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14 Things I LOVED About 2014

(For real though…where has the time gone?! It feels like only yesterday we were freaking out about the possibility of our computers not working on January 1st.)
(#Y2K #neverforget)
As we turn towards 2015, I can’t help but reminisce on all the amazing things that happened in 2014. Here are some of my favorites: 
1. Introducing the world to Rusk University.
Like Dallas, I have a love/hate relationship with football. As such I never would have anticipated how much I would grow to love this series and these characters. Is it weird that they feel like old friends? Like… I just want to hang out with them. All the time. 
2. On a related note, creating Silas Moore.
He was my first attempt at writing a bad boy, and I love him so much. He’s still actually a pretty decent guy, because I am apparently incapable of writing true jerks. But I definitely caught the #SilasVirus when I was writing All Broke Down. Hopefully you did too. 
3. Taylor Swift giving us the glory that is “Shake It Off.”
4. Reading some AMAZING BOOKS.
2014 was the year I became addicted to audiobooks, and as such, the year I was able to find a better balance between reading and writing/working. I started the year obsessed with paranormal romance. First I fell for Jeaniene Frost and the Night Huntress series, then Larissa Ione and the Demonica series, then the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, Chicagoland Vampire Series by Chloe Neill, the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, and everything by Nalini Singh. Then I moved on to historical. My first time ever reading historical romance and it was AMAZING. I devoured everything Lisa Kleypas has ever written. Sarah Maclean too. Also Tessa Dare and Sabrina Jeffries. I also took the time to get back to my YA roots. The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas blew my mind this year. As did the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. And I said goodbye to several favorite series including The Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout and the Embrace series by Jessica Shirvington. And of course… I read some fantastic NA books this year. This is the year I became even more obsessed with Samantha Young (seriously, she can do no wrong). I fangirled all over Christina Lauren. I read more from the consistently fabulous KA Tucker, Jay Crownover, Monica Murphy, and J. Lynn. And discovered some new favorites like Deeper by Robin York, Boomerang by Noelle August, When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill,  and Chase me by Tessa Bailey (I’m totally obsessed with her too. She’s the only author this year that I badgered to give me books early because I JUST COULDN’T WAIT). And now I’m ending the year with an AMAZING read by Caisey Quinn called Leaving Amarillo that just might end up being my favorite of the entire year (if I finish it before midnight). 
5. Meeting so many amazing people in so many amazing places.

I got to go to some fabulous places in 2014.
San Diego. Las Vegas. Baltimore. New York. San Antonio. New Orleans. Edinburgh. Dublin. Orlando. Des Moines. Miami. Nashville. Denver. And probably even more that I’m forgetting. I went so many places it’s hard to keep track of when they all happened. I got to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones. I met readers who loved my characters as much as I do, who talked Harry Potter/Dr. Who/All the nerdy things with me, who continually reminded me of how blessed I am to do what I love. I met some authors that I’ve admired for a long time. Sarah J. Maas? Totally fangirled all over her. Nalini Singh? Her too. Maria V. Snyder? I was very nearly speechless. Certainly quite awkward. I’m just gonna declare 2014’s official hashtag as #whatislife because I asked myself that on numerous occasions. I’ve always wanted to travel. And I can vividly remember my junior year in college when I decided to study abroad. I threw all my money and effort into making that trip happen because I was convinced it was my only shot. I’d prepared myself for a life as a starving artist, and I told myself that if I could just have that one adventure that maybe it would sustain me through all the rest of my years when my wanderlust would be stifled. It still blows my mind that I now get to travel for my job. That I travel so much I recognize flight attendants and TSA agents. 

6.  Writing stuff like this:

7.  Literally everything that Benedict Cumberbatch did.
 But especially his quadruple Ice Bucket Challenge. *drools*
8. Getting to spend another year with Kitty Katniss. 
ISN’T SHE PRECIOUS? #crazycatlady
9.  Making my return to fantasy with INSPIRE.

