I’m conflicted about 2017. Politically it has been perverted and ugly and it will take our country decades to recover from the policies put into place this year.
Personally, it has been the best of years, and the worst of years. The worst was losing my father in March. The best has been time spend with family and loved ones, stretching from early in 2017, to the time spent in Cambria over the Christmas holidays.
Working through getting my father’s estate settled meant I got to spend a lot of time with my brother from March to June; it seemed like every other weekend we were together. I also got to see my nephew and family (and my new baby grandnephew!), which was a delight.
I had one novel published, and two novellas. I wanted to do more in 2017, but grief slammed me sideways. I’m not going to beat myself up over it, because there’s no point – but in 2018, I am going to put me first, my work first, rather than give other work precedence. I am going to hew to my schedule, rather than let myself be swayed by the inaction of others.
So, for 2018, I have a new dark urban fantasy series (NOTE – this is NOT a romance series!) coming out, called The Forgotten Ones. The first novel I hope to have ready for June timeframe. In May the prequel novel will be out in a box set, and it will be FREE to all. I’ll post when that’s a done deal.
I’m also revamping Wolf’s Heart (which is currently unavailable), the Caine-adjacent novel that details Doc Megan’s romance. THIS book has a tie-in to the above dark urban fantasy novel…the master vampire at the end of the book is the villain in the Forgotten Ones series. I want this to come out in March, so I’ve got some work cut out for me.
I also have the ballet series that I’m working on – the first book is in edits stage and then I’ll send it to the editor who (fingers crossed) will get back to me fairly quickly and I’ll hop to finish the other two.
In between these, I plan to re-release Snowed In at Christmas (probably in July), and hopefully another holiday novella or two. We shall see.
And there are always the surprise novellas…those opportunities that come out of the blue. So my year is pretty full, already!
I’m planning on going to the Northwest Tarot Symposium in Portland, Oregon the first weekend in March, 2018, mainly to hang out with Arwen Lynch Poe but I’m also looking forward to the inspiration I know I’ll find there (plus maybe an opportunity to see relatives).
My next appearance will be at RWA National Conference in Denver, Colorado July 16 – 21, 2018.
The last one currently scheduled for 2018 is the Romance Author Mastermind conference with Skye Warren in Houston, Texas on September 26 – Oct 1, 2018. I’m looking forward to taking my career the next step.
So, that’s a brief round-up of 2017 and a more positive look ahead to 2018.
Oh, and I am planning on getting on the newsletter bandwagon – once every few months most likely to start. If you think you’d like to get news from me, please click on the link in the upper right corner on this page here.
May your burdens be light and your blessings be many. Sending love and hugs to you all.
I usually do this post on New Year’s Eve, but life sort of got away from me, as it does now and then. However, here’s a look back at 2014.
Well, I did finish the Guitar Book, and came up with a series idea based on the talent agency…had a great time pitching that at Desert Dreams, finaled in their contest with that book, and…let’s see…oh YEAH. Boroughs Publishing Group wanted the series, and I signed a contract with them in August for a short story and the three novels. Woo! (StarTide series!) Isn’t the StarTide logo cool???
I pitched the Ballet Book, finally finished it, and sent it off to Lovely Agent who wants to see it after I make some revisions because she really liked it but it didn’t quite have enough oomph in the non-ballet sections. So there’s that.
Went to San Antonio for RWA’s National Conference, where I was a lucky girl and got to spend time with the Boroughs peeps. Went to their open house, and was invited to their author dinner even though I wasn’t technically one of theirs yet. Spent some lovely time talking to Chris Keeslar, which is where I got the idea for the Christmas short story. I also drunk-pitched said Ballet Book to a Lovely Editor at St. Martin’s, who said she loved the idea and (being friends with Lovely Agent), when the book is complete she’d like to see it.
Once home, I commenced writing like a fiend. Wrote, finished, and turned in the short story. Christmas Star (only .99!) published in October, 2014! Yay…after almost two years of not publishing, it was nice getting back into the water. In December, I finished book 2 of the StarTide series, and turned that one in. Began Book 3.
Also in December, rewrote another short story I had, after being asked to submit one for a paranormal/sci fi box set for Irksome Rebel Press. As soon as my readers get that back to me, I’ll be turning it in.
So the count for 2014: finished 3 novels; wrote 2 short stories; had one short story published, went to two conferences. Oh, and I wrapped up my second year as President of Los Angeles Romance Authors, chapter of RWA. Whew!
(2015 can be your year, too! There’s room for everyone!)
