Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No Blizzards and Other Goals

                This blog quietly passed its one year anniversary. If you go back through the archive, you’ll see that I fulfilled a New Year’s resolution early due to the Christmas Blizzard of 2010 in the Northeast United States. We had over three feet of snow as evidenced by pictures posted with that first blog and the follow-up post. So, being stuck in the house, I jumpstarted StoryTeller’s Grove.

                The reason the blog anniversary was not acknowledged until today was the lack of snow. A good thing! This meant that the Christmas festivities at my house were not postponed and over 30 adults and children filled the house Christmas Day. It was fun to see everyone, but exhausting as well. 

        December 26, I was at work, not stuck indoors, and recuperating from the crowd the day before.

         Today, I paused and looked back on 2011 and all the changes that I have seen.  This has been a year where I changed day jobs, focused on publishing Dark Dealings through traditional methods and learned tons about the exploding Indie e-book market.  For writers with the time, expertise and support network of editors, cover designers, and others, it is an increasingly viable alternative. I will agree with Bob Mayer in his recent post on his predictions for 2012, we are indies not self-published. Those of us who recognize our own strengths and, more importantly, our weaknesses, delegate to other talented people and recognize that this delegation is an investment in our business. We can not do it by ourselves.

                So I find myself in the same place as many others: Goals for 2012. A blog is a wonderful and scary place because it gives you an opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with others and in the process paint a big red target on yourself.

                But I’m a glutton for punishment, as most writers are. So here goes:

Writing and Publishing
1)      Form LLC to be focus of all “writerly” activities this year and in the future.
2)      Publish Dark Dealings and at least two other novels by year end.
3)      Attend a minimum of three writing conferences.
4)      Read 20 books, of which 8 will be purely for fun or enrichment and not review. Guess that means 1 book review on average per month, Hope to exceed this goal, but it also does not included books I help edit and the time spent there.
5)      Finish three new works and partial on fourth by year-end. This goes to goal #2 and pipeline for 2013.
6)      Get better at outlining in a manner that works for me. This impacts goals #2 and #5
7)      Lose the last 15 pounds of stress weight from old job
8)      Find a new job that better accommodates the writer’s life
9)      In connection with #7, gym or outside exercise (run, walk, bike) three times a week
10)   Healthier eating, which of course does not mean totally doing away with caffeine, chocolate and adult beverages---maybe moderation---maybe.
How about you? I’ve listed 10 things. What 2 things will you commit to in the comments below?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You Think Santa Has a List!

 I was kind of stuck for a blog topic, so I said to myself: “Self, put that at the top of your list!”  (With apologies to Emeril Lagasse).

Santa thinks he has a list! Has he ever talked to a writer who is also a mother (not that kind) and has a part time job that during the holidays is full-time plus. Oh, and also getting ready to organize as a company (Limited Liability Corporation, for the technical, LLC) and FINALLY publish Dark Dealings .

Hi! I’m K. Victoria and I’m a list maker. Will all list makers wave and say hello.

I, of course, have a grocery list. Each week I start a list and leave it in the same area on the kitchen counter. The idea is that as family members use the last of something or see that we are perilously low (1 roll of toilet paper) they would add it to the list. Yeah I know, I’m a secret optimist. My theory is why should I have to spend time figuring out things we need from the supermarket when someone else already knows that. Classic reinventing the wheel.

Then, there is the holiday to do lists. We are having about 30 or so people at the house Christmas Day. So there is the guest list. The menu and the separate, but corresponding, who is bringing what list and the separate grocery list just for the gathering of the clan, as I call it.

On to the gift list! There are the children, the spouse, the father, the family grab bag recipient, the son’s music school people, the folks who let him park in their office lot without charge (local lot wanted $750 for the 180 school days. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone.

Then, there is the publishing list, not to be confused with the writing and editing services list. I am on track with the LLC formation. Most of the real paperwork will wait until after January 1. Why create unnecessary IRS paperwork for 2011? I have Dark Dealings out to a copyeditor for a final scrub and am working with a cover artist. I will announce a final decision about self-publishing versus small press next month.

