Skip to main content

View from the Trenches:A Look Back at 2010

Like my good friend Joni, I've had a 2010 filled with lots of great reading, a whirlwind of writing activity, and high points enough to balance out the low.

This year has seen two new releases for me, a single title romantic suspense I was very proud of, Touch of Evil, and "Lethal Lessons" in Deadlier Than the Male, my first novella and offering with a new-to-me publisher, which was written with the very talented Sharon Sala. That book marked my first appearance on the Waldenbooks/Borders Group bestseller list, and an older book of mine, Triple Exposure, surprised me by zooming to the #1 spot on the Kindle bestseller list for several glorious days. (And yes, I was excited/nerdy enough to save a screen shot of my book perched atop Stieg Larsson's trilogy for that brief moment in time.)

In addition, I've sold two more books and look forward to publishing Capturing the Commando, my debut with the Harlequin Intrigue line, in June 2012, followed by Shadowed Dawn (Harlequin Intrigue Shivers) in September 2012. I've also produced other proposals, which are currently being shopped.

Along with a daunting writing load, I have just completed my second and final year as VP of the West Houston Romance Writers of America, where I thoroughly enjoyed selecting and booking speakers for the group's meetings. I did quite a few of my own speaking gigs as well this year, including presentations to RWA groups in San Diego, Orlando, Dallas, and Austin. And with an out-of-town relative ill, I've spent far too much time on the road, leaving me less time for reading, recreation, family, and friends than I've had in the past.

Though I'm happiest when busy, I hope to find a better balance in 2011. I also hope to sell a Labor of Love suspense project I've invested heart and soul and countless hours creating and complete a companion project to go with it. I don't kid myself. It's a daunting proposition in a rapidly-shifting publishing environment. With my former single title publisher moving to an electronic-only format, I am looking to make a change -- something that can be challenging at the best of times.

But I remain infused with hope, in love with storytelling, and invested in continuing to mine my words for my sustenance to the best of my ability. I'm certain that this coming year, like 2010, will bring both challenges and high points, and that I will continue to count the friendships I've developed (some of which began right here at Boxing the Octopus) among the latter.

Though this year in publishing has been especially treacherous, with its rapidly-shifting currents, this business has never been a business for sissies. One has to possess not only the dream, the talent, and the persistance, but the tolerance for risk and change (and/or a lifetime supply of Tums) to go with it. If you're looking for stress-free, if you're looking for security, you've bought into the wrong ambition, as my 2010 has definitely proven. But if you're looking for the ride of a lifetime and a shot at sharing your vision in words, Boxing the Octopus may just be the life for you.

May your 2010 have been filled with more highs than lows and your outlook for the next year be merrier than ever.

Comments

Mylène said…
For the past year, Colleen, I have been in awe of your creativity, productivity, and dedication--and that you STILL find time to share all of your wisdom on this blog. If you ever decide to use another nom-de-plume, it should be James Brown. Period.

Thank you SO much for all you have shared with us this year, and for this post, especially. The advice to go into this field not for security (financial or otherwise) but for the joy and muscle of it is something all novice writers, and writers in the trenches, need to be reminded of.

I don't know when you sleep, my friend, but when you do, I hope it is soundly and peacefully, knowing that you haven't held back, that there is mud under your fingernails, and that you are giving pleasure to readers all over the world.

Have the most glorious of holidays, and a great, sweeping new year!
Mylene,
Thank you so much for your eloquent words, and for sharing as you have on the pages of BtO this year. It's been a pleasure getting to know you, and here's wishing you the best of holidays and a prosperous 2011!
What Mylene said. Really.

Popular posts from this blog

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button": Did you love it or hate it?

Earlier this week, Colleen and I went to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the extraordinary movie based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved it. Colleen not s'much. (I was sitting there choked in tears at the end of the three hour film, so I only vaguely remember her saying something about "watching paint dry.") I want to see it again, so I'm trying to get the Gare Bear to go with me this weekend, but I won't be surprised if he reacts the same way Colleen did. The movie is long. And odd. It requires patience and a complete suspension of disbelief that modern audiences simply aren't trained for, so you've got to be in the right mood for it. The same is true of the short story, though the story and script have very little in common -- at least superficially. The story is very Fitzgerald (though it's not an example of his best writing, IMHO), and the setting -- Baltimore during the industrial revolution, Spanish Americ

APATHY AND OTHER SMALL VICTORIES by Paul Neilan is only good if you enjoy things like laughter

The only thing Shane cares about is leaving. Usually on a Greyhound bus, right before his life falls apart again. Just like he planned. But this time it's complicated: there's a sadistic corporate climber who thinks she's his girlfriend, a rent-subsidized affair with his landlord's wife, and the bizarrely appealing deaf assistant to Shane's cosmically unstable dentist. When one of the women is murdered, and Shane is the only suspect who doesn't care enough to act like he didn't do it, the question becomes just how he'll clear the good name he never had and doesn't particularly want: his own.

Stellar advice from literary agent Dorian Karchmar of William Morris

Stumbled upon this fantastic interview on the Guide to Literary Agents: Editor's Blog , which includes the following spot-on advice for writers: Don’t give in to internal and external pressures to try to find an agent before you’ve matured as a writer. The book business is very difficult and not getting any easier; most books that are published don’t sell well, and many careers end practically before they start. Write a book that only you could write, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Be more patient and more honest with yourself than you ever thought you could be. Find a couple of writers who you think are better than you are, ingratiate yourself with them, and start reading and workshopping each other. And ask them—beg them—to be merciless. Be humble and quiet while they give you feedback. Be prepared to cut, delete, throw away, put in a drawer. Only when you’ve got your best possible work—something that can stand up there with the best of whatever genre you’re working in—