Most people don’t know this… but Losing It was the first time I ever wrote a contemporary story. Ever. Before that, I’d only written fantasy. For five years I wrote fantasy, and Losing It was just an itch I needed to scratch. It was a wonderful surprise and adventure when that book did as well as it did, and it set my life on a course I never could have imagined. I’ve loved each and every book I’ve written since then, but I spent a great deal of time missing fantasy. I love writing romance. I love writing about characters figuring out who they are and what they want to do with their life. But I also love that extra something special and unique that comes with writing a story that’s not quite realistic. I got to return to my first love with INSPIRE, melding the supernatural and mythology with the story of two people falling in love. And I cherished every moment. Thank you so much to those who took that leap with me and gave that new book a chance. I cannot put into words how much I appreciate it. Publishing that book fulfilled a dream I’ve had for many, many years. 

10. Crossing this rope bridge in Northern Ireland (and not dying!)
11.  Binge-watching Orphan Black (and subsequently forcing everyone I know to do the same.)
12. Getting to discuss my very favorite chapter of Order of the Phoenix on Alohomora, the Harry Potter podcast from Mugglenet!
 Seriously… *pinch me* I can’t believe that actually happened. 
13. Writing stuff like this:
14.  The final thing I loved about 2014 was the way time flew by.

Seriously, this year passed so quickly that I kept getting confused between what was 2014 and what was 2013 when I wrote this post. And time only flies like that when you’re having fun. And while a career as an author means working crazy hours and traveling a lot and promoting until you feel like one of those inflatable flailing arm dudes just crying out in desperation, “BUY MY BOOK! PLEASE BUY MY BOOK!”, it is also the most fun I’ve ever had. It’s insane that I get to tell stories for a living. Because I spent so long just telling them for myself. And I still cannot believe that I get paid to do this.  And I’m just grateful to have had another year. Especially at a time when sales numbers are down and authors across the board are struggling, I’m thankful for all 365 days that I got to do what I loved. And I have my fingers crossed for 365 more. 

And now… a 15th thing to look forward to for 2015! 
I am so excited for so many of the projects I have coming in 2015! I’ve got several things in the works that I’m really excited about, but here’s a couple things I can tell you about now! 
There’s book 2 in the Muse series (sequel to INSPIRE):
Release date TBA, but mostly likely in the first half of the year. 
There’s also ALL PLAYED OUT coming in May! And I’m sooo excited for everyone to spend a little more time with Torres and Nell. I am obsessed with them. So here’s a little teaser from APO: 
“What is that?” I ask.
“A bad decision.”
“Then why are you making it for me?”
He shoots me a lopsided smile, and I’m forced to acknowledge that maybe the warmth creeping up my neck has far less to do with alcohol than I wish it did. “No, sweetheart. It’s called a bad decision. The drink. It’s my own special invention.”  
He hands me the cup, and I stare at it warily. He moves closer to me, nudging the cup closer to my mouth with his finger.
“Why should I trust you?”
He seems to enjoy my suspicion.
“Always gotta fight me. Just try it. It’s sweet. I guarantee you’ll like it much better than the beer.”
I take a deep breath, think of my list, and then lift it to my mouth. The flavor curls over my tongue, tangy and sweet. “I can’t even taste the alcohol,” I say.
He smiles. “That’s why it’s called bad decision. Because too many of those will sneak up on you.”
I take another drink, simultaneously watching him lift a beer, my old beer, to his lips. If you’d described the scene to me two weeks ago, my first thought would have been ew, germs. Now… it makes my mouth go dry, and I find myself watching his mouth long after he lowers the bottle. I clear my throat and take another sip to wet my inexplicably parched throat. I don’t know why anyone would choose beer over something like this. I tell him, “It’s really good. Thank you.”
He’s looking away from me and out at the party as he says, “For you, Nell, I’ll make as many bad decisions as you want.”
Then his gaze tracks back to mine, and he winks, and I know if I touched my skin now, it would be burning. 
(You can pre-order All Played Out on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iBooks, and you can add it on Goodreads too!) 
Thanks for another fabulous year! And may 2015 be just as awesome. May we all be a little happier, a little kinder, more understanding, more daring, and more true to ourselves. 
In Awkward Love <3,


  • Bethany

    January 7, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    YAAAAAAY! Yes to all of these things! Especially BC’s ice bucket challenge. And Orphan Black. AND THAT ROPE BRIDGE. YAASS.


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  • Caryn Caldwell

    January 10, 2015 at 7:19 PM

    Wow! Looks like you did have a good year! That rope bridge looks crazy. And I’m with you on the wonders of audiobooks. Kind of nice to be able to read and do dishes/exercise/drive at the same time.


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