A Writer’s Journey – Part VII

Eighth Year – 2020

It’s already late into the year. Freaking COVID is going on. We’ve scrambled to get our oldest, GirlChild, back home when college shut down initially back in March/April. She’s back in Virginia again for her senior year. The whole thing is a mess as they were a weird hybrid and then the college students started getting sick. She planned for going back to online but still.

I’ve had one release this year. I think it was back in 2014/2015 I was invited to take part in a box set filled with curvy girl and delicious heroes. I could pull it off. Full Bodied Ink sat in my WIP pile for a long time. This year I made the decision to sit down and get it done.

Caffeine & Ink, Book 1

No, I didn’t need to start a new series, but I did. No, I didn’t need to try out 1 person alternating POV, but I did. No, I didn’t need to try my hand at contemporary again, but I did. I said yes to all of it. I’m not sure if its going to pay off but you know what, that’s okay.

It got me writing again.

Full Bodied Ink released on September 8th. Want to know what I’m doing now…freaking writing the rough draft of the next Tiger Bite World. I’m writing. Slotting a hour of (partially) uninterrupted writing time to get this book done.

I feel great about it too.

The things is, I’ve been doing a lot of mulling shit over the past couple years. I’ve done a lot of, “well, it just isn’t working” while not actually working. That’s not the way to revive a career, if it can be revived at all. I’m willing to try though.

I like writing. I like putting stories to screen and creating some cool magical world. I think I’ve finally realized my world is the paranormal world. I’ll finish up the Caffeine & Ink series along with the Freefall series, but as of right now, there will be no more contemporary from me. It isn’t where I belong. (Now watch, I’ll get some great contemporary idea.)

I’m finally figuring out that my career is not and cannot be the same as others. I can learn from them. See how they do things. But my path isn’t the same. I’ve kept myself apart from most of the other authors out there (for reason we won’t get into) and I’m freaking lonely. There are 3 people in my life that I talk to writing about: hubby (he just doesn’t understand), my mom (she gets it and is super supportive), and my BFF (she’s busy running her career and doesn’t need me being clingy but she’s still there when I need her). That’s it. That’s the extent of my writing support system.

People talk about romancelandia being this huge accepting, “go girl, we got your back” environment but I haven’t felt that. My fault? Most likely. I don’t connect well with people. It goes back to my military upbringing and figuring out that it’s better to sit back and watch instead of diving in head first and getting your heart broken when you move away and your “friends” forget about you. My definition of friend and acquaintance is very clear. I have a lot of acquaintances.

My group of friends that I can be myself with, can be counted on one hand. Would I like to get over it? You betcha. I’d love to have critique partners who don’t mind that I get needy and clingy (this is something I’ve recently discovered. Oh my poor accountability group – which is a new thing for this month too). I need reassurance that I’m not shit at things. Some praise every once in a while (that isn’t from the 3 I’ve already listed) would be fantastic.

So what was the point of this 7-part blogging series? Well, it was mostly to get my thoughts out there. If someone reads it and wants to get into writing, that they don’t do what I did and go in without a master plan and end goal. For someone to see that no one has the exact same path. Even if you duplicated someone’s path down to the letter, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the same results. Also, to say, don’t let someone else’s biases and opinions dictate your own. Try new things but do it with thought. Make friends when you can and if they part ways with you, look back on it with fondness, not anger.

I just wanted to put out there that even though this is my 8th year in publishing, that you can still feel like a newbie. There will always be something new to learn.



A Writer’s Journey – Part VI

Sixth Year – 2018

Nothing happened. There were no words. No books. No direction. I basically killed my writing career. There was no pulling me from the burnt out funk of the Mystic Zodiac year. The killer, though, is that those books have never done particularly well. It breaks my heart as a writer to see something I’m poured my soul into, flop. I can’t help but think I should have stuck with my tiger books.

Seventh Year – 2019

My seventh year in the publishing industry and there was still nothing new coming out. Kindle Worlds shut down and I got the rights back to the book I published in 2015, Lion for Her. It was edited and worked into the Tiger Bite World. New material was added and all parts of Eliza Gayle’s Southern Shifters was taken out. It took a bit to get reworked, but Van & Maddie released in October 2019.


A Writer’s Journey – Part V

Fourth Year – 2016

2016 saw the release of 2 new books, Chloe & Eros which is a combination of the epilogues from the previous 12 and a “wrap-up” of sorts, and 3 box sets for the Mystic series. Chloe & Eros released near the end of 2016 and that was the last time you heard from me when it came to new content until October 2017.

My head was NOT in it. Like I said last week. 2015 killed me.

Looking back now, I’d say the books were too big for my ambition and skill. Let’s look at why I say this.

