Author Business & Publishing, Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

2017 Year-End Update

Kate on Golden GateLooking back on 2017, the year hasn’t been as much of a dumpster fire as I originally thought. Author-wise, I published my third Desertera novel, The Tyrant’s Heir, re-evaluated my writing and business goals, and strengthened connections with my amazing readers and author friends. On the personal side, I lost two beloved family members to chronic illnesses, moved from Connecticut to California (with a brief vacation at home in Kansas), and traveled to new places in the United States.

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I accomplished far more than I did in 2016! My husband and I have a tradition of making one resolution per year we’ve been alive, so I made 24 goals for 2017. I never expect to achieve them all — but if I shoot for the moon, I still hit the stars. And I hit quite a few stars this year.

Writing & Publishing

Desertera books1. Create (write, edit, outline, or research) 5 days a week
My average ended up being four days per week, as I allowed myself extended breaks for my cross-country move and two bereavement periods.
2. Write Desertera #3
3. Edit Desertera #3 (C)
4. Publish Desertera #3 (C)
5. Write a second novel
While I didn’t start drafting, the world is built and ready to write for 2018!
6. Edit a second novel
7. Start Desertera #4
8. Make 2018 production schedule


9. Make $2,000 from Boxthorn Press
Just a little short!
10. Create freebie for Writing Newsletter subscribers 
11. Create freebie for Reader List subscribers
12. Blog 2x per month
13. Maintain social media schedule
14. Diversify existing products (audiobooks, box sets, etc.)
I’ll be focusing on this in 2018 instead!
15. Do one marketing/promotion task per month
Choosing to forgo marketing until I have a larger catalog is why I didn’t hit my income goal. While I’m disappointed with myself, I know playing the long game will pay off eventually.
16. Read 52 books
I read 40 books. Now that I don’t ride the train every morning, I need to find a new reading time!


Tommy travels17. Work on positivity
18. Exercise 3x per week
19. Break a bad habit
20. Recoup savings account post-Yale
21. Make post-Yale plan
22. Visit final NYC sites
23. Visit new state
24. Visit new country
I achieved ALL of my personal goals! Here’s to leaving 2017 a happier, healthier, and better-traveled human!

Overall, I’m pleased with how much I accomplished in 2017. I’ll be finalizing my 2018 New Year’s resolutions today, and I can’t wait to dive into them. Here’s to a fantastic year!

What did you accomplish in 2017? What goals are you setting for 2018? Share them in the comments!

Fiction Blog, Writing Updates

My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

champagneWelcome back to another episode of “Kate’s ambition and optimism give her temporary insanity and delusions of invincibility.” With my first full year as a published author tucked away in the history books, I’m ready to push forward into 2017. The first step? Announcing my New Year’s Resolutions.

As I’ve said in years past, I love planning, organizing, and dreaming BIG. So, crafting my annual resolutions is one of my favorite things. In my 2016 Year-End Reflection, I talked about my theme for this year (Growth) and my 2017 motto: Always Be Creating. You’ll see both reflected here.

Why so many resolutions? Longtime readers will know that my husband and I have a masochistic FUN tradition of making one resolution for every year we’ve been alive. I’ve added in personalized difficulty levels, based on the likelihood that I’ll hit each goal.

E – Easy
C – Challenging
DD – Damn Difficult
LOL – Yeah … probably not happening

You might wonder why I include ‘LOL’ goals at all. Well, I’m a “shoot for the stars and still hit the moon” type of person. I know I might not have the time, money, and strength to accomplish all of my resolutions. But if I try for all and only make half, I’m still miles beyond where I started.

Without further ado, here are my 2017 New Year’s resolutions:

Writing & Publishing

1. Create (write, edit, outline, or research) 5 days a week (DD)
2. Write Desertera #3 (E)
3. Publish Desertera #3 (C)
4. Write Desertera #4 (DD)
5. Write separate fiction book (LOL)
6. Publish a second fiction book (LOL)
7. Write nonfiction book (DD)
8. Publish nonfiction book (LOL)


9. Make $2,000 from Boxthorn Press (DD)
10. Create freebie for Writing Newsletter subscribers (E)
11. Create freebie for Reader List subscribers (DD)
12. Blog 2x per week (C)
13. Maintain social media schedule (DD)
14. Diversify existing products (audiobooks, box sets, etc.) (DD)
15. Do one marketing/promotion task per month (C)
16. Read 52 books (E)


17. Work on positivity (DD)
18. Exercise 3x per week (LOL)
19. Break a bad habit (DD)
20. Recoup savings account post-Yale (DD)
21. Make post-Yale plan (E)
22. Visit final NYC sites (E)
23. Visit new state (E)
24. Visit new country (DD)

As you can see, I have a lot to do this year! I’ll let you know how it goes with my monthly updates.

