Thursday, December 31, 2015

Farewell 2015, HELLO Sexy 2016!

I always love writing these New Year's posts. It's not because the new year is a fresh start, or I'm wiping the slate clean, or I'm setting new goals, or any of that. I'm a fan of doing those things throughout the year. For me, New Year's is that one point of the year to reflect on a cycle of time and dream of things to come, and where you'll be at this time in one year. It's a fairly arbitrary day, because of course we can do those things any other time of the year (and sometimes I do). But New Year's has that special magic when everyone else is also thinking these same things, and it's just fun to be part of this collective contemplation/dreaming exercise.

So, highlights of 2015 first:

First and foremost, 2015 is the year I became a published author AND the year I got an agent, and those two things happened less than three weeks apart. Talk about a roller coaster of awesome!! August 7th I self-pubbed Black Magic and Mojitos and August 24th I signed with Sandy.

2015 was the year I decided to make it happen, and quit wallowing in where my future as an author was going. I'd been writing seriously for five years and I decided I would get my foot in the door the self-pub route with my Zyan Star series. Sandy then signed me for my Huntress series, so I guess I'm now what they call a hybrid author. Which feels right and good - I like moving forward independently with Zyan, and I have learned a TON about marketing and all that craziness, but I'm also excited to learn about the traditional pub route.

I also went on several awesome trips: took my son to Seattle for his birthday present, then him and I hiked the Olympic Peninsula, just the two of us, which made me feel extremely brave and grownup and my kid and I returned alive (plus!). Also went to Dragon Con for the first time and then Asheville for Thanksgiving. Awesome stuff for sure.

I did a lot of training with my horse, who had not been ridden before, and got him comfortable with being saddled and mounted and we even walked around a bit, and then I recognized I needed professional help and sent him to a trainer for a month of intensive work (for both of us). Now I'm really riding for the first time in years and it's SO awesome.

I won first place in a short story contest for Area of Effect Magazine, which is my first published work in a magazine (and I guess my first indie pub credit). Read it here. Fun and exciting!

Also, I got a big promotion at my day job (educational non-profit director), so that was rad.

Now, plans and dreams for 2016:

Getting a pub offer for my Huntress series. My agent is pretty amazeballs so I'm optimistic this will happen. She's thinking we should hear from all the publishers by springtime. Then I'll be working on whatever edits the publisher wants, and start working on the second book in that series. And learning all about the world of traditional pubbing.

Releasing the first three books in the Zyan Star series. Black Magic and Mojitos, which released in August, is the prequel novelette to that series. Originally, I had planned to release the first novel in October. However, Sandy asked me to wait since we were shopping Huntress to publishers. So, at the moment Zyan's at a standstill, but I am about two weeks away from finishing the first draft of the second Zyan Star novel and then I'm probably going to jump right into book three and do edits for both of them after. I reached out to the self-pub phenom RaShelle Workman, who has sold over a million of her e-books (yeah. a million). She said her best marketing advice was to have 5-7 books in your series and release them all in quick succession, every few weeks. So, I'm writing pretty furiously so I can be ready to do that as soon as Sandy gives me the go ahead.

Traveling. My plans always involve traveling. At the moment, I'm locked in for Colorado in June for my BFF's wedding. I'm taking my son so we can hike the Rockies while we're out there and I'm SO excited for it. My son loved our west coast trip last year and I want to keep nurturing that adventurous streak in him. My mom's also turning 70 and wants to go somewhere tropical. We'll see where that ends up. Dragon Con again hopefully. And something else? That'd be cool, budget allowing.

I'd really like to buy a house in 2016. Not sure if that'll happen since I still own a house with my ex husband we're not having luck selling, but I'm throwing it out there anyways. Make it happen, universe :)

I want to make a significant dent in paying down debt. I was naughty in 2015 so time to behave! But finding a balance, also allowing myself some splurges and putting money into savings. In the past I've gone into overkill on paying off debt and then have no fun and nothing set aside.

My horse: this is a sudden vista of possibility. He did so well in training, so I just want to keep moving forward with that. We're just doing basics now, but in a year I'd like him to know some dressage, and also be doing some jumping. Maybe go to a local horse show or two towards the end of the year.

And an overall summary of what I wish for myself, looking back at 2015 and looking forward at 2016:

I want to get better at remembering to enjoy the journey. In 2015 I achieved publication/agent/trained horse and for a goal oriented person that leaves me with a feeling of "now what??" Well, plenty! But after striving for those things for SO long I need to remember that once I reach the end, the end is really just another beginning, and it's better to savor the ride and not just gun for the destination.

And now, as the last day of 2015 comes to an end, I'm heading to the beach for the night (it's raining, but whatever, that's Florida for ya). How about you?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Taste of Magic! Pomegranate-Jeweled Cheese Ball

Hello, lovelies! I didn't do Taste of Magic last month since I was heading out of town and being a slacker, but I'm back just in time for final holiday parties to give you a delicious appetizer recipe. It's SOOO good, you guys. You'll swoon. Earth will shift on its axis. Ha, so here it is!

White Cheddar Rosemary Pomegranate-Jeweled Cheese Ball!!


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fresh rosemary leaves (to taste)
1 1/2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
6 ounces grated sharp white cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup pomegranate arils (you can buy them at Trader Joes in a little container - trying to de-seed a real pomegranate is the biggest pain ever)
Crackers for serving


  1. Melt the butter in a skillet and toss in rosemary. You want the rosemary to let off its oils, but don't let the butter burn or the rosemary get crispy.
  2. In a bowl with a mixer, food processor or fingers, mix the cream cheese and cheddar. This is why cream cheese should be soft, so it doesn't jam up.
  3. Add the butter/rosemary deliciousness and the salt and pepper.
  4. After it's all mixed well, roll it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Pour your pom seeds out on some paper towels and carefully pat off any moisture, but don't squish them.
  6. After your cheese has set for 30 minutes, transfer the pom seeds to a large plate and carefully roll the cheese ball in the seeds until it's covered. You'll probably have to pat some of them into place after you roll it a couple times to fill in gaps.
  7. Serve with crackers and a little cheese spreader. Yum!!!
  8. Be prepared for your guests to worship you. 
I adapted this recipe from here. As you can see, you can use sage or another herb instead of rosemary, and add nuts if you want. 

As for my writing taste for the month, click here to read my short story A Very Zyan Christmas, which won first place in the Geekdom House short story contest!

I hope everyone has a beautiful and glorious holiday. TTFN!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Every WIP is Different

Hello, writer friends! Today I’m posting for IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group). Click here if you want to learn more about this awesome monthly blog hop. Each month we talk about something to do with our writing process.

Last month I talked about being on sub, and this month I’m going to talk about first drafts. Specifically how all of them are different. Even if you think you have a pretty good pattern down. I’ve written five books, and am now drafting the sixth. Usually I write quick and dirty, and have a first draft churned out in 6-12 weeks. Then I edit my ass off until it resembles something decent!

But my current WIP, the second novel in my Zyan Star series, is not coming out with my usual speed. Part of it is that now I’m balancing marketing my Zyan Star prequel novelette that came out in August with writing. It’s tough, I’m not gonna lie. And part of it is that I’m not quite happy with my plot, and I usually have NO issues with plot. All of this simply reminds me that each book is different. Even the great Neil Gaiman has said it. You only think you know how to write a novel… until you start on the next one. It’s all part of the fun of being a writer.

So, what’s up with you this month? How’s your #writerslife?

Oh, and if you want to learn more about my world hunger fundraiser, visit my previous post!! Lots of good stuff happening.