After-Action Review

So, you had grand plans back in January for 2020. How did you do?

Yes, yes, get all the hysterical laughter out. It’s good to purge that from your system. Don’t worry, crying is good for the soul. Helps reset the emotional level. Have a hankie.

Feel better now?

Okay, good, because here comes 2021. And there’s no guarantee it’s going to be any more sane or stable than 2020 was. All the same, failing to plan is planning to fail, so let’s take a deep bracing breath (or a deep bracing draught of medicinal bourbon. Good for what ails you.)  And now, let’s make goals for 2021.

Sure, we may break out in civil war. We may fall to authoritarian police state run by Chinese-puppeted politicians with rampant hyperinflation as they print money Zimbabwean-style. But if we merely struggle along in the miserable middle, well, people are still going to want things to read. And escape to interesting places, hope and light and things that warm the soul will probably sell better than post-apovcalyptica, especially when we can see antifa doing its level best to play-act that on our streets in real life.

So keep writing, and releasing.

What are your plans for 2021’s publishing schedule?

22 thoughts on “After-Action Review

  1. Plans: Finish bringing the three completed books up to code. Finish writing the four partly-baked books. Then decide what to do about indipubbing ’em. Get enough seed scenes written to define the several more books clamoring in the wings. Likelihood at the current rate of progress: more promising than it’s been in some time.

  2. Back mid year I fell seriously ill and spend two weeks in hospital.
    Thankfully that has long since passed and I am again physically and mentally able to support those authors that I beta read, copy edit, and perform subject matter research for.
    My intention is to continue my twice weekly physical therapy training to improve my health even further.
    And I am again a shameless nag and thorn in the sides of my authors as they were also gobsmacked by 2020 and gently encourage them to resume production of solid fiction that I can hopefully improve upon into publishable works.
    See, I spent better part of 25 years working with astronauts and research scientists creating and operating experiments in low Earth orbit, some of the biggest prima donnas that ever were, so perfect training for my new calling as writers’ lackey.
    On that note, what exactly is your publishing schedule my fine Ms. Grant? Going Ballistic quite literally begs a series of stories in that universe.
    So Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all my author friends, now shoulders to the wheel, fingers to the keyboards, 2021 is here before us crying for exciting and entertaining new stories to fill the void.

    1. My publishing schedule starts with “Pray current health status holds, work on improving.” I hear you on the physical therapy exercises: I am currently squishing my hand-egg grip exerciser so dutifully that I have moved from the 20-pound egg to the 30-pound egg. Pickle jars still elude me without tools, but forward progress is good! That said, thanks to some of my best health yet, 2020 was the most productive year I’ve had yet, getting one novel and one novelette (in anthology) out.

      I am currently over 10K deep into a novel, in which Twitch from Going Ballistic discovers that happily ever after is a whole lot more complicated and fraught than the stories make it out to be. 17K, really, because it looks like the short story I wrote that kicked the whole thing off may actually be the opening two chapters for the novel, and I still have to figure out how to graft them together. At the rate this thing is going, I hope to have it finished by May.

      Once that’s out, I want to get some of the books that were stuck 14-24K in reworked and out. First is a partial story set deep in the Fed that needs a major structural edit, but I think I can salvage what I’ve got so far, and then finish it. We’ll see, as structural editing and rewriting appear to be a completely different skill set compared to initial writing. Barring inspiration for something else that won’t leave me alone, I’ll get that out, and turn to the long list of partials, including two urban fantasies I’ve been trying to finish – one for 2 years, one for 5.

      Also on the backburner: a story about the evacuation of the crater in Scaling The Rim as terraforming starts to melt the dam for an equivalent of Glacial Lake Missoula, and a story in which Raina and Akrep are sent as a troubleshooting team to a world that officially has no alien ruins, to find and safeguard that which doesn’t exist against alien-backed terrorists that don’t exist, either, if you believe the official news.

  3. I’m going to re-launch Manx Prize, the second book I wrote, with a new cover and a print version. I am hoping that can happen early in the year.

    I have The Gear Engages, the 4th book in my Martha’s Sons series, drafted. I need to go through it once and fill in TBDs before it goes to the alpha reader. Then beta readers.

    I’ve started the 5th book, His Terrible Stall, and am having the weirdest time with it. After writing 20K, it became imperative that I give up my pantsing ways and actually do more plotting in advance. It’s got mystery elements, which might be the reason–the subconscious finally agrees that plotting might be less painful than inserting clues after it’s drafted.

    I figured out how to get new subscribers to my newsletter every month. (Things hadn’t been going so well before this year.) At the end of the 2d book in my new series I offer readers a free short story in the series when they sign up.

    So, the plan is 2 new books, 1 re-launch. More newsletter subscribers.

  4. My plan is to finish the current story then loop back and finish the sequel to Whirlwind of Stars. If I pull it off I should be able to do that and the two sequels to Bearskin in the next year.

