Friday Five: Nillu Nasser

friday fiveToday’s Friday Five focus is Nillu Nasser, author of literary fiction and women’s fiction short stories, novels, and poetry.

She is a writer of literary fiction novels. Her books include: All the Tomorrows (2017) and Hidden Colours (2018). An Ocean of Masks is due to be released in 2019. Nillu has a BA in English and German Literature, and an MA in European Politics. After graduating she worked in national and regional politics, but eventually reverted to her first love: writing. She lives in London with her husband and three children.

Each evening, nestled in Berlin’s Treptower Park, the immigrant circus comes to life. When Yusuf fled Syria, he lost everything. Now the circus is the only home he knows. When public opinion swells against it, he risks upheaval and grief all over again.

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Nillu Nasser1. What genre do you currently read most and why?

The book on my bedside table is currently Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time. On my Kindle is a bundle of ebooks about book marketing, because the launch of Hidden Colours is a few weeks away and I need to refresh my skill set. On the whole though, it’s literary fiction, magical realism and fantasy I gravitate towards, in that order. They help me understand the world, fire my imagination, keep me aware of the trends in the market, and help me escape reality. There really is nothing better than a good book and a cup of tea in hand. I’ve got a whole pile of Murakami books waiting for me, because he really is an author I’d love to explore more.

2. What do you want your readers to take away from your works?

I’d like them to have found themselves thinking from the perspective they might not have considered before, be it the hero or villain. All of us have good and bad in us. What I love about fiction is that is makes us feel deeply, and realise life is messy and complicated, but still hopeful.

3. What are some of your favorite words and why?

I like this passage from my new book Hidden Colours, because it flowed onto the page without thought and it feels truthful to me when I read it over again: “He’d met men like Silberling before. Hadn’t his father been such a man, before it all came crashing down? Can’t they be found on every street, in every country, there where the wine flows, backs are patted and decisions are made? Some wore suits, others wore kurta, some carried guns, and some a briefcase, but the undercurrent of energy remained the same, and the hunger in the eyes.”

4. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever researched for your works or biggest/most out-of-the-ordinary thing you’ve done while researching?

Oh my goodness, I shudder to think what lists I am on for the things I type into the Google search box. For All the Tomorrows, the strangest bit of research was how long before a body decomposes to work out the timing of a funeral in India, and for Hidden Colours it was details on clown routines. Any investigator looking at my search history would be very confused if they didn’t know my profession!

5. Why should people read YOUR stuff? Who’s your target audience and why?

My writing is aimed at adults over 25. My stories often take place in rich settings and explore the search for identity from an outsider’s perspective. They delve deep into characterisation, and what brings humans to breaking point. They are not afraid to be dark, but there is always hope.

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All the Tomorrows and Hidden Colours are both currently available at Amazon.

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Friday Five: David Hagerty @DHagertyAuthor

friday fiveToday’s Friday Five focus is David Hagerty, author of political murder mystery short stories and novels.

Stories about crimes have always resonated with David, whether it was Crime and Punishment or The Quiet American. Maybe it’s because he started his career as a police reporter, or because he worked for a time as a teacher in the county jail.

More than a decade ago, when he decided to finally get serious about writing, he started with short stories based on real misdeeds he’d witnessed, including one about his next door neighbor who’d been murdered by a friend, another about an ambitious bike racer who decides to take out the competition, and a bunch of others based on characters from the jail.

Over time these got picked up by various magazines online and in print. More than a dozen now exist, with most of the latest in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Big Pulp.

For his debut novel, They Tell Me You Are Wicked, David drew inspiration from the most infamous event in the history of his hometown: the real life killing of a political candidate’s daughter (though he made up all the details).

Book two in the series, They Tell Me You Are Crooked, is set two years later, after the hero, Duncan Cochrane, has become governor. He’s haunted by the family secret that got him elected and fighting a sniper who’s targeting children in Chicago.

In the latest book, They Tell Me You Are Brutal, Gov. Cochrane searches for a saboteur who is poisoning pain medications, all while trying to protect his family from personal and political ruin.

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David Hagerty1. Why do you write political murder mysteries?

As a young man growing up in a wealthy suburb, I thought that crime happened to other people. Even as a young adult, writing the police beat for a local newspaper, crime felt distant from me. Then my next door neighbor was murdered, and I realized it affects us all.

Now I write about infamous crimes from my childhood, seeking connections to those who, like me, feel immune to its effects.

