That being said, 2016 WAS a difficult year. There were so many curveballs that made me have to think quick, on my feet, and replan. So many hopes I had that fizzled out, rejections to weather, and some really significant deaths as well, of a friend earlier in the year and then later my grandfather.
Writing has always been my solace, my way of processing, and my way of fighting, and because of all the external things, I think I had one of my most productive years. Most of the Philadelphia Coven Chronicles books were written this year, and I wrote like I was running out of time (thanks, Hamilton), perhaps because of all the death experienced, of all the loss my friends and family also suffered.
In 2016, we bore witness to some ugly realities–war, death, hatred, so very, very much hatred. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say it shaped me and affected the way I want to write from here on out. I’m proudly feminist, but I wasn’t doing my part in diversity in my earlier works–that changes from here on out. I’m going to write books that defy boundaries, that defeat prejudice, and that show people how to love again–how to hope. Lofty words, so you’d better all hold me to it. I’m writing the stories I love, but with a renewed purpose and with a renewed vigor to fight in 2017 in my own way.
As for you, my lovely friends and readers, I want to thank you from the very depths of my heart. You were the light to my dark days, the reminder that someone IS listening, the support and spark I needed to keep writing and coming up with stories when I had a tough time. I love your enthusiasm, I love your comments on my site, and I value each and every one of you. I am overfilled with gratitude for you all.
2016 was a rough year, and we may have rough times to come, but I always have hope for a better future, for one that we can create ourselves, here and now.
This Saturday I had my first signing at West Chester Library! It was so surreal sitting at my table and having folks at the library come up and view me as an author. I’ve sold my books alongside my tea at many events in the past, but this was the first time I was standalone as an author, which was unnerving to say the least. But I also have the best friends and family in the world, and they came out full force to support me. Honestly, it was one of those moments that if in the future I’m feeling truly alone, I’ll be able to recall the way my heart leapt at each person to peek in through those library doors to see me. I can’t quite express the gratitude welling in my heart at that outpouring of support, but I hope they all know it made an indelible mark on me. So, so much love for my wonderful readers and wonderful friends!
A little over a week ago, my husband and I lost a close friend of ours.
To be honest, I keep getting stuck there. I’ve been running on autopilot–working, interacting, swapping the normal bullshit, and hell, I’ve even been able to laugh. Don’t get me wrong, there were the breakdowns and the tears too, but they’re random and hit all of a sudden. Usually over the weirdest stuff too. We held a sweet, small sort of memorial on Saturday at midnight, where the old cinema used to be where he and my husband did Rocky Horror for so long. It was a sad but wonderful way to honor him and I thought it had given me closure. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty new to this close loss thing, so I’m kind of just stumbling forward and blindly groping ahead.
Tonight I realized it still has me in its grips in a very real way. I’ve got wonderful friends and amazing family, but I just feel so detached right now. My emotions have been flayed and the reality is that attaching again is work that I’m just not capable of right now. Maybe I’ve been ignoring or jumping over thoughts of the loss because it’s easier, but even though it’s not someone we saw every day, he was still a dear friend. And even though I thought I was okay, loss leaves marks.
Which leads to the living part of things–that neverending battle I call my writing career. Don’t get wrong, I’m still writing, editing, and submitting. That’s my job and to be honest, I can still plunge back in. However, I wasn’t prepared for the hurdles right now. Slowness. Lack of sales. Rejections. And worse? This month has been the herald of indie presses closing. Friends of mine had announced that Three Worlds Press was closing, and then one of the big whammies hit for other friends, Samhain Publishing closing. I didn’t have anything with either of those presses, but then the inevitable came–Jupiter Gardens Press announced that they’ll be shutting down as well, and they had published my YA dystopian, Snatched.
‘No worries,’ I said. ‘I’ll just re-publish it on my own. It’ll be great!’ And genuinely, I guess I was feeling hopeful, or just choking on my own bravado. It wasn’t until a day later when the reality sucker punched me. It’s not that I can’t do something with it–it’s the loss of a publisher who believed in me enough to publish my book. It’s the way I feel about all of my publishers who took a chance on me. There’s a power in that advocacy that might not be omnipresent in my mind, but times like these I really understand how much it means to have someone in your corner.
Despite my detachment and despite the numb, I haven’t lost my gratitude. That’s something I fight to keep evident in my life. So today, I’m number one most grateful for my husband who’s beyond amazing. I’m grateful for the support that I have in friends and family, and for my readers who bring me so much joy and keep me in this writing game. And I’m grateful for my publishers and editors, those who chose to take a chance on me in the first place. Love all of you, so damn much.
2015 was one hell of a year.
Like peeling off a band-aid, I’ll start with the tough stuff. I had a really tough time establishing a platform, and a lot of faulty fireworks with release days, if you catch my drift. On top of that, one of my publishers shut down, and it was definitely a year I was lost, confused, and isolated.
However, anyone who knows me also knows I’m not one to dwell on the bad. Throw curveballs my way and I’ll do my damndest to fight. And fight I did. I can now happily say that after the tears and upset from the hurdles earlier this year, I’ve reached a place I feel quite hopeful about. On top of all that, this happened to be my most prolific year. I’m always in such a frenzy to create and push myself so hard that I don’t always take account of what I HAVE accomplished.
This year alone, these books came out:
But on top of that, I also wrote a TON including:
Hunting for Spring
The Iron Legacy
A Reflection of Ice
A Tale of Two Airships
and I’m currently penning a paranormal romance titled Night Awakens
On top of that and getting the YA Columnist position at BTSemag, for the first time, I feel like I’m heading in the right direction as a writer.
However, I didn’t accomplish all of this in a vacuum. I have to say that there were a ton of gamechangers throughout this year that really made the difference. First off, the amazing authors I’ve been honored to work alongside taught me SO SO much this year. These people ROCK. Whether it’s the kickass folks from Boroughs Publishing, Breathless Press, or Decadent Publishing, I’ve learned so much by watching people in action. Getting involved in the writing community has helped me interact with such a phenomenally supportive bunch. You folks are amazing.
My friends who’ve been there through my ups and downs this year–they mean the world to me. My family has always been supportive, and I swear if I didn’t have them as my solid ground (look, I can pun with my own book!) I don’t know if I’d be able to bounce back like I can without them. And of course, my husband is a freakin saint. He’s always been there to offer a hug or a listening ear when I’m in neurotic mode or obsessing over a problem until I can conquer it. (And I’m super annoyingly repetitive too) He’s also my first beta-reader for so many of my projects.
And of course, my readers. To those who have reached out to me telling me how much they enjoyed my books, those who’ve left kind reviews, and those who’ve shared the word with their friends thank you so very much. Writing is a profession that will claw deep enough to leave marks, but each person in my life who has offered me kindness and support along the way–you’re the people who help me heal. You’re the people who help these stories of mine flourish.
Yes, 2015 was a hell of a rough year. But despite it all, I still have seen the way a person will reach out and comfort a stranger. I’ve seen people stay positive against overwhelming odds and crippling illnesses. I’ve experienced the love and support that people can give, and I can honestly say I’m awed and honored to have each of you in my life.
Love, kittens, and sunshine,