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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ringing in the New Year

It is New Year's Day in Australia and a sort of muggy morning with the threat of rain. If I face plant on my key board it is because our neighbours rang in the New Year with a party that didn't end until 4.00am after which they HAD to clear up all the bottles by throwing them into the bin. I don't mean to be a "wowser" but some consideration for your neighbours even it is New Year's eve, would be appreciated!

The grumble is over and time to reflect on 2013. Was it just me or did it whiz by at ultra sonic speed? It was certainly a year of firsts for me:

  • I rode a float in the New Orleans Mardi Gras. 
  • I visited the West Indies (Martinique)  and saw the place where my great+ grandfather had his head blown off by the English (he was French).
  • I visited Russia.
  • We celebrated 2 family engagements and a wedding.
  • I had 2 books hit Amazon best selling lists.

Farewell 2013 and welcome 2014.  I don't set resolutions. I try to set achievable goals so this time last year I sat down and publicly set out my goals for 2013 and as I publicly stated them I should probably publicly evaluate my success or otherwise…

So casting back to Jan 1, 2013..
I ... think we need to distinguish between personal and professional goals for the year. 
My perennial personal goal is "to lose weight" and "get fitter".  To make that achievable:

  • My goal is to lose 500g per month. Nearly achieved. I lost 5kg over the year.
  • My goal is to exercise a minimum of 5 days per week and to add incentive I will enter  Run Melbourne in July (5kms). Nearly achieved. I exercise at least 4 days per week…and I entered Run Melbourne but alas on the day another commitment prevented me from running it. I don’t think Fun Runs should figure in my goal setting!
My professional goals:

  • Write a minimum of 10,000 words per week, acknowledging that writing every day is not achievable (sorry, but it's just not!). Ha ha!
  • Cut down on my social media addiction. Balance and moderation in everything! Errrr…
  • My  specific writing goals will be shared regularly with my writing group, who keep me honest. Ok… I did manage this one. I love my writing group and now can't imagine my writing life without them.

BRING IT ON… here are my 2014 goals

  • Continue the weight loss journey (family wedding in November and I don’t want to be the short tubby one on the end of the row in the photographs!)
  • Keep up the exercise. 4 days minimum.
  • Make more time for my needlework.
  • Make space in the schedule for quality time with my husband (who after working hard all his life is taking a "gap year") and family. There is more to life than writing!

  • Drawing on my corporate background, I have written a "business plan" for 2014 so my goal is to stick to it!
  • Better balance of the need to write with the "busyness" side of being a writer which can mean way too much time on social media.
So what can you expect from Alison Stuart in 2014?
TWO Alison Stuart books:

  • CLAIMING THE REBEL'S HEART (historical romance) will be out on or before 22 January. This will be Book 1 in the "Harcourt Chronicles".
  • LORD SOMERTON'S HEIR (regency, romantic suspense) will be coming out on 1 May.
According to the "business plan" I will be working on a sequel to Claiming the Rebel's Heart with an aim to have it out in early 2015 (sorry...but I am a slow writer). I am also working on the third book in the "King's Man" series - more on that later. There is also another historical romantic suspense on the back burner. 

And I do also have a day job...sigh!

Finally... Over the next three weeks a group of us Aussie romance writers are running an Australia Day blog hop (Australia Day is Jan 26), organised by my friend (and fabulous editor), Annie Seaton. There is a $100 Amazon gift card on offer plus some fabulous giveaways. My blog will go up on Jan 23 but do pop in to visit the other blogs which kick off today over at Monique McDonnell's blog. Visit her and the entry for the draw for the major prize is at the bottom of this blog.