I know it’s not a very good idea to basically disappear shortly after a book release. I’ve been around. I’ve just not typed a blog post. I’ve read every email, Goodreads message, and Facebook message I’ve received and I’m almost 100% sure that I’ve responded to them all.
With this being an end of the year/start of a new one post, I’ll say this…. I was very happy to see 2017 end.
I’ll start with the good stuff first and then get to why 2017 couldn’t get behind me fast enough.
Professionally, 2017 was the best year I’ve had since I published my first book in April of 2014. Willy’s World is still going strong and I’m still receiving messages asking what’s coming up in future installments. 4 books published so far in that crazy world and you guys still want more? That’s the greatest compliment an author can receive. But it wasn’t just the Willy books. New readers have discovered my others, even those published almost 4 years ago. I can’t express how that makes me feel. I’m living my dream and it’s all because of you guys. There are no words for how much I appreciate every single one of you.
I only published 3 books in 2017 – Just Friends, Marrying Lance, and Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf – so I didn’t complete my publishing goals that I made in 2016. Trust me, it wasn’t from lack of want. The ones I promised are all written but I’ve not completed the editing of any of them and that takes a lot of time.
Which leads me to the not-so-great stuff that happened in 2017.
I’ve been forced to be somewhat of a caretaker for the person I hold solely responsible for the deaths of my two sisters. I’ve had to deal with medical emergencies, moving her from one facility to another (by myself), and forced to listen to the same criticisms that indirectly caused my sisters’ problems. Not once has there been a thank you. It’s my so-called duty, you see. The stress of all of this caused some pretty bad health problems for me. Even knowing this, I was called selfish because I chose to take care of myself and not be at this person’s beck and call 24/7.
The difference between my sisters and me is that I’m quite outspoken where they weren’t, though there’s no reasoning with this person. She’ll go to her grave convinced she’s never done a bad thing in her life. Another thing is that I have a very supportive husband who won’t allow me to fall into what my sisters did.
Physically, I’m doing much better than I was a year ago. I hate taking medications but I’m being a good girl and doing what the doctor tells me to do.
Enough of that and my apologies for going on about it.
So, how was everybody’s holiday season? For the first time in years I didn’t do the ‘having the whole family over’ thing on Thanksgiving or Christmas. I cooked a couple of things for my mother-in-law’s place and spent the holidays there with my husband and sons. I left just long enough to take my mother food and then I went back for more family time. It was so nice. Normally I’m stressed to the max but not this year. I left with my husband the day after Christmas to travel out of state. It was a two day drive and we had a blast on the way. I’ll be back home one day next week, I suppose, but he’ll stay for work. I spent New Year’s Eve and day with him and I’ll be with him on my birthday that’s coming up in a few days. Normally when I do this I’m antsy to get back home. Not this time. Too many ‘responsibilities’ waiting on me there. I’m trying to avoid them as long as I can.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know I’m a die hard Alabama Crimson Tide fan. On January 1st we got our redemption against Clemson, who beat us in the final seconds of the national championship game last year. We take our football very seriously but we don’t hate Clemson. Their coach is a former ‘Bama boy who was on the 1992 championship team so we cut him some slack. 🙂 Well, when we’re not playing against him anyway. Tonight we play Georgia in the national championship game. Hmm…. their coach? One of our former coordinators.
Gotta love it, right? We’re hated by all until somebody needs a coach. Then they come after ours. 😀
I’m crossing my fingers for a win tonight. I’m not exactly in part of the country where Alabama football is embraced but I’m having a blast jokingly going back and forth with some of these folks.
I usually try to do a public summary of the books I hope to publish in the new year. I’m not doing that this time. When I do and am unable to get them published, I’m angry with myself and I feel like I’ve let the readers down. The past couple of years have been pretty rough outside of my writing. I don’t know what 2018 will bring. I do promise to keep you all informed of new and upcoming releases.
I’ve always said that I don’t make resolutions. I’ve always called them goals because my birthday is so soon after the start of the new year. They’re for the start of MY new year, not the new year itself. Hopefully I’ll be able to complete them this year – both professionally and personally.
The 5th book in the Willy the Kinky Elf series has already been started and the story has been laid out in my head since before I finished writing ‘Barry’. No title or cover yet but I think the fans of the series will enjoy it. I hope so anyway. If all goes as planned, it will go up for pre-order in early October for release on November 1st.
Dylan and Cole are the main characters. You met both in ‘Barry’. I keep wanting to call Cole Ian because that was his original name. I have a feeling I’m going to regret changing it as I write the story. He looks more like an Ian to me than a Cole.