The writing list looks like most writers. There are the daily goals to finish first draft of Ogham Court by the first week of January, since I got distracted by my other favorite WIP, Vines. Then the word count goals for Vines (to be published under a different pen name) to targeting a complete first draft by end of January.  Of course there is all the research that goes with each WIP. Vines is one my favorite projects after my Druids, as it involves wine and whiskey making.

Other writing and editing services list are recent projects that include a initial review for developmental editing for a new client and a new client for a sideline of resume writing for former corporate colleagues.

Of course there is the general to-do list: laundry, housework, finding  a better paying day job until the writing pays, business networking events and speaking and the rare get-together with friends. Yes, Jen and Karen, I know I need to find a day!

I’m exhausted just writing this blog.

WAIT! I left sleep off of this list. Let me see, where can I fit that in?

Okay, your turn….fess up as a list maker or feel free to chastise me for being just a little too Type A.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Film Genius is Born

My 17 year old son is very creative. He has a passion for music. everything from Metallica to Opera to Don McLean ...well you get the picture. He is a budding cinematographer and editor. He is also working in his first book trailer and its not for me. LOL!

Today, he posted a Christmas video on YouTube. Of course, I had to share! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Enjoy and pass on.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dark Days, Bright Ideas

I have been hibernating for the last month, but unlike the groundhog, I will not wait for February 1st, Imbolc to me, to come out of my sleep and blink at the world.

In the ancient tradition of the Druids, winter began at Samhain (Halloween on the modern calendar) and lasted to Imbolc (approximately February 1). By that calendar, the winter solstice does, in fact, mark mid-winter. It is the shortest day of the year. The nights in the Northeast US can be long, dark and cold. And like days gone by, when people would retreat to the warmth of the hearth and plan for the next year, we do the same.

Winter was and is a time of re-evaluating and re-grouping… think New Year’s resolutions. In modern times, we are no different and, as I talk with many of my friends, we feel as if we are on the brink of change and new growth. Change is never easy and often downright painful. We can feel lost in the dark night of winter.

Those of you who have stopped my blog over the last year or even few months have been privy to some of the changes in my life. After years of a torturous bank merger, I resigned my position with a major national bank. I had spent long nights (and days) looking at the current environment, which did not empower me. It was and is an organization that subtly and not-so-subtly encourages their people to cross ethical lines (if not legal ones) and disrespected their customers and employees. My values and integrity are important to me and so my prospects for success and advancement were bleak.

I also briefly had an agent and after a difference in philosophy parted company with that agent. I am a supporter of agents and publishers everywhere and appreciate the work that can be done on behalf of authors when the right fit is found. It is an evolving world and lots of relationships have to be redefined or re-aligned. I will never rule out establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with an agent and/or publisher.

So, as the days grow shorter and I approach the Winter Solstice and the first anniversary of this blog (Wow, one year already!), what am I up to now.

Dark Dealings proceeds toward publication with a target of early 2012. I have been approached by several small press houses about publishing my novel, but self-publishing remains for me a very viable option.  In an effort to manage all the plans and projects to the future, I will be forming a Limited Liability Corporation in the next few weeks. In addition to the name of the company, I will also announce my decision on how I will be going about publishing Dark Dealings.  Oh and I continue to look for a day job to pay bills until my writing does that for me.

So I have not been wasting the short days and the long night. I have been planning the next harvest.

When I was in grammar school (yes, that’s what it was called back in the day) we had to memorize poems. One has stayed with me all these years. I have posted it before, but for myself and those who plan for the next cycle of growth, it is worth posting again.
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,"
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
                                                                                                                                ~ Oliver Herford
Now I don’t care if what the mix of dark and light are, just someone find me a forty-eight hour day. How are you doing as one year ends and another is about to begin?