I like many am so ready to see the end of 2020. It has been a terrifying, heartbreaking, and odd year. It has also been a year of new opportunities for me as well. I started the year professionally, with a massive promotion to run the marketing department for a national company, and was chosen to represent the company at the largest national conference in the country in February in L.A. At the same time I was head-hunted by another company and given the opportunity to grow further professionally and work at the global level. I started the new job that is in the business events industry on March 4, 2020- talk about timing. I stayed with the company until I was furloughed and then recalled, then furloughed indefinitely in the fall. It was a wild, sad, and soul crushing experience.
While I tried to hold onto my professional career, I finished my Master’s degree this past May. That was an enormous accomplishment, and I am proud of myself that I did it. While there was no party, or even a graduation ceremony, it did not diminish my joy that my degree was finally finished.
Writing wise, 2020 has been a productive year. I started the year writing a novel, about two love interests with tragedies in their lives. The two characters have to rescue each other- thus turning the trope of knight on horseback upside down. I am planning to self-publish this book in the first quarter of 2021. It will be my first published novel.
As the pandemic gripped the U.S. and much of the globe in the spring of 2020 I published Quarantine Stories on the blog. I came up with the idea walking down the beach in Malibu, CA. on the earlier mention work trip. I wondered what romance would look like in a time of quarantine and lockdown. I wrote 20 short stories and published them here on the blog. The short story format was a new one for me, and I enjoyed the challenge.
As summer started, I found more and more people asking me if I was going to make Quarantine Stories into a book. I thought about it and decided to give it a shot. I wrote five additional stories that are exclusive to the book, and went through the process of self-publishing. My husband and I have put out a magazine for our business for years, but self-publishing a story collection was entirely different. I walked all of the way through the process and I sold more copies than I thought I would but it was far from a bestseller. In full disclosure I didn’t ever expect it to be a bestseller. I had two things against me, I’m an unknown author and it’s a short story collection.
In September my professional life crashed and burnt as my time with the job that I’d started in March became a different type of Covid victim. My children were also starting remote learning at the same time. Rather than look for another job right away, I wanted to take some time to take stock and possibly change directions. I also became a full-time mom again, just when my family needed me most. This time off also gave me the time I had so desperately wanted to really focus on my writing.
In the fall, out of nowhere a truly unique story idea came to me, and I completed my second novel of the year. It’s working title is Willow, after the main female character. The story is set in the future where marriages are not made via love matches but breeding compatibility. This was different from my normal romance writing in setting and time. It was a fun novel to write and I am so grateful to my husband for bringing me my laptop and coffee each morning, encouraging me to keep writing. I have yet to reread through it for the first time, and I only hope it is as good as I think it might be.
I also did A LOT of querying this year. I put out two books to query and had what I would call great success in Twitter’s #PitMad contests. I was able to snag agent “likes” with each round. This past December was my greatest interest yet, and I am continuing to wait for news as I write this. I pitched the two books I’ve queried this year, Sailing in Silicon Valley, and The Lake Michigan Affair.
As 2020 draws to a close, I have put my efforts into editing the book that I started the year writing, the one about the two lovers who rescue each other. I plan to self-publish it in the new year, if I have not signed with an agent yet. I am excited to put out an actual novel in story and length. I also feel that this novel is much more of my style of storytelling.
Looking to the positives of a new year, and the opportunities it brings, I’ve started to look for a new job to put my career back on track. Once I hear back from the #PitMad agents, (hopefully sign with one) I can move forward querying or finally start down the traditional publishing path. I also hope to compete 2 or 3 new novels in 2021. I can feel the muse starting to come to life again, and the spark of an idea is there…
So to all of my readers, I wish you a very happy, safe, healthy and productive New Year!