Setting goals, my writing projects for 2016, and some advice required

round robin, helena fairfax

It’s time for the first Round Robin of 2016, and this month we are to list “one or two writing projects” we have in mind for the coming year.

I really like the idea of goals. Even if I don’t achieve them, it gives me something to work towards, and – if you work by yourself, as most writers do – it’s important to give yourself some sense of direction, otherwise you feel as though you’re just floundering around.

Towards the end of last year, I had a strong sense of floundering. I have a couple of goals in mind for this year, but they’re relatively easily achievable and will still leave the rest of the year stretching ahead – which means plenty of time for floundering!

But first things first. Here we go with my immediate goals, and I’d appreciate some advice on them if you have time.

Writing goal number one

helena fairfax, romantic suspenseMy most pressing goal is to edit and tidy up The Scottish Diamond – a romantic suspense novella I wrote as a sequel to last summer’s Palace of Deception.

Palace of Deception is a fairy tale romance in which the heroine, Lizzie, takes on the role of stand-in for a princess in danger. Lizzie is given a handsome bodyguard to protect her – and, holed up together in a fabulous palace in the Mediterranean prinicpality of Montverrier – inevitably they begin to fall in love.

In the sequel, The Scottish Diamond, the hero, Léon, leaves Montverrier for Edinburgh and a new life with Lizzie. But away from the romance and heat of the Mediterranean, how will they adapt to life together? When Léon is offered a job in Edinburgh Castle, guarding a fabulous jewel called the Scottish Diamond, danger from Montverrier follows hot on their trail. How well does Lizzie really know Léon? And who can she trust?


Here’s the part where I could use some advice. Take a look at the cover for Palace of Deception, which was created by my fabulous cover artist, Charlotte Volnek. I’m about to ask Charlotte for a design for The Scottish Diamond. Based on my brief blurb, what do you think should be on the cover? Léon has to wear a kilt for his job in Edinburgh Castle. I was thinking of having a man in a kilt on the cover, plus the castle, and a diamond. What do you think? Would it be an attractive cover, or can you think of a better idea?

Writing goal number two

Update my website. I’ve been running this blog for three years now. When I started it, I didn’t have a single book published. Now I have several to my name, as you can see from my Amazon page. I need to make my books more of a focus in the design of this website. (I appreciate this isn’t really a “writing goal” as such, but since publishing and marketing are all so much intertwined these days I’m counting it as one!)

helena fairfax
                          My Amazon page

Writing goal number three

My third writing goal is to start a newsletter. It’s rare that I write posts here about even my own writing life – I generally write things of general interest, eg last week’s post on books being adapted for film in 2016. I’d like to start a newsletter that’s more personal, eg with news of my writing, photos of my walks on the Yorkshire moors and trips to London, things I’m looking at for inspiration and books I’ve read and loved. It would have the benefit of being sent only to people who are genuinely interested in what I’m doing – unlike this blog, which is open to all – and also I’d have the security of knowing it’s under my control. Blogs and Facebook pages can be closed down without warning, and you risk losing all the following you have painstakingly built up. If I have a newsletter, I know I can always send it out, as long as I have an email service provider.


Advice required again: what do you think of author newsletters? Is a newsletter from me something you’d sign up to? Would you be interested in having more personal news? If you have any views on this at all, I’d be glad to hear them!


A couple more exciting goals I’m working on…

Finding a home for my latest novel, Felicity at the Cross Hotel. I’m in talks with a publisher about this book, and I’m very hopeful (and excited!) at the prospect of it coming out this summer. Watch this space!

Most important goal this year:

Write the next book!


As I mentioned, this post is part of a Round Robin. If you’d like to find out what my author friends have planned for this year, please click on the links below.

Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.com/2016/01/23/writers-to-do-list-for-the-new-year/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Bob Rich  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-Bm
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Kay Sisk http://kaysisk.blogspot.com
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Hollie Glover http://www.hollieglover.co.uk
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/


How about you? Are you a writer – whether published or unpublished – and do you have any goals for this year? If you’re a reader, do you have any suggestions regarding my questions about the cover and the newsletter? If you have any comments at all, I’d love to hear from you!

33 thoughts on “Setting goals, my writing projects for 2016, and some advice required

  1. Hello Helena

    Re cover – I’d be interested to know whether romances sell more with a man or woma or both on the cover

    I’d sign up to your newsletter 😀



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Georgette,
      I’ve seen lots of both (or all three) cover designs. I think the sweeter romances, such as mine, are more likely to have a woman or a couple on the cover, and steamy romances to have a man – especially a toned naked chest! But that’s just my observation. E.L. James set a new trend by just having a tie on the front cover.
      That’s great about the newsletter. I hope to have it sorted in the next few weeks. Thanks for dropping in!


