Writing Goals for 2021

Writing Goals for 2021

This is not a New Year’s Resolution for writers. I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions for anything. These are simply things I hope to achieve by the end of this year, because I have dogged determination to be a writer/author despite being in physical therapy school. I pretty much could not balance a single thing, which is why WHEN STARS DIE has been on a bit of pause with my publisher. In any case, here are my plans:

  1. Have WHEN STARS DIE released. I don’t know how possible this is, not because I can’t manage it, but because I don’t know what the publishing schedule is like for this year for my publisher. Perhaps a more realistic goal would be to nail down a publication date. Once that’s nailed down, the true work begins, and I’ll have no choice but to get my writing chops in gear.
  2. Finish THE STARS ARE INFINITE copy edits. I lost a thumb drive over a year ago that contained the original, final manuscript from my last publisher. Thinking it’d be in my gmail, I started looking through everything mentioning TSAI, but unfortunately I could not find the final Word document manuscript that I sent off. However, I did find one containing copy edits, and I’ve been going through that and making the appropriate changes as well as changes that tighten the manuscript more, ones that did not exist in the published version. I’m actually almost done with this, so this is entirely feasible.
  3. Start re-outlining ALL STARS ALIGN. Originally Amelia from WHEN STARS DIE was going to be the main character for the final book in THE STARS TRILOGY, but I did write out an entire draft using her perspective, and she could not resonate with me the way she did the first time I introduced her in WSD. I felt her story had already been told, and that story is over with. There is nothing more to be said about her. In fact, her fixation is with her younger brother, Nathaniel, and it’s hard to create a story from that, even though I do give her a critical role that only she can play in ASA. Nathaniel, on the other hand, was introduced in WSD, played a major role in TSAI, and his perspective has not been told yet. The stakes are so much higher for him because of his love for Alice, the MC from TSAI. So I aim to re-do the outline with his perspective and change the story entirely. I hope by doing this, it’ll reinvigorate my passion for this trilogy.
  4. Start writing ALL STARS ALIGN. I hope to finish the outline before the year is out so that way I can get started on the first draft of ASA. After all, TSAI is ready for submission once WSD is out in the world again, so, if possible, I’d like to have ASA ready for the same once TSAI is back out in the world.

So what will I do after my trilogy? Well, I’ve already outlined the beginning of either a duology or trilogy that I hope my current publisher will be interested in later down the road. I have borrowed from the magical girl genre popularized in Japan (America does have its own magical girl genre, though it’s not explicitly called that). Obviously it’s going to have to make sense within the context of a novel because magical girl transformations only make sense in visual formats. I also have a contemporary LGBTQ+ novel that I started five years ago that I may try to seek an agent for–or just stick with the house I’m with. I’m not quite sure how I feel about traditional publishing anymore, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out once the time comes.

When Stars Die: Chapter One

When Stars Die: Chapter One


So unfortunately Gnome on Pig Productions folded. The publisher had high hopes it would be able to push on through this COVID mess, but it was another victim in a long line of businesses that have had to shutter, so The Stars Trilogy will be seeking new representation, starting with When Stars Die. 

I will start seeking a new publisher (only two are on my list for now), when my books have been removed from all distribution sites, like Amazon and B&N. In the meantime, if any of you know other publishers that accept previously published works, I will be eternally grateful. I’ve already been through Pandamoon and Clean Teen in the past, so those two are off the table.

In the meantime, you will be able to read the first full chapter on Wattpad.

Looking Back on 2015 from 2016

Looking Back on 2015 from 2016

As I look back on 2015 and look down the sparkling maw that is 2016, I’m filled with much excitement for this year. Let’s look back on 2015 to see some of what I’ve accomplished:

  1. Landing a contract for When Stars Die with Gnome on Pig Productions.
  2. Passing my exam to be certified as a personal trainer.
  3. Earning my specialty certification in functional fitness.
  4. Starting the advanced level in ballet.
  5. Finally nailing those blasted foutte turns.
  6. Writing, completing, and publishing A Treacherous Flame. (Seriously, this is huge for me because I hadn’t written anything in a while.)
  7. Recovering from my eating disorder in April.
  8. Being free from depression for an entire year. (I’ll write a post later this week on what this feels like for me.)

Now here is what I hope to accomplish in 2016:

  1. Earning my group fitness certification.
  2. Finding a job as both a personal trainer and group fitness instructor.
  3. Getting The Stars Are Infinite published.
  4. Increasing sales for When Stars Die.
  5. Graduating with my BA.
  6. Moving in with my fiance and getting married.
  7. Studying for a specialty certification in nutrition.
  8. Having a full list of clients within three months, preferably before I earn my BA.
  9. Getting back en pointe since my shoes are dead and I screwed up my foot when I fell on it in pointe class.
  10. Building more muscle through ballet and crosstraining.
  11. Helping clients succeed with their fitness goals.
  12. Writing a novella (or novel, whatever it turns out to be) for Forevermore Publishing.
  13. Writing the third book in The Stars Trilogy.

