As you may have already guessed, this past year was nothing like I expected—and no surprise to any of you because your lives weren’t anything like you expected either. For this post, I’m going to stick to what happened or didn’t happen as per my writing life.

Before I’d made up my mind whether or not to attend the two big mystery cons, Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon, both to be held nearby, the virus struck and they were both cancelled.

I’d signed up for a local writer’s conference in March, and it wasn’t long before it was canceled too, as well as the wonderful Central Coast Sisters in Crime conference in April.

My favorite conference of all, the Public Safety Writers Association’s, held in July in Vegas. was axed too. Two big book fairs in October disappeared from the calendar.  In November, I was supposed to be the speaker for the Nightwriters in San Luis Obispo—but of course, that was cancelled too. 

The only in-person event that survived was a two-day holiday boutique held in the Porterville Art Gallery, and yes, I had a booth. People wore masks and kept their distance. I sold books and others sold crafts. No one got sick.

My latest book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series came out, End of the Trail, and I really thought it would be the last in the series. However, I’ve changed my mind, because when I made a trip to visit my eldest daughter, I got a great idea for another  mystery in the series.

I also finished Not As We Knew It in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. I did the forbidden and included the virus because I felt I had to—the series is in real time and to be honest, I had fun writing it.

This is where a problem came along. I’ve always had parties on the occasion of a new book coming out, held in various locations. Of course, this year it couldn’t happen. This meant all my promotion efforts had to be online, and online they were.  I did a free e-book promotion for one of my favorites in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. It did a fairly good job enticing people to buy some of the other books in the series.

With End of the Trail it was mainly Facebook and Blog Posts. Certainly this was not nearly as profitable as doing in-person events.

What I’ve missed most is my writers’ critique group, being with my writing friends, and sharing out writing.

Lifting my cup of Chai latte, “Here’s to a better 2021 for all of us.”

Marilyn who also writes as F. M. Meredith


  1. Wonderful article. I can relate to it totally. How much better 2021 will be, only the stars know, but I think we are entering it with hope for the future.
    God bless us, every one.


  2. Marilyn, I was all set to attend my first Bouchercon and had planned on attending two other conferences. While they were all made virtually, I can’t commit myself to an online conference. There are too many things going on around me at home that I tend to push anything online off and attend the animals, housework, or family. I’m hoping to attend some in person things in 2021 and get back to meeting with a small group of writers who were meeting once a month until this all hit. Here’s to a better 2021 for everyone! Good post!


    1. I can’t do the online stuff either, similar reasons, hubby needs help and we have 3 little great grands living with us, who like to visit grandma in her office. And I really miss my weekly writing group!


  3. Marilyn, thanks for sharing your story of 2020 because it really does look like mine and that of everyone else I know in this business. I just assessed my short story work for 2020 and this made me very aware of how much I did and did not do and inspired me to pay closer attention in 2021. I’m looking forward to 2021.


Comments are closed.