This past year was a turning point for me as a writer. Although I’ve been writing for years, I’ve never tried to publish any of my work.* In 2015, I decided to start putting my writing out in the market for others to enjoy (or not). I felt like the time was right, and I was finally confident enough in my writing to share it with the world.
*This statement is not completely accurate. For the past two or three years I have been sending my short stories to literary journals in hopes that they would accept the stories, and publish them. So far, the journals have been unanimous in their rejection of my writing. Even so, I’m still submitting my stories, and hoping for a literary miracle.
Here’s the short version of what my original 2015 writing goals looked like:
- July – Have author photos taken
- August – Build author website, set up Facebook author page, establish Twitter account
- September – Publish Tierra del Fuego
- October – Publish Lake of the Falls
- November – Publish Back on the Road
- December – Publish Road Stories
In order to stick to this schedule, I had a lot of work to do in a relatively short time. I wanted to publish three novellas and a printed collection of all three before the end of the year, but before I could do that, I had to set up a website, establish a separate “author” presence on Facebook and Twitter, and have author photos taken (for book covers and online).
Overall, I did pretty well at achieving the goals I set for myself. It took more work than expected to get the photos taken, but I finally got this done in August.
It was around this same time (late August) that I built my website, and established a Facebook author page. I’ve been fairly consistent in updating both the website and the Facebook page. Although I have a Twitter account, I’ve yet to actually post anything there. I need to give some more thought to whether or not I really want to be active on Twitter.
The three novellas I wanted to publish were written earlier this year (or late last year), but a lot of work has gone into them since then to get them ready for publication. Originally, they were all part of my MFA thesis, and I received excellent guidance and revision suggestions from my thesis committee members, Pat Rushin, Jocelyn Bartkevicius, and David James Poissant.
Tierra del Fuego had to be revised, but the story remained relatively unchanged. Lake of the Falls changed a lot from the original story, and the revisions took much longer than expected. Back on the Road is going through final edits right now, and has been significantly changed from the thesis draft.
After making my initial plans for the year, I eventually changed my mind and decided to publish two novellas rather than three. I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time for revisions, and there was really no need to rush publication. I succeeded in publishing Tierra del Fuego and Lake of the Falls in 2015, and Back on the Road will be published in January 2016.
What else do I have planned for 2016? I’m glad you asked. Here’s my 2016 plan in a nutshell:
- January – Publish Back on the Road (Novella)
- February – Publish Road Stories (Collection of Novellas)
- March – Publish Promised Land (Novella)
- April – Publish A Good Life (Novella)
- June – Publish Driven (Novel)
- September – Publish Punta Rassa (Novella)
- December – Publish The Ones That Got Away (Novel)
Originally, I had planned on publishing a novella entitled A Good Life (a look at one man’s life from 1920 to 1980) in February, along with Road Stories, a printed collection of my first three novellas. My plan for Road Stories remains unchanged, but A Good Life will be delayed. I’ve run into some problems with it, and am pushing back the publication date to April 2016.
Because I’m not publishing A Good Life until later in the year, I’m moving the publication of Promised Land up to March 2016. Promised Land is a novella about a young boy living through the aftermath of his mother’s disappearance. The boy comes of age during the summer after his mother goes missing, navigating between his father’s sudden turn to religion, a police detective’s suspicion that his father is involved in his mother’s disappearance, and his budding infatuation with a high school classmate with secrets of her own. Promised Land was inspired by a true story, and I’m looking forward to publishing it.
My first full length novel will come out in June. Tentatively titled Driven, it is the story of a young man in the early 1980’s who is obsessed with becoming a race car driver. His natural talent will only take him so far before he has to come up with some serious money to fund his passion. He turns to dealing drugs to pay for racing, and is pulled into a world of incredible wealth, thoughtless violence, and heartbreaking betrayal. I’m excited about unleashing this novel on the world.
I’ve always liked cowboy stories, and I’ll be publishing my first in September 2016. The tentative title is Punta Rassa. The story is still taking shape, so I don’t have too many details yet, but I know it takes place in Florida in the late 1800’s (or very early 1900’s).
Finally, I plan on publishing another novel in December. This one is tentatively titled The Ones that Got Away (I don’t like the title) and is a time travel story about a man living through a stressful career and unsatisfying marriage. When he is given the opportunity to go back in time to see what his life would have been like if he had married each of his three previous girlfriends, he finds out that life is much more about making decisions and taking action than it is about fate. The first draft of the book is about 40-50% written, but it’s going to need some serious revisions to get it ready for publication.
That’s a lot of work for one year, but this is what I’ve always said I wanted to do with my life, and I have to make up for lost time. Happy New Year!