Insecurities Abound!

I’ve been pretty down in the dumps, guys. A real sophomore slump. Let me explain. My prelude novella, Blood in the Past (released this time last year), did pretty well. No one really had a bad word to say about it. I was proud of myself…and then terror set in.

Last year, as I was editing and revising the full-length follow-up to Past, Blood in the Paint, I began to worry that it wouldn’t measure up, that my creative prowess had a quota and I had used up everything in my reserve to write Blood in the Past. As a result, I hit the Publish button on Blood in the Paint a few months ago with closed eyes. I dragged my feet with the paperback edition. I haven’t sent out many review copies, and I haven’t done much promotion. I’m subconsciously forcing myself, and my Blood for Blood series, to fade into oblivion. I’m making my own nightmare, of my sophomore release not measuring up, a reality. Or am I?

When the news of Blood in the Paint’s release broke, I had an immediate spike in sales. I might have been able to capitalize on those numbers had I done some promoting. After I ordered my first shipment of Blood in the Paint paperbacks, I almost sold out of them…and I still have two events to do this week. And the reviews? The reviews have been pretty awesome. There are only nine so far (actually, as I’m writing this, a TENTH popped up!), none of which were written by me or hubby-pants, but they are all FIVE-STAR. Every single one of them. My mother-in-law, who awarded Blood in the Past with a three-star review, is raving about Paint. As is my father-in-law, who keeps asking how the next book will unfold. My niece even forgot about her “ghetto reality shows” (her words, not mine), because she’d been so caught-up in reading it. You guys don’t know my niece, but that’s probably the best compliment I could have received, short of something from Gillian Flynn herself.

So what’s the problem? Why haven’t I really written anything since April, when I went on a writing retreat, where there was nothing to do BUT write? I still feel unworthy, I still feel talentless, I still feel like everyone’s compliments are a fluke. Then I read a recent review of Blood in the Paint written by Ileandra Young. You can read the full review here, but the part I want to point out is when she mentioned a Facebook status where she posted, “Soooooooooo that feeling of inadequacy you feel while reading a fellow indie author’s novel then returning to your own WIP.” Guys, I actually remembered that status, I even Liked it because I knew the feeling. Turns out, she was talking about Blood in the Paint. Words cannot thank her enough for sharing that with her followers and blog readers and, most importantly, me. Between that and the pep talk hubby-pants gave me recently (more on that in another post, I think), I might be ready to write again. At the very least, I might be ready to begin my medico-legal research to make sure my next book, Blood in the Paper, is on the right track.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this week, which happens to be the one-year anniversary of Blood in the Past’s publication. To celebrate (and get back into promoting for the love of everything sacred and holy), Blood in the Past will be FREE on Wednesday, June 18th, and Blood in the Paint will be dropped to $1.99 today through Friday, June 20th. If you haven’t read them yet, now is the time to do so. Because, I’ve been down in the dumps and sales will make me feel better. ;-)

One of My Biggest Literary Pet Peeves Done Right

Those of you who know me in person, or know me a little better than just reading my blog from time to time, know that I’m pretty picky. This goes for books too. For example, I really love mystery/suspense/thrillers, but I really HATE (with the flames of a thousand campfires) when the main character/investigator is a civilian/layperson without even the tiniest bit of tangential experience. I’m talking about major crimes and conspiracies that are solved by bike messengers and cab drivers and grocery store cashiers. And it’s not like the bike messengers and cab drivers and grocery store cashiers are taking evening or online classes in law or criminology. No, they go home and watch The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones like the rest of us.

So, to sum up, I hate those novels.