These are all of my goals for the year of 2016. It’s a lengthy list, but I know I can succeed.

So what do you plan to accomplish in 2016?



Purchase When Stars Die at Amazon, Lulu, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble.

Manic Monday: When Stars Die Release and Other Things

Manic Monday: When Stars Die Release and Other Things


When Stars Die released on Saturday, and I literally did not have any time to announce this between work and catching up on schoolwork. For now it is only on Lulu.com, but guess what? You can get the paperback for $7.41! You can also get it in e-book format and hardback.

I will update you when it is on Amazon, as I know some of you will probably wait until then. But for now, I encourage you to get the paperback off Lulu because I don’t know if Amazon is going to offer the same discount that Lulu currently is.

In any case, here’s what it’s about:

The City of Malva is rife with puritanical hatred for witches. It is said they embody the Seven Deadly sins of mankind. Amelia’s only chance of saving her brother Nathaniel, a born witch, is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims. Enduring a series of trials including starvation, isolation, physical abuse and blood-sucking leeches, she will sacrifice all that she is to save him. Complicating all of this is the fact that Amelia can see what is lurking in the shadows. Shadowmen, seeking witches like Nathaniel to join their ranks. This group of Shadowmen begin planning. The results could be devastating. Oliver Cromwell, a dashing priest at Cathedral Reims, is the only one who can protect Amelia, her brother and save Malva. Yet, he may prove to be more dangerous than the shadows themselves.


In other news, I passed my ACE exam with flying colors! So now I am a certified personal trainer. I’m going to wait until after Christmas to seek out a job in this field since I will be flying to Texas with my fiance next month. In the meantime, I plan to get a specialty certification in functional training, which is just a fancy way of saying I’ll be extra qualified to conduct postural assessments, correct form, and improve flexibility.

I don’t think I’ll be able to blog while I’m in Texas, but I’ll certainly blog when I get home!

In the meantime, I’m going to be beefing up my fitness platform.


A Treacherous Flame

Free for Kindle Unlimited Users, 0.99 for all others






My Book Re-release Fears

My Book Re-release Fears

I don’t yet have a release date for When Stars Die, but that doesn’t keep me from being nervous about its re-release. I’m both excited and terrified, excited because my trilogy is getting another chance, and terrified because I’m worried about how successful it’s going to be the second time through. Here are some of my top fears:

  1. Sales. How are the sales going to be for my book? Are they going to be worse? Better? I want this book to be so much more successful than its initial release.
  2. Reception. Is the book going to be well-received? There are going to be new readers who will jump on board, and I’m nervous about whether or not it’s still going to receive good reviews and ratings. I know it’s such a shallow thing to concern myself with, but how the first book does will determine the course of the rest of my trilogy.
  3. Platform. Is my platform better built to help engage new readers? I know it could be better. I know I should be regularly blogging at least three times a week on WordPress and at least once on Tumblr–even though I have been uploading picture teasers on Tumblr almost daily. You always feel like you could do better, of course.
  4. Spikes. Will my book have any moments when there is going to be a sudden spike in sales? WSD unfortunately did not have that opportunity with my last publisher, but I’m hoping with my new one, it’ll see spikes in sales throughout the year. Some months your book does bad, and other months it picks up. Seeing a dramatic spike in sales from time to time is encouraging.
  5. Events. My publisher actually attends events and brings its books along. Will my book do well at events? Will it attract new readers? How’s the traffic going to be for each one? If I’ve learned anything from my job as a marketer, it takes really good foot traffic to get even one sale. And bravery.
  6. Excitement. Am I going to be able to drum up more excitement this time around? It may seem like I’m just after the sales, but I want the sales because I want people to read my book, to be able to enjoy it, to be able to take something from it. We authors don’t write for the money. We can’t. We do it for the love of the craft and the warmth we feel when a reader has enjoyed our work, wants to interact with us, and wants to become a fan. I truly want my book to change readers’ lives in some way.



  • I’m writing a short story called “The Treacherous Flame” that I plan to publish on Amazon and hopefully Smashwords. It’s going to take place in the Stars universe so that way you can get a general idea of what to expect for The Stars Trilogy.
  • I plan to blog three times a week: one post talking about my writing life, chatting about my favorite books, and a critique of anything I find in the world of writing. I can’t set any days, as I have to blog around my work and ballet schedules.


