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Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 into 2015: Looking Backward and Moving Forward

I had intended to post a “2014 in review” blog post at the end of the year, but between my step-daughter’s holiday visit (which was wonderful) and the unexpected loss of my cat Samhain (which wasn’t, obviously) I just didn’t get to it. So now I am going to combine my “Well, that was an interesting year” post with my “What’s coming in 2015?” post. We’’ just pretend I’m being efficient, shall we?


So—a brief look back at 2014:
This was the year of Finally Publishing a Novel. In fact, it was the year of Putting Out All the Books, which meant that it was also crazy busy with writing, editing, proofs, and promotion. Maybe a little too busy, in fact, since there wasn’t much time for anything else.

To review, these are the books that came out in 2014:
April (Llewellyn)  The Witch's Broom 
April (ePub re-release by me) Circle, Coven & Grove 
(Which I might have some good news about, but that's another blog post.)
August (Berkley) Wickedly Magical (novella)
September (Berkley) Wickedly Dangerous: Baba Yaga 1

I also wrote half of another novel (a romantic comedy) which is currently out on submission, signed a contract with Llewellyn to write the book for an amazing tarot deck and started working on the descriptions for the illustrator, and wrote a few articles for Llewellyn annuals. You can see why there wasn't time for much else.

I did make lots of gorgeous jewelry for the holiday season at the shop, observed the Pagan holiday cycle with Blue Moon Circle, attended the opera in Cooperstown with writer pal Nancy Holzner, and went to the New York Faerie Festival with Robin and the kids. But most of my focus was on career and not personal life, and I hope to have a slightly better balance this year.

Overall it was a good year, although I dealt with a number of frustrating health and house challenges, and of course, lost my little Samhain at the end. Ups and downs, like every life. But overall more ups than downs, and I am grateful for all of it.

2015: The Year of Peace and Plenty

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. What I do, however, is chose a theme for my aspirations for the year, and make a list of goals that will help me to work towards fulfilling those aspirations. I tend to focus on “self-improvement” in various forms—mental, physical, spiritual… And, of course, there are always the writing goals.

In general I am feeling reasonably good about where I’m at in life. Not that my life is perfect, or that I have everything I want. I still struggle with health issues, and finding balance, and getting my writing career to move successfully forward. But I have a family who loves me, great friends, four wonderful cats, a day job I like, and the most amazing fans/followers/online pals that anyone could ask for. That's a pretty decent place to be starting the year from.

So here are my goals for 2015. Feel free to check back in and ask how I’m doing. You can keep me honest...

  1.  Work towards health and balance in all aspects of my life (this includes doing more exercise, yoga, meditation, and just plain play), try and encourage a peaceful mind
  2. Spend more time with friends and family (see above)
  3.  Be more careful about money (at least until I find out if I have another book contract or not)
  4. Read or get rid of the gazillion books on my To Be Read shelf, instead of buying so many new ones (see above, oy)
  5. Take the time to learn a few new skills (or, you know, how to use the electronic gizmos I already own)
Writing: This is a little trickier, because so many things are up in the air right now. For instance, I still haven't heard about whether or not Berkley will be contracting for Baba 3, and it is still possible that I will get a contract for the RomCom that is out on submission. If both of those things happen, they and the Tarot Project will pretty much take care of my writing time for the year. If neither of them happen, I have to figure out what to write next, and possibly consider self-publishing one or  more books I already have written but haven't been able to sell yet. Or even writing Baba 3 and self-pubbing that, although I'm not sure that there is enough interest to warrant it. Either way, without a contract in place starting the year (other than the Tarot Project, which won't be out until late in 2016), unless I self-pub something, I won't have a new novel out this year at all, and only one book from Llewellyn.

Maybe I should have made this the "Year of Learning to Live with Uncertainty."

But for now, here is what I have for the writing goals:
  1. Promote Everyday Witchcraft coming from Llewellyn on March 8th. (In theory, this is my 8th and last book from Llewellyn, not counting my contribution to their new Sabbats series, but you never know.)
  2. Enjoy finally attaining my goal of being featured on the cover of Witches & Pagans Magazine (out any day now)
  3. Run a couple more giveaways, including one more for the Baba Yaga books, one or two for Everyday Witchcraft, and who knows what else...
  4. Finish the Tarot Project as quickly as possible, so I can
  5. Write another novel before the end of the year
I also hope to get to more conventions this year. I only went to one small one in 2014 (RoberCon in Binghamton, NY) and none in 2014 [in part because of my health issues, and in part because of the difficulty in leaving Samhain for any period of time. Also, see "insanely busy putting books out" above.]

