The Start of Something New …

I have gone over and over what I want to say in this post. But I guess I should start with the obvious.

By the Book: Diary of a Bookaholic is no more. Other Worlds is no more.

I have transformed By the Book into a brand new blog with an entirely different theme. This decision was a long time coming. After a lot of thought, soul-searching, and prayer, I realized By the Book had to go. I started this blog a long time ago when I was very young and as I have grown and developed in my writing pursuits, I have also grown away from the blog that was primarily meant for book reviews. I tried to keep the blog (its name and its purpose) for a long time while also using it to talk about my passion for writing.

It didn’t work.

For months I wouldn’t even look at the blog, much less write a post. With the release of my latest novel Winter’s Light (The Winter Queen, #4) I didn’t even stop by to announce its publication. That was when I truly realized something was wrong here. I had no motivation to come by, not even to see if I’d had any recent visitors.

The same was going on for my Speculative blog Other Worlds. It did not receive the response or the results I was hoping for in order for me to feel it was worth my giving so much time to continue it. While that saddens me a great deal because I’d love to dedicate an entire blog to the promotion of a genre that could use the exposure, I simply cannot find the motivation to put so much of my time into it.

Something had to change. Recently, it seems everything is changing. Particularly with my efforts as an author.

Can change be scary? Absolutely.

Can it also be exciting & invigorating? Heck yeah!

I’ve realized over time that everything about my becoming a published author was rushed. I was twenty-three when all of this started. I was young, excited, and wanted to be published so badly! When a publisher showed interest, I jumped in. I’m not saying that was an entirely bad thing because, hey, I have five published books! Woo-hoo! What I am saying is that it all happened so quickly, I was completely unprepared. I didn’t know what I was doing which made it hard for me to build audience, platform, and promote properly.

Do I know what I’m doing now? Not entirely, haha. But I’ve got a pretty good idea where I want to start. Because that’s what I plan to do. I am going to start over. With the conclusion of my fantasy series, I’m ready to begin fresh and new with something that’s been on my heart for a while.

I am no longer going to base my style and themes on what other people want or expect from me. I am no longer going to conform my writing to what other people think I should be writing either. I am simply going to write the way I want to write–what is on my heart to write, and not worry about what people I don’t know or barely know might think of it. How that writing translates to the page, you’ll just have to wait and see and, hopefully, you’ll love it!

Am I saying I don’t care what my readers think or want? Absolutely not! I’m saying I was influenced too many times in my young life, before I was even published, into what others told me I should be writing or what I should be reading and, now that I’m older, I realize how stifling that was. How much it held me back from the stories I actually wanted to tell.

I have grown and developed from that girl who was so afraid of being judged. My stories have grown and developed as well. How I write them has grown and developed. This brings me to my next announcement …

You all know I consider Historical Fiction to be my primary genre. I still do. HOWEVER, my focus is now going to shift to the Romance genre and I am so excited!! Historical, Contemporary, you name it! I am turning up the heat, people, so watch out!!!

With this change, comes another one. I now have a brand-spanking new website and it is NOT a WordPress website! I decided to keep WordPress for my blog only and step away from it for my official author website. Want to check it out? Please do!

Click Here: https://www.ericamariehoganauthor.net/

With all of that being said, let me welcome you to my brand new blog: Coffee, Chocolate, & Romance: Turning Up the Heat on Every Page!

On this blog, I will talk about writing & reading romance and annoy you with my addiction to vanilla lattes & chocolate! I hope, with this new theme and this new start on my writing journey, you will be hearing a lot more from me than you were before! I also hope you will give this new direction I’m taking a chance and still enjoy visiting my blog.

I plan to post here at least twice a month, if not more. Check in to learn about my progress on new projects I’m working on and stop by my new website to learn about the WIP I’m working on right now!

Thanks for stopping by today! Happy 4th of July!!!

 

Next Up: The Romance Authors Who Inspire Me …

Coming July 25th!

The Old, the New and the End of 2019

Merry Christmas!!!

I can hardly believe Christmas is less than two weeks away! 2019 has been a tumultuous year for me. There have been equal amounts of tears and laughter this year, along with periods of grief and anger that made me wish to the heavens 2019 would come to a hasty conclusion so I could start fresh in 2020. That being said, I am sorry I have been so silent this year! I am hoping to blog a lot more in 2020 (I know, I know, I say that every year but hopefully this time it will actually happen!).

For now, I hope you will join me in looking back over my 2019 year!

Early in the year, I received a wonderful and overwhelming gift. My sweet, loving Me & MaMagrandmother made it possible for me to attend my 2nd ACFW conference. Shortly thereafter, this wonderful woman who I loved with all my heart passed away. I cannot even begin to describe what it was like, waiting for months after she passed to attend the conference, knowing I would not have been able to go this year if not for her.

Then, something beautiful happened. ACFW (America Christian Fiction Writers) often has a worship period during the meals they provide for the attendees. On the first night of the conference during the welcome dinner, we all stood up to sing during the worship. Standing next to me at the table to my left was a sweet older lady who kept glancing my way. Then, without a word, she reached across the space between me and put her arm around me.

