2019 Wrap-Up: What the Hell Just Happened?

2020 in large hanging numbers in different colors


It’s certainly been a year.

In fact, it’s been a year in the past WEEK.

So, yeah, we’ve had Some Shit To Deal With. And I’m not going to tempt fate by suggesting that 2020 will be better. I mean, I hope it will be, but considering the results over the past few new years, I won’t be holding my breath.

Some good things did come out of 2019, though! I finished and submitted a book. I started re-releasing my backlist. I attended three good author conferences and spoke at a local book festival. I spent a week in Japan. I survived another Dragon Con. I helped my dad through hip replacement. I got a lot done on the house. My sister and brother-in-law moved in. The day job is good.

My personal goals for 2020 are short and sweet: get back on the writing track, pay off debt, and finally finish getting the house together. I have some other things I’d like to do—better eating and exercise habits are always on the list, and we’re trying to get my dad to Ireland—but those are the biggest priorities.

As for everything else… well. I’ll just have to deal with it as it happens, and try to keep my head from exploding in the process.

12 Days of Charity: Full List

Here’s the complete list of information for the charities I featured on Twitter this year. 🙂

12 Days of Charity Day 1: International Rescue Committee (@RESCUEorg) helps people affected by war, conflict and natural disasters worldwide. rescue.org

12 Days of Charity Day 2: @ReadtoaChild fosters a love of reading among underserved children by inspiring adults to read to them regularly. readtoachild.org

12 Days of Charity Day 3: @TheYoungCenter for Immigrant Children’s Rights protects and advances the rights and best interests of immigrant children. theyoungcenter.org

12 Days of Charity Day 4: @RIPMedicalDebt works to locate, buy, and forgive medical debt. ripmedicaldebt.org

12 Days of Charity Day 5: @SpreadtheVoteUS targets voter turnout through education and by helping voters obtaining IDs. spreadthevote.org

12 Days of Charity Day 6: Kids in Need of Defense (@SupportKIND) represents unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in deportation proceedings. supportkind.org

12 Days of Charity Day 7: @Innocence Project works to exonerate the innocent through DNA testing and to reform the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice. innocenceproject.org

12 Days of Charity Day 8: National Search Dog Foundation (@searchdogfdn) partners dogs with first responders to search for people after disasters. searchdogfoundation.org

12 Days of Charity Day 9: Fair Fight (@fairfightaction) promotes fair elections, encourages voter participation, and educates voters about elections and voting rights. fairfight.com

12 Days of Charity Day 10: The Mission Continues (@missioncontinue) connects veterans with volunteer opportunities to help in under-resourced communities. missioncontinues.org

12 Days of Charity Day 11: @Waterkeeper Alliance works to preserve and protect water with a goal of drinkable, fishable, swimmable water everywhere. waterkeeper.org

12 Days of Charity Day 12: My perennial favorite: @StJude. World-class treatment and research to save the lives of critically ill children. stjude.org

Now Available! Dreams of Winters Past

Now available at Amazon: Dreams of Winters Past, a collection of four previously published holiday season–themed stories.

Dreams of Winters Past cover

The Half-Life of Pumpkin Pie
Wil Johnson’s holiday season is off to a crappy start: the pie he takes to Thanksgiving dinner bombs, and then he gets word his payment at the bakery didn’t go through. When he goes to the shop to pay up, though, he meets Vin Hammel, who invites Wil to a toy-themed holiday party. But when the pair arrive, they find the toys aren’t exactly what they expected.

Sharing Christmas
Christmas looks to be a bust for Rick, who’s stuck covering the office over the holiday. But when his neighbor, Steven, invites him to join some residents in their apartment complex who put together gift bags to distribute at a homeless shelter for the holiday, Rick decides to join them and gets an unexpected holiday gift: Steven.

Of Holiday Spirits, Wake-Up Calls, and Happily Ever Afters
After Guy staggers home after a raucous Christmas Eve with his closest friends, he’s visited by a spirit who looks suspiciously like Teddy, the friend Guy’s secretly crushing on. Guy needs to learn the lessons of the past—and make the right choices in the present—so his future will be less about one night and more about forever.

