Saturday, January 30, 2016
Happy Anniversary to Me
Searching the Skies, my first book, was published four years ago this week. (I started this blog/site a couple months later.) Looking back, I can't believe how I was stumbling around the e-publishing world in so many aspects. How much I've learned since then is arguable.
I like to half-joke that back then, I thought writing the damn book was the hardest part. Hahaha nope. There's promotion. Networking. Building a social media presence. Media kits. Getting people (other than family and friends) to READ the damn book. That one's still a struggle, not gonna lie.
Overall, I'd like to think my writing has improved since then. It's not that StS is *bad*. I've gone back a couple times to reread (though not recently), and there's nothing in there that makes me cringe in embarrassment. For the most part, it's light and fluffy, which also isn't necessarily a bad thing.
There are still a few bad habits I haven't completely shaken in four years. For example, look how many adverbs I've used in just this post. :P (Not to mention words like "still" and "just", which also need to go most of the time.) Today I was editing some chapters for Out of Orbit, and I did a "that" check. It wasn't pretty. I cut out about a fifth of them, but one would think I'd know better by now.
There have been some major lifestyle changes between the release of StS and today. When I wrote it, I was newly married, living in a shitty apartment (that didn't come with the marriage, we'd had it for a couple years by then), and back in school to change careers after I couldn't find a full-time teaching job. Now I have a new job, nice house, two kids, and quite a few more publications to my [pen] name. Writing, and everything that goes with it, has been frustrating at times, but I'm glad I've stuck with it. I don't know if I'll ever make it onto the NYT bestsellers list, or even make enough in royalties in one year to pay taxes on them, but it's a fun hobby that usually makes me feel accomplished.
Enough navel-gazing. Let's have some fun and revisit Searching the Skies!
Blurb: Brilliant military commander Geneva Greyson finds herself forced to choose between the excitement and adventure of her career and the aristocratic life she once left behind. In addition to a strained relationship with her parents, her decision is made more difficult by the attentions of two very different men who each have the ability to warm her heart and bring her great pleasure. As she struggles to find her place in the universe, she can’t help but wonder if there’s a way to make everyone around her happy while still satisfying her own wants and needs.
“I’m sorry if I made you a little homesick,” he said softly.
She tore her attention away from the dancing flames, startled by both the sound of his voice and his seeming ability to read her mind. “It’s okay. I probably needed a little vacation anyway.”
“From everything you’ve told me, I can tell you work very hard, though I wouldn’t have expected anything less.” He leaned back against the chair. “I can also tell that you love it and you can’t wait to get back.”
Geneva felt a slight pang of guilt over the idea that she could have made him think she didn’t want to be there. “I know the remaining week or so that I have left here will fly by, and though I didn’t want it at first, I guess it’s good that I have this time to slow down and relax a little.” She looked over at him and tried to smile, still fervently hoping that she hadn’t hurt his feelings. “And I’m glad that I’ve been able to spend this time catching up with you.”
“As long as you’re happy, Geneva.” He stared down at the deep red liquid in his glass. “You know, I was devastated when you disappeared so suddenly. I know we weren’t as close as we once had been, but I woke up one morning, and you were gone, gone completely from my life. I almost hated you for it, but then I realized that you must have had a reason for leaving. And wherever you were, whatever you were doing, as long as you were happy, then I was happy for you.”
His words to her were honest and pure and for the first time, she realized that no matter how far she tried to run, a tiny piece of her would always belong to the home planet for which she had shown so much disdain. She didn’t know whether to thank him, apologize to him, or pretend that nothing had ever happened, so they sat in silence for several awkward minutes, wrapped in their own personal reflections and the shadows of the darkening room.
Marcus suddenly jumped to his feet, disrupting the nervous tension that had settled around them. “Can I, uh, get you anything else from the kitchen?” he stammered.
Geneva did the same. “Marcus, I....” She continued to struggle to find the right words. “I’m sorry I didn’t realize what a good friend I had here until now. I know we can never make up for lost time, but I’m willing to start over again.”
The light from the flickering fire reflected in his soulful eyes as he nodded a tacit acknowledgment. She suddenly had the urge to hug him, and she took a step closer in order to do so. As he was considerably taller than her, she cautiously slid her arms around his waist, and he reciprocated the gesture. The crisp fabric of his shirt was warm from his body as she leaned her cheek against his chest, the aroma of red wine and expensive cologne mingling at her nose.
She didn’t have more than a few moments to rest comfortably before he moved back to look down at her. With one finger, he gently tilted her chin up towards his face and brought his mouth down to meet hers. Geneva almost felt strange at first as she remembered the boy she once knew, but she soon relaxed into kissing the man he had become. Their lips separated, and she tasted the sweet velvet of his tongue, no longer thinking about past missed opportunities, but future possibilities. She felt her knees grow weak as he kissed her unrelentingly and tightened her embrace, not wanting to let him go.
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