2017 is the Year of the Rooster according to the Chinese zodiac. There is something about this that appeals to me. My sign is the Dragon and this year the prediction is very optimistic. So much so that I ran right out and bought this glorious gaudy ceramic rooster to set on the windowsill in my kitchen.
2016 was a very tumultuous year. Good and bad and good and bad and all of it wildly unpredictable.
I worried about my editor's reception of Fractured Families. As it turned out she liked it more than any book I've written. To her (and my) relief, it received excellent reviews from Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, and Library Journal. It's way my darkest mystery so I'm still surprised. It will be released March 17th.
The horoscope warned me that my success would depend on hard work. When does it not? Luck counts, but not for much.
Here's what's true (at least for me)
There is no substitute for writing everyday. Even if it's only one page. That practice starts a mental process like setting yeast a-working. Plots, people, bubble away in the background even when you're tending to other matters.
No one really understands the writing process. Don't try. Just do it. Writing is best learned by writing and by going to other writer's books for instruction. Study how they get people in and out of a room. Why have you remembered a book for years? Why are these characters memorable? What makes you stop reading half-way through?
Write a manuscript twice before you show it to anyone. You know darn good and well what's wrong with your book when you've finished. Go through it again and fix it. Fix the plot, the characters, the grammar, and then, and only then, throw it to the wolves. Then pay attention to what they say.
This is short list. I'll save more for another blog. But it all boils down to the same thing. There is no substitute for self-discipline and putting your shoulder to the wheel.
I'm going to stop admiring my rooster and head for my not-so-lovely computer.