Turning Down a Contract by Kristina M. Serrano

Turning Down a Contract by Kristina M. Serrano

I bring to you a guest blogger named Kristina M. Serrano, who so graciously decided to take my offer up on what it’s like to have to turn down a contract despite high hopes and expectations. Enjoy!

It’s so, so hard. It really is. But sometimes, it’s necessary. You can envision it: book signings, interviews, sharing a story from your heart and soul with the world. The power is in your hands. All you have to do is sign.
And yet, you don’t.

Almost two weeks ago, I was offered a contract for SLOW ECHOES by a small publisher, but after seeking counsel from several knowledgeable sources in the writing/publishing industry and thinking long and hard, I turned it down.
The days it took me to make my decision were torturous. “Published” and “contract” rang through my thoughts, taunting, seducing. I’d waited years for those words, and they were finally here. I could finally act on that detailed marketing plan I’d whipped up ages ago. I could tell all of my friends and family I was finally an author, a novelist, not just aspiring. I could share my characters with the world. Almost. Almost… A signature away…

And then a polite e-mail of thanks and decline.

Aside from feeling like I’d flushed an accomplished dream down the toilet, the hardest part about walking away from the contract was how sweet the publisher/editor was and how strongly the publisher/editor felt about my book.
So why did I turn it down? Well, one, different publishers prefer different policies in their contracts, and I felt there were too many clauses that didn’t appeal to me to negotiate. Also, while the publisher’s in-person marketing plan was awesome (attending multiple events promoting their books throughout the year), it wasn’t coupled with a strong online presence, which is important to me and the failure or success of sales for any book.

Basically, it just wasn’t the right fit, to me, for SLOW ECHOES. If anything, this experience taught me that the publishing industry is subjective in more ways than one. If agents and editors reject fantastic books because “they’re just not the right fit,” authors should feel comfortable rejecting a contract from an accomplished publisher that is “just not the right fit.”
My faith has gotten me this far, and I’m confident it will carry me even further as I reassess my writing and publishing goals and continue the querying process.

Another important thing this has taught me: DON’T RUSH. I have been rushing since I was eighteen, and I’m twenty-three now, almost twenty-four. A lot of non-writers think books are born overnight and, however innocently, prod you with “you’re STILL not published?” It’s hard, I know (believe me), but take a deep breath, don’t be afraid to make difficult decisions, do what’s best for you as a writer and your precious book(s), and be proud of yourself! Publishing is definitely not a race against the clock. It’s a waiting game of patience and the right timing.

A successful author I know told me to enjoy the writing process before publication, because that’s when things REALLY get hectic. And that’s what I plan to do. Read great books. Have a ball writing. Dream of landing the right agent and/or publisher and attending my first book signing while researching and querying.
But, my, I’m getting ahead of myself again. Patience, dear child. Patience.

Kristina M. Serrano is an aspiring YA fantasy and paranormal romance novelist, singer, homeschool/college graduate, and ex cowgirl who has been thrown five times. To read more about her and her writing, visit her website (http://kristinamserrano.wix.com/author) where you can also find links to her Twitter and Facebook pages.

Losing a Publisher

Losing a Publisher

As some of you may or may not know, I lost my publisher, AEC Stellar Publishing Inc., back in December, thus putting When Stars Die out of print. At first I wasn’t hit too hard by it, even though its closure was completely unexpected. After all, it wasn’t in any danger of going bankrupt, which is why many a small press usually fails. So I wasn’t too distraught until it became apparent that finding a new publisher for When Stars Die was going to prove to be incredibly challenging.

Every publisher I subbed to requested a full, but they all ended up rejecting, except for one–and I ended up turning that contract down for a variety of reasons. You would think finding a home for a previously published book with a 4.31 star rating on Goodreads would be easy, but that simply isn’t true. If anything, it’s more difficult since your list of publishers is limited to those willing to take on previously published books. I knew I didn’t want to self-publish it. I simply don’t have the funds for it right now. Between paying off a car because I got in a wreck a few months ago with my former one, paying for gas every week, a cell phone bill, and paying off my ACE certification course, I cannot spare the funds to make self-publishing work for me. So it has been an exhausting, frustrating journey with loads of self-doubt.

I know authors who have had it worse, who have had to enact lawsuits, just to get the rights of their books back. Then ultimately they didn’t choose to put their books back in the market because their previous publishers tainted them, so I’m grateful that’s not the case with my book. I’m grateful for the opportunity AEC had given me. I only wish that it didn’t have to end.

