Celebrating 2012

I think if another person asks about my resolutions for the new year, I may very well scream.

When asked, I say I’m making a resolution to lose weight (generally as I’m popping another calorie ridden morsel into my mouth), to be more disciplined in my writing (but then family matters intercede), and to clean out my office (if you saw my office, you’d know what a tremendous task that is). 

The thing is – new year’s resolutions focus on the things you feel you don’t do well with a mind to improve.  I recall reading someone saying the key to success is to identify those things you don’t do well – and  then quit doing them!   🙂  Focus instead on the things you do well and work to do those things even better.

With that advice in mind, I looked back on 2012 with an eye to what I accomplished.  Here’s what I found;

1) Released a new book, The Casanova Code, to excellent reviews.  That’s always worthy of celebration.

2) Entered Redeeming the Rogue in a number of published author contests and finaled, placed or won nine of them.  That sort of validation always feels good.

3) Dusting off the Victorian riding hat, I participated in nine book signings and two reader events.  Love meeting romance readers – they’re the best.

4) Taught workshops in six different venues including the prestigious Thurber House.

5) Went to Scotland to gather research for my next book.  (yes – drinking that scotch was for research – i swear!)

6) Did my first skype interview with a book club (and isn’t that technology amazing!  Thank you to Anna Sugden for showing me the ropes).  I also sent out a ton of first chapter books to book clubs everywhere.

So I didn’t lose weight, but I am able to close the door on 2012 knowing that the year didn’t exactly go to waste.  

I did a quick tally of 2012 releases in the lair and discovered that as a group we released 26 books and a number of novellas and short stories.  Wow!  That’s a lot of good reading!  Here’s a rounddown:


We love first sales in the lair as they represent a culmination of years of hard work.  In many ways, they represent dreams come true and this year, we had three of them.

Anna Sugden announced the sale of her hockey hunk stories to Harlequin on December 18th.  I’m still offering up toasts for this one.  Way to celebrate the holidays, Anna!

Nancy Northcott sold her first two books and first novella last year.  Her debut book, Renegade, released in 2012 and earned a starred review from Library Journal and a 4-star “hot” rating from RT.  That first review is always a nail-biter, but she did great!

Joan Kayse broke into the indie publishing scene with her first book, The Patrician.  Let’s hope the next in the series isn’t far behind.

OTHER RELEASES (which you can find in the Bandita library)

Trish Milburn achieved a record number of releases in one year in the lair – eight books!  WOW!

Close on her heels, Tawny Weber released four books and a novella.  She also has a January and a February 2013 release so look for more launch parties in the lair.  

Suzanne Ferrell had a banner year.  Her Ellora’s Cave release, Cantrell’s Bride, released in August.  She jumped right into self publishing with three releases, Kidnapped, Hunted and Close To Home. Watch for her January 2013 release, Bella’s Touch, and Close To The Edge sometime in Feb/March.  

Jo Robinson published two historicals and a young adult book (writing as Jo Lewis), along with three novellas. One of those historical novels has been nominated for a Romantic Times critic’s choice award.  While we’ll have to wait until May for the announcement of the winners, just being nominated is a serious achievement.

Kate Carlisle released two more novels in her bibliophile series (I love those books!) and Beth Andrews gave us two new Superromances (I love those as well!)

Anna Campbell made the jump from her old publisher to the new, Grand Central, with a new series, Sons of Sin.  Her 2012 release, Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed, generated some great reviews.  Her first audiobook was released through Tantor Audio, and her 2011 release, Midnight’s Wild Passion, has been finaling and winning in many published author contests.  Anna also was voted favorite Australian romance writer at the Australian Romance Reader Awards. No surprise there, she’s one of our favorite Australian romance authors.   😛 She ended the year by releasing her first indie publishing venture, the novella, The Winter Wife.

Wow – All that productivity sort of puts me to shame…but I’m not alone  🙂 .  Several other banditas had one release this year –

Christina Brooke released Mad About the Earl.

Susan Sey published Kiss the Girl.

