A Deeper Analysis of My 2016 Writing/Publishing Year by Leta Blake


Looking back, did you write more than you thought you would this year, less, or about what you’d predicted?

I always overestimate what I’m going to get done, so I’d go with less. I always think I’m a super-human machine who will be endlessly inspired and motivated to crank out word after word after word. Then it turns out I’m human and have down periods and times when four pages just won’t “lay flat” and I spend a week on them.

What did you write that you would never have predicted in January?

I published Angel Undone. That was never in my plan for the year. It hit me in June that I was essentially done with the story. That it was finished in my heart and that it was either going to languish on my hard drive forever or I was going to send it out into the world. So I quickly polished it up and published it. I also never would have guessed that I’d be working on my current WIP. It was never, ever in the plan for 2016/2017, but events transpired with the fall releases that made me have to take a step back from my goals in October. This WIP hopped into that space overflowing with words and begging to be written. In my need for something to feel good/right/moving, I took it on, despite reservations about it. And now I’m nearly 50% finished with the book. I hope to have it out in early spring.

What’s your own favorite story of the year? Not the most popular, but the one that makes you happiest?

The unfinished book that makes me the happiest is the one I’m working on right now. It’s a bit top secret until I’m closer to the release date, but let’s just say that it involves, um, male pregnancy. The book I published this year that makes me the happiest is You Are Not Me. You have to suffer through Pictures of You to get to it, but everything about You Are Not Me fills me with joy. Maybe I’m weird, but, unf, I love these characters so damn much.


Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them?

I did! Everything I did this year was a risk, from doing the Will & Patrick Wake Up Married serial to releasing ’90’s Coming of Age books, to Angel Undone. The real question is which risks paid off? And what does it mean for something to “pay off”?

Will & Patrick turned out to be a brilliant choice. It was crazy fun to write and has turned into a consistent little money maker, which, let’s get frank, is important.

Angel Undone didn’t really pay off in terms of critical reviews or sales, but it did get the hell off my hard drive and that, believe it or not, is a pay off that is priceless in some ways. No more agonizing over what to do with this little story. It’s out and done.

And then ’90’s Coming of Age (Pictures of You & You Are Not Me)… Well, guys, I don’t know. I have a lot of mixed emotions about this risk because it did exactly what I expected it to do: it was a financial and sales flop, but a critical darling, and, dammit, I lived off those reviews like it was ambrosia of the gods. But reviews don’t pay bills and they don’t put food on the table. For the first time ever, books I self-published didn’t pay for themselves or even come close. I’ll be releasing something in the new year regarding the plans for ’90’s Coming of Age, but I will state here that I can’t afford to put out more in the series until I produce something that refills the coffers.

So, the risk of publishing the ’90s Coming of Age series paid off in a few ways: wonderful reviews, dedicated fans, and starting the process of getting a 14 year old project put to bed. But now I’m looking at knowing that I have to invest another large hunk of money into two more books in order to finish it off, and I have quite clear evidence that those two books won’t be able to pay for themselves. So I have to be careful and very wise with my next publishing choices. Something my muses don’t understand–as evidenced by the male pregnancy WIP!

So, I guess, as you’ve seen, I’m diving into bigger risks this year, too. But more on that later.

My most popular story of this year:

The Wake Up Married serial for sure!

Story of mine most under-appreciated by the universe, in my opinion:

Ha! Well, I think it’s pretty clear from my rambling above that Pictures of You & You Are Not Me didn’t get massive sales numbers (or even decent sales numbers) so that’s what I’d have to go with, though I will say the people who did read it, mainly reviewers and those who got ARCs, seemed to love the books so much that I felt they were quite appreciated by those who took the plunge.

Most fun story to write: 

I have adored working on this current story! It’s just been delicious and fun and everything I’ve needed right now.

Story with the single sexiest moment:

Hmm, I think that You Are Not Me has a really sexy moment, but it’s not as graphic as some I’ve written.

Most “Holy crap, that’s wrong, even for you” story:

Probably this male pregnancy story? Or maybe the dark erotica I’m working on under a different pen name?

Story that shifted my own perceptions of the characters:

You Are Not Me. Once I understood Daniel, everything fell into place.

Hardest story to write:

We Can Be Good. The third book in the ’90’s Coming of Age series. I wrote 90,000 words of it several years ago and in reviewing those words recently I was sort of horrified to realize that most of it has to go. (And most of it is sex. Apparently, I was really into showing ALL THE SEX and that just doesn’t fit the vibe of the books anymore.) So now, between realizing that I’m basically going to start Book 3 from scratch, and knowing that I haven’t even come close to paying for Books 1 & 2, I sort of quail in fear every time I open the document. I’ll move past it, though. Eventually. It will be released in 2017. I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Biggest Disappointment:

*smiles softly* I think that’s pretty clear by now.

