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2013: Into the Unknown

Monday, December 31st, 2012 • No Comments on 2013: Into the Unknown

For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice. ~ T.S. Eliot

With only eight hours left in 2012, I find myself contemplating new projects and goals, considering resolutions, making plans (at least in my head) and generally getting ready to say goodbye to this year and greet 2013 with enthusiasm and excitement for what is yet to come. 

The past few years have been a whirlwind of pregnancy, babies and deadlines. At this time last year, I had a two-year-old and a four-month-old, a couple of book deadlines and I was so, so tired. The previous year, I had a one year old, was a few weeks pregnant with the new baby, had a book deadline and I was so, so tired. The previous year, I had a newborn, a book deadline, a deployed husband and I was so, so tired. This year, I have a three-year-old, a sixteen-month-old, no impending book deadline for six months and I'm not nearly so tired. 

I have copyedits and proofreading and promotion to do for several anthologies over the next several months, but I find myself in the unusual position for the first time in a few years of having a) real writing time and b) the energy to write. This is a precious and rare combination and I dare not waste it. By my estimates, I have about four months to spend the majority  of my twenty-ish babysitting hours a week writing whatever I want to write. 

Whatever I want to write.

I feel drunk just writing that sentence. And, also, panicked. Because I do not do well with those kind of open parameters. I need structure, I need deadlines (even self-imposed deadlines work better for me than no deadlines at all), I need projects. And so I'm still hammering out some thoughts for the next few months– thinking I might spend some time writing things I've had on the backburner so long I've forgotten about them– or perhaps working on some new ideas. My short list right now looks like this:

Nonfiction essays for some of my favorite websites and magazines. I was told this year that I have a “lovely, gently encouraging” narrative voice and I want to explore that in new ways.

Write and submit to more anthologies this year. I've been so busy writing for my own books (a good thing!) that I've had fewer bylines in other anthologies. 

Write a book. A real novel. I was very excited to have my first full-length book published this year (well, the first book since my romantic suspense in 1999), but I long to write another novel– or maybe more to the point, have it published. So this year, at least in these early months of the year when I have time and energy that I might not have as I roll into summer deadlines, I'll be working on an idea.

More stuff, new stuff. Yeah, I don't know what this means either. Just that I've been in a familiar, happy rut for a few years now– a rut where most of what I write is already contracted and rejection doesn't happen nearly as often as it should if I'm working at being a better writer. So I guess the goal is to get rejected more in 2013, in the hopes that I'll be a better writer for it. I'll keep you posted.

I'm still working on resolutions, but I know it will be a year of looking inward, focusing on my strengths, spending my time on the things that matter most to me, saying no to things that neither benefit or interest me and paring down the clutter– both mental and tangible. Focus and balance. Good goals, yes?

And what are your goals for the new year? Whatever they are, may you have a year that brings you everything you wish for– and a few happy surprises that maybe you weren't even anticipating. 

Happy 2013! Here we go… 

Posted by Kristina in Life
 

2012: What a Year

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012 • No Comments on 2012: What a Year

Last summer, when I was pregnant with baby #2, people told me it would be hard to have two kids under two. Over and over again, I was told, “The first year is the hardest, but it gets easier after that.” Baby #2 was born when baby #1 was 21 months old. We rolled into 2012 with a just-turned two-year-old and a four-mont-old. They were right– it is hard. But maybe I just have too good an imagination, because it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it might be. And here I am, twelve months later. I survived!

In truth, I did more than survive– I thrived. It was a challenging year in a number of ways, but for the most part it was a good, good year. One of the best. It was a bumpy start– I spent the first several weeks of 2012 in a an exhausted, slightly depressed fog after a bout of mania that kicked off with the birth of the baby and continued with back-to-back houseguests for three weeks, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, Patrick's 2nd birthday and Christmas. By January 2012, I was ready to crawl into bed and not come out for six months. 

But, of course I couldn't do that. Not only did I have those two babies to take care of, I had contracts and deadlines. And so, I set off on a path this year that kept me very busy, brought many good days, the occasional emotional breakdown, a few awful days and a stronger sense of what my limist are and what is truly important to me. 

