Writing, I’ve discovered, is more than just conjuring characters and creating a fictional world for me. It’s an outlet I hadn’t realized I’d been utilizing for years to express myself in ways I was comfortable with.
To be perfectly blunt, I hate emotion and what it does to me. I feel too much. I always have. The energy around me will absorb into my skin and it’s a lot to take in because I feel everything when I want to feel nothing at all.
Writing was a way to deal with it.
So I started playing with words and would create these wild lies, dumping what was on my mind into someone’s character whether it be big or small, happy or sad. Somehow it miraculously worked out and it was a win win for all.
The past eighteen months have been strange. I trashed my small town cozy romance, then I attempted a mafia romance and I trashed that too. 100k words down the drain and I was back to looking at a blank page. I felt like a volcano ready to erupt, which is something I’ve strived so hard not to be. So I got up and walked away.
I figured if I wasn’t writing then I would put my time and energy into something else. I can’t not work. I can’t not create. I’ve always been involved in some form of art. So I stayed busy working on other projects, trusting myself that the time to write will strike again when I’m ready. I really had nothing to go on but hope, a dream, and a feeling in my damn gut that scared me.
And man, it was the exact same feeling I’d gotten before I attempted to write Balance all those years ago. Something felt off at first so I walked away even though I was dying to write about Adrianna and Kova. My head was filled with ideas, but my gut was saying I wasn’t ready yet. Not out of fear, but I think subconsciously I knew their story was deeper than what I was prepared for. So I waited. I wrote another small-town romance in the meantime and published it. I truly love Hold On to Me, but when I got the chance to write Balance again, I told myself that I’m going to do it the only way I saw fit. I had a vision. The feeling was so strong in my gut, and while I didn’t have all the pieces yet, I had enough to say fuck it let us see what happens.
All of us lead life trusting one part of our bodies to guide us through rough waters. Mine has always been my gut. It doesn’t steer me wrong. It doesn’t lie to me.
That wasn’t the only time I’ve listened to my gut, but it was with writing a book. It was a turning point for me. A learning experience, so to speak. It was scary as hell to let go and just paint the world in your head to paper. For as long as I could remember I’ve always had a low key thing for shit that scares me. Because I don’t like to be scared. I don’t like to be intimidated, and that’s what words can do. Intimidate. There was a freedom I found in chasing my fears through fictional stories, so I hunted.
I stepped away all those years ago until I felt it was time. These past months I’ve been walking in crazy eights chanting to myself to trust the process. A process I really had no idea where it would take me but something I needed to go on. Some days I wanted to run until my legs gave out.
I don’t regret not being able to write (ok, I mean, I do a little) only because it allowed me to shine light on other goals I wanted to accomplish one day.
I sold Hush, Hush to Poland for translation next year.
Balance was translated into Italian, and Israel translated Hush, Hush into Hebrew. They were contracts previously signed but finally came to fruition.
The Off Balance series was published into two massive hardcover volumes. Seriously, they’re big. I wanted a box set like this so bad but I didn’t know how to get it done or where to look to attempt it. I reached out to someone I’d hardly ever spoken to and took a chance to ask for advice. Thank you Willow Winters for guiding me on how to get the job done. The series is currently being designed with discreet covers too.
The audiobooks published this year were a process that took a tedious amount of time. Being that Amazon had banned my series until I rewrote it, they removed the audiobooks that were under contract too, which really just screwed me and the narrator, Sarah Puckett, pretty hard. A contract is a contract. No if ands or buts about it and when my series got taken down, that disrupted other aspects of my business. Sarah rerecorded the first two audiobooks – 17 hours each (this year) on top of her already busy schedule. She is currently recording Release and already has Twist scheduled. While I sold the audio rights for Balance to Pink Flamingo, I own Execution, and I will own the rest of the audiobooks thereafter. I bought them out right so no one can fuck with me again. Sarah is a godsend. She loves the series just as much and wanted to finish them. I’m so grateful for her, and to know that Balance will be protected.
Hush, Hush was given a new discreet book cover design thanks to being part of a book box subscription. It’s gorgeous. I was so excited for this you have no idea. Thank you Gianna from Dark and Quirky Book Blog for including James and Aubrey. It really meant a lot to me.
I managed to open a fully functioning online book store that ships worldwide along with an updated website, something I’ve been really wanting to make happen for a while. I’m so in love with the final product.
Indie publishing is not for the faint of heart. Tired of rejection, I decided to start my own Marketing Team to focus on various aspects of my business. This has been an interesting process that I’m winging. Jess, Vi, Sam, Tasha, they came to me at different times and unknowingly planted their seeds. I can’t thank them enough for shining their light in my direction or their patience with me. My garden is beginning to bloom and now all I want to do is water the hell out of it.
My Street Team. God, I really don’t deserve them or their everlasting patience. Each week they continue to promote my books just because they want to at this point. I have no new material and yet they still show up. Thank you for dedicating your time and energy to me. Without you, I have no voice. I love you guys.
I’ve never tallied up the total number of books I’ve sold in the years I’ve been publishing. This year I did only because I was asked by my financial broker, and I felt kind of stupid for not having an answer for her. I didn’t have a round about estimate and I couldn’t even offer a monthly number because I never checked before. My family asks me all the time and I just tell them I don’t know, because I really don’t. The total number of sales has never been my focus. What mattered most was that someone resonated with the story. I believed if I could do that, it would sell itself. I’m not much of a numbers person so I don’t share successes in that sense because everyone’s definition of success is different, but as someone who endured relentless bullying meant to ruin and destroy, Amazon published a lot of my books this year. A number that would really fucking piss off my haters.
One of the most unexpected things that happened came from trusting in the process. I gained my own army of ride or die book besties I never saw coming. Jesus Lord are they passionate. Believe me when I say word of mouth is real, and it’s powerful. These readers make me want to rise up to the challenge. What challenge is this I speak of? I don’t know yet. But I want to lead the way for them because they forged a path for me when I got lost.
I can’t thank you all enough for standing by while I’ve been taking my time trying to find myself. It wasn’t easy to walk away, but I had to, for me. You showed me that my books matter, but more importantly, that it’s okay to be different. I have a stupid amount of ambition and no off button. I have quite a few things planned for next year. I want it all, and I’m going to try hard to make it happen. You reminded me that there’s a reader for every writer. For that, I will forever be thankful.
If I could hug you all I would…. but I don’t like to be touched, and that’s just a lot of energy in one room. So I’m throwing air kisses at all of you and hoping you start the new year off being fearless in your pursuit of happiness.
Happy New Year.
<3 <3 <3