Biggest Surprise: 

How well the Wake Up Married serial was received. I had been told that serials were a mistake and a disaster and don’t do it, but while they weren’t the rousing success of Smoky Mountain Dreams, they have proved consistent and worth the time and effort.

Most Unintentionally Telling Story:

Definitely the male pregnancy WIP I’ve got going. All my societal issues are getting dumped into it. Yay.

Do you have any goals for the New Year?

I do! I wrote a whole blog post about that a few weeks ago. Check out the second half of THIS POST for my 2017 goals.

I’ll update more on my plans for ’90s Coming of Age books in a week or so. Until then, let me leave you with the best New Year’s Wish in the world, penned by Neil Gaiman:


I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

The New Year #2015 #newyearseve #storytime

I found this going through my old writing. It was never meant to go anywhere, so I’ll post it here. It ends where it ends, with the expectation for something more. The way a New Year’s Eve should.


The New Year

The beer bottle dangled from his hand as he sat outside on the front steps. His other hand he stuffed in the pocket of his blue jeans, keeping it warm in the burning cold of the winter midnight. The sound of laughter and toasts to the New Year echoed in the house behind him and encroached on his sense of solitude.

They were his older sister’s friends, all of them almost thirty, most of them married, each of them anxious in the way of people with something to prove. Their laughter sounded breakable, like the champagne glasses they kept refilling. Time had them in its grip, propelling them forward into adulthood, and old age, and eventually death. The terror of truly coming to understand the passing of time lent a falsity to their party and he could sense it, hated it, and knew that one day he’d join them in it.

He brushed his hair out of his eyes, lifting his gaze to the sky, explosions from the country club’s fireworks audible but not visible. He didn’t turn around when he heard the stick and give of the front door opening. He didn’t move as two bare lovely legs covered in goosebumps folded beside him, and long blonde hair swung into his peripheral vision.

“Happy New Year,” she said, clinking her champagne glass against his beer bottle.

“Cheers,” he answered, lifting the beer to lips and taking a sip.

Celebrate NYE with a Selection of Free Books Giveaway at Sunlight Sucks


Heat up your New Year’s Eve with a big giveaway of hot books by hot authors at Sunlight Sucks!

Keira’s and my book, Earthly Desires, is up for grabs along with many others! Go comment and get your name in the drawing to win!

Happy New Year! May 2013 bring us all good things!

New Year’s Eve and Tournament of Roses Parade Viewing Ideas?


One of the issues with not having ‘real tv’ in our house–(we’ve got a tv and access to streaming video and Netflix, just no cable or antennas)–is when it comes to certain American cultural touchstones like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Rose Bowl Parade, and New Year’s Eve shows in Times Square. Last year, I found a legal livestream of NYE in Times Square, but it was kind of crummy and mainly showed the Rock of Ages cast doing “Don’t Stop Believing” like 20 times.

So, I’m doing some research early this year, looking for various options. I could try to find an illegal stream, I guess, of NBC, CBS, or ABC’s coverage, but I was thinking that surely there are more legal options than last year’s terrible one?

So far I’ve found these:

1. Earth Cam — it looks like it will mainly be crowd shots and stuff? I guess I could watch the 3D one from last year to verify what it is like, but I don’t want to risk a migraine. Also, will this year’s been in 3D? Because I don’t want that.

2. Times Square Ball App — We have an iPhone and iPad and could possibly AppleTV this app. To quote: ” The 2013 Times Square Ball App lets you experience all of the New Year’s Eve festivities by offering a six-hour live live stream from the scene. App users can watch the ball drop, the party in Times Square and live musical acts throughout the night.” Looks likely to be lame in terms of coverage, but this might be our best bet. Looking more closely, though, I’m doubting that we could AppleTV it, so it’d probably just be on the device, which is less awesome.

3. New Year’s Eve Livestream 2013 — I’m not sure if this is the same livestream as the iPad App, but at least it looks like I could stream it to the tv via the main computer.

Does anyone else know of any other options for New Year’s Eve?


As far as the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, these might be an options:
2. Huffington Post links to livestreams for last year’s parade.
3. My World Webcams

KTLA looks like the best option, but if anyone knows of something better, do hook me up.

What are you planning to do for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? Will viewing Times Square or the Rose Parade be part of your plans? We’ll be staying home with the kiddo and watching the rest of the world party-extreme through whatever webcam livestreams we can find.