So what was 2012 all about? It was about babies– the developmental milestones of a fearless two-year-old and watching his healthy, happy infant brother grow. Patrick and Lucas taught me a lot this year about patience, tolerance, juggling and prioritizing. They adore each other– Lucas is starting to talk and says “Bruh” for brother and Patrick calls him “Baby”– as in “Baby's awake!” and “Here you go, Baby!” when he's sharing his toys. I love these two boys. My babies. They rock my world hard.

 

This year was also about books. There were three new Cleis Press anthologies, Lustfully Ever After: Fairy Tale Erotic Romance; Duty and Desire: Military Erotic Romance and Best Erotic Romance 2013:

           

 

There was also my first full-length book for the new HarperCollins Mischief imprint, Seduce Me Tonight


I celebrated my 45th birthday and Mother's Day in the same weekend, taking the boys away for an overnight close to home and then taking a day for myself later in the week. I attended Book Expo America in New York City in June and got to meet several of my favorite writers and editors. Jay and I went to Washington, DC in September to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band– the first time we'd been alone overnight since Baby #2 was born. Then we took a roadtrip to Charlottesville, VA for our anniversary in October– the first two whole nights we'd spent alone together since Baby #1 was born in December 2009! (We have some very, very amazing friends.) I spent a couple of weekends in Richmond, VA for work and fun– and I dreamed of farway trips that I hope will come true in the next few years.

I got both a new vehicle and a new dog in 2012. It's my first new car in twenty years and our first new dog in over sixteen years, after losing our beloved Henry in June 2011. The Jeep doesn't have a name, but the dog is Clementine and she's settling into our family, with a few bumps, and rides happily in the back of the Jeep. She adores the boys and they adore her, so that makes her a very good dog as far as I'm concerned (though I wish she'd stop chewing my shoes).

      

The babysitter we'd had since Patrick was nine weeks old moved on to a full-time job in her chosen field in July, which left me in a bit of a panic for a couple of weeks. But we quickly found a new babysitter, almost as if by fate since I had known her for awhile, and she has been a wonderful addition to our family. We still have our original sitter for date nights and our new sitter part-time during the week. I discovered how much I'm able to do with the 20-25 hours of babysitting time I have each week– and I envision becoming even more disciplined in 2013.

The last third of the year has been one continuous celebration, with Lucas's 1st birthday, our 23rd wedding anniversary, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Patrick's 3rd birthday, and now Christmas and the New Year. So much joy– and I suspect this is the way things will be for many years to come. It has also been a year of new anthology contracts, with my announcement earlier this month of three new calls for submissions, including Best Erotic Romance 2014, A Princess Bound: Erotic Fairy Tales of Dominance and Submission and Three of Hearts: Erotic Romance for Women. I have other projects in mind for 2013– essays and books I want to write. So many goals to prioritize, but I know my head and my heart will guide me down the path I'm supposed to walk.

I wrote a lot of words in 2012. Probably close to 150,000– which boggles my mind. There was the 80k Seduce Me Tonight, another 30-35k for my forthcoming Cleis Press title, Bedded Bliss: A Guide to a Lifetime of Lust. I'm very proud– and very excited– about this book, though it won't be out until fall 2013. I just wrote some copy to describe Bedded Bliss, and it goes something like this:

Bedded Bliss: A Guide to a Lifetime of Lust takes a peek behind the closed doors of married and committed couples to find out what makes long term lust last. Award winning author and editor Kristina Wright curates a collection of sexy and powerful erotic fiction and memoir from some of the top authors in the genre, all of whom are in committed relationships ranging from five to over thirty years. Wright contributes her own thoughtful insights and advice gleaned from her twenty-two year marriage and successful career tapping into the erotic fantasies of readers. Bedded Bliss entertains, educates and encourages couples to remember the reasons they fell in love and lust—and reminds them of all the reasons to stay there, lustfully ever after!

Bedded Bliss was the hardest project I worked on this year– perhaps the hardest ever. There is a lot of me in there– my experiences and advice– and this book took me down a nonfiction path I rarely explore. I can't wait for it to come out.

