It’s time to make plans and set a few goals! But first, I’d like to take a look back at 2018. It was a huge year for me, career-wise—beginning with a lot of uncertainty and ending with five book releases. Let’s take a look at those first.
Readers had to wait until August for my first release of the year, but the reception for my weird and tropey science fiction western romance was overwhelmingly positive—which made me happy for all the usual reasons: yay, people liked my book! But also for the fact I’d taken a chance on something a little out there—a queer mail-order spouse story, with a pioneering setting, in space—and ended up writing one of my favourite books ever. To See the Sun turned to be one of my most romantic books as well.
Some readers felt the book was too tropey. I took that criticism as “this book is not for you.” I meant it to be tropey. I meant for the science fiction aspect to be incidental as well as inherent, but I never set out to write space opera. To See the Sun is, first and foremost, a love story.
For those looking for more set in this universe—yes, that’s on the list for this year! I’ll talk more about that later.
The Complete Counting series and Counting Out
I have never been happy with Dreamspinner’s policy of pricing novellas over 15k at $3.99, so a part of my request to bundle the Counting series in one volume was to make the complete story available at a more accessible price. Dreamspinner agreed to a print version which… wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but I won’t deny I’m thrilled to be able to hold Henry and Marc’s complete journey in my hands.
In an effort to continue adding value to the series as well as flesh out their story, I wrote a third “short” as a final epilogue to Marc and Henry’s story. Counting Out came in at just under 20k words, actually making it longer than either of the first two novellas in the series! And it’s available to download and read for free.
Building Forever (This Time Forever #1)
The long-awaited Cheez-It book! Or the novel I had no plans to write until I was about a quarter of the way through and Charlie still hadn’t stopped talking. I put so much of myself into this book: my insecurities regarding parenting a teenager, the ups and downs of a writing career, my lifelong interest in architecture, and my desire to see two deserving people find a happy ever after together.
I hoped this book would be a hit with my readers and perhaps gain me a few more fans and it appears to have done just that with the reception being super positive. I figured a lot of folks would like Charlie, but every reader who loved Simon just as much (or more) warmed my heart. ❤
Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2)
As I mentioned in a few of the promo posts I wrote for Renewing Forever, I had no idea how much I needed to write this book until I wrote it. Oh, the longing. I’d always wanted to write a true second chance romance—where the one who got away came back, where a love thought lost was found and rekindled, where the happy ever after felt so well deserved.
The readers who enjoyed this book really enjoyed it—and the reviews reflecting the fact they’d taken the same journey reading as I had writing were incredibly gratifying. Renewing Forever was a stretch in a new direction for me and it’s probably my favourite of the series. Friends to lovers will forever be it for me!
Chasing Forever (This Time Forever #3)
Brian’s story was the book that stressed me out the most this year—the writing, the editing, the waiting for reviewer and reader reactions—and what surprise it turned out to be, for me as much as anyone else. Readers love this book! They love Brian—the lying, cheating asshole from books one and two.
I felt like I’d nailed his redemption, and I’d tried something a little different with the story arc. My readers know I don’t exactly write traditional romances. I try, but my black moments don’t always happen when they’re supposed to and sometimes they’re not particularly black. My conflicts aren’t always related to the relationship. I tend to write more along the lines of: okay, so these two are going to get together, but they really need to sort themselves out first, and the sorting will affect their relationship, and sometimes it’ll read like a real romance! And sometimes it won’t.
Nevertheless, I’m absolutely thrilled with the reception to Brian’s book and I’m so glad Brian and Mal have fans of their own. They both deserve all the love.
I do have plans to write an epilogue novella for this series, and maybe a spin-off novel for Josh and Ethan. The novella will be this year and will be more a montage of check-ins with each couple than an actual story, but I’m as curious about how my guys are getting along after their HEAs as you all must be.
I don’t think Josh and Ethan will happen this year. I’m aware that the longer I leave their story, the less likely I am to write it, so we’ll just have to see how my writing year goes and where my muse takes me. Fingers crossed!
What Didn’t Happen This Year
Purple Haze (Aliens in New York #2)
I originally intended to write Purple Haze in November 2017, but had to back-burner the project in order to fill contractual obligations with Riptide Publishing (namely, write Frank’s book). I started writing Purple Haze in May 2018 and had reached the 75% mark when Amazon announced they were closing Kindle Worlds. As I’d incorporated more elements of Felice Stevens’ world in the second book of the series than in the first, I decided to stop writing and reassess. I then got very, very busy editing all three novels of the This Time Forever series and didn’t get a chance to go back and review and revise Purple Haze until recently. It’s at the top of the list now and will (hopefully) be ready for release around March this year!
I’ll talk more about my plans for this novel and the series in general in just a little bit.
My Facebook Reader Group
For those of you wondering when I started a Facebook Group for my readers and why you didn’t know about it: it doesn’t actually exist—and might never. I had plans to start one in the lead up to the release of To See the Sun but kept putting it off because I’m really not sure I have the time to do it justice. I have the greatest admiration for authors who have thriving and active Facebook Groups and I love joining in the discussions. My own social media presence is somewhat more sporadic, however. Sometimes I’ll check in every day. Sometimes I’ll skip a week, checking in only when I’ve been tagged. I just have so much else going on that I’m not sure I can be present enough to run a great group!
