I’m happy to report Fierce Females in Television: A Cultural History is done and in to my editor. Now I finally have time to tell you about a special project I’ve been involved with for the last few months.
I’ve been working with Ky Bragdon and a team of amazing people to create and market the first fundraiser for the Kyndness Foundation, of which I’m also a founding board member. Our fundraiser is a set of two 16-month calendars that cover 2023 and the first half of 2024. All of the models are female-presenting TikTok influencers. One is sweet and one is spicy. The sweet one is more modest and the spicy one is, well, spicier (but no full nudity).
And I’m Miss May 2024 on the Sweet Calendar! I’ve kind of always wanted to be a calendar girl, truth be told. But I hadn’t yet found a way to do it that wouldn’t harm either of my jobs. That’s why I chose the sweet calendar.
The calendars are $20 each and all funds are going to charity. We are splitting all funds equally between Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, LGBTQ Freedom Fund, and The Born This Way Foundation. You also have the option to donate instead of or in addition to purchasing.
If you’re interested, please purchase soon, as they are going quickly! (We don’t know yet if or when they will order more.)
In 2021 I told myself I would work like a maniac for two years (2021 included) in order to build my career. I’ve done that in spades and I’m not going to lie, I’m exhausted. I can’t keep going the way I am and hope to live to write all the books I want to. That’s why I want 2023 to be all about me–not in a selfish way, but in a self-care, finding balance kind of way.
I picked my Word of the Year several weeks ago after a phone call with my agent in which she begged me (her word) to slow down. She made me promise not to write anything new until at least April so that I can focus on marketing and give my creative self a break. The moment I realized someone had given me permission to stop working at a breakneck pace, I felt so much peace come over me. My muscles unclenched and started thinking of things I want to do for fun. (Remember that concept?)
So that is why my 2023 Word of the Year is health. I’m going to focus on my physical health by eating right and making time to work out; my mental health my slowing down on the writing and doing some things just for fun; and my spiritual health by praying and meditating more and reading related books that interest me.
Now, that being said, you know I am not one to let moss grow and I have lots of books coming out in 2023, so here are my writing and personal goals:
Edit Catherine’s Mercy
Do additional marketing for Sex and the City
Market and successfully release:
Raising Our Voices (the League of Women Voters book)
America’s Forgotten Suffragists
The project I haven’t talked about yet
The Arthurian Ethics book (if published in 2023)
Fierce Females in Television (if published in 2023)
Revolutionary War book (started)
1920s book (research started)
Stretch goal: WWII (halfway done)
Attend the Historical Novel Society Conference in June
Speak as a member of the Missouri Speaker’s Bureau
Learn how to better use TikTok
Continue writing poetry
Lose about 70 lbs
Get into a habit exercise and healthy eating
Pay down debt (I promised my Chicago friends I would move there by the end of 2024)
Get reaquatinted with my spiritual side
Celebrate 20 years at my day job and keep it until I can write full time
As for fun: go see more concerts (Placebo in April in Chicago!), theatre (Les Mis and Six this month!), dance, get into gaming again (maybe on Twitch?), etc.
And yes, this is me slowing down! 😉 Obviously, I have no idea what the year will bring, but I’m looking forward to seizing every opportunity and being grateful for every day and every blessing I’m given! Hope all of you have a great 2023!
I’m poking my head out of the writing cave (“Fierce Females in Television: A Cultural History” is due January 6) long enough to do quick review of 2022 and ponder what may be to come in 2023. Do I really have time to do this? No–the book is going slowly and while there is no way it will be done tonight (my original self-imposed deadline), I will meet the real one.
Okay, so, yeah, how is it New Year’s Eve already?
Oh yeah, I’ve been on so many book deadlines this year I can barely breathe. (I can hear my past baby author self sarcastically saying “I wish I had that problem!”) In 2022 I:
Wrote 2 books (Catherine’s Mercy and Fierce Females in Television) and 2 book chapters (for the Arthurian ethics book and one I haven’t announced yet)
Edited 3 books (The League of Women Voters Book, Sex and the City, America’s Forgotten Suffragists) and 2 two book chapters (same as above)
Published the Sex and the City book and held a big book release party for it (I know, I still owe you guys a post about it and photos…it is on my to-do list)
Spent some time on a ghostwriting project that ultimately didn’t work out, which I’m honestly glad about for multiple reasons, the least of which is one less thing on my already over-full plate
Celebrated by 19th anniversary at my day job.
