Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dear Me...

Every year, on or around January 1st, I write a letter to myself, outlining the successes and failures of the old year, and making plans for the new one.  Then I can go back at the end of the year to see how I did.  Here's my letter to me from January 2013, with notes on how I did...

Dear Me,

This is the fourth year I’ve done this now, and it has been an interesting process every year.  So we shall continue with it….

First up, a look back on 2012 and what achievements I made…  Well, very few.  I wrote a lot of words, some good, some dreadful.  I queried The Boyfriend Plague extensively and got a wide range of feedback.  I wrote The Sidewalk’s Regrets, ¾ of Between Paradise and Nowhere, and as I write this, about half of my amputee virgin novel I’m calling Ozzy for now.

So my first goal for 2013 is to finish Ozzy.  Since my deadline is January 31st, I’d better move it.  But I’m fairly confident I can get there.

Achieved!  Not only did I finish it, I polished it and started querying.  As I expected, I've had a few rejections, but at the moment there are 4 fulls out, and due to other things happening, my querying has been very limited to date.

My second goal is to whip my query for Sidewalks into shape and start querying it.  It’s a tough one to write a query for because the basic story isn’t that unique, but the choices Sacha makes give it something I haven’t seen in a YA book before.  How to get this across in a query, without giving away too much of the plot, is a challenge.

Achieved this one too.  Unfortunately, despite a lot of interest, this wasn't the book that got me an agent.  It's not entirely trunked, but it's sitting there, waiting for the right moment to shine.

I’m still trying to decide whether or not to enter ABNA this year.  I don’t have time to throw together a good pitch for Sidewalks so I have two choices as to what to enter.  I could enter Taillights again, but since that already got ditched in round 2 last year, I’m a little wary of doing it.  I could enter The Boyfriend Plague, but after all the querying and the very mixed responses I got from the requests, I’ve almost lost confidence in that book.  So I’m going to have my entries ready to go, and decide at the time.  I’m actually going to be away at the beach when the entries open, and unless I take my computer with me, the chances of there still being slots open by the time I get home are fairly slim.  So, maybe this year will be ABNA free….  We shall see.

I did enter.  In the end I entered The Boyfriend Plague and made the quarter-final round.  I got an okay PW review, but nothing glowing or special.

I have a wonderful and expanding group of writer friends across the world, and I aim to keep supporting, helping and critiquing for all of them in 2013.  Seriously, the writing community is incredible.  I feel so privileged to be a part of it, and to have met such fantastic writers.  I can’t imagine what my life would be like without them and the support they give me.  So my goal is to be as supportive and helpful to them as they are to me.

Achieved!  Several of my CPs had books release this year, so I've added promoting to my list of things I can do for my writer friends.  I've also made a lot of new friends in the writing community and look forward to working and writing with them through another year.  And to meeting even more incredible writers!

I will finish Paradise, even if it kills me.  I’m stubborn like that.  Even with the end in sight, I know there is a ton of revision needed on this one.  Whole chunks need to be sliced out and rewritten.  But since this book isn’t a priority, I will work on it when and if I find time.  Ozzy is more important to me and will take precedence.  And I have an idea for another story I’m playing with too.  I’m not sure exactly what form it will take, but I have a basic idea to expand on.  But ‘m not going to commit to it yet.  I know how often new ideas come up and sledgehammer me.  And when that happens, I’ve learned I need to go with it.

Ah...  No.  Paradise remains largely untouched.  I revised the first few chapters, but although I do really like the book, I don't think it's me.  Maybe one day I can self-pub under a pseudonym or something....  The new idea turned into the book I'm calling Lana for now (or #juvvielesbian).  I'm around 50K in and plan to get back into it and finish after the holiday madness is over.

As usual I will pledge to lose weight, and as usual, I won’t.  But I will continue going to the gym and will continue to up my weights in all the weights classes I do.   I think being fit is probably more important than being thin.  I like eating and wine too much to be thin. 

Well, I did that.  I did lose a little weight, but not enough to really count.  But I have been going to the gym a lot.

So there we have it.  We’ll check back midyear and see how we’re going.  And again at the end of the year.

Love, Me!

Tune in soon for my 2014 goals and dreams!

How did your 2013 turn out?  Did you achieve all the things you wanted to?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Midnight Kiss Blog hop


This is a super fun blog-hop being hosted by two of my good friends, Allyson Lindt and Sofia Gray.  And it's so easy!

It's all about kisses, you see.  Movie kisses, book kisses, on-line kisses or any kind of kiss.  And it's about giveaways!

So first up, the kiss....

There are so many epic kisses I can think of, but my favorite kind of kiss is the one that starts small and almost chaste, but the chemistry between the pair kicks in and the kiss grows deeper and more passionate until they are practically ripping clothes off each other and racing to the bedroom.

I'm not 100% sure about copyright issues involved with posting a quote from another author's work here, so I'll include a kiss from one of my own books.  So here's THE kissing scene from Chasing The Taillights.  Throughout the book Tony has been lusting after Jake, but has been too scared to tell him how he feels because Jake has never given any indication that he might be gay, and Tony is too uncertain about his own feelings to be sure  either.  After a night of emotional trauma, Tony winds up on Jake's doorstep in the wee-hours of the morning....

