2017 year in review

Yeah, I know. I’m a bit late, but I had a massive 2017 and still catching up!

2016 was a year of growing and achieving as a writer, accomplishing things I never would’ve thought I could. I self-published my first novel, Haven River, I entered the world of social media and smashed out the manuscript for my next novel, Misty Springs.

I had set only two major goals for 2017 – to publish Aqua Bay and start and finish the draft of another novel.

So what actually happened?

Aqua Bay

I love to write stories see Why do I Write?. I had finished writing Aqua Bay in 2016, but it needed to be edited – everything from content to ensuring sub plots had been tied up properly, describing settings effectively, checking goal, motivation, conflict, having good chapter beginnings and endings and the last part – spelling, grammar and punctuation.

I love editing, but by the time I’m up to my third edit, I’m over it. But eventually through my edits, my two beta reader edits and my editor’s edits I managed to pull the whole thing off and in September Aqua Bay was published. Yay! My second book done and dusted! And I had just as big a thrill seeing Aqua Bay up on Amazon as I did my first book, Haven River. I don’t think that feeling will ever disappear.

Expect the unexpected

In February, I put a call out on Your Write Dream, a Facebook writer’s forum, asking if anyone would be interested in giving me a hand with writing the blurb for Aqua Bay.

One person, Bob Boze, volunteered and provided some really good suggestions on changes I could make.

Bob is an author of four books – a memoir plus a trilogy. I liked the sound of his books (he had me at old Irish myth) and before long I was engrossed in his fantastic memoir followed in quick succession by the trilogy.

Having such close contact with an author, I was able to ask him questions about his books and writing – what was the significance of a unicorn bracelet? What is sarsparilla? What is New Orleans Ya Ya Gumbo?

Before long we were emailing each other every day with lots of questions, thoughts, and ideas about writing. Bob always mentioned, “when you come to San Diego, I’ll show you”, which I thought he was joking.

About six weeks after our first connection I had a think about his books and San Diego and asked him if I could come and visit him, his wife, Sheryl, and their pets. Immediately a “yes, yes, yes” came back and in June I flew to San Diego. What was only to be a ten-day holiday got expanded to fourteen days as we explored San Diego and beyond, doing all sorts of touristy stuff, eating, eating and eating and seeing some of the places and restaurants Bob mentions in his books – C-Level, The Galley, Miner’s Cafe in Julian and 57 degrees to name a few.

Before I left to go to San Diego, Bob had asked me if I was interested in co-writing a romance with him. Yes, yes yes, again! And so began Light My Way. Between us we’d written about seven chapters and when I was in San Diego we continued to write and plot our story.

At the same time I also helped Bob to structure his thoughts around a half-completed book he had started, tentatively titled How to Fail in Business Without Even Trying. Before long, and probably without really knowing it, I was contributing more and more to this book to the extent that Bob asked me to co-author it with him. Nice! (He’s very good good at arm twisting.)

I had an amazing time and for full detail of what we did check out all my various posts on San Diego.

This was the first time I had travelled outside of Australasia in nine years. I always loved to travel, but somehow I’d lost my confidence to travel by myself. After my trip, my confidence returned and all the places I’d been wanting to explore jostled for my attention. At the top of the list was Ireland (where my great-grandparents are from). Before long I had booked airfares to London for April 2018. Bob and Sheryl thought it would be a great idea to come along too and so we’ll all be meeting up to travel together throughout the UK.

Then in late November I had a call for help and to cut a long story short, on 4 December I flew back to San Diego for seven weeks to spend the Christmas holidays with Bob and Sheryl.

Lots more touring, lots more eating and lots more writing. By this time How to Fail in Business Without Even Trying was starting to take shape. By the time I left, we had just completed Chapter 17 of Light My Way.

The next book

Halfway through editing Aqua Bay, the burning desire to write never went away and I had a clear-ish picture of what the next novel would be about. In parallel with writing Light My Way, I also started another novel, Pacific Vines, which is set in the beautiful vineyards of Marlborough.

Social media

I continued to blog, but withdrew pretty much from Twitter and Facebook. I proved what I had read numerous times over – being on social media won’t help you to sell books. And tweeting and Facebooking is very time consuming.

In conclusion…

2017 was definitely a year of learning. I learnt a lot about writing, renewed my passion for travelling, acquired a new BFF (thanks Bob) and learnt a lot about life in general.

2018…

So what are my goals for 2018. To finish something! Anything! With three books half-written and one to be edited I’m sure that will be highly achievable.

Happy belated 2018! What are your goals for the year?

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