There will still be the silly humor from Willy and the others but the readers will finally get to see what really happens on Mistletoe Hill. You’ve read about the place in every installment and you know it’s supposedly bad news. Now you’ll see it first-hand.
There’s a reason Dylan was forced to be Mrs. Claus’ date at the Christmas party. You don’t know much about Cole other than he owns the jewelry store where Ricky’s dad beat up his ex and that he helped subdue the ex later on. Their stories will come out little by little but mostly Dylan’s as it will be told in his POV. He didn’t have a good life and on the outside he appears to be this strong, bad-ass. Inside, he’s anything but.
Dylan was not supposed to be. Mrs. Claus was going to have one of her little boy toys take her to the Christmas party so she could shove him in Santa’s face. I had no clue who the other MC (other than Cole) would be in book #5, figuring I’d figure it out as I wrote the story. The minute I wrote the scene with Mrs. Claus walking inside the tent for the party Dylan was born and he got stuck in my head. He was also originally a tall blond. See the guy on the right with the black hair? Yeah, as soon as I saw that photo everything I thought I knew about Dylan changed. THAT was him. My poor editor. I completely rewrote his description when I saw that pic. This was literally right before I hit publish on the pre-order. Thankfully she’s awesome and didn’t strangle me for it.
Those who’ve been with me for awhile already know this but my new readers may not – I have a thing for guys with black hair, preferably long black hair. Almost every story I’ve published has a character with black hair. If you’ve not noticed it before, I bet you will now. 🙂 I try to change it up sometimes but it’s kind of rare.
I’ll update on Dylan and Cole throughout the year.
All of my books that are on Google Play are about to be removed unless I find another 3rd party site to publish them through. Pronoun, who put them there originally, is shutting down and I’m literally days from them being removed. I’ve barely had time to think lately but I’ll be trying to find a way to keep them on there. Google Play has been surprisingly successful in finding me new readers and it’s always nice having another outlet to sell the books.
Barnes & Noble
All my e-books are still off Barnes & Noble and there are no plans of putting them back on there. I’m saying that because I’ve been asked by a few people. I hate it but B&N removed a lot of my books without warning because of some so-called erotica sweep. Strangely, my best sellers on there were allowed to stay. Imagine that (sarcasm). They’re all off now. I know I’m losing a substantial amount of royalties by walking away completely but it’s not about that. It’s about these sites blindly deciding that certain books are a little too much for certain readers. Shouldn’t the readers be the ones to decide what’s too erotic and what’s not? What’s funny is that the books removed in their little erotica sweep were the least erotic books I’ve published.
Losses in 2017
We lost a lot of celebrities in 2017. Forgive me for not listing them all but the post is already long enough. I just knew I couldn’t end this without honoring Tom Petty and Chester Bennington.
Tom Petty was part of my teenage years and I will forever have good memories of listening to Damn the Torpedoes on repeat back in the day. I won’t say how far ‘back in the day’ is. 😉 My then-boyfriend’s brother told me my music sucked (it didn’t… really!) so he gave me Damn The Torpedoes to show me what ‘real’ music was. I never looked back. The boyfriend didn’t last long after that, but I still have the tape that his big brother gave me. *grin*
Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Chester’s death hit me the hardest. I fell in love with Tom Petty’s music years ago. My love for Chester’s came much later. I’d always loved Linkin Park but one song really took them higher for me. That song is Leave Out All The Rest, as I’ve blogged about before. Since his death, I’ve seen countless comments from fans about how his music saved them. I don’t know if I can say it saved me per se, but I can say that that one particular song helped get me through the death of my first sister. She loved it and always felt the words. I’ve said for years – even long before Chester died – that I’ll forever regret not having Leave Out All The Rest played at her funeral. It would’ve been perfect, but the ones the lyrics would’ve been aimed at wouldn’t have seen themselves in the words, sadly.
I have a hard time listening to Chester’s songs these days. Still too new, I suppose. I just know that I’ll forever be grateful for his words – his words that helped me in ways I could never express on here or anywhere else. I still listen to it over and over again on the anniversary of her death. That won’t ever change.
I hope Chester has finally found peace.
Thank you to everyone who has been with me since the very beginning. Thank you to my new readers. And thank you to my amazing family (that includes you and yours too, Karen) for supporting me and for understanding my need to disappear inside my fictional worlds on occasion. Writing is my therapy and while I didn’t publish more than 3 in 2017, I never stopped writing.
Keep sending me messages. I love hearing from readers.
Happy New Year! Here’s hoping for a phenomenal 2018!
….. and Roll Tide! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Until next time,