2018 is finally over! It was a tough year for me, personally. I had horrible time management, thanks, in part, to my full time retail job with unpredictable hours. I barely won NaNoWriMo, I utterly failed when it came to social media as a writer, and I had a few medical and financial roadblocks show up in my life.
I did, however, finish publishing the Anderson Stables series. That was both a sad thing and a relieving thing. I have lots of other story ideas fighting to get out now, and I can finally work on those ideas. But I will definitely miss writing about Vince and Dustin and Xander. I might just have to write some short stories in the future.
So, with all that behind me now, it’s time for some real goals for 2019.
- Learn some time management skills. It’s pretty obvious that I’m terrible at this right now. When I have a ton going on in my life, I push aside my writing, social media presence, and blogging. It’s time to take a look at where I can improve.
- Work toward a career change. For me, writing has only ever been expected to be a hobby, something I can make a tiny bit of money off while working a “real job” as well. I still don’t plan to make a full living off my writing, at least not in the next five years. My real goal is to take some new courses so I can get out of the retail world and hopefully work for myself, releasing myself from the unpredictable and ever changing hours.
- Be better at social media. I plan to return to blogging with monthly posts, along with weekly posts on Facebook. I also plan to start a newsletter very soon!
- Publish two books in 2019. I’ve decided to publish two books this year on my own schedule, without a publisher. Even working with a professional editor, this gives me a better way to work around my “real job” and set my own deadlines. We’ll see how it goes.
I don’t see why I can’t meet any of these goals, so let’s get rolling!
When it comes down to it, I essentially have three identities I keep up on a regular basis. There is the “real world” me, the one who works the full time job she thought she would quit someday but she now suddenly wants to turn into a real career. Then there are the two writer versions of me.
One, of course, is the version of me who writes m/m equestrian romance. But my truest love is actually fantasy. When I’m not working on a romance story, I’m usually working on a fantasy one. I’ve been mostly absent here because the publishing process is actually pretty slow paced. The final Anderson Stables book is in the production process as we speak and will be out this summer. Over the last couple months I’ve gone through several rounds of edits with it, and instead of waiting around to hear back from the editing team between rounds, I’ve been working to self-publish some of my fantasy writing (when those books are actually ready I’ll share my alter-ego for the curious).
I ran into an interesting problem with Amazon during this process. I have had my fantasy books available on Wattpad for quite some time, so when I decided just to publish better edited versions of the same stories, Amazon flagged my titles for being stolen because they were freely available online.
I cleared the situation up with them, but I can’t decide if I’m annoyed or appreciative. It’s definitely good that they make sure people aren’t publishing things they don’t have rights to, but I know I’m not the only one following this strategy. It does amuse me that I was more or less accused of stealing my own writing though. Made for an interesting couple of days.
I am of course still planning to write my vaulting book, but the fantasy itch came over me very abruptly and it doesn’t let go very easily.
Unfortunately 2017 was not a very productive or really a very good year for me at all. You may have noticed a general lack of updates from me, and for that I apologize. I had some personal and health struggles that made writing very difficult as I simply could not focus or force myself to be creative when I wasn’t feeling it. I am, however, very positive about everything going into the new year.
I will say that the fourth and final book in the Anderson Stables series has been accepted for publication. I have no definite information about a release date as the editing process hasn’t even begun yet. That is one thing giving me hope for making more progress with my writing in 2018.
So, because the acceptance of the final book got me excited to write some more, I started tossing ideas around in my head about what I should write next. I’ve always had some other story ideas in a similar theme to Anderson Stables – m/m where the world of horses brings the main characters together. I had been torn between writing about the sport of combined driving (like the sport of three-day eventing but with high-tech off-roading carriages) and vaulting for a while. Both had a lot of potential, but I had been paying more attention to driving competitions recently simply because they are pretty intense to watch.
But then I stumbled on an incredible video on YouTube of a French vaulting team and I decided that yes indeed I am writing about vaulting next.
