Unless you've been deleting my emails without reading them, you know that Retribution Rails came out last month. I got to go on my first ever book tour and meet some of you in person. To anyone who came to Chicago, Phoenix, Boston, Charleston's YALLFest (additional pic below!), New York, or Concord for one of my events, thank you so very much. I know I say this all the time, but it really is true that I only have my job because of readers. Thank you so much for your support. The best part of tour was meeting you guys. The worst part? Being away from my family.
Before this tour, the longest I'd been away from my daughter was a weekend. Tour took me away for a whole week. Everyone warned me touring would be exhausting, and it was a bit emotionally draining. But physically? Guys, I got to sleep until my alarm woke me, not a tiny human. Also, I have never gotten out the door so quickly! I swear, I'd almost forgotten how freeing it is to only be responsible for yourself. Am I dressed? Check. Do I have my things? Check. Time to leave. No potty routines and putting on someone else's shoes and getting into the car seat. It was a dream.
At the same time, I missed my daughter terribly. And then once I was home, the real exhaustion hit: One day with my 3yo was more draining than all of my tour put together. Sure, some of tour was probably catching up with me, but pre-schoolers, man. They have SO MUCH energy. 😂
Since settling back into my routine, I finished mailing out all the RR preorder swag (so many envelopes!) and then turned my attention to polishing up my "first draft" of Contagion2. I should be wrapping it up shortly, hopefully right before the holidays.
Speaking of the holidays and in the spirit of the season, I have some offers for you:
Offer #1 — a chance to win a Vengeance Road paperback!
Books make the perfect gifts, especially if they're signed or personalized. Here's your chance to win a paperback copy of VR! This offer is available for newsletter subscribers only, and all you have to do is click this link before December 9th to be entered. I'll draw ten winners.
Offer #2 — an extension on the Kate & Jesse novella offer!
Many of you received the Kate & Jesse novella as part of the RR preorder campaign (thank you for preordering), but I've also heard from many of you who missed the campaign. I'm all out of RR physical swag, but in the spirit of the holidays, I want to offer the K&J digital novella to anyone who has purchased a copy of RR(hardcover or e-book). All you have to do is email proof-of-purchase to firstname.lastname@example.org before January 1st, 2018 and I'll send you the novella! Proof-of-purchase can be a screenshot/photo/scan of your receipt or order history for Retribution Rails. This offer is available to all readers (not just newsletter subscribers), so be sure to tell your friends if you think they'd be interested.
Bringing Up Baby (Bowman)
The littlest Bowman is getting so excited for the holidays. I think these might be the golden years when it comes to her enjoyment factor + cuteness level. I want to bottle it up. She wasn't very impressed with Thanksgiving food, but she's all about the cookies and candy coming in December. 😂 Her book pick for the month is Santa's Underwear written by Marty Rhodes Figley and illustrated by Marty Kelley. I believe I included this book last holiday season, but she's even more into it this year, so it's appearing again. Santa can't find his red underwear on Christmas Eve. Whatever will he wear beneath his Santa suit? Giggles abound when we read this one. If you celebrate Christmas and have a pre-schooler, this is bound to be a hit.
2017 is coming to a close, and boy has it been a crazy year. I can't remember ever having to write under such intense anxiety. Every week, there seemed to be a new threat to our democracy. Every day, there was a news story (sometimes several!) that made me reel. Writing in this environment has been especially trying.
I honestly don't know how I created anything. It was a subtle balance between staying informed and also blocking out the news cycle so I could slip into my fictional worlds. (And then learning how to deal with the guilt when I emerged from those fun, fictional worlds to realize something else was burning.)
I know I'm not the only author who struggled to create in 2017. It's been A YEAR. However, there was a tweet going around last week, in which a writer asked other users to list their writing accomplishments for the year, and I was so impressed with my colleagues's progress! When I actually took the time to answer the question myself, I was shocked at how much I had accomplished as well. Plus, this is only writing progress. It doesn't even include things like self-promo and book tours and life obligations outside of career. Here's my 2017 writing progress list:
Seeing everything written out like this was incredibly powerful! The whole thing got me thinking about how little I celebrated my accomplishments in 2017. I was so focused on the news, so stuck in "Full Alert" mode over the bad that was happening, that I failed to celebrate the good. I'm really proud of the work I accomplished this year. Some of it is my best yet, I'd even say, despite how hard it was for me to write in 2017's climate.
Whether you got one career goal accomplished in 2017 or ten, or maybe even only half of a goal, it's all progress! Take a moment to bask in that. Have a cookie, give yourself a pat on the back, and be proud of what you've accomplished. I have a feeling the next few years will be just as tumultuous, and while the fight goes on, we need to celebrate the small victories. Celebrate finishing drafts and turning in revisions and brainstorming new books. Celebrate life milestones and family milestones and time with friends. It's good for the soul and it helps fill up your creative well, too. (And boy do I know I'm gonna need a full well as we enter 2018.)
All things considered, I hope you had a wonderful 2017, friends. I'll see you in the new year!