The Everlasting Yea

As of this weekend, I have finished a book. On my own. As in it’s done and I don’t hate it.


This was one of those things I had started to suspect would never happen again until it did.

Bear with me while I speak purposefully obtusely: for two years in my professional life (both with writing and my day job), I’ve heard no a lot. A lot a lot. To the point where it had begun to feel like all the doors weren’t merely closed, but locked.

I have no evidence the doors will open now, but finishing a book feels like scoring a point back from what Thomas Carlyle calls the everlasting nay (everyone’s read Sartor Resartus, right?); it feels like I’ve finally moved back toward the everlasting yea:

Oh, thank thy Destiny for these; thankfully bear what yet remain: thou hadst need of them; the Self in thee needed to be annihilated. By benignant fever-paroxysms is Life rooting out the deep-seated chronic Disease, and triumphs over Death. On the roaring billows of Time, thou art not engulfed, but borne aloft into the azure of Eternity. …This is the EVERLASTING YEA, wherein all contradiction is solved: wherein whoso walks and works, it is well with him.

Romance is a genre that’s about the everlasting yea. And writing words, even when it feels small, is always optimistic, always hopeful. The world can use some positivity right now. We all need more yes.

PS I wrote the last 20K words of the book while listening to Julien Baker’s amazing album Sprained Ankle on repeat, specifically the track “Something.” If you like progressive folk/indie rock, give it a spin. The songs are sad, but lovely and insightful. I highly recommend it.

PPS Genevieve and I are going to send another newsletter on Wednesday that includes one of my all-time favorite deleted scenes. (Seriously, cutting it out of Earth Bound made me gnash my teeth.) If you aren’t on our mailing list, get on it!

PPPS Carina Press is running a 30% sale on all the books at their site, which includes The Easy Part series (my DC-set political romances). The deal is good through July 31; use the code RWA3016 when you check out. My Carina books rarely if ever go on sale, so if you’ve been waiting, get ’em now for less.


Things That Make Me Happy…

…include finishing books.

Party Lines The End

Last week, I typed the words “the end” on the third book in The Easy Part series. Last night, I connected the dots and truly tied all the pieces of the manuscript together. It (Party Lines) still needs a massive amount of work, but there is a finished first draft. (ETA: for tiny spoilers, here’s the Pinterest board for the book.)

It’s the fifth book I’ve completed but the first time I’ve finished a series. There was a moment in the spring when I was promoting Special Interests, editing Private Politics, and writing Party Lines, and for the first time, I felt like an author and not merely someone who dabbles with words.

I have more thoughts about that, and about how I write, but, given the number of words I produced in the last week, I’m going to retreat to my cave and catch up on some sleep before my next deadline.


True Favorite Words

The EndSo I lied when I listed my favorite words. You’re shocked, I know. But I left two off. My two favorite words are “the end.” Only when used together of course. They don’t much for me separately. But as a pair they are magic.

I spent NaNoWriMo last year writing a book that I’ve been calling The Easy Part (the title is going to change; stay tuned). Then I sold that book to Carina. I realize you’re probably not supposed to say this but it was a fairly straightforward book to write. I understood Millie and Parker so well. I understood the conflict between them. I understood so many of the major scenes. The book feels like a movie in my head, one that I needed to figure out how to pour onto the page.

That isn’t to say I always achieved what I wanted to in terms of the writing. Oh no. It fails in ways too various and sundry to list here. And revising that book was difficult and circular and I’m not half-certain I did it well. But my main concern in writing the first draft was always, “Am I achieving my vision?” Not “what happens next?” or “is that what he would do?” The problem, in other words, was one of translation.

This spring, I started the sequel to The Easy Part, which features two minor characters from it. I felt strongly that they should be together. But when I told anyone about it, the response was always, “Really?” Adamant, I strode out…only to get stuck in the mire.

This was not an easy book to write. Writing on a deadline was scary. Writing with a more limited sense of audience was scarier. Writing and revising at the same time was the scariest. But yesterday, I typed “the end.” Today I skimmed through it and finally felt the words. And at some point next year (or whenever it releases), you’ll be able to read through the crazy, scandalous, opposites-attract story. Please come back then and let me know how I did.

Beautiful Words


I realized that I never did a happy dance when I finished The Easy Part. Last week, I rewrote the last 5,000 words, so I’ll go ahead and do that happy dance now. There’s still a smidgen more revision to do but mostly, I’m waiting to hear about queries and working on sequels for Brave in Heart and The Easy Part. I’d like to have opening chapters that I don’t actively hate soon.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

The first draft of Brave in Heart is complete. Here is a teensy-weensy teaser of the conclusion. Aren’t “the end” the most beautiful words in the English language?

Brave in Heart has been entered in the Novellas Need Love Too contests. Because, yes, I have a a contest entering problem. But also, I crave feedback deep in my soul.

I’d like to finish The Easy Part during NaNoWriMo — and yes, I know it’s not technically within the rules to to finish something you’ve already started, but oh well — and then start the second book in the Dauntless Love series in December.

Writing life is good.