Thinking Positive about 2010

2010 has been a year of ups and downs. I could vent about all the downs that happened this year that included the death of my father and my mother’s stroke, but I think it’s too easy to get lost in negatives. I prefer to remember the positives. Like…

On the writing front:

  • in January, I found the courage to hit “send” and submit Texas Tangle to Harlequin’s new Carina Press. Thanks to some annoying health crises on the home front for both Gizmo Guy and me, it was the first time I’d submitted anything in over a year.  Swift strong kicks in the butt Encouragement from good friends Vivian Arend and Anara Bella sure helped. I’m glad I did because…
  • in February, I missed a phone call and listened to my messages to find a voice message from Angela James telling me Carina Press was going to be offering me a contract for Texas Tangle. I can officially say I got “the call”! (That’s huge for writers.)  And in case you’re wondering, yes, it was my first official “call” — my acceptances for Private Property and Personal Protection arrived via email. I still have Angela’s message on my system and get to listen to it every week. Which in a strange way makes me thankful that I wasn’t around to answer the call. While I would have loved to have talked to Angela in person, I wouldn’t have had that recording to listen to over and over again. (Especially lovely on days when I’m convinced I can’t write.)
  • in March, Personal Protection was released in print. Woot. I have a book I can actually hold in my hands. One I can autograph. Now I love ebooks because they don’t take up any space. I cleaned up my office yesterday and one of the things I had to do was decide what print books I’d bought this year that I wanted to keep and which ones to give away because I’ve completely run out of shelf space. But Personal Protection will always have a place on my shelf. (Actually it’s not on a shelf, it’s in a place of honor on a little stand on the top of my desk.)  

  • during March and April I made my deadlines on my Texas Tangle edits –  thanks to my editor Rhonda Stapleton’s love of three little letters: W, H, and Y and a few other reminders about my love of em dashes amongst other bad habits I have acquired, I think I nearly went bald. But when I read the final product once I’d struggled through them, I knew she knew just what to ask and the book was better for it. Go Rhonda!
  • in May, I saw Texas Tangle’s cover for the first time. And completely fell in love. I love the colors, I love the way the cover artist angled Brett slightly sideways to show his relationship to Nikki and Dillon, I love that gated entrance to the ranch at the bottom. Love love love! 

  • in June, Texas Tangle released as part of Carina Press’s launch. Being part of the launch brought me Texas Tangle to the attention of people who may not have heard of me before. And I got to work with the terrific Carina crew — Carly Chow, Aideen Chung, Emma Cunningham, Jenny Bullough, just to name a few of the behind-the-scenes people. And a couple who aren’t so behind-the-scenes: Malle Valik and Angela James.
  • which lead to July’s overwhelming flux of good reviews. Texas Tangle received over 24 reviews from various websites and bloggers like Mandi from Smexy books and Laurie from Bitten by Paranormal, Book Junkie, Terri, Melinda, Valerie and Chris all from Night Owl Reviews, Lea from Blackraven’s Reviews … there are so many I can’t thank enough for giving me some fantastic quotes and reviews. (some of which you can read on Tangle’s page here on the blog, or on the sidebar.)
  • Bolstered by Tangle’s reviews and positive reception, during the summer I put on my big girl panties and hit “send” twice more: I submitted Deliberate Deceptions, the next in the Hauberk series, to my new editor at Samhain, and I submitted a proposal to Carina Press for Tangled Past. Go me! (Sometimes we have to be out own pep squad, family, heck lots of people, don’t tend to understand why hitting “send” is so difficult. Best analogy I can come up with on the fly is that it’s like putting your child on the bus for that all important first day of school. Knowing it’s up to them to now face things on their own where you can’t protect them. (it’s a lame analogy, but yeah, there’s lots of nerves, and occasionally even tears.)  Especially knowing that it’s not only possible, but probable that you’ll receive a “thanks but no thanks” response. Donning that impenetrable thick skin writers need is tougher than you think.  It’s a tough step but you have to do it at some point if you really want to be a writer. Now where did I put that again?)
  • in September, Carina Press offered Texas Tangle as one of its five featured books on the Kobo site. Me! I mean, Texas Tangle! One of my books! A featured book! It hit #1 in the bestseller’s list, not only on the Kobo lists but it also hit the bestselling lists on Amazon and Barnes and Noble who similarly featured it. 
  • In October, Rhonda Stapleton, my editor at Carina Press, also sent me an email about Tangled Past: “I’m thrilled to tell you we’re acquiring this book for Carina!!!” There was much wooting and happy dancing in the Braemel house that day. It wasn’t pretty for outside viewers. I may have blinded an innocent mailman and deafened the neighborhood dogs.
  • Two weeks later, my editor at Samhain sent me an email about Deliberate Deceptions that contained the words “I would love to offer you a contract on this manuscript.” My reply accepting Tera’s offer contained a record number of exclamation marks. I’d blame Rhonda for influencing me but I’d love another Carina contract in the future. *VBG* Besides I’m not sure that I didn’t influence HER.
  • in November and the first week of December, despite some serious issues within the family, I still managed to write 60,000 words on the first draft of the next story in the Hauberk series.
  • In December, I completed the first set of edits on Tangled Past within the deadline and thanks to my editors’ suggestions, I’m loving it even more than I did when I submitted it. 

On the family front? Well, Gizmo Guy got last winter’s diabetes diagnosis under control very quickly and is doing well, especially once we bought him a new (used/old) Jeep to drive through this winter to replace his old Honda Accord.

Guitar Hero finished his electrical training and got a full-time job working for a Toronto firm. He bought a truck, thanks to my royalties — it’s the first time since 1995 I’ve had money of my own which made me feel really good that I could help the family once again. Mind you, it’s an old truck–1997–but hey it runs! And that lets him earn more money so he can save up to buy a better one all by himself next time.

Photo from Dreamstime.com #411674

Curly took a trip with his school band to New York city, and then finished high school and has decided to work for a year while trying to decide what to do from here. It’s tough for both of us because he keeps looking to me to point him in the right direction but the most I can do is say “it’s not something I can decide for you. Find something you love and go for it.” In the meantime, he’s working hard, saving up money for whatever college course he decides to take next year.

And me? Well, I’m still writing, and blogging, and have lots planned for next year. Including a trip to New York to attend the Romance Writers of America annual conference, possibly a trip south to another conference, or maybe just to Texas to visit my critique partners and do a little research for another western.

Not to mention I’ve got those two book releases in May (If I work really hard, I can polish off the first draft of Hauberk book #4 so it impresses my Samhain editor and up the number of books published in 2011 to three, or maybe even four if I can finish off a proposal for another book that’s been bugging me to be written and submitted. But I’m happy with the two ones already contracted.)

So it’s looking like I’ll have lots of reasons to be positive in 2011. 

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