new year

2019: A Year in Review

I’ve never been a big fan of new year resolutions. Rather than setting arbitrary goals for the year to come, I prefer to reflect back on the past year and all that I was able to accomplish.

This year has been momentous for both my life and my writing career. On the personal side, I gave birth to a mostly healthy baby boy in March. He’s the best thing ever, and I love him so much. Being a mom has been both the biggest blessing and one of the most significant trials of my life. It’s something I have always wanted and dreamed of. I thought I was ready to be selfless, to devote my time to this little guy, but wow, I had no idea how much it would test me. After 30+ years of being in control of my day to day life, I’m not anymore, and it’s been an adjustment. Early on, I barely found time to shower, much less write, but my little man and I have finally found our groove. The fact that he sleeps well at night now helps tremendously!

My husband and I also made the significant decision to uproot our life in Colorado and move back to Georgia to be closer to family. I’m glad we did, but moving is hard to begin with. Throw in a baby, a cross-country move, job transition, and a blizzard in the mix (seriously, there was a foot of snow on the ground when we left), and it’s a disaster of epic proportions. But we made it. Whew!

On the writing front, I spent most of this year focused on revisions for Blood Song and Ilya’s Gambit, both of which I substantially wrote while pregnant. Blood Song was ready first as I did the heavy lifting on that one during 2018. I queried it, pitched it, entered it in contests, and wow, y’all, wow! My pitches blew up in twitter pitch events, receiving many likes and almost 300 retweets multiple times. I won RWA chapter contests and received requests for more pages during RevPit. I received many requests for fulls and partials from agents, including dream agents. Compliments poured in, and I’ve never felt so encouraged in my life.

Yet, despite all that success, it wasn’t my year of ‘yes’.

I love Blood Song. I revised it over and over until I reached the point where I knew that if I continued to change it, it would no longer be the book of my heart, and that would be a tragedy indeed. At this point, it probably won’t be the book that gets me an agent, but I promise it WILL be published someday for all the many, many people who’ve expressed a desire to read it.

While I queried Blood Song, I worked on heavy revisions for Ilya’s Gambit. If you’ve read my Pitch Wars posts, you know that Ilya’s Gambit is a story I’ve held on to for almost a decade, waiting for the right time to tell it. Writing it was a beast. Editing it was worse. This book tested me. It challenged me. And I’m a much better writer for it, despite it taking me almost three times as long as my previous books. Even after all the work I put into it, I felt like it was still missing something. It was good, but not there. So, I entered Pitch Wars thinking maybe, just maybe, I’d have a chance.

And then, I got selected as a mentee by my top mentor pick!

I still remember the thrill of excitement that hummed under my skin as I saw my name on the mentees list. It took a full 10 minutes of me staring at the webpage for it to sink in. As thrilling as that was, reading my edit letter from my mentor, Maxym Martineau, was even better. I could tell almost immediately that she got my book and truly understood the story I was trying to tell. Her notes hit on all the areas where I was already thinking “hmm… maybe I could…” and then some. Almost immediately, my characters started to revise the story for me in a way that didn’t necessarily change the story, but just took everything to the next level.

I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me in 2020. The showcase happens in early February, where agents will be able to request my manuscript after reading the pitch and first page. I might get requests. I might not. I might finally find that agent who loves my stories and wants to represent me. Or I could not. Either way, I know I’ll have an incredible story that one day I will share with the world.

It’s impossible to say what 2020 will have in store, but I hope to be able to get more of the stories in my head down on paper. Every word written is a step toward my dream of becoming a published author. I’ll get there one day. This might be my year. We’ll just have to wait and see.