Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My 2015 Recap

It's time for my annual recap of my year!

Holy Wow, 2015 was an incredible, busy year for me.


I attended my local RWA meeting where my wonderful author friend, Bonnie R. Paulson gave a talk on setting goals. This directly helped me recovered from the horrible bout of Writer's Block that I had for most of 2014. I cannot thank her enough. So yeah, I spent January WRITING!!


I had a ton of Dental work done which made me too doped up on pain meds to write as much, so I devoted a lot of time doing cover art.

I also officially hung my shingle for my editing business, Grammar Smith Editing Services. I'd been paid for editing work since 2013, but I didn't have a website or anything.


I attended my RWA chapter's first conference, Power of the Pen.

I pitched my heavy metal romance novel and ended up getting an agent AND a 3 book deal with Boroughs Publishing.

I was on cloud 9


I attended The Novel Experience convention in Las Vegas. My boyfriend drove us there and man, we had such an insane time that it took Three Blog Posts to recap it. It was the first convention I attended as an official author and it blew my mind when readers directly sought me out for my autograph. Incredible!

Then Bite At First Sight (Scandals with Bite Book 3) released and I had one of the best signings ever!

I don't care if the pic is blurry. I love being in pictures with that hot guy.


I did a ton of writing and work on a book cover for a short story.


I did a lot more writing, some work on my Datsun, and released a short Brides of Prophecy Prequel, Tesemini, which I'm going to put back up for free next week.


I finished the cover for Conjuring Destiny and finished writing Hearts of Metal book 2. The whole Northwest was on fire, which totally ruined summer.


The Northwest was STILL on fire.
But I managed to finish the rough draft of Conjuring Destiny
And my heavy metal romance, Kissing Vicious released!


That month was revision hell for Conjuring Destiny and Hearts of Metal 2. I also started Hearts of Metal 3 (Sort of.) That one was already written but I had to completely rewrite the middle. I also came up with the insane idea to make a quilt for my boyfriend for Christmas.

I also finally gave in and started a Newsletter!


Not a great start as my beloved laptop died. Luckily since it was 6 years old I was prepared and had money saved for it. However, I'd lost a ton of important files, including the master photoshop file of the cover for Conjuring Destiny.

However I had other image files and was able to piece together the cover and I had my most successful release ever!

It was also my most complex cover ever.
I also got started painting squares for the quilt.

I'm going to write a post about the entire process soon.

And I finished Hearts of Metal Book 3


I was in Editing Hell with a ton of client manuscripts. But damn I needed the money.
I also progressed further on the quilt and got all of my squares painted.

Then my awesome grandma started sewing it.

And I also did a scratch board of a wolf for my aunt:


Thanks to getting my shopping done early I didn't have as much holiday stress as usual. I did a dragon for my son and my grandma and I finished the quilt.

My boyfriend LOVE the quilt:

And it fit on his bed!

I also got over 1/3rd of the way done Scandals with Bite Book 4 and got started on the cover.

So for 2015 I had three books release and one short story. I wrote three and 1/3rd novels... and made a quilt.

And guess what? 2016 is going to be even busier. Stay tuned for my goals and plans!

Monday, December 14, 2015

I am NOT a Humbug This Year!

I must confess that I used to be kind of a Humbug with Christmas (Hate the snow, the decorations, most of the music) though I've always LOVED giving gifts to my friends and family.

From 2009, back when my mom died, on, the holidays were even harder for me. My mom LOVED Christmas. She'd decorate the whole house, sing the songs, make the cookies, and believed in Santa Clause until her last breath.

The first Christmas without her, I was such a wreck I don't even remember it. The year after that, I was determined to be strong for my family's sake and at least pretend to like Christmas and celebrate it in her honor. Still it took several years before I could listen to a Christmas song without bursting into tears.

I've managed to fend off the holiday depression by staying busy and with two big families, that's actually pretty easy.

But something changed this year. Well, several somethings, but what's most astounding is this:

I'm totally in the Christmas spirit this year! I'm seriously not faking it, you guys!

I think part of it is because I got my Christmas shopping done early and in an efficient manner. Also I made some epic awesome gifts for a few special people in my life. I will be blogging about these after Christmas. :D

Also, it hasn't been snowing much here. (Which is really bad for my area environmentally, but face it, I HATE snow.)

Or maybe it's because I got to spend more time with my Grandma... who's almost as giddy about the holiday as my mom was.

And maybe it's because I've received so much joy from my friends and family this year.

