Each year I create a list of goals for every area in my life. Throughout the year I work on these goals, track my progress and my challenges. Then, to keep myself honest, I commit to posting a list of some of my top accomplishments and challenges, and some of my smaller ones as well.
I challenge you to create a list of goals, keep track of them during the year, and then celebrate and post your accomplishments at year end. If you do, please let me know. I’d love to look at your list.
This year I spent most of my time writing long fiction. I’ll expound on the consequences to my short fictions sales in that section. I finished the 2nd draft of an 90,000 word crime thriller, Year of the Demon, continued my Amazon experiment by marketing Wolves of Vengeance, and began writing a ghost/suspense thriller and a science fiction thriller. I’m considering all my publishing options with Year of the Demon, and hope to be ready to forge ahead, on whatever that decision may be, by the end of 1st quarter 2015.
YEAR OF THE DEMON (Crime Thriller)
- Completed the second draft of Year of the Demon.
- Prepped manuscript for 1st readers.
- Secured first readers (beta readers)
- Allowed manuscript to “cool” to allow enough distance from the material to look at it as objectively as possible.
- Read through the whole manuscript to get a feel for the structure.
- Received first 50 pages of edits with only minor mechanical issues to be corrected.
WOLVES OF VENGEANCE (Supernatural Thriller)
I returned to marketing Wolves of Vengeance after reallocating that time to complete Year of the Demon. I changed the fiction categories the book is listed in on Amazon, changed the books description, joined Kindle Unlimited and even ran a free promotion. I also received a few more nice reviews. All of these actions helped to return the book to the public eye and it began selling more and getting more borrows.
- Updated and refined Wolves of Vengeance book description.
- Received this blurb from one of my writing heroes: “Wolves of Vengeance by David North-Martino. A paranormal wolf novel with real teeth, plus theme, strong plotting, rich characterization…and style to spare. If you like horror, check it out. The fact that it’s an ebook should be all the proof you need that traditional publishing’s in a bad way. North-Martino’s a writer to watch for.”-Reb MacRath, Author of Red Champagne.
- The 0.99 cent sale ended and price returned to normal.
- Signed up for Kindle Select/Unlimited
- Researched promotional opportunities.
- Set up Kindle free promotion for Halloween Eve and Halloween.
- Advertised Free promotion and Unlimited status on social media
- Submitted and paid for Ebook Booster
- Updated Kboard’s book post
- gave away 98 books for free peaking at #3,077 in free Kindle, #3 in free Psychic Suspense and #12 in free Horror Suspense.
- Dipped back to 1 million (paid) then to #100,642 (paid) #53 in paid psychic suspense (3rd page) #26 in Suspense Horror. #404 of 2,673 results.
- Had my first Kindle Unlimited borrows.
- Changed fiction categories and noticed and upswing in sales.
- Created a Bitly link for Wolves.
THE TOWER (Ghost/Suspense Thriller) Working Title
- Began first draft of The Tower. In a burst of inspiration I wrote 16 pages in 6 hours completing most of the first chapter in one sitting.
- Began research for the novel. I tend to do research while I’m writing.
- The manuscript is currently just over the 10,000 word mark.
PROXY MATE (Distopian Science Fiction)
- Began first draft of Proxy Mate.
- Began research.
- The manuscript is currently just under the 9,000 word mark.
All the momentum I created during 2011 and 2012 culminated in 2013 being a banner year for short fiction sales. Fortunately and unfortunately, everything purchased in 2013 was also published that same year. This left me with a lag in my momentum at a time when I wanted to spend more time on novels. I decided to put the majority of my time working on long fiction, but did squeeze in some time to write, rework, and submit stories for publication. I also ended up on the shortlist of one anthology, but won’t know if I have an acceptance until early next year. I’m competing with a group of highly talented writers who always bring their A-game. So, we will see what happens.
- Wrote 2 new short stories and reworked others to hopefully make them salable.
- Submitted six stories to various markets. This was about half of what I planned, but I decided to spend more time writing long fiction.
- Received payment for “The Interloper.” This story appears in: ANTHOLOGY: YEAR TWO: INNER DEMONS OUT
- Created a list of upcoming submission deadlines for magazine and anthology markets.
- Won a free book from the fine people at Villapede Press: DOUBLE FEATURE 1
- Cellar Door received a nice review from Hellnotes: CELLAR DOOR REVIEWS
- Invited by editor, after receiving high marks from associate editors, to submit to new anthology.
- Ended up on the shortlist for an anthology that is scheduled to be published next year.
- Wrote reviews and gave ratings for novels that I enjoyed.
- Shared and exchanged Web links with other authors.
- Kept up with author friends on social media.
