Woo, 100 posts! I can’t believe it! I remember when I was trying to qualify for a blog thing and needed a minimum of 10, and never thought I’d make it there. I always want to post more on my blog, I just never get around to it.
This is more than my 100th post, it’s also my first post of 2014! So, I think a little musing on the past year is appropriate.
Let’s start off with January 2013: the release of Snow Bound. Publishing my second book was actually more nerve-wracking for me than my first one was. This time around, I felt like there were expectations. I had fans telling me Semester Aboard was one of their favorite books. Speaking of that; I had fans! That was scary. As a reader myself, I know how disappointing a bad sequel can be. I felt a lot of pressure to make the book as good as the first.
The last few chapters were difficult to write. Not because of the content, but because I was afraid to finish. Afraid that people wouldn’t like it. I decided that if people hated it, they’d hate the first one too because they were so disappointed. Then, I’d lose fans, and people would hate me, and hate everything else I wrote.
Imagine my surprise when some people liked Snow Bound more than Semester Aboard. I don’t think I can put that relief, and joy, and rollercoaster of emotions into words.
Even more exciting, was when Snow Bound was given a 5 Star Review, in May, on Readers’ Favorite, granting me permission to slap this awesome sticker on the cover!
After that there were things like milestone Likes on my Facebook page, blog, number of Amazon reviews, etc. On the non-writing side of things, my first wedding anniversary was in April, which was a bit surreal to celebrate!
A week after that the first baby in my group of friends was born! I’m still recovering from the “everybody I know is engaged, now everybody I know is married” stage of my life. And now we’re already on to kids! He just took his first unassisted steps yesterday – I can’t believe how fast 2013 flew by.
The next big news came in Spring when I found out that Danio had been nominated for Best Hero of 2013 for the UtopYA Awards. I was totally blown away by that one. He lost to Addison Moore’s Logan – but I like to imagine it was close!
One of the amazing things about UtopYA is how close-knit everyone is. We hung out together that evening (she is awesome, by the way!) and never once did the fact that Addison “beat me” cross my mind. Because it really wasn’t like losing. I assumed that I’d be disappointed if Danio didn’t win. I suppose, on some level, I was. But, I was truly happy just being there and seeing other people winning. I also got to meet R.K. Ryals, whose BAMF Marcas Craig was in the running for Best Hero too. She is so generous and sweet, not to mention a very talented author. She gives away books on her Facebook page pretty much daily. And they aren’t just her books! She actually gave away a copy of my book, because Dani was up against Marcas. How freaking classy is that?!
Congrats, by the way, on the release of Fist of the Furor, which came out a couple of days ago! Readers, if you haven’t picked up Mark of the Mage or Redemption, I highly suggest both!
Now, UtopYA itself. Just as amazing as Year One. In fact, it was even better, because this time around I got to see old friends and make new ones.
I had a disaster of a flight there and back. Massive, massive delays (my flight took off over an hour after I was supposed to LAND in Nashville). Then the hotel didn’t think my room was booked for that night, so after the worst airport experience ever, I found myself standing at 1am in the lobby of a hotel that was telling me I didn’t have a room and everyone but security leaves at 10, so they weren’t allowed to give me a new room! Thankfully, it resolved itself and Janet (who constantly amazes me with everything she juggles), was on the phone with me/the hotel in the middle of the night getting it sorted out.
Then, my flights were all delayed again on the trip home! Instead of getting home at 8pm and spending the evening with my husband, I landed after midnight.
Karma might be on my side for this one though, because I was lucky enough to snag those $7 (yes, seven dollar) tickets thanks to a screw-up from United earlier this year. I don’t care if my flights get delayed this time around – they were only $7!
I think I meant to write a post about UtopYA this year and didn’t…remember what I said about wanting to blog more? Needless to say, I had a fantastic time and was so happy and blessed to see all of you. I just wish I could have spent more time with each of you! Can’t wait until June!
We move on to August. A big month, both for my writing and my life. In early August we hit the 2nd anniversary of when I self-published Semester Aboard. Thanks to a blog tour, some serious advertising, and countless fantastic people who spread the word, both of my books hit higher on the Amazon charts than they ever had before! It was absolutely fantastic to watch. Both books also found their way into the Top 100 on iTunes UK, which I suppose makes me an international bestselling author. Woo!
I didn’t do much for my birthday this year, instead I drove my best friends (2 of them are alpha-readers and my ‘I’m stuck on this plot, help me!’ friends) into Charlottesville for a bachelorette party! It was a super-fun, three day affair with a cabin in the woods, tubing, and getting awkwardly hit on by college freshmen at a club. Someone actually asked us if we were undergrads, which was a nice ego boost.
