Filed under: Life

March: The month in review

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 • No Comments on March: The month in review


Well loved monkey.

Well loved monkey.

Despite the fact that we had snow flurries last weekend, it really is spring! March was far more productive for me than February was and I’m bouncing into April with big plans and high hopes.

The monkey belongs to my youngest son. He and I made our debut in the Washington Post last week. This poor guy inspired an essay about love, Maurice Sendak and cute aggression.

I understand wanting to devour what you love. I understand the ache of need and the sense of belonging that is making my cute little boys sink sharp baby teeth into their monkeys.

(You can read the rest at: My kids are eating their lovies)


This month also brought the release of my anthology Three of Hearts: Erotic Romance for Women. This collection of erotic romance threesomes was one of my favorite anthologies to edit. This steamy, romantic collection has stories from Tiffany Reisz, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Angela Capterton and a dozen more talented authors, plus a foreword from one of my longtime inspirations, Alison Tyler. No matter how many more anthologies I may edit, this one is going to stay with me for the variety of sexy threesomes, the depth of emotion and the sheer sensuality these authors packed into their stories.

Also this month, I cracked a new market and sold an essay to a relatively new website called The Mid. I’ve been quite impressed with the essays they’re running– especially since I’m the demographic they’re targeting!– and I’m looking forward to joining the lineup.

I think that’s it for sales and new releases this month. The horror story I wrote in January was rejected, as was an essay I wrote for the New York Times. In both cases, I knew it was a long shot– the horror anthology received something like a thousand submissions (!!) and the NYT is, well, the NYT. But still, good to stretch myself and try.

This month I read Precious Thing by Colette McBeth– a book that twisted me ’round and ’round and I’m still thinking about it. Right now I’m reading Chelsea Cain’s Heartsick— another twisty little book that I’m happy is the first in a series of mysteries.

I saw a few movies this month, too. Kingsman wasn’t what I expected, but it was fun to see Colin Firth as a badass spy. Run All Night was exactly what it looks like, but I adore Liam Neeson no matter how mediocre the movie. And it was fun to revisit the geriatric gang in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

I had 26.5 writing hours this month, compared to only 17.5 last month. Those are hours I get outside the house, alone, focused. I try to squeeze in hours here and there at home with the family, with various degrees of success. It’s not much, but I’m still managing to be somewhat productive. It’ll get better in the fall when the boys are both in school and I have 3 days a week (the little one will only go to school MWF), every week, during the school year. Something to look forward to, along with more adjustments to make. Until then, I’m being as productive as I can be given the time I have.

April will be a tough month for writing. Jay is in a transition program to become a teacher (and he’s already been offered a job for the 2015-2016 school year!), which has him in class, either online or in-person, several days a week on top of his work schedule. So I’m pretty much on parent duty non-stop through April and May. But hopefully I’ll squeeze some work hours in. Right now, I have copyedits to work on for my July anthology Best Erotic Romance of the Year (formerly Best Erotic Romance 2015). I’ll also spend this month finishing and polishing two novel proposals to send to a literary agent who has requested them. And, hopefully, writing a few new essays and sending them out into the world.

Have a lovely April!




Posted by Kristina in Books and Reading, Life, Writing

February: A month in review (a little late)

Friday, March 6th, 2015 • 2 Comments on February: A month in review (a little late)


Fish in Florida

Fish in Florida


Well, hey there! Look at that, it’s March 6. You’d never know it by the temperature here in Virginia (a chilly 28º), but February blew by and here we are, wistfully staring off in the distance at spring. It’s coming, right? It must be…

February was a month. Some really, really good stuff, some pretty awful stuff. I’m trying very hard not to dwell on the negative and focus on the positive, but it’s been difficult. I started the month off strong, writing some words, plotting some projects, but things kind of fell apart by the end of the first week of the month. Long story short: I received not one, but two reversion of rights letters for anthologies I had turned in and had been approved. Three anthologies total. In fact, two of those books had been listed on Amazon for pre-order for months, complete with lovely covers. The kicker was that after the first reversion letter for two books I was told that all other contracted books would be published. Flash forward ten days and I received a second letter. Will there be a third? Who knows?

What that basically means is that I now have three completed anthologies with no home. And so, a chunk of February was spent trying to determine whether to cut my losses (and pull out my hair) and let them go despite all the time and effort that went into them (not to mention the forty authors who entrusted me with their words, received acceptance letters and had announced their sales) or to explore the options and see if I might find a new home for them with a different publishing company. I’m a fighter and I have a hard time accepting failure (which is what this feels like, never mind what everyone has been telling me) and so I’m determined to invest a little more time in these books and see if we can get them out into the world.

