A happy New Year to you all!
In many ways I was happy to see the end of 2016, which I talk about in my December Outside the Margins post on Prism. But when I look back at “being a writer” in 2016, I’d say it’s been my best year ever.
I had plans for other stories but went through a crisis of confidence in early Spring and cancelled some planned submissions. Although it felt dire at the time, it resulted in me ending the year in a much happier place as a writer.
I took a step back from the demands I’d placed on myself and realized that I didn’t need to keep going at the same pace, and especially not with the same unrealistic expectations about sales and recognition. I saw that what nurtured me in my writing was being part of a community, and I decided I wanted to be more involved in my own local and Pacific Northwest communities, as well as the greater LGBTQ writing community.
Some truly unforeseen events happened from taking that on. I was invited to be a part of the Gay Romance Writers Northwest booth at Portland Pride in June. I put together with others a panel on bisexuality in LGBTQ romance for the Gay Romance Northwest Meet in Seattle in September. I went to GRL in Kansas City as a Featured Author and had a wonderful time seeing old friends and meeting new ones. And most amazingly on the local level, was invited to participate in the first ever LGBTQ Authors Reading at our Barnes & Noble in Eugene, put together by fellow Dreamspinner author Ben Brock. I got to see my books on the shelves in Barnes & Noble!
The other welcome surprise was that my novel Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category for the 2016 Swirl Awards. The Swirl Awards are “dedicated to recognizing excellence in romance written without color barriers.”
PLANS FOR 2017
As far as writing goes, I plan to publish two more books in the All the Way to Shore universe, aka The Shores Series. I’m about to finish the first draft of Anthony Vallen’s story, which is set in Key West, and have a third book sketched out which will return the characters to the Boston/Cape Cod area. I’d like to see All the Way to Shore produced as an audiobook, I’d like to publish a holiday story, and have a story in a Dreamspinner anthology.
As far as participation in the writing community, I plan to attend GRL and GRNW again this year and be part of the booth at Portland Pride. I will also be attending the Dreamspinner Authors conference in Orlando in March. Right after the conference my sister is meeting me and we’re going on a road trip to Key West! So excited about that. I also plan to have a writers retreat on the Oregon coast with some fellow writers – no date set yet but it’s something we’ve been talking about for two years so this is the year we make it happen.
What I’m most excited about is working with Ben Brock at Barnes & Noble. He is putting together a YA/NA LGBTQ Authors Reading for early February at which I’ll read from Sex, Love, and Videogames. And he and I are planning a writing workshop series for local LGBTQ youth, which fulfills a long-held vision of mine to empower queer high school and college students.
Here’s to a productive and healthy 2017 for us all.