Here’s what my 2015 is going to look like, that I am aware of currently:
Writing wise: Finish Book 3, Rising Star. Write Caine Brothers Book 3, Demon’s Rage (Justin and Maggie). Rewrite the Ballet Book; send to Lovely Agent (and hopefully Lovely Editor). Brainstorm 2 – 3 novels/novellas for the StarTide series; discuss with Boroughs and write at least the first one.
Guarded Star, to publish in February. Star-Crossed, to publish in April. And Rising Star, publishing in June.
Hopefully my short story will be accepted, and in the Lucky Stars Box Set that will come out on March 17th.
End of March, I will be speaking at the California Dreamin’ Writer’s Conference, where I’ll get to see lots of old friends and make new ones.
End of May, I’ll be at the Pay It Forward Writer’s Retreat, put on by the incomparable duo of Kendall Grey and Danielle Allen.
End of July, I’ll be in New York City for the RWA National Conference!!!
Demon Soul, Demon Hunt and Demon’s Rage will hopefully all be out in August or maybe September, with nifty new covers and finally an end to the story!
A StarTide holiday novella out in October/November, hopefully.
So, that’s my year. Of course, life happens and things change. My fondest hope is that whatever changes happen are for the better, and that more gets out than less…
Whatever your dreams are, go for them. Be bold, in whatever manner fits you. And don’t let anyone tell you your dreams are too big. They are YOUR dreams, and so they are the perfect size.
Sending love and hugs out to you, and may 2015 be the continuation of All the Good Things!
All pictures (except Christmas Star and the StarTide logo) borrowed from Leonie Dawson.
Most of the time, the two days prior to going to RWA’s National Conference are spent in a state of sweaty panic. The clothes I need to wear are a) lost, b) suddenly too small, or c) have strange stains in suspicious places. Or, horrifically, all three. (lol)
So I spend way too much money on clothes that are barely adequate, stuff them all in my too-small huge suitcase, and spend the entire conference in a state of panic/misery due to my feeling uncomfortable in the clothes I have to wear.
For some reason, this time around I’m good. I didn’t buy clothes for conference. Nor did I buy new shoes just before conference (to buy new shoes just before you stand for five days straight is not a good thing, in case you were wondering).
What I did do is put together an entire outfit for each day of the week, not including travel days. Then – no joke – I labeled each outfit for the day I’m going to wear it. Packed each outfit, layer by layer. Added underwear, sox, jewelry, shoes. Everything’s now packed for those important days, and I still have room in my suitcase. It’s a lovely feeling, because I always come home with more stuff than I leave with; having extra room in the suitcase lowers the possibility that I’ll be over the weight limit on the return flight.
But extra room makes me nervous. Which means, of course, that I’ll need to add some pieces for the nights, and extra tops. Just in case.
My dragon needs a name. He’s going a-courting Lady Dazzleton, a lovely tutu-wearing dragons (companion to Tameri Etherton) that he’s seen about on the interwebs.
And maybe another pair of shoes. Oh, a hat – I think I’ll really need a hat. And of course my dragon will be going with me – everyone needs a dragon, right? And art stuff. Well, maybe not art stuff, it’s not like I’m going to have time to draw or get fancy, but still. Should I put in the ms I’m editing? lotta pages, but maybe there’s room…OOH! CAMERA! Day planner. Should I add my day planner? And maybe I should unpack and double check those clothes…
…This year, I’m not panicking. Not panicking at all.
In other news, there were certain things I was planning to get done prior to National Conference, such as: pedicure, manicure, massage, facial, get hair cut and colored. Yeah, well. I did color my hair, and I’ll probably give it a bit of a cut this morning after my shower. So there’s that…
Hoping to be able to shout from the rooftops my news soon. In the meantime, have a safe and happy week!
If you have a name for the he-dragon in the photo, fling it to me in the comments!
Hi there! Yeah, it’s me. Sorry I’ve been absent. There’s been SO much going on that it’s going to take me a while to get everything organized in my brain. But first off, my dad was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for everything he’s done for the San Diego Book Awards and Read-4-Fun programs (both groups live on donations, by the way). He started those two groups twenty years ago, and they’re still going strong. My husband and I, as well as my brother Greg and his lovely wife Tina, were all there to cheer him on.
Chet Cunningham, passing on his wisdom at the San Diego Book Awards night. Photo by Greg Cunningham.
Yeah, so everyone stood in front of the projector – but that didn’t lessen his savoire faire.
A couple more photos from that night…
Mark A. Clements presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Chet Cunningham, San Diego, June 21, 2014. Photo by Greg Cunningham.
Mark A. Clements is SO TALL (about 6’6″ or 6’7″…) and my dad so short, lol! Below, Daddy rocking his Cunningham tartan hat and beard.
