Looking Back, Looking Ahead

looking forward

 

So here we are, at the end of another year. I can definitely say that 2012 was much better than 2011, even if I didn’t have a single book out this year.  Why? Because no books in 2012 meant I didn’t write or sell anything in 2011, and that was definitely hard. I was burned out by trying to write fully involved 400-page novels with world-building, romance, action, danger and hooks every six months while trying to maintain a crazy production schedule of writing and designing at my day job. I hit a wall, and I hit it hard.

Going in for surgery at the end of January and having six weeks of down time gave me plenty of time to rest and recuperate and think. (Ah, the blessed rest after the pain went away. Wonderful!) I thought about what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go. I thought about writing, and if I could do it again. If I wanted to do it again. If i could get something together for my poor agent to sell. If I could write something else and sell that. If I dared to get back into the maelstrom of deadlines and rejections and word counts and not hyperventilate.

Of course I hyperventilated. The memory of 2011 left its claw marks on my psyche. My series was dead in the water. Contemporaries, especially hot ones, were all the rage, but all I had in me were paranormal stories. Fighting for every word I wrote or typed exhausted me, and I was on bedrest! So I did what any good writer would do.

I read.

Reading. The one constant over my life has been immersing myself in other worlds through the written word. Reading got me through my awkward teens years, my family issues, long stretches between boyfriends, boredom, bus rides, lunches. Reading always got me through. It’s sad that I had forgotten that, sadder still that as I writer on both jobs, I lost time to do more than read cooking directions. But as I recuperated, I read, and as I read, I remembered.

I love words. Reading them, writing them, feeling them. The more I read, the more words sank into my brain, and so did the creativity to weave them. My love of reading did what it had done decades ago–nurtured my love of writing.

My agent sent me a blurb about Nocturne looking for sexy paranormal shorts. An idea immediately popped into my mind. I mean immediately. Just a phrase at first: The Sons of Anubis. Then another: The Daughters of Isis. And then conflict.

I wrote the first story. My agent sold it within a week of me sending it to her, with an offer for two more. I also polished a medieval romance that was a book of my heart type thing. Samhain bought that one. The medieval will be out next spring under my alter ego’s name, and the first two Sons of Anubis stories will be out summer and fall.l

I have my words back. And I have other authors and their words to thank for it.

I’m optimistic about 2013, fanatically so. I know I have at least one more Sons of Anubis story. These paranormal erotic romances have inspired me to write a full length IR erotic romance, which I’m working on now. And I have the beginnings of a new contemporary romance series that I’m fleshing out. I’m also polishing a Shadowchasers short story to put out myself hopefully before the end of winter. If it goes well, a longer story will follow.

Words. I have them back. And I’m looking forward to where they’ll take me in 2013 and beyond.

Goodbye, 2012. Hello, 2013!

Being Social for the Anti-Social

shy girl

Yet another great meeting with the Georgia Romance Writers. Today we had the always fantabulous Delilah S. Dawson talking about social media. I submit that social media is not my forte. I enjoy tweeting and posting to Facebook. It suits my magpie attention span.  “SQUIRREL!”

Okay, so where was I?  Anyway, I’m not the brightest bulb in the hall when it comes to being social, even online. Luckily Delilah was able to set me straight on some things, and then Anna DeStefano and Alicia McCalla kicked me in the e-pants.

So yeah, now I know that I not only have a reader shelf on Goodreads, but also an Author Page that has pulled quite a bit from my quiet little website. So I’m going to hopefully take control of it and give you guys updated info there. And since I’ve come to grips with the facts that blog postings don’t have to be so sparkly amazing and full of knowledge from on high (which mine never were) I feel okay wiht posting short snippets here and there.

Look for at least one new blog post a week, probably on Mondays, and probably about what has inspired me regarding my writing. Or something about Ancient Egypt. Or both.

Cemeteries and Tater Tots

Mercury went direct yesterday morning, and I’m already feeling the effects. The creative portion of my brain went on like a light, and I got more written between 10 pm and 2 am than I did the previous two days. How sad is that? If I ever get to the point where the day job isn’t necessary, but writing schedule will probably be 9pm to 4 am or something like that. I just seem to function better after the sun goes down.

Mercury going direct does bode well for the final push this month, which will involve a writing weekend ensconced in a hotel nearby. I’d thought about going here but may have to save that for a sanity retreat later in the year. And I have the PASIC conference and DragonCon to do this year.

I’m hoping the weekend will be warm enough for me to get out to Oakland Cemetery. I have a very pivotal scene in SHADOWBLADE set there, and I want to describe it faithfully. Shame on me that I visited St. Louis #1 in NoLa but haven’t visited this historic landmark in my own backyard, though I have ridden a MARTA bus past it many times.

I’ll probably wrap that up with a trip to one of my favorite places: the Vortex in Little Five. If you’re ever in Atlanta and jonesing for a mammoth burger and tater tots, this is the place to go. My problem is that I always fill up on the tots and get too full to eat my burger.