Attended 2 conferences (Chanticleer and the Midwest Pop Culture Association.
Completed 8 speaking/teaching events.
Won 2 awards.
Started using TikTok and Twitch.
Was hospitalized for blood clots and finally got COVID
Continued writing poetry
Read around 50 books (not including those for research)
Helped start a foundation (more on that next year)
Did something I never thought I would do (more on that soon as well)
My head is spinning just remembering it all.
So, as is tradition, let’s check out how I did on my goals for the year, which I couldn’t even recall until I went back to that blog post.
Contracted (meaning I’m contractually obligated to do these)
Research and write the Fierce Females book (due Jan. 13, 2023) DONE
Edit League of Women Voters book (Jan 2022) DONE
Edit Minor bio (Jan- March 2002) DONE
Edit SATC book (TBD) DONE
Project involving Daughter of Destiny (Jan 2022) THIS FELL THROUGH
Write and record Historical Fiction Master Class (Jan 2022) THIS HAS BEEN POSTPONED
Attend the Chanticleer Conference (June 2022) DONE
Write more fiction! I DIDN’T TOUCH ANY OF THESE BECAUSE OTHER PROJECTS CAME UP
WWII (halfway done)
Revolutionary War book
A few fun side projects:
Family cookbook (using recipes from my parents, grandparents and other relatives) STARTED IT BUT NEVER GOT BACK TO IT
Studying tarot and other metaphysical topics DIDN’T TOUCH THIS
Dream Atelier through the School of Self image STARTED BUT ABANDONED
Write my own magazine based on the Live Like An Editor workshop from last year PART-WAY DONE
Continue writing poetry DONE
Continue taking classes through the School of Self Image. This is doing so much for all areas of my life. It’s cheaper than therapy and makes me very happy. I DID THIS FOR A WHILE BUT THEN QUIT TO SAVE MONEY
Lose 55 lbs (I’m on a weight control plan with my doctor and am working with a health coach. Focusing on eating well, medicine, mindset, and exercise) UM, THIS DIDN’T HAPPEN, BUT NOT FOR LACK OF TRYING. I WEIGH MORE NOW THAN I EVER HAVE.
Learn to dance – whatever I can do without a partner. I LOVE to dance, need to move, and I want to feel sexy again. DIDN’T DO THIS
Find balance between work and writing; slowly start to shift in the direction of more writing. I have a long-term goal of becoming a full time author. ME, BALANCE?
Pay off debt – This is not only smart, but it is necessary for me to be able to move. I have three cities in mind where I’d like to live in the future. I’m not ready to add that to my list yet, but this is a baby step in that direction. YES AND NO. I MADE PROGRESS BUT I ALSO MADE MORE BILLS
Assuming COVID lets us: attend more cultural events like theatre, ballet, opera, symphony, dance, etc. DONE!
If you are still reading this, I’m impressed (thank you)! Despite some ups and downs, 2022 was really good year for me. Tonight I’m going to finish cleaning my house, pour some prosecco and continue writing. Here’s to 2023 being an even better year than 2022! *clinks glass* Happy New Year everyone!
I’ve been wanting to tell you guys about this since we signed the contract about a month ago, but there were reasons why I couldn’t.
Remember my short story, Consequences? Well…Chalice Media Group has picked it up as a full novel! It will be published June 14, 2023, which is–coincidently (or not, I don’t believe in them)–the two year anniversary to the day I published Consequences. (If you noticed Consequences hasn’t been on my site or for sale for a while, this is why.)
Outrageous. Unprecedented. Irrepressible. Words not often used to describe someone on the path to sainthood. But Catherine McAuley was no ordinary woman.
In 1824, Catherine, a Catholic spinster of 44, unexpectedly inherits millions. However, unlike most women, she doesn’t use it to climb the social ladder or snare a husband; she uses it to fulfil a lifelong dream of building a refuge for the poor and sick of Dublin, Ireland, run by women of faith like herself. That an unmarried woman would dare propose such a thing is so scandalous, even her own brother calls it “Kitty’s Folly.” Dublin society turns against her. The Church tries to take over. To all of these men in positions of power, Catherine must defend her choices or risk losing not only her inheritance, but her reputation and her life’s calling.