Share your resolutions in the comments so that I can cheer you on, too! Or, if you need a little help crafting your goals, check out this post on making attainable New Year’s resolutions. Just remember: do as I say, not as I do!

Fiction Blog, Musings & Bookish Things

How to Approach Your Long Term Goals

Despite the “how to” title of this post, I’m not going to offer a series of steps to reaching your goals. Obviously, each goal, each person, and each situation is unique, and frankly, you shouldn’t need me to tell you the steps to meeting your aspirations. But what I do want to discuss is the mentality involved in reaching long term (or just plain big) goals.

My favorite tree on my commute
My favorite tree on my commute

Autumn is past its prime in New England. Slowly, the ratio of leaves-on-branch to leaves-on-sidewalk is tilting out of the trees’ favor. Every morning when I walk to the bus, the sidewalk is littered with more and more leaves. And yet, every morning, there is a city worker there with her trusty leaf blower and rake to clear the sidewalk.

The first time I saw her, my thoughts were relatively unimportant. Being from the country, where we just let leaves fall and biodegrade where they will, my reaction was something like, “Oh, yeah, they do that in the city. Strange.”

When I saw the city worker the next day, cleaning the exact same swatch of sidewalk, I thought, “Man, that sucks. She just cleared those leaves yesterday, and the sidewalk is full again.”

On the third day, my brilliant analysis was along the lines of, “I think that would drive me insane.”

But then, realization hit me all at once. I already do that every day. Or, well, I do something extremely similar in my own way. I have my own metaphorical sidewalk and leaves.

My long term goal for my writing is to make a living as a full time writer. I want sharing my stories with the world to be my primary source of income. I want to live my dream. In pursuit of that goal, I have to repeat almost everything I do. You see, in theory, my word count should never dry up. Even when I finish writing one book, if I want writing to be my job, I have to write the next one. There is always a new book to replace the one I already wrote.

Likewise, in my constant battle against obscurity, I have to keep slogging through the internet world. Every day I don’t write a blog post, don’t have a social media presence, etc. a layer of obscurity is reapplied to my name. It never ends. Even J.K. Rowling could fall off the face of the virtual world if she just stopped everything…and one day, long after she’s gone, she just may.

I think is particularly true for those of you who are doing NaNoWriMo at the time of this writing. Today, you write your 1,667 words and clear your sidewalk of all the leaves. But tomorrow, the challenge begins anew and you have another 1,667 word deficit to fill. Maybe one day it rains and the leaves are extra sticky and your leaf blower doesn’t work. All of the sudden, you’ve got to figure out an entirely new way to approach your goal.

leafIt’s exhausting. But that’s how all long term goals are. Whether you want to be able to run a marathon or learn a foreign language or knit a quilt — it all takes repetition. You’ve got to keep at it, day after day, doing basically the same thing over and over until you finally hit that milestone. It takes daily effort, it takes patience, and it takes a hell of a lot of time.

But, if you really want to reach that goal, you have to do it. Moreover, if it’s your actual job (like the city worker) or your career aspiration (like me), you really have to do it.

Don’t worry. There’s good news! You can take it one day at a time or, to paraphrase Anne Lamott, you can take it “leaf by leaf.” Break your long term goal down into manageable, easy (or easier) steps, and just take them one at a time. If you do this, and I mean really do it (whatever your personal “it” is), then eventually the leaves will stop falling. The proverbial tree of life will stop showering tasks upon you, and you will have reached your goal. Then, you can spend three seasons basking in the brilliance of accomplishment…until you find your next autumn and the leaves pile up on you again. But, hey, where’s the fun in life without dreams?

What goals are you working toward? How do you keep yourself motivated to reach them? Share your dreams and tips below.