Looking forward, looking back

I tend to do the looking at where I’ve been and where I’d like to go twice a year, around my birthday and New Year’s Day. Looking back on 06, it’s kind of amazing how much has happened. I’ve achieved several big goals: I’ve gained an agent, the fabulous Deidre Knight. I sold three books to St. Martin’s. I overshot my goal of ending 06 with 13 total sales; I’ve made 14 and I have some things outstanding that should lead to sales in 07. Personal (non-business) goals have been met, too, but I won’t bore you with those.

The number of releases in 06 is kind of boggling. The Gripping Beast (Samhain) in ebook and print. Night Music in ebook and print (Beginnings: A Samhain Anthology). Wolf in Cheap Clothing (EC). Wolf In Shining Armor (EC), Autumn Animalia series. Yule Be Mine (Cerridwen). Ellora’s Cavemen Legendary Tails II in Spanish (EC). I also wrote and self-published two free reads here on my site. That’s a total of 10 releases in 12 months.

07 is shaping up to be a bit less busy but still impressive. Catalyst in print (Cerridwen). Miss Lonely Hearts in ebook and print (Samhain). The Autumn Animalia volumes are planned for print release around Sept. (EC). Only Human in the Torrid Tarot series (EC). And *shiver* my St. Martin’s debut book, Wild Wild West in August. I hope to have 1 or 2 more EC releases, but that’s where things stand right now.

I’ll be updating my business plan and setting my goals for the coming year in writing. Already planned: two uncontracted books in different genres that I’m pretty excited about. I also want to plan and take a real vacation next year. We haven’t had a real vacation in almost 6 years. It’s time.

I lost some ground this year due to unforeseen circumstances. I got very sick in September, and Nov. and Dec. were riddled with interruptions in the form of severe weather and power outages on top of the holidays. I had planned slush in my schedule to allow room for things going wrong, but I didn’t plan nearly enough to accomodate all the time I lost. It’s some comfort that nobody could have foreseen or planned for the weather events that hit this area during the last two months, but the end result is that I need to hit 07 running.

So as the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, I will be tying the laces on my running shoes, warming up, and settling into my stride. However you begin the New Year, I hope you start off in the direction you want to go.

Blogging at Samhain today

Lamenting the seasonal loss of eggnog along with some holiday philosophy. One of the reasons I stuck my hand up to blog at Samhain is because unlike RTB the topic does not have to be romance-centric. I may have to quit RTB just because I’m scraping the bottom of the romance topic barrel after all this time. OK, I started scraping a year ago and now I can see daylight on the other side, it’s wearing so thin. Samhain is broader, topic does not have to be romance or book or publishing related. So I wrote about eggnog. :mrgreen:

Favorite books read in 06

Not in any order, just listing ’em out.

Wintersmith, Terry Pratchett. I love, love, love the Nac Mac Feegle! More Feegles, please, three books is not enough. (side note: my toddler says Ach! Crivens! It’s hysterical.)

Lord Perfect, Loretta Chase. Just as good as Mr. Impossible and Miss Wonderful. Really, if Loretta Chase writes it, I’m there, and I’m so glad she keeps writing historicals.

Life Expectancy, Dean Koontz. Suspense, action, philosophy, romance, the meaning of family…and food. I loved this book.

Size 12 is Not Fat, Meg Cabot. Funny, good mystery, hot guy, dead bodies and a heroine I really rooted for. Can’t wait to read the next Heather Wells mystery, Size 14 is Not Fat Either. (Yes, Mom, that B&N gift card is going to good use!)

Bitten, Kelley Armstrong. Not an 06 release but that’s when I read it. I also read Stolen and Broken and am working my way through the series. Great stuff.

A Hunger Like No Other, Kresley Cole. Also had to read the novella in Playing Easy to Get and No Rest for the Wicked. This is a terrific series, although I loved the novels more than the novella. I think there’s too much world to fit into the novella format or something, but the novels are just right.

The Bargain, Julia Templeton. Yes, this makes my list of year’s best, I am such a sucker for smoking hot historicals and there are so few of them. There is great conflict, great angst, a guy to really detest, a hero to melt for, and a sigh-worthy happily ever after. Ahhhh.

Red by Jordan Summers. No idea what the final title will be when this releases from Tor, but watch out for this one. I predict it will fly off shelves and you will want to get your copy reserved! (No, not an 06 release, but I got to read it in 06, hence it makes my list. Feel free to hate me for getting a sneak peek.)

The Return of Patrick O’Rourke, NJ Walters. Oh, what a book. It’s horrible that this book is not eligible for a Rita because it is one of the best romances I’ve read not just this year but in many years. This is the kind of meaty romance you can sink your teeth into with conflicts that are real and believable, not manufactured and superficial. There’s action and suspense, there’s a lot of emotion and sizzling sex, and three dimensional characters and a subject rarely seen in romance (spousal abuse) handled in a sensitive, intelligent and sympathetic light. Oh, and one of my books appears in cameo which made me laugh out loud when I read it. She didn’t tell me she was doing that. I’m delighted to have a cameo appearance in such a phenomenal book.

The Sharing Knife: Beguilement, Lois McMaster Bujold. Fantastic fantasy, wonderful romance. This a great book that should appeal to a huge cross-over readership. The world-building is phenomenal and consistent as always, the characters are vivid and sympathetic, well, the ones who are supposed to be. The idiot man in Fawn’s past is a very true-to-life jackass. I love how Bujold’s books all have that something larger going on, the characters’ lives part of a bigger whole. I cannot wait for more to be revealed in Part Two of this duology!

I’ve read more good books than I can list but those are some of the highlights. I always try to mention good reads as I read them and there are authors I consistently buy and read because they consistently deliver the goods. Mostly I don’t mention a book that didn’t work for me because chances are if it wasn’t my kind of book I didn’t buy it or read it in the first place. (I have picked up a few I didn’t finish but I’m pretty good at picking books I’ll enjoy.)