One of the first women who seeks Catherine’s aid is Margaret, a maid in the house of Lord Montague, the loudest of Catherine’s detractors. Daring to protect herself from his advances and rebel against his maxim of total obedience, Margaret is left with no choice but to flee or face his wrath. Desperate, she goes to Catherine for help, setting off a series of events that would haunt Catherine for the rest of her days.
Remembering Margaret’s escape, Grace, another of Lord Montague’s servants, soon seeks refuge at the House of Mercy after being dismissed without a reference. There she is taken under the wing of Mary Ann Doyle, Catherine’s closest friend, and becomes an integral part of running the burgeoning ministry. However, unbeknownst to all, she is also one of its greatest threats, for she knows secrets her former employer would do anything to keep and that the Church could use to destroy Catherine’s ministry.
Based on a true story, Catherine’s Mercy, brings to life the exciting tale of Irish reformer Catherine McAuley and the women who helped found the Sisters of Mercy religious order, one of the first to minister in their communities rather than pray behind cloister walls. As a laywoman and then a nun, Catherine is a beacon of mercy and compassion in a world much in need of both.
I’ll let you know when pre-orders are available, but it will be a bit since I’m still writing the book. It’s due on Halloween!
When I started this blog, my intent was to trace the publication process of books and my experience as an author. I think I’ve accomplished that on the self-pub side, so now as my first traditionally published books head to press, I want to bring you along on that journey as well. Here’s what is going on:
Sex and the City: A Cultural History
Has a publication date: November 15, 2022 (This could change. There is a national paper shortage that is wreaking havoc on publication schedules for books large and small across the country.)
Has been through two rounds of edits and photos are gathered.
I’ve seen the cover. And I love it! Will share as soon as it is finalized.
The book is now in production. I’m waiting to hear from that department on the rest of the schedule.
America’s Forgotten Suffragists: Virginia and Francis Minor
Has a publication date: March 1, 2023.
Has been through one round of edits and I should get the second one any day now.
Photos are gathered.
We’ve started talking about the cover. It is being designed.
League of Women Voters Book
This one works differently because the League is contracting for the publishing, not me. They are working on that.
We are still editing.
Tentative publication date: August 26, 2022.
I’ve been asked to me a mentor for the Launchpad Prose Competition in the next cycle. I’m really excited! You may remember that I was in the Top 10 in that competition a few years ago.
The Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy and America’s Forgotten Suffragists are finalists in their categories (Chaucer Early Historical Fiction-Best Series and Nellie Bly Award for Investigative Journalism, respectively) at the Chanticleer Book Awards. Winners will be announced at the conference in June. I’m still waiting to hear if Consequences is advancing in the novella category.
Artist unknown. This image is so beautiful to me. And its also me trying to make COVID go away.
2021 was my busiest year yet on purpose, but I also discovered my limits. I really believe that we design our own lives and therefore I want to design a life I love that includes all the things that are important to me.
FIRST: Go away COVID so we can do things in-person again! I want to go back to church, see my friends again, be able to go to the pool, travel, etc.
2022 Word of the Year: Glam (updated 1/25)
I had enticing as my Word of the Year, but the more I sat with that, the more it just didn’t feel right. The word glam has been in my world since December (it all started with this video–I think she is my spirit animal) and I really, really like it. It fits my overall ascetic and how I want to feel and be regarded. And besides, what is more glam than success??!
Contracted (meaning I’m contractually obligated to do these)
Research and write the Fierce Females book (due Jan. 13, 2023)
Edit League of Women Voters book (Jan 2022)
Edit Minor bio (Jan- March 2002)
Edit SATC book (TBD)
Project involving Daughter of Destiny (Jan 2022)
Write and record Historical Fiction Master Class (Jan 2022)
Attend the Chanticleer Conference (April 2022 – I am SO excited to see my friends again! This is such an important vacation for me.)
Write more fiction! (I know I won’t get all of these done, but this is my dream list, in no particular order)
WWII (halfway done)
Isolde (have 50,000 words I cut from Camelot’s Queen. Would love to have this done by April, but I doubt that will happen)
Revolutionary War book (started)
Female inventor (held over from last year’s goals)
A few fun side projects:
Family cookbook (using recipes from my parents, grandparents and other relatives)
Studying tarot and other metaphysical topics
Dream Atelier through the School of Self image
Write my own magazine based on the Live Like An Editor workshop from last year
Continue writing poetry
Continue taking classes through the School of Self Image. This is doing so much for all areas of my life. It’s cheaper than therapy and makes me very happy.