However…I just finished reading Sister by Rosamund Lupton. And it was amazing. It was definitely the second best book I’ve read this year and probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. Period. And guess what? The main character, Beatrice, “investigates” her sister’s disappearance/murder and she isn’t a detective, a lawyer, or even one of those plucky reporters. In fact, she worked for a business design company, creating logos and ad copy. Why didn’t throw my Kindle across the room and take a long walk to calm my rage? Well, for one the Kindle was a gift from Hubby-pants a few years ago, but I mostly didn’t rage out because I LOVED the way the book was written. It was Beatrice’s love for and intimate knowledge of her sister that propelled her and kept her from accepting the police’s version of events. The characterization was done so well that I never questioned her lack of experience. I mean, she suspected everyone in the whole book! She looked crazy in the process! She never gave up though. And that’s what made it believable. Add in the fact that it’s formatted as though Beatrice is writing a letter to her lost sister, recapping the events that led to her finding the killer, and there’s so much to love about this story. I highly recommend you give it a read. I stumbled across it when my local library suggested it because I’d enjoyed Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and they were spot on.

So, readers, do you have any literary pet peeves with exceptions? Any novels that, though they exhibit something you normally hate in a book, you ended up enjoying the novel anyway? I’d love to hear about them!

“Riddled With Scenes That Left Me Thinking…”

No, I’m not talking about something I’ve read. The title of this post was taken directly from fellow author/blogger Richard Leonard’s recent review of Blood in the Paint! Here’s the remainder of the excerpt:

This novel is riddled with scenes that left me thinking “How on earth will he/she get out of this situation?” East does a superb job of creating realism in a world where many OMG moments occur, leaving the reader wondering what could possibly come next. And what does come next is exciting, believable, and edge-of-your-seat thrills.

 

I want to thank Richard for his glowing review, the rest of which you can read HERE!

Turns Out, I DO Know My Serial Killers

Blood in the Paint Cover

My upcoming release, Blood in the Paint, is going through the final stages of editing and I couldn’t be more terrified happier. I started writing Blood in the Paint almost a decade ago, way before its predecessor, Blood in the Past, and it’s been quite a journey.

I minored in Criminology and Psychology in college and that basic knowledge has helped me tremendously. But I’ve still had my doubts. Am I writing Lyla Kyle’s background correctly? Am I right about her motivations? Am I right about her methods and mindset? Still, I did my research and I was confident I knew my stuff.

Until a few months ago. One of the new beta readers to join my gaggle didn’t get through the entire Blood in the Paint manuscript. She questioned Lyla Kyle as a serial killer every step of the way. My face flushed with every comment she’d left. “I went to school for this,” I mumbled through clenched teeth. Eventually I got over it. I re-verified all the details, reminded myself that she hadn’t even read Blood in the Past (so she didn’t have Lyla’s background info), and moved on.

Then I found this Jennifer Chase blog post that put me at ease completely. She listed the four types of serial killers and I was psyched to discover I was already familiar with them:

Power & Control

This type of serial killer experiences complete sexual gratification from the domination and humiliation of the victim.  This killer is a true sociopath and lives by his own personal set of rules and guidelines.  Many of the famous serial killers we have seen in history would fall under his type of serial killer.

Visionary

This type of serial killer is compelled by voices or visions they experience and are considered psychotic.  These voices and visions compel them to kill certain kinds of people.

Mission

This type of serial killer feels a “need” or duty to kill certain types of people or “class” of people such as religious or racial groups or prostitutes.  This type of serial killer is not considered psychotic.

Hedonistic

This type of serial killer makes a strong connection between personal violence and sexual gratification.  This type of killer can also be described as a “lust” or “thrill” killer.  This killer receives pleasure from the act and has eroticized the experience.  They generally take the time to torture or mutilate their victims.

For those of you wondering, Lyla Kyle is most definitely a mission killer. In her mind, her father’s infidelity led to her mother’s death. Having always shown a predisposition for killing, even as a child, her mother’s death was the catalyst that motivated her to seek out and seduce married men…and kill them. Also, any collateral damage that occurs during the commission of her mission killings vexes her terribly. So far, so good, if you ask me.

Next, Ms. Chase posted several comments made by criminal psychology professionals from organizations such as the FBI, the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), and the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC). The uncertainty surrounding my knowledge and my main character dissipated as I skimmed through them:

Predisposition to serial killing, much like other violent offenses, is biological, social, and psychological in nature, and it is not limited to any specific characteristic or trait. (Sounds like what I briefly described above regarding Lyla, doesn’t it?)