Throughout this journey I kept constantly wishing my publisher hadn’t folded since it has been so painful playing the waiting game and wondering each time if it was worth continuing to pursue something that seemed out of reach. My writing life has been stagnant because of it. I felt like it was pointless to write. If When Stars Die couldn’t find a home, what made me think any of my books would? I even attempted copy-editing The Glorious In-Between, but I was filled with so much self-doubt about whether or not it even had a chance. Yet, I love the story and I don’t even .000000infinitysymbol hate what I’ve written. I couldn’t give up. When Stars Die is a story worth telling.

It’s difficult losing something that gave you such security, that thought your ideas were valuable enough to share with readers who will hopefully also think your writing has value. You begin to wonder if the publication of your book was a mistake, if you were ever meant to be an author or just some keyboard jockey typing out words that go nowhere. Well, the truth is that there may ever only be one publisher or literary agent who wants to give value to your words. The truth is that the book you worked so hard on may never see itself to print, unless you decide to take the path of self-publishing (and please do if you never fall out of love with your book!). The truth is that even when you find a publisher, being an author never gets any easier. And sometimes you’ll end up with a publisher that wasn’t your dream one but can become one. But then sometimes opportunities are handed to you, and you’ve got to know when the right time is to take them. collageThis is why I’m proud to say that When Stars Die has a new home! After contract negotiations, I’ll post a more official announcement on this. It’s been a tiresome journey, but something tells me I’m making the right decision by latching on to this opportunity presented to me months ago. I can’t wait to share more news of this and get back into the blogosphere.

For my writer followers, don’t give up. You are going to experience moments when you wonder why the writing life chose you, where you’re going to wonder why you didn’t pursue some other, more obtainable passion.

If you would like to receive the official news before anyone else, just subscribe to my newsletter!


Writer Thoughts Thursday: Writer Anxieties

Writer Thoughts Thursday: Writer Anxieties

kTHicdtAEvery day I am, for a brief moment (thank goodness), plagued by anxieties about my career as an author. As a poet, it’s just beginning, but as a novelist, it’s stalled due to the closing of AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc., forcing When Stars Die to become an orphaned book. Along with these anxieties, jealousy briefly pricks a minute hole in my heart.

I am not bitter that AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. had to close its doors. What I hate is that my novel has yet to find a home, despite every publisher I’ve sent it to requesting a full, then rejecting it. It’s like holding out a bag of Swedish Fish to me, then yanking it away. I received an acceptance–finally!–but the contract fell through, which was very unfortunate. Yes, my novel is with a publisher who allowed me to skip the entire process, which looks promising, but it’s still part of the waiting game I wish I no longer had to play. It’s been four months since I requested my rights back and my book removed from all retail sites. Other AEC authors decided to self-publish their books, and one received a contract from a publisher about two months ago. This is where jealousy pricks my heart and makes me wonder when or if my book will ever find a new home. I hope the publisher it’s with will take it. I sense promise, but I also cannot presume anything, just because the publisher took charge of the book instead of the acquisitions editor, who is actually the one who rejects or accepts a book.

It’s especially difficult when you detail the journey of your book, and when you talk about your rejections, those who have read and loved your book reassure you that your book will find a home–and then you wonder. It isn’t enough to have a decent amount of ratings on Goodreads with an overall good rating; the publisher still has to love your book to want to work with it. So this is just a lesson that you’re always in the same boat as unpublished authors. Always. Unless you’re Stephen King or some other massively popular author.

Unfortunately, rejection is part of the game. To me, it’s simply harder when you have two houses who wanted your book, one it was published with and another that didn’t work out. I would feel differently if When Stars Die had never been published, but I don’t, so I feel like the waiting game is much more agonizing than it is for unpublished authors. It’s especially agonizing, as my options for publishers are limited since not every one will take on a previously published book. I am exceptionally grateful for those that do. All beautiful, well-loved books deserve a second chance. I also keep in mind that publishers who accept books are probably just as anxious for writers to accept their contracts as the authors are for waiting to hear back from a publisher.

Luckily, I am keeping busy by writing, so it’s not as if I’m sitting around doing absolutely nothing. I’ve finished the revisions for 39 poems I’m including in my collection. I have chapter one outlined for the novella that will begin this collection. I have two places in mind to submit it to. I have two poems being published and appearing May 2nd. I’m also slowly copy editing a finished novel with two publishers–thus far–in mind to submit it to, though one publisher doesn’t want simultaneous submissions, so that will be my first publisher of choice. Reading helps, too, and I have been reading plenty of novels and poetry.

All I can do is keep carrying on. No matter what happens, When Stars Die will see itself back in print. I will not let The Stars Trilogy die.

