Captain America tea-1

Hail and farewell to this Brave New World of 2017.

This is my current tea of choice, a gift from my wonderful eldest daughter for Christmas. As you can see, it comes from Adagio teas online. I’ve previously written about their awesome custom fandom blends. (See link.)

Captain America tea-2

What does it contain? I decided to try and sort that by taste. Black tea, of course, and there is definitely a licorice flavor and, I suspect, a dash of vanilla and other elements I cannot discern as yet. But it’s smooth and rich and perfect for a lazy morning or a late night cuppa. Feel free to add your guesses!

On appearances…

If you’re looking for me this year, I’m already scheduled to be on panels at two conferences. The first is a parenting panel on Friday of PAX EAST in Boston this March, the second is the New England Romance Writers of America conference in April outside Boston where I will have a panel called “Blogging Isn’t Dead” with co-presenters Anna Bowling and Rhonda Lane.

After that, plans remain fluid. I may attend the RWA National conference in Orlando if a workshop proposal is accepted. I’m leaving fall options open and I’m pondering taking a day to go to the Book Expo America conference this spring in New York City.

On writing….

I’ve been missing Carrie Fisher and Leia more than ever this year. I wrote a piece on why she’s important for the Barnes & Noble blog. 

I’ve been delving into the past as well. In 2010, I published my first full-length novel, Dinah of Seneca, about a young former slave/assassin hoping to start a life in the New World. The book was set in an alternate history where Romans and Vikings had both colonized North America, around 900 A.D.

Yeah, not the usual setting for a romance.

I had a tough time selling it because of that but eventually, found a small publisher who gave me a start. That was awesome but the book never sold that well, nor its sequel, Eagle of Seneca, which brought the Native American tribes around Manhattan into the story. I suspect part of the problem with sales is that they were priced much too high ($7.99) for a debut novelist.

But I loved the storyworld. Last years, I asked for and received the rights back to both books. Since then, they’ve been sitting as I organize what to do with them.

I wanted to re-read and edit them again before republishing because I wanted them to be the best they could be and I suspected I’d learned a little about writing in the past eight years. I’m about 25,000 words into the book and….

WHOA.

I have learned a lot. I believe the emotions of the main characters come through nicely in the current version but, yeah, there are issues.

What I notice most is that I was struggling at the time with blocking–basically where people stood in relation to others and the fluidity of movement. I have a ton of unnecessary words to that effect that slows down the pacing, which I’m slowly fixing.

I credit this better knowledge of blocking to my practice writing comic book scripts which has allowed me to better picture visuals.

There is also a chapter-to-chapter pacing issue. The story moves slower than my Phoenix Institute books. I solved that problem by, well, getting rid of the parts that people skip. 🙂 Scene and sequel is all well and good but there was a problem with people sitting around waiting to act until I thought it was time for them, instead of acting as real people might have in the same situation.

I hope to finish the revisions this month and start on Eagle of Seneca next. That will set me up to self-publish the new version in the spring, once I decide whether these stories are science fiction or romance or both. At the moment, I’m leaning to science fiction/alternate history, though it is also a marriage of convenience story at heart. Sorta. We’ll see.

And if they sell well? Perhaps I’ll finally write that Roman Pirate story that’s rolling around in my head.

In the meantime, the agent has a new Phoenix Institute tale, tentatively titled Phoenix Inferno, which is an erotic romance starring Philip Drake and Delilah Sefton from Phoenix Legacy. It is a menage story and I’d rather not give more away but, to me, it’s about how people create the families that allow them to cherish each other.

I realize for my core readers, it’s been a while since I had something new out. My publisher’s wishy-washiness about closing/notclosing made me reluctant to send anything to them which means I’ve been regrouping. But I have been writing a ton so when the damn breaks, you’ll likely get a whole bunch at once.

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