I’ve been asked who is to blame, why this happened, how a trusted publishing company could seemingly screw people over without conscience. I don’t have any answers. I have read some pretty lousy accounts of things that have happened to other editors/authors and I’m still shaking my head. “It’s just business,” seems to be the go-to phrase, but honestly, for writers it’s always personal. I spent a good chunk of February feeling sick, feeling depressed, feeling helpless. I’ve been angry, disgusted, flat-out infuriated. But to what end? Truth is: they (the powers that be) don’t care about my mental state, my bank balance, my home life or whether I ever write another word. So, it all comes down to me. I have to care. I have to focus on the positive and find a way. I have to keep writing. I have to do right by my authors (yes, I think of them as “my” authors). And so that’s what I’m going to do.

More details as I have them. If any of my authors wants more information about a specific book, please drop me a note. There is a lot more to my experience, but this is a month in review post, not a nightmares in publishing post…


By the pool, not a care in the world

By the pool, not a care in the world


The rest of February was about getting ready for a trip to Florida and the trip itself. We took our first real family vacation (longer than a long weekend, further away that Washington, DC) and took the boys to Walt Disney World. It was wonderful, it was exhausting, it was somewhat relaxing, it was nice to not have to cook a single meal for ten days. I ambitiously brought my laptop, three magazines and three books and managed to read one-third of one book and write a couple of emails. Oh well. I clearly needed the break (from reality?) and I feel refreshed. (And I did find Starbucks in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot!)

February brought the publication of my first essay for Why I Stopped Saying ‘Someday’ When It Came to Having Kids and I’m waiting for my first Washington Post On Parenting essay to be published, hopefully this month. I’m in waiting mode for a few things right now, refreshing my email more often than is healthy. Which is a clear sign I need to get back to writing. This week. Right now. Go, go, go!

February also brought SNOW. Oh, it wasn’t much, and some of it came while we were out of town, but the week before we left was a snowy/icy mess that kept this girl at home. The Florida trip (and hitting the pool on several days) was a good cure for cabin fever, but we returned to more cold temperatures and a dustying of snow last night. I’m over it. Seriously.


I'm over winter, but I did make these pretty ice globes!

I’m over winter, but I did make these pretty ice globes!

March is going to be filled with its own adventures and trials and I’m looking for distractions—books, trips, projects, time with friends and family. In my goal to read at least two novels a month this year, I read Horns by Joe Hill and Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins and I started Precious Thing by Colette McBeth while we were in Florida. I loved both the Hill and Hawkins books and I’m enjoying Precious Thing, as well. My tastes seem to be skewing toward mystery/thriller/horror right now, much like my writing interests. We’ll see what that means for my March projects, hmm?

Back to the words, back to being a writer, back to finding my balance.


Posted by Kristina in Life, Writing

My Debut at Mommyish

Friday, February 13th, 2015 • No Comments on My Debut at Mommyish



I’m very happy to have had my first piece published at Mommyish last week. In “Why I Stopped Saying ‘Someday’ When It Came to Having Kids” (which I’d originally titled the shorter, and perhaps too-poetic, “Someday’s Mother”), I wrote about my non-traditional path to motherhood. The interesting (to me) story-behind-the-story is that I’d originally pitched a different essay entirely. But in my brief bio I mentioned I’d been married for almost twenty-five years and had two sons, ages three and five. The editor at Mommyish was intrigued by that and asked if I’d be willing to write about why we waited so long to have kids. And so… this essay was born. Here’s a snippet:

I turned forty in 2007. We had been married for seventeen years and people had long since stopped asking when we were going to have kids. We still said, “Someday when we have kids,” but the articles and statistics about conceiving after thirty-five were concerning. “Someday” was slipping away from me. I was on birth control and it was unlikely we’d have another accidental pregnancy. I needed to commit to the idea if it was ever going to happen. I threw out my birth control pills at the end of 2007 and read up on getting pregnant at my age. The articles scared me. I was worried about my eggs—did I have any left? Were they viable? Were they old, dusty, scrambled

(Read more:

With the exception of a big typo (“basil” instead of “basal”), I’m really pleased with how this piece turned out. Despite trying to maintain a “don’t read the comments” policy, the comments have been amazing. It’s rewarding to be able to cross over from fiction to nonfiction and back again. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing a lot of zig-zagging this year.

Posted by Kristina in Life, Parenting, Writing

I'm a writer, editor, blogger, mama, wife and coffee lover.