So, the next time I chat with you all it will be New Years Day, and I'll be all about launching The Virgin Manny, and I hope you all love it!
But in the meantime, I thought I'd talk about what I did this year, and what you can expect from me next year, and what I'll be writing in the future.
This year, I re-released Rampant 1 & 2, and The Green's Hill Anthology from The Little Goddess Series. Next year I'll be re-releasing the Jack and Teague stories-- the Green's Hill Werewolves, as well as Quickening-- both parts, which may or may not end the series, depending upon sales. (It's in a good place to end, if I can't write anymore, but I'd originally planned three more books.)
That was an accomplishment--and I am proud.
I also re-released Shirt and Phonebook as free stories on Amazon.com. (And people proceeded to review these two adorable shorts like they were supposed to be full fledged novels, and the fact that they WERE shorts indicated I was an idiot who couldn't write a complete novel and didn't care about my craft. No, I'm not a little bitter. I'm BOGGLED is what I am. Seriously-- what part of "free short" escaped people's attention. Rant over.) These two shorts were some of my first contemporary gay romance, right along with Gambling Men and If I Must, and they were a little like doing stretches before I tackled Keeping Promise Rock.
Seeing them re-covered tickled me no end.
I finished the Candy Man series this year, with Lollipop in March and Tart and Sweet in August. These books, set on the streets of my hometown, and designed to showcase the amazing diversity here with affection and hope, made a lot of people happy. They weren't the angstiest things I've ever written--but I like to think I made them real. I hoped that people would read these books and see people of color as naturally in their imaginations as they appear in this little corner of the world, and the world would move a little tiny bit from "us and them" to "all of us." Some people said I succeeded here, some people detailed them as a spectacular failure, but my intention--to make diversity a positive, inclusive thing--never wavered.
I hope they were also fun to read.
I wanted the same thing with Selfie, and, again, the results were mixed. But this book made book of the year at Grave Tells, and tied for 4th for best romance in the Rainbow Awards, and has shown up on two best-of lists today alone. I'm so grateful to the people who saw to the heart of what I wanted to do with these characters, and forgave me for my clumsy execution.
Again, these books make me proud.
I also launched two new series this year.
Fish Out of Water is the first book of my new mystery series, and while some folks were put off by the mix of mystery and romance some people really really enjoyed it. I loved writing this book, and the sequel, Red Fish, Dead Fish, is complete and has been submitted.
Winter Ball was technically released in 2015, but it was December 25th, 2015, so I'm going to claim it for 2016 (since so much that was crap happened in this year it needs some good things to its name!)
Winter Ball was honored a bit as well--it received a Rainbow Award for best romantic comedy, and a Reader's Choice at Grave Tells for best LGBTQ book, and Skip and Richie--who took people by surprise at first, for being raw and erotic and vulnerable and very very working class--I think eventually won over hearts.
The sequel to Winter Ball, Summer Lessons came out in November of this year. It was sort of a shitty time to release a book called Summer Lessons, and the release came only ten days after my Christmas book was released, so I think Mason and Terry's story was sort of overlooked. Understandable, but sort of a shame--this book was much like it's predecessor in that its highs and lows caught me by surprise, even on the fourth edit, even when I looked it over later to make sure it was a good book. I hope it catches a second wind, because I'm proud of these guys, and because book three, featuring Dane and Carpenter, is in my queue.
And of course, there was Freckles, which was sort of my end of the year surprise, and an obvious love letter to my dogs. For those of you who didn't see all the extras--and who like furry friends a lot--by all means check out the book page at Riptide and see the comic essays I wrote about the two furry assholes who dominate and illuminate the lives of everyone in my house. Including the cats'.
And that brings me to next year.
Of course, I'm starting the year off with The Virgin Manny, which is a Dreamspun Desire, and the first book in a three-book series about nannies.
The second book, Manny Get Your Guy should be out in July, and the third book, Stand by Your Manny should be finished at the end March and out in January of 2018.
Next out will be Bonfires in March--I have the cover for this book, and it's SO PRETTY--but I'm going to debut it at Joyfully Jay's at the end of January, because I want it to be an event. This is the first book in a series of four, and I will be working on the second book sometime over the summer.
After Bonfires will be Quickening, parts 1 and 2, which will come out between March and July, probably about six weeks apart, as will The Green's Hill Werewolves, and then, all of the Little Goddess books will be out in print, beautiful and edited and hopefully glorious. It took me four months in 2014 to write Quickening--I just finished the edits, and damn. Just damn. I hope it's as special to you as it was to me, and that the people who have been waiting for this book for over seven years will think the wait was worthwhile.
After Quickening and Stand by Your Manny will be Red Fish, Dead Fish, and after THAT will be the Dreamspun Beyond--again, the first in a trilogy--that I'm working on right now. The trilogy is the Familiar trilogy, and the first one is Familiar Angel, the second is Familiar Demon, and the third will be Familiar Lover.
Now, a book that I've written but don't have a home for may be self-published around this time--it's called All the Rules of Heaven, and if it is published, it's the beginning of an urban fantasy series--so lots of fantasy out from me next year, or the year after, if I decided to hold onto Heaven for just a little while longer.
After Familiar Demon I hope to release the Johnnies book I will be working on during the spring, and the Christmas book I'll be working on after that!
And this year, I'll be releasing a collection of my "stray" Christmas stories-- Turkey in the Snow, Puppy, Car, and Snow, If I Must, Going Up, and Christmas With Danny Fit. (I think.) It should be coming out around Christmas!
Someone asked me how I did what I do--and my answer was "I write every day."
It's been sort of a tumultuous year--for everybody--and for a while, gay romance world was beset with scandal in the same way the gates of hell are beset with Cerberus, the snarling three-headed dog. There were times when poking my head out of my cave into the killing ground of social media was so not going to happen.
But I never stopped writing every day.
I never stopped believing that romance is the language of hope, and that writing it was actively doing something to make people happy, to give people hope.
I never stopped striving to write the best story I could write, to give the readers I'm so grateful to the best story they could possibly let into their hearts.
I saw a meme the other day-- it said, "Get knocked down seven times, get up eight." For me, I get knocked down, and I write, and that's how I get up again. And again. And again.
As we move out of this tumultuous, scary year into an uncertain future, let's remember all the times we got back up again. Let's remember our hope and our intentions for a better world--and improve upon them. Let's remember that kindness and tolerance and gentleness are virtues--and that the strong wield them with grace.
And let's be proud of our accomplishments, because I know I'm not the only one who got knocked down seven times, and got up eight.
Let's meet the coming year with courage and conviction and hope.
We're romance readers and writers--that's just how we roll.