2. What was your attitude towards reading when you were a kid?

Loved it. Books were my best friends.

3. Thinking about the stuff you’ve written, who’s your favorite character and why?

I have a columnist who appears in all four of my books named Mark Rica. He’s inspired by the famous Chicago scribe Mike Royko, who commented on all the political shenanigans of the city. I find writing in his voice freeing, and his cynicism feels somehow rewarding.

4. What literary character are you most like and why?

No one writes books about people like me. Who wants to read about a guy who spends his free time daydreaming at a keyboard?

5. What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that you think they need to know?

That mysteries can be more than whodunnits. A good mystery will show you something about the time and place in which it’s set, not just the characters, but the culture as well.

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They Tell Me You Are Wicked, They Tell Me You Are Crooked, and They Tell Me You Are Brutal are all currently available at Amazon.

Become a Friday Five author or read previous author interviews.

Media Monday: Portraying Roma people in literature and art

Media MondayThe book: Snow Gypsy by Lyndsay Jayne Ashford

The music: Carmen by Bizet

My January choice for Amazon’s free prime book was Snow Gypsy, a story set in 1940’s Spain. I love For Whom the Bell Tolls, so I went with a book heavily influenced by the Spanish Civil War. Snow Gypsy tells the story of two women: Rose, a veterinarian who’s searching for her soldier brother who went missing in Spain during the war, and Lola, a Roma whose family was murdered during the war.

Rose travels to the annual Roma pow-wow in Stes.-Marie-Sur-la-Mer, in the Camargue of southern France, to try to find someone who might be able to lead her to where her brother fought, because only Roma can do that? Also, she’s kind of obsessed with Roma culture because they’re all carefree and herby, and she uses their knowledge to write a book on natural cures.

Lola is a dancer, because of course she is. She adopted a baby whose mother was killed alongside Lola’s family, and she’s dedicated to providing a good life for her daughter. She loves her culture but wants more from life, and she doesn’t want to be tied down to a husband.

Rose and Lola travel to Lola’s home in Granada, and before Lola or anyone can take Rose to the village her brother was last at, Lola is imprisoned. Fearing her daughter will be taken away from her and given to white people, Lola sends Rose and the kid to where she grew up. Rose settles into village life pretty well and even falls in love with a guy, before the gripping climax wraps everything up.

Carmen is the story of a Roma woman, Carmen. Duh. Carmen is self-assured and sexy, so all the women hate her and all the guys want her. All, that is, except Don Jose, a soldier who’s in love with his adopted sister, Micaëla. So when Carmen knifes a coworker in the face and his brought to the jail with Don Jose, she seduces him into letting her go. He forgets all about Micaëla and goes to prison for awhile. Meanwhile, Carmen’s living up the smuggler’s life prés les ramparts de Seville, chez son ami Lillas Pastia (in her friend’s tavern in Seville). Don Jose gets out of jail and comes looking for her. Conveniently, she and her smuggler friends need more laborers in their band, so she seduces him again and he’s out after curfew and ends up pulling a gun on his lieutenant. Oops. He has no choice but to join them, but he hates it and starts to hate Carmen. Carmen, of course, no longer has a use for him and moves on, but Don Jose is really jealous so he tells her they’ll only be apart in death. Micaëla shows up and tells Don Jose that his mom’s dying. He leaves but vows it’s not over. Carmen hooks up with Escamillo, a famous toreador, and tells Don Jose to f off, so he kills her. The end.

Although the two stories are very distinct, they share a common thread, and that is romanticizing the Roma culture. For Snow Gypsy, although it does show the prejudice against them, it still paints them as noble savages. And for Carmen (which was written in the 1880s, I think), Roma people are seen as violent, as lawbreakers, as unwilling to do honest work.

This year, I’d like to try to not only read books about different cultures and places, but read them by authors from those cultures. For example, I’ve started reading through all the books I picked up last year when I was in India. Even though I’ve been to the country three times, it’s still eye-opening to read books by people from that country. Even when I’ve been to the places they talk about, they have a completely different perspective than mine, and it’s a pleasant change of pace.

It makes me wonder what Carmen would be like if it had been written by a Roma person in the 1880s, or how they’d write it today. Same with Snow Gypsy; how different would it be if it were written by someone who’s Roma or even just Spanish?

Especially for my own writing, I need to sometimes take a step back and remember that even though I’m writing about a culture or place to the best of my ability, I still don’t have that insider perspective.

