Happy 2015!

Since I did a wrapping-up-the-old-year-building-goals-for-the-new-year blog post around this time last year, I thought it would be fun to look at my goals from last year and see what kind of progress I made on them.

1. Finish and Edit Works in Progress

So at the beginning of 2014, I had finished (or so I thought) revisions for my works in progress: Waking the Dead, Nixies in Dixie, and Going Dutch. We’ve been hitting the submissions pretty hard this year, and while we’ve accepted no contracts yet, we had an offer on Going Dutch and some encouraging feedback from editorial passes on the others.

This left us with some decisions to make in terms of priorities and regrouping. Once more, my fabulous agents came through with great advice, which along with some fresh beta reads helped me bring up Waking the Dead to over 90K words! Revisions include:

1. Emphasis on better world-building and establishing the rules for corporeal spirits, living soul brokers, and afterlife management in the series. HUGE thanks to Jody Wallace for that. Those brainstorming sessions were invaluable. Someday soon, once WTD is published, I’ll publish one of these hilarious online jam sessions on the blog.

2. More emphasis on the heroine’s journey and the stakes involved, as well as shifting from Urban Fantasy to Women’s Fiction with elements of Magical Realism. I love the result – reminiscent of Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come.

3. The addition of a few more gut-wrenching scenes that had me in tears, as well as tightening the story and filling in some missing details caught by Debbie Herbert.

Victoria Lea has the new and improved version now, and we hope to get back on submissions soon. Fingers and toes crossed!

So what about the others?

I’ve put Nixies on the back burner for now in order to focus on Going Dutch. I love both, but paranormal romance is a really tough sell in the current market. I’m convinced there’s a home for my mermaids, but the better bet is getting the contemporary romance to a marketable length and getting it out there. So as of mid-January, I’ll be cracking my knuckles and getting busy adding another 20K word’s worth of laughs and romance to GD so I can get it to my agents pronto!

2. Learn All I Can About Marketing and Promotions

Thanks to my dear friend and critique partner, Sophia Jones, I was able to attend the Arizona Dreamin’ conference and learn more about marketing and promotions, including tips for self-publishing. Since that will likely become a part of my portfolio at some point, I was pleased to make contacts with representatives from InD’tale. These folks specialize in promoting self-published and small press published romance and have an impressive subscriber list.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 10.43.11 PMMy second shot at marketing the Lyrical Press novella, this time with the power of Kensington Publishing Corporation, garnered a few more sales upon re-release. As a means of getting some more promo for myself as an author, I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation from Trish Milburn to contribute to a holiday-themed anthology of micro-stories. Mistletoe Magic, featuring an autistic hero and a heroine determined to reach his heart, was my contribution to Tiny Treats. I was thrilled to be a part of this project, which rocked the Amazon charts for freebies and anthologies (still #59 in Kindle eBook Holiday Romance). If you’d like a copy, you can find it on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords, and GooglePlay.

Did I mention it’s free?

Even better, there will be another spring-themed anthology for St. Patrick’s day. I’m working on another story featuring the same pairing from Tiny Treats.

One big goal for 2015 is revamping my website for a fresh new look and some much-needed updates. Stay tuned!

3. Give Back

Probably one of the most rewarding parts of this journey has been encouraging other authors and watching them begin their own journeys. I was delighted with the release of Jeanne Hardt’s tender and heartwarming Civil War era historical romance, Marked. Having fallen in love with steamboats ala Mark Twain years ago, I found the setting as charming as the story, which I had the great honor to beta before its release. I’m so thrilled for Jeanne and can’t wait for her next River Romance book. In the meantime, I have a copy of From the Ashes of Atlanta in my Kindle queue!

I’ve had the great fortune to beta read for some of my MCRW sisters, and let me tell you, these ladies have some fantastic stories to tell: from Susan’s Bickford’s hot Italian hero hiding out in Tennessee to Page Pennington’s reluctant witch with a heart of gold to Caitlin Fryer’s larger-than-life swashbuckling pirate (you can check out some of Caitlin’s amazing artwork on her site, too!).

I enjoyed hosting many of my fellow Aponte Literary authors on my blog, including Debbie Herbert, Ariel Swan, Brynn Chapman, M.V. Freeman, Tanisha Jones, and D.T. Krippene. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know these authors and their work and look forward to sharing  more of their work with my readers!

So for 2015? More, more, more! I can’t wait to help the authors in my network and to add to that network!

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 6.21.00 AMSummary

I’m counting 2014 as a success, and I’ll definitely keep the same goals for 2015. Well, I’ll add a wish for more fangirl dream moments like the one I had meeting Diana Gabaldon at the Arizona Dreamin’, Pocket Jamie in tow.

Squee!!!

So that’s my year in review and my hopes and aspirations for the coming year.

What are yours?

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