Looking Back on 2018/Word of the Year and Goals for 2019

It’s that time again. The one day a year I look back on my goals and laugh. Here’s what I planned to do this year, with commentary on how it turned out:

  1. Get Mistress of Legend done and published. I accomplished this goal. It came out in September. I’m very happy with the way it turned out and it needed the extra time.
  2. Continue on the Rose Ferron biography, which I’m hoping to have done by late summer. I did get a fair amount of work done on this, but it got put on the back burner after that conference got canceled in June, which also canceled my archival trip. I’ll pick this back up again eventually, but I don’t know when.
  3. Research and start writing two WWII books that I’d like to get traditionally published. I tried to start on this after Mistress of Legend came out but my brain wasn’t having it. It wanted me to work on another project, which I’ve since made great strides on.
  4. Research the feminism book I’d love to have out by August 2019 (I doubt it will be ready by then). This project changed scope. It was originally the history of feminism in the U.S. book (which I do still want to do), but it morphed into a book on the suffrage movement that I’m still hoping to have out by August 2020 (the centennial of women getting the right to vote in the U.S.)

2019 Word of the Year and Goals
I was originally going to keep my word from last year (Leap), but I realized it doesn’t really fit anymore. It didn’t end up working out the way I thought it would, but it was still an appropriate word for 2018.

For 2019, I’ve chosen Prosper. I’ve had a heck of a 2018, especially toward the end, so I’m hoping this word will keep the good things coming and build on what 2018 started. I also think it is fitting because I’ve put in years of hard work (since 2008 with writing and since August 2015 with publishing) and it’s time to see them pay off.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I will take it easy in 2019. No-siree-bob. I don’t know how to take it easy. Writing-wise, this seems like it will be a non-fiction year for me, but you never know what may crop up.

  1. Finish the proposal for, successfully pitch and sell a book I’m co-writing with another author. This is the non-fiction on the suffrage movement I mentioned above.
  2. Finish the proposal for, successfully pitch and sell another book on the suffrage movement (different angle from above) I’m working on.
  3. Write both of these books by their deadlines (I’m hoping both will be traditionally published by August 2020).
  4. Finish the biography I’m working on (not Rose, someone else) and sell it.
  5. Attend three conferences and have successful speaking engagements at the ones I’m booked at.
  6. Possibly work on either Isolde or the gothic fiction book I’m planning.
  7. Keep up to date on the progress of Madame Presidentess as it makes its way toward becoming a TV show or movie.

I’ll release details on all the books mentioned above when I can. The two suffrage books and the biography will also help shape a book on St. Louis’ role in the suffrage movement that I have planned for the future. I may be suffraged and non-fictioned out by the end of 2019, but I LOVE research so this will be a fun year.

Looking Back on my 2016 Goals

2016 was a hard year for so many people, so I feel like no matter what I say here I will sound ungrateful. Part of me feels bad that it was a great year for me personally. But a bigger part says STFU, embrace your success and be thankful. And I am. I did so many things I never would have imagined and am so proud of the books I released. (If I don’t sound like it, it’s because I’m going through a lot and feel kind of flat right now.)

I just looked back at my goals for 2016 and started laughing. I did very well and some and deplorably on others.

  1. Enjoy the whirlwind of releasing four books in under seven months – I don’t know if “enjoy” is the right word for all that craziness, but I did survive it. And I did have fun, but it was a heck of a lot more work than I thought it would be. While I have proven it can be done, I don’t recommend that schedule to anyone. I’m glad it’s over and am so proud of what I accomplished! I’m even more proud that the books are out in the world and in the hands of readers.
  2. Write at least one new book (two is my stretch goal) – Not so much. You can totally tell I didn’t know how much work I had cut out for me when I wrote this goal. I didn’t write anything new this year. I did edit a lot and I have started on the research that will form the basis of a book to be published next year, but that’s it.
  3. Continue to market my books and learn about self-publishing – This one I actually did really good at. Talk about a crash course! I read what feels like a million books (and have about a million more to go) and tons of blog posts. but I learned the most through doing. Indie publishing is all about trial and error. This will be an ongoing goal, as it is a never-ending learning process, especially as the industry keeps changing.
  4. Exercise on a regular basis and eat healthy – I was so bad at this. I am ashamed to admit how bad. I haven’t exercised in about a month now, and not much before that. Some it is time, most of it is laziness, and a lot is that I can’t find any kind of exercise right now that interests me. I used to dance, I really want to get into yoga but so far I’ve been bored, and I’m too out of shape for the boot camp I used to love. I’m not really a taking classes kind of person, but right now DVDs/YouTube isn’t working for me either. That HAS to change. Suggestions?
  5. Nourish my spirit – This kind of fell by the wayside too. I did work with a life coach this year, which was an amazing experience on many levels, so I think that counts. But I need to make daily prayer/meditation a regular practice again, as well as taking time off to refill my creative well.
  6. Take time to have fun – I had a ball at the conferences and book signings I went to this year! While I can’t say I really did much outside of the writing community for fun, I wouldn’t trade the great experiences this year for anything (although I could have done without American Airlines losing my luggage and not reimbursing my expenses. I’m still sore over that, can you tell?)

