This is the Time to Remember*

2014reviewIt’s hard to believe that 2014 is about to end. The year has gone by incredibly quickly, at least to me, and now it’s time to get ready for whatever 2015 holds. The end of a year has a way of making people reflective, so in that spirit, here’s a little of what I’ve learned from the year that was.

In My Reading…

I’ve learned more than I ever knew before about Asian crime fiction. Of course, that’s a huge general category within the genre. I have a lot more to explore, and there’s a great deal that I still don’t know. But it’s been fascinating to me to take a look at the way Japanese, Chinese and Indian writers think about crime fiction. I want to continue that in the coming year.

Although I didn’t plan it, I’ve also learned a lot more about Australian crime fiction. There’s so much diversity in the country and in its fiction that one lifetime isn’t enough to read it all. So that too is a work in progress for me. But I read the work of more Aussie authors than I had in the past, and I’m pleased at that. This year I hope I’ll get a chance to read even more.

I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t read as much South American crime fiction as I wanted. I’ve no excuse, really, other than the usual ‘too little time; too many books.’ I hope to remedy that in the new year. I also hope to do a little more about trying different kinds of books โ€“ out of my ‘comfort zone.’ I think it’s too easy to get into a pattern of reading, and that means it’s really easy to let lots of wonderful crime fiction just slip by.

In My Writing

This year I learned a lot about being a fiction editor. I admit, I’m cheating a bit here, because my editing project In a Word: Murder really came to fruition at the end of 2013. But this year has taught me a great deal (including how very much I still need to learn!) about what it’s like to collaborate with a group of outstanding authors, put a collection of stories together and get it published. I hope I’ll be better prepared for the next time I undertake a project like that. In the meantime, I remain extremely grateful to the talented contributors who let me include their stories.

As to my own fiction writing? I continue to learn the lessons of patience and perseverance. Writing isn’t something you do once and then it’s done. It’s something that has to be worked at, improved and polished. And that takes perseverance. So does coping with the reality of trying to promote my work without being obnoxious; waiting to hear from publishers and agents; rejection and so on. Anyone who tells you that it’s easy to be a writer has never done it. One thing that’s helped me is having other projects besides my Joel Williams series. The best way to meet with writing success is, well, to put your head down and keep writing. I’ve got a few things going on right now, and a few ideas for others. I don’t know what will come of any of it, but in the meantime, I’m doing what I can to hone my skills.

On My Blog

I always try to do the best I can on this blog. Sometimes, things don’t work so well (you have no idea how many edits I’ve had to make before you even see my posts, let alone once they’re ‘live’). Still, though I say it myself, I think some new things I’ve done on the blog this year have worked well. One is my Crime Fiction News Break feature. When I first tried it, it was going to be a one-off. But to my happy surprise, you folks were kind enough to support it. So I kept on with it and by doing that, I’ve learned an awful lot about putting together a news video. That’s one feature I intend to keep doing this year. Of course, there’ll be refinements as I learn more, but I think I’m getting the very basics of it. You don’t want to see my outtakes…

Another feature you’ve been kind enough to support is the smaller short stories I’ve been including from time to time. It means a lot to me that you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, but it goes beyond that. As I write those stories, I hone my skills. It’s good discipline.

So what’s going to happen on the blog this year? Well, who knows what may happen as the year goes by? But for now, you can expect my Spotlight feature, my usual posts about themes, patterns and so on in the genre, Crime Fiction News Break, and the occasional story. Oh, and quizzes…

In My Life

This has been a difficult year in some ways for me. But I’ve had some wonderful moments too. I was truly privileged to meet in person several bloggers who’ve become online friends. How many people are fortunate enough to be shown round Madrid, treated to a day on Dartmoor and given a lovely telephone chin session? You’ve all been awfully kind. And that’s to say nothing of you folks who’ve been brave enough to come to my patch and meet me in this area ๐Ÿ˜‰ . It is an honour to know all of you, and I hope that this year, I’ll meet even more of you in person. You sustain me more than you know.

I’ve done other ‘road trips’ too this year, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I think travel can be very inspiring. Besides, it serves as a good reminder that there’s a very big world out there. I’m not sure now exactly where I’ll be going this coming year, but I’m hoping to do a bit of travel. And don’t worry; if I do, I’ll bring you all along, virtually at least.

So there you have it: a quick glimpse at what’s been happening with my reading, my writing and my blogging this year. I’ll say an official ‘Happy New Year’ to all of you tomorrow, so look for that. But in the meantime, it’s time to pack away 2014.

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Billy Joel’s This is theย Time.


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38 responses to “This is the Time to Remember*

  1. Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy new year, Margot. And if you’re thinking about travel in the new year, don’t forget Left Coast Crime in Portland, OR, March 12-15, or Bouchercon in Raleigh, NC, October 8-11. I’ll be at both and would love to see you there! I’ll be missing Malice Domestic in Bethesda, MD, this year – I’ll be cruising the Panama Canal that week. Yeah, I don’t get a lot of sympathy about that…

    • Thank you, Les. I must admit, not much sympathy from me about missing Malice Domestic… But I’m very happy to hear you’ll be at LCC and at Bouchercon. Don’t know whether I’ll get to either place, but who knows? It’d be a real pleasure to meet you if I do.