Christie Kelley. – Bewitching the Duke


Several banditas had other accomplishments beyond publishing to celebrate.  Both Trish and Caren celebrated their 20th wedding anniversaries on the exact same day – isn’t that amazing?  Caren and her dh, however, celebrated their anniversary during the Pirate’s Week Festival on Grand Cayman Island.  They had a celebratory dinner at Tukka, an Australian restaurant. The GR approved of the setting as chooks run around wild all over the island! 

Nancy and her dh celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in Savannah, GA.  I love that she snapped this photo.  Can you see the name of the ship?  How apropos is that!  In November, they went to the Okefenokee swamp so she could do more research for the Protectors series.  Good thing as we need more books in that series.

Christie Kelley moved into a new house in 2013, and Christina Brooke moved into her new “old’ house (renovated).

And finally, Joan Kayse welcomed her long awaited “Great” GODdaughter into her heart.

2012 was a busy year but 2013 holds excellent promise for even more books and more accomplishments by the banditas.

So how about you?  Share your 2012 accomplishments, your special trips, your milestones and we can celebrate the passing of the old year together.  I have a bookmark from the Edinburgh Castle from my research trip to send to someone leaving a comment. You can use it for one of the above fabulos releases  🙂

Let’s chat!







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  • Fedora says:

    What a sweet list of celebrations, Donna and Banditas! Besides my sweet kids’ birthdays, DH and celebrated 15 years of married life in 2012. Time flies, eh? 😀

    • 15 years! That’s a milestone, Fedora. Did you do anything special to celebrate? I don’t think we really started to do anything beyond going out to dinner to mark anniversaries until our 25th. That year I finaled in the Golden Heart and went to Anaheim. We figured that was somewhat close to Hawaii and so the dh met me at the LA airport and we went on to the Islands. Since then we try to do something special on every five year anniversary.

      • Fedora says:

        That’s mostly what we do too, Donna–dinners out when we can 🙂 When we hit 25, the youngest should be just about ready for college, so maybe we’ll do something bigger then 😉 Sounds like that one was the start of some banner years for you, Donna 🙂 Woohoo!

        • LOL – That was my first GH final, Fedora. What’s interesting is that Nancy was a GH finalist that same year. The internet and communication loops weren’t then what they are now, so I can’t say we ever met or talked to each other back then. It took our GH final eight years later for us to meet.

    • Congratulations, Fedora! That’s fantastic!

    • Congrats on your 15 year anniversary, Fedora! That’s fabulous!

    • Fedora, congrats on the 15 years and the kids. And on grabbing the GR for the day. 🙂

  • Jane says:

    One thing I did manage to accomplish was lose a couple of pounds. I’ve also cut back on soda. It’s definitely easier when you don’t keep soda in the house. No major milestones in 2012.

  • Kaelee says:

    Well we celebrated some milestone birthdays in 2012. My younger brother turned 60, my sister in law and older brother turned 70, a cousin turned 80 and my husband’s aunt turned 90. A new great nephew joined the family last spring.

    In spite of some hailstorms we had a really good tomato crop and we made our first but not last oven dried tomatoes. We also froze a lot of herbs and boy do they taste good now.
    I’m adjusting to having my husband at home and it’s a good day when we get up and the sun is shining.

    • Those are some milestone birthdays. OF course, at this point, I think every birthday is a milestone :-).
      Funny that you should mention the dried herbs. I was telling my daughter we should have done something with our basil plants – made pesto or dried the leaves. Maybe next year. Sure could use some summer goodness right now. The temps are dropping into the single digits farenheit tonight.

      • Kaelee says:

        Donna we made pesto with our basil and put it into ice cube trays. Now we just add a pesto cube for flavoring. We don’t dry our herbs anymore we just chop and freeze them. Some we make into ice cubes and others we just put into zip lock bags and break off the amount we need. They are a lot better tasting than the dried ones and a lot cheaper than buying fresh herbs in the middle of winter.

        • I am making a note in my calendar to try this. We use fresh herbs throughout the summer and most of the fall. Love the idea of freezing in an ice cube. Thank you so much for this suggestion! 🙂

    • I’m adjusting to having my husband at home

      Good luck with that!

      My dh works from home, so we’ve had to learn how to function with both of us being home all day. HE has had to learn to respect my sleep habits…since I work nights.

