It was the end of 2015, and I was staring at my list of goals for the new year. At the top of the list—though the list was not written in order of importance—was a string of words that was making me sweat.
Write and publish a novel in 2016
Seriously? I thought.
Seriously. It had been a bucket list dream, unknown to most of the people around me, for…well…pretty much my whole life.
To be fair, I’ve been writing random scenes and chunks of dialogue in my mind—and sometimes on paper or the computer—for as long as I can remember. In fact, a few months before I made the above-mentioned list I’d already written a novel. Or, rather, a novella. A saucy, steamy, unabashed(ly bad) stab at erotica that I pounded out in about four hours one night for the hell of it. I didn’t intend to publish it; I just wanted to see if I could do it.
I closed my computer on the characters I’d shoved thoughtlessly into those clothes-ripping, sweat-dripping scenes, and I left them behind.
The only problem? They didn’t leave me.
I woke up the next morning with one thought in my brain—a thought that wasn’t mine. It was Lathan Black speaking to me, and he kept repeating the same words: “That’s not our story.”
My husband had just made a huge career switch and we were in the middle of relocating, so Lathan had to wait. And wait. And wait. But the entire time he was waiting, he was feeding me bits and pieces of the story he and Grace, his indisputably better half, wanted me to tell. I scribbled the scenes down in the margins of my planner and made notes on my phone, but I didn’t think I would do anything with any of it.
At least not until Lathan—that obnoxiously determined man—stormed right in, plopped down next to me, snatched my pen, and scribbled Write and publish a novel at the top of my goal list.
So there I was, with that goal taunting me. I’m not one to walk away from a challenge.
On January 1, 2016, I started to write about Grace and Lathan. It quickly got out of control. By the beginning of March, I’d finished my first draft. I was overwhelmed by the incredible universe that had unfolded in front of me. I was in love with the characters who live there. I couldn’t stop writing, but the only person who knew was my husband. If I couldn’t achieve my goal, I didn’t want anyone else to know I’d tried. It had been a long time since I’d felt so passionate about anything.
The first draft became the second. And then the third. And then I knew I had to tell someone else. So I told my oldest friend, who became my first reader.
Black Wolf, Grace and Lathan’s story, is now in final proof form, awaiting my approval. It’s due out in November. My drop-dead date for publication is a few measly weeks away.
And I’m letting the rest of the world know about it today. I did it. I wrote a novel, and I’m going to publish it.
It won’t be for everyone, and that’s okay with me. There are plenty of books out there I’m not interested in. But this book? I enjoy it. Hopefully, other people will enjoy it, too. I’m looking forward to finding out. Even if they don’t? Well, I’m okay with that. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I can’t wait to do more.
Write and publish a novel in 2016
Sure. Why the hell not?
July 2018, updated to add: Black Wolf is available on Amazon along with its companions in The Black Wolf Series. Hard to believe that one silly goal from 2016 launched the universe that now consumes all my time. Guess I’ll always have that determined wolf, Lathan Black, to thank for that!