The Plan

Sunday, July 04, 2021

 


Happy 4th of July!

We’ve reached the midpoint of 2021 (How did that happen?), and so it’s time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished so far and what my plans are for the rest of the year. I tend to have a “Squirrel!” personality when it comes to writing projects. Each new idea looks bright and shiny to me, and it’s too easy to jump from one thing to another without finishing anything. That’s why I need to have a plan.

But first:

What I’ve Accomplished

I planned, plotted, wrote, revised, and released The Case of the Troubled Tycoon. Phew!

I had no idea how difficult this book would be to write. I had an ambitious plan as to how this novel would be a little different from the previous books, which meant considerable study to pull it off. I also had the usual research regarding the time period, including events, the economy, and technology in this one. Yes, the telephone is considered technology. And I made a decision about a subplot that turned out to be a poor one, but I only admitted that after the book had gone to my beta readers and one of them took me to task over it.

I dragged my feet on working on the novel consistently, which should have told me I’d gone off the rails, but no, I’m too stubborn for that. Eventually, I realized my ambition was a big stumbling block, and if I was ever going to finish the book, I needed to abandon that idea and write this book just like the others in the series.

Once I started doing that, things went a lot smoother.

The second thing I did was come up with and follow a plan to promote my books that has at last put me in the black for this year. That’s been something that’s been difficult to achieve in the past, so I’m proud of making the necessary adjustments.

What’s Ahead

First up is finishing a short story, “Murder at a Masked Ball”, for a Halloween cozy mystery anthology. This uses the Shipwreck Point characters and setting, with a slight difference from the novels. I submitted the first 500 words a week ago, and I’m waiting to hear back on whether it’s been accepted or not. I’m hopeful, but if it isn’t, I’ll be sharing it with my newsletter subscribers in the fall as a bonus.

Then, I’m going to outline the next book in the Shipwreck Point Mysteries, a novel with the working title of The Case of the Pirate’s Puzzle. I loved the whole idea of a sunken treasure that I introduced in the first book, and it’s time to follow up on that thread. I’m not going to write the book, but I do want to sketch out the plot while my mind is immersed in this series so that when I do come back to it, I’ll have a running start. Because I’m going to dare to do something I haven’t felt able to do before. I’m going to try to write two series at once.

Which means that my next writing project will be to complete another short story, this one titled “Return to Rainbow Ranch.” I started this earlier in the year, but because of the “Squirrel!” I mentioned above, I stopped work on it to write the Shipwreck Point Halloween story. “Return” will be a transition story between the end of my African Violet Club Mysteries and the new Rainbow Ranch Mysteries. I’m going to take Lilliana and Christopher off in a slightly new direction. I don’t plan on abandoning all the characters from the previous series, though. I see them as making cameo appearances in the new books.

This will be followed by the first mystery novel in the new series, which doesn’t have a title or much of a plot yet. Still, I hope to release it before the end of the year.

There’s more I’m planning, but with what I said in the last sentence, I’m afraid that will have to wait until 2022. I want to get back on track so I can release 3-4 books a year without a struggle. But there’s a lot of work to do to get to that point again. So, in order to keep myself accountable, I’m going to turn this blog into a daily accomplishment thread, daily being defined as every day except Sunday. Each day, I’ll report on my writing progress, with the hope that having the commitment to put that out in public, I’ll be more motivated to keep going.

If you’d like to help me get there, please comment, if not every day, then maybe once a week. Even just a few words would help a lot. Wish me luck!


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