Either way, it feels good. I was even at a store and smiling when the song "Mr. Ginch" was playing.

Holy wow, I actually LIKE that song.

But don't worry you guys, I will still ALWAYS be #TeamHalloween first and foremost.

Anyway, just thought I'd share this fascinating epiphany and I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas/ Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza/ Merry Yule, etc.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Seven Gift Ideas for Writers

Hey everyone!

It's that time of year and I am so proud of myself for getting my Christmas shopping/ present making early.

So that gives me time to catch up on Scandals with Bite Book 4, my newsletter, and, of course, this blog.

A few people have been blogging gift suggestions for writers, so I may as well add in my own two cents.

I'm not going to include the obvious things, like notebooks, pens, and whatnot. Instead I will cover two other categories of gifts.

A.) Things that are Fun/ personalized.

It's an indisputable fact that professional writers often turn into caffeine-soaked workaholics. We spend countless hours at our desks, writing, revising, marketing, struggling to meet constant deadlines, etc. In this chaos and drudgery, we sometimes feel like we're losing our identity, our sense of self. Especially when we're so busy being inside out characters' heads.

I recommend gifts that pull the writer away from things writing related. What else does your writer enjoy? For me, it's heavy metal music and horror movies. These are a few things I've pinned for my "Dear Santa" List on Pinterest. It's mostly horror T-shirts and DVDs of some movies I like.

If you're shopping for me, check out Fright Rags.com

So if they're also a gamer, get them gaming stuff. If they're a gardener, gardening stuff, etc.
Another good idea is something that literally pries the writer from their desk.
Movie tickets, concert tickets, etc are all great ways to encourage your writer to get out and clear their head.

But sometimes, we writers are straining to meet a deadline, or in a good groove where the words are pouring out. In those cases, you can't get the writer away from the desk. So that brings me to the other category.

B.) Things that make the job easier.

A non-fiction book related to what we're writing. 

Research can take time. Sometimes grabbing a book is quicker. I often write regency romance, so a book on the regency would be awesome. A sci-fi writer would appreciate something on space technology, a thriller author something on psychology, etc.

A restaurant gift card.

I cannot stress enough how valuable these are. When writers are riding a deadline, dinner plans get neglected. Gift cards for some yummy place eliminates the hassle.
Another function they can serve is a figurative carrot on a stick. Every once in awhile I will reserve myself extra time for a hard core writing day. I set a goal that's two or three times my average word count and if I make it, I treat myself to Wingstop's garlic parmesan wings. If I had a gift card for wings, I'd schedule another mega write-a-thon stat.

Comfort items:

Writers spend a LOT of time at their desks. Things that make the setting more comfortable are highly prized. A few ideas: Pajama pants, fuzzy socks, slippers, or a fleece throw. 

Is their desk too cold? Get them a little space heater. Too hot? Get them a fan. Too dark? A nice lamp would be great!


Remember how I mentioned that we're caffeine saturated workaholics? A gift card for a favorite coffee shop is appreciated by the coffee drinkers, a box of tea or tea leaves for the tea drinkers, or if you're one of my friends or family members: I LOVE RED BULL!!

Promo items:
These days, we have to spend money on swag and advertising to promote our work.
Places like Vista Print and Print Runner have great deals on bookmarks, pens, stickers and other fun stuff we can pass out to our readers.

It is harder and harder to get reviews. We are extremely grateful for every one.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Holiday Craziness

Well, my writing is still behind, however, since I closed my editing business for the holidays, I'm catching up. I finally finished revising Hearts of Metal Book 3, and I hope to hit the 25% mark on Scandals with Bite, Book 4 by the end of the week.

Title and cover will be forthcoming next month!

I'm still waiting on my finalized cover and release date for my metal romance, book 2. Since that one's with a smaller press, it should be coming out fairly quick after edits.

I'm also busy making Christmas presents for a few special loved ones. Since my aunt's not online, I can show off the wolf I made her on scratch board:

I'm also doing a dragon for my son.

For my boyfriend, I'm finishing up one of the biggest, most ambitious projects of my life. Since he's not on Facebook, you can follow me there, or sign up for my newsletter to hear about it, or wait until after Christmas for my post about it, because oooh boy, I have tales to tell!!

If you're interested in doing scratch boards of your own, or buying them for an artist you know, I highly recommend the Ampersand boards. They're actually on sale right now:

And the scraping tools are cheap, but work great:

Anyway, I gotta get back to writing and working on presents, and drafting my letter to Santa to post on here this week!

I hope everyone's having a great holiday season!!