      • Must admit – the thought of my husband being home all day scares me to death. I still have a few more years before this is a possibility. For all his good intentions, it doesn’t take much of an interruption to rip me from my world when I’m writing. It’ll be a major transition.

    • Kaelee, what a bumper crop of birthdays! That’s so cool.

      Oven dried tomatoes, eh? Intriguing

  • Lianne says:

    Looks like 2012 was a really productive year in the lair.
    During 2012 I took part in a 5k sponsored walk for the local Hospice. I also managed to read quite a few book during the year.
    As a Scrapbooker quite a few pages / projects created in 2012.

    • Lianne – Congratulations on the 5K walk. This was a worthy accomplishment, not only for your health, but also for Hospice. Will you do it again next year?

      Cool on the scrapbook projects. Those are things you’ll appreciate in future years – looking back.

    • Lianne, I envy people with the scrapbook gene. Congrats on your projects!

  • Donna, what a fun post. And haven’t we Banditas been busy? Actually Christina had the wonderful A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER out after her fabulous MAD ABOUT THE EARL. I’m just loving the Ministry of Marriage series – she’s such a witty, wonderful writer.

    I didn’t know about you going to the Thurber house. What was that like? Is it kept as a museum?

    And congratulations to all my wonderful Bandita sisters for all your achievements this year. It’s a privilege to be in your company!

    • Carol Cork says:

      Anna, I love the Ministry of Marriage series as well. Looking forward to the next book, London’s Last True Scoundrel.

    • Oh – That’s right! I thought there was a book after Mad About the Earl, but someone hasn’t updated the library. Shame, shame, shame…

      James Thurber grew up in Columbus in a small brick home near the downtown area. The house is preserved as small museum while the similar house next to it has been converted to a literary center that offers writing programs for adults and children. The center routinely brings well-known authors to speak. A couple of months ago they brought in Debbie Macomber. One of the neat things about the Thurber House are the statues around the building that represent his stories. My favorite is a unicorn in front of the house that’s easy to miss unless you know where to look. Inscribed at the base is the entire short, short story The Unicorn in the Garden. Here’s a link to the story: http://english.glendale.cc.ca.us/unicorn1.html

      • How cool, Donna! I knew Thurber was from Columbus, but I didn’t know about the house/museum.

        Hmmm, me thinks I’ll be planning a trip to there for my next foray home!

        • Suz – It’s down near Columbus State. A very quiet pleasant street surrounded by downtown type chaos – but if you can, you should visit it. It’s small so it takes little time to tour but unique.

          You know, I think I have a photo of the GR visiting that Unicorn!

      • Donna, what a great short story! How interesting about the house. Would love to see it one day!

    • We can add me to the list of those who love the Ministry of Marriage.

      Carol, congrats on starting your blog!

  • Wow, we’re a prolific bunch, aren’t we? No wonder we’re often so tired. 🙂

    Congrats, everyone, on your accomplishments, and may 2013 fun of loads more.

  • Helen says:

    Hi Donna

    What a great year by all I have read most of those books I still have a couple to catch up on loved tham all great reading.

    Well hubby and I celebrated our 35th anniversary and we went on a cruise to Fiji had a fab time my grandchidren are growing up fast and are still lots of fun I went to RWA conference on The Gold Coast and to Genre Con in Sydney I do so love chatting to authors so much fun.
    I had a great year and I am sure this one will be good as well I have ARRC2013 in March up in Brisbane and it is getting closer YAY

    Have Fun

  • Carol Cork says:

    Congratulations to all you lovely Banditas on your achievements during the year!

    My husband and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary in April. After encouragement from my husband and son, I started my own blog in September (over 1,000 views to date) and I’ve ventured into the world of Tweeter. Not bad for a 66 year old!

    • Carol –

      We celebrated our 39th as well this year. Any big plans to mark the 40th? I’m lobbying for a trip to Paris. We’ll have to see if that takes.

      Good on you for the blog and for venturing into twitter. I attempted to tweet for a short time, but just never really clicked with it. One of these days I’ll have to try it again. What’s the website for your blog?

