My 2019 in Review
Here we are again.
Another year has passed.
I will warn you. This is a long one because I’m feeling somewhat reflective.
I do this because I’m my toughest critic—and I don’t mean that from a review standpoint, but a time standpoint. I have an immense amount of gratitude for you, Dear Reader, choosing to spend your time in my words. It is the greatest gift because, in the end, all we have are time and memories.
While readers experience the page, I remember the time, and I think it’s important to acknowledge where I’ve been, how I’ve grown, what I know, and what I’d do differently. It isn’t a narcissistic endeavor, but a poignant one for my scrapbook. If we can’t look back and examine our own lives, what is the point? I’ve included shameless linkage because someone might trip over this one day.
Suffice it to say; no one will read this.
Just let me keep believing that.
It’s safer that way.
In January, I started the year with Son of Angel. Dominic Gennaro, a man of few words, wanted to talk. And boy did he. There was a point when I thought—I can’t keep going through this memory of a motorcycle wreck with you. After the end of our 2018, I cried and hurt and let it all out.
Thankfully, those times when I can’t go on are scarce when the writing juju is on, but I knew I needed to get through it. He is such a quiet, reserved type—the Dom to be feared on a side-eye glance alone. I certainly wasn’t going to be the one to stop.
Next up, I impulsively wrote Bad Girl for my Valentine’s Day release. The only other book I’ve written with such impromptu—let’s hop in the car and go to the beach, nowala—was Fluff back in June 2017. I wrote Fluff’s 90k words in 11 days. I don’t know how many days I spent on Bad Girl, but it wasn’t long. I wanted it, and so did Anna.
I needed Anna Ford’s backstory behind the creation of Juliet. Truthfully, it was one of those self-indulgent books that I didn’t care how it did or if anyone liked it, I needed to write it. I had so many questions, and Anna answered all of them with a smile and a glass of tea.
From a research perspective, it was hard on me, but it paved the way for the late summer and the trip of champagne and cake…
I needed to get into the mindset of 1955, Las Vegas, and her being a showgirl. And if that wasn’t enough, she traveled to France to further complicate things. I loved this challenging experience.
In the middle of spring, I released two short stories. The first was in the MMM18 Anthology, Twisted Tales of Mayhem, a piece called Dirty Little Secret, where our boys meet Megan Folly during Alex’s (from A&E) bachelor party. It was a fun write. After that, I did an international trafficking piece dealing with tourism in The Difference Between for Stealing Virtue. Sisters, Eve and Eden, were grim sorts and touched back to my 2018 parts of pitch black.
By late spring, Nico was feeling terribly jealous of Deacon and Dom both getting their SONS books, and so, I ventured forth with him to a place I never truly imagined we’d go. He scared me a few times with his sexy shoes and knife fetish. I never dreamed the response he would get or that the fangirls would love Nico the way they do.
July brought the second a Tomb of Ashen Tears (TAT) book, Famous Last Words (FLW), almost two years after book 1. To be honest, I wasn’t ready for it after Salt Kissed Love (TAT Book 1) in October 2017, and I knew that. Sometimes, these things take time to steep. I needed to grow. I needed to write the darkness for Sal’s prison stint to have that grit.
While I don’t like it any more than the readers, I also refuse to put out something I am not feeling. What happened was FLW turned out to be something I will forever remember. Sal behind bars was painful, and when he came out, nothing was the same. Not him. Not me.
FLW ended up being 700-some pages, and it was very close to being my final book. I was beyond having a hard time in my personal life, and as much as I needed the words for some bizarre, twisted therapy, I didn’t feel like I was worth it. Depression is an evil monster full of lies.
My idea of fun was immediately chasing TAT2 with TAT3, Every Minute I Love You (EMILY), which ended up being 800-pages.
I remember J, giving a scrutinizing gaze and saying, “Are you sure you want to go through another long one right now?”
My only answer was yes…despite the fear of my instability. And many of you know, it wasn’t the first time I traipsed too far over the edge. I did it in early 2017 with A&E. I enjoy taunting sanity as the neuroses boil over onto the floor when I’m in the midst of crazy writing flow. It’s good. It’s addicting. This is why I write dark. This is why I crave the dark. I am most at home in the throes of chaos.
Because they are hard on me, but I have room to swim and swim deep in TAT books. They are my stomping ground, my home turf, full of everything I love most about writing—dark with equal parts sensuality and violence. The TAT books are my absolutes.
And by far, EMILY is my personal favorite of all the books I’ve written. It has layers upon layers from these characters my readers have come to know and love.
The Red Shoes was my Limited Edition Annual Nocturne as the cast dressed up and went down the golden path. It was fun and frivolous and somewhat of a shining light after a very bleak summer.
