In 2012, my husband and I bought a leather-bound notebook for our first New Year as husband and wife. Every New Year's Eve, we planned to write the best parts of the year and what we look forward to for the next year. I thought it would be fun to look back on in the future. We have kept the tradition alive so far and I love going back and reading what we wrote while partying with our friends, waiting for the ball drop on the TV.
This year has been a very exciting and interesting year for me. My first novel released on my birthday, March 21st. Navigating the world of self-publishing was terrifying and exciting at the same time. I compiled a two-inch binder of research, articles and manuals to help me publish my own work.
I learned a great deal while writing, submitting and selling my novels. I experimented with different tools and learned some lessons the hard way. Every failure was appreciated because I gained some new knowledge from it in the end. I don't think there is a clear right or wrong way to do what I do. I think it's something everyone has to learn for themselves and every story is different.
I think the most important lesson I learned was to trust my instincts. If it doesn't feel right, it isn't. When writing Shaken, I found myself stuck in the middle. I just couldn't keep writing and kept thinking how I wasn't happy with the beginning. I stayed up at night, running it over in my mind. I told myself I can fix it during the second phase and keep moving forward. After several sleepless nights and days with writer's block, I gave in. I scrapped the beginning and rewrote it. I eliminated an entire character and a whole backstory. It killed me to delete words and pages that I worked so hard on, but in the end, I was much happier with the result. Now when I write a scene that doesn't feel quite right, I redo it. I no longer let myself agonize it and just trust that my gut is right. It's been working alright so far.
Along the way, I met some incredible people. I formed relationships with people from around the country that have helped me with my writing. I have a group of beta readers that have stuck with me through the whole series and know the stories even better than I do. I would be lost without them. Every single contact I made proved to be invaluable and if nothing else comes from this, at least I met some awesome people. It's amazing the relationships that could be formed over the internet.
This year held many firsts for me. I had my first blog tour, did a newsletter, author takeovers and attended Facebook events. Every experience made me beyond nervous, but i survived and loved every second. There's a first time for everything and no matter how scary it is, it's usually worth a try.
After my first novel, I started the Conflicted Encounters series and Jolted released June 22nd. I was so excited for this book and threw myself into making it the best it could possibly be. I launched right into the second and third book because I feel so deeply in love with the characters. Impacted came out September 23rd and Shaken with be out in 2015.
Finishing four books made me proud of what I did. I write because I love to. I do this because if I don't, I just have daydreams and made up stories floating in my head. I want the stories out there and I want to share them. I don't need to make boat-loads of money doing it. I feel compelled to write and having completed a story gives me the biggest satisfaction. As many times as I feel like giving up, I know I never could.
The year, I read more than I ever had before. I read over 110 books this year. I loved most of them, and hated some. I picked up my first dark romance and opened myself to a whole new genre I never thought would interest me before. I even got into the novella series that I swore I never would. I blame J.A. Huss for that. My tastes changed and grew. If I wasn't writing, I was reading.
I can't wait to see what 2015 brings to me. Shaken will release on February 24th and I will continuing the series. I also have another project I plan to start soon that will be unlike anything I wrote before. I am super excited to see what else I am capable of.