This is from the Metropolitan’s 2010 production of Carmen, with Elīna Garanča as Carmen. She is the best Carmen, hands down.

Thursday Things: Life on the western high plains

thursday thingsI love to travel, and one of my favorite places is western North America. Stretching from Alberta and the western Dakotas to the eastern edge of the Rockies, the sweeping plains and buttes are, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. I lived in Bismarck, North Dakota, for a year, and while the eastern half of the state is in the Midwest, the western half has a different feel to it. You’ve left behind the corn and soy fields and the gently rolling hills, trading them for dry grass and scrub and herds of grazing cattle. There’s no line to mark the Midwest from the West, but you’ll know it when you see it.

Glacier National Park

near Glacier National Park, Montana

In the summer of 2017, my dad, son, and I vacationed in that direction. We drove west from Illinois, across Nebraska to Denver, then up to Portland and Seattle, Banff, back down to Glacier National Park, then Winnipeg (my favorite Canadian city) before returning home. 4500 miles in two weeks, camping the whole way? Yes, please!

Summer 2017 map

Even though it seems there are houses and towns everywhere you look, there’s still a sense of wilderness and isolation. Maybe it’s the big open sky, so different somehow from even the Midwest’s prairies. The wide open spaces, the dryness of the landscape. I don’t know.

Glacier National Park

near Glacier National Park, Montana

I used this isolation in my latest short story, “Empty,” which is set in southern Idaho (not on the eastern edge of the Rockies, I know, but it has similar landscape). It’s part of my short story collection After All, a bunch of stories about the apocalypse and its aftermath. This story is about Jess, a rancher, and her new hired hand, Clive, who’s more than he seems. When disaster strikes, they learn to set aside their mutual distrust and work together in order to survive.


Near Yellowstone National Park, Montana

I imagine the story taking place on a homestead like the ones above: a small house, a dirt road leading to a small town, and no one close enough to save you when the end times come.

You can get this story tomorrow if you support me on Patreon; at the lowest level, Flash Fiction, which is just $1/month, you’ll get access to a new short story every month. If you’re not a supporter, you’ll be able to read “Empty” when the collection comes out, hopefully some time late this year.

If you’ve traveled in the US and Canada, where are your favorite spots? Any thoughts on Montana and the West?

Friday Five: YA sci-fi author Adelaide Thorne

Today’s Friday Five focus is Adelaide Thorne, author of YA sci-fi novels.

After her stick figure comic series “The Adventures of The Unstoppable” failed to garner any fans, Adelaide Thorne accepted that drawing would never be her superpower. She also accepted that she was not, after all, The Unstoppable. Twelve-year-old Adelaide never forgot the thrill of adventure, however, and the mystery of heroes, powers, and a bad guy who maybe is only bad because he feels stuck. Or maybe he’s just bad, and that’s interesting, too.

Adelaide’s writing has taken her around the worlds of her brain, and also around a lot of restaurants. After years of being the pickiest eater in the south, she somehow got a stint as a city blogger and food columnist, which taught her that people are too obsessed with queso and not excited enough about chicken noodle soup. She’s since said goodbye to journalistic writing and hello to creative writing, which is, after all, what she’s always done.

She currently lives in Florida, where she complains about the humidity but never makes any plans to move. Adelaide and her husband have two cats (only two), who are excellent sounding boards for ideas.

The Trace, the first book in her sci-fi, young adult Whitewashed trilogy, follows Ella Kepler, a nascent metahuman whose strength and speed is matched only by the enemies set against her. The Integer, the second book of the series, follows Ella as she unravels the truth about the Metahuman Training Academy and what binds her to it.

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Adelaide Thorne1. Where do your inspiration and ideas for your stories come from?

My head. :) I do daydream a lot. For instance, today I was thinking about what it would be like to find out that your real father was a serial killer. Creepy, eh? Sometimes, my ideas come from the bits of dream I remember, but often times they’re spontaneously generated.

2. What do you want your tombstone to say?

Sheesh, hadn’t ever thought about that. Probably “Totus tuus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt” which translates to “I am all yours, and all I have is yours.” That’ll be beneath “Wife & Mother.” I’m pretty boring. :)

3. What’s your current writing project and what are your writing plans for the near future?

I’m currently wrapping up my Whitewashed trilogy – or trying to! After I finish this trilogy, I have a few other bookish ideas. One delves into fantasy, which I’m excited to try out!