If you’d like more Kelly, please friend me on Facebook. Because I write under my own name, I post regularly about my writing. I also post about my hobbies (gaming, reading, hiking, movies) and I’m always happy to chat about anything and everything.
If you’d ever like to chat with me about my books and would prefer a more private forum, ping me on Facebook messenger! I promise to answer all your questions.
I also send out a monthly newsletter that ends up getting quite chatty, and of course, I have this blog.
I also had plans to sell signed books through my website/blog. But it’s soooo complicated. There’s shipping and sales tax and stocking and billing and I just can’t. What I can do is send you bookmarks, postcards, and signed bookplates! Best part? I’ll do it for free.
Purple Haze (Aliens in New York #2)
Right now, I’m getting ready to read through what I have written so far. It’s about 48k of a proposed 60k. Everything is about to go wrong (for Dillon and Lang), meaning I just have to write the action-y stuff, and then the resolution-y stuff. These are two of my favourite things to write, so I have no worries at all about finishing this book. I should probably put some sexy stuff near the end too. Done and done.
Felice Stevens has graciously allowed us to keep any elements tying our stories to her world, but because Uncommon Ground (Aliens in New York #1) had such a tenuous link in the first place, I’ve decided that part of getting Purple Haze ready for publication will be moving it further from her world, which is going to mean some series editing. I’d actually set it more deeply in her version of New York, drawing in more of her characters with an idea of making one of them an alien in disguise.
Although I have planned for Purple Haze to complete the story of Dillon and Lang, giving them a happy ever after ending, I’ve decided edit out all elements of Felice’s world so that the series can remain open-ended, meaning I can either revisit Dillon and Lang (send them on another adventure), or spin-off another character. I really enjoy writing science fiction and contemporary and this series is a perfect blend of the two and fairly unique. I don’t want to say it’s done!
So, the plan: Review and Revise Purple Haze. Get it written and off to the editor ASAP. Meanwhile, I’m going to edit Uncommon Ground slightly. The story will not change! I’m merely going to change a few names and edit one encounter (with Felice’s characters) to take it out of her world. I will then commission new covers for Uncommon Ground and Purple Haze and publish both books in March/April. I also plan to make both of them available in paperback!
All details regarding the rerelease and new release will be in my newsletter and here on my blog.
“This Time Forever” (This Time Forever #3.5)
The setting will be Frank and Tom’s wedding, with all main characters and several side characters from the novels in attendance. The story will jump from character to character as I check in with each one, examining their headspace and heartspace. I’m really looking forward to revisiting these guys. They’re all still in my head and I love the idea of seeing where they’re all at six months on from the end of Brian’s book.
This project is up after Purple Haze and will hopefully be ready for publication late spring/early summer. The story will be novella length, free to read, and made available to newsletter subscribers first!
The City Without End (Sun #2)
The City Without End will be set entirely on Zhemosen (I think) and will be Price’s story! For those of you who haven’t read To See the Sun, Price is the friend who helped Gael find the contract with Bram and travel from Zhemosen (also known as The City Without End) to Alkirak where Bram was homesteading.
Price’s story is going to include the arranged marriage trope and lots of shady crime family/undercity dealings. His opposite number is a character I’m super excited to write. I’m also looking forward to delving more deeply into Price’s character.
The plan is to deliver The City Without End to my publisher sometime in the spring. I have no details regarding possible publication dates at this time. But when I know, you’ll know. 🙂
Out of the Spotlight #1
Out of the Spotlight #1 will be the first book of a new contemporary romance series featuring older characters. I don’t have much more to share at this time, except that I have three novels planned and that the books will have a similar feel to This Time Forever in that I’ll again be focusing on mature heroes and found families. The settings will be very different, however, as will the tropes and stories.
I’ll have more to say when I start writing this one, but I am really excited about the concept for these books!
Best in Show #2
This book has been on my wishlist for a number of years now and I’d really love to write it. The reality is that the farther I get from the first book, the less likely this is to happen, however. But, if I do find the time this year, it could. No promises to you or me, but if it doesn’t happen in 2019, it probably isn’t meant to be. I would like to write more paranormal fiction, though. I had a blast with this story and had plans for the world. Hopefully, I’ll find the time and inclination.
I was supposed to write Purple Haze, The City Without End, and Out of the Spotlight #1 in 2018. Life had other plans. As always, though, as I dug myself out from under a seemingly never-ending pile of work, I learned a few things: namely, that I prefer to write/edit/write/edit than write/write/write then edit/edit/edit. Editing is the hardest part of the process for me and editing four books back to back as I did in 2018 nearly killed my desire to continue writing. It took several months to even imagine writing a story again—for the ideas to spark, for me to feel creative.
So—and I share this will all apologies—my output is going to be slower going forward. I published seven titles in 2016, six in 2017, and five in 2018. I may only get two or three out there this year and plan to strive for two or three the following year. I’ve learned I cannot sustain the pace required to put out six or seven titles every year. Not even five, really. Not and love what I do—and for me, loving what I write is an essential component. I’m not a book factory. 😦 I wish I could write more, faster, and there may come a day when I manage to write more than promised! But I’m all about managing expectations, for better or worse, and would rather we all be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed.
So that’s it! If you made it to the end of this post, thanks for reading. If you’re a fan of my books, thank you for taking the time to share the lives of my characters from time to time. Here’s to a happy, healthy and productive 2019 and more journeys taken together. ❤