Monday, December 31st, 2012 • No Comments
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…
Wednesday, December 26th, 2012 • No Comments
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…
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 • No Comments
Three of Hearts: Erotic Romance for Women
Editor: Kristina Wright
Publisher: Cleis Press
Publication Date: Fall 2014
Submission Deadline: June 1
Payment: $50 per story and 2 copies of the book, on publication
E-mail: [email protected]
Three’s company? No, three’s a charm! For my newest anthology I’m looking for stories about threesomes! Three of Hearts: Erotic Romance for Women will feature sexy trios who are not just falling into bed, they’re falling (or have already fallen) in love. I want stories that explore the threesome dynamic emotionally as well as sexually. Whether it’s a couple introducing a third person to their relationship for just one night of fun or for a lifetime commitment, or a woman torn between two lovers who decides not to choose, the focus should be on female pleasure. Any combination of lovers is acceptable, but stories should be erotic and romantic, with a female audience in mind. Not all partners in a threesome must be in love for your story to qualify as erotic romance, but I do want to see emotional development and connection between at least two of the partners.
According to Romance Writers of America, a romance must include two key elements: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying, optimistic ending. In erotic romance, the sexual component is critical to the development of the romantic relationship. To get an idea of what I’m looking for, read my previous anthologies such as Best Erotic Romance and Best Erotic Romance 2013. The collection will be primarily heterosexual with a female audience in mind. I have a preference for realistic stories with contemporary settings, but any time period will be considered. The usual taboos apply: no incest, nonconsensual sex, bestiality or underage characters, please. (Special Note: writing threesome sex can be tricky so watch those pronouns! I shouldn’t have to draw a diagram to figure out which body parts belong to whom.)
Please be sure to follow all of the submission guidelines: I will consider up to two stories per author. Unpublished stories only, no simultaneous submissions. Please do not send me a story that is being considered elsewhere. The desired story length is 2,000-4,500 words. Double-space and indent the first line of each paragraph. Do not put extra spaces between paragraphs. Include your full contact information (legal name/pseudonym, mailing address and phone number) and a bio of 50 words or less written in the third person. Please paste your story into the body of your e-mail and attach it as a Microsoft Word .doc file. Send your submission to [email protected] with Submission: Story Title in the subject line. Please direct any questions to the same address. The deadline is June 1, but earlier submissions are very much appreciated.
Payment will be $50 per story and 2 copies of the book upon publication. Contributors retain the rights to their work and Cleis Press has final approval over the stories selected for the book. Authors will be notified upon approval of the manuscript from the publisher. If you have not received a response by January 1, please feel free to query me.
About the editor:
Described by The Romance Reader as “a budding force to be reckoned with,” Kristina Wright (kristinawright.com) is an author, editor and teacher. She has edited the Cleis Press anthologies Fairy Tale Lust: Erotic Fantasies for Women; Dream Lover: Paranormal Tales of Erotic Romance; Steamlust: Steampunk Erotic Romance, Lustfully Ever After: Fairy Tale Erotic Romance, Duty and Desire: Military Erotic Romance and the Best Erotic Romance series. She is also the author of Seduce Me Tonight from HarperCollins Mischief. Her forthcoming books for Cleis Press include XOXO: Sweet and Sexy Erotic Romance and Bedded Bliss: A Guide to Lust Ever After. Kristina’s short fiction has appeared in over one hundred print anthologies and she received the Golden Heart Award for Romantic Suspense from Romance Writers of America for her first novel Dangerous Curves. Her work has also been featured in numerous magazines and e-zines and her articles, interviews and book reviews have appeared in dozens of publications, both in print and online. She is a member of Romance Writers of America as well as the RWA special interest chapters, Passionate Ink and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal. She is a book reviewer for the Erotica Readers and Writers Association (erotica-readers.com and is a regular blogger at Oh Get a Grip! (ohgetagrip.blogspot.com). She lives in Virginia with her husband and two young sons.