4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

You have no idea how often I think about this. It’d likely be flying. I’m kinda scared of heights, but I’d love to float above the earth and see things I’ve never seen before. Plus, it’d make traveling much more enjoyable.

5. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? How do you deal with this?

I’m not great at fighting scenes, because I like to be very specific and detailed, yet it’s really boring to read “He lifted his left hand thirty degrees, formed a fist, and knocked that fist directly into the right side of his opponent’s jaw…” My solution, odd as it may seem, is to act the scenes out with my husband (I promise no one gets hurt!). He’s trained in Wing Chun and always brings me back down to earth – ’cause I like to imagine the craziest, most unrealistic fighting scenes.

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The Trace and The Integer are both currently available at Amazon.

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New release!! Going in Circles Vol 1: 10 Very Short Stories

Going in Circles vol 1 coverI’ve been posting a lot of stuff on Medium over the past year or so, from short stories to preview chapters of a novel I’m working on. A lot of the stuff I’ve posted has been members-only (since I like getting paid for what I write).

I know a lot of people aren’t paying Medium members, so I’ve put together a short collection of some of my related stories for nonmembers to read.

Going in Circles Vol 1: 10 Very Short Stories is about 6 connected people:

  • Reggie, who is the son of Carly and Mark from Yours to Keep or Throw Aside (bet you didn’t see that one coming!) and will be one of the main protagonists, opposite Aida and Zoe, whenever I get around to writing its sequel
  • Stella, Reggie’s girlfriend
  • Curtis, Reggie’s best friend
  • Rana, Curtis’s sister
  • Big Ed, Rana’s boyfriend
  • The Fox, the villain of my current WIP novel, Waylaid on the Road to Nowhere

So yes, that means that Yours to Keep or Throw Aside and Waylaid on the Road to Nowhere are set in the same universe, although they’re both standalone novels and only connected by these short stories.

Anyways, if you haven’t already read these stories on Medium, please check out this compilation. It also has the first chapter of Waylaid (which you can also read on Medium, if you have a membership, along with several other chapters of the book).

And go ahead and read Yours to Keep or Throw Aside, too, if you haven’t already.

Let me know in the comments below what you think about crossovers and shared universes, and whether you have any predictions about that sequel.

Media Monday: Yarnsworld by Benedict Patrick and The Cure

Media MondayThe books: The Yarnsworld series by Benedict Patrick

The song: “Burn” by The Cure

Today’s books are the four novels that (so far) make up Yarnsworld, a series of mostly standalone stories set in a weird world of dark fairy tales and vengeful protector spirits.

Each book follows the same format: A main chapter about a central character, followed by a legend or tale from the main characters’ people, that relates in some way to the central plot at that moment. It’s a great way to provide worldbuilding without bogging readers down in infodumps, but it also requires readers to be intelligent and read between the lines to make connections between the tale, the characters, and the plot.

These are not fluff books, and based on reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. It also seems that the people who read the first book and loved it, also read and loved the rest of the series.

The first book, They Mostly Come Out at Night, introduces us to the Corvae, a forest-dwelling people who are protected from the terrible creatures in the woods by the Magpie King. Except the Magpie King isn’t as present as the people need him to be. A young villager, Lonan, dreams of the Magpie King, and realizes he needs to step up to become the protector his people need, despite the horrible price he will have to pay.

The second book, Where the Waters Turn Black, tells the story of Kaimana, an ocarina player who lives on the islands of the Crescent Atoll. When she befriends a taniwha, a huge monster, she at first does so as a way to write an epic song that will bring her fame. But when she has to seek help from her capricious gods to save her new friend, she must decide what really matters to her.

The third book, Those Brave, Foolish Souls From the City of Swords, takes us to the lands of the Muridae as we meet Arturo, a young man who wants to be a Bravadori: a brave, respected swordsman who helps those in need. But when he realizes that the Bravadori aren’t who he thought they were, he embarks on a journey with two disgraced Bravadori to rediscover the original meaning of the Bravadori.

The fourth book, From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court, takes us back to the forests of the Corvae, where court servant Nascha has fled after a nobleman threatens to kill her for bastard royal blood. She’s aided by Vippon, a Gentleman Fox who isn’t who he seems to be, and Bradan, a young man desperate to get out of his father’s shadow.

Each of these books is dark, full of murder and violence and betrayal. They’re also filled with old, dark magic that requires blood sacrifice in order to appease the Spirits, who don’t really care one way or the other about their human subjects, as long as they’re worshiped sufficiently.