  2. What a wonderful way to end the year, Margot. And you are so right! “Anyone who tells you that itโ€™s easy to be a writer has never done it.” No truer words…

  3. I still don’t know how you manage to fit it all in, Margot. Delighted to hear there’ll be more stories next year, as well as the News Break feature. And more quizzes… I like to check how my guessing abilities are working from time to time, and to be reminded that there’ll never be a shortage of books for the TBR… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • FictionFan – I can answer that in one word: coffee. Seriously, I am glad that you like what you find here. And about guessing? It’s a skill like any other. It needs to be honed ;-). Oh, and as far as the TBR goes, I’d say turnabout is fair play… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Clarissa Draper

    I think you’ve accomplished a lot this year. Your blog amazes me everyday!
    I like what you said: “I continue to learn the lessons of patience and perseverance. Writing isnโ€™t something you do once and then itโ€™s done. Itโ€™s something that has to be worked at, improved and polished. And that takes perseverance.”
    I agree whole-heartedly. I hope you have a productive 2015.

    • Thanks, Clarissa. I know you know what it’s like to be a writer. It really does take perseverance and patience. I think everything we write is a work in progress. I hope you have a great 2015!

  5. Katy McCoy

    I enjoy your posts – it’s been helpful to read about new authors and I do look forward to the quizzes!

  6. Happy new year to you, Margot, and well done on an interesting year of blogging. I look forward to learning more about Asian and South American crime fiction from you in the coming year!

    • Rebecca – Thanks – It’s good to hear you’ve found the blog worth reading. I hope to do more on Asian and South American crime fiction as 2015 rolls on…

  7. Wishing you a wonderful inspiring New Year Margot.

  8. Margot: I hope your personal issues are resolved. They wear a person down.

    I still think you must sleep far less than average!

  9. kathy d.

    Have a great new year personally, professionally and on the blogosphere. We love this blog and look forward to its creativity and information every day, even if we can’t always comment. The blog commenters always have something to add, and with a touch of wit.

    All of the new features are good, the quizzes are fiendish, though refreshing, and the summaries of books are amazing. I’m always impressed by the terrific memory of book details and the write-ups on specific themes.

    Hope this year is a good one, and one thing is certain: This blog will be as good as ever.

    • Thanks very much, Kathy. I’m very glad you enjoy what you find here. I love learning from others’ comments here, including yours. And don’t worry: there will be more quizzes in the new year…

  10. Your blog is a wonder absolutely jam-packed with details. I like to think I’ve learnt lots from you but your quizzes tell a different story, that aside there isn’t a songle feature I haven’t enjoyed and I continue to be amazed at the depth of your knowledge. Wishing you all the very best for 2015!

    • I’m very glad you’ve enjoyed what you’ve found here, Cleo. You add a lot with your visits, and I’m looking forward to more of them in 2015. All the best to you and those you love for 2015.

  11. All the best to you and yours in the coming New Year and always, Margot!

  12. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be part of your 2014 Margot and I look forward to reading more of your writing and blogging in 2015 as I wade through bottles and nappies ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. As some of the others have already said, Margot. I don’t know how you fit it all in either. Sorry to hear that parts of 2014 have been difficult. Some years are better than others. But here’s to a good 2015 and I do hope to meet you in real life too sometime soon.

  14. You are the doyenne of crime bloggers, Margot, and we all appreciate your hard work, your consistency, and your generosity. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned, and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

  15. A very Happy, Peaceful, and Healthy New Year to you and your family, Ms. Kinberg! Every New Year I think of families everywhere being together and happy and I hope it lasts all through the year. I also think of a little quiet time, once in a while, when you can sit down and read a good book.

  16. Happy New Year, Margot! I’m one of your readers who loves the addition of your short crime fiction to the blog. I’ve been such a scattered reader over the last year, dipping into a huge variety of genres, that I almost feel I’ve lost touch with the mystery world. I plan to spend this first quarter of 2015 featuring mystery writers on my blog and reading lots more mystery/thriller novels.

    • Happy New Year to you, too, Pat, and thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you like those short stories. I’ll be really interested in ‘meeting’ your mystery-writer guests and getting your view on the crime fiction you read.

  17. What a great post, Margot. I loved learning more about what you did this year. I am sorry to hear that parts of the year were difficult. I had the same experience, some not so good things happened, but lots to be grateful for. I look forward to a better year for the both of us.

    • Thanks, Tracy! And thanks for the good wishes. I think that’s what a lot of years are like: difficult things mixed up with the good. I hope 2015 is a great year for both of us too.

  18. Great to meet you in 2014 Margot – all the best this year and keep up the fabulous work!

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