I’m having trouble processing the fact we’ve just embarked upon a new decade. This might have something to do with the fact I still haven’t accepted the fact we’re twenty years into a new millennium. When? How?
Despite having a hard time with the math, however, I have done a lot over the past ten years and I’d like to take a look at that before I plan forward.
The Past Decade
Rather than relate the story of my fiction publishing career, which began in 2012 with my first ever contract, I thought it would be fun to do some graphics!
All of my published titles, according to Goodreads:
Missing are the individual ficlets written for the Chaos Station series (collected in the volume Always and Forever) and a handful of other short stories I wrote for varying reasons. Including all of the flash fiction I wrote would be impossible. Then there are the hundreds of blog posts I wrote for promotion. Let’s just say I wrote a lot and leave it there.
Let’s look at the genres I wrote in:
Who else thinks I need to write more paranormal romance?
It was interesting to see the almost even split between contemporary and science fiction romance. I did include a couple extra ficlets on the sci-fi list, but if I separated out all of the Chaos Station short stories, science fiction would be the ultimate winner.
I was tempted to actually count the words by year and post that chart but figured I’d save it for another time. 🙂
Okay, let’s move on.
I published one novel and two short novellas this year, which, honestly, is two more than I thought I might.
“What About Lunch” (Aliens in New York #1.5)
This wasn’t on any list, but while plotting Purple Haze, I wanted to account for the time between the two books, which was about six months, by showing some relationship development. This was also an opportunity to have some fun with the guys between adventures.
“What About Lunch” is free to download in all formats.
Purple Haze (Aliens in New York #2)
Perhaps reflecting my state of mind, this sequel went a lot deeper than originally intended. I love what I did with the plot, though, and the choices Lang made. For Dillon’s part, I’m super pleased with how he managed to remain himself, despite a difficult journey. I really do adore these two.
I wrote Purple Haze to complete their arc so that if I never got back to this world, I could rest assured knowing Dillon and Lang had their happily ever after. I’m not sure I can say I’m done, though. Arayu really grew on me in Purple Haze. She chose a side and it was the right one (of course). I’d love to write a story for her. Also, Uncommon Ground and Purple Haze are two of my most popular titles, which makes me happy as they are wholly my own stories, written purely for pleasure without consideration for what a publisher might want. It would be a shame not to continue the series.
I put off writing this for so long, I wasn’t sure it would come together. But as soon as I started, the voices came back. It was bittersweet, in a way, to revisit these guys. They’re all so happy in their lives. They don’t need me anymore. As always, though, I very much enjoyed spending time with them. Reminiscing and seeing what they’re up to now. I also couldn’t resist the temptation to poke at Frank just a little more. He’s one of my favourite characters. I find his combination of success and vulnerability deeply satisfying to write.
“This Time Forever” is free to download in all formats.
The rights to all of my Dreamspinner titles reverted to me at the end of June and I rereleased all of them exclusively to Kindle Unlimited where they all remain because I’ve been too busy to rerelease all of them wide. That will be a priority during the first part of this year.
What Didn’t Happen This Year
Looking back over my post from last year actually made me feel a little better about what didn’t happen this year, as the first two items on the agenda, Purple Haze and “This Time Forever” did. These three did not:
The City Without End (Sun #2)
The follow up to To See the Sun, 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 to Alkirak where Bram was homesteading.
I really, really want to write this book this year. I promise it’s next on my list.
‘Out of the Spotlight’
I have a very rough draft of the first book in this three-book contemporary series. Very rough. Priority-wise, cleaning this up is slated to happen after I write The City Without End.
Best in Show #2
Last year I said that if this book didn’t happen in 2019, it probably isn’t meant to be. I’m not ready to give up on it, though. So many people are waiting for me to return to this story and this world. My focus this year does have to be The City Without End, then we’ll see.
The State of Romancelandia
I can’t wrap 2019 without talking about the DRAMA.
I began the year exhausted, and if I’m honest, burned out. My mental health was not helped by continued late payments from Dreamspinner Press (which began in 2018) and when their financial situation was made public, I requested a reversion of rights to all of my titles. I worked hard on those books and hated the idea of losing them to bankruptcy. Dreamspinner Press recently released a statement to the effect they are restructuring their debt in order to avoid this, but I honestly can’t see how their business can remain viable–not with so many of their Big Names leaving, multiple suits against them, and so many authors, editors, proofreaders, and cover artists unpaid. I still have not been paid for Q2 and Q3. I just received a partial statement for Q4 with sales on it… for books they no longer own the rights to. The entire situation is a mess.
Formatting and rereleasing my Dreampsinner books (plus Wrong Direction because I’d long wanted to make that available to everyone) took up most of my summer, pushing back my writing schedule to a significant degree.
I also served as board Secretary and social Secretary to the RRW chapter of the RWA this year. I tried to resign in July because I was busy and overwhelmed. I run a small business with my husband and log a number of volunteer hours at the library teaching writing workshops and sorting and boxing book donations for the annual sale. It’s been difficult enough balancing that with parenting and a publishing career. Being on the board was one task too many. A replacement was never found and I served out my term, juggling these responsibilities with everything else.
Given what happened in December (Courtney Milan), you can bet I wish a replacement had been found. Thankfully, our president-elect, Robin Covington, is extremely on the ball and has been proactive in keeping both the board and our membership up to date on the situation.
I plan to let my RWA membership lapse when it becomes due at the end of this month. I had considered doing so last year, but had already agreed to a position on the board of the RRW and had hoped I could help inspire change from within. However, while I believe the RRW chapter is in good hands, I have no confidence in the current RWA board. With everything else I have going on, I do not possess the mental fortitude for this fight right. Not at this point in time.
I want to write.
My keyword for 2020 is simplicity. I’m going back to basics. I plan to tune out social media, politics, and what everyone else is writing and publishing, and get on with what I really want to do. Write.
I’m about 30k (out of about 60k written) into a WIP I have mixed feelings about. I started the book with great enthusiasm, but keep losing the thread at about the same point. I plan to load what I have onto my tablet to read over the weekend. I need to check the chemistry so I can figure out why getting these guys together is so difficult. Maybe they’re not meant for each other and what I have is the beginning of two different books. It’s happened before.
Next, I plan to start plotting and outlining The City Without End. That is my big goal for 2020. My only goal, really. If I can get this book written, then I’ll reassess what I might do with the rest of the year. I’ll check back with this post and look over the list of stuff I didn’t get done in 2019. Pick a project. But right now… just one book. This one book. That’s it.
My more personal goals, for those of you who are interested (and have made it this far), are along the same lines:
- Read less. I know, this is a weird one, but every year I mark myself down for 200 books in the Goodreads reading challenge and every year I’m hyper-aware of the number of books I’m reading/have read. I tossed my Fitbit last year because I was tired of thinking about the numbers. This year, I want to read fewer books and maybe see if I can’t include some of the doorstops I have shelved on the TBR because I’ll be less worried about hitting a huge total.
- Spend more time in my own head. I want to log fewer hours listening to audiobooks and more hours listening to my own thoughts. I’m too aware of making use of my time when I need to be letting more of my time be useless.
- Do more with my hands. Whether it’s finally learning to knit, simply doing more jigsaw puzzles, or picking up my drawing pencils again (at long last). Cooking and baking count too. Gardening.
And that’s it, my goals for this year. I’ve struggled for a while with the need to keep up with everyone else… and over the past year, I failed. I can list a number of reasons why, but what it really comes down to is that I don’t want to write a lot right now. I’m tired of paying attention to the numbers.
Rather than focus on my career, I want to focus on one book and write the best story I can.
What are your goals for the new year?