Writing Goals for 2013


By Patricia Zick @PCZick

As the new year approaches, I’m thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2013 as an author. Perhaps if I share these goals here in a public forum there will be more chance of keeping them. I’m writing this post from the road in Florida. I’ll return home on New Years’ Eve, refreshed and recharged from time spent with family and friends and the sun. When I return, I’m hoping I’ll be ready to tackle these goals, or I could come home with a revised list after time away. Travel always helps me focus.

I accomplished many of my goals for 2012. I began writing full time. I published a novel that had languished far too long in a desk drawer (Live from the Road), I began blogging on a regular basis and developed a modest following (thank you), and I finished Trails in the Sand, which is almost ready for its big launch at the start of 2013. The only goal that didn’t occur:  I didn’t become a bestselling author. . .yet.

Writing Goals for 2013

  1. Launch Trails in the Sand. I published it on amazon and have a print copy ready to proof. I plan to do a big launch for the novel by the end of January.3-D1web
  2. Finish Safe Harbor. I started this novel in 2007 but stopped when I decided I needed to find a wildlife officer to interview. I left for the big Route 66 trip, which led to the creation of Live from the Road. When I returned from Route 66, I took a new job with Florida’s fish and wildlife agency and became very familiar with wildlife officers and experts. Now there’s no excuse not to finish the almost completed draft. I start by pulling out the spiral notebook where it’s housed and giving it a read. I always recommend that writers let pieces incubate, but five years isn’t what I meant.

    manuscript waiting for its creator

    manuscript waiting for its creator

  3. Publish a book of essays on my travels. I already have a name: Odyssey to Myself. I have most of the pieces written in various stages. It’s a matter of pulling it all together into one cohesive story of my travels from 2004-2009 as I discarded an old life and moved into a new phase.

    Santiago, Chile

    Santiago, Chile

  4. Pull together all of my gardening blog posts from my blog “Living Lightly Upon this Earth” into a book. I see it as a primer for gardening and preserving produce. Again, I have all the pieces here and there, I just need to pull it all together.

    our garden

    our garden

  5. Read the pile of books on my desk, both fiction and nonfiction. Reading is an essential part of the writing journey. How fortunate for me to have a career that requires reading for improving my craft.

    just a few books to read

    just a few books to read

  6. Establish myself as a bestselling author. Every year this one makes it to my list. Here’s to 2013 as being the year it happens. For me, this goal refers to making a living as an author. I want to be able to pay more than the electrical bill each month with the proceeds from my storytelling.madwriter


In 2012, I finally believed in my success as an author. Perhaps that’s all that matters. The realization came twice. When I finished reading the final draft of Trails in the Sand, I cried happy tears because I loved the story I created, whether anyone else did or not. The second time occurred this past week. My husband was reading. He looked up at one point and said, “Now that’s good – that’s just plain good writing.” I wasn’t sure what he meant because I wasn’t paying attention to what he was reading. When I looked at him, I saw he had the proof copy of Trails in his lap, and he was tapping his pen on words I’d written. That to me is success, but I’d still like to pay more than the electric bill with my work.

Do you set goals at the beginning of each year? Does it help keep you on track?

Birthday Celebration – Giving it Away

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I decided the best way to celebrate another year was to giveaway my book during the holidays. I’m a Christmas baby (December 23). I’m grateful I made it through another year, and I’m extremely grateful to have published two book in 2012. Live from the Road went “live” on amazon in May, and last week, I very quietly published Trails in the Sand. The big launch will come in January when I have a few reviews posted. The book examines the wounds inflicted through generations of a family while the Deepwater horizon oil spill threatens Florida’s endangered sea turtles. I call it an environmental love story, but no one recognizes that as a genre. . . yet.3-D1web

The first opportunity for a giveaway, over at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews, ends tomorrow. She has more giveaways to offer than just Live from the Road. It’s the End of the World Blog hop, and that’s right, it ends on December 21, 2012. But I’m sure you’ll all be here to read whichever book you might win.

Goodreads Giveaway – Two autographed print editions of Live from the Road will be given away. Enter to win now through December 31, 2012. smallsmall

Free Kindle version of Live from the RoadDecember 21-25, 2012. Happy birthday to me and Merry Christmas to you. You can take a trip down Route 66 for free without leaving home.


Two Male Authors and Their Books

pilebooksBy Patricia Zick @PCZick

Two books, two male authors, and two similar disillusioned looks at love kept me reading late into the night recently.

I admit I read books written by women with intriguing female protagonists most of the time. It’s my preferred choice because I’m a female author who creates female protagonists in pursuit of truth and love. But I reached my quota a few months ago after reading one too many “bestselling” novels by “bestseller” female authors. The last novels disappointed me with weak plots and annoying female leads.

I decided I needed a break from my “studies.” It’s not that I don’t like male writers – Pat Conroy and John Irving are two of my all-time favorites – it’s just that I study in the genre I write. Sometimes it helps to break with routine.

I turned to Jeffrey Eugenides and The Marriage Plot. I enjoyed Middlesex, his novel that received a Pulitzer Prize in 2002, so I eagerly awaited his next book published ten years later.

The Marriage Plot


The Marriage Plot takes a different approach when a love triangle forms with Madeleine at the center as she writes her senior thesis on female authors from the nineteenth century who formed the “marriage plot” of the era.

Madeleine’s love interests, Leonard and Mitchell, provide glimpses at very different versions of intellectual prowess. The novel begins at Brown University and follows the characters through college and beyond as they travel and do post-graduate studies. The book has received criticism for being pretentious in its literary ramblings and collegial discussions.

I found it refreshing to read a novel not watered down to achieve the eighth-grade national reading level. I learned about things I’d never heard of before , such as semiotics, and I felt intelligent when I understood the genius behind the madness of Madeleine, Mitchell, and Leonard. Thank you, Mr. Eugenides, for taking ten years to write a novel of substance.

Since I enjoyed reading one male author so much, I ventured immediately into another one on my shelf purchased from the discount bin at the local bookstore. Douglas Kennedy creates a rich portrait of a female protagonist in Leaving the World.Leaving the World: A Novel

Again, I found myself immersed in the life of an intelligent and literary main character, Jane. Jane loves, loses, and learns to rise up above the ashes of her pitiful life. Despite the outrageous plot contrivances and the unbelievable tragedies that befall Jane, I was intrigued by her pain and poor decision-making abilities. I moaned a couple of times when I recognized the brink Jane teetered on, but I still became invested in Jane’s redemption.

After these books, I went to another male author. Ernest Hemingway has never been one of my favorite writers, but I wanted to read his account of his Paris years in A Moveable Feast. That’s for another post.

Next, I’m embarking on a book I found impossible to read in serial form when it was released back in 1987 in Rolling Stone. But it’s the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe so I thought I’d give it a try. Now it will be an historical account rather than a contemporary examination Wall Street and New York City. At 700 pages, don’t expect me to write about it anytime soon, if I can embrace it this time around.

Have you read either of these novels?  What did you think? What are you reading now?

My Novel Christmas Party


By Patricia Zick @PCZick

I love Jae over at Lit and Scribbles. She always has inspiring posts such as her recent Novel Christmas Party. Today, I’m throwing a Novel Christmas Party for my novel Live from the Road.

Question:  What Christmas carol best describes Live from the Road and why?

Answer: Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy

I chose something that was just crazy enough to match some of the antics of the four women in the novel. This comes as close as anything. I was even more convinced after watching the video.

Jae also challenged other authors to answer a few questions about the characters of the novel who have attended a Christmas party, but in the answers, they are not allowed to kill one another.

  1. Who’s the first to show up and who’s the first to leave? Why? The first to show up would be Sally who is punctual and precise and a bit of a nerd. That’s why she would also be the first to leave the party, but only after she’d made sure all the counter tops were spotless.
  2.  Who’s the first to start a fight? Why? That would have to be CC because she’s carrying around a lot of anger that needs to be expelled. She often ends up saying things that made folks mad.
  3. Who’s the first to get drunk? Why? All four main characters, Meg, Sally, CC, and Ramona, would be the first at the party to get drunk because they like to party. They’d start with doing shots and end with doing shots, but Sally would stop in time to clean the kitchen and be sober enough to drive home.
  4. Who will enjoy the party most and who will loathe being there? Why? CC and Ramona will enjoy the party the most because they live in the moment most of the time. As long as CC can sing a song on the karaoke machine, she’ll have a blast. Meg will have the least fun because she’ll sit in a corner by herself thinking about her son and her jerk of a boyfriend.

So now, it’s your turn. What carol, even if you have to stretch a little, best describes your novel and why?

Next, imagine all your characters are attending a Christmas party where they’re not allowed to kill each other. Answer the following questions:

  1. Who’s the first to show up and who’s the first to leave? Why?
  2. Who’s the first to start a fight? Why?
  3. Who’s the first to get drunk? Why?
  4. Who will enjoy the party most and who will loathe being there? Why?

You can either tell me in the comments below or create your own post. If you do a post, call it My Novel Christmas Party and link back to this post so I can share it.

Live from the Road giveaways in December:

book-lovers-giveaway button


Goodreads Giveaway – December 7-31 Print Edition

December 21-25 My Birthday Celebration – Live from the Road (Kindle version) will be free on amazon.com to celebrate the winter holidays and my birthday on December 23. What better way to celebrate than to give something away?

I hope you’re enjoying the beauty of the season and not getting caught up in the nonsense.