ever known. And then it, too, was gone.

By the end of May, I’d had an offer from a place that upped my salary by a significant amount and had great benefits. Good thing I said yes because I was released from me previous job the same day I accepted. Weird how things like that work out.

Around the same time, I got news that my ex was moving to another state by the end of summer. Which meant my teenager would be living with us full time. And so, began the long arduous task of dealing with a life change for all of us. I won’t get into details but suffice it to say it wasn’t easy and I had to fight for what was right for my son. It’s not perfect—life rarely is—but I can say overall, it’s been good.

I also took a long hard look at my finances and realized it was time to get real with myself and my credit. I had to get that shit paid off as soon as possible. It wasn’t doing me any favors to spend all that money on minimum payments (and interest!). So I did some creative accounting and started moving mountains to get out of debt.

On the writing front, I had some major ups and downs. With the focus on looking for new employment, I put off finishing my long-awaited second novel in the Age of Wizards series. I just couldn’t find the motivation to get it finished.

In June, I discovered a tool that was supposed to help me focus and achieve my goals. I figured I’d give it a try. Turns out it was the best thing I’d ever purchased! It was the Best Self Journal and I started using it around July 4 to track my goals and progress and finish the damn book. I had a publication date of December 1 and I knew I needed to hit it. I had a lot of work to do to finish the ebook and print copy. I had to get it out to beta readers and reviews.

(Side note: I love this journal. If you like journals and you like tracking your goals and seeing progress, get yours here.)

I finished the book, distributed it to beta readers and got it ready for digital and print release. While I waited  on comments, I turned to a book I’d been thinking about for the last 3-4 years. It was the first book in my urban fantasy series I’d written and then put on the back burner. I knew it needed work and I finally figured out how to fix it and make it the book I really wanted. I started revising it and got it done. I sent it off to critique partners and got favorable feedback.

Meanwhile, the fantasy book came back with comments and edits. I fixed those, got the book uploaded, formatted it to print and BOOM I was done. I started to plan my book launch.

And also started writing book two in my urban fantasy series. The more I worked on this series, the more I realized this is where I wanted to spend my writing time. I decided I would write all five books before doing anything else with them. Not publishing, not shopping, not buying cover art. Nothing.

While I worked on the book launch for the fantasy, I started to get ideas for future book launches and realized I could make it totally awesome for the next launches. But it was going to be a lot of work. I thought back to my idea about writing all five books of the UF series. I planned it out in my head how I’d do it and got this tingling sensation of excitement. I COULD SO DO THIS.

By now it’s the end of the year. The holidays interfere with my writing mojo usually so I just do the best I can when it comes to writing during the holidays. I also discovered that I resist NaNoWriMo and have decided henceforth, as God is my witness, I will never participate again (see my blog post here).

So that, in a nutshell, was my 2017! Overall, it was a decent year with a few bumps in the road.

Outlook for 2018
For this year, I want to really focus on the writing. I’ve committed myself to finish this 5-book urban fantasy series with a couple of related novellas in the mix. I want to revise and prepare two of my backlist books for re-release, which I intend to release back to back. I also have a new paranormal romance that I want to tweak and release.

Here’s the official release list. Release dates to be determined.

  • A Bend in Time, book 1 Adventures of Ransom & Fortune (COMPLETE)
  • A Break in Time, book 2 Adventures of Ransom & Fortune (COMPLETE)
  • Untitled Dragon Shifter book (COMPLETE)

Here are the pie-in-the-sky releases:

  • Possible Age of Wizards novella (NOT WRITTEN)
  • Possible Realm of Honor Christmas novella (NOT WRITTEN)
  • UF Book 1 (COMPLETE)
  • UF Book 2 (UNFINISHED)
  • UF Book 3 (NOT WRITTEN)
  • UF Book 4 (NOT WRITTEN)
  • UF Book 5 (NOT WRITTEN)

Related:

  • 2 UF novellas for newsletters subscribers ONLY (these will not be published for public consumption) (NOT WRITTEN)

I know this is an impossible task to complete in one year, but, hey, I’m an overachiever! Maybe I can get close. If the first two books release by the end of the year with the other three to follow, I will be insanely happy with those results. Of course, I still have to have editing and cover art, but I’ll worry about that later.

Aside from writing my little fingers to the bone, I want to also focus on paying off credit cards. I SO WANT TO BE DEBT FREE. My goal: pay off four credit cards this year.

This is, again, another pie-in-the-sky goal but, again, I’m an overachiever. Ask my husband.

And, last, I want to announce I’ve opened an ETSY shop under the name House of 1000 Stitches. I specialize in cross-stitched Christmas ornaments. For this year, I want to get lots of them stitched and ready for sale so the store will be beefed up and ready to go by Christmas 2018. It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing for a long time and I figured I’d give it a shot and see how it panned out. I sold three in December 2017. It’s a start.

So, my 2018 will look something like this:

  • Writing, writing, more writing
  • Stitching
  • Paying off debt

I’m very excited about the new year and all the things to come. I intend to make it a good one.

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.