Don’t look now but it’s December already.
Yeah. It is. And with December comes the New Year and with that comes… hangovers. Oh, and resolutions both helpful and otherwise.
For most of us scribblers, it’s a time to look back on successes and failures past with an eye toward setting that bar high for the next year. An agent. A publishing contract. A best seller list. Or maybe simply finishing that novel you started.
All good stuff.
Roads well-traveled by many of us. I’d be willing to go out on a not-too-dangerous limb and guess that 2018 was a shockingly disappointing year for many of us. It seems as though readers (and I include myself in this group because I am one too) got even more persnickety about what they wanted to spend disposable income on. Depending on who you believe, ebook sales are down and “independent” (read: No Romance Allowed) bookstores are thriving.
A completely unscientific poll I undertook—OK I asked a few people who normally make a decent living selling the books they’ve written—revealed that the income wasn’t quite as dependable as it has been in the past. Amazon pulled a few pranks on us too: eviscerating (a fair bit of my) income by taking a Death Star approach to Kindle Worlds, being but one of their more egregious activities.
There were some standouts, including a killer movie adaption of Crazy Rich Asians. The heart-warming success of a romance novel about an endearing on-the-spectrum econometrician and the sexy biracial male escort she hires to teach her everything about modern dating and sex was a huge hit and is now movie optioned. (The Kiss Quotient.) And a movie was made about a totally awesome YA book I read this year called Dumplin which features a plus size teen heroine who doesn’t spend the entire length of the story wishing she were a size two. I also find it gratifying as a reader that the success of these authors plus several others is leading to more demand for “other voices” than the usual white bread, small town/ big city experience within the romance (and mainstream fiction) world.
I like this trend, even if it means some of us might have to wait our turn for our next novel to see the light of day. It’s high time that we get romance novels by AND about people who don’t look like Victoria’s Secret models. I’m all about it and have gone out of my way to find lists of books that are becoming more popular thanks to this trend. New-to-me-authors are one of my favorite things to find.
My goals in 2019 will mirror 2018 in many ways.
I’ve not had luck with my agented novel yet—a chick lit story about women friends in the beer business. But I’m not giving up and I’m even planning to start another, similar one that I’m calling “Sideways. Only with women and beer.” We’ll see how that goes.
I also still have my co-writing project with Desiree Holt to finalize and submit. Plus I am planning to undergo a revise and resubmit on a sports romance over the holidays and get that back into the hands of one of my Targeted Publishers.
If you are a loyal Pro Rookie follower, you know that I hit (yet another) bump in my personal road to career success last this year. I think I’ve found my feet again but it’s a challenge. Like most challenges, I believe that I will rise to it. But to make things REALLY interesting, I’ve committed to a really difficult test in March that will allow me to call myself a Certified Cicerone, which is akin to a wine Sommelier, only for beer. The test takes most of the day and includes written multiple choice, essays about beer and food pairing and the hardest and most important part: a tasting section where I must identify exact styles (for the record, there are a metric ton of them) and in another part, I have to taste what’s “off” about the beer and say why it happened.
So, yeah. I’ve got some studying to do.
But I’m looking forward to it. Taking my eye off the ball of being The Next Great American Novelist has actually allowed me to not obsess about it and hence, enjoy writing and reading a bit more. This is tough business, grasshoppers, and the best way to handle it in my not-so-professional opinion, is to set your goals realistically and celebrate every milestone you hit, be it finishing that novel, finishing a synopsis, querying five agents a week or something bigger. But at the end of the day, the only person you must satisfy with your achievements is yourself.
Go forth! Celebrate the holiday of your choice! Toast to the New Year…then get back to work!
Be sure and check out my latest novel, a #metoo story with one of the most gratifying HEAs you’ll find around!
Believe it or not, in the middle of all that chaos and inner trauma, I had a book release. And one that is rather appropriate for my general mood.
If you like compelling novels about strong women who are sometimes brought low by a combination of their choices and extreme outside forces, who rely on their female friendships to get them through the low points, and who must save themselves before admitting that a super dreamy hero is right in front of their faces the whole time…the I’d say pick up a copy of FireBrew today. Enjoy.
One wounded hero + one shattered heroine = an untraditional romance for the ages.
Jane Terrance believes her life is in perfect order. She’s got a great job selling commercial real estate in Detroit, a condo in Midtown with
her best friend, plenty of her own money, plus full control over the men she seduces and discards with regularity.
Trey Lattimer seems a little young to be retired from firefighting and, at first, he’s just another guy for Jane to conquer. But the harder she tries, the more mysterious he becomes, until his presence in her life does nothing but wreak havoc on her psyche.
When her carefully constructed world comes crashing down around her one violent night, Jane reaches out for a hero, a role Trey is eager to play—as long as Jane accepts she must be her own heroine if they’re to stand any chance at a real relationship.
BUY THIS BOOK!