2021 in Review

There is a way of looking at this year that is triumphant, at least personally. But while I achieved some substantial and long-term goals, as I face the end of the year, my primary emotion is exhaustion.

This was the first year that I haven’t published anything since 2012. While I know that gaps are normal and healthy even, there’s some panicked part of me that feels like it was a year when I lost ground, but I know that’s just the 2021 speaking.

So in the last twelve months:

  • I finished writing and then revised Chick Magnet.
  • After that, I started querying agents. In April, I signed with Sarah Younger, and I can report that she’s AMAZING.
  • I then revised Chick Magnet again, and Sarah took it out on submission over the summer. In October, we announced that we had sold it (and another standalone contemporary romance) to Montlake. The expected publication date is early 2023.
  • Over the summer when I wasn’t frantically refreshing my inbox, I wrote about 15K for a novella. I also wrote proposals for Montlake, and, once they selected one, I began writing that book. I also worked to revise some things for rerelease (more news about that soon). All told, I wrote about 50K words in the last twelve months.
  • I read 58 new-to-me books.

All together, it was a year of sporadic triumph and daily struggle, which makes it pretty much par for the 2021 course. Here’s to hoping that the balance will shift in 2022, and we can all lean harder into the celebration side in the coming year.

(I’ve been producing some version of this post for as long as I’ve been blogging my writing. You can read about my 2020201920182017201620152014, and 2013 respectively.)

Things I Really Liked in 2021

It seems impossible, but it’s that time again! Time for my year in review posts.

This was a marginally more normal year for me in media. In less I sneak a few more in under the wire, I read 58 new-to-me books (see my Goodreads year in review here), not counting rereads, and I listened to LOTS of music. Here’s my Spotify top 100, though I think this is skewed by the fact I mostly listen in the kitchen, and so it doesn’t include the music that I really become obsessed with as I always purchase that. Some of the biggest, buzziest titles didn’t work for me, but the things that did really, really did.

I add my normal caveat that this isn’t a best of the year list, but rather, a list of things I thought were especially meaningful and cool. These are not in a particular order. And as always, you can look back at my previous year in review posts: 2020201920182017, and 2016.

Continue reading “Things I Really Liked in 2021”

Things I Really Liked in 2020

This was an odd year for media consumption. I read less than normal and was more meh about books and shows that, in regular times, I’m certain I would have loved. I avoided some big titles because I suspected they would annoy me, but despite that, I found plenty to enjoy and recommend in 2020.

As always, this isn’t a best of list. I don’t think I watched, read, or listened to nearly enough stuff to put one of those together. This is, instead, a list of stuff I happened to really love this year, and it’s offered in no particular order.

One of my most fervent hopes for 2021 is that I’ll be back to normal as a reader and viewer. You can read my best of lists from 201920182017, and 2016 for a peek at what more enthusiastic Emma looks like. ; )

Continue reading “Things I Really Liked in 2020”

2020 in Review

How do you spell “annualis horribilis”?

Oh 2020, you were stressful, frightening, and tragic, and no one will miss you. Before we journey on, however, a look back.

  • In 2020, I revised “Appassionata,” and, with my anthology-mates, released He’s Come Undone. The collection is now out of print, but if you simply must have my novella, you can obtain it here. I won’t leave this up forever, but in 2020, we all need free books.
  • I wrote a little more than 60K on a new contemporary romance. I intended to finish it months ago, and I wish I could triumphantly declare my writer’s block over. But…2020. So I’ll have to settle for diffidently telling you that I wrote 80-85% of a manuscript. I hope to complete it in the next week and to be querying by the end of January.
  • Between that book, revisions, and other scraps, I wrote approximately 75K, my best word count in three years. Despite…2020.
  • I also read 53 new-to-me books, my worst reading year in ages. But…2020.

Next year, my most fervent wish is not to have to write but…2021.

(I’ve been producing some version of this post for as long as I’ve been blogging my writing. You can read about my 201920182017201620152014, and 2013 respectively.)

2019 in Review

While it’s true that 2019 was a mildly better writing year for me than 2018 was, I continue to feel “off” creatively.

I’ve been trying to name the source of my writer’s block, per this wonderful post by KJ Charles, and to address the underlying issues that have stripped the joy out of my writing and frozen me.

Around the margins, it’s helped.

  • Genevieve Turner and I finished, revised, and released A Midnight Spark.
  • We finished writing Red Shift, which is currently marinating before we revise and release it hopefully next year.
  • I wrote and began editing a 25K short for a not-yet-announced anthology. Look for news on this in the coming year.
  • I also started and abandoned various projects. But I have two ideas that, at least for the moment, I’m excited about.
  • All together, I wrote about 60K and read 90 new-to-me books.

It’s not where I want to be, but I think I know how to get there, if that makes sense. So here’s to hoping that my 2020 year in review post is triumphant, and that it’s a year fecund with joy and success for you too, dear reader.

(I’ve been writing some version of this post for as long as I’ve been blogging my writing. You can read about my 2018, 2017201620152014, and 2013 respectively.)

Things I Really Liked in 2019

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, the moment just before we flip the calendar page when we can take stock and separate the good from the bad and the ugly. Here’s what I would keep from my media consumption this year , what I suspect I’ll reread, relisten to, and rewatch in the years to come.

As is typical, most of these things are recent releases, but a few oldies snuck it. Tell me what I should fill the gaps with in the comments; and if you need more content from me, see my best of lists from 2018, 2017, and 2016.

