|Image by Billy Alexander|
Well. It appears we've reached the end of the year once again. That's good news, y'all. Means we survived! Woohoo! Give yourselves a hand.
It's time to the annual recap of cool (and not so cool) stuff that happened. No sense putting it off, let's get to it.
First things first, I came into 2013 with a lot of dread. Around mid-December last year I started getting this tight knot of panic in my chest if I thought about the future too much. Granted, my 19+12 birthday didn't roll around until mid-year, but I was a little flustered about that. Mostly, though, I was bothered by sadness because 2013 marked the ten year anniversary of my dad's death. There were a lot of mornings where I didn't want to get out of bed because a decade is a long, long time to go without seeing someone you love.
So I stayed busy. I buried myself in writing projects, which requires a lot of concentration. If you're concentrating on making characters miserable and ultimately happy, you don't have much time to wallow on your own misery. It started with JANO, writing the end of The Siren's Sentinel. Finishing that book felt so good, because the first draft was awful and I felt like the rewrite went so much better. But I finished in mid-January and needed something else to do. I decided to read The Convict and the Cattleman again. I laughed at how bad it was, but I thought, I'm not doing anything else, I could write the end of this. And I did. It didn't take too long, since I only added about five thousand words to finish. Then I really took a chance and submitted it to a three line pitch for Lyrical Press. I got my first request for a full submission. Then in March, I signed a contract for the novel. It was a thrilling moment, even though I was so nervous about edits. Edits really weren't that bad. Working with my editor was a great experience. So great, that I got started on another historical and submitted it in early June for my second contract. That novel is The Wrong Brother's Bride, and I'm particularly proud of it, because it's set locally.
I entered the Weta Nichols contest with a historical and a historical paranormal. No one was more surprised that me to learn the historical paranormal got first place, and a full request from an editor at Samhain. My first first place, which is far too cool. The Heckmasters: Wystan, was my April Camp NaNoWriMo project, which I was writing at the same time as The Wrong Brother's Bride. Then, during the late summer, I started working on Wildwood Spring, which is set in one of my favorite places in the world, Eureka Springs.
It didn't fare too well in the Weta, so I decided to enter So You Think You Can Write. It didn't make it through the first round picks, but I'd managed to finish it by the end of October. I was wavering between sending it to my editor at Lyrical or self-publishing it, but when I saw Breathless Press was offering a five page critique during November's NaNoWriMo, I decided to shoot it over there. I was giddy when I got the request for the full. Galleys for The Convict and the Cattleman were finished, a date was projected for The Wrong Brother's Bride, and suddenly another editor was offering a contract for Wildwood Spring. You bet I signed it.
Then more big news. A week after I signed with Breathless, the editor at Samhain offered a contract for Wystan. On top of four contracts and a first place award this year, I wrote over 350,000 words on eight novels. I've got the third book in the Heckmasters started and sitting pretty at 10,000 words and a new historical set in the same area as The Wrong Brother's Bride called Winning Her Heart. I'm going to attempt to finish it during JANO 2014 and send it to my Lyrical editor. I have a ton of ideas for novels in the upcoming year.
With the release of The Convict and the Cattleman just days away, I'm on the edge of my seat with excitement. I've done a ton of begging to get promo spots for it, so look for links to book features and interviews on my social sites.
I can't even express how awesome this year has been. When I started writing, I know I never expected to write so fast or submit and not be rejected dozens of times. I can't help wondering if it's a miracle, or dumb luck, or something else, but all this writing and editing really helped boost my moral for 2013. There were days that seemed bleak and black or sometimes the day would be fine until one little thing would set me off and drag me down, but there was always something to look forward to when it came to writing. Let's hope I can keep up the momentum.
Keep going, keep dreaming, keep writing, because good things don't happen if you do nothing. Right here, this is proof.
Happy New Year, kids!