• The development of a serial killer involves a combination of these factors, which exist together in a rare confluence in certain individuals. They have the appropriate biological predisposition, molded by their psychological makeup, which is present at a critical time in their social development.(This sounds familiar, too!)

• There are no specific combinations of traits or characteristics shown to differentiate serial killers from other violent offenders.

• There is no generic template for a serial killer. (This quote is my favorite. The beta reader who got me down kept trying to put Lyla in a box. Every serial killer is different!)

• Serial killers are driven by their own unique motives or reasons. (Preach!)

• Serial killers are not limited to any specific demographic group, such as their sex, age, race, or religion.

• The majority of serial killers who are sexually motivated erotized violence during development. For them, violence and sexual gratification are inexplicably intertwined in their psyche.

• More research is needed to identify specific pathways of development that produce serial killers. (Exactly! And until then, we can, with some limits, write serial killers any way we choose.)

Now that I feel better, I spend my time being thankful that the other four beta readers devoured my manuscript of Blood in the Paint and had nothing but nice things to say about it. Not to mention the fact that Blood in the Past now has 40 reviews on Amazon and not one of them questions the believability of my characters. In fact, almost all of them say the exact opposite.

Have any of you read Blood in the Past? How did you feel about Lyla Kyle? Are any of you writers who have had your characters’ motives questioned? I want to hear from you!

(PS: This is basically the ‘cover reveal’ for Blood in the Paint! What do you think?)

What I’m Looking Forward to Reading in 2014

I know, I know. Another list. I’m such a hypocrite.

I didn’t reach my Goodreads goal last year, but I’m determined to reach my more modest goal of 50 books this year. No, I’m not gonna list 50 specific books I plan on reading (I’m not that OCD, I promise), yet I do have several titles that have recently been bumped up on my eight-mile-long TBR list.