Continue reading “Things I Really Liked in 2019”

2018 in Review

amc look promo

First, the fun part: Round Midnight is currently free. Yes, free! So if you haven’t read this duet of retro Christmas/New Year’s Eve romances, now’s the time. You can get it at AmazoniBooksB&NGoogle Play, and Kobo.

Also, Star Dust won’t be free much longer, so click fast if you don’t have the awakening divorcee and the playboy astronaut next door.

Now onto the disappointments!

2018 was the worst writing year I’ve had since 2011. I barely wrote any new words, I spent most of the year staring at my manuscripts while dread galloped around my mind, and I felt defeated by my desire to be a writer in a way that I haven’t basically ever.

Continue reading “2018 in Review”

Things I Really Liked in 2018

As has now become my custom, this is my year in culture in review post. I’m posting it super early because I know I won’t get to read or watch stuff in the next month as I become a holiday wraith. (If you’re curious, I also wrote lists in 2017 and 2016.)

Below are things I listened to, read, or watched this year. Most were released in the last year to two years, though a few are oldies that I only just discovered. I tried to err on the side of more obscure selections, though a few popular choices slipped through. I make no pretense that this list represents the year’s “best” entertainment; it’s merely the culture I enjoyed the most in 2018.


  • Movement,” Hozier: it takes a few views to hear anything given the, um, visuals, but once you’re able to listen, the song itself is soulful, deeply felt, and dead sexy. Here’s to the full album next year!
  • Space Cowboy,” Kacey Musgraves: the title is a pun and it’s the perfect song for Dean and Vivy from Free Fall. But seriously, the entire album is gorgeous, grown up, and an absolute delight.
  • John Field, Complete Nocturnes, Elizabeth Joy Roe: I’m still years from being able to play nocturnes, but when I get there, I’ll start with Field. And maybe in a decade or two I’ll be able to pretend to play this well. It’s a lovely collection, made more special in that you don’t know it the way you do Chopin.
  • Redbone,” Childish Gambino: so I found “This is America” to be a bit glib (I know), but when it was everywhere, I dug into Gambino’s backlist and fell hard for “Redbone.” That Donald Glover has it going on.
  • Pristine,” Snail Mail: I almost, almost saw Snail Mail live this summer, and if I had, I would have properly been able to brag I knew about them first. I’ll have to settle for this instead: I love Lindsey Jordan’s voice and lyrics and I bet you will too.

Continue reading “Things I Really Liked in 2018”

Things I Really Liked in 2017

In the vein of this post from last year, here’s a list of things I really liked in 2017.


  • Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812, Broadway Soundtrack: while this show was on Broadway in 2016 and has since closed, I became obsessed with the soundtrack in 2017. Denee Benton’s voice is extraordinary and vulnerable, and the rest is a delightful mash up. Look for Russian themes in my upcoming work. /waggles eyebrows/
  • DAMN., Kendrick Lamar: timely, brilliant, and on constant rotation in my car.
  • Turn Out the Lights, Julien Baker: full disclosure, I didn’t love it quite as much as Sprained Ankle, but I can’t stop listening to it and “Appointments” is probably my song of the year.
  • Melodrama, Lorde: I didn’t like “Green Light” on the radio, but the album is an album, and much more than the sum of its parts. Perfect for writing heartbreak.
  • LA Divine, Cold War Kids: what do you know, people still write rock songs. The Bishop Briggs cameo is a highlight; she’s going to break out soon.
  • There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light, Stars: after a few subpar albums, Stars is back, and I loved every minute.
  • Slow Burn, Leon Neyfakh/Slate: this podcast about Watergate has given me a plot bunny so large, it’s like a plot hare.

Continue reading “Things I Really Liked in 2017”

2017 in Review


2017 was a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner. (Quick! Name that book.) It was a difficult year for me personally, but a truly awful one nationally and globally. I started here, you might remember, looking at the moon and bracing for the worst. Things never improved.

But despite that, here are some things I did in roughly chronological order:

  • I revised “Free” and in May, Open Ink Press released it in Sight Unseen.
  • Genevieve and I revised, released, and then pulled Star Crossed.
  • I joked about a 25th Amendment romance on Twitter, then with the support of a group of lovely writing friends, I wrote and revised “Kissing and Other Forms of Sedition,” which appeared in Rogue Desire in June.
  • I promptly wrote “The Fourth Estate,” which appeared in Rogue Affair in November.
  • Somewhere in there, Genevieve and I wrote, revised, and released A Midnight Feast in October.
  • Genevieve and I also finished drafting Free Fall.
  • I also started and abandoned several novellas, I worked on a contemporary series for my agent, and I read and made notes for several other projects.
  • While my pile of books authored grew, my total words written is fairly low. I only wrote about 100K.
  • I read 63 new to me books (and I hope to finish a few more before New Year’s Eve!), and I kept up playing the piano. Let us speak not of my jogging.

Next year will bring the release of Free Fall and another Fly Me to the Moon novella along with, possibly, the rerelease of Star Crossed. I’m taking a break from the Rogue series, but I might contribute to a future volume. I’d also really like to finish writing a new contemporary romance and/or a women’s fiction title.

Most of all, I want to stop feeling like I’m in mourning in 2018. I want to work more consistently and more happily. I want to feel like myself again.

I wish you and yours productive reflection on the year that was and, more importantly, joy and laughter in the year to come.

(I’ve been writing some version of this for as long as I’ve been blogging. You can read about my 201620152014, and 2013 respectively.)