Okay, now to bang out a couple of pages before lunch time is done!

Bacon Explosion

Now I like bacon. My friends know not to attempt to sneak a strip off my plate–one was nearly stabbed by my fork, quite unthinkingly on my part. I also love sausage–nothing’s better with a Waffle House waffle than two sausage patties drizzled with syrup.

But this? This clenches my stomach, and not in a good way:

Burnt Finger BBQ's Bacon Explosion

Burnt Finger BBQ's Bacon Explosion

That puppy is made with two pounds of bacon and two pounds of sausage, liberally interlaced with BBQ sauce and rub. My arteries scream just looking at it.

Living the Dream

Today I’m blogging over at ReadersRooms about Living the Dream and what it means to me.  I sure hope you’re able to stop by!

300-calorie meals

From Sparkpeople:

What Do 300-Calorie Meals Look Like?

Wonder what 300 calories looks like? 300 calories look drastically different when you’re eating in instead of dining out. Choosing healthier, more nutritious foods–at home and away–means you can eat much more food and still lose weight. Check out these 18 meal comparisons and forward this eye-opening email to your friends, family and co-workers to help them eat healthier this year!

Breakfast: 300-Calorie Meals & Portions
Here are three morning meals that each weigh in at 300 calories. Healthy and quick homemade meals (left column) pack whole grains, fresh fruit, and protein–a filling combination that will keep you fuller longer. You could only eat a fraction of the comparable restaurant meals (right column) for the same number of calories.



Lunch: 350-Calorie Meals & Portions
These midday meals contain 350 calories each–the perfect amount to keep you going without wrecking your diet. Packing one of the homemade lunches on the left doesn’t take long, and look at all those low-cal and filling veggies you’ll get! Notice how seemingly healthy options like the restaurant foods on the right can be very misleading! Those 350-calorie portions are pretty small.




Dinner: 400-Calorie Meals & Portions
Many people consume a larger meal at night, so we picked 400-calorie dinners here. By combining whole grains with lean protein and vegetables, these homemade dinners (left column) are a snap to prepare–and they’ll keep the late-night munchies at bay! In contrast, the high-fat and high-calorie meals on the right don’t offer much in the way of nutrition or volume.




Working and Writing

I know many authors dream of giving up their day job.  I do too.  But given the poor results of Winter Wonder Write which didn’t even produce 1K a day output, I’m wondering if not having to go to work would be a good thing.

But I’m beginning to think that the problem is that I just can’t write at home.  I hate being domestic.  Hate it.  In fact, one of the first things I plan to do when I have extra cash is hire someone to come do my laundry, kitchen and floors.  Even if it’s just laundry, that would be huge!  When I find myself doing laundry instead of writing, I know I have an issue, and it’s not lack of clean underwear.

This weekend I’m going to try a new (for me) approach.  I’m going to go to my neighborhood library, and try to write there.  No History Channel marathons to distract me, no games on the travel netbook.  Just me, mini-me, and a note pad for 6 hours.  My local library also has study rooms–closed off rooms you can have tutoring or study time in.  Hopeffully I’ll be able to snag one first thing Saturday morning.  Hopefully it will go swimmingly.  I have two significant projects that have to be done very, very soon, and I need all the help I can get!

Win a trip to Obamapalooza!

Uh, I mean the inauguration!

All you have to do is answer the question: “What does this inauguration mean to you?” and you could win a trip to the swearing in, the parade, and one of the balls.  Oh, and you also get plane fare and hotel for two nights, for two people.

Come on, writers.  Y’all know y’all want to be there.  Go to:  http://www.pic2009.org/page/s/tickettohistory which will divert to a fundraising page, but donating to underwrite the inauguration isn’t required.

Sharon Cullars Fundraiser

You all know the economy sucks hairy donkey balls.  You all know that for every writer making a living from his or her work, there are dozens if not hundreds who aren’t.  Many are just finanically unable to leave their day jobs.  In black romance that number is probably statistically higher.

Author Sharon Cullars is feeling the pinch of this current climate keenly.  She’s been unable to find a replacement day job for quite soem time now.  As a result, she’s in danger of being foreclosed on.  Now if you know Sharon, you know this isn’t something that she’d willingly share with the public.  Fellow author Rozlyn Hardy Holcomb ound out about it and started a fundraiser.

So if you’ve ever read Again or The Object of Love and enjoyed them, please consider donating at: http://sharoncullars.chipin.com/sharon-cullars

To Burlesque or…

Not to Burlesque?

One of the local burlesque troupes, Syrens of the South, will be offering burlesque lessons beginning January 4th.  I must admit, I’m mighty curious.  I’ve been to a couple of shows, which are a lot of fun.  And learning burlesque just begs to go into a book of some kind.  (Yeah, like I don’t have enough projects on my plate.)

Maybe something for the alter ego to consider, ’cause there’s no way in hell I can put the girls into pasties.

Winter Wonder Write update: 2000 words.  I teh suck.

(listening to: Pandora Radio: Cut by Plumb)