  • Night Film by Marisha Pessl – Okay, technically I started reading this at the tail end of 2013, but the library ruined my life (see failed Goodreads challenge above) and ended my lending period, ignoring my renewal request. Oh, and technically, I’ve already finished this novel this year (last week, to be precise). That just means I’m well on my way to completing this list!
  • Maze Runner by James Dashner – Yeah, um, technically, I’m reading this right now…and halfway done. But it’s on this list because the movie adaptation releases this year and I’m one of those annoying people who MUST read the book first so I can tell everyone who will listen, and even those that won’t, how much better the book was than the movie.
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – See above obnoxious reason for wanting to read Maze Runner because it applies here: Starz will debut its Outlander television adaptation this summer. Plus, my mother-in-law has recommended it about eleven times.
  • Cuckoo’s Calling by JK Rowling (under some dude pen name) – I didn’t read The Casual Vacancy because, though I respect JK tremendously, the genre just wasn’t my cuppa. But this crime fiction novel is right up my alley.
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth – I started reading this during the Night Film library-thievery-fiasco of 2013. I got about 35% in before Night Film was returned to my Kindle. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember enough about the first two books to feel comfortable finishing Allegiant. (Plus, I really wanted to get back to the amazeballs Night Film.) So it looks like I’ll be reading Divergent and Insurgent all over again before I can dive back into the final installment. :-/
  • Sand (Omnibus) by Hugh Howey – If you guys don’t know by now, I developed a serious literary crush on Hugh Howey after reading Wool. He just released this bundle of 5 episodes and I downloaded it the same day. I’ve never downloaded a book on release day. Ever.
  • EVERYTHING BY HUGH HOWEY – In continuation of the fan-girl moment I’m having, I want to read everything else written by Howey. The Molly Fyde Series, Half Way Home, I, Zombie. All of it. Where can I get his high school essays? Gimme, gimme, gimme.
  • Yesterday’s Gone by Sean Platt - I’ve heard great things about this serialized post-apocalyptic novel and I wanna see what all the fuss is about. Especially since I’ve had the first season on my Kindle FOREVER.
  • The Bat et al in the Harry Hole Series by Jo Nesbo – Last year I read his standalone, Headhunters (because I hadn’t yet gotten my hands on the first Harry Hole novel) and loved it. I’m ready to jump two-feet-first into more of his writing.
  • Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight - Amazon keeps recommending this one to me. Amazon is a little scary. They’re gonna have drones soon. I’m gonna do what Amazon tells me…
  • Have You Seen Her by Rich Silvers – One of time times my own novella, Blood in the Past, did really well and jumped up the ranks of Amazon’s subcategories, specifically psychological fiction, Have You Seen Her was always one spot above me. Call this a recon read. I wanna check out the competition. ;-)
  • The Shining by Stephen King – I know, this is an “oldie but goodie” in the book world. I may have read it as preteen (I started reading King when I was ten. That’s not creepy or anything, right?), but I’m sure I don’t remember enough of it to read…
  • Doctor Sleep by Stephen King – …so I’m gonna check out The Shining (again?) so I can enjoy Stephen King’s new release all proper like.
  • Identical by Scott Turow – I keep a journal of ideas for future novels and short stories. One of these said ideas was very similar to Identical…before Identical was released. Scott Turow and I aren’t bar buddies on the weekends or anything, so I’m curious to see just how similar his story is to mine and whether or not I have to rip out a page from my journal and set it on fire.
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton - This novel won the Man Booker Prize and Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award last year. As you can imagine, it received a bit of publicity, which sparked my interest. It’s supposed to be a thrilling historical novel, but it’s a bit of a long read. I should probably get on that soon…before I find myself rushing around to complete this year’s Goodreads Challenge.
  • The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty- This is another title Amazon keeps recommending. Have I mentioned I’m intimidated by them? (Amazon, if you’re reading this, I’m gonna read all your recommendations. Don’t send drones to my house unless I order something via Prime Shipping.)
  • N0S4A2 by Joe Hill – I read Horns last year. Why? Because there’s a movie coming out, of course. Anyway, I really enjoyed it. Hill has a much different writing style than his father (Stephen King), but you can tell by the crazy creepiness that he didn’t fall too far from the tree.
  • Room by Emma Donoghue – I’ve heard good things about this one, but have kept my distance because it’s written from the POV of a small child. I don’t really do kids, so you can understand my hesitation. However, I think I’m gonna suck it up and see what happens.
  • Lexicon by Maxx Barry - Hugh Howey posted a list books that changed his life on Facebook. This is one of them. It was already on my TBR list, but an endorsement from Howey shot it way up to the top. All hail Hugh Howey.
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I’ve been curious about this Tim Burton-ish-sounding novel for a while now. And with a sequel out (and a movie adaptation on the way!), it’s about time I give it a whirl.

Wow, I just rattled off twenty books without breaking a sweat. Color me impressed with myself (I was only aiming for ten). Anyway, do you guys have any books you’re dying to read this year? New releases? Oldies but goodies? Tell me! I have thirty more spots to fill!

Welcome Back, RH Ramsey!

Just beneath ll 2 (2)

RH Ramsey might as well have her own room around here. Or at least a drawer in the dresser and a toothbrush in the bathroom. She’s graced the blog before and, today, she’s at it again. Everyone, please welcome back Ms. Ramsey as she chats about her newest release, Just Beneath the Surface II: Landon’s Story.

I enjoy blurring the lines between antagonist and protagonist. For, sometimes in life, there’s no one chasing us, making things difficult for us, sucking the life out, or trying to kill us; sometimes, it’s all in our heads.

I mean, have you noticed that we chase, drain, and complicate things for ourselves, causing us to perish by the day? Yes? Well, I agree. And for these reasons, in Just Beneath the Surface II: Landon’s Story (which is not a continuation of Just Beneath the Surface I) the main characters are their own demons.

Landon Adams has come from a place of darkness, pure evil, and Hell. He feels that he has escaped this darkness, and that everyone around him should focus less on the way he’s escaped, and more on the fact that they are stuck in in past. Seven Dickinson is hotheaded beauty. She allows other people, her past issues with poverty, her anger, and her insecurities, to drive her.

In Landon’s opinion, Seven is live entertainment for her friends, family, and anyone who stops to watch her in action, all in the name of being right. Still, Landon sees so much more in her. He finds her warm, loving, selfless, and self-sufficient; she doesn’t need him, at least, she doesn’t realize she doesn’t. And, aside from fighting, swearing, and behaving like someone who should spend a few nights in jail, Landon feels all she needs is a bit of direction to bring out the beauty he sees in her.

