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

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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.

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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.

“I didn’t want this story to end….beautifully written.” Mark D’s review of Smoky Mountain Dreams #gay #romance

“I didn’t want this story to end….beautifully written. The dialogue between the main characters was so realistic and believable. Having grown up on the edge of Appalachia, I found Christopher’s struggle concerning his self worth to be very believable. 5 STARS to Ms. Blake!”

via Amazon.com: Mark D’s review of Smoky Mountain Dreams.

Sometimes holding on means letting go Christopher Ryder and Jesse Birch are two men hanging on to the past. While Christopher has let go of his failure as a country singer in Nashville, he's still trying to please his narrow-minded, non-accepting family. His beloved Gran loves him the way he is, but Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. He’s happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee, but even when Christopher is center stage he aches for someone to see the real him. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to bisexual Jesse. He's raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother. There's no room in his life for dating, his kids are his priority, and he doesn't want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn't want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.
Sometimes holding on means letting go
Christopher Ryder and Jesse Birch are two men hanging on to the past. While Christopher has let go of his failure as a country singer in Nashville, he’s still trying to please his narrow-minded, non-accepting family. His beloved Gran loves him the way he is, but Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. He’s happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee, but even when Christopher is center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to bisexual Jesse. He’s raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother. There’s no room in his life for dating, his kids are his priority, and he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.

Smoky Mountain Dreams is available now at:

AMAZON
B&N
SMASHWORDS
iTUNES
SCRIBD
OYSTER

And now at KOBO.

“I will definitely be searching out and reading Ms. Blake’s other books! Excellent job!” Dan Reviews: Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake | Love Bytes #gay

“I am so glad I asked to review this book. Not only was it a proper length book at 425 pages…what…you think that is long? Incorrect.  It was a perfect length and it was good from beginning to end. The book was well written, expertly edited and contained a host of very believable characters. Be prepared though, I started it first thing this morning and read it all in one sitting. It wasn’t a book I wanted to put down.”

Read more of Dan’s review over here: Book Review: Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake | Love Bytes.

Sometimes holding on means letting go Christopher Ryder and Jesse Birch are two men hanging on to the past. While Christopher has let go of his failure as a country singer in Nashville, he's still trying to please his narrow-minded, non-accepting family. His beloved Gran loves him the way he is, but Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. He’s happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee, but even when Christopher is center stage he aches for someone to see the real him. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to bisexual Jesse. He's raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother. There's no room in his life for dating, his kids are his priority, and he doesn't want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn't want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.
Sometimes holding on means letting go
Christopher Ryder and Jesse Birch are two men hanging on to the past. While Christopher has let go of his failure as a country singer in Nashville, he’s still trying to please his narrow-minded, non-accepting family. His beloved Gran loves him the way he is, but Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. He’s happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee, but even when Christopher is center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to bisexual Jesse. He’s raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother. There’s no room in his life for dating, his kids are his priority, and he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.

Smoky Mountain Dreams is available now at:

AMAZON
B&N
SMASHWORDS
iTUNES
SCRIBD
OYSTER

And now at KOBO.

“Leta’s words are so good you always want more.” Smoky Mountain Dreams #gay #amreading

“Leta’s words are so good you always want more. And I wouldn’t mind getting more of these two guys at all! I’m hoping there will be a sequel. *crosses fingers*”

via Goodreads | Pates Saint Louis, MO’s review of Smoky Mountain Dreams.

Sometimes holding on means letting go Christopher Ryder and Jesse Birch are two men hanging on to the past. While Christopher has let go of his failure as a country singer in Nashville, he's still trying to please his narrow-minded, non-accepting family. His beloved Gran loves him the way he is, but Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. He’s happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee, but even when Christopher is center stage he aches for someone to see the real him. There's more than meets the eye when it comes to bisexual Jesse. He's raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother. There's no room in his life for dating, his kids are his priority, and he doesn't want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn't want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.
Sometimes holding on means letting go
Christopher Ryder and Jesse Birch are two men hanging on to the past. While Christopher has let go of his failure as a country singer in Nashville, he’s still trying to please his narrow-minded, non-accepting family. His beloved Gran loves him the way he is, but Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. He’s happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee, but even when Christopher is center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to bisexual Jesse. He’s raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother. There’s no room in his life for dating, his kids are his priority, and he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.

Smoky Mountain Dreams is available now at:

AMAZON
B&N
SMASHWORDS
iTUNES
SCRIBD
OYSTER

And now at KOBO.

An emotional masterpiece! 5 stars! Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake #gay #amreading

“Love this long, angst filled, sexy-as-heck tale. I love Blake’s books, especially Training Season and River Leith, so this was an auto-buy for me. It’s a slow build to a great emotional arc as friendship turns to flirtation turns to sexy times turns to a deep and meaningful connection. Get your tissues ready! One of the most emotional books I’ve read this year. LOVED.”

Amazon.com: Annabeth Albert’s review of Smoky Mountain Dreams.

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Smoky Mountain Dreams is available now at:

AMAZON
B&N
SMASHWORDS
iTUNES
SCRIBD
OYSTER

And now at KOBO.

