Today is the last day of 2012, and it's been quite a year for me. Last New Year's Eve, I had no idea what the year ahead would bring, and if someone had told me, I'd have laughed at them!
A bit of backtracking into 2011 here - I'm a big fan of Laurell K. Hamilton, though that was a more recent development. My husband, knowing how much I enjoy paranormal books, had picked up a few for me over the years, but I found I didn't have time to read them. And because the Anita Blake books are a series, I'm really anal about wanting to read them in order and I didn't have the first book! Late in 2011, I got around to it, and was hooked. I began devouring them, borrowing from the library, or buying it if there were no copies available. If you aren't familiar with the series, I won't spoil anything, but let me say that the heat level increases significantly around book 6. And I found I liked that a lot. When I was at the library next, I noticed that one of the categories in the catalog listing was 'erotic romance'. This was a genre I'd never heard of before.
By this point, we were well into 2012 and I discovered Fifty Shades of Grey. I'll admit - I loved it. And that term came up again - erotic romance. So I decided to start looking around online and discovered a whole world of books that I didn't know existed! These were not my mother's romance novels! I began to buy some and was even more hooked. Initially, I bought books for my Kobo, but then I decided to go right to the Siren Publishing website. At the top was a tab that read, "Submission". Out of curiosity, I checked it out. They accept manuscripts electronically with no need for an agent or representative.
Now a whole Pandora's box was opened! The ideas began to pop into my head and I decided to try my hand at writing an erotic romance. It took me a few weeks to reach the required 20, 000 words. I wanted to submit the story before vacation until I realized that I messed up something vital. Annoyed at myself, I left it until I returned from my trip. I fixed the problem and submitted the story.
A week later, the offer of publication popped up in my inbox. I was shocked, but super excited. It began a whole new journey for me as the summer wrapped up. Deciding that I could do it again, I began another book. And I wrote a mainstream novel as well (that's gone nowhere so far). As the release day approached, I got more excited and told a colleague about it.
Unfortunately for me, my colleague couldn't keep her mouth shut, told a few people, who told a few people...you get the idea...and the next thing I know, I'm hauled into the boss's office for a chat about my hobby. I do work in a profession where writing erotica could be perceived as a very bad thing, and my boss, and his boss, suggested that perhaps I needed to stop, because if word spread any further, it would be very bad. So just as my new career began, it seemed like it would fail.
But I'm nothing if not determined, and Michelle Graham was born. I had already had another book accepted by Siren and ended up needing to change the release date and rewrite sections because it referenced my other work, by an author who is no more. At that point, I was in the process of writing my third romance, but because of all the crap, I was taken out of that head space and had trouble getting back into it.
Thankfully, I broke out of my funk, finished the book, and have submitted it. I should hear sometime soon. It's unfortunate that I can't tell anyone I know because becoming a published author is a big deal, and an achievement I am very proud of.
Looking ahead to 2013, my second first book will be released on Jan. 8. Hopefully, I'll have the other one accepted and published a couple months from now. I've started writing another, and it's my goal to have at least four books published this year.
So good-bye 2012. You took me on an emotional roller coaster that I won't forget, and which has changed my life forever. Let's hope your sibling, 2013, is a little gentler.