Everyone–I kid you not–she was wearing my grandmother’s perfume. I nearly broke down in tears right then and there. Until that moment, I’d had a lot of trouble grieving for my grandmother. I have always been the type to grieve in private, but even that had been difficult for me this year. I thanked God over and over for that moment, because when that lady (who had no idea who I was or what I was going through) put her arm around me it was like my MaMa was giving me a hug! Finally, I allowed myself to grieve and I was so relieved.

This year, I suffered another loss. A friend who I hadn’t seen in a few years died tragically. I felt numb when I heard the news, because he was one of those friends you always think you’re going to see again someday, even though there are so many miles between you now. This added to the grief that made me want 2019 to come to a quick end. I miss him very much and hope he is at peace now.

This year, with as much grief as there was, there was also joy. I had another book release in June! Crown of Flames (The Winter Queen Series, #3) is now available to order on Amazon! I am so excited this book is available now, but also sad. Because this means I COF - 1have only one more book to tackle in this series before I officially close out my fantasy series and will no longer visit the land of Nfaros. I am hard at work writing Winter’s Light, the fourth and final book of my fantasy series. I’ve hit a few snags so far, trying to bring every character’s plot to an end in a satisfying way without leaving behind too many holes in the storyline.

Considering these books are made up of SO MANY characters, this is harder than you might at first think! I need to keep the story interesting while also tying up any loose ends from the previous books while ALSO creating intense situations for some new characters that were introduced in Crown of Flames. All the same, I am enjoying writing Winter’s Light and hope that, if I finish within the next two months, I will have a release date along with a cover to share with you soon!

Now I’m going to do some major self-promoting … 😉

That being said, have you had a chance to catch up on the first three books of The Winter WQ SERIES INSTAGRAMQueen Series? No? Why wait?

Catch up by reading Winter Queen (The Winter Queen Series, #1), Dance of Shadows (The Winter Queen Series, #2) Crown of Flames (The Winter Queen Series, #3) now! Want them the easy way? All three are available together on Amazon Kindle for $13.47!

Travel to the beautiful land of Nfaros and catch up with the fierce Sundragon sisters as they fight to regain their father’s throne. Journey with the courageous Jandry siblings across treacherous lands. And fly with the People of the Dragon over the Nfaros Sea in the first three books of my series and be prepared for Winter’s Light (The Winter Queen Series, #4)!

In September, as I mentioned above, I attended the ACFW conference, and what an experience it was! I was able to connect with some wonderful people AND I heard Frank Peretti speak! Along with his keynote address, I attended several amazing workshops and learned so much.

I was also able to connect with the lovely Laurie Lucking who was nominated for a Carol Me & LaurieAward for her novel, Common! I was so excited to meet Laurie because she has supported my fantasy series from Book 1 and has written beautiful endorsements for all three of the books for me.

She is such a lovely person and an incredible author! If you haven’t read her book, Common, then I highly recommend it! I am a lover of love stories, and this one was a great one! Not to mention it fell in the Young Adult/Speculative category, which I also love! As I say in my tagline: when it comes to genre, there are no limits. And I mean that in both writing and reading!

I met so many wonderful people at the conference this year and reconnected with some of my favorite people as well. I was especially excited to attend author Pepper Basham’s workshop! Pepper is one of my favorite authors and such a sweet person. She also endorsed my debut novel, The Lost Generation: A Novel of World War I, so when I had the chance to meet her at my first conference in 2017, I didn’t hesitate.

Speaking of The Lost Generation, have I mentioned the paperback is available on26536218 Amazon for $9.99? If you love historical fiction, then grab your copy now!

And speaking of historical fiction …

I did something else new this year. I wrote a World War II era novel. I finished it at a whopping 92,048 words and 350 (Microsoft Word) pages! It is currently titled The Good German Girl and I am so excited about it! I have stepped away from it for now because writing it was emotionally draining, but am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this novel.

I rediscovered my love for Historical Fiction while writing The Good German Girl and realized I wanted this genre to be my primary genre. That being said, The Good German Girl inspired several other World War II era stories that I have made a part of a series tentatively titled A League of Extraordinary Women Series.

NaNoWriMo WinnerThis led me to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time! And … I won! I wrote 51,346 words in November, beating my goal of 50,000 for the next book in my World War II era series in the month of November! What a satisfying feeling it was too, as I hadn’t written that many words in a single month in a while. I was very proud of myself and still am.

I loved participating in NaNoWrimo! I received so much support as I struggled through to achieve that very large word goal. I wrote even on days I didn’t want to write, and kept writing even when I felt like what I was writing was absolutely awful. As a writer, that’s very hard to do because I want everything about my story to be perfect. So when it’s imperfect, it’s hard to not simply stop and walk away for the rest of the day. NaNoWrimo pushed me to set a goal and stick to it and at the end, I was so very pleased.

Oh, and did you notice? I became a redhead this year! That’s right, I made the transition from brunette, to blonde, to redhead! And, may I say, this is my favorite color so far. Could it be? Have I finally made a permanent decision about my hair? Will I remain a redhead to the end of my days? You’ll just have to keep checking in on my blog to find out, I guess. 😉

Well, I think that’s all for now, folks. Thank you for stopping by and reading this incredibly long post.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! I’ll see you in 2020.