  1. I’m not a heavy hitter when it comes to sitting down and getting words on the page. I’m good for 1000-2000 words a day on a story. I need time between chapters to think and let it all percolate.
  2. I’m not a plotter. If I’d been able to do that, I wonder if I’d have been able to bang them out, especially if I’d gone the insta-love length route. (That means short. Something I only really know about now).
  3. I like to build worlds but I’m not huge on writing lengthy books. Those things don’t go together. I created a different scenario/setting for each couple, except for maybe one where I used a location I created previously. If I had gone the route of it all happening in one place, maybe that would have changed things and not used up all of my creativity in one go.

I’m sure there is a lot more and so many more “maybes” and “if only” statements I could make. I finished a series though. I had one under my belt. And I was burnt out.

Fifth Year – 2017

The only writing thing that happened in 2017 was the release of Finding More. My longest book to date. I finally got my ass in a chair and finished the book I started back in 2014. By this point though, I’ve lost the majority of the readers from my first year. There are a beautiful few still there: Donna, Lisa, and Latochia. They’ve been there and supported me when I struggled even if they didn’t know that was happening.


A Writer’s Journey – Part IV

Third Year – 2015

If you’ve followed my career up to present day, you’ll know this is when I got the brilliant idea (ha!) to write and release a book a month.

Welcome to the year of Mystic Zodiac! And the year I tried to do a lot.

Once we got settled in Virginia the previous year, I couldn’t get back into Finding More. I don’t know what it was about that book, but I wasn’t able to find the voice for it.

What I decided to do instead, was start another series (I had 2 at this point and neither were finished). I plotted out the mystics for each month and I think I even made the covers for them before I started writing.

I was able to get 2 or 3 ready before the start of the year. I hoped to keep ahead so I could stick to my promise of a book a month, in the actual month it was slated for release. I did okay for a while and then got off track. Amber‘s book released at the beginning of July and the next book, Adrian, didn’t come out until late August.

At some point in the year, I was invited to and decided to write in Eliza Gayle’s Southern Shifters Kindle World. I cranked out Lion for Her, which was set in Eliza’s world. I wouldn’t say it was a throwaway story, but it was something I never expected to get the rights back to. That was how that program worked and I was just happy to be able to take part. When Kindle Worlds shut their doors, it took me by surprise. Lion for Her wouldn’t resurface until 2019 with a new title and added material.

I also wrote my second book for the Decadent Publishing ROAR line, Changing Her Tune. I put the books together to form their own series for when I got the rights back, which in theory wouldn’t be for 5 or was it 7 years. (FYI, I got the rights back sooner for the ebooks but not the print, which thinking about it, I need to see when I get those back.)

Colby hit at the end of September and then it went downhill. I was out of time. There was no October release. Lucas (October) released at the beginning of November. Mace (November) released in December. I wrote a spin-off of Gideon‘s book, Under Her Spell, for a January release/box set, and Falcon didn’t come out until March 2016.

The wrap-up of the series, Chloe & Eros, didn’t release until August 2016 and wasn’t met with praise. I have to agree with reviews though. It isn’t what it should have been with the build up of their relationship over the previous 12 books. I’m almost ashamed of it and do, at some point, want to go back in and make it what it should have been.

2015 kind of killed me.


A Writer’s Journey – Part III

Second Year – 2014

This was not a productive year. I wrote 2 books. Through self-publishing we have Fly Guy Next Door. The second book in the Freefall series. I remember being so excited while writing it. I loved it. The characters. The setting. The relationships. Building a world I liked and hoped people would too.

People aren’t into my contemporary books. (Though as you will learn later, I still try it). I don’t know if my voice isn’t right or if the stories aren’t as compelling. Maybe it’s the setting, the world of skydiving, that put people off. I haven’t figured it out even to this day.

The second book was my first with a small publisher: Decadent Publishing. I was invited to write from Heather Long for the ROAR series. It was a new adult line, which was a first for me. I struggled a little with the genre. My oldest kiddo was a teenager and I wasn’t comfortable writing about a new adult (18 – 25). My characters ended up on the later end of the age spectrum.

This was also the year I started the next tiger book, Finding More. It didn’t get completed until 2017.

We moved midway through the year and if you’ve grown up in that military life, you know that it takes a lot out of a person. We moved from Washington state to Virginia. My hubby took our two boys and our two dogs over to VA first. They had a fun road trip and fiddled around here and there. My daughter and I took off later since she needed to finish up her freshman year of high school. My FIL came along for the ride, but I did all the driving. There was no stopping at cool places for us, just a lot of “are you here yet?” coming from hubby.

This break of releasing stories was probably one of the worst things to happen for my budding writing career. What I was learning but didn’t fully grasp was that I needed to keep putting out books on a consistent schedule. I tried doing this the following year which we’ll get to next time.