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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: the Good, the Bad and the Unexpected

My Year in a Nutshell
2011 was bittersweet for me in many ways. I had some ups and downs, each leveling out the other, to where I really can't say if it was a good year or bad. Some months were fabulous while others I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
She Has What?!
The beginning of the year marked a major change for my family when my then seven-year old was diagnosed with Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes. It was a shock to realize all those little symptoms I kept passing off as other things actually meant she has a major auto-immune disease. It was hard, but not impossible to deal with and we have made great progress.
 On the writing front, I began the year with a new release and new blog group of authors offering free short stories. It was great while it lasted, but health issues and other commitments kept us from making it through the second round of free stories. The idea isn't dead yet and I may be able to rejoin at a later time but for now will be putting my energy elsewhere.

Hitting the Small Screen
February meant something entirely new for me when fellow author Delphine Dryden created my first ever book trailer for They Call Me Death. I was thrilled to see my story on screen in this new and intriguing way. There will be more to come as I finalize plans for a Day Shift book trailer as well.

You Win Some, You Lose Some
In March I had a great idea for a monthly blog post. Since there are already so many review blogs for books, I thought why not review characters instead? I took a book I'd read, chose a memorable character and gave my opinion on him/her. Then I gave the book away. The response was lackluster and honestly not worth my time. It only went on for six posts.
June rolled around and with it my Birthday Blog Tour. This was something I had in 2010 as well. However, this year's response wasn't nearly as big. I still had a great time celebrating my birthday month with my readers and hopping onto other blogs. I most likely will do it again in 2012.
Personally I received more disappointing news that wasn't exactly a shock. Being in a family of diabetics I know the signs. When I was diagnosed with Type 2, I wasn't too upset. My daughter was absolutely thrilled.

When it Rains, it Pours
My second EC release of the year happened on my birthday. That was a nice surprise and it did very well sales wise. However, the death of my grandfather in May still had a pall over my outlook on things. At that point it seemed I couldn't receive good news without getting bad in turn. I was almost afraid to answer the phone or read my emails.
The end of the summer brought major scheduling changes for my family and two books in the works. 
In September I left my job of four years to be home for my daughters. This is something I'm still adjusting to though it has been wonderful. My fourth EC book came out in September with another great Jimmy Thomas cover. This novella was previously released through a different publisher. I was very happy with the changes and my readers appear to be too. Sales have been good.
 And last but definitely not least came my vampire world. Reviews have been good for the most part with a couple of exceptions, but I'm happy with them overall. I love these characters and am already writing the sequel. This was a world I had considered for quite a while before finally giving into the voices demanding I make it real...on paper. Now I can sleep again.
So that was my year in a nutshell. A few ups, a few downs, a lot of in between. The holiday season has been wonderful and I have great expectations for 2012.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Week!!

Merry Christmas Week! I don't know about you, but this is one of my favorite times of the year. It's true that it's often hectic and a bit stressful, but once all the shopping, baking and cleaning is done the end result is well worth it. I sincerely hope every one of you have a fabulous week and joyous weekend. May you find yourself surrounded by good company and lots of joy.
This week I'll be guest blogging on Buffy Christopher's  website. If you leave a comment you may walk away with a one-of-a-kind Missy Jane coffee mug. Not a coffee drinker? That's okay. It's great for tea and hot cocoa too. 
After that I plan to laze around the house and hop online as the mood strikes me. I'm currently trying to coax a few characters into giving up their stories so I can submit something the first week of 2012. As it stands, Sean and Megan, Greg and Zaria as well as Zerach and Isadora are all rumbling around in my head. We'll see who wins the race to have their story finished first.
If you catch me on Twitter, Facebook, in the Coffee Time Romance and More forums, or anywhere else, be sure to say hi. You never know when I might have some extra Christmas gits to hand out!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Book Fair, New York & Christmas Shopping

This past week was one of the longest of the year. I volunteered at my daughters' elementary school to help with the book fair. I've never done it before (and may not ever again) and had no clue how much work goes into those things. By Friday I was exhausted and ready to just lie down and die. Luckily it's now  over and I can go back to my regularly scheduled craziness. I didn't buy a single thing for myself, though there were a few good adult titles and the newest Shel Silverstein and Christopher Paolini. However, my daughters spent a good portion of this months' royalties on these titles: Dragonworld: Secrets of the Dragon Domain, Darth Paper Strikes Back, Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats and The Chronicles of Harris Burdick. If I could have picked any one book for myself, I think I would've chosen A Bad Kitty Christmas. I was wonderfully surprised by this charming and memorable book, and will be buying it at the soonest opportunity to read aloud on Christmas Eve.

As those of you following my Twitter feed or watching my Facebook wall may know, my second oldest daughter went to New York City last week...without me! She is a student at one of the greatest schools in the world. Not because of their curriculum, teaching staff or location. This school takes their kids on "field experiences" having to do with their chosen field of study, and my daughter is a drama student.Not only did she get to see Wicked on Broadway, she also met one of the choreographers who instructed her class on a dance routine. How cool is that? She brought back tons of photos and key chains for everyone. She also only spent half of the money I sent her with. I couldn't ask for a better daughter, but I'm never letting her go that far away from me again!

Now that the week is over, that doesn't mean I get to rest. I've already been to three different stores this morning to pick up Christmas presents ordered online last week. I'll be grocery shopping at some point in time and sneaking out to find a present for my husband. This may be the happiest time of the year but it's also the busiest. However, I LOVE it! The hardest part for me is not telling my girls what exactly is hiding beneath all that wrapping paper. We'll see if I can make it until the 25th.

So, that was my week in a nutshell. What have ya'll been up to?

Friday, December 2, 2011

'Cause I'm a Luuzerrrrr...

So another NaNoWriMo has come and gone and once again I DID NOT hit the 50,000 word goal. Le sigh. I'm disappointed in myself but realistic. Whenever I don't feel like writing, I simply can't make myself put words down. I tend to read as I write and edit along the way. I know that's not the point of NaNo, but it's how I write. I have to be in the zone, find my groove, feel my mojo working. Something. In November I had a gazillion things going on that had little to do with writing, plus a major release I did a piss-poor job of promoting. Somehow it still stayed on the publisher's top ten list for two weeks. (My readers rock!) But, to be completely honest, I was a terrible writer in November. At least, I had no discipline whatsoever in November. I'm going to try to be better this month, which won't take much, but with the holidays I don't have high hopes. My goal is to finish my NaNo project this month so I can submit it shortly after the first of the year. But honestly, it probably won't happen. I've also decided to be more realistic in my goals. I'm leaving that one because it's doable if I buckle down. Others are going to go by the wayside.

My hope for the rest of 2011 is to finish at least one MS. Hopefully it will be the sequel to Day Shift, but I have three I'm concentrating on. Other than that I'll be spending much needed quality time with my four girls and hardworking husband. If you don't see a lot of activity on this blog that will be why. However, if you keep seeing me on Twitter and Facebook, bitch at me to get back to writing. I'll need the ass-kicking at some point. ;-)