I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions – in part because all too often, they are easily discarded and forgotten before the month of January has ended. And, for reasons mentioned before having to with an inability to predict what may come in any given year – for an example look to the year just past, the year that perhaps should remain nameless and forgotten if only we could. January is also the month in which I remember the loss of my father in 2009 and my husband in 2019. I still like to consider each new year a blank page on which to write, I have lingering concerns what fate, not I, might scribble.

I do, however, make plans. My plan for 2021 is to have at least one new novel out by year’s end – more if it proves to be possible. There’s a back story, of course, and that’s the fact that after I signed my first book contract in 2010.  The first contract was with Champagne Books for Kinfolk which published in 2011 although the contract was signed in 2010.  Wolfe’s Lady, with Evernight Publishing appeared in December 2010. Between then and the publication of my last published novel to date, Still Waters Run Deeper in October 2017, there were around 30 titles, some full-length novels, and some novellas. My books have been published not only by those listed above but also by Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press), World Castle Publishing, and the now defunct Rebel Ink Press.  All were published in electronic format and several more in paperback and one in hardback as well as the other two formats.

I recently made a social media post about why I haven’t had any new works in three years and counting but it has everything to do with my late husband’s health decline. I never stopped writing – just had a stronger focus as well as a full-time job that grew increasingly demanding of my time.

I have several works in progress – WIPS we authors like to say – now and at least one should be complete in time to submit, hopefully find acceptance from a publisher and be in the hands of readers this year.

That’s the plan – not the promise or the resolution, just a plan. I know all too well that the best-laid plans of mice and men can ofttimes go awry (Thank you Robbie Burns) but my intention is that this plan will succeed.

The focus back on my fiction – which is my first writing love – doesn’t mean that I won’t write other things because I will. I’ve aspired to write fiction since the 5th grade when I spent far too much class time scribbling my first effort at a novel in the back of my blue pressed cardboard binder.  That novel never saw the light of day – after all I was nine years old – but it was set during the Civil War so in a way, my historical title (writing as Patrice Wayne) “Dearest Love: Do You Remember? “is the finished and polished effort of the one begun so long ago.

So on this cold January night, I’m looking ahead with a plan, not a resolution.

Stay tuned and we’ll see together how that works out.

-Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a former journalist and a published author as well as a freelance writer.