Soon, the magnetism that blossoms between them is undeniable. Before long, the magnetism becomes obsession. As time goes on, obsession brings out the monsters Landon believed he had successfully tucked away neatly under his bed, in a pretty little box with a bow.

In Just Beneath the Surface II: Landon’s Story, I remember being very inspired by writing something that, for me, was a bit outside the box. I say this because, when I first started writing and completing books in 2004 or 2005, I felt I had to have a madman chasing a good guy in order for the story to be, well, a conventional story. This changed with Landon’s Story, as I wanted to write something that spoke to the internal struggles, the good guy vs. bad guy conversations, and, most of all, facing trauma in a way that helps us, not sets us several years backward where the pain rears its ugly head. Internalizing, numbing ourselves, pretending, stuffing things under our beds in pretty little boxes with bows, never pays off.

A psychological thriller/suspense (maybe, I think), this story brings you into the mind of a seemingly normal man, into the psyche of a guy who wants the same thing most of us seek: unconditional love. Into the moments of romance, possession, hurt, help, and love, all wrapped up in one. Then, slowly, as the story unfolds, down deep into the valley of sickness, control, and obsession you go.

The superpower of control he once possessed turns to kryptonite. Wires are frayed and shocking that carefully constructed mind – the mind of Landon Adams of Just Beneath the Surface II.

Thanks, East, for the opportunity to share.

You’re very welcome, Ms. Ramsey! Thank you for taking the time to ‘stop by’ and lead us through your motivations and inspirations.

And, without further delay, here’s my review of Just Beneath the Surface II: Landon’s Story:

I received an ARC of JBTS2 and though the polarizing characters, that I didn’t personally identify with, aren’t likable, they stuck with me for days. The novel starts off slow, as the relationship drama builds and sets up, but you can see that–you guessed it–there’s something ‘just beneath the surface’ once again. Landon is one of the creepiest characters I’ve ever read on a page, but I wanted to feel sorry for him. And that’s a sign of talented writing. Well done, RH Ramsey. You’ve done it again.
Just Beneath the Surface II: Landon’s Story is available in e-book and paperback on Amazon. Get your copy soon and check out RH Ramsey’s other releases, too!

How Fast Do You Read?

Someone posted this fun little test on Facebook. According my results, I read 407 wpm, which is 63% better than the national average. Not bad, but apparently not as good as college students. I used to be a college student and I swear I read faster now, but oh well.

Try it and see where you measure up!

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

My Fave Reads of 2013

I know I said I didn’t have time for these lists, but that was last year. It’s January and I wanna talk about what I read in 2013, dammit! So let’s go! Here’s the top 15 reads of the year (series are grouped together as one), listed in the order in which they were read:

