I turned in grades yesterday, so today is officially the start of my summer! I thought I’d commemorate that exciting event with an update about my writing (and my plans for it in the next few months).
It’s been a little while since I wrote an update post. Mainly, that’s because my mental health has not been awesome since … oh, let’s not count. It’s been a while—just like most everybody else. Depression, anxiety, full-body existential angst, you know–the usual. ANYWAY, all that’s gotten in the way of my writing, and I’ve been afraid to forecast much beyond whatever book I’ve got ready for release. Thus, fewer updates.
When 2020 started, I was more than five books ahead of my publishing schedule—that is, every time I announced a new release, I had at least five more completed manuscripts in the bank, waiting for their turn. My writing was a full year ahead of my publishing, even at a publishing pace of 6-8 books a year. I had the occasional rough patch, sure, and I’m always riddled with self-doubt, but that thick, fluffy cushion in the book bank was a commodious comfort zone.
Of course, I came to look on that comfort zone as necessary—like I was failing if I wasn’t five books ahead of myself. That’s what it’s like with this head of mine: it’s always eager to find failure in success.
In 2021, with cratering mental health making writing all but impossible, I ran out of books. Lately I’ve been publishing my most recently completed book. For somebody as anxious as me, especially after years of the words flying, always wondering if I’ve just published my last book ever has been scary as the proverbial fuck.
I really miss those days when the words flew out of my fingers like I was merely taking dictation from Lola (my muse). Sigh.
But here I am, at the end of yet another bizarre, stressful pandemic semester, looking toward the summer and feeling … hopeful? Yes, I think I feel hopeful. (About writing, at least. About the world? Pffffffffft.)
Slowing my publication schedule down to about four books a year has really helped. It’s given me a way to rethink my expectations for myself for writing, so I no longer feel like a failure if I don’t get a full chapter done each writing day. And now, with that extra grace for myself, I’ve got two completed manuscripts waiting for their turn: Jay’s story, which will come out in August (reveal coming in July), and a Brazen Bulls Birthright Christmas novella, which I finished last week.
Also, and perhaps more important: it’s been well more than a year since I was so inspired by an idea it kept me up at night, and right now I’ve got two story ideas doing the macarena in my brain: one is the 6th Birthright book and the other is an idea inspired by our recent trip to Italy.
It’s the brain-dancing ideas that have me most hopeful, I think. I haven’t written either of those yet, of course, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves over here, Lola. But it feels good to have that inspiration again.
Moreover, this week I’m FINALLY proofing the page proofs and creating the index–the final step–for my academic book on romance: New Frontiers in Popular Romance: Essays on the Genre in the 21st Century, which is forthcoming from McFarland Books (and is currently available for preorder). The pandemic seriously slowed that thing down; I submitted the final manuscript a full year ago.
So. My plans for the summer are mainly that: write, write, write. Gone are the days when I could expect to write three novels in the summer, however. Now, I’ll be satisfied if I get one written and thrilled if I can do more than that.
As for publishing, I can assert with confidence that I’ll put two more books out in the second half of the year, hitting my goal of four books for the year–and, if this hopefulness and relative mental stability will hold for a bit, maybe I’ll get a fifth book out as well. I’ll keep you posted about that. 😊
Right now, the rest of the year looks like this, in terms of book releases:
6 August: Brazen Bulls Birthright book 5 (Jay’s story; reveal and preorder 16 July)
3 December: Brazen Bulls Birthright novella/book 5.5 (Christmas-themed; reveal and preorder 26 November)
5 November: the 3rd Crossings story, a contemporary romance set in Italy. That’s the project I’m prepping at the moment, at least. Fingers crossed.
And if that goes well, I’m planning to start the 6th Birthright book after, and make that my first release of 2023. Fingers doubly crossed. Knock on wood. Etc.
We’re also planning a few little trips this summer. Nothing huge; after two weeks in Europe, our bank accounts will be in recovery for a minute haha. But we live in gorgeous California, so we don’t have to go big to go away from home. Also, travel is good for my brain, especially if it means I can sit near water and be quiet. So we’re planning week on the coast, a weekend in Tahoe for the Shakespeare Festival, maybe a weekend in Napa (wine also helps lol), that sort of thing.
Those are my plans for the summer. I hope you’ve got something good and calm (or exciting, whichever you prefer) planned and can take time for your own mental health.