So tonight is the winter solstice. The longest night of the year. The true turn of the year. From this point until Summer Solstice, the days will slowly get longer and longer. Earlier tonight, a friend pointed out an article from a fellow writer suggesting that we stop beating ourselves up for all the things we didn’t get done this year and instead celebrate the things we did do. I thought that sounded like a stress-busting idea, so why not? I’ll divide my 2015 accomplishments into professional and personal.
I don’t think it’s terrible to say that this one kicked my ass while writing it. Every release has challenges, but this one had extra challenges. The fact that I wrangled this into a book-shaped finished product is kinda amazing. No matter what, I give myself a high five for accomplishing it. (Let’s set aside whether or not I should have accomplished it, because the fact is that I did.) It was Rainbow Award runner-up in Erotic Romance.
Indra Vaughn and I co-wrote this book. We started in, hm, March, I think? And we had a finished product out in September. I think Indra deserves a lot more credit than I do because she wrote her parts while undergoing serious life-upheaval that might have undone anyone else. I’m incredibly proud of her and I’m proud of what we accomplished together. I think this is one of the most romantic books I’ve had the honor to write. In fact, I know I shouldn’t say this, but it might be my favorite book that I’ve had a hand in making. It wasn’t without difficulties. Co-writing–no, writing–never is, but, hey, look-it. It’s there. It’s just out there in the world being all romantic and lovely and I love it so much.
Yeah, that’s right. Three novella-length installments of a new serial, co-written with Alice Griffiths. Our goal is for each installment to be “worth it”, so each of them is at least 30,000 words, but most are closer to 35,000 words. I honestly have no idea what that translates into with pages. As a writer, I think in terms of words, but I know that it’s not easy to wrangle words into behaving, and I feel like the pacing and beats of the first three episodes of this serial are fun, funny, and ultimately romantic. I’m having a wonderful time with them. Also, look at Dar’s gorgeous covers! I am proud of what we’ve accomplished, but this one is harder for me, since there is still work to be done, and my main stress in life right now revolves around accomplishing miracles with the timing of the next three releases. BUT THIS IS ABOUT HOW AWESOME 2015 HAS BEEN SO…YAY WILL & PATRICK!
I was able to re-release Levity (originally Earthly Desires) and Flight (originally Love’s Nest). Keira re-released Rise (originally Ascending Hearts). I didn’t really have to do much. I considered adding and expanding, but decided that the past is better left in the past, and it was better to move onward. So, these books are out with new covers and the names we’d originally planned.
I worked with Juno Publications to release a French translation of The River Leith (Le Retour de Leith).
I worked with Monica Rivero to release a Spanish translation of Smoky Mountain Dreams.
I attended the Rainbow Book Fair in New York City and had an amazing time meeting readers and re-connecting with other authors and bloggers. It was a wonderful experience and I wish I was going to attend again in 2016, but I’ve got some intense writing goals for the year, so I’ll have to pass.
I attended Rainbow Con in Tampa, Florida. Here I am with Eli Easton. I had an absolutely fantastic time with other authors and with the readers who showed up for the event. There’s nothing like bonding with other authors!
I beta read a bunch of books. Like a lot of them. And I think I did a good job at it. At least, I hope I did. I was, if nothing else, honest as hell. And sometimes that might feel like hell. But, hey, yay, I told you before the readers did, so WIN!!
I set up a newsletter! And I’ve sent out a message a month! I’ve enjoyed cultivating recommendations and letting readers know when I have a new release.
I’m sure I accomplished other things, too. But this is good for now. I feel like less of an abject failure, at least. *high fives self*
I learned how to cook this year. More than that, I learned to enjoy it. That is huge, utterly massively huge. It’s something I’d never have expected and yet I managed it.
I learned that parsnips are AMAZING and that my life was incomplete without them. Yes, this is related to #1, but PARSNIPS.
My daughter is thriving.
My husband is doing well. Though, honestly, I feel like I should set a goal for 2016 to improve the time we spend together.
I got Christmas accomplished! Well, kind of. I mean, it’s not over yet and it’s possible I forgot something. We’ll see.
I tried very hard not to suck as a friend. I guess my success at that should be determined by my actual friends’ opinion, but I did try not to suck. I feel like I failed sometimes and not because of my efforts, but because of life.