And the characters themselves aren’t full of rainbow and sunshine either. The main characters especially are seflish, each questing for power and fame, even at the expense of those around them. But in each book, there’s a definite arc for the characters, as they come to realize that there’s a greater good out there, and that they have to do what’s best for their world and their people, despite the cost to themselves.

And dear lord but is there a cost. Not to give too many spoilers, but these books don’t have happy endings. They do, however, have endings that are appropriate for the story and the world, and that’s one of the things I liked about these books. Not many authors are willing to give their stories an unhappy ending, even when that’s the only ending there can be.

The song that I paired with this is “Burn” by The Cure. Yes, I know there’s the obvious connection between the movie this was in, The Crow, and magpies, but it’s also a song about what lurks in the shadows, about losing someone you care about and then trying in vain to recover what you’ve lost. Especially for the first and fourth books, this song is a great companion. And it’s one of my favorite Cure songs.


Friday Five: Beth Hudson

Today’s Friday Five focus is Beth Hudson, author of fantasy short stories, novellas, and novels.

Beth Hudson determined to become a writer while still in grade school. For years she worked on her writing, producing numerous short stories, and even completing two (unpublished) novels while in high school and college. Since deciding to focus on her writing, she has published a number of fantasy short stories in various magazines and anthologies. The Herd Lord, a novella about a war among centaurs, was published in 2011; her first full-length novel, Etched in Fire, was released in 2015; and her short story anthology, Seeing Green, came out in July 2017.

Swan maidens and assassins, selkies and disgruntled house spirits walk the pages of Beth Hudson’s short fiction anthology, Seeing Green. A player troupe is attacked by dark enchantment; a man seeks to uncover the mystery of a sealed box; a woman desperately searches for her heart’s desire. Fifteen spellbinding tales open a gateway to other worlds full of love, betrayal, and the cost of magic.

Because sometimes, when you seek magic, you get your wish.

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Beth Hudson1. What was your attitude towards reading when you were a kid?

I read constantly. I fell asleep in class because I stayed up half the night reading. I would panic if I didn’t have a spare book (and still do). Books were my best friends.

2. Thinking about the stuff you’ve written, who’s your favorite character and why?

My favorite character is in my current work in progress. Traedis has courage that I would love to have. I also love the main character of Etched in Fire, Maelen, who will do anything necessary to protect innocents.

3. What are three things on your bucket list?

I’ve studied Welsh, but learning to full-out speak it.
Going to Alaska.
Doing a book tour.

4. What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that you think they need to know?

We’re not necessarily writing escapist fluff. In any writing there must be something that makes a connection with the reader, and good fantasy is not about the differences of the world, but the humanity of the people.

5. Why should people read YOUR stuff? Who’s your target audience and why?

My audience is people who want to read about hard issues in a context of wonder. I write about survivors of abuse and trauma, and also explore what it means to be a woman. But I hope people from outside those experiences will find good things in my works as well.

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Seeing Green is currently available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Become a Friday Five author or read previous author interviews.

2018 book roundup

2018 goodreads challengeMy goal every year is to read 100 books. This year, I read 81 – I think it’s the best I’ve done so far.

This list only includes books I finished. There are dozens that I started but didn’t finish (often not even the first chapter) either because they were poorly edited or didn’t hold my interest. I also didn’t include textbooks or journals that I read for school.

Here’s a breakdown of what I read:

  • 16 (20%) were either kids or young adult; the rest were adult. Of the kids books, 5 (6%) were the Dark is Rising series, which I’d read as a kid and was rereading.
  • 2 (2%) were nonfiction and the rest were fiction. One of those nonfiction was a memoir, and the other was a study guide for the MSW licensing exam.
  • 24 (30%) were single short stories, and 6 (7%) were short story anthologies.
  • I know the authors of 50 (62%) of the books. 6 (7%) share my publisher and 1 was by someone in my in-person writing group.
  • 46 (57%) were in a series. Only 2 were ones where I just read the first book and didn’t read the rest or want to read the rest when they’re released.
  • 8 (10%) were from Amazon’s first read program, where they offer a free ebook to Prime members.
  • 1 (1%) was translated from another language or from a non-Western country.
  • 30 (37%) were books I didn’t like enough to rate at least 4 stars or above.
  • 72 (89%) were ebooks.