Jake’s just looking at me, standing by the couch, his eyes weary-looking. His hair is mashed against his head on one side, and his boxers sit low on his hips, hanging unevenly around his legs. He bends over, and before I know what’s happening, he’s knotted his hands behind my head, drawing me toward him. His lips meet mine, pressing my mouth against his. I pull him closer. I’m kissing him. Finally kissing him. And he’s kissing me! His lips are soft and full, warm, tasting a little like cinnamon candy.
It’s either a second or forever before I pull away. He steps back, and when I find the courage to look up, he’s leaning against the windowsill, wiping at his mouth with the back of his hand. What just happened? Am I dreaming?
“Have you any idea how long I’ve been wanting to do that?” Jake’s voice is shaking.
I must be dreaming. This can’t be real. Did he just say what I think he did?
“Me too.” I get up, letting the quilt drop from my shoulders. I stand before him, realizing he’s trembling too. I bend and kiss him again, gentle this time, testing the waters, seeing if this might possibly be real. His tongue touches mine, and something like electricity pulses through me, weakening my legs so I have to brace myself on the wall to keep standing.
This time he’s the one to pull away. For a long moment we just stare into each others’ eyes. I’ve never noticed the flecks of gold and brown in his before.
“So… If you’re…um… Why did…?” Words fail me. My heart’s pounding loud enough to deafen me and my lips ache to be pressed to his again.
“Why’d I freak out that day in the locker room?” Jake gives a wry grin.
I nod. How the hell did he know what I was thinking? The guy’s a genius.
He sighs and moves away from the window. “I’m a dick. I told you that. I freaked out. I’d been trying so hard not to like you, man. When you came at me like that, it scared the hell outta me. So I ran. And then I tried to find out if you meant it, remember? At that motel? After the meet?”
“I remember.” I nod again, stare down at my feet, too scared to look at him.
“I asked you, man. I pretty much came out and asked. And you blew me off.”
“I was scared too.” Admitting it is amazing. It’s like I’ve lost ten pounds in an instant. “I mean, you ran off on me the first sign of anything like that. What was I supposed to think?”
We move toward each other, lips meeting once more. I can taste last night’s booze on him in a bitter undertone.
“You’re wet,” he murmurs, jumping when my leg comes into contact with his. “And freezing. Why don’t you take those off?” His hands make their way under the towel around my waist and fumble with the top of my jeans. His fingers are warm against my cold skin. I’ve dreamed of this moment so many times, but I never imagined this heat. I moan as he tugs my pants down to my ankles and I step out of them. The towel rises in front of me as if by magic. Jake’s fingers brush against me and I clutch at his shoulders.
It’s at this moment my exhausted muscles resign and I crumple to the floor.

And didn't I mention giveaways?  Yes!  So comment on this post (and leave your email addy in the comment) and you could win an e-book copy of my soon-to-be-released novel, An Unstill Life.

But wait, there's more!


A book voucher for Liquid Silver Books! We’ll be announcing the amount soon, and the grand prize 
winner will have access to their choice of books in any e-format, directly from the publisher.

So make sure you pop around to all the blogs on the hop, comment everywhere, and you could win!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things 27-12-13

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

My galley is proofed and my book is ready to go to press!  And a week from today, it will be available.  EEEEK!

Christmas is over and with it the hyper-excitedness my kids seem to exude for at least 3 weeks beforehand.  We had a nice day, and everyone seemed happy with their gifts.

The weather has been appalling ever since Christmas Day, so the cinema has been mind-blowingly busy.  And it's supposed to stay wet until New Year, so I imagine this week is going to be a good week for the business.

What are you celebrating this week?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Good to go!

After a rather frantic few weeks, I sent my galley corrections back to my publisher last night.

I think this is it, guys.  I think my book is ready to go to 'press'.

Given the release date is next Friday, I can't help thinking this is a good thing!

This process has been a whirlwind, to be honest.  I've learned a lot.  I just wish I'd had a little more time for each step.  Even while proofing the galley, I still found sentences I thought were clunky, or phrases that felt wrong.  But by that stage, it's just too late to change things like that.

But I guess a book is never truly finished.  And as we learn and grow as writers, it's easy to look back on earlier efforts and cringe at them.  So I'm not going to dwell on that sentence where I used the word 'cheek' twice, or the questionable use of itallics in another.  I have to rest on the fact I've done the best I could under the circumstances, and that the book is ready for readers.

Now that I've done that, I'm going to try and relax and enjoy Christmas before the insanity at work begins on Boxing Day.  And the insanity of trying to throw together a book launch with only a week to go....

Have a wonderful holiday, all of you.  May Santa bring you everything you're wishing for.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrating the Small Things 20-12-13

This post is part of VikLit's blog hop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

So, what am I celebrating this week?

So, what am I celebrating this week?

I'm at the last stage of getting my book ready for publication: proofing the galley.  And given that the release date is two weeks from today, that's pretty incredible.  Having raced through the last two rounds of edits, I wasn't feeling terribly confident about seeing anything new only a week after completing line edits.  But I'm lucky enough to have the world's most incredible critique partner, and she offered to pass a fresh set of eyes over the galley.  So I'm feeling more confident now.  I swear, after having read the damn book cover to cover four times in the last few weeks, I feel like every word is imprinted on my eyeballs.  There could probably be a huge, glaring typo smack bang in the middle of every page and I probably wouldn't even notice.  But I'll go through another time.  Just in case, y'know?

I had a great week this week.  On Sunday I saw Peter Murphy at a small, dingy club.  On Wednesday I went to an arena show and saw Leonard Cohen.  Both shows were good, but I have to say, the rock-chick in me will always prefer the small, sweaty clubs where you can stand directly beneath the stage and feel the singer's spit peppering your face.  I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see Leonard Cohen, but I couldn't help wishing I could have been closer to the stage and not sitting on an uncomfortable seat with people snapping pictures on their phones all around me.

I've just about finished the Christmas shopping.  I'm taking the kids to town tomorrow to do theirs, and hope to pick up the last few things I need while I'm there.  I probably sound like Scrooge, but I really could do without all the hassle of Christmas this year....

What are you celebrating this week?