In From the Cold
When Jeff Young walks into the rural Georgia lodge Neal Owens, he’s just looking for a room to escape a few frigid late December nights. What he ends up finding is a new friend, a lover, and maybe more, all wrapped up in one hot package.

Get it here!

Publishing and Re-Publishing

It’s National Novel Writing Month, and I’m participating, though I’m not pushing hard to get to the 50k total. I’m working on the first book in a planned four-book baseball-themed series, with a goal of finishing a draft by the end of the year. I had about 14k going into November, so as usual for me, it’s just a matter of getting to THE END!

I’m also working on re-releasing the rest of my reverted titles from Dreamspinner. I’ve decided to go with a one-a-month plan, and each one will go into Kindle Unlimited for 90 days before wide release. I’m not doing major edits, just light clean-up here and there, so there’s no need to re-read/re-purchase (though it’s appreciated, of course!). I already released Home Field Advantage in October and En Fuego last week, and my future release plans look like this (subject to change, of course):

December: Dreams of Winters Past (four holiday-themed short stories)
January: Teaching Ben
February: Accidental Fall
March: Model Student
April: A collection of short stories, title TBD
May: Unfortunate Son
June: Wayward Son
July: Nobody’s Son (with bonus “Sons and Brothers” short story)
August: Sand & Water

Now Available (Again): En Fuego

The second edition of my M/M novella En Fuego is out! Featuring a seasoned veterinarian, a hunky firefighter, a mama cat, and a litter of adorable kittens. It’s exclusively on Kindle and in Kindle Unlimited for the first 90 days. With the original cover art by TL Bland!

En Fuego
Marshall Ramirez isn’t looking to fall in love, but from the moment firefighter Brad Flannery walks through the doors of Marsh’s veterinary clinic, he’s smitten. Marsh treats Fuego, the cat Brad rescued from a house fire, and convinces Brad to take her on as a foster—along with the three kittens Marsh helps her deliver. What Marsh really wants, though, is for Brad to keep him, too.

Get it here!

Update on Rights Reversions and Publication Plans

As of today, all of my Dreamspinner titles have reverted to me (with a couple of exceptions, like the audiobook of Teaching Ben). Once all the sales links are down, I plan to reissue the remaining novels and novellas as I have the time. I’m hoping to have everything back up by early 2020.

In the meantime, have you picked up Home Field Advantage yet? 🙂


Toby MacMillan lives for baseball and loves his hometown Atlanta team, which is owned by his grandfather, Ray. When Toby meets new team member Caleb Browning, an innocent welcome-to-the-big-leagues dinner leads to a not-so-innocent night together. Toby quickly calls things off, afraid of the ramifications of their tryst, but the two men develop a friendship that soon becomes more. After Caleb takes a fastball to the head, thought, their budding romance hits the news—and Toby’s grandfather hits the roof. When Ray MacMillan demands Toby deny the relationship, Toby must choose between the team he’s loved all his life and the man he could love for the rest of it.

A 22,000-word novella, Home Field Advantage was previously published as part of the Playing Ball anthology. It has undergone minor editing for the second edition.

Available at Amazon for just 99 cents, and free to read in KU!

Update on Rights Reversion/Republication

I mentioned elsewhere that I’ve requested rights reversions for all my titles with Dreamspinner Press. I’ve received one back so far, for the Playing Ball anthology, which included my novella Home Field Advantage. Keep your eyes peeled, though, because I’ll have that one back out in the world soon!

A Quick RWA Recap

Let’s see if I can get this down without forgetting things!

I was in New York from late Monday until midday Sunday. Monday night, I mostly hid out in the room, ordered room service, and slept, though I did run into Damon Suede at the elevators on my way to the room. Tuesday, I found an Italian place off 9th for lunch, stopped by Duane Reade for water to keep in the room, picked up my badge at registration, and then went to see Come From Away (which I adored). I had a grilled cheese sandwich at Junior’s after the show and still got back to the room before my roomie, Sarah Anderson, arrived late after going to her own show (Hadestown, insert jealousy here). We both passed out pretty soon after that.