I have been thinking about going back in time to when Sal arrived in Texas for about six years now (since Juliet.) I wanted to experience his youthful naivety only to watch it decay. I know, cryptic. But I felt it was an essential piece of the puzzle that the #RanieroFanGirls were missing.
Sal Raniero’s Little Black Book Prequel (The Contract) picked up from his running away from Boston to arriving in Texas. He signed the contract to be a male escort, and I will be writing his clients in novella form.
The quote above from LBBPQ led my descent into Madness, my take on the classic tumbling down the rabbit hole. I intentionally wrote it to have much the same feel—with no rhyme or reason.
Madness is a spastic, psychedelic, and tangled spin with plenty of hot and dark moments with the Sinister Fairytale Collection. I loved writing this book because it was so far out from my usual writing, but as with all my books, I demanded trust. We’re going on a journey, strap in, and hold on.
Some loved it; some hated it.
I create art.
Each piece is different. And thus, it becomes the crux of my existence as I try to find the balance between the simplicity of sounds and the feelings evoked when strung together as chords.
It is up for interpretation and discussion.
But at the end of the day, I always strive to give you a memory.
That is the goal.
I wrote a shitton of words in 2019.
Over three-quarters of a million.
And I traveled to eight book signings.
I am still fairly isolationist, living on my own little beautiful wretched island, and playing in the sandbox alone. A few brave souls ventured to my shores, and I say brave because the waters constantly churn and pick up energy. The vibrations I take in—I chew up and spit out on the page, but I’m ultimately a recluse and a reader. A thinker. A feeler. And a lover of words.
This frequently gets misconstrued as avoidance.
I run on emotions left by scribbles on the page and rarely allow anyone to see them. You won’t catch me gossiping at the quilting circle. I’m in the remote back alley. Social, I am not. And I’m at a place of surviving and thriving in the everchanging climate—personally and professionally.
At times, I am a genuine admirer…I won’t say fangirl…of certain women—tenacious and driven by a similar affliction as me. Read: authors. We’re kind of like a cult. We get one another with the never-ending need to tell a story to craft a piece to garner a reaction. We spend idle, aimless days in solitude with nothing but our imaginary friends. Scraps of paper, bills, napkins, the beloved journal—how many do we have?—jotted with thoughts and feelings, scenes, and characters.
And the worst parts?
When we cannot find a pencil or paper or a device to punch in keystrokes at a frantic pace, or we wake with a brilliant trail of the vernacular on our tongues only to fall asleep again! The horror is real—a bad trip. And of course, we spend the following day in absolute OCD mode trying to recount the beats and syllables until we say—Oh, fuck it!
Loving a writer is not easy.
We talk to ourselves. We wake up in the middle of the night to pace the floor, plot the dialogue, and choreograph the stage. And the really weird part, all of this is invisible, only capable of being seen by the creator. Our insatiable itch to paint the picture with flowing imagery.
It’s a bit…nuts.
I’ll admit it and do it just the same.
And a place I am proud to call my own.
Writer. Author. Scribe. Word fiend.
On top of that, half of that proverbial sundae of mind-numbing fun lies in the inherent social chessboard for which we must play. I’ve been lingering in the published lands since 2014, and many rules of the social game still befuddle me. Like this… I probably shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m a rebel at heart.
The inherent problem—the real core—is the inability to praise one another in life, not just this business, without appearing schmoozy to the point of quid pro quo. And this ghost-like haze undermines genuine moments of kindness.
There is a mammoth flaw in the social machine because it runs both ways—the giver may have the purest of intentions, yet the receiver doubts the validity.
If I’m commenting, my intentions come from an honest place to connect as a human—scratching beneath the surface and putting human emotions into a computer-driven atmosphere. That is what is important.
But who do I believe? Who do I trust?
Doubts creep in like starved orphans about the legitimacy of another’s actions.
Of course, no one talks about it.
No one but me because…island…rebel…misfit…
Since day one, I’ve held to the same belief: I only promote what inspires and intrigues me. It isn’t networking. It’s called gushing, admiring from afar, and at times, drooling over a great hair color, a perfect cover, or dish crafted with love.
I follow those I enjoy, and that is always evolving. I stalk fangirls I find humorous or authors striking sparks in me. And I won’t drop names because that isn’t the point. I follow one because she is funny as fuck, another because she posts the best raunchy jokes, and another because I’m enjoying the saga of her journey. And yet another because her spin on the surrounding world is as unique and enigmatic as they come. Some I stalk out of mere curiosity and fascination. I follow some who have never read one word I’ve published, but I do so because they’re like mind candy feeding my soul.
My point is… I am human.
Sometimes I will push random authors in my newsletter because I enjoy them. No backscratching needed or even wanted. Hence my admirer of humanity comes to light. I fundamentally believe in kindness and grace, walking hand-in-hand. I will never push or promote something to you, Dear Reader, in hopes of gaining a level up.