For those who don’t know, this year has come to a close on a sad note for my family. My cousin, who was only six months younger than me, passed away suddenly on Christmas Eve. She and I were very close when we were young, so this was a great shock. I’ll talk more about how this affected me (grief, obviously) in my January 1 post, but I wanted everyone who had a rough year to know I understand how you feel, at least to an extent (and that’s without getting into politics).

Like everyone else, I’m looking forward to kicking 2016 to the curb and welcoming in 2017. I’ve learned so much this year, but it is time to move on.

I wish you all a wonderful remainder of the holiday season and a Happy New Year!

2016 – In Review and By the Numbers

Image purchased from Adobe Stock

This may well be my last blog post of 2016, unless something else comes up, so I thought it would be a good time to look back on this wacky, wonderful year – as my boss at my day job calls it “The Year of Niki.” To be honest, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to stop and enjoy it. I haven’t let the successes sink in. So, this is going to be as much of an experience for me and it is a wrap-up for everyone else.

Books published: 4
Print and ebook: 4
Audio book: 3
Awards won: 13
Media appearances: 26
TV: 2
Radio: 6
Podcasts: 2
Print articles:  16
Speaking events: 10
Book signings (outside of speaking events):  5
Blog tours: 6
Blog posts: 90 (82 on this blog and 8 others I didn’t re-blog from Spellbound Scribes)
Guest posts/interviews: 90
Daughter of Destiny: 24
Camelot’s Queen: 18
Been Searching for You: 17
Madame Presidentess: 25
Other/General: 6
Travel destinations: Bellingham, WA; Chicago, IL; Schaumburg, IL;  Oxford, England
Books read: 89 (including two beta read books, but the year is not over yet and I’m aiming for 100)
Pages read: (according to Goodreads): 29,792

Ah, I think I now know why I’m so tired! I had no idea I did all of this! Wow. And this is with a full-time job and no assistant. Yeah, I’m crazy. But it proves I live my mantra, “Dreams don’t work unless you do.”

I haven’t formally set my goals for 2017 yet, but I already have 7 events planned between March-June. I know you will get at least two books from me in 2017 (Mistress of Legend and one smaller, non-fiction book. I’m hoping possibly a Chicago Soulmate book as well – we’ll see.) And 2017 was supposed to be my year to slow down…

I hope all of you have wonderful holidays, no matter what you celebrate, and in case I don’t blog again before the end of the year, Happy New Year! Thank you for all of your support over this crazy year. It really means so much to me and is what holds me up on the days I’m so exhausted I can’t see straight or am down for one reason or another. You are all wonderful!

2014: Year in Review

happy-new-year-2014-colorful-fire-wallpapersHi everyone! I emerged from the writing cave yesterday with a first draft of my next book weighing in at 107,000 words. It’ll get smaller as I edit it, but that’s two weeks away.

For now, I thought it would be a good time to look back on 2014.

