Progress Report: Moving Forward in May

It’s the end of the month and time for my May progress report. After the mass murders at Rob Elementary School in Ulvade, Texas, it feels small and unimportant. Compared to the grief of so many, my report is small and unimportant. My heart breaks for those families forever changed. But a comparison like that is wrong, worse than comparing apples and walnuts. Eventually, those families will move forward the best that they can. In the meantime, it’s up to the rest of us to move forward. And for me, much of my report is about moving forward in May.


Instead of goals or resolutions, I use intentions. You can miss a goal. You’ll forget or break your resolutions. But an intention is a focus. When life interrupts your plan, take care of that event or disturbance, intending to return to your primary plan. Every morning begins with a renewed intention.


It was an incredibly busy month. The making portion of my writing business was not the focus. However, I made notes on two stories in development. You’ll see more from the world of the Fellowship Dystopia in the future.  


Being a launch month, book production and marketing consumed me for most of the month. Happily, If I Should Die is now available everywhere they sell books online. 

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by host Alex Greenwood on the Mysterious Goings On podcast again. Have you listened to it?


My limited efforts in marketing on Amazon and on Facebook are encouraging. I marketed and sold books in person.  


My newsletter readers got a glimpse of the unwanted surprise I experienced the last of March and affected the entire month of April and into May. I started rearranging my office to make room for my new sit-stand desk. Surprise! I discovered an exterior wall covered in mold. That led to a rapid move of the “working parts” of my office into my living room. Everything else got packed up. (I had an incredible amount of books and stuff crammed into that space!)

Bids for mold remediation delayed book production activities. It was not the dangerous mold.

They removed the moldy walls and treated all studs. Then the drywall installers came. After all of that, I decided I wanted the floors re-varnished. Turns out that’s better/cheaper done for the entire house. I put that off until after the book launch.


If you follow my tweets or Facebook posts, you know I attended ConQuesT, my local science fiction convention over this Memorial Day weekend. More low-key than usual, it was delightful to be at an in-person event. The volunteers of the con did a great job, especially considering that for the prior two years they’ve prepared and cancelled. 

Going Forward

Moving forward, I have many plans for my writing. Writing the third book in the Fellowship Dystopia is a top priority. Growth of my readership through this blog, my newsletter, and my street team remains a priority. 

Speaking of my newsletter, join the Reading Rebels to receive a free book and more up-to-date information and snippets from my works in progress. 

Final Words

When the world feels unstable, frightening, and incredibly sad, moving forward is difficult. Be empathetic. Keep your head on your shoulders. Remember, tough times don’t last. Tough people do. Don’t let the crazies, the hateful, the tyrannical make you act like them. Rise above. Be strong. You can be the change you want to see. Be the light in these dark times. 

Progress Is Progress, No Matter How Small

Measuring progress as a writer is tricky. You can count words or time or pages. When revising a novel those measurements get trickier. Word counts are deceptive when you delete as many words as you add. So do you count pages? What about when you  have to go back 80 pages because of a plot hole you discovered? And it takes time to figure out how to fix the plot hole. Progress is progress, no matter how small. But it isn’t easy to quantify.

Graphic Image of a tree with branches labeled goals, strategy, team, marketing, etc. With all these things going on progress is progress no matter how small.


Since I did not complete any of my April Intentions for Making, I could count this month as a failure.

I count words added, words deleted, and time spent. I also keep track of what chapter I’m working on and the book’s total word count. Most importantly, I look at all of those over time.

This month I found and solved a plot hole. That meant I had to revisit seven chapters I’d already revised.

Staying focused was more difficult this month so the blogging suffered. But I was able to put up something every week.

One of the new bits from If I Should Die

“It’ll be daylight by then.” Miranda chewed her lower lip and decided. “You, Karl, and Sean should leave now, while it’s still dark. I’ll stay here with Ethan.”


Image of a weight scale with an alarm clock balanced with stacks of coins balancing all the duties of a writer

Lots of bits and pieces of things end up in the Managing category. 

I did much better on reading this month: Finished one fiction book, Started and finished a second fiction book.

I read and critiqued a friends novelette.

Maintained the website as far as updates and even added a new page.

Unfortunately, I discovered a problem on the backend of the website that is messing with my stats. Still working on resolving that one.


Lo and behold, I met my marketing intentions this month. Still need more sales but…sigh. I’ll probably say that for the rest of my life.


On April 14th I started celebrating my immunity day (the day my COVID-19 vaccines reached maximum immunity). Things I did to celebrate included taking my grandson on two outings, meeting a friend for lunch inside a restaurant, and getting a haircut at a salon. That was the first time in 15 months that someone other than me cut my hair. And you can tell. 

I have times when I feel productive and almost normal. Several times a week—wham! A tornado of grief hits. Other times I’m in a fugue state where I have no energy or focus. Often the fugue state follows a grief tornado, but sometimes the fugue state hits without any apparent cause.


I managed to attend a few of my online write-in events and a couple of webinars. 

Compared to Last Month & Last Year

Unsurprisingly, my production and time spent are significantly lower than last year. They are also lower than last month. That surprised me, but shouldn’t have. This month would have been my 28th wedding anniversary. Naturally, that made this month harder emotionally.

What I Learned

I’m learning to be single again. And I’m learning to make decisions based on what makes me comfortable or happy as opposed to making decisions as part of a couple. It’s a journey. If you’re interested in my progress reports you may wish to read my quarterly report.

Going Forward

Image of a wooden sign labeled "Next Step" and pointing forward, it's pointing to progress

My intentions will continue to be smaller than I would do in the past. I am taking the time to honor the emotional journey I’m on. But I’m also trying to move back toward being more productive. So the tasks will be a little larger than in previous months. 

Time marches on and so will I. Progress is progress, no matter how small. Thanks to all of you who read my blog and my books. I appreciate each and everyone of you.