The Year that Was & the Year Ahead
Eighteen is usually my lucky number. Both my kids were born on the 18th of the month, and other great things have happened to me on the 18th, such as finishing my first book. Treading Water, on May 18, 2005. The year 2018, however, hasn’t been the greatest year I ever had. As many of you know, I lost my beloved dad on July 12, after a very brief illness that came on out of nowhere (on my birthday, no less) and took him with a swiftness that has us still reeling all these months later. He was 84 and would tell you he had no complaints after an awesome run, but we weren’t done with him yet. Not by a longshot. In the last few months, my brother and I have been dealing with closing his estate and cleaning out our childhood home, the house our parents moved into 52 years ago this month. We sold it to longtime neighbors last week, and while we know it was the right thing to do as neither of us wanted to keep it, it was still another hard moment in a half year full of hard moments.
I tell you all this so you’ll understand why I’m running late on a few things and still trying to get my writing life back on track after six very crazy and difficult months. Creativity is a funny thing. It tends to ebb and flow along with the emotional state of the creator. Mine has been spotty lately, and as such, I haven’t been as productive as I usually am.Many of you have already heard the story about Fatal Reckoning, Fatal Series book 14 that’s due out in March, and if you haven’t, you can read it here with MAJOR SPOILER ALERTS if you don’t want to know what happens next. I had to come back from burying my dad to finish THAT book because I had a contract that required me to finish it. The good people at Harlequin were VERY accommodating and gave me three extra weeks to get it done, which I did, but it wasn’t easy to get back to writing especially THAT book. They say that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? Am I stronger? I’ll let you know when I figure that out!
Next up after that was the second book in my new Gilded Series, Deceived by Desire, which was due to Kensington Books on November 1. Except… I couldn’t. I just couldn’t do it something all new and complex at that moment in time. So I talked to my wonderful Kensington editor Martin and told him the truth—I said I needed to write something easy right then, something like Gansett Island. I couldn’t write another historical in this frame of mind (newsflash: historicals are HARD!) He very generously agreed to extend my deadline until Jan. 1, and I breathed a little easier. I have requested deadline extensions twice in ten years, both of them recently…
With that much-needed extension secured, I poured all my energy into my writing “home” of Gansett Island, and wrote Yours After Dark, which is due out on Christmas Day. I really love Finn and Chloe’s story. It includes something one of my beta readers said she’s never seen done in a romance before—I love that, of course. I think you guys will really like this new book, which will be released simultaneously in ebook, print and audio.
In the final accounting, I released seven new books in 2018. (Click on the covers for more info about any of these books.):
- Here Comes the Sun, Butler Vermont Series, Book 3
- Fatal Chaos, Fatal Series, Book 12
- Mine After Dark, Gansett Island Series, Book 19
- Outrageous, Quantum Series, Book 7
- Five Years Gone, a standalone that will have a sequel
- Fatal Invasion, Fatal Series, Book 13
- Yours After Dark, Gansett Island, Book 20
In addition, I finished writing Duchess by Deception, Gilded Series, Book 1, which will be out Jan. 29, and I wrote all of Fatal Reckoning, Fatal Book 14, out on March 26, and Deceived by Desire, Gilded Book 2, that will be out in September of 2019.
PHEW, I’m tired!
What’s on tap for 2019?
I’m starting work very soon on Fatal Accusation, which is due to Harlequin on March 15. I haven’t heard a release date for that one, yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as I have it.
At the same time, I’m also working on the next Butler, Vermont book, which will feature Lucas Abbott. I haven’t yet settled on a title for it, but here are a few that are in the running: You Really Got A Hold On Me, Till There Was You and P.S. I Love You. The last one has been used a few times before, so I’m not sold on that, but I like the other two. We shall see which one best suits the story when I get further into it. I have promised this book and two more Butler books—for Landon Abbott and Max Abbott, and then I am probably going to end that series to focus on some new ideas.
Speaking of ending series, Quantum will come to a close in 2019 with Famous, Marlowe Sloane’s long-awaited book, and I think I might’ve saved the best for last. I have an awesome idea for that book that I can’t wait to write.
I also plan to write One Year Home, the follow-up to Five Years Gone, that readers seem very excited about. I get a LOT of emails about that book.
