2014 was one of the most challenging, but exhilarating years I've ever had, both personally and as a writer. My first novella, Cecile's Christmas Miracle (Part of the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas Series) was published in e-book format in December 2013 and paperback in 2014. After a successful release where I joined the ranks of "Amazon Bestseller," the publisher (Helping Hands Press) asked me what else I wanted to do.
I decided to join the writing team for The San Francisco Wedding Planner - one plot, five writers. I faced several challenges with this series - some self-inflicted, and others having to do with working with other creative people who have differing ideas. However, overall the experience was fun and produced an interesting option for Christian fiction readers. My novella, Shadows and Sunshine, is in volume 1 and Life Lessons is in volume II.
Other projects I enjoyed were contributing two devotionals to Rise, a devotional book for high school graduates, joining the blogging team for A Beautiful Life and putting together a group of Uplifting Devotionals for Parents.
Throughout the year I found myself scrambling to learn everything I needed to learn. I spent hours listening to webinars about the greatest and latest marketing tools. I researched different publishing options. I worked with a professional editor for the first time. I experimented with blog hops, twitter chats, press releases, and a self-hosted WordPress website. I took online courses and put together my own Facebook Author Page. Somehow I managed to get more writing done (and published) than ever before.
Through this whole time I also worked on a full length novel. I shared the synopsis and had many people cheering me on, including an editor. However, I found myself getting impatient with family members because I wasn't meeting deadlines. Instead of enjoying a warm summer day with my children, I sneaked away to our local library to write. Phil Callaway's stories (at our InScribe Fall Conference) about the realities he faces as a writer made me stop and think. My husband complained about my lack of attention to our family and I wondered if this was the wrong season of my life to seriously launch a writing career.
I took some time to look back and plan forward at the end of December. As a result, I thought I knew what I'd be working on in 2015. Reflection showed me that my stress came from working on the full-length novel. As I stepped forward, God opened a different door. My focus switched to writing some non-fiction books and self-publishing them in a series format. The non-fiction projects are much easier to tackle in small chunks. I've put my fiction writing on hold until God prompts me to go back to it. This year looks like another steep learning curve with figuring out how to create professional-looking book covers, Kindle formatting, podcasts, webinars, and videos . . . unless God shows me otherwise!
My overarching priority in 2015 is time alone with God, daily asking for His wisdom and guidance, and being sensitive to His schedule for me. There are many steps ahead, but with God's help I'll take those steps one at a time and give Him all the glory.