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2016–The Year in Review

2016
From the loss of Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, and Carrie Fisher (among so many others) to the political disasters of Brexit and Trump, I think we can all admit that 2016 kind of sucked on a macro level. I had two procedures (one major) on my spine and continue to have chronic pain, but at least I’m (mostly) out of a wheelchair now.

However, it’s wasn’t all bad.

Recommended Reads

I wanted to read more than I did in 2016, but I still have some year end recommended reads that I’ve reviewed this year. I’ve joined the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge. Follow my progress and add me as a friend here.

  • I loved Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction, edited by S. Andrea Allen and Lauren Cherelle. It includes two stories by one of my favorite authors, K.A. Smith. Read my rave review here.
  • Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins was so amazing, I ran out and read a ton more of her books. There aren’t a ton of authors of color in mainstream romance, and she’s possibly the best of the best. Not only are her stories well plotted, she does her homework on the history as well. My review here.
  • Basically anything by Kait Gamble (I reviewed five of her books here, but I read even more) but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be Sins in the Sand. By the way, she just published a new book, Faking It, which I’ve bought and am looking forward to reading.
  • Basically anything by Alisha Rai (I three of reviewed of her books here, although I’ve read even more) but my favorite is Glutton for Pleasure.
  • Finally, one of my favorite reads of 2016 was Tamsin Flower’s serial novel, Alchemy XII. It opens on New Year’s Eve and continues month by month through December. (I was a beta reader for this series, and I loved every minute I spent with Harry and Olivia.)

Big Publication News

(Check out my Published Works page for a complete list of purchase links if Amazon Kindle isn’t available in your country)

 

Capturing the Moment

under-the-mistletoe

My first solo title, Capturing the Moment , and my first anthology, Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe were published and both have received great reviews!

 

Other Publication News

  • Intrepid Horizons, edited by Jessica Augustsson, included my story, Dumped. Blurb–A Unicorn’s (former) Virgin is left out as bait for a dragon, but things don’t go exactly as planned.
  • Rogues, edited by Delilah Devlin, included my story, Plunder.  Blurb–Sparks fly when the Caribbean’s most fearsome pirate falls under the spell of a sexy spitfire who’d rather send him to Davy Jones’s locker. I am working on a full-length novel version of this story, which will hopefully be published in 2018.
  • Coming Together Under the Mistletoe, edited by me, included two of my stories Kid Comet and an updated version of Baby it’s Hot Outside.
  • My essay An Expat Fourth of July was published by Long and Short Reviews.

 

Other Stuff I Wrote

  • Flash Fiction (for Wicked Wednesday) Dream or Nightmare
  • Flash Fiction (A Wicked Wednesday Top 3 story) Off Limits
  • Flash Fiction (for Wicked Wednesday) Keep the Shoes On
  • What I did for Lust, will be included in the upcoming anthology, Prompted.
  • Kid Comet, the third in my North Pole Chronicles series, was in Under the Mistletoe.
  • I further updated Baby it’s Hot Outside, was in Under the Mistletoe
  • For Love of Snow White was submitted
  • I expanded my first published story, Renewal, and submitted it
  • Lab Rats, was rejected (nbd, how publishing rolls)
  • Forbidden Territory was rejected (nbd, how publishing rolls)
  • I expanded Love is a Virus, and it was rejected (nbd, how publishing rolls)
  •  I wrote the first draft of the full length novel version of Plunder. (It sucks–all first drafts suck)

2017

My writing goals for 2017 are to finish Plunder and to write 5-10 short stories, including at least one more installment of the North Pole Chronicles.

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Recommended Reads: So Right by Rebekah Weatherspoon

so right weatherspoon

***This is a sequel. Go here for a review of the first book in the series, So Sweet***

I absolutely loved the first book in this series, So Sweet, and I rushed to the kindle store when Rebekah announced So Right had been published.  Heads up I’m going to talk about some spoilers. If you don’t like spoilers, click the back button.

Kayla and Michael’s story continues in So Right with the adoption of two puppies, the purchase of a Miami basketball team…and a completely bungled proposal.

basketball

The last two are the central focus of the book. Michael has always loved basketball, and was on the verge of buying a team in the first book. That deal fell through, but a scandal means that the Miami team is suddenly open for sale. Miami had never been on the table, and the changes create tension between Michael and Kayla. The purchase also shines a spotlight on their relationship, including media buzz critiquing their relationship (interracial, big age difference) and criticizing Kayla for not being skinny. (There’s a moment where she’s presented with a basketball jersey clearly meant for the skinny type of woman the team’s PR was expecting).

prenup

The other, bigger, source of tension between our lovebirds is that Michael proposes by giving Kayla a prenup. She’s shaken and incredibly uncomfortable with this. Not because of the pre-nup, per se, as much as it is about the fact that Michael didn’t do the romantic proposal first. He just went straight to that. Kayla has trouble finding her voice to get into it with Michael over this, and their relationship is off balance for much of the book because of it.

 

The reasons I got into these spoilers were because while I loved So Right, I feel like the ending was rushed and things were resolved too easily. The publicity around them as a couple and Kayla’s distance over the manner in which Michael proposed were really rich topics that I think Weatherspoon could have done more with. I think that Michael’s flaw felt real, and that it was an issue worked. But I wonder if that’s something that we’ll see come up again because like after one argument everything was fine.

It’s so refreshing to see a plus-sized heroine who doesn’t get magically thin, and who is unapologetic and confident. Giving her the obstacle of public scrutiny is something that, as a plus sized reader, I want to see her deal with further, and I hope we see more of that in the next installment.

That said, I really enjoyed So Right, and am eagerly awaiting the next chapter of Kayla and Michael’s story.  4/5 stars