      • Carol Cork says:

        Romantic Paris sounds just perfect, Donna. I hope it works out for you. We don’t have any plans for this year because we’d rather save up for a few years and have a holiday in the USA. We spent a wonderful holiday in San Francisco and Monterey on our 25th wedding anniversary and have the yen to go back again.

        I’d never tweeted before in my life but it’s amazing how addicted you become. I’ve love the fact that I can chat with some of my favourite authors.

        My blog is http://rakesandrascals.wordpress.com/

    • Carol, congrats on starting your own blog! I think that’s great. What do you blog about?

      Congrats, too, on 39 years together!

      I’m also a Twitter novice, but I just followed you.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Great to see so much success and so many achievements in the Lair – both from Banditas and BBs! Let’s hope 2013 knocks the spots of 2012!

    My other achievement was to get back into some of my craft projects – I got back into cross-stitching and made projects for various family and friends. This year I plan to tackle crochet.

    • Anna –

      I abandoned many of my craft and painting projects once I published. Some days my fingers itch to take up a project again. I do have a counted cross stitch Christmas tree skirt that I started decades ago and then set aside and forgot abut. I rediscovered it about five years ago and every Christmas work on it a bit. However, I lost a critical page of the pattern. I panicked. I contacted the company that created the kit. They told me the pattern was discontinued in the 80s and I was out of luck. Then a romance reader heard that I was looking for the pattern and xeroxed the thing and sent it to me. How cool is that? Romance readers are the best people in the world. Seriously!

    • Anna, one milestone I finished this year was a queen-sized red and black, (for Ohio State) afghan in a basket weave pattern for my son. It took me 3 years. (Couldn’t work on it in the summer, it was too hot and heavy!) He got it for Christmas.

      • Go Bucks!

        I have an OSU afghan that a reader made for me as she knew I was a fan. Bless her heart. I use it when I cuddle on the couch to read a book and send a silent thank you her way every time.

      • Red and black, Suz? Hmm. Those are Davidson colors. And I can alway use another…never mind! I didn’t say anything! *g*

  • Caren Crane says:

    Donna, I read just yesterday that psychologists think the way to go with resolutions is to resolve to do less. Apparently, we are all overscheduled. The Bandita 2012 summary sort of bears that out! This year I resolved to say NO to more things than ever and only do things that are absolutely necessary or feed my soul. We’ll see how that works out!

  • Carol Cork says:

    Donna, romantic Paris sounds ideal. I hope it works out for you. We don’t have anything planned for this year because we’d like to go back to the USA but we need to save for a couple of years. For our 25th wedding anniversary, we spent a week in San Francisco and a week in Monterey and loved it so much, we always wanted to go back.

    I’d never tweeted in my life until I started blogging. it’s amazing just how addictive it can become. I also get the chance to chat with some of my favourite authors.

    My blog is : http://rakesandrascals.wordpress.com/

  • Janga says:

    The individual and collective achievements of the Banditas in 2012 certainly merit celebration. Hurray for all!

    Donna, your post sent me back to actually total what I did in 2012, and I have quite a bit of ammunition now to use against the Inner Critic’s charge that I wasted time. I read over 400 books, wrote 80 freelance articles (ranging from 1000-10,000 words), wrote more than 80 full-length book reviews, and wrote about another 50 blog posts for my own site and others. I guess it’s not surprising that my WIP remains unfinished.

    • 400 books? WOW, Janga!! My usual is about 250/year. This year it was a little less…unless you count the endless re-reading of my books in the editing phase! LOL

      You have been busy!

      • I’m impressed with the 250 books, Suz! While I don’t keep count (but might keep a record this year just to see), I would guess I fall in the 25-30 books a year. No where near your 250 and a far cry from Janga’s 400. You guys are amazing.

        • I’ve read two so far this year. Anna C’s The Winter Wife and Lorraine Heath’s Deck The Hall’s With Love. Loved them both and they are both Novella’s.

    • Take THAT inner critic!

      We seem to share that self-criticism chromosone, Janga. Glad you tallied up your accomplishments – and what an impressive tally it is! I stand in awe.