- Read and critiqued the beginning of a novel for an author friend.
- Invited to write answers to the Usual Questions for Festivale Online Magazine (Interestingly enough, after I stated that I wanted to spend more time on mainstream thrillers, I ended up begining a ghost/suspense novel and a science fiction novella). THE USUAL QUESTIONS
- Updated WordPress to a professional URL.
Reading is probably the most important thing any writer can do to improve their craft. The impulse to write usually comes from a love of reading. That’s certainly where mine came from. I don’t like to make a list of the books I read a year because, compared to some, my list would be pathetically small. I tend to read slowly. My pace has slowed considerably since I began writing because now I’m trying to read like a writer and absorb the nuances within the fiction, and learn how different writers aproach their craft. Still, I feel that the depth of the reading is as important and how much reading is accomplished.
Author Hank Schwaeble challenged me, and many other writers, to read some fiction classics this year. We were supposed to pick out some that we hadn’t read from Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 Novels. I only got to one that I had picked out: The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carre. I really enjoyed that book, and can see how it has influenced American thriller writers. I will read more on that list as time allows.
- Called my parents on average once per week.
- Attended a belated holiday gathering with my family in January.
- Celebrated our birthdays.
- Took down tree in January.
- Called my Aunt Margie to wish her a Happy New Year.
- Lit a candle for my Sister on the anniversary of her death.
- Attended a wake for a friend’s father.
- Mailed cards to nieces and nephews.
- Celebrated 19 years of marriage.
- Sent Cousin Thorny a card for his 90th birthday.
- Visited my family for Mother’s Day.
- Attended my God-daughter’s graduation party.
- Exhanged emails with my friend and former Professor.
- Helped my parents with the logistics of picking up their new car.
- Attended Patty’s Dad’s BBQ a couple of days after Independence Day.
- Attended a seafood boil at a friends house. Videos of me dancing and playing the spoons.
- Had a writing friend offer to introduce me to one of my martial arts heroes.
- Visited my Mom & Dad for lunch at Cedars Steak House.
- Celebrated the anniverary of our first date.
- Enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner for two at home.
- Visited Mom & Dad for an after Thanksgiving breakfast.
- Reminisced with a high school friend about another school we attended together.
- Celebrated Christmas and my Father-In-Law’s 80th birthday.
- Enjoyed an after holiday breakfast with my parents.
- Made a Valentine’s video for my FB friends. Hahaha!
Last year I trained mostly solo and worked with some private students as I assessed the direction I wanted to take my own training. This year I made it a point to bring my training in a new direction. I decided to add some Filipino Kali (stick and knife training) and Jeet Kune Do to my training. I had the opportunity to work with full and associate instructors of Guro Dan Innosanto and attended a seminar with legendary Sigung Taky Kimura. I trained with some old martial friends, and made some amazing new ones. Although I will continue to practice what I’ve learned in my previous arts, I now know what direction my training will go for at least the next five years.
- Celebrated 27 years of martial arts training.
- Researched Krav Maga and combatives curriculums.
- Purchases a Krav Maga curriculum workbook.
- Switched Patty to a Krav style curriculum for our fighting & fitness training until Patty injured her knee outside of training.
- Continued my solo training.
- Created a new training log book to reflect my new goals.
- Renewed our membership at the range.
- Challenge: I nursed a shoulder injury.
- Contacted my friend Tony and arranged to meet him and his wife at a Kali seminar.
- Purchased a Jeet Kune Do book.
- Attended a Kali seminar with Instructor Raffi Derderian Academy of Martial Arts and began my introduction to filipino stick and knife trianing. Reconected with my friend Tony and his wife, received training from an amazing instructor, trained with a great partner who helped me with the new material, and met some all around great people from the Metrowest Academy of Jiu Jitsu . I highly recommend both of these schools.
- Bought rattan sticks and foam covered training sticks.
- Began working on what I learned at the seminar including Heaven Six, Heaven and Earth, and other sinawali and sambrata.
- Taught Patty some of these basics so that we could train together.
- Learned basic JKD/Wing Chung Pak Sao and Lop Sao and others.
- After an interesting synchronicity, I reconnected to my traditional TKD (Tang Soo Do) training.
- Posted my 1992 black belt test on youtube.
- Research Shotokan Kata to compare and contrast with Tang Soo Do.
- Returned to modified P90X training
- Focused on Naihanchi Sam Dan
- Made three Youtube martial arts videos for fun: Kali, Karate punching, and boxing workout.