BroadwayMagnets2019Wednesday, I was lazy getting up (a theme that persisted through the week), but I grabbed lunch in the lobby before going to see Dear Evan Hansen (also amazing). I got back to the hotel in time for the second half of the RWA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion event, which gave some good information and highlighted specific points for improvement. I had dinner that night with my friend Marianne at The Smith, where I had amazing sea bass with vegetables. Mmmm.

Thursday, I actually went to panels! First I had lunch with Janet Nye at a Brazilian seafood restaurant (so good!), and then I attended four panels, on seasoned romance, building inclusive writing communities, STEM in romance, and novel prep for writing fast. All were great, though I wish Adrianna Herrera’s inclusivity program had been better attended, because it had a lot of extremely helpful information and suggestions. The day ended with a Rainbow Romance Writers chapter meetup (great to see everyone!), and then a group of us had dinner in the hotel restaurant afterward.

Friday: More panels! I did the writing sprints session first, then went to panels on consent in romance and on putting together series. That night, I had plans to have dinner with my family (my dad’s sister and her family live in northern New Jersey), but they had to cancel, so instead I went out with J. Leigh Bailey, Jenn Burke, and Kelly Jensen to a great Turkish restaurant. We had a great talk about writing and life and food, and we cheered for the RITA winners as they were announced via my Twitter feed. We also stopped by Schmackary’s for cookies on the way back to the hotel, yum!

(A note on the RITAs: I don’t usually attend—I went in 2018 because a good friend was nominated—but I watched most of the ceremony after I got back home. It was so great to see history being made; as Miss Manners would have described it, it feel into a special category of Proper known as HIGH TIME. Congrats on the whole team for putting together such a thoughtful program, and special kudos to LaQuette for her critically important speech.)

Saturday was a long day. I met Barbara Wallace for breakfast at the hotel and had lunch with Olivia Dade, Kianna Alexander, and Kaia at Sardi’s (I’d never eaten there!). Then I reported for duty as a volunteer at the book fair, where I helped a few authors find their spots before taking over as Alyssa Cole’s assistant. We had a great time, and she sold out books quickly, no surprise!

Saturday night was another show: The Prom, this time with Sarah. We wore prom dresses! We also ran into Farrah Rochon, who was seated just a couple of rows from us. (Hilarious show, for the record.)

Sunday was another sleep-in. I finally dragged my butt up and out of the hotel in time to get my car to JFK. My flight was delayed, but only about half an hour, so I still got home at a reasonable time. Exhausted, but HOME.

I’d try to list everyone I saw/hugged/talked to/etc. during the week, but I would be sure to leave someone out, so I’ll just say it was awesome to see everyone, and I wish I’d had time to spend more time and see more people. I’m also glad to see the progress toward equity and inclusion being made within the organization, and I hope that continues, but there’s a lot of work still be done to level the playing field.

Here’s my commitment: I’m going to increase my participation at the chapter level, with a focus on expanding inclusivity and outreach, and continue my personal efforts to highlight and boost work by authors who are members of marginalized groups. Like, for example, these 2019 RITA winners:

Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
RITA winner for Contemporary Romance: Long

Bad Blood by M. Malone
RITA winner for Romance Novella

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma
RITA winner for Young Adult Romance

Three-Way Split by Elia Winters
RITA winner for Erotic Romance

And now, it’s back to trying to write (hah!), prep for upcoming events like Dragon Con (more hah!), and get things done around the house (even MORE hah!). An apt quote I saw online recently (paraphrasing): Being an adult just means telling yourself “things will slow down after this week” for the rest of your life. It never ends!

Where to Find Me at RWA

I’ll be in NYC for RWA next week, arriving Monday afternoon and leaving Sunday afternoon. I’m not presenting or doing any signings this year, so I’ll mostly be attending panels and hanging out in the bar/lounge.

I have two events on my schedule: the Rainbow Romance Writers meetup, Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the bar/lounge area, and the Literacy Autographing, Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. (volunteering, not signing).

Hope to see lots of you there!