Lose 55 lbs (I’m on a weight control plan with my doctor and am working with a health coach. Focusing on eating well, medicine, mindset, and exercise)
Learn to dance – whatever I can do without a partner. I LOVE to dance, need to move, and I want to feel sexy again.
Find balance between work and writing; slowly start to shift in the direction of more writing. I have a long-term goal of becoming a full time author.
Pay off debt – This is not only smart, but it is necessary for me to be able to move. I have three cities in mind where I’d like to live in the future. I’m not ready to add that to my list yet, but this is a baby step in that direction.
Assuming COVID lets us: attend more cultural events like theatre, ballet, opera, symphony, dance, etc.
Sorry I’ve been so quiet, but I’ve been on two book deadlines. One was early in December for the League of Women Voters book and the other was yesterday for the Sex and the City (SATC) book. I stayed awake for 36 straight hours finishing it, but I finally got it turned in at 10:30 last night. (I didn’t get to edit as much of it as I wanted to, so here’s hoping it makes sense!)
I also wanted to share that a few of my books made the top year-end rankings over at Coverfly again!
Having slept late today, talked to a few friends, and had an unexpected visit from another, I’m just now getting to my planning for 2022, including picking my word of the year (blog post to come on that as soon as I figure it out), but I thought before I focus on that, it might be helpful to go back and review 2021 and the goals I had set.
By the numbers:
Books written: 2.5
Words written: More than 200,000 on books alone. Doesn’t include articles, blog posts, presentations, etc.
Books read: 63 according to Goodreads. Doesn’t include research or re-reads of The All Souls Trilogy and some of my own books. Nowhere near my goal of 100, but I’ve been a bit busy. Favorite book: tie between A Season of Lights by Gregory Phillips and The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray.
Highlights of 2021:
All the book contracts! (League of Women Voters, SATC, Fierce Females and the Minor bio)
I wrote 2.5 books (and that’s with having a FT job) – League book, SATC, and half of Irena Sendler’s histfic. I don’t recommend that schedule to anyone!
HNS virtual conference
Live Like an Editor Workshop and joining the School of Self Image
Reconnecting with dear writer friends (you know who you are)
I totally forgot I published Consequences!
Started writing poetry again
Goals and how I did on each one:
Get a contract for Minor bio. – DONE!
Finish Colonial/Revolutionary War histfic by end of July. – Started it. Didn’t get too far before other projects took over and I got stuck anyway.
Finish WWII histfic by end of July. – 70K words in!
Write female inventor histfic by end of 2021. – Didn’t have time for this. Its rolling over into 2022.
Start on modern retelling of a classic – Thought about it and wrote down some ideas.
Write poetry again. DONE!
Attend the Biographer’s International and Historical Novel Society virtual conferences. DONE! And they were great!
Hopefully the Ethics in Arthurian Legend book a I wrote a chapter for will be published. Edits are DONE! Forgot about that one. They have the book with the publisher now.
Do what I can to get Madame Presidentess and Daughter of Destiny optioned. Out of my hands, but we’re working on it.
Lose 40-50 lbs by June 1. – No, but I have lost 15!
Pay off debt. Doing well on this one!
Continue working with the League of Women voters to fund a permanent suffrage memorial of some kind in St. Louis. In process.
Learn to read French. Nope
Teach myself to sew. Nope
There’s another one that I’m not ready to talk about yet, but I will if it ends up working out. – I pursued this one and end up opting out of it because it wasn’t right for me.
Overall 2021 was a great year for me. I hope it was for all of you, as well. Bring on 2022!
You may remember that a little over a month ago, my Facebook and Instagram accounts were suspended for no reason that I can guess. It could have been that someone reported me, that something I posted tripped a bot/algorithm or they found out I write under a pen name, which is against their TOS for a profile (but not a page, a famous person or a drag queen, go figure).
Anywho, today they disabled them completely, so I started new profiles and pages: Facebook and Instagram. It’s going to take me a while to catch up on all the news that happened while I was away. So please be patient as I rebuild.
