Each year is jumped into with hopeful expectations, a list of goals, and so much ambition my soul could explode. And each year is ended as a changed woman and writer.
I am not the same person I was at the beginning of 2023.
2023 at a glance
- Finished and released the second book in the Weeping Hollow series: Bone Island and its special edition
- Released Stay with Me trilogy in hardback
- Signing events in Dallas (first time visit), Washington DC, Vegas, and London—which was a first time for my family, and my children's first international trip. Family trip to Gatlinburg and Blue Ridge Mountains. Business trip to Austin, TX.
- Poetic Love Society
- Said goodbye to KindleUnlimited
- Redesigned website
- Introduced candles, melts, Julian Tee, Weeping Hollow Crewneck, eBooks, and the bookish keepsake packs into the NF Shop
- Started Ghost of Nova Graves and have the next Weeping Hollow book, a serialized story, standalone series, and a new novelette simmering on the side.
Writing Adora and Stone's love story evolved from March of 2021, from when I first started, to February of 2023. Exactly two years to finish their story, and it was a hard one. Mentally and emotionally. It consumed me so entirely that I had to write its obituary to say goodbye. I have lost my way through this book. There were times I didn't know what day it was or if I ate at all. I didn't experience the pandemic in ways others did and the present never quite seemed like something I could grasp. It was as though I woke up after a two year spell and my kids were taller, older and suddenly they did not need me anymore. I'd missed so much time with them, and as heartbreaking as it sounds, it taught me that balance is not a goal but a requirement.
For two years, I had spent over 18 hours of my day in the same chair, in the same room, and it took a toll on me in ways I didn't understand until it was too late. My health was snowballing from bad to worse. I knew things had to change.
The rest of the year was making sure I spent more time with the kids and Michael. Quality time. The kind where C and I ran off to sneak ice cream, or G and I curled up in a theatre. The kind where I made my marriage a priority and went on weekly dates with my husband again.
I had to find my way back to the present, find my center, and 2023 was that for me.
April in Washington DC for ApollyCon? I still cannot believe I was invited to such an enormous event. It was an honor to be among so many other great authors, and I was looking forward to this trip for a year. And then the night before the first signing, I caught a freak cold, running over 100 degrees. I could not for the life of me make it out of the bed. I am so grateful for my husband, who walked in the rain to the nearest drugstore to grab a COVID test (which came back negative) and a bagful of DayQuil and tea to get me through the weekend. And I am glad I pushed through it because this was a weekend I will never forget.
July in London, England reminds me how blessed I am to be able to be writing what I love to support my family and travel around the world to meet so many amazing people. This was my first time in London, and it is perhaps the most beautiful city I have been to yet. The architecture, history, and books fed my soul. The first night, author Mia Kun came out to the hotel for a quick hi and hug. She was the first person I met within the romance community so finally getting to see her was so special. There are readers who have been with me since day one, a few who are on my street team, and getting to finally hug them and laugh with them will be memories I will never forget. After the signing, we met up with a few from the gang and had charcuterie and wine in the basement of a bar. I did not want this night to end!
Mike and I brought the kids with us, and we visited little towns on the outskirts of London. Peep my video from our trip. One of my most prized collection of books was a treasure find at a small bookstore, where I reached on my tiptoes (knowing down an entire shelf of books) to snag four classic hard bound books wrapped in gold foil. Other additions to my prized collection are art prints of Julian & Fallon Monika had an artist by the name of Celeste sketch for her birthday, and copies of Frankenstein gifted to me by readers.
October in Vegas, Nevada was a whirlwind! Mike and I were there for only 2 days and rarely slept at all. We wasted money and late nights on the slot machines having false faith in our luck, but chalked it up as a priceless experience we will always remember. The signing event was non-stop wild chaos and would not have been possible without the help of Simply Painted Pages, who helped get my books to the event (Courtenay is an angel!). There were so many friends from the street team who came, and a few who met up with me afterward at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant to spend more time together. Vegas was an amazing way to end out the 2023 year!
Unfortunately, we could not attend Italy event due to my health this year, but it is my hope I will be there in the future.
2023 going into 2024
I have learned that we cannot control how others act, but we can control how we react.
How they act shows their character, how we react shows ours.
There have been many authors who have made mistakes throughout 2023, and many more will make mistakes, as we are all human. But each mistake is an opportunity for growth. If we were to all have our greatest mistakes, darkest thoughts, weakest emotions, and unavoidable hate-filled emotions written for all to see as those in the public eye, I wonder if the world would be more chaotic ... or finally quiet.
I have made many mistakes, and I have felt negative things in which haunt me, but I learn, forgive myself, and move forward.
I have adopted the French way of living.
The French live in the être (to be) instead of living in the faire (to do) or the avoir (to have). To be present, in the little moment, and to cherish what life has to offer. From the bite into a flaky croissant, to an impromptu coffee date with a friend, to a 1990s movie binge on a Sunday afternoon. If you want tips, here is a blog post that perfectly sums up the lifestyle. I bet it will inspire you the same.
I've found a love of Pinot Noir, Literary Fiction with Dark Academia themes, a simplistic and cozy wardrobe, and leather. Neutral colors make me feel calm, traveling allows me to breathe, and being outside revives me. I have learned to focus on my skin care, what my body consumes, and a healthier way of life. I am embracing the art of aging, my family, and my life. I am slowing down and enjoying all that surrounds me, which will only grant me the peace and time to create more or what I love. I am dating myself, respecting my boundaries, and basking in the alone time. I am writing, a lot, but differently this time. I'm not obsessing over the words written but the creation and journey of each story, and what each one has to offer.
I want to give a piece of my time back to other art. Playing the piano, drawing, and painting are all things that used to seek out words hidden in a shadowy corner.
There were many changes in 2023. We lost our Great Dane, Winston, sold our first home, and re-built the NF Shop. The year was dedicated to strengthening my relationship with my kids, my marriage, and the NF Shop. Now that I finally have centered my heart, my goals for 2024 are shifting to all that I'm creating. And all that I'm creating is what centers my soul.
While the below are are goals, nothing set in stone, it helps me work toward something and not get lost along the way.
So without further ado, here are the tentative release plans for 2024:
*** *** ***D
GOING GOING GONE
**** OF *****
GHOST OF NOVA GRAVES
There is an overflowing amount of gratitude within me for the readership that has followed me throughout the years. I understand that regardless of what I have faced in my life, I am privileged to be here, doing all the things above with those I love. The only right any of us have is to live or to have once lived, and some do not even have that. So I choose to use my privilege to spread love, compassion, and inspiration instead of hate.
With that being said, I am ending 2023 with so much love, while also taking everything I have learned with me that has made me become a stronger and better person.
Here is to another chapter in our story—