“I can HIGHLY RECOMMEND Smoky Mountain Dreams to read by your Christmas tree.” 5 stars for Smoky Mountain Dreams! #1click

Yay! Always fun to have new Leta Blake to read! And her newest M/M romance Smoky Mountain Dreams has more angst than you can shake a stick at, just as we have come to expect from Ms. Blake.

Spoilers abound in this one, so I will be purposely vague. Failed making-it-to-the-big-time country crooner Christopher Ryder meets and starts a relationship with failed-being-a-gay-man Jesse Birch, who owns and operates his own jewelry design studio. There are so many things in the path to their happily-ever-after that it is almost comical. I mean, poor guys! You really will root for these boys from the word, “Go.”

Give yourself some time, because this is a longer book coming in at just over 400 pages. Don’t start it and then have a test coming up or a paper due! You’ll hate yourself because this is hard to put down.

This is a great book folks! It ends in the holiday season and is chalk full of warm ‘n fuzzy holiday cheer. I can HIGHLY RECOMMEND Smoky Mountain Dreams to read by your Christmas tree.

OMG, I forgot to mention the sex! *head/desk* Where is my brain? These two were outstanding in the sex department. And after reading this, you’ll never look at your or your mother’s or grandmother’s or anyone’s string of pearls the same again. *clears throat*

via Amazon.com: Jen’s review of Smoky Mountain Dreams.

Click on through to purchase on Amazon. Also available at B&N, Scribd, Kobo, iTunes, and Smashwords.

Sometimes holding on means letting go

After giving up on his career as a country singer in Nashville, Christopher Ryder is happy enough performing at the Smoky Mountain Dreams theme park in Tennessee. But while his beloved Gran loves him the way he is, Christopher feels painfully invisible to everyone else. Even when he’s center stage he aches for someone to see the real him.

Bisexual Jesse Birch has no room in his life for dating. Raising two kids and fighting with family after a tragic accident took his children’s mother, he doesn’t want more than an occasional hook-up. He sure as hell doesn’t want to fall hard for his favorite local singer, but when Christopher walks into his jewelry studio, Jesse hears a new song in his heart.

5 Fantastic, Overwhelming, Obsessing Stars to A Most Personal Property by @Darrah_Glass

A Most Personal Property (Ganymede Quartet Book 1)A Most Personal Property by Darrah Glass

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever read a book that left you walking around for weeks in a daze of daydreaming about the characters? Have you ever read a book that tempted you to write fanfiction for the universe because you just couldn’t let it go? Have you read a universe so thoroughly realized that you just want to roll around in it for ages? This book (series, really) was all of that for me and more.

It hasn’t been since Ginn Hale’s Rifter series that I’ve been so taken with characters and their world. I have spent countless hours since reading an early draft of this book thinking of the completely realized side-characters, the intensely relatable main characters, and even making up little side stories in my head for their future.

I can’t fathom reading this series and not falling in love with Henry and Martin, not rooting for them and their dangerous relationship. I can’t fathom NOT reading this series, period, actually, because it has so impacted me and set my mind on fire with feeling and inspiration.

I’d tell you more particulars about the book, but I almost feel like every single bit of it is worth discovering for yourself. Every character, every interaction, every moment is so wonderful and intense that I don’t want to take any of it away from a reader by relating it in advance. Suffice it to say, this book comes with my absolute highest recommendation.

This is just the first book in a four book series (which will also have some side stories that go along with it, but are not required for the rest of the series) and I can’t wait for Book 2! This is just such a lush, wonderful, fantastic world!

View all my reviews

Available now at:
AMAZON

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Coming soon to B&N, iTunes, and more!

“If you read only one M/M Romance this spring, Training Season would be an excellent choice.” 5 stars | Queer Town Abbey

“If you read only one M/M Romance this spring, Training Season would be an excellent choice.

If Training Season author, Leta Blake, is predisposed to a swollen head, then I am about to add to her cranial inflation by awarding Training Season five stars. Quite simply, Blake’s complex, compelling saga of an emotionally and physically injured ice skating star seeking redemption and Olympic Gold, is a completely realized and entertaining work.”

via Training Season By Leta Blake | Queer Town Abbey.

 

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Click the picture to buy at Amazon. Also available at Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and many other ebook retailers!

“Well-written. Heartbreaking. Funny. A journey that is a testament to the drive of the human spirit.” Review of Training Season #gay #ebook #romance

“Well-written. Heartbreaking. Funny. A journey that is a testament to the drive of the human spirit.”

“This book takes you on a wonderful journey!”

Amazon.com: Island Lover’s review of Training Season.

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Training Season can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, and Smashwords. And also on iBooks.
Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap, and Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.
When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.
But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?

“A book I will read over and over again.” The Romance Reviews (TRR) – Training Season #mmromance #gay

“TRAINING SEASON is a tale told with such flair and tenderness, and with such insight into the two main characters that this is a book I will read over and over again.”

“A memorable story so sweetly told that it’s a real hardship when the story ends and you realise that even though Rob and Matty have their HEA, you don’t because you want to keep on reading!”

via The Romance Reviews (TRR) – Training Season

Read more of Susan MacNicol’s gushing review of Training Season at the link above and click below to buy a copy of your own!

cover-web-copy
Training Season can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, ARe, and Smashwords. Coming soon to iBooks.