Blog Schedule

Blog Schedule

I am finally going to get on a true schedule from now on for my blogging. Here’s what you can expect:

Monday: picture quote from When Stars Die.

Tuesday: serious topic on an issue relating to my personal life.

Wednesday: three songs that have inspired me as an author.

Thursday: a writing-related piece, whether it’s my thoughts on writing or even a book I loved or disliked.

Friday: this one’s a strange one, but since I love fashion and make-up, I’ve decided to dedicate a day blogging about my favorite fashions and critiquing make-up I loved or didn’t love–it is a facet of me, after all.

Saturday: a poem.

Sunday: guest blog post.

So this is the weekly agenda from now on. Expect a post later today on three songs that have inspired me.

Also, since I am wanting to do a guest blog post every Sunday, if you are interested, please e-mail me. I want the post to relate to my blog somehow, so send me a short summary of what you’d like to write about. It will also be on a first come, first serve basis. E-mail me at thedancingwriter@gmail.com

Thank you!




Deep Frustration: Publication Journey Part Three

Deep Frustration: Publication Journey Part Three


The intense frustration of waiting for a house to take my book is really starting to gnaw on my right hemisphere. Let me first state that I am SUPER grateful Crushing Hearts Black Butterfly offered me a contract. Frankly, this is still a house I want, but is something I will be thinking over now that I’m in a clearer mindset. I also want to admit that I am SUPREMELY grateful that Bookfish Books has let me know they’re going to get to my manuscript in April. Not a lot of houses will let you know the wait time. If neither of them choose to take on my book, I have Pandamoon Publishing I can submit to. I’d love to sub to them right now, but I promised Bookfish that my book is not a simultaneous submission, because it would be very unprofessional of me to withdraw it a second time. Plus, I am so impressed by everything they have to offer that I know my novel will be a good fit if accepted. You should check out both Bookfish and CHBB. I’m certain you will be impressed. Check out Pandamoon as well. They’re still small, but they seem to know their way around the small press business.

But I’m frustrated. Two AEC authors have found homes for their books. I will be honest, of course, that they are houses I don’t want my book to be with. I did submit to Cleanteen Publishing, but I later realized that my book would not be a good fit at all, simply because I think my book needs to be with a house that dabbles in dark young adult novels. Another publisher an AEC member was accepted by was an automatic write-off for me because it doesn’t allow you the rights to your own book during the duration of your contract. That was an immediate no for me. This isn’t to say the latter book won’t find success. Some authors are willing to accept clauses such as these–and it isn’t always a bad thing. If this author’s book is successful, who am I to bash this house? I have no right to. That house just isn’t for me, as I’m more conscientious about houses I think would treat my particular book well. This house wouldn’t ruin it by any means, but there are particular clauses I’m not willing to forgive. Others are willing to, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you’ve got to be willing to compromise, especially if you know your book will do well. Not all houses are going to be compatible with every book, and that’s okay. Not all authors are going to like the terms, and that’s okay. This does not make the publisher bad. They are simply working off models that are likely successful.

58406_4356548192591_1543439647_n_by_toshiro_girl-d5vtdmnMy frustration stems from the fact that it seems I’m the only one struggling to find my book’s place in the publishing world. And, of course, I’m impatient, waiting to hear back from a publisher I pray accepts my novel. If not, I pray the other house accepts my book. If not, I hope CHBB will give it another chance. If not, I’ll have to take a different path.

Frankly, I don’t want to go at this alone. My book has excellent ratings on Goodreads. Most of my readers have enjoyed it. If you’ve been a reader who has enjoyed it, it would be great if you could give my book a boost to any publishers you happen to stumble upon. In fact, give me recommendations for publishers I can submit to. I won’t accept any wait times more than two months, and that includes querying before being asked to see a full.

It’s frustrating because I’m doing all of this on my own. I don’t have a team of people helping me, guiding me, persuading publishers to take on my project, or anybody except for a few people cheering me on, hoping with all of their readerly love that my book finds something new. I suppose this is my fault for not reaching out to readers more, but I plan to change this. I have fans on Tumblr rooting for me, but I’m stuck doing this all over again, and it’s truly mind-numbing.

This sounds like a ranty, ungrateful post, as every publisher I’ve subbed to has wanted to see a full. I am grateful for this opportunity. It’s just irritating, almost jealousy inducing, that two AEC authors have found publishers in a snap while I’m still stuck with the waiting game. I’m proud of them. They’ve written incredible books AEC loved, and any other house out there should be envious they didn’t take these books on.

I hope all of you will help me out. I can use the support. My book is loved by readers, so I know there has to be a publisher out there for me that loves it just as much as my readers do.