Here is that video, so you can see where my inspiration came from:
Any of you who have been reading my Anderson Stables series may have noticed that I stay away from the level of eroticism many other authors seem to enjoy. Trust me, I’ve tried to write it, but it just doesn’t feel right. Every other aspect of my characters’ lives are written for the world to see, don’t they deserve some privacy?
I, personally, find sex scenes in books to ruin the entire flow of the story – unless done with more emotional detail than physical. Reading feels like meeting new friends, and when those new friends suddenly want to make porn in front of me, that’s really unsettling. My own characters are even better known to me, and making them “perform” for readers doesn’t feel right. Whenever I’ve tried, it has felt like the worst invasion of privacy you could think of.
And I’m writing a romance, not erotica. I’m frequently disturbed to find such graphic scenes in books described as being romances and not “erotic romance.” It seems to be almost expected that romance in general will contain detailed sex, especially in the m/m world. Whatever happened to a nice, sweet love story?
That being said, readers who are looking for erotic romance should be able to find it easily. I don’t want readers finding my books and assuming they will have those scenes, only to be disappointed. Everyone deserves easy access to the kinds of books they want to read.
I prefer sweet romances, so I don’t plan to ever write anything erotic. I’m here for the love story.
Life has taken a crazy turn this summer and I’ve been working non-stop.
Writing is currently the “second job” and is getting pushed aside constantly during my stressful weeks of overtime at the current “first job.”
So far I’ve been continuing to write daily, though not as much as I want to. I’m lucky to hit 1,000 words most days.
To be honest, I almost forgot to make a post this weekend because of it.
And there are, of course, other things that need to be done that are taking up my time. Driving out to see my horse, Alec, once a week. Doctor’s appointments. Car repairs. Job interviews. Trying to stay healthy enough to keep writing by eating, exercising at least a bit, and getting some sleep.
And impatiently waiting for everything to be settled and routine again.
I thought I would share one of my hobbies with you guys, since it is related to my writing.
When I was 9 years old I started collecting model horses (specifically, Breyer brand) after a friend of mine showed me her rather large collection. I was instantly hooked and wanted them all.
Over the years my collection grew, at one point totaling just over 200 models. I grew out of playing with them to setting them up in scenes to photograph, among other hobby things that may seem weird to “outsiders” (like making blankets and halters, and going to shows where pieces of my collection were judged on collectibility and how well the model represented the breed I claimed it was – that stuff can get super competitive and I quickly gave it up because I lacked the great models others had).
Through my college years I drifted away from the hobby entirely, selling off almost my entire collection to buy textbooks and put gas in my car.
Lately, though, I feel drawn in again, but this time with an actual theme to what I want. I used to just want every model I could get. Now I’m going out and finding models that are made to look like real life famous horses (called portrait models).
And the even more specific theme? I’m going for models of famous horses related to my writing. All the models in the picture are portraits of famous show jumpers. This is the majority of the portrait jumpers Breyer has made over the years, I just have a few rare ones I’m hoping to grab someday.
So there we have it, my crazy hobby. Anyone want to share theirs?
I originally started this blog with the plan to make a post every week. That worked well for a while, but then I ran out of ideas. All the advice I hear or read about being on social media as an author is to post often, but not to over share.
How do I, just your average author, share without over sharing? Updates on the books is one topic, but I don’t have news every week and I’m sure you guys, as readers, want more than that.
I’ve encountered the same problem with Facebook. My page is pretty dead because I don’t post enough.
What do I do?
Make a change, of course. There are other things I could talk about that are related to the books. I’m thinking mainly of songs that are part of my writing playlist and videos related to topics in the series. Super cool horse video? Yes! Super sweet video about love? Yes! Real world news that impacts my characters’ futures? Yes!
Setting up posts to automatically publish so I can’t possibly forget? Definite yes!
And of course there are the free reads I plan to share in the coming months.
So, be prepared to see much more from me. You’ll get to know me, my writing process, my plans for coming stories, and the characters themselves. And, if you have any suggestions about what you want to see, feel free to comment!