  1. Divergent & Insurgent by Veronica Roth – I loved Tris Prior’s struggle and spirit and Four soon became one of my favorite male protagonists. This series was last year’s Hunger Games for many, including me. Can’t wait for the movie.
  2. Bone River by Megan Chance – Such an intriguing, beautifully written story. And so well-researched! The twist was a bit predictable to me, but I really enjoyed this one. Bonus: it was a bit outside the box in terms of the genres I usually read.
  3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – This one goes without saying. It started off slow, but once the real story began to take shape, I couldn’t put it down. Others may have disagreed with the ending, but I thought it was perfect. I hope the movie adaptation does it justice.
  4. World War Z by Max Brooks – This is THE most thought-provoking zombie apocalypse novel you’ll ever read. Formatting the book as a government report, written and presented after the war, was unique and added a touch of realism that can’t be found in other stories in this genre. The movie…not so much…but thanks for coming, Brad Pitt.
  5. Under the Dome by Stephen King – This turned out to be one of my favorite reads by Stephen King, even if it was a tome and took me almost a month to finish. All I can say is I live in a small town and now I’m terrified of everyone. Thanks, Steve. The TV series is also enjoyable, thought it has taken many liberties, often straying quite far from the original story.
  6. This Plague of Days (Seasons 1 & 2) by Robert Chazz Chute – Another high-brow zombie tale, but this one takes a look at the survivors in very different way. How can it not when one of the survivors is a teenager on the autism spectrum? I definitely recommend this serialized tale.
  7. The Davinci Code by Dan Brown – I know I’m late to the party on this one, but it was absolutely brilliant and it made my list. Don’t judge me. (Just recently saw the movie. Not bad.)
  8. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – Yup, late to the party again. But I had to read this before the movie released and it was probably the best sci-fi book I’ve ever read. And, for once, the movie adaptation was almost equally as amazing.
  9. Wool, Shift, & Dust (The Silo Saga) by Hugh Howey – This series is phenomenal and Hugh Howey has made leaps and bounds in my mind, quickly earning the title of My Favorite Author. Can’t wait to kidnap him and keep him in our attic to pick his brain read more from him.
  10. Headhunters by Jo NesboThe Harry Hole Series had been recommended to me long ago, but the library didn’t have the first installment. Fortunately, I found this standalone novel by Nesbo and thoroughly enjoyed it. What a thrilling ride!
  11. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – This novel was highly publicized prior to its release and I worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. It did. Excellent world building, characterization, and attention to detail. Can’t wait for the rest of the series.
  12. Defending Jacob by William Landay – How far will parents go to defend their child? This novel shows you how far. This was an excellent legal thriller with an accurate representation of the human psyche.
  13. Horns by Joe Hill – This novel was weird and awesome at the same time. That’s really all I can say. Movie adaptation on the way, too, starring Harry Potter all grown up.
  14. Brilliance by Marcus Sakey – I’m so glad I read this novel. It is what the title implies: a work of brilliance. I particularly loved the way Sakey paralleled his plot with current events and politics, but in a subtle, clever way. And there’s a sequel on the way! Yippee!
  15. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – The most poignant WWII story since The Diary of Anne Frank. Told from the POV of Death (a detail I’m not sure if the movie was able to grasp, but I’ll soon find out), this is definitely a must read.

There you have it, folks. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see what my list looks like at the end of 2014! Have you read any of these? Are there any other books you’d like to recommend?

Jerks & Irks LVIII: I Failed My 2013 Goodreads Challenge

2012 was The Year of the Kindle. Having received a Kindle Fire for Christmas 2011, I devoured books the following year, reading over 75 altogether. I realize that number is subjective: impressive to some, a drop in the bucket to even more voracious readers than myself. But I was excited to have so many books at my fingertips.

In 2013, I set my first Goodreads Challenge for 75 books. I figured since I had done it the year before, I could do it again, right? Wrong. I failed to realize how much more I’d be writing in 2013 than the previous year (3 books and a couple of short stories), or how many hours would be spent marketing and maintaining a presence on social media. December rolled around and, with the end of the year in sight, I was forced to cheat amend my Challenge total to 60 books. I had read 59 and was reading the 60th with more than enough time to spare. I even fantasized about reading a 61st book for good measure.

Then the library–the LIBRARY of all places–took me down, guys. You see, some of the traditional publishers still insist on charging $10 or more for an e-book, which is irksome in and of itself. Therefore, if I want to read one of these books, I usually see if my local library network has a digital copy first. Thus was my process when I downloaded Night Film, by Marisha Pessl (EXCELLENT book so far, by the way).

I was 57% through it when my lending period was about to expire. I renewed it, as I had done before with other borrowed books, but THE LIBRARY took it away anyway. Just electronically snatched it off my Kindle and placed me on a waiting list (1 of 1). I was devastated. I’m not the type of person who can read multiple books at once; I have the short-term memory of a pill bug. I whined a lot, trudging through short stories and trolling Facebook instead of reading myself awake in the morning and to sleep at night.

The new year came and went and I was stuck on 59 books. I failed my Goodreads Challenge.

The library sabotaged me. CURSES! *waves fist in the air*

How about you? How did you fare with your own Goodreads Challenges?