Dad with the plaque, and rocking his beard! June 21, 2014 Photo by Greg Cunningham
The San Diego Book Awards ceremony was held about four weeks after he was flooded out of his house. (You can read the first installment and see the photos of that here). On June 21, 2014 I wandered through the house I’d been born in, and it seemed so small. Bare of everything. Stripped down to the cement foundation, the house looked awkward, old. It felt chilly despite the warmth of the day, as if everything I’ve grown up with and known is gone forever. But I had to face it. Seeing it that way, while my dad is alive, was sad, yes; but not devastating.
(The above photo is also by Greg Cunningham.)
As of this writing, Dad’s still not back in his house, but the carpet is in and all the painting is done. (We thought we’d be moving him back in last weekend but it didn’t happen.) As he keeps saying, he’s writing 2K a day because there’s nothing else to do at the residence hotel he’s been staying at (for almost two months now). He’s discombobulated and just wants to get back to his garden, and who can blame him?
(I’ll have another post later about the 4th of July in Tehachapi – wonderful day!)
As for me, I’ve got lots on my plate. Finishing up a Fairy Tale on spec, editing my ballet novel, working on book 2 of the StarTide Talent Agency series, plus coming out with new editions of my Demon series books (plus book 3, finally!). Busy, but that’s the way I like it.
OH! And I’m working on a 48-hour Film project at the beginning of August, writing with Mona Deutsch Miller and Cailin Maureen Harrison. It’s Mona’s project – I’m just along for the ride, lol!
Plus there are some short plays I’m working on. Busy, it seems, doesn’t begin to describe my life…please add in there the Day Job and family. Whee!
Next week, if you’re in San Antonio, come see me…
I’ll be at the Romance Writers of America Annual National Conference. There’s a HUGE book signing that’s open to the public on Wednesday, July 23rd, from 5:30pm to 8pm – I’m not signing, but I’ll be there helping the authors who are. I’d love to see you! So grab me and tell me how you know me, because I’m terrible with both names and faces, and I promise you a big squishy hug.
Here we are, in the middle of summer. Hope yours is going swimmingly! Hug your loved ones and keep positive. Life just keeps on getting better.
So, this past week I did not go to RWA National Conference. Nope. I didn’t stay up too late, drink too much, have great meals with wonderful friends, hug people I don’t see often enough. I didn’t pitch novels or jump up and down with glee with friends that had successful pitches, and I didn’t get to applaud the Rita and Golden Heart winners or console the losers.
Instead, I made tomato jam and applesauce and wrote my fingers off. It doesn’t seem to be a fair trade until I realize how happy my credit card is that I didn’t go!
So, it starts with tomato plants. The 20 plants I have in my yard yielded this:
Picked July 20, 2013
(and there is plenty more where that came from) This is only 3 pounds; I had to go out and pick more. So after my post last week about tomato recipes, the hubby says well, when are we making tomato jam? And so…this weekend it was time.
After roughly chopping tomatoes (no need to skin them, thank goodness), they all went into the pot, along with chopped onion, finely chopped green apple, cumin, coriander, salt, half cup of brown sugar and one and a half cups white sugar.
Everything in the pot, all stirred up. Let’s call it pre-jam…
As it cooked down, it tasted really yummy – hint of spice plus a hint of sweet. I was excited – there were so many possibilities with this tomato mixture. You could put it on nachos, spread it on sandwiches, use it with cheese and crackers…I wondered how many jars I’d get out of the deal. I had twelve 8 ounce jars in the canner, boiling. I’d have enough to give away to friends and family, and still have some left for us. I daydreamed as the mixture cooked down.
Finally, after two hours and change and lots of stirring so it wouldn’t stick to the bottom, we had jam.
I prepped the jars, filled them, wiped the rims…then put them in the canner and followed directions.
5 jars of jam!
After fifteen minutes, I pulled out the jars and wiped them before setting them on the towel-covered counter. It wasn’t the twelve jars I was hoping for, but five jars is better than none. Next time I’ll chop seven pounds of tomatoes instead of 3.5 pounds.
Note: We had some this morning with breakfast. And I was a bit disappointed in how sweet it was (well, hello 2 cups of sugar). Next time I’ll back off on the sugar, and maybe add another onion. Or some chili pepper, for an extra kick. I’ll still use what I have on nachos and etc, as the jam is definitely tomato-y and not strawberry-e, but I’m going to go for something a little spicier.
As for the applesauce? Four pounds of apples. 2 pints of sauce (cinnamon, no sugar). Here’s the proof.
It’s a darn good thing we have more apples on the tree…
So, while I didn’t get to run myself ragged for a week in Atlanta with a whole bunch of old friends and new friends and friends I’ve yet to meet, I did soothe my inner farmer gal by harvesting what we’ve grown, and saving it for another day. Seems a fair enough trade.
Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time, cheers!