Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Look Back at 2011

I know I'm about a week late for the 2011 retrospective and I honestly wasn't planning one, but when the usual disgust/relief that hits me at the end of the year finally faded, I realized that it really wasn't such a bad little year.  All it needed was a little love.


2011 started out rough as I spent the first few months waiting on pins and needles to find out if I was going to get another book contract from my current publisher.  Brick-and-mortar book stores were languishing all around me until one after another seemed to fall dead at my feet. 

What's more, we had just come out of our first holiday season where the "it" gift was an electronic reader.  For months, authors had been whispering to each other, their spouses, and their agents about the fate of the publishing industry.  What was going to happen to us?  Were we never going to see our books in print again, sitting happy on a shelf, waiting to be picked up and loved by a reader?  Were we all going to be sitting in the streets, holding signs that said "Will tell story for food"?

A year has passed since that point, and honestly, we still don't know what's going to happen with the publishing industry due to the increase in popularity of e-books and self-published authors.  But I kind of feel like it's always going to be that way.  Editors and publisher are constantly looking for that mega-hit book that will launch the next trend while many authors scramble to catch that wave before it breaks.  There are so many variables in publishing, countless unknowns that are impacting all aspects of the industry.  For me, I've decided to sit back and focus on the one variable that I can control: writing a damn good book.

That's what I tried to do as I closed out the Dark Days Series.  This was my first series.  I never thought it would last for six books.  Hell, I didn't think it would get published in the first place.  I was just doing what I've been doing since I was twelve -- writing a story that I wanted to read.

In June 2011, BURN THE NIGHT hit the shelves and was downloaded onto e-readers all over.  Readers indulged in what I believe will be the last adventure of Mira and Danaus.  As I knew it would be the last chance to get the gang all together for one last party, I tried to draw in as many characters as I could from the previous five books and novella.  It was disappointing that I didn't get to include Alexandra or Bertha, but the book was already packed and we got to see many faces, so I was happy.

With BURN THE NIGHT, I finally got to do the one thing that I had been doing since the world met the naturi Rowe.  I got to tell some of the story from the point of view of a naturi.  Yes, for Mira, Rowe is the villain, but only to a point.  He's trying to do what he thinks is best for his people.  Isn't that what we all do?  By allowing Nyx to tell part of the final book, you get some inside detail into the naturi monarchy and culture that you would NEVER have seen if Mira told the entire story.  I liked to think that you also got to see a somewhat softer side to Rowe as well.

While I am happy with where I left Mira and Danaus at the close of BURN THE NIGHT, I still miss them.  I worked on Mira and the Dark Days world for more than seven years before closing out the series.  They cross my mind on a daily basis even now, but the frequency is fading.  I imagine there will be a time when I will go days without thinking of them, but Mira and Danaus will always be a part of me and I want to thank readers for loving them. 

As to whether I will ever write any spin-off books for some of the other characters from the Dark Days series, I just don't know.  I am currently hard at work on a new series (more about that tomorrow), but I will have an opening later this winter to give it some serious thought.  There are a few guys from the series that I would like to see what they would do after Mira got settled with Danaus.

If you loved the series, or maybe just enjoyed the diversion, the best thing you can do is share the love.  Please, recommend the series to other urban fantasy readers.  Now is really the best time, as the e-book for Nightwalker (Book 1) is on sale for $0.99 for one month.  Buy it as a gift for someone and get them started on a great adventure.


Much like my professional writing career, my personal life had a rocky start to 2011.  The company I worked for as a dayjob parted ways with me near the start of the year.  The economy is rocky and you just have to roll with the punches.  I'm still looking for that next adventure to go along with my book writing.

However, things quickly picked up when I got engaged.  It wasn't really a surprise as we had been discussing it for a while.  On the other hand, the wedding was a surprise.  We had traveled to Hawai'i for vacation (and only vacation).  Yet, a few minutes spent with the hotel concierge, a trip to the Department of Health for a marriage license, and a stop by Hilo Hattie's for a dress had us ready for a intimate wedding on the beach on Sunday, July 31.

That is how you get married.  No hassle.  No fuss.  No worries.  I wish my family could have been there, but it was just a great opportunity to do the romantic wedding in a beautiful spot.  I'm now a Mrs. instead of a Miss, and I think I'm adjusting well.

In addition to marriage, the "Drake" family took on one other bundle of joy.  In late August, we adopted an adorable puppy, who we believe to be a type of Hound/Labrador mix, we named him Max.  He is now about eight months old and extremely playful.  The sweetheart loves to lounge at my feet while I'm working and desperately tries to play with the cats, who want nothing to do with the big goof.

He keeps my Other Half (OH) company when he plays video games, wakes me up in the morning when I try to sleep late, and keeps me company while I'm working.  Yep, I think he's going to fit right in with the family... if only he could learn to stop chasing cats around the house in an effort to play. :)

With 2011 over and 2012 in full swing now, I'd like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your lovely comments and words of encouragement over the years regarding the Dark Days Series.  Thank you for your support in buying the books and spreading the word.  I've had a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to lots more.

From Jocelynn, the Other Half, Max, and the girls (Harley and Demona), we wish you an exciting 2012 filled with laughs, tears, thrills, surprises, and success!

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