Happy New Year!
How is 2015 treating you so far? My biggest surprise has been that the few times I have had to write the date, I’ve gotten it right! It usually takes me more than a few tries to get the year correct. I don’t worry that there’s something Freudian in that—that usually, I want to cling to what was instead of embracing what is. My daughter will tell you I’m afraid of change, but isn’t true—at least not in this case.
It’s more that I can be a bit of a dolt when it comes to some things.
Life has returned to normal in the Ashbury household. The Christmas tree and trimmings have been boxed up and put away, and the man of the house has returned to his job, leaving the woman of the house....the house. We enjoyed spending the three weeks together, of course. I was glad to see my husband take that time and totally rest. And I do mean totally. There were many days when he did nothing but read and sleep.
After the previous two years of having no overtime at work at all, this past year, my beloved had a lot. He really was tired by the time December 12th arrived. Yes, it was difficult writing while he was home. I find it nearly impossible to get into the zone when someone is in the same room with me. But the writing didn’t come to a complete standstill, and it was the holiday season, after all.
Routines are useful, and humans by and large like routines. I’m certainly no exception. I like my schedule, and am most productive in all areas if I am on track.
I got to see all of my family except for one grandchild these last few weeks. That, by definition, is a good Christmas. And while the last few years I’ve battled colds and flu and other upsets at this time of year, this year was much better for me, health-wise. I was even able to eat a few “seasonal” treats, something I hadn’t done in a couple of years.
And now it’s time to figure out what the year ahead will hold, and what needs to be accomplished. For me, of course, it’s always the next book. I don’t write as quickly as some writers do, especially the younger ones, so I have to keep plotting on. On December 19th, my publisher released my 40th title! That is a lot of books, when you consider that the first one was published in March of 2007.
Thanks to the incredible increase of available books due to authors who’ve chosen to go the self-publishing route, coupled with new seemingly reader-friendly marketing strategies on the part of on-line booksellers, the marketplace is lively indeed. One needs to keep writing and producing more books in order to try and keep up and keep one’s head above financial water.
The reading public can be capricious, and each consumer only has so much money to spend. The onus is on the writer therefore, now more than ever, to ensure that the reader gets what they want, when they read their book. Knowing who your readers are, and what they want, is the first responsibility of all who pen stories. You have your art, and you have your message, and yes, those are important. But if no one reads what you write, then what do you really have?
I have been most fortunate to have readers who are willing to plunk down their hard earned dollars to visit the town that first lived in my imagination, and now lives between the pages of twenty-four novels—twenty-five, come January 23rd.
Thank you to all who’ve visited Lusty, Texas, for your loyalty, and the part you’ve played in making my life’s dream a reality. Thank you, especially, for taking the time to write to me. I adore hearing from readers!
And as I’ve said to all who’ve asked, yes, there are going to be more books written about that small, unique Texas town—as long as you, the reader, keep reading them.