2018 has been an amazingly productive year at Leigh Macfarlane Creative, and the final countdown to 2019 finds me extremely thankful for all that was experienced -- and excited for the new year to come.
In quick review:
2018 was a year of firsts.
This year in January, I began work on my first novel. The Heart of Things -- a romantic suspense featuring the mother/daughter accidental crime solving duo Colleen and Abbie Lewis. The Heart of Things was completed and sent off to agents in late summer, and is now under consideration!
In April of 2018, I attended my first writer's conference at the Okanagan Writer's Festival in Penticton, BC. I had two main goals for attending - first, I wanted to meet a writing community, second, I wanted assistance with some ethical questions regarding writing. Both of these goals were accomplished, and I had a lot of fun, too. Love you Penticton!
As a direct result of the conference, I began attending two very different writing groups. One focuses on readings and critique, one focuses on teaching and marketing. Although my attendance has been sporadic of late, I am very grateful for both groups.
In early Summer, after yet again doing some editing work for a friend, I decided to make it official, and I started the small business Macfarlane Creative Editing Services. To date, I have served roughly one contract per month, and the response of those who have engaged my services has been highly positive. Feel free to contact me for rates and availability.
Over the summer of 2018, I experienced some upheaval in my place of employment, and after some trial and error, ultimately landed at Kelowna Art Gallery. There, I find almost daily inspiration which translates directly to my writing while also filling in some gaps financially. There I also met my new guy, Maximillian III, Archduke of Austria, and refuse to let a little thing like his death 200 years ago stand between us.
I am extremely grateful for my position at KAG -- one of the best non-writing jobs I have ever had.
In September of 2018, I began work on my second novel of the year, and I completed the rough draft the first week of November. After completing a cover to cover read-thru of Honey on My Lips, I was extremely excited and pleased to find it a very solid first draft. Love the characters, love the story-line, and EEP, there are sex scenes!! I took some time to edit the draft and have now sent it off on speculation to a Harlequin imprint. Did I already say, EEP?
In October, I was excited to attend my second writer's conference, this one put on by the Okanagan Word Guild. There, my new friend, thriller writer, Jonas Saul, told us that it takes ten completed works before an author has a web presence -- which is my new goal.
Also in October, I daytripped myself to Peachland, BC, then wrote a blog piece about the fantastic day I experienced (daytrippinwithleighmacfarlane.com). I am thrilled to announce that that blog post will be featured on the cover of Peachland's 2019 tourist guide. How cool is that?
Halfway through September, my son, Eric, convinced me to join him as he participated in NaNoWriMo -- National Novel Writing Month. For the month of November, crazy people challenge themselves to write an entire novel manuscript (50,000 words) in a 30 day period. I thought this would be a great bonding experience with my son, so I agreed to join. I was a little bit concerned, since the novel I was already working on was days away from completion, but I dove in, anyhow. And then, wonder of wonders, I got sick, and ended up legitimately home sick from work. I spent eight days straight alternating between napping and writing. By the end of that first week, I had 19,000 words written! By November 20th, I had 50,000, and by November 28th, I had my third novel of the year completely drafted. I have now completed the first read thru, and I honestly couldn't put the book down. Very excited to complete the next stage of edits on Rock Bottom Ranch and submit it, as well, to Harlequin. Spoiler alert - Rock Bottom Ranch has sex scenes in it, too!
Also this year, I had some reuniting with old friends. So glad to let go of the petty past and move on to enjoy the future. At the urging of this friend, I have taken some time to rework several of my songs, and have adapted them into a book of poetry called Song Poetry, published on Lulu. The book has just arrived at my house, and it looks great! Hey, my family, you'll never get what you're getting for Christmas!
As well, in 2018, my sister and her hubbie surprised me with a trip to Vancouver to see the Eagles live in concert. Later, I joined her family and watched the Okanagan Suns football team clobber the Kamloops Blazers in the season opener. I also saw Sarah, my former boss, running around outdoors in her knickers in a rollicking rendition of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, I saw a live performance of Mamma Mia, then enjoyed Salmon Arm's Roots and Blues Festival with my son, Eric. He and I also took in Shayne Koyczan's farewell tour, and most recently I laughed my way through Elf the musical with my friend, Mary.
On top of that, my youngest daughter and I jetted off to Alberta this summer to see her sister, Lyla, get married, and my older daughter, Alison, spread her wings and moved to her own home. Fortunately, she had the good sense to stay near enough that I can visit, and/or drive by late at night when she has no idea her mommy is near. Sheena's volleyball team made it to provincial finals -- first time in years for our school -- and two days ago, Sheena fell in basketball and is now limping around the house like the trooper she is. Eric has a new girlfriend, and Brian just bought a new car. For right now I, and all those I love, are happy and well and thriving. 2018 has been a truly beautiful, jam packed year.
This past week, I've had two different opportunities to sing, first with Mary at a local old age home, where we sang some Christmas carols and some older hits, and last night, downtown Kelowna with Mary's choir. So, now I'm all Christmas carolled up, the goodies are baked for another year, the presents are under the tree, and all that remains is for the guests to arrive and festivities to ensue.
Going into 2019 I find myself in an excellent place to move further forward with my vocational dreams. So, in 2019, you can expect to see me writing!
Currently, I am struggling to commit to my next project. I have five I want to tackle, and it's so hard to decide! Do I start with the environmental mystery? Or shall I introduce you all to Monya, owner of the Walking Walrus Café? Shall I finish the standardbred race track inspired historical romance, or do I write installment number two in the adventures of Abbie and Colleen, my mother/daughter crime solving duo? I can, at least, postpone the non-fiction exploration of Okanagan beaches until summer. And I must postpone my art heist novel until I no longer work in an art gallery. Still, as usual, I have more ideas than time. Next year I hope to complete at least three of the above novel projects, plus the non-fiction beach edition. All in all, I had better pick one and get writing!
And so, going in to the new year, I'd like to thank everyone for their support, and for reading. Here's to all of you this Christmas! May the holiday season find you all warm and well-fed and loved. Seasons Greetings, from my house to yours!