Hmm, maybe I need to do better with personal goals. Like, say, exercise. And being present. And not obsessing about getting books out.
All in all, 2015 was a good year for me. There were some personal struggles because so many people I love dearly are going through hard times, but as far as my day-to-day life goes, it was pretty darn good. So here’s to 2015. You were kinda cool. I loved a lot about you. I wish that you’d been kinder to some of my pals, but I can’t control that. (Boundaries! That’s another thing I’m getting better at as I age, and 2015 was pretty good with boundaries. Most of the time.)
Thank you to all the readers out there! Being a writer wouldn’t be half as much fun without you!
Once upon a time, Keira Andrews and I penned three fairy tales together. See my prior post about the re-release of the tale Levity for the full picture on these books.
Flight, formerly known as Love’s Nest, was written for my BFF, Darrah Glass, and remains my favorite of the three tales. Now it’s available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited with a new cover and a new title! Come discover the fairy world with Mateo as he follows after his sisters in this erotic reimagining of the fairy tale ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses’.
“The early part of this story was charming and whimsical, and very, very sexy. What surprised me was how it actually became such a page-turner once the plot started moving, and how deeply invested I was in the resolution. Extremely well-done!” —
This was a wonderful fairy tale, witty and whimsical, sexy and silly, surprisingly touching at times, laugh-out-loud funny at others, and when the plot really got rolling, a complete page-turner. — Amelia Gormley’s review
Beautifully told with heartwarming and likeable characters that really live and breathe off of the written page, Ascending Hearts is a story not to be missed! If you are a fan of fantasy/fairytale romances then this book is definitely one to be considered. — Gabbi’s review
This is the best rendition of the 12 dancing princesses fairy tale I’ve read. It’s very suspenseful and the storytelling is beautiful. [I’ts a] great romance with interesting characters. This is a must read for fairy tale lovers and those that like a hero struggling to get his love returned. — Cynthia’s review
Keira and I are giving away ALL THREE of our fairy tales over at Long and Short Reviews as part of their Winter Blogfest! So, hop on over there for your chance to win the three hot, sexy, magical tales below! And, like the banner says, there’s going to be a prize on every post until December 27, so click around at the Long and Short Reviews site to see what all you might have a chance to win!
Three copies of Love’s Nest are up for grabs on The Romance Review Site from today, December 22th, through December 30th! Go HERE and log in — yeah, yeah, it’s a bit of a pain, I know, but it’s required and hopefully it’s worth it — to participate in the contest! I’m excited to give away a few books to new readers!
Don’t forget that three copies of Training Season are also up for grabs there, too!
My daughter has several versions of the book The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It is a favorite of hers and the re-reading of the various versions of it are part of what led to the inspiration for Love’s Nest, Keira’s and my m/m romantica version of the tale. (Which is not at all appropriate for children!)
These illustrations are from Barefoot Books version, which is my daughter’s very favorite. I’m always impressed with how beautiful Barefoot Books are. I definitely recommend looking at them, especially for gifts for children.
This challenge was basically to recreate a manicure of another participant. This was such a difficult challenge. The manicures were all so amazing and well executed that I was intimidated to recreate any of them. However, when I saw the manicure created for Day 4 (Lights, Camera, Action!) by The Polished Squirrel I new that this was the one I wanted to attempt. Stephanie was inspired by the classic fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
The trees of silver, gold, and diamond are definitely one of my favorite aspects of the tale, so Keira and I kept that part of the story true to form in our retelling, Love’s Nest, despite the many other changes we made to the book.
The other week, I was over at Skylar M. Cate’s blog talking about The Twelve Dancing Princesses talking about my and Keira Andrews’s new book, Love’s Nest, but also babbling about the allegory of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and the creative life, and the door to a magic kingdom in our bedrooms, and I WASN’T EVEN DRUNK! Check it out!
In this second episode of Music for Love’s Nest, the following set of songs helped to inspire the characters, their feelings and motivations, and their emotional beats. Again, I tried to stick to music that also supported the world-building, so I preferred epic, magical sounds, music that supported rhythm and dance, as well as songs that felt like taking flight or reminded me of birds.
1. This song helped me to craft some of what I felt Mateo was going through emotionally.