Jerks & Irks LVII: I Wish I Had Time To Make Lists

It’s that time of year when blogs and websites are rolling out their “Best of” and “Worst of” lists like so many enumerated red carpets. I want so badly to participate as more than a spectator, but I’m a bit busy at the moment. First, I cooked my annual Christmas dinner for the in-laws. That took several days of preparation, followed by several days of decompression. Not to mention I’m doing that whole writing thing I do. I know I’ve been relatively quiet on that front, but I swear I’m still doing it. Blood in the Paint is currently with my editor and I’m working on two short stories for two separate anthologies due out in 2014. But if I had the time to TP the internet with fluffy, bouncing rolls of lists, here’s where I would start:

  • Ten things I learned about publishing. Notice I didn’t say self-publishing or independent publishing or traditional publishing exclusively. As an author, I feel it’s my duty to research all the facets of my industry to make the best possible informed decisions. I learned a lot. Most of it I’ve already blogged about along the way, but I wish I could put it one central location for my readers. Perhaps when I publish Blood in the Paint, I’ll do a Then and Now post, defining the differences between when I published Blood in the Past and what I know now.
  • Ten bizarre real-life crimes I wish I would have thought of first. We’ve all heard that truth is often stranger than fiction. It really is when it comes to crime. And sometimes I get so JEALOUS that I didn’t write about said crimes first in one of my books or stories. Grrr! (Although, I won’t be writing this list, I’ll still be composing it for a local appearance I have scheduled this spring. Be sure to check the events page often!)
  • Ten songs that made my brain bleed and ooze out of my ears. I don’t listen to the radio much anymore because of this, which means, I probably don’t even know the titles of the songs I would include on this list, if I had the time to write it. However, I’m pretty sure I could look up recent songs by Kanye West and be half there.
  • Ten books I didn’t have a chance to read in 2013. According to Goodreads, I’ve only read 59 books this year. I’m finishing up my 60th now. My original goal was 75, but that wasn’t gonna happen unless I downloaded 15 short stories, so I updated the damn goal. Don’t judge me. I might still create and post this list if I can find the time this week. Fingers crossed.
  • Ten things I hope to do in 2014. This one would be fun, because if I phrase it like this, I can take “hopeful” liberties and not worry about actually being able to do them. I hope to make the best sellers list. I hope to go back to Tahiti. I hope to wake up 30 pounds lighter. You get the idea…
  • Ten movie characters I absolutely loved/loathed. This one would be so much fun! Hubby-pants and I go to the movies quite often. The only problem is I tend to completely forget a movie the moment I leave the theater. Like, I can’t even hold an intelligent conversation about it during the car ride home. It’s scary. Even if I had the time, I’d need quite a bit of memory-jogging for this one. Yikes.
  • Ten television series of 2013. I know I seem to be an anomaly–an author who watches quite a bit of TV–so I wish I had the time to let everyone in on the types of television shows I indulge in. How I used to love Homeland, but I thought it was a letdown this year. How I also felt Scandal was a letdown this season until the very last episodes. Or how much I enjoyed The Walking Dead. Or how I had no idea how many people watched Duck Dynasty until very recently…
  • Ten nifty writing tools I hope to acquire in 2014. There’s that word “hope” again. I don’t necessary need anything, but who doesn’t love new gadgets? This is another list that would take a bit of poking around on the internet, so it’s probably not gonna happen. Maybe I can live vicariously through someone else’s list.
  • Ten non-writing projects to complete in 2014. Of course I’d have to come up with ten projects first, but sometimes it’s nice to do something outside of writing. Last summer I acquired a jug-like vase from the in-laws’ shore house before they put it in on the market and I’ve been drawing Picasso-inspired images on it. I intend to paint them and coat the vase in a protective gloss. This is the only such project I have going on right now, but I’m sure if I trolled my Pinterest boards I could find a few things.
  • Top ten favorite reads of 2013. This one goes without saying. All of us writerly/bookworm types do one. I did one last year. And I’ll be doing one this year. I’ll find the time. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find the time for all of the above ideas and pepper your January with Top Ten lists! Be afraid. Be very afraid…

*Disclaimer: No, the irony is not lost on me that this is a list and I made time to write it and post it. ;-)