Technically, it is still Christmas until January 6th, but it’s the first Monday of the new year, and that seems like the perfect time to jump back into the daily routine, beginning as I mean to go on. New year, new chances, and all of that. I like the idea of a clean slate. It fits into my clean sweep/more layers mindset, and now it’s time to draw from that well that the tucked-away week filled.
This time last year, I did not have a new planner to move into on the first of the year, and I don’t have one to move into this year, either, but for a different reason. This year, I picked up a seventeen-month planner (how have I managed to ignore these things until now?) so I moved into the new planner in the summer, and am starting the year off by using the stuffing out of this one. The pen for this book is actually a Sharpie liquid pencil (another thing I had no idea existed until recently) and, so far, it’s working. I have long since accepted that I am a planner. I want, even need, to know what I’m doing, and when I’m doing it. Then, within those boundaries, I can run wild. Hey, it works.
So, what does the new year hold? For one thing, lots of historical romance. Actually, that would be two things, as I mean both reading and writing my favorite genre. Last year, I set my Goodreads reading goal at fifty books. I actually read eighty-nine, so this year’s goal is ninety. I have one down so far, and should be finishing at least one more in the next day or two. The way I figure it, if I read two books each week, allowing two weeks for dry spells/rest/deadline crunches, I’m going to be sitting pretty in the reading department.
Writingwise, this is the year. The last ten have been a wild ride, which could be a book in itself, but I don’t write horror. What I do write is historical romance, and, with Melva Michaelian, historical-adjacent romance. Since I work best with regular feedback, it’s my responsibility to make sure I get exactly that. Today, I will work on the next draft of chapter two of Her Last First Kiss, which I need to turn in to N tomorrow morning. She, in turn, will have pages from her WIP to show me, and the plan is to read and comment on the spot. N asked me to bring printed pages rather than sending in email ahead of time. This is out of my comfort zone, as it will require me to A) figure out WTF is jamming my nifty awesome printer that will not print, or B) hie myself to library or office supply store to print on their devices. Probably B) and then A, but the point is that this is stretching, which is what I want.
Thanks to the RWA critique partner matching registry, I have a good lead on a historical romance critique partner. Not only do we share common interests within the genre, but in other things as well, and even prefer similar historical periods. Next step is exchanging sample chapters and seeing if we are indeed the good fit it looks like we may be, and then onward we go. If I’m being held accountable and receiving regular feedback, it’s a lot harder to tell myself nobody cares, or I’m not making a difference. Maybe the benefits of external validation have something to do with being an extrovert, maybe not, but this feels good. It feels right. It feels as though a piece of the puzzle that got knocked loose during the last ten years is fitting back into place. I like that.
While I was writing this entry, I got a notice I had new email, which, of course, I had to check, because A) I am me, and B) email fits into my social media time, and I am darned shooting sure going to stick to what’s on my schedule on the very first day of having said schedule (seriously, this planner works with the way my brain works, but more on that later.) What was said email? Notice that I had won a Fierce Cheerleading session with abundance coach, Eryka Peskin (who is super awesome, and if you have a chance to be in on one of her challenges, I highly encourage you to take it.)
This morning, I had another notice, on Goodreads, that a new group had been formed, dedicated to the love of historical romance and fiction set in one of my favorite eras, the seventeenth century. That’s the setting for my Orphans in the Storm, and one hundred percent a setting I plan to use again, maybe soon. That’s because my next goal, after finishing both Her Last First Kiss and the Beach Ball in 2017, I need to look farther down the road and decide what’s coming next. Sitting down in front of a blank screen doesn’t work for me, so that means I need to put some feelers out there and see what I’m going to be writing next, after these two couples find their happily ever afters. Because writing historical romance? That’s my HEA. Okay, that and Real Life Romance Hero, because he has truly earned the title, but this is the year to be a little (or a lot) less “Grace Kelly” (though the party in the video does look awfully fun):
and more in the spirit of this ditty below (language may not be for gentle readers or little ones in the room):
This year, I don’t feel a letdown at the end of the tucked-away week, like I have in the past. 2017 is the year I get to cross “present at NECRWA’s annual conference” off my bucket list, and I could not be in better company than my co-presenters, Corrina Lawson and Rhonda Lane. It is still Christmas until January 6th, what my father called Three Kings’ Day, which others may know as Epiphany, or the celebration of the wise men arriving at one very special manger. This year, my planner has “ornament harvest” where “take down tree” used to go, because, this year, I’m looking at the new season differently. I think I’m going to like the view from here.