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    But Mouse, you are not alone,
    In proving foresight may be vain:
    The best-laid schemes of mice and men
    Go oft awry,
    And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
    For promised joy!

    To A Mouse—Robert Burns

    With the approach of a New Year, I’ve been working on my annual goals for 2021. My process is fairly straight forward—a very small number of big targets for the year broken down into key milestones and tactics.

    To start, I review my prior year goals carefully jotted down by hand in a journal and analyze how well I did. When I looked at my 2020 plan, I laughed. That seemed a better reaction than crying.

    This time last year, we neared completion on the renovations of our new house. We were settling into a routine in Murrells Inlet building a social network among new friends and volunteering in the community. I thought the biggest challenge would be managing outside time demands so I could achieve my work goals. Little did we know a virus was already spreading around the world upending everything.

    As the globe shut down and we were largely confined to home, time for writing expanded, but I still missed my writing goals. You would think being told to avoid social contact would be good for an author considering we do our work in an isolated room avoiding others. The reality, though, was much of the year was a distraction. Concentrating on stories and characters became too much of a challenge.

    The good news is we can see a light at the end of the tunnel (though we hope it’s not an oncoming train). Based on current predictions, we expect to be vaccinated by the middle of the year. Our social and volunteer activities should be ramping back up by then.

    Best news for you, Dear Reader, is writing is back on track. The current book is getting close. Another book is largely outlined and may be next, though another story has been nagging my brain and may leap in line. We’ll see, but the creative juices are flowing.

    With Robert Burns classic poem in mind, I’ve scratched out my goals for 2021 in my handwritten journal. Project timelines and to do lists have been built in my Amazing Marvin software (not an affiliate link, just a tool I really like). I’m ready to start the new year.

    May 2021 treat you well.

    Books I’m Reading

    Two young brothers escape a tough orphanage, Iron House, located deep in the North Carolina mountains. One lives a life of crime as an enforcer for a mob boss. The other becomes a successful author and part of a wealthy and influential family headed by a U.S. Senator. Decades later, their lives collide as murder victims, all former orphans, are uncovered. What secrets are buried in their pasts?

    Amazon affiliate links result in a small commission to me, though they have no impact on your pricing.

    Interesting Links

    Cleaning Your Book Clutter—Do you have a plan to clean up your libraries, To Be Read stacks, and even your e-reader? This article highlights some things to consider.

    North Carolina Snow Skiing—Since I grew up in and write about the Carolinas and Tennessee, I like to highlight some of the things most people don’t about our area. One of those is the abundance of places to snow ski. If you’re looking for a place, here are some.

    Gratuitous Dog Picture

    We all have supervisors who check on the progress of work. I have editors who ensure manuscripts are timely and correct, but no overseer is tougher than Mr. Roscoe who makes sure I take breaks for canine therapy. The head-on-the-desk look with soulful brown eyes is certainly effective.

    Background title image courtesy Eric Rothermel via Unsplash

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    1. Debbie and Ruby on January 1, 2021 at 9:03 am

      Will be reading Iron House shortly since my local library has it in the racks. It is even in large print for aging eyes. Enjoyed the Last Child that you recommended. Thanks once again.

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