Best books I read in 2018:

  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone. The story of a black teenager in Atlanta whose best friend is shot and killed, and how he tries to channel MLK to deal with the aftermath.
  • The Green Princess trilogy by H.L. Burke. A teenage girl and her prince boyfriend belong to rival magic factions in the midst of a civil war, and have to overcome tons of obstacles to try to be together.
  • Crazy Quilt: a collection of short stories by Alice Woodrome. As the title says, a great collection of short stories on a range of topics.
  • Whisper Me This by Kerry Anne King. A woman returns to her hometown after her mother’s death and tries to balance caring for her aging father, raising her teen daughter, dating, and solving a family mystery.

If you challenged yourself to read a set number of books in 2018, how did you end up doing?  What were your favorites?  Anything you particularly disliked?

Resolutions: 2018 review and 2019 goals


Random cat having an adventure in Kuala Lumpur’s train station.

It’s that time of year: looking back on my goals for the previous year and then setting goals for the new year.

2018 goals

First, let me preface this by saying that 2018 was mostly a good year. I went to India in January, Iceland in March, and Thailand and southeast Asia in June. I started a job that I love, with coworkers that I’ve really connected with because they have the same passion for the job that I do.

But then, starting in about August, some sucky stuff happened. Other people’s personal problems because my personal problems, causing me to have to take a pause to rethink my life plans. I’m still rethinking them, three months later.

Here’s how all that came together with my 2018 goals.

1. Better time management.

For the whole year, I’ve tracked my daily activities. Not as detailed as Vikings QB Kirk Cousins who apparently uses spreadsheets to track his day in 10 minute increments (which I totally understand; I think in spreadsheets), but enough to know what I spend my time on and what I need to work harder on for next year.

2. Publish to Medium at least weekly.

I published 27 stories on Medium in 2018, plus two lists of related stories. Of those, I think only three had previously appeared elsewhere. A lot of the stories I posted were microfiction (less than 350 words), but still, I’m proud of myself for getting so much out there – even if I haven’t posted anything new since September.

3. Publish a stand-alone novella or short story collection quarterly.

I did not do this. However, I did finish a novella! I’m currently editing it and hope to get it off to my publisher in the next month or so. I’ve already started on the second in this series, and with the push I’m getting from my writing group to finish these, I hope to crank several more out soon.

4. Grow my reader base by at least double.

Facebook goal: 600. Actual: 309.
Twitter goal: 1500. Actual: 860.
Medium goal: 200. Actual: 302!
Mailing list goal: 3000. Actual: 1760.

Maybe if I actually posted more to social media, or came out with more books, or sent out my mailing list more than every couple years, I’d get more followers?

5. Post to my blog at least twice a week, and promote those posts to get more traffic here.

I was doing well with this until I wasn’t.

6. Read 100 books.

I ended the year with 81 read. I didn’t really have time to read at all during the past couple months, due to being swamped with Etsy orders. But 81 is still pretty damn good.

Overall in 2018

Nothing much to say. Just like every year, I set my goals too high. But whatever. I was still pretty productive.

2019 goals

  1. Publish to Medium at least weekly and Patreon monthly. There’s really no excuse for not writing at least one 300-word microfiction short every week. Plus one of my Patreon rewards is a new short story each month, which I can then publish to Medium the following month. Assuming I ever get any patrons, I need to be able to meet this reward.
  2. Finish my novella series. As I mentioned above, I’ve been working on this over the past few months and getting feedback from my writing group, who love the characters and plot. I love the story too, which helps motivate me to write it (as well as the urging of my group). I plan on having 7 books total, which is doable if I make myself hit a word count every day or week.
  3. Increase my networking. Whether by commenting on more people’s blogs, interacting more on social media, or whatever. Maybe if I’m more visible or supportive, I’ll get more followers of my own.
  4. Read 100 books. And of those 100, I want a sizeable percentage to be nonfiction.
  5. Keep going with my trauma-informed care/school social work writing. People in education are really receptive to this concept, and I have a lot of information to share in a way that non-academic people appreciate.
  6. Have more adventures. They’ll probably happen through travel (most of mine do, like that time I was detained by Canadian immigration, or last summer when Visa froze my debit card and I had to ask a random German family on the Thai/Malay border for money to get to Kuala Lumpur), but they definitely won’t happen if I don’t give them the opportunity.

Like most years, I probably won’t meet most of this goals, but I definitely won’t meet them if I don’t try.

If you’ve set goals for yourself, what are they? How do you plan to accomplish them?

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