While it sucks to lose all my friends and followers, if they are true friends or fans, they will find me again. I am choosing to look at this as an opportunity to start over and have more control over who I friend and what I see. I was in way too many groups anyway. 😉
What I Have Learned from This Experience
Build your email list as much as you can. Social media can be taken away from you at any time. (Have you signed up for my newsletter? If not, please do so now in case this happens again–I don’t want to lose you twice! It just might.)
Tighten your security as much as possible. FB lets you designate three to five people who can help you recover your account if something happens and I’m sure there are other ways of locking it down. You bet I will investigate every one of them.
If you have a page, set someone you trust as an administrator. Any way you can have other people will access to your account (within reason, of course) will help you if you ever get in trouble with our social media overlords.
Don’t accept friend requests from people you can’t trust. I don’t want to believe it, but it could have been a friend, family member or fellow author who reported me. So I’m going to be extra careful who I friend. There’s no guarantee it won’t happen with the new accounts. If we know each other well, you are welcome on my profile. If not, everyone is welcome on my page!
Be careful what you post. I’m not saying to not have opinions or censor yourself- I certainly won’t because it isn’t who I am. But just to give one example of the world we live in, apparently you can’t use the word “suicide” on any social media anymore. I had the word in a poem. That could be what got flagged. I don’t know how one is supposed to keep up with banned terms, but they do exist.
Think twice if you write under a pen name. FB allows drag queens and famous actors/authors to use pen names, but not the rest of us. Just go in knowing this may happen to you. One of my fairly famous author friends has been banned from FB four times for that exact reason. She just keeps coming back.
These companies don’t respond to their users. I spent a month and at least a dozen email and form exchanges with them to no avail. I provided multiple forms of ID and proof that [insert legal name here] really is Nicole Evelina. I sent them a “proof of life” photo with things they requested visible on a piece of paper. Yet this morning FB was still claiming I never protested my suspension. FB has no real person you can call and most of FB/Insta’s emails are no reply. Even if you do get an email that looks like it is from a real person and reply back, you won’t hear anything. Plus, the emails you do get will contradict each other. Or at least that was my experience.
Just to be clear – I am only calling out drag queens in this post because they are a rare (and hard-fought) exception to the rules. I really like drag as an art form and would never want to disrespect anyone.
UPDATE: My Instagram is locked out too since FB owns them. Lovely.
To say I am not a happy camper today is an understatement. I woke up to a message on Facebook saying that my account has been disabled. This means I can’t use my profile, page or messenger.
After verifying this was real, I tried to follow the recovery steps, which because Facebook is such a caring company, consist of three forms that don’t let you explain, provide much information, or really do anything. One wants a copy of your driver’s license or other ID, which makes me feel squicky, but I tried to submit it anyway. (What good it would do since I write under a pen name is questionable. It may even raise FB’s red flags that I don’t represent my true self – but we’ll fight that fight if we have to.)
Anyway, I couldn’t submit any of the recovery forms. Apparently, some hacker submitted fake “identity” information for me. This is what pops up when I try:
God only knows what they got on my “behalf.” Um, I’m almost 42, you morons. And if it was due to something else that someone reported, I don’t know what it is.
I am posting this here because Facebook is my most active social media and I obviously have no way of letting people know what is going on. So if anything weird or gross or whatever has been on my account, please know that I didn’t do it. And if you get any FB requests from me until I tell you this is resolved, please don’t accept them.
I realize FB uses bots and stuff like that instead of employing real people and that any one of my friends or a hacker could have reported me for something stupid. And that really disappoints and angers me. I don’t post inappropriate things, yet hate groups and people who post porn and violent stuff are left to tiptoe through the tulips.
Libby Hawker, I can hear you now, “This is why I left Facebook.” And you aren’t wrong. But I’ve worked for years to build my friend and fanbase and I really don’t want to lose it especially since I dislike Twitter with the vehemence of a thousand suns and Insta isn’t the same.
I noticed yesterday that someone had been trying to access my website and this may or may not be related. I’ve changed all of my passwords on my website and on social and am posting notices on all of my social media accounts. There is nothing else I can do but wait.
If some of you can post this on FB so that people know what is going on, I’d appreciate it. Maybe FB will pay attention if we raise a ruckus, but I doubt it because people more famous than me have fought this battle.
I have no idea how long this is going to last. Let’s just hope I don’t lose the account I’ve worked so hard to cultivate and really enjoy using.