    For publishing, I’m getting formatting, covers, and sales copy figured out. So if I can scrounge up copy editing my goal is to start actually regularly publishing not just writing things that stay on the computer. I have a few shorts I can send out as well that I want to have under submission.

  5. Get the print versions of the Familiar stories done. Get Learnedly Familiar and M-Familiar done. Finish White Gold of Empire. Those are my “really need to do” things. I hope to get the horse nomads vs. evil book done as well, and other things. Trying to work out a better balance between Day Job and Writing Job is also on the list.

  6. My plan is to put the last touches on my WWII novel “My Dear Cousin” when the beta readers get done with it, and hopefully to launch in mid-January. Then at least one more Luna City installment – that’s the contemporary rural comedy series – and to finish the Civil War historical “That Fateful Lightning” – which at this date is about half-done.
    I’ve done this before though – had a book half-done when I got distracted by another. I think that I was about three or four years in finishing “The Golden Road” because … oh, look – something shiny!

      1. It’s the next writing project, BD – some big lifestyle changes in store for Richard, who has reveled in a decades’ long spoiled adolescence and is now about to do some “adulting”. Like committing with Kate, and becoming an American citizen… and sorting out the last bits of the mess that he left behind, when he was extracted from the mess of the failed opening night…

  7. 2020 retrospective: It actually went pretty well. Granted, we’re grading on a curve here, but I published two novels and drafted three more (okay, one was already 2/3rds done in January, but it still counts, darn it!). On a personal level, I started going to church on a regular basis and got a dog. So while the things I couldn’t control went to $@#!, I think I managed the ones that I could.

    2021 Plans: Publish 3, Write 3. The goal is to publish the third and fourth Seelie Court novels as well as a non-Seelie Court novel (either a fairy-tale retelling or the beginning of an epic fantasy series, haven’t decided yet). In addition, I want to write three more novels to replace those three in the queue.

  8. My plan is hopefully to finally read the rest of Peter’s Cochrane series in paperback. It’s been out for over 2 years and I have part 1 in paper. But part 1 is the only one in paper.

  9. I didn’t have firm plans, but I accomplished them. Published a 28K novella in late January, 2020, an 115K novel in April, and finished the year with a 63K collection August 1st. Frankly, I’m surprised all that happened in only the first eight months of the year.

  10. Thinking about looking forward to 2021 because it’s not 2020, I am mindful of the Steve McQueen story in “Magnificent Seven,” also told by Chris Pratt in the remake:
    “So far, so good!”

  11. 2020 killed us. We do a lot of in-person events because I can sell books at a craft show, even our line of extremely esoteric niche oddball titles. All gone. 2021 is not looking good at this point for in-person events.
    We did better — a bit — in online sales. We would do much better if we ever get the hang of Amazon ads. Sadly, with our line of extremely esoteric niche oddball titles, we’ll never make piles of money.
    I guess the goal for 2021 is to a) write faster and b) write what people are willing to pay for.
    We’ll see what happens.

  12. “What are your plans for 2021’s publishing schedule?”

    Plans? I try not to have those, because that stuff never works out. Particularly this year, with the Karens looking like they’re going to close the whole world.

    I have intentions. ~:D

    I intend to publish four books this year. They are complete and ready to go, lacking only covers. Unfair Advantage was well-received, coming up we have book 2 Angels Inc., the so-far untitled book 3, book 4 The Demon Slayers, and book 5, The Abandoned Shoe. That and five bucks will get you a coffee at Starbucks. ~;D

  13. For me it was a great writing year. Sales? Umm, tepid is overstating the situation. But for better or worse, I retreated from reality by writing in a much more pleasant place. All. Year. Long.

    I published five novels, one collection and one short story.

    2021? I’ve got two that need polish and cover, and four underway. So I expect I’ll be publishing regularly and praying the Chicom puppets don’t bring it all down.

  14. 2020 was not one of my better years. At the beginning i was dealing with home repairs (storm damage from the windstorm the day before Thanksgiving 2019), which turned out to be more complicated than expected. Just as we got those wound up, the first of the COVID-19 restrictions started hitting, and suddenly I was frantically trying to find information on which of our events were happening, which were canceled, and which were postponed for later (as it turned out, we didn’t have a single event this year, which did things to our finances). I did get a couple of reprints (stories from anthologies) out, and one brand-new novelette. But quite honestly, most of the new writing I actually managed this year, I did because of the various writing challenges I participate in.

    For 2021, I really want to take some of those beginnings and random scenes and turn them into completed stories that I can get ready to publish. I also need to finish configuring two computers that I got to help me with the publishing side of stuff. I sure hope that, this time next year, I have more to show for the year than I do right now.

  15. Publish Book 2 in my series, get out novel made of prompts from MOTE (may be beginning of another series), write Book 3 of first series, write short story for anthology…and write whatever else comes to mind.

  16. My plan is to turn off the TV and radio, cut way back on the on-line activity and listen to good (old) music and read a lot.

    I find a lot of good stuff from links here so when appropriate please leave one for anything you think worth reading.

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