All-in-all, 2017 was a good year.
It began on a hopeful note as the re-write of Runner: Book II of The Chosen neared completion, making the novel’s pending publication more tangible.
Once I handed over the final draft to my editor, Jodi Lester, several other dreams began morphing from fantasy to reality: 1) the long-planned release of a professionally edited version of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen, and 2) publishing it with a new, professionally designed cover.
My deepest thanks go to Jodi, and to the cover design crew at Deranged Doctor Design, for bringing the realization of both those dreams to fruition.
I’m also extremely grateful to my beta readers for their time and effort spent to read and comment on Runner. Their feedback provided me the information necessary to fine-tune the story and more fully immerse readers into the world of The Chosen.
I did manage to take a couple short breaks from the mad race toward publication of the two novels. The first break was a quiet week in May spent visiting my parents in Arizona; the second was a week-long cross-country trip in August to witness the Great American Eclipse in Casper, Wyoming. The eclipse was phenomenal, and I’ll never again look at a sunrise or a sunset without remembering the magic of the 360-degree twilight we experienced in the middle of the day.
After we returned from our eclipse trip, efforts to complete the edits on both books began in earnest. Jodi and I spent the next two months swapping versions of the books back and forth in a flurry of further editing and proofreading. As the October publishing dates neared, I donned my publisher hat and began prepping the manuscripts for both paperback and ebook editions. Jodi and I were literally editing and formatting clear up to the midnight deadlines for each of the books with scarcely a breath between.
October was busy in the PR department as well. The books and I were featured in eight different blogs and newsletters in the first real promotion I’ve done since Watcher’s initial release in 2011. Between those appearances and my engagement of an ARC (Advance Review Copy) distribution service, Watcher picked up a significant number of reviews. At this time, Watcher has nearly fifty (50!) 4-star and 5-star reviews, with new ones rolling in every day.
Also in October, I discovered a new music idol. Ludovico Einaudi is an Italian pianist and composer whose wonderful compositions defy any one-word description. Combining classical, rock, pop, and electronica, he frequently backs his piano with avant-garde string sections and semi-psychedelic visuals in concert. Though he’s a far cry from the hard rock artists I favor such as Tool and Nine Inch Nails, or the bluesy sounds of The Black Keys and the retro-psychedelic moods of The Black Angels and Wooden Shjips, he is currently my favorite musician. I used several songs from his “In a Time Lapse” album in Runner, and am already building the Seeker playlist with his music as its foundation.
November and December were as hectic as those months usually are, and it was with some relief—and some reluctance—that I stepped away from the book business to focus on shopping, cooking, and visiting family for the holidays.
As I look back over the year, I feel grateful for all that I have and all that I’ve achieved. My family members are doing well and are in reasonably good health, and I’m thankful to have been able to spend time on several occasions with my aging parents. They, along with my children and my husband, fully support my writing, and I’m fortunate to have their love and encouragement.
Writing is a balancing act, and with a day job and family, there is little time to pursue other interests. But, as cliché as it sounds, it is important to stop and smell the roses. Or watch a sunset in the middle of the day, or hug a parent or a grandchild.
With the publication of Watcher and Runner now behind me, I’m looking ahead to the next chapters in both the series and in my own life.
Farewell 2017. It’s been a good year, and I look forward to the next one.