I’m interrupting the Snow White themed blog posts to bring in my annual year-in-review post! (I thought it was fitting since it is the last day of 2018.) In this post I’ll go over some of the things I did this year (as a writer) and a few of the things I’ve learned. Let’s get started!
This year I tried a lot of new things!
I was a part of the Entwined Tales series with some of my best author pals and I went to my first writing conference in Chicago. (2019 is already sold out, but it was the Sell More Books Show Summit for those of you who are curious.)
I did a bunch more events this year (like the Atypical heroine event with Lindsay Buroker, and my gingerbread house building session on Facebook Live) and have also had a BLAST with the A. M. Sohma crew who have been able to play Lord of the Rings Online with me! 🙂
Since I had both the amazing Rock-Star-Assistant-Meg and Myrrhlynn (my cover designer who has been stepping in as a temporary assistant for this year) helping me out, as a team we decided to host the Summer Reading Event and we also held a Christmas event/celebration as well–which included my very first International Giveaway!
Myrrhlynn helped me launch a Merch store with some seriously cute T-shirts, mugs, stickers, ect, and she helped get the K. M. Shea/A. M. Sohma Discord Channel off the ground, too! She also got me on Pintrest, and she is responsible for all the beautiful quote images you see on my account as well!
Besides all the new things, we still kept up some great fun from previous years!
For starters, in a very surprising twist, Merlin of King Arthurs and Her Knights took first place in the 2018 Hero Poll, shoving Stil of Rumpelstiltskin out of first place for the first time since the poll started! (You can bet he wasn’t happy about that!)
The fanart gallery has exploded with amazing and beautiful contributions from some crazy talented Champions! (Thank you!) And I also got some surprising results from the 2018 Reader Survey which will help me adjust for future events, ect, so a big thank you to everyone who filled it out!
In 2018 I also brought up a ghost from the past, so to speak, by publishing Royal Magic–book 2 of the Elves of Lessa series. It is a suuuuuper old series given that I published Red Rope of Fate in 2013, but I was thrilled with how excited you Champions were about it, so thank you for your support!
Which leads me into the second segment of this post, what I’ve learned…
I learned that while you Champions find things like the Summer Reading Event really fun, two months is perhaps a little too much fun. (Hence why the Christmas event was just a few weeks.)
As a writer I also learned that I need to perhaps be a bit more mindful of how difficult a project is going to be when I begin it. Both The Second Age of Retha and Timeless Fairy Tales have become…bigger than I first expected.
Second Age of Retha has become bigger just because the scope of the battle they are marching into requires A LOT more characters to balance, something I hadn’t quite thought through when I got started. Timeless Fairy Tales, on the other hand, is just huuuuge, and making sure all the threads connect can be taxing considering all the books in the series. (In example, in order to check one fact for Angelique’s first book, I had seven different book files open.)
Neither of these things are inherently bad, it just puts me through the wringer and is a little more challenging to write unlike my fluffier stuff, like Royal Magic. If I want to make it through this in a healthy manner, I need to be more aware of this so I don’t accidentally burn myself out.
In 2018 I continued the struggle of trying to get better at writing romance. I found a few helpful resources so hopefully I am slowly getting better, but it’s honestly a bit hard to judge. (Sometimes I just feel like I can make certain couples click better/more easily, ahahah.)
And I think that just about wraps it all up! 2018 was a really great year–thanks for joining me in this journey! But what about you, Champions! Was there any words of wisdom you learned in 2018 that you’d like to share?
I love your light, sometimes quirky, sometimes awkward, sometimes straightforward romances. My daughter and I read your books. I have never had to stop reading or wish I hadn’t gotton “that book” in the series because you do a fantastic job of keeping it clean and interjectic. My daughter and I appreciate this and always look forward to whatever you write next. We like how you have a variety in your main characters and how they use their strengths and weaknesses to overcome and save the day. Bottom line we appreciate all the time you invest into developing characters and plots. Thank you.
I’d love to see what resources you’re using to help your writing!
Erudessa Aranduriel says
In 2018 I learned that I find hope in the most unexpected places. I read the Snow Queen series during a bad time and they really, really helped. Thank you! I hope you have a fabulous year!
Dear Kitty – Happy New Year and I hope your Holidays were peaceful and fun.
I have one question. What is the Shimmer Conflict?
Also I just finished reading a story about Odette discovering the evil mirror in Verglas has been taken. Yikes! I love all of your stories and can`t wait to read Angelique`s trilogy. Thanks again and look forward to your reply. Gail
Merie Shen says
Happy 2019, Kitty! Please don’t wear yourself out– no matter what, your own health comes first. Artists’ rule of thumb 😉
And what I think about your romances? It’s hard to write a good romance that will “click” just perfectly. Even so, I can never imagine your heroes or heroines with anyone other than who you chose for him or her. I love how with each different romance, you sort of taught us a different lesson– for instance, in Wild Swans that love triangles can be tricky in that the lady could be happy with either man; or in Puss in Boots that love is something to which you have to commit and for which you have to take risks. In both B&B and C&C you’ve shown what can come out of forgiveness and redemption, and of course, I could go on.
So don’t worry! We won’t abandon you if your couples don’t “click”! Just keep writing as long as it’s in your heart to do so… but stay healthy too, or else we’ll never read what you write!
Debbie Healy says
I’m glad you’re seeking to learn and improve, but I want you to know I think you do the romance part well. You’re right sometimes there is more chemistry with some more than others, but that is life. It’s such a huge thing, trying to figure it out, because the world is filled with unique individuals with unique journeys that shape their identities. And even when you let us choose between Falk and Rune, which was extremely frustrating, it showed the truth that we don’t always have one choice that can lead to love.
Love your creativity!!
I also think you have done and are doing a great job with the romances, Kitty! Royal Magic in particular clearly marked how much you’ve grown, and you were already great! =D
If you find yourself struggling to get a couple to commit to marriage by the end of a story, one option that may help would be to bring them to a place where they agree to explore the possibility of a life together – so they’d be, in modern terms, dating instead of engaged, but readers would know that that’s where they’re inevitably headed, sort of like you did with Wild Swans. =)
**Wild Swans before the epilogue that showed which one Elise picked
Yes, exactly! Especially as the relationships start to form over shorter & shorter periods of time (Elle & Cinderella both had months, if not the better part of a year. Snow had…what, a month?)
Anyway, love your books, and the depth! I especially loved contrasting the relationships in the Elves of Lessa (5 years is NOT super old!!!! Lol) books. The dynamics are different, because the individuals are different, and yet you show that both are healthy relationships that will last a lifetime. Thank you!
I thought you have done a great job with the romances in your stories! Sometimes I get tired of having to wade through the struggles before the couples finally click – or one hates the other and avoids them only to later figure out how wrong they were. There was a series I read where the couples meet, realize that they are supposed to be together to accomplish something big, and choose to love each other. I loved that, no junk to wade through, just fall in love and do what you need to do. (I wish I could remember the titles or the author, but alas, I’m 59 years old with a poor memory!) Anyway, I wouldn’t change much, if anything!