There were the other writing and editing projects, as well. I turned in XOXO: Sweet and Sexy Erotic Romance a couple of months ago and this fun, sexy short-short collection will be out in the winter of 2014. I wrote short stories for several anthologies and dabbled in some essay writing about sex, relationships and motherhood. I did a fair amount of blogging over at Oh Get a Grip!, including one of my all-time favorite blog posts: Be Fierce, You Special Snowflake, as well as a post for the Erotica Readers and Writers Association blog that's as much a reminder to myself as it is advice to others: What It Means to be a Full-Time Writer. in the years before I had children, I couldn't have imagined writing as many words as I did this year. But now that I know I can do it, and do it with two little ones, I have set the bar pretty high for myself in the year(s) to come. 

In 2012, there have been good days and bad days and going half-mad days– but mostly very good days. I'm not nearly as tired as I was a year ago– and I am really, really happy. Those two things tell me it's been a very good year, indeed. Yes, the first year of having two little ones was definitely a challenge– and I imagine this next year will bring its own set of challenges, as well. But I'm looking forward to 2013– how about you?

Here we go… 

Posted by Kristina in Life, Musings
 

2012 Projects, Month of March

Thursday, March 1st, 2012 • 2 Comments on 2012 Projects, Month of March

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Maybe I’m being a little over ambitious this month?

My year of projects got off to a slow start (I didn’t really commit to this idea until mid-January when I realized how many projects I had already started), but it’s working as well as I hoped it would. There is something about completing a project, whether it’s a writing project or something else, that is very satisfying. I still have a bunch of ongoing projects in the works—including

three

books—so I’m not going to commit to too many new things in March. But here are this month’s projects, the ongoing projects and the projects I completed in February.

I hope 2012 is proving to be a year of accomplishments for you, too!

NEW PROJECTS

Nonfiction Book
Start date: mid-February
Finish date: August 1
This was last month’s proposal project (below) and has turned into a full-fledged book project with a shiny new contract! Which goes to show that finishing things, even if they seem like long shots, is a very, very good thing. I don’t want to say too much about this book yet—there will be plenty of time to crow about it—but I will say I’m working with some amazing authors to create a one-of-a-kind book combining nonfiction and fiction. It’s going to be something special!

Patrick’s Room
Start date: Um, last summer?
Finish date: March 31
When we found out we were expecting baby #2, things got a little bit tighter in our previously too-big-for-two-people house. When we had Patrick, we simply converted the third (empty) bedroom into a nursery. Lucas’s arrival meant moving him into the nursery, moving Patrick into the bigger guest bedroom, moving the guest bedroom furniture into the office/room over the garage/storage space and getting rid of a lot of furniture and junk. Because pregnancy is exhausting and things didn’t get accomplished quite as quickly as I would have liked, Patrick’s new bedroom was never completely finished. New carpet, new paint, new toddler bed and bedding (and a very cool window installed in his bizarrely shaped closet to give him a little “secret” room), but the little details—toy storage, paint touchups, art for the walls, cleaning out the top of the closet of junk, gluing the knobs on his dresser so he’ll stop taking them off—never got done. So my goal this month is to give his room a more finished look. It really shouldn’t be too difficult, it’s just one of those projects that keeps getting pushed to the back burner because of time. Now I just need to remember to take a “before” picture to go with the “after” picture.

Teaching Project
Start date: Now
Finish date: March 31
I haven’t taught at the community college since 2009 when I had Patrick and I’ve really missed it. Or some aspects of it, anyway. I don’t have the time (or the energy) to commit to teaching multiple sections of English Composition right now but I would love to teach a creative writing class or two. There is a local literary center that offers a variety of classes and I’d like to pitch a class to them. I’m not sure how open they will be to an erotica writing class, but I do have background in a variety of genres and subjects, so I’m hopeful I’ll be able to pitch something they’ll be interested in. (I’m thinking this would be a summer or fall class, so this month is really just about approaching them and figuring out their needs, creating a proposal and maybe a syllabus.)

Create a Photoblog
Start date: Now
Finish date: December 31
I’m starting a photo blog of my photo project Two Boys, One Picture and so that I can post my daily photos of the boys somewhere other than Facebook (for longevity). The project itself is a continuation of what I’m already doing, but this month’s goal is to create the photoblog and migrate the photos I’ve already posted on Facebook.

