Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

As I look back on 2015, I have a n awful lot to be thankful for, both personally and professionally. I hope you do too!

For me, 2015 was a year of loss. Some of it was difficult—I lost my mother, with whom I had less than a positive relationship, but some of it was positive—twenty pounds of positive!

I made the choice last January to begin eating healthy and walking along the many bike paths around the area. I’m down to the last ten I need to lose, so once New Year’s Day rolls around, I’ll start the process anew with determination and grit. (Like everybody else, it’s so hard to resist all the wonderful holiday treats!)

And, like most folks, I never lost the weight exactly where I wanted to. I went down several clothes sizes, but I also lost weight in my fingers. While the purchase of new clothing was delightful, I might just need to spend money to resize my wedding rings!

I had a wonderful early Christmas with my son Scott, his wife Whitney and their two children Louie and Lena, and spend Christmas Day with my daughter Becky and mother-in-law Bonnie in Washington D.C. I’m truly blessed to have my children and grandchildren in my life. I’m hoping your holidays were as warm and wonderful as mine were.

One of my goals last year was to put out four books—which I nearly accomplished. I published an ebook anthology of my Addison McIntyre series, called Death Comes to Jubilant Falls and edited a free anthology of holiday stories and poems for the writer’s group I lead, called The Gift.

I also published my first thriller, Call Fitz, which went on to win Best Thriller at the Queen of the West Book Bash in Cincinnati, Ohio. Such a great honor to be recognized by my readers!

My final goal of 2015 was to complete and publish my second thriller in the Niccolo Fitzhugh story, Holy Fitz. Research stumbling blocks, extensive appearances throughout the fall and other personal things kept me from publishing it in time for holiday sales, but I am proud to say that I did complete it before the end of this year. It’s been through two thorough edits with my two wonderful (but unbelievably tough) editor and this week I’m starting on the rewrite process.

The cover is also complete, thanks to my graphic designer (and daughter) Becky Gaskill.

My hope is to have Holy Fitz available for preorders very shortly and published by the end of January.

I have big plans, too, for 2016, in addition to knocking off those last ten pounds.

On a personal level, I’m due for a household purge. The kitchen is filled with too many things that never get used (pumpkin-shaped cake pan, anyone?) and too many duplicates—although one can never have too many wine bottle openers. I hope to go through each room of the house this year and make massive donations to Goodwill.

I’m also committed to better record-keeping and improved productivity. It was a great goal to try to publish four books in one year, but that was too high to achieve and didn’t leave room for snafus like I experienced. This year, I plan to complete three books: the third book in the Fitz series, Love Fitz is underway and will be available this spring. Two other books—a fourth Fitz book and a possible return to the Jubilant Falls series are also on the calendar for 2016.

One of the biggest goals I hope to accomplish in 2016 is putting out Call Fitz as an audio book, with the help of my son Scott Shelton. It’s a massive experiment, since so many folks are consuming their fiction via audiobooks, but one I think I’d like to try. I’ll keep you informed on how that project is coming.

What are your goals for the new year? I’d love to hear about them!

Here’s to a Happy New Year!