For the moment, these are the ones I am considering, although I doubt I'll make it to them all. Be sure and let me know if you're going to be at any of them!
  1. Pantheacon, San Jose CA -- February 13-16 A great Pagan convention I've attended a few times before. If I go, I'll be giving a workshop on the modern witch's broom and leading a ritual for bringing love into your life. I'll also get to stop in San Diego on the way and visit my parents, sister, niece & nephew, see my step-daughter, my writing partner Lisa, my Llewellyn editor Elysia, and lots of other great authors and fans. I'd originally cancelled this because of Samhain's declining health, but now it is looking more likely that I will go.
  2. Romance Writers of America National Conference, NYC -- July 22-25 This member's-only conference is huge, and a great place to meet up with author friends I never see anywhere else, as well as being able to attend interesting workshops (and maybe give one or two), chat with my agent in person, and finally meet  my Berkley editor. Its a really expensive conference (and means a 5 1/2 hour bus ride in either direction) but it is also probably the most useful for my career. 
  3. RoberCon 2015, Binghamton NY -- September 26-27 This one is only about an hour from me, and a fun SF/Fantasy gathering. Last year I took part on a lot of panels, which was fun.
  4. World Fantasy Convention, Saratoga Springs NY -- November 5-8 This is one I haven't been to before, but this year it is in Saratoga, which is only 2 hours away from me. And I'd probably go with author pal Nancy Holzner, which would be a blast, and get to meet some of my "online only" friends like writer Carol Berg.
To be honest, I'm not really sure what 2015 holds. Hopefully it will be a mixture of work and relaxation, success, health, and happiness. Plus, you know, chocolate.

What are your goals for the year to come? And what do you intend to do to improve yourself or your life? Tell me, please—I’d really like to know!


  1. Happy New Year to you Deborah,

    I don't set specific resolutions for the New Year (I actually really detest the word resolution) but I do set some small goals.

    This year its simple to be happy and healthy. I too had some health issues and surgeries throughout 2014 along with other "Life Dramas" but I feel I have myself on a good path for the year to come.

    I apologise for not commenting on your previous post about Samhain. I found it very upsetting to read as I too lost my beautiful girl "Charlie" this year to Kidney Failure, so I understand your grief. Charlie was similar in colouring to Samhain only she was very fluffy!

    Wishing you all the best for the year to come, and looking forward to hopefully more Baba Yaga, or whatever else may come.

    1. *hugs* I'm so sorry about your baby Charlie. They are such a blessing to have in our lives, but that means we really miss them when they are gone.

      Here's wishing you a fabulous 2015.

  2. LOL I love the one about trying to read everything on your to be read shelf before buying any more books. I have been telling myself the same thing for a few years now (without much success).
    This year I did write several resolutions, most of which focus on health. I started exercycling every other day at the start of December and I hope to continue, possibly with supplemental exercise. And I started a new diet January 5.

    And daily vitamins, and at least 8 glasses of water a day. The vitamins in particular have been difficult to remember. I should move them to the shelf where my asthma medicine is.

    I also resolved to play with the kitties EVERY DAY. I always give them affection and treats but sometimes get too busy with work to PLAY with them. They LOVE to play and I am trying to give them each at least a couple of short sessions every day.
    I also resolve to work extra if needed to make my new role at work a success. I am in telecom sales, where roles seem to get redefined annually.

    I would love to get credit cards paid off without a refinance, but working more should get me more $$$ to help with that.

    And since I'm am solitary now, to keep up with my Wicca practice and growth, which will include networking with other Tarot readers and springing for a couple of workshops that sound intriguing.

    Oh, and this one might be the toughest of all: Finish my basement reorganization AND get the whole house straightened and cleaned!

    Wishing you all the luck with your own goals this year!

    Kara Lynx

    1. These all sound like GREAT goals, Kara! I hope they go well for you. I've been working on reorganizing, cleaning, and throwing out for a year, with major progress...except the one catch-all room upstairs. That's on my list for this winter, as well as going through the main rooms and culling even more clutter.

  3. Hi, I'm new to your blog. I love your NYR's and how you keep a theme in mind for crafting them.

    I feel like I have a split personality with my NYR's this year - half of them are writing related and the other half are rock-climbing related. Not sure how it's going to go balancing the two but it'll be a fun challenge.

    Good luck to you on yours and best wishes in the new year!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Susan!

      Clearly you are going to have to start writing WHILE rock climbing. Let me know how that works out.

  4. I don't pay any attention to the change of the calendar year except to remember (mostly) to write the correct date on things, nor am I very much of a resolution sort of person.
    But if I were allowed to vote on your resolutions, I would want you to put the most emphasis on yoga, mediation, and getting the Tarot deck complete! The sample of your work and the artist's was like getting to eat Just.One.Square of dark chocolate. Can't wait.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

    1. So noted. (Laugh.) I just finished the last of the descriptions for the artist, and will be starting on the book itself tomorrow. You know, because you told me to.