ONGOING PROJECTS

80,000 Word Book Project
Start date: January 1
Finish date: April 1
I can’t say too much about this project right now, but I have a contract and I am writing, writing, writing…

Update: Still writing, writing, writing… The deadline is in one month so this is my big writing project for March!

Two Boys, One Picture: A Photographic Chronicle
Start date: Januaryish
Finish date: December 31
I have started taking daily pictures of the babies. I’m calling it Two Boys, One Picture right now and posting the pictures daily on Facebook. I will likely start posting them onto my mama blog, Writer (With Children), too.

Update: I’m having so much fun with this project. Most parents warned me that I will have far more pictures of my first baby than the second baby—and I could see that happening after the first couple of months with Lucas. Now I have a daily picture (actually, it’s usually several daily pictures) of both boys. And other people seem to be enjoying the pictures on Facebook, too. My goal for March is to start a photoblog somewhere (Tumblr, maybe?) and move the photos I’ve taken so far to the new dedicated blog.

Good Vibes Sexy Mama blogger
Start date: January 23
Finish date: December 31 (with option to renew in 2013)
One of my projects for 2012 is to do more blogging in a variety of places. I realize not a lot of people find or follow this blog and that’s entirely my fault. So this year I hope to pursue a variety of blogging projects that I can link to from here. One of them is being a Sexy Mama blogger for Good Vibrations Magazine. The motherhood side of my identity is still one that I’m getting used to and making peace with, so my irregular (in timing, not in writing—I hope) blog posts on Good Vibes will address issues of motherhood and sexuality, either personal or societal. My first piece, Ready to Blossom, went up last week. And if you’re a mom, I would love to hear what you would like to read about.

Update: I’m working on a couple of pieces for Good Vibes right now and should have something new up soon.

Erotica Readers and Writers Association blogger
Start date: January 28
Finish date: December 31 (with option to renew in 2013)
Another blogging project I’ll be doing is over at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association blog. I will be blogging there on the 28th of every month, mostly about writing, editing and reading erotica. I’ll direct you to my first post: How It All Started to explain why I’m taking on this monthly project, but to summarize: Adrienne Benedicks and ERWA are responsible for my erotica writing career and I want to give back to this fantastic community.

Update: You can read my latest post: Building an Anthology from Scratch.

Best Erotic Romance 2013
Start date: Januaryish
Finish date: June 1
The second edition of Cleis Press’s Best Erotic Romance series and my seventh anthology for Cleis Press. I am absolutely delighted to be editing this series and I cannot wait to start receiving submissions. (Submission deadline is April 15.)

Update: The submission deadline for BER 2013 is in six weeks! I’m looking forward to reading the submissions.

COMPLETED PROJECTS

The Month of Letters Challenge
Start date: February 1
Finish date: February 29
I am doing Mary Robinette Kowal’s Month of Letters Challenge. (I blogged about it here.) It’s a wonderful one-month project and I’m looking forward to sending (and receiving) “real” mail for the entire month of February. Please do read my original post about the challenge and send me your address if you’d like to receive something from me.

What a fun project. I missed two or three days due to illness (mine, the babies, the babysitter), but I sent 29 pieces of real mail, including cards, letters, postcards and packages, over the course of the month. Hopefully it will inspire me to send more letters and cards all year long.

Book Proposal
Start date: Last summer
Finish date: March 1
This is a proposal that’s been languishing on my hard drive for months. Other deadlines (and having a baby) threw me seriously off course, but I’m ready to finish it. I think I’m about 75% done with it, so I might be done sooner than March 1. Mostly I just want it resolved, so I’m getting it a deadline. I started it, I need to finish it.

I’m happy to say I finished this project on February 10 and was offered a contract within the week. It’s going to be a very fun book!

10,000 Word Short Story
Start date: Januaryish
Finish date: February 6
This is another one I just need to be done with. It’s contracted, it’s started, I’ve just gotten sidetracked in the past couple of weeks. It will be done by Monday, one way or another.

I finished this story in the nth hour and was really pleased with how it turned out. Happily, so was the editor! “Lilith Returns” will appear in an illustrated erotica anthology from Sweetmeats Press.

Posted by Kristina in Life
 

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

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