My Writing Year – 2022

For me, the start of a new year isn’t about reflecting on what has gone before, or organising my new (physical) diary, although setting that up does take a while. The first day of January for me, is a step forward from the day before, but it signals the need to have my creative house in order.

There’s something about a new diary, a new sketch pad, and, of course, for an author, a new book. I have three titles lined up and as I like to do, I’ll work through each steadily with no rush to finish anything too rapidly.

What have I got lined up?

Selena: Sea Nymph is intended to be a standalone, and however well it flows, if you’ll pardon the pun, I don’t intend to let the story tempt me into a sequel. I’m pleased to say that I have the first five chapters written and available for reading/comments in my Work in Progress menu. From Sunday, 6th February, only the first chapter will remain on view.

Crusader is a crime thriller, and will be worked on when the Selena manuscript is ‘resting’ for three or four weeks. The two books will take turns in commanding my attention. This is a system that has worked for me for a few years now.

The third proposed title for this year is Constance, which will be the sequel to Crusader. I wouldn’t normally suggest I was writing a sequel prior to the first story being written but on this occasion I’m confident that the premise will work. As you might expect, this second part will bring the story to a close.

Will I produce anything else this year?

I don’t intend any more novels during the year, and I’m still undecided about working on another anthology.

My wife and I have recently rejoined the camping fraternity with an updated set of wheels and a touring caravan. With luck and reasonable conditions I aim to spend more time mobile and on ‘research’ rather than writing.

My creative hands will continue to be full because I’ll be working for the brand produced for my pseudonym, which is seeing more attention than my work in recent times. It’s a strange feeling, to be successful anonymously. The stories are fun to write and when I last peeked at the website there was mention of a two-part novel, an anthology, and three novellas.

I’ll be reading widely as normal and beta reading for members of the IASD, but I might maintain a low profile on social media.

For now, from me, I hope you have a safe and prosperous year ahead and you read (and write), as much as you hope to.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and as Bugs Bunny would say, That’s all folks.

***

My Writing Year – 2020

Intended publications were two novels and an anthology of short stories which were all underway, plus another anthology which was either going to happen or not, depending on submissions from fellow authors.

How did the year work out with my target?

 

Light at The End written during 2019, kicked off my writing year and by the time I’d read a couple of reviews I was glad I’d made plenty of notes. My experimental post-apocalyptic tale spawned a sequel. I had other projects on the go so I continued, as usual, spending a couple of weeks on any one book. The first part of Light at The End was out in January, so it took a few months for the sequel to appear. I was so caught up in that particular ongoing story that I was compelled to make it a trilogy. My post-apocalyptic world deserved my writing time.

I wasn’t too concerned that I might leave other projects behind while I worked on novels. Due to the rest periods that I give my manuscripts between edits, it allows for time to be invested elsewhere.

Top of my pile, of course, was Czech Mate, a standalone espionage thriller which had already been through the wringer with beta readers over a year before. I got as far as ten chapters using first-person POV, but it wasn’t working for me, and neither were some of the scenes. I changed direction with it a few times and then one day it started to gel when I added two new characters. Okay, it still took several full drafts to get it where I wanted it to be, but that’s part of our job as authors.

Time after Time was another new venture, an ‘invitation’ anthology. I had six original stories lined up and I was hoping for at least six from other authors, all on the theme of ‘Time’. I was delighted to publish with submissions from nine other authors—one of which was the foreword. Nineteen stories all told … .

My other collection was my latest individual effort, Shadow: and other stories. Story titles changed, the book title changed and so too did the cover. Twelve original tales for those who like a coffee-time or bedtime read. (No erotica–it’s catered for elsewhere).

Surely I had time to produce more than those?

You’re quite right—I did, and on some of those days when I needed to escape from the intensity of a post-apocalyptic world, a thriller or short stories, I offered my services to my pseudonym–the ‘character’ I created to continue writing erotica in the background. Her latest venture is a two-part novel called Secrets.

You might wonder how the stories have been produced so regularly. Many have been in my files for years as failed short stories or as multiple passages which until recent years didn’t inspire me to continue. If truth be told, when I set out into the world of creative writing I never envisaged myself producing erotica.

As usual, I enjoyed plenty of reading. Mainly it was indie books, but I also read a few paperbacks and reviewed those books which warranted good feedback. By the same token, I started but didn’t finish something in the region of ten indie books. There were a variety of reasons but for the main part, it was poor writing, poor formatting and lack of time spent by the author producing the work. I don’t permit time to read shoddy workmanship when I personally put in so much effort to create worthwhile stories.

I performed beta reading for several authors and as always was gratified to be told that I’d helped. I know what it means to be offered ‘guidance’. Feedback is the lifeblood of the author. Negative feedback is as important as positive feedback which I believe all writers must appreciate. Any writer who doesn’t pay attention to negative comments in the process is blind to their own issues.

Apart from reading and writing did I do anything else to improve my catalogue?

Yes, I redesigned several of my covers. I went on to produce my personal design for those which had previously been created by a professional. Those were Ten Days in Panama, Amsterdam Calling, A Taste of Honey, and the BTL trilogy.

Apart from all of the above, in October I cast aside my professionally-designed author website which I’d kept going for about ten years. I built a new website myself from scratch. Ironically, the total cost of my new website equated to about the same as my first one. I kept my domain name www.tombensonauthor.com

My writing was my priority throughout the year, as it should be but I gained a sense of accomplishment having dealt with all my covers and creating a new website.

Next year’s targets will be in my next blog post … in January 2021.

 Thank you.

Tom