- Attended Raffi’s New England Martial Arts Camp for the Taky Kimura seminar. I met tons of great people and leaned lots. Practiced Jun Fan Gung Fu/Jeet Kune Do, Jung Ki Hapkido with Master LaCava, Kali with Sifu Kevin Seaman (he also taught BJJ), studied various styles of Kung Fu with Sifu Mark Cardona. I wasn’t able to attend Coach Jeff Burger‘s Muay Thai class, but I did have the privilege of working with him briefly. I highly recommend all of these instructors. If you live nearby, check them out.
- Trained at the range regularly.
- Challange: I tore my MCL in my knee had had to put training on hold for a period of time.
- For fun I played PS3 Move for extra physical activity.
- I cut down on Zyrtec and Flonase.
- Began eye pressure at 14-15.
- Began using Pataday for allergies.
- Changed dentist and went to appointments for cleaning.
- Got a flu shot.
- Had my sunglasses repaired.
- Visted my doctor for a mild MCL tear. Stopped training while it healed and preforemed leg lifts with weights to strengthen knee
- Began a series of new eye drops as my eye pressure increased to 19.
- Had side effects from new eye drop medication and got checked out at the ER.
- Went for an appointment with an opthalmologist and glaucoma specialist. Made appointments for next year for a follow up.
- Began reducing sodium in our diets.
- Had cars inspected.
- Ordered new driver’s license online and recieved it.
- Detailed interior of cars.
- Oil change and bushings for my car.
- Oil change and replaced censor on airbag light on Patty’s car. Heat Shield adjusted for free. It was creating engine grininding noises. Some rattle caused by the exhaust, but we were told it wasn’t worth fixing and posed no safety problem.
- Updated my registration.
- Washed cars.
- Had cars serviced for recalls.
- Bought new tires for Patty’s car.
- Someone hit my bumper and left four white scratches that I still need to paint.
- Bought a new battery for Patty’s car after it died overnight and wouldn’t take a charge.
- Had taxes prepared.
- Patty won a product gift basket from Serene-Scape.
- Received a Tax form from Amazon with my royalty statement for book sales.
- Patty met with the company’s 401k advisor and reallocated funds.
- Reduced our phone data plan.
- Dental bill paid in full by insurance company.
- Saved money by fixing our toilet myself. I’m not mechanical. So, this is a big deal.
- Had to dispute charges a couple times with credit cards because of fraud.
- Patty had her eye glass lenses replaced under warrantee.
- Began reading Anthony Robbin’s Wealth Book
- Gave to assorted charities.
- Gave charity in my sister’s name.
- Made a video for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Contacted by ABC News to use footage. Not sure if it aired. We also donated.
- Sent letters to my representatives.
- Voted in elections.
- We accomplished many thing goals, but I’m not going to list them publicly.
- Upgraded to iPhone 5c from iPhone 4s.
- Tested a brita filter but it didn’t work well with our sink.
- Took down the tree.
- Cleaned the house regularly.
- Cleaned out the fabric softner well and dispenser after I realized that it had grown mold.
- Replaced floater in toilet.
- Replaced tourcher lamp in living room.
- Installed new 10 year smoke detector in upstairs hall.
- Association removed hedges.
- Association provided a dumpster which helped with spring cleaning.
Fun & Travel
Vacationed at Niagara Falls in Upstate New York by way of Syracuse
- Stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, Syracuse.
- Cantina Lerado at Destiny USA, Syracuse. Fresh guacamole made right at our table with diced tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro. Casa Rita, Dos Equis Amber, and steak fajitas.
- The Seneca Hotel & Casino, Niagara. Room with a view of Canada and fireworks.
- Played Video Poker.
- Received $40.00 in free slot play.
- Thunderfalls Buffett.
- Fireworks: watched from the window Sunday and Wednesday night at 10 pm.
- Hard Rock Café, Niagara.
- Smokin Joes Native Center.
- Three Sister’s Café.
- Niagara Falls.
- Horseshoe Falls.
- Top of the Falls Restaurant.
- Cave of the Winds and Hurricane Deck.
- Hilton Garden Inn Suite, Syracuse included a large whirlpool tub.
- Tully’s Good Times Restaurant Syracuse.
- Went to Chipolite for the first time.
- Watched Independence day fireworks on TV, and out of our home window.
- Had frozen yogurt at Menchies.
- Watched Rhonda Rousey win by TKO with a knee to the liver (liver shot)!
- Watched UFC: Rousey wins in 16 seconds.
- Tried ice cream at Chevy’s in Woonsocket.
- Went to a friend’s seafood boil in RI.
- Went to the new Showcase XPlus Cinema, watched The Expendables III, and got a free T-shirt.
- Watched Guardians of the Galaxy at the IMAX.
- Ate at the Blue Fin Lounge for the first time.
That’s about it for 2014. On to 2015… Happy New Year!