Onward! Year In Review
I don’t know about you, but for me, 2015 was a year of MASSIVE change and transformation. If there was one overall theme, for me it was courage—namely because I did so many things that scared the crap outta me, lol! But you've got to take chances in this life if you’re going to grow, right? So I did.
I broke way, way out of my comfort zone this year on several fronts. The biggest breakthrough, really, was in crashing through the narrow boundaries of how I had seen myself for so long—my role, my possibilities. At the end of 2014, I started asking myself a very powerful question: “WHY NOT? Why CAN’T I do this or that thing I’ve been wanting to try? I’ve only got one life, damn it.” That philosophy is what drove me to become a writer in the first place. If you've got a dream, you gotta try!
So, somehow, throughout 2015, stubbornness kept me from wimping out when that question led me ever deeper into unknown territory. Lo and behold, at the end of the year, I find myself a much stronger person and a more versatile writer, so all the white-knuckle moments were worth it.
But it did take constant effort and getting used to working 10-hour days. I expanded my storytelling repertoire, finally taking the time to explore the non-Regency romance ideas that had been calling to me from my file drawer for a long time, and it was so much fun! I experimented with different writing methods, such as very detailed outlining, creating a “Worldbook” (full "story bible" of characters, settings, etc.) BEFORE beginning to write, rather than figuring out details of my story as a I go (which slows the process down terribly). I invested time and effort in training myself to use Dragon dictation for the first drafts of my scenes, and also took up a very effective new habit of working in 25-minute bursts in what is called the Pomodoro Method. This has been shown to help you stay sharp for intense mental work over a longer workday...
I sucked in knowledge continuously. Read a ton of business books and blogs and even took some classes. I studied and learned A TON. And I recruited wonderful helpers! I started working with a savvy publicist and a darling part-time assistant, and I founded my awesome Review Crew!
Then there were the books! I launched my epic medieval-esque fantasy romance series, Age of Heroes, in July, and my first-ever indie Regency series, Moonlight Square, with back to back releases in September and October.
The style of Moonlight Square was a change of pace for me in itself—more of a fun, straightforward ROMANCE series, squarely focused on the couple, without the complicated suspense subplots like the Inferno Club books had. The Moonlight Square books are not as dark, and as mid-length novels (65-75k words rather than 90-100k words) they’re also a good deal less dense. I’m looking forward to releasing the next novel in the series, Duke of Secrets, sometime in Spring 2016. However, I’m also putting together an exciting new proposal of full-length historical romances to send in to my publisher, for those of you who still prefer to buy your paperbacks in the bookstores.
With all that said, my look-back at 2015 would not be complete if I failed to mention the massive transformation I managed to achieve this year in my physical body. I lost a ton of weight. I can’t even tell you how amazing it is to be entering the New Year for once without having to have “weight loss” as one of my New Year’s resolutions. It’s absolutely life-changing, and I wanted to mention it not to brag, Lord knows, but to encourage you, if you’re one of the millions of people who will have that as a goal for 2016. If I can do it, so can you. Whatever you’ve got to do, stick with it, because it really is worth it. I have so much more energy now--and confidence, too.
I wish you ALL the best in 2016. I’m excited about the year ahead! But with all the projects I've got underway, I think my main resolution this year can be summed up best with yet another meme. This one! >>
What are you resolved to do this year?
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Duke of Shadows
A heartbroken belle, a missing suitor, and a heroic duke in disguise.