Look, I did a thing! In the vernacular of a certain British friend of mine, I'm fairly chuffed.
This was certainly a bright spot in an otherwise dismal year. Many huge life changes, most of them unwelcome. Unending stress at work with no respite. And my writing came to a halt in January.
Sounds great, right?
But it hasn't been all bad. Since I haven't had the physical or emotional capacity to write, I've been entering contests with Mine Would Be You. I've learned a lot through the process, including what I would wish for regarding feedback from a judge critiquing my work. Bottom line: the more specific and constructive, the better, even if it's negative. Accolades are wonderful, don't get me wrong, but they don't help me to improve my writing. I won't knock the boost I get from knowing that there might be an audience out there for my work. That's always welcome!.
I've judged a contest or two this year, and that has been a great experience. I hope my comments have helped those writers.
And I've come to realize just how much work goes on behind the scenes with writing contests. Kudos to those people who do it, and do it well.
I had a couple of opportunities to work on my moderating skills with author panels both at the Alaska Writers Guild annual conference and at my library. I love being able to ask questions that the audience wants to know, and making the authors feel comfortable enough to really open up and have a good time.
How about some holiday romance recs since the season is almost upon us?
Check out Erin McLellan's Stocking Stuffers. It has a bisexual humbug heroine who sells sex toys, and a Christmassy cinnamon roll hero who wants to win her over to the festive side. Of course, they get snowed in at a quaint inn (almost completely populated by lesbians--lots of queer rep here!). Even better: sex toys and shenanigans! This is the first in a series of holiday books, so keep your eyes peeled for the next one, too.
If you want a non-Judeo-Christian holiday story, read A Kiss for Solstice by Elizabeth Allyn-Dean. It's part 1 of her Midnight Sun Supernaturals series featuring a witch who saves a werewolf and puts both their lives in danger. Don't worry--even the first part has an HFN (Happy For Now) ending. Lots of paranormal power plays in this story, so if you like your holiday books with some tension, this one has it.
Both of these are available on Amazon (and I would post links if I knew how), and are novellas--just the right length for this busy time of year. Also, the authors are both wonderful friends of mine, but I wouldn't rec their books if I didn't believe in them. You can take that to the bank.
If you have some holiday romance recommendations to share, please put them in the comments. I love me some yummy holiday love stories!