    • Janga, wow! Those are amazing totals. Congratulations. And thank you for making mine one of the books you read. 🙂

  • Annie says:

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March and am now recovering. Each day is a miracle.

    • Hugs Annie and a high five as well. Glad to hear you’re a survivor. I have a good writer friend who was also diagnosed last year. She just had her port removed. I wanted to celebrate the removal as it seemed to me to be a sign that she licked this evil disease, but she was reluctant. While the port was in, she had some control over her recovery. Now she feels she has a passive role.

      Hope you rest up and recover with a stack of good books – the best method of recovery ever!

    • Annie, congratulations on your diagnosis and your recovery. I hope you continue to improve.

  • ellie says:

    Congratulations on the wonderful achievements banditas. I have been more creative in my culinary goals and many have enjoyed the goodies and feasts.

    • LOL Ellie – This is part of my problem. I enjoyed all those goodies and feasts just a little too much. 🙂

      Congrats on meeting the culinary goals. Always a worthy accomplishment.

  • diane says:

    What a great year for all. Best wishes. My baby was born March 1 and what a beautiful and great change this has been for the family.

    • Diane – Mega congratulations! Yes, that is a substantial, life-changing accomplishment in the very best sense. I bet you really enjoyed the holidays with the little one – watching her enjoy all those empty boxes :-). And the shopping for baby toys…I’ve always said that the box should say “appropriate for ages 1-3 and adults over 20.”
      I hope you enjoy the years ahead. Savour every moment! 🙂

    • Diane, thank you–and huge congrats on your little one. There’s nothing like an infant to totally change a person’s life, but in a wonderful way.

  • deelynn says:

    Busy girls! When do you find time to read?

    • Deelyn – I read first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. I have a kitten who insists – not only that I feed her at 5 am, but that I stay up and keep her company while she’s up! LOL – So I grab a book and read a bit, then go back to bed.

      I’m finding one of the great things of having a kindle is that I can carry it in my purse and when there’s long lines at the grocery store or at the post office (and when are there not?), I can pull out the kindle and get a chapter in.

      I hope you find lots of time to read in 2013!

    • I don’t read as much as I’d like, Deelynn. I mostly read at bedtime, or maybe if I take a mid-day break.

  • Donna, I have to agree with everyone else, the Bandits have been very busy!! And given the number of us in the writers’ caves, 2013 is shaping up to be just as productive!

    This year I’m hoping to work less at the Dreaded Night Job and write and travel more.

    • Suz – I love that goal. Especially if the additional travel means you’ll be up this way more often. Plus it sounds like there’ll be more published books in the works. See – your goal benefits us all!

  • catslady says:

    Us readers are all so thrilled that you guys are so accomplished which means more great stories for us – congratulations to all of you.

    • Thanks Catslady –

      You know, I think the tally surprised us all. We’ve been slaving away in those writer caves so much this year that we never poked our heads out to take count :-). I hope 2013 will be equally prolific.

  • Wow, what an amazing list of accomplishments! I’m feeling quite proud of our Banditas and, likewise, our Buddies who’ve accomplished so much. Congrats, everyone! I hope 2013 brings us all as much productivity–along with extra supplies of good health and happiness–as last year. 🙂

    • Thanks Kate –

      Weren’t the totals surprizing? We truly have been a prolific group, but we’ve also had other accomplishments along the way. I’m very proud of our banditas.

  • Heathercm2001 says:

    WOW! From this view, 2012 was amazing! Congratulations everyone on all the great achievements! On the other hand, I have just been reminded of how huge my TBR pile is….

    • LOL Heather – I don’t think the TBR pile ever goes down. Just as I think I’m making headway, more fabulous books are released and the stack grows once more. The nice thing about technology is that a kindle hides that huge toddering stack :-).

  • Donna, thanks for pulling all this together! We look like quite a prolific crew.

    I’m becoming more active on FB and am learning Twitter. There’s a knack to using 140 characters to actually say something, I’m discovering. But retweets are sooo easy.

    • My hat’s off to you, Nancy. While I loved a lot about facebook this year, I haven’t really attempted twitter in a serious fashion. Maybe when the book is done.

  • pearl says:

    You banditas are hard working and high achievers. Lucky