Happy New Year all!
I have a confession – I took a month off. December to be exact. Not all of it, but most. I hadn’t intended on doing that. What I had intended was to put the nose to the grindstone, get lots of writing done while on vacation from the day job over the holidays and make massive headway on A HINT OF SCANDAL, the last book in the SINS & SCANDALS Series.
I did none of those things. I tried, but my brain kept sputtering out. My attention span ambled off to parts unknown. My drive to put said nose to said grindstone took a lengthy hiatus. None of these things seemed inclined to return with any kind of swiftness. Their departure left a bit of a gaping hole I was having difficulty filling. At first, I tried to force the issue. Demanded my get up and go hustle on back and get itself back to work. A demand that was summarily rejected and overruled by my brain that wanted to muck about and…play.
We have no time to play! We have a deadline for crying out loud! I stamped my foot, fired off my most withering death glare and waited for everyone to fall back in line.
Nothing happened. Nada. Zip. I was politely informed that everyone was taking a vacation. Starting now. This moment. And until further notice. Negotiations ensued. I offered them a week, they suggested six months. I countered with a week and two days. They reminded me that I was running on fumes, that I was neglecting a million other important things and focusing only on one. I reminded them that we had worked really hard to get where we are and had to keep it up or lose it all. They suggested my catastrophic thinking was a little ridiculous and short-sighted. It went back and forth until finally we came to an agreement: I would take off the month of December. We would all get back to work once the holidays were over. We would finish the book.
Then I would take six months off and work on something completely different. Write a the book I had been percolating for months on end that was far outside my wheelhouse. I would rediscover the creativity and play of venturing into foreign territory without a compass.
And so here we are – back to work after a much needed mental break (I hate it when my brain is right…) and looking forward to finishing A HINT OF SCANDAL then diving off the edge into a creative pool to learn how to swim again.
I’ve been a bit hesitant to write this post, worried how it may be received, knowing once I’ve committed to this there will be no excuse, no turning back. I’ll have accepted the challenge and it will be full steam ahead. Which is a bit daunting and a whole lot scary but, deep inside, I know it is the right thing to do at this point in my writing career.
So here’s the deal: I’m taking a break from writing historical romance.
Ack! Breathe, Kelly…breathe…
Let me explain. For over 15 years now, I’ve been writing western and regency historical romance and I have enjoyed it immensely. Who doesn’t love cowboys and dukes and rakes and outlaws? I’ve had a blast with my heroes and heroines and their stories and it’s been a great privilege having the opportunity to share them with you, the reader.
But I have now reached a point in my creative journey where I need to challenge myself beyond where I am now. To stretch my creative muscle in other areas and learn new things, new techniques, new styles that will help me become a better storyteller.
Where will this journey take me? Honestly, I have no idea. None. (Did I mention the daunting, scary part?) All I know is that I feel this need to push myself, to try something completely different. I’m going to wander a bit, traipse down the road less traveled, likely veer off in directions I haven’t taken before, loop back around a time or two and become completely lost along the way. That’s okay. A little adventure is good for the soul.
What does this mean for THE SINS & SCANDALS SERIES? Nothing, really. I will be completing the series first before I start wandering. Book 7, THE SWEETEST SIN, will be released August 9th, followed by a Book 8 (novella), A MOST SCANDALOUS CHRISTMAS in December 2016. The final full-length novel, A HINT OF SCANDAL will be out in Spring 2017. There is another novella in the series, however it doesn’t follow in sequence but rather deals with Madame Opal St. Augustine from Book 1, AN INVITATION TO SCANDAL. I’ve always wondered what happened to her and eventually plan to tell her story, but not right away.
I have a few ideas of where I plan to wander. I started a contemporary romance/women’s fiction story years ago and I have always wanted to go back and finish it. So that’s my plan to start with and then…well, then the adventure begins.
I’m taking approximately 5 months off to spend writing whatever I want. Whatever will help me improve my craft, stretch creatively and push myself outside of my comfort zone.
Am I giving up historical romance forever? No. I have a few more historical series I want to write (those Caldwell sisters keep bugging me to tell their stories), a contemporary series that may spin off the one I mentioned above, and maybe something completely different that I learn about while doing all that stretching and growing during my hiatus from structured, planned writing.
I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
But first — I’m preparing for the release of THE SWEETEST SIN (Aug) and my Harlequin Historical novella, CHRISTMAS IN SALVATION FALLS (Sep) and also writing the first draft of A MOST SCANDALOUS CHRISTMAS.