So this is my end of the year, wrap-up post that sort of goes through the previous year’s events, the great things, the shit I learned, and even some not-so-great events (or people, things, whatever) that I won’t be doing again, if I can help it. Plus, a look at what is to come.
I’ve done these wrap-ups for the last two years, though I’ve been published for four years, now.
That actually kind of makes me blink a bit. It’s hard to believe it has been that long, and that I went from one book that year, to a couple more the next, and then The Arrangement came along and I had so many words to tell after that, which have been never-ending ever since Anton stepped into my dreams one night. Which brings me to my first point:
Trust your heart, and follow it. I took a leap of faith two years ago, decided not to go back to my full-time job because I wanted to write instead, and I made it work until it worked for me. I still follow this rule for myself, in all things.
For the business side of things, I do what’s right for my writing, for my family, because this is a job. I work a set number of hours whether I want to or not, because no excuses. But I am also human, not a machine, and I take breaks, I have cool down periods, and I get burned out. But that’s the thing about being my own boss, as long as I’m keeping up my end of the bargain, I can do whatever the heck I want.
For the writing side of things, I let the stories tell themselves even if I don’t entirely like them, or if I think it’s just crossing a line I didn’t want to touch in some way. See the Donati Bloodlines trilogy I published this year. It worked, it was great, but it wasn’t a story I wanted to tell at first, at least not in whole. But I did. Because the heart wins for me, always.
For personal shit … well, sometimes things have to go, or people do. Stress and negativity impact me in ways that a lot of people don’t get to see on the outside, because it’s mostly an inner struggle. Depression, anxiety, and so forth. I could go on—but it picks at me constantly, making things worse until I’m not working, I’m not writing, and I am not giving much of a damn anywhere else in my life, too.
Which leads me onto this second point.
You can’t help everyone else’s problems. That was something I had to learn the hard way this year. You cannot help someone else’s issues, their shitty self-worth or their insecurities, especially when they seem to constantly bleed over onto you in such a negative way that it just becomes abusive. You can’t fix them when projecting is the only way they cope, you can only fix you. They have to want to be better, too, and when they’re more interested in hurting you, then it’s time to say goodbye.
I unfortunately learned this lesson years ago with my addict, abusive mother, but it took a whole new round of toxicity from someone new in my life to put me back to where I needed to be to move the hell on.
So go on ahead and work on fixing what you see in the mirror.
You’ll be better for it, believe me.
And on that note, Never, ever, fucking ever go low when you can be ten feet high. No matter how pissed you are, no matter how many words you have to say, no matter how hurt you feel, how justified you know you are, don’t be that person who tears someone else down just because you can, even if they deserve every ounce of it. Let them do it if that’s what works for them, but be better because you are better.
To be honest, those reading between the lines on this post may even realize and draw connections to certain events this past year regarding me and other things, and my references in this post have literally been the only thing I have chosen to speak on the topic, and will continue to be. For many reasons, but because I have nothing to say, other than to be good people to one another.
Be PROFESSIONAL. This doesn’t even need an explanation, but it ties in with the stuff above. It’s a mantra I’ve adopted.
Work, and work hard. I finished The Chicago War this year, wrote a 3-book Trilogy in Donati Bloodlines, picked up my awesome co-author Erin to start the Gun Moll adventure, to which we’ve put out two books this year for, and finished the Seasons of Betrayal series with another author. Beyond that, I privately finished the 2 book DeLuca Duet that will be releasing the first two months of the new year, and have started two other projects, Inflict and Saint’s Way that will also be releasing next year.
Work hard, and be proud of every second, because what you get back from the effort is worth twice as much as anything given to you. It’s a lesson I greatly enjoyed learning.
Let people in. I’m a very introverted person, and I have an incredibly small circle because of it. But I have met and friended some of the most amazing people this year, shout out to Erin, Mia, Sasha, Eli, Tessie, Christine, and Suz. These women somehow climbed over my very high walls, and I am more than grateful for it. When I really needed them this past year, they have been there. You cannot ask for more than that.
Keep working. Next year, you can expect to see the DeLuca Duet, Guzzi Duet, Inflict, Saint’s Way, Madame Moll and even one or maybe two Legacy Standalone Novels. So … seven books, but maybe eight, maybe nine. I may even have a surprise or two in the form of Novellas for series like The Chicago War, The Russian Guns, or even Filthy Marcellos. We will see where the year takes us. Erin and I also hope to put out a standalone novel from side characters you have met in the Gun Moll trilogy, so there is that, too, something else to look forward to.
On the personal side of things, expect to see a bit more about my little family, because we’re not so little, and we’re growing, too. My fourth child is due in July 2017, mid-month, and it was our super secret surprise gift for our family, which they all loved.
So we’re going from three children, to four, and I am sure the crazy factor has just kicked itself up a notch. But that’s nothing we can’t handle. Right? *wink*
2016 was an interesting year for me, in a lot of ways. It reaffirmed things I already knew about myself, and strengthened my belief that I am in the right place, doing exactly what I should be doing. But as always, I learned some things too, which is great, because knowledge lives on forever.
So … I suppose I’ll be here for a while, doing all this writing stuff, and bringing you all along for the ride. Because if there has been anything I have learned this past year, along with every other year since I have started publishing, it is that my readers are freaking fantastic. Sometimes we don’t always see eye to eye on what I write, but they always come back for more, and they support me no matter what. I couldn’t ask for better fans, which makes me want to bring you more to love, more to devour, and more to enjoy. For being exactly as you are, you deserve it.
Author. Canadian. Mother. Lover. I write about bad guys who fall for their women and fall hard.