Favorites
Moment:
Meeting Deb Harkness and my WISH sisters at Hedgebrook Second place: Meeting Elizabeth Gilbert
Book:
Tie between Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell and Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Blog Post
(on this blog): There were a lot but these two rise to the top: General: Hell Yes, We Need Strong Female Characters and Historical: The First Black Friday, 1869 – Stocks, Not Shopping
Memory: Getting the words “write” and “create” tattooed on my right wrist
Music:
Book writing music: The score to Belle, composed by Rachel Portman. General music: Wrongchilde’s Goldblooded.
Quote:
“Historical fiction writers are just as qualified to write about the past as historians, if not more so.” Deb Harkness
Unexpected Occurrence:
Joining the Romance Writers of America. Never thought it would happen, but I’m so glad I did it. Oh, and connecting with Sarah Kennedy, Patricia Bracewell and Nancy Bilyeau via the Historical Novel Society was pretty cool, too.

The Year of “Bloom”
On January 1 of this year, I declared it the “Year of Blooming.” While I didn’t bloom publicly like I expected to, it was still an appropriate choice for the growth and confidence I gained this year. The goals I outlined were (and progress actually made) were:

  • Delivering book 3 and another non-related book I’m working on to my agent by the end of June. I did this. Book 3 is still in a first draft that needs work stage, but at least I’ve got my ideas down on paper. The non-related book was He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, which went to her on time. I also delivered 80% of a non-fiction book and its proposal, which I haven’t talked much about because…reasons. I’m still hoping you’ll see it someday. I just have no idea when.
  • Finally being able to announce when Guinevere book 1 will be available to the world. I really shouldn’t have made this a goal because it’s out of my hands. I still don’t have any news here, but please know I haven’t given up on making it happen.
  • Researching and beginning writing another Celtic era historical fiction novel. This was put on hold in favor of the 19th century American novel I just completed.
  • Attending the Sirens Conference with several of my writer friends in October (and possibly speaking there if I can come up with a topic and get it approved). I decided not to do this because of lack of funds. But I was able to speak at the Lit in Lou festival here in town, so I consider that a win.
  • Finding balance in my life between my day job, writing and all the other demands of life. *snort* I don’t think writing three books in one year along with working a full-time job is considered balance according to any definition.
  • Getting healthier so that I can have more energy to devote to the things I love. Not so much. See above.
  • Being more active on Facebook. (I’m already on Twitter all the time.) This kind of happened. I scheduled weekly posts all year on Facebook, although with as much as they monkey with who gets to see it and who doesn’t, I really wonder about the value.
  • Traveling for research (cross your fingers that I’ll have an announcement on this soon) for book 3 and my current non-related book. Travel for Book 3 didn’t happen, but instead I got to take a week-long creative writing class from Deborah Harkness at Hedgebrook, which honestly, was way more beneficial. I did get to travel to Chicago to research He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not and I will share some of that with you as soon as the book gets a contract – whenever that may be.
  • Continuing to find new ways to use this blog to reach out to Arthurian/Celtic fans, book lovers and writers. Honestly, I’m not sure what I had in mind for this one. I didn’t do a lot of Celtic topics, but there were a few that came out of the non-fic book.

Writing
If I have learned one thing this year, it’s that trying to write three books in a year while holding down a full-time job is INSANE. That’s not a feat I aim to repeat again. At least not until I can write full-time. But it is really mind blowing to think that one year ago today, those three books didn’t exist; all I had to my name was the three Guinevere novels. Now I have:

  1. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (romantic women’s fiction)
  2. The non-fiction book
  3. A first draft of the 19th century strong political woman book (histfic)

Reading
Goodreads told me that I read 70 books this year, but that doesn’t include the five I’ve finished since they put out their tally, nor does it include the 30 something research books I used for the non-fic and the 19th century book. So my total is more like 100. How did I do it? A lot of audiobooks (sometimes two at a time), along with reading every spare moment. That’s about it.

Blogging
I know I was a little sporadic in 2014, especially toward the end of the year, but I’m coming to realize that when I’m focused on finishing a book, blogging is just going to have to take a back seat. I love you guys, but there is only so much of me to go around. BUT, I’m hoping the quality of content I give you weekly in between will make up for it. WordPress did this silly little year in review thing for my blog, so here it is in case you want the details: https://nicoleevelina.com/2014/annual-report/.

So I think that’s about it. Is there anything else you want to know about my 2014? I’ll be back tomorrow with another blog and several more this week, so stay turned!

Happy New Year. Let’s make 2015 the best yet! I love you all!