Finally, I hope to write the next Gansett Island book, tentatively called Trouble After Dark, and the final Treading Water book that you all have been waiting (not-so-patiently) for since Coming Home was released in 2012. I’m very much looking forward to writing that book and can’t wait to have the time to really devote to more of the Harringtons, the family that started my author career. If I don’t get to that in 2019, it’ll be at the top of my list for 2020.
I’m hoping real life goes a little easier on me this coming year and I can write all of these books and maybe one or two others.
PLEASE make sure you’re on my newsletter mailing list at http://marieforce.com, the best place to keep up with the latest news from me, including info about preorders on the above titles when they become available. Also, follow me on BookBub. They are great about informing readers of new releases and discounted books.
I also want to remind you that we’re holding our Sixth Annual Reader Weekend in Rhode Island, June 14-15, 2019, and hope to see many of you there. This year, we’re offering a choice of day trip to either Block Island or one of the Vermont Country Stores. Find out more here.
I need to do a sincere shout out to the AMAZE-BALLS HTJB (House That Jack Built) Inc. team that supports me every day, and without whom, none of these books would get written:
Julie Cupp, my longtime friend, who is the chief executive officer and majordomo of my company and basically the boss of me. She makes sure I stay in my lane and focus on the books while she oversees just about everything else (including me, on occasion, especially when I screw up travel plans, as I do so often!) She also is fully in charge of my audiobook program and is the first to listen to the recordings. Sometimes (aka Quantum) she demands hazardous duty pay for this task! As I have audio-phobia when it comes to my books, I’m very thankful she handles that and sooooo many other things for me! She’s the best of the best. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a Julie Cupp in their lives.
Lisa Cafferty is also my longtime friend and my chief financial officer, who oversees things such as taxes and making sure they get paid so I can stay out of jail and keep writing. Lisa is my one of my absolute besties, and we have been through everything together. She jokes that she can’t write a letter and I tell her she wouldn’t want me doing her taxes. She is the math yin to my word yang, and I wouldn’t want to do this job (or this life) without her by my side.
Holly Sullivan is my former sister-in-law and also one of my besties. We raised four kids together and continue to parent our young adults as a duo. I’m so thankful for her help with so many things, including shipping the books and merchandise you guys buy from the store, formatting ebooks for myself and Jack’s House authors and for being the first one to read all my new books. We also lost Holly’s dad, Bob, this year. He was one of my original fans who read the books in binder clips and kept asking for more. We loved him so much and will miss him.
Isabel Sullivan is my niece and the queen of book plates, print book formatting and helping out anywhere we need her. I love having her on the team—and I like it best when she brings my grandniece Harper, who is now FIVE and in kindergarten, with her to work! I liked it better before SCHOOL came along and made it so Harper has somewhere else to be…
Nikki Colquhoun is Julie’s BFF and is in charge of hunting down pirates (those who would steal my books and distribute them online) and helps with registration for Reader Weekend among many other things that Julie asks for help with. We love having the original “Nicholas” on our team!
Ashley Lopez and her identical twin sister Courtney Lopes, also longtime friends of Julie’s, are our amazing “Designing Women,” who help with design of covers and teasers and anything else we need, such as holiday cards.
Kristina Brinton, a longtime friend and exceptional design colleague of mine, also helps with design of covers and teasers.
Jessica Estep is my crack publicist from InkSlinger, who has become such an essential part of our team this year. Thank you for all your hard work, Jessica!
Linda Ingmanson and Joyce Lamb are my go-to editors and are always so amazing about fitting me in when I come calling, usually at the last minute! You ladies are the best!
Jules Bernard handles advertising for me with so much good humor and wonderful insight. I so enjoy working with Jules, who has become a good friend this year!
Finally, my husband Dan holds down the home front and makes it so all I have to do (most days) is write and tend to my business. I really appreciate all he does to make things easy for me. A special thanks to my kids Emily and Jake, who aren’t kids anymore at 23 and 20. They continue to roll with having their mom write sexy romance under their real name and still think it’s awesome! Emily and Jake made me so proud this year with the way they helped to care for my dad during his illness and how they propped me up after we lost him. Love you guys!
Finally, thank you to my incredible readers for all your support of me and my books. I have certainly felt your love during this difficult year and have appreciated it more than ever. I have the best readers/friends, and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead in 2019. Thank you for coming along on this ride with me. I could not be more thankful for every one of you. Happy holidays to you and your families and all the best in the new year to you and yours.