Meanwhile, my husband picked up the dog we had adopted! We went out of town the weekend before, so we couldn’t get him from the rescue then, and we didn’t want to wait another week while our poor boy stayed at the shelter. So, I got home to a puppy!
If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen pictures of his antics. He’s just about a year old now and, maybe (crosses fingers) is becoming a bit more chill. He still loves to destroy things though. Yesterday, my husband went downstairs to find him standing on our kitchen counter, biting the lid of the food processor.
We move into October (and the one year anniversary of buying our first house!!!) which was a huge month for me! We’re still settling in, but a year (and some) later, rooms are painted, artwork is hung, furniture is bought, and it’s really starting to feel like our home.
We rolled out a brand new cover for Semester Aboard and I wrote a new bonus chapter, from Thomas’ point of view, for it! And, shortly after that, it picked up a 5-Star Readers’ Favorite review of it’s own!!
At the end of the month I went to Hallowread, a very neat convention in Ellicott City, Maryland. The old, historic businesses opened their doors and let our horror-themed convention use their spaces. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes next year! I got to meet more awesome people here, bonus that some were local! I moderated a couple of panels and had a lot of fun at the Name that Vampire game.
Tragically, my car stalled on the way there Friday, so I missed an entire day. Then, since I was using my husband’s car, I had to leave early Saturday. Hopefully next year the travel plans will work out better. I just can’t catch a break traveling to conventions!!!
On Sunday, Rachel (the organizer of Hallowread) was able to get some of us into Barnes & Noble. It was my first “big bookstore” signing. Not too many people showed up, sadly, but it was still a great experience. As a bonus, Snow Bound, was stocked in the store after I left!! I also got to sit and talk with Alma Katsu and spotted her book in my local grocery store the next day! It’s surreal and awesome to walk up to a book section in a store and be like, “Yeah, I know her.”
In November, I finally, finally released my self-published book, Danio’s Prelude. It also became available on Amazon this week!
Last, but not least, as December rolled around I signed a contract with my publisher to release three books in 2014!!! I’m starting to sweat, since that seemed a lot less daunting in September when I threw that number out. But, I’m ready for the challenge.
And now, what you’re all still reading for – what are those three books?!
Two of them are for my brand new series, which is New Adult Paranormal Romance! Ready for the first ever, detailed summary?! The series revolves around three sisters, Rachel, Angie, and Jo, who inherit an antique shop from their aunt. But, their aunt wasn’t any old antique dealer, she was a curse-breaker. The shop is filled with centuries of cursed objects, some of them very dangerous, which their aunt was working with. The sisters have to learn how to break the curses, before it kills them too. The series itself isn’t named yet, but the first book is called Carved in Cherry. The second book is already titled too, but where’s the fun in telling you now? =P
As for the third book, it will be the third book in the More than Magic series! Woo! Also not titled yet. And, since I love you all, I present the first ever sneak peek at it!
A strange sound from downstairs broke the late night silence. I looked up from my textbook and listened. My roommates were asleep, I would have heard them walk down the hall if they were downstairs. I heard another sound, this one was a thud, like a cupboard shutting.
It was the ghost of Sarah Cooper.
Sarah had lived in this house almost 100 years ago. It was one of the first off-campus sorority houses. She died in a tragic accident and her ghost had haunted students ever since. The sorority, rumored to have been scared off by her ghost, moved out and donated the house to the university, as extra housing.
I hadn’t believed the rumors about Sarah Cooper’s ghost until I moved in and experienced it for myself. Stuff was moved, drawers were left open, and things went bump in the night. I wasn’t afraid though. I had faced down things much scarier than a ghost who slammed doors.
Of course, there was no ghost. I was probably the only student who had ever lived in the house who knew that. But the real origin of the sounds was no less paranormal. I would know.
So, there you have it! Get ready, 2014 is going to rock! A quick list of things to look forward to:
- Afternoon Delights – Releasing February 14, 2014
- More than Magic #3 – 2014
- Carved in Cherry – 2014
- Carved in Cherry’s Sequel – 2014
- The paperback of Semester Aboard with new cover!
- Me at UtopYA in June in Nashville
- Me at Hallowread in Ellicott City, MD in October
- More blog posts from me! – More blogging is one of my resolutions for this year!
And, to wrap it all up, we christened the fire-pit we got for Christmas on New Years’ Eve.