Image: ©2013. Warner Brothers Pictures. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. All Rights Reserved.

It was a very good year–the voice of Frank Sinatra rings through my head as 2016 is hours from ending. I’ve had many things to be thankful for–mostly that I still have my Dad with me. Knowing any successes I have due to writing he may not ever remember, at least I’ve had them while he was still with me.

People want success in the world of writing. There are those that think my surprise of having some is for show and my modesty is hiding self-righteousness. But to me, writing is like breathing. I do it because I can’t do anything else. My stepsister’s boyfriend told me during Thanksgiving how hard it is to write–he struggles to make two or three pages some days. He told me how hard it was to sit down and get started. He seemed perplexed at how I could do it for hours and had to make myself stop. I wrote 142 pages in 3 weeks this year. It didn’t feel like work, but though it sounds impressive it was hard work. I did a lot of studying during those 3 weeks.

Not that it isn’t hard for me sometimes. But you will never catch me without a pen or paper or even an electronic that has a writing app. I have to write down something. I can’t go one hour without writing something. I will spend 12 hours a day writing. I love it. This is my second blog post of the day–I did 4 hours last night elsewhere.

But for some, I’ve done far more than most can imagine. I finished a book in 7 months. 360 pages and 21 chapters. Four months later, I had 500 pages and extended the 21 chapters to 34. I am on 26, so once again Book II: The Saga of Thranduil will be finished in less than average time (including the extended version with things that may be added to the original at a later date). It was shocking to me that all 500 pages are part of the same story and I’ve managed to maintain a level of energy and anticipation. I know I make it look easy to some, but if they knew how critical I am of what I write, it would seem paradoxical. If anyone tells me I’m good, I’m suspicious.

2016 was a very good year for The Kingdom of the Woodland Realm Trilogy. It continues to evolve. Whatever 2017 has in store, like an unexpected journey, I have to deal with what comes. I always wait for the shoe to drop and everything falls apart. But the story means for to me than anything good or bad that could happen and I still write for my Dad.

Looking back, I am overwhelmed. I came from hopelessness and despair to acquiring close fans and readers over 20+ websites. I have at least two fan boards on Pinterest. The one thing I resisted doing became the thing that turned Pinocchio into a Real Boy.

It has been a privilege to honor J.R.R. Tolkien with my little contribution. It was a miracle to still have my dad with me when I crossed the threshold of 500 pages for my very first book and I hope in 2017, he will be with me still when I once again announce for the very last time “END OF BOOK II”. If my mother were here, she’d finally have what she always wanted–a writer in the family. My wish is to make Tolkien and my parents proud. For me, that would be the ultimate success story.–J.