Frankly, I’ve never wanted anything that way. If I cannot stand on my merit, then that is on me. I place a high value on respect and integrity, and that is the beauty of this world of self-publishing and indie authors.
Courses charted individually.
My course, my way.
There have been many good things in the past two years as I’ve attempted to come out of my shell…or off my remote island. I’ve met some amazing souls—readers and authors and bloggers and promoters—these kindred spirits have touched me in numerous ways.
They have changed my narrative, my history, and my life.
Big picture, remember.
I still believe in fate and the connection it brings as each soul weaves their light through others darkness. People show up out of nowhere. We cross paths to enlighten one another. Some stay. Some go. We can hold onto the lesson with all of our might or ship it off in a bottle or burn it in a bonfire on the beach—the choice is in our hands.
Our map. Our tale. Our story.
I’ve said enough philosophical jargon for one post, but it’s led me to the marked absence. I read through last year’s review when takeovers and parties were becoming a rare thing for me. And that remains true to this day. I’ll come out of my lair if invited or between writes, staying for a bit within my online space, only to retreat for an extended stay in the cage. That said, there are a few who can and will always be able to drag me out.
I like it that way.
It works for me.
So what’s up for my 2020?
I’ll be attending three signings:
- Bella Nola in New Orleans, Louisiana – February 27
- Authors Rocking Little Rock – June 6
- Shameless in Orlando, Florida – November 7
If you are attending, please make sure you get your pre-orders in early!
If you are unable to attend any events, please remember my online shop is open 25/8, and all of my paperbacks are available except the 2018 Limited Edition Annual Nocturne A Shimmering Dream.
Many fangirls have requested The Juliet Compendium. I am slowly working my way there, but these things take time. I can say two things concerning it. One, I will attempt to break ground on it in 2020. Two, it will be forever free and on my website.
As for books, I don’t know, and I hate to put a number on releases planned in 2020.
I am personally committed to writing the continuing novellas for Sal Raniero’s Little Black Book and two TAT books (February and October.) Aside from that, I buried some Easter eggs. If you found them, I have no hard release dates nor will I be discussing them. I know a good handful of my readers are waiting on Juliet II and SONS. They’ll happen when they happen. And they will happen. I just don’t know when.
If I seem laid back regarding dates, I am.
As of now, I only have plans of one book having pre-orders: TAT4.
I can also say that everything should be exclusively on Kindle Unlimited unless I get a hair up my ass. Nor am I scheduled for any anthologies/co-writes aside from the continued push of Sinister Fairytales as more release.
Don’t let all that scare you, Dear Reader.
My goal for 2020 is to depressurize from the last decade and write my ass off. If nothing else, it should be interesting. I’m going where the wind blows, and the muses sweep me off my feet. If they’re talking, I’m listening and writing every word.
Who knows where we’ll end up together?
And it is truly that—we.
Out of all the lessons I’ve learned in six years of navigating these seas, I have come to understand; it is a mutually beneficial gain—reader and author.
I write because I do not want a world without words.
I publish because I need a world with you, Dear Reader.
I’ve gone against the grain for so long, and I don’t see any real point to changing that now. I assure you, there won’t be a lack of releases—J wouldn’t hear of it. Nor will I be abandoning my labyrinth of Sal and Sugargrove interconnected stories, but I am dipping my toes in new waters come 2020.
If you would like to keep track of my goings-on, please join my mailing list.
As always, you can find Sal’s Reading List. It is now available to print.
The older I get, the more precious time becomes.
I am a lover, a mother, and a writer. Thank you, J, for being the demanding little cuss you can be. Thank you to my children for continually believing in dreams. Thank you to the entire family for not only accepting but embracing and welcoming the sacrifices of time, dinners, holidays, celebrations, and vacations.
And thank you, Dear Reader, for yours.
To my closest friends and innermost circle, who sometimes get ignored for hours on end, thank you for choosing me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for checking up on me, sending me all of your random weirdness, and making me laugh.
Now, I’m going to have some fun, clean my house, think about how many tomatoes I’m starting, and maybe bake something. Yes, I’ll put pictures on Instagram. No, not of my cleaning. No one needs to see that.
Keep a smile on your beautiful face.
I’ll see you on the flipside in 2020.
With so much love,
Two days ONLY December 31 and January 1
🎉Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR! 🎉
I LOVE YA!!!
~ k 💋
ALL 8 releases from 2019!
Son of Angel
Son of Cirque
Famous Last Words
Every Minute I Love You
The Red Shoes (Nocturne 2019)
Sal Raniero’s Little Black Book Prequel (The Contract)
#HappyNewYear2020 #Sale #KaileeReeseSamuels
#SexyBeastSal #SinisterFairytales #bookstagram #romanceauthor #mafiaromance
#kindleunlimited #arlr #shameless2020