Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pepper Pace 2013 Retrospect pt 1 of 2

What a year I've had. 2013 marked the year that I learned what it is to be an author and to feel as if I am more than just a person that writes; this year I felt as if I was a writer!

It began with the publishing of A Seal Upon Your Heart. It was a book that sat in the shadows for nearly 2 years as I tried to find my way back into the writing groove. Earlier I had been approached by an acquisitions editor for Ellora's Cave. After re-editing several previously published stories we agreed that EC was not the right home for me and my stories.

However one good thing did develop as it sparked my muse who poked me into resuming my writing. I had re-edited versions of Urban Vampire, and Stranded which inspired me to continue on the path of finding editors to pump some professionalism into my previously published stories.

I had a collaboration going on with author CeCe Monet and the result was three new short stories which were included in a collection entitled Seduction; An Interracial Romance anthology vol. 1. While I was working on those stories I hit the 'wall' and ran out of steam. Hell it wasn't even summer yet and I found myself uninspired to write even one word. Deadlines were looming and add to that, I was going on my first Book event for the 2013 Readers and Writers Cruise.

Writing is my way of releasing stress, or engaging in some type of creative endeavor. So I decided to host some other up and coming authors on my blog, beginning with my buddy CreepyRJ and his story Becoming the Dominus. I quickly realized that hosting another author's story is a lot of work...just because I hadn't written it didn't mean that I could slap it up un-edited. In my attempts to de-stress I had just added more work to my plate.

Looming over me was also the IR cruise event that I had agreed to engage in along with my first ever panel discussion. Oh my, I was feeling pressure bigtime! As an introvert, the prospect of going on a 5 night meet and greet cruise intimidated me. I really had no idea what to expect only that there would be no where to run (lol).

As both my deadline with CeCe Monet approached as well as the cruise my muse kicked in and I began to furiously write a story entitled The Throwaway Year. 1-900 Brown Surgar and A Wrong Turn Towards Love were already completed and had received the thumbs up from my Beta Reader but something different happened with The Throwaway Year.

You see, most authors have a stash of unfinished stories; good ones that were pushed to the background for various reasons. It could be because it is just a labor or love or it could be that time just didn't allow the completion of it. The Throwaway Year was one such story and as I breathed fresh life into it I offered each chapter to my Beta Reader for feedback.

She looked at me curiously and I stood there worrying if I had missed the mark on it but she assured me that she absolutely loved it--however she flat out told me that there was no way that I could make it into a short story. With relief I nodded and assured her that I could because I only had 2 weeks to turn in my stories. That weekend I went home intent upon fisinishing the story before I realized the truth. This was no short story.

In a panic I put it aside. I couldn't cut out all the things that i wanted to put into The Throwaway Year just for the sake of having a third story for the collaboration. I wouldn't sacrifice what the story meant to me. Which meant that I would have to write, edit and have an entire new story written within a matter of days. My own fault since I had slouched for four months because I had these stories 'in the bag'.

I had been working on a story entitled The Delicate Sadness. I had rejected it for the collaboration because it was a story that I felt was very sad and I was just damned tired of writing sad stories. Okay, if you don't know this next thing then you don't understand me at all, and that is that none of my three stories were 'filler, fluff, or just something tossed together' in order to complete our contract. The Delicate Sadness turned out to be one of the best short romances that I'd ever written and many of you will not know about it because it is in a collection that just didn't sell very well.

In the mean time I had a partially finished novel or a complete novella and I decided that I wanted to release it. More importantly I decided that I wanted to gift it to the readers of the 2013 Cruise. The other authors were talking about creating a gift basket  and 'giveaways and I was at a loss. Having never been involved in any of the many events that my colleagues were used to like slam jams and meet and greets and other such events I just worked furiously on completing the Throwaway Year for the purpose of creating a 'proof' that could be given away prior to publication.

It is summer now and I am mentally exhausted and even more nervous because I'm going to meet Sienna Mynx! Shhh, I am a huge fan girl! Oh lord, I'm going to have to not shrink next to these seasoned IR authors. I gathered my forces in the form of my two best friends and we headed to New Orleans a day early of embarkation.

Did I hide? Yep. Most of the other authors and readers had gone out to mingle and my two besties and I went to Bourbon St where we got...um where we indulged in a great deal of liquor, music and food.

And then it was time for the cruise and something strange happened. I stopped being scared. The author's were so cool and down to earth that I believe we formed an immediate kinship. And then there were the readers. It was a fairly small group with less than thirty people, which made it a very intimate affair. Gerrilyn Grant Gipson had put it all together and she had done an excellent job! I kid you not when I state that there were no egos and I felt comfortable being the 'baby author' in the group and being schooled by my proteges.

Sienna Mynx and me in Mexico

went to Mexico with one of the readers. Not a fake smile!

Sienna Mynx, Serenity King, Tiana Laveen, Pepper, Yvette Hines, Erosa Knowles

some of the readers and author Di Topaz in front

I absolutely love these ladies!

Panel night 1 Included Erosa Knowles, Sienna Mynx and Yvette Hines

Wow, I hogged up the mic!

2nd night panel discussion; Pep, Tiana Laveen and Serenity King

First Night panel discussion Sienna holding the mic, Erosa nearby
So I had nothing to worry about because I had a wonderful time on the cruise-despite the ship rocking and rolling the entire time. Best of all is that we formed an IR Readers Council with the sole purpose of continuing IR events whether they be cruises or other vacation events. Even though the deadline has past for the 2014 IR cruise there are still rooms available so if you want to meet me I'll be there next year.

We are only half through the year and I have tons more to write. End part 1


  1. Hello Pepper,

    Wishing you and your family Happy New Year. Your book "The Delicate Sadness" was this story in the book you co-author, if so would this be offer in paperback. Thank You Bain

    1. :)
      Thank you Bain and a Happy New Year to you as well! The Delicate Sadness is a story that is in Seduction, co-authored with CeCe Monet. At this time we have no plans to turn it into paperback. At some point when I take my three stories I'm sure I will place them in a paperback but that will not be any time soon. Thanks for asking Bain

  2. It was such a PLEASURE meeting you on the criuse! I love your work and look forward to seeing you again in 2014. The Throwaway Year was one of my favorites in 2013.

  3. Kay you and your hubby helped to make the trip so much fun. I can't wait to see you again!

  4. Pepper, I enjoyed meeting you and the other ladies on the cruise! I became an instant fan once I started reading your work. The Throwaway Year hit so close to home. I recommend this book not just as a good IR romance but as a self help book. You are a talented, beautiful woman. I am so glad I met you.

    1. Phyllis I am happy that I got to meet you too. Doing events like the IR Cruise has helped me to break out of my shell and it has allowed me to form bonds and friendships--like acquiring a new Beta Reader :) Meeting you was a big part of what helped me to shed so much of my own fear because you were completely at home and comfortable. Can't wait to see you on the next cruise!

      Thanks for everything Phyllis.


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