  2. Love your goals, Helena, especially since I haven’t really put any in writing! Your cover idea sounds good – evidently most people like a man in a kilt and Edinburgh castle will be recognised. Yes to the newsletter – I’ve had one for over a year now and enjoy sending them out. All the best with those talks!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t but may well do so, Helen! Have you signed up for mine (can’t remember who gets it). I use Mail Chimp and you just have to put your email address in the little box on the side of my blog or website – it will then ask you to confirm by email.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Not sure! I follow your blog and get those e-mails . . . I’ll pop along, have a look and sign up if I haven’t already :)


    1. Glad you like the sound of the cover, Rosemary. I’m excited about seeing what Charlotte will come up with. I enjoy your newsletter – you have useful info for writers, too, as well as your news, which I find very helpful.
      Thanks for your comment!


    1. Hi Kate, how wonderful to be able to see the Castle from your window! I wish you really could see the other two things. Estate agents would be flocking :)
      Thanks very much for dropping in!


  3. I’m sure a man in a kilt will go down well, Helena ;) As for a newsletter, I would definitely sign up . . . and I’m toying with the idea myself, so would love to chat with you about it!


  4. Hi Helena, you are going to be busy. Makes my project of writing and selling one short story sound a little feeble. A man in a kilt is always good for business. Good luck placing your novel, Anne Stenhouse


    1. Hi Anne, getting in at WW is definitely no feeble ambition! From what I hear from others, it takes a lot more than writing one short story before you’ve cracked it. I admire you for having a crack at it. Let’s hope by next year we’ve both had some success. Best of luck!


  5. Writing includes promotion so you have to consider that part of the ‘business.’
    I’d like to see a cover showing Leon in his kilt from the back looking down a palace hallway perhaps with an approaching woman — with the same type styles as in the current title including but with a diamond.


    1. Hi Rhobin, I like your idea for the cover – perhaps substituting Edinburgh Castle for the palace. It would be good to have the heroine in, too, if possible. Thanks! And thanks again for the topic this month – it’s been another thought-provoking challenge!


  6. I really like the idea of a man in kilt with Edinburgh Castle in the background and a diamond in there somewhere. Great idea. As for newsletters. Hm. I don’t subscribe to any and don’t think I would as it takes me away from my own writing time. If I’m interested I’ll check out an author on Facebook but best of luck to you.


    1. Thanks, Victoria! Interesting what you say about newsletters. I’ve only subscribed to one (Rosemary Gemmell’s) but I’ve been sent them before by authors without me having subscribed, which I find a bit intrusive.
      Thanks for dropping in!


  7. Excellent goals. I like your cover idea for The Scottish Diamond, and I look forward to the book. And, btw, Edinburgh and Monaco are both on my wish-to-visit-list, so it’s kind of like you’re writing just for me. :)
    On the newsletter, to be honest, I rarely read those I’ve signed up for. I just get too many emails and don’t have enough time.
    My big goal: finally getting that final Josie book finished! A number of things have come up to prolong the writing process on this one, and it’s currently in the hands of my none-too-efficient little brother/co-writer. Maybe if I keep nagging him, he’ll finally get to it…


    1. Hi Heather, that’s funny about your visit list. Let me know where’s next. Hopefully I can make it the setting for my next book!
      And that’s happy yet sad news that there’s a final Josie book on the way. Will she get her happy ending? I do hope so. Guess I’m going to have to read and find out. Please do add my voice to the nagging next time you speak to your brother!
      Thanks for dropping in, and your great comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Helena–Oooo! Having been to Edinburgh Castle recently (the magnificent outside, at least) my mind whirled when reading about your novella. The plot sounds great! It is good to have so many goals that you can focus on; if one’s going slow, you can turn to another. Best of luck of finding a publisher for Felicity at the Cross Hotel!


  9. I finally made in – not exactly sure how I got here.
    Good luck on a very busy year. And I like the idea of a man in a kilt, the castl and a diamond for the new cover.


    1. So glad you made it! And thanks for your comments on the cover. Looks like that I’m going with that idea! I can’t wait to see what Charlotte comes up with. I’ll post it here as soon as it’s ready!


  10. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel to Palace of Deception. Really enjoyed the story and the couple. I’ve toyed with re-designing my site too. I have an author site on weebly, but never update it. It’s too hard to work with, so I’ll spend time on my blogger site to make it more spectacular! I’d like to do a newsletter too, but Mail Chimp boggles my mind and unfortunately, I’ve never kept an email list. Now I learn how important they are for marketing. Yes, I would sign up for your newsletter. Best wishes on your goals!!


    1. Thanks, JQ! Mail Chimp IS boggling! Whoever said it was easy was telling great big pork pies! I’ve just spent literally the whole day at it, and I think I’ve finally got it sussed. Tomorrow, I’m writing a post to introduce the sequel to Palace of Deception, and to give a place to sign up for my newsletter. I’m offering everyone who signs up a free copy of Palace of Deception (or another story if they’ve already read it).
      Hope to see you back here tomorrow JQ – and I do hope my newsletter sign up works. Fingers crossed!


      1. The thing is–my daughter uses Mail Chimp for her health coaching business. She explained it and I still can’t seem to make it work. Definitely glad to know I’m not the only one struggling with it. Love that telling “great big pork pies.” LOL Ooh, I’ll be there tomorrow late. Taking my brother in law back to the Tampa airport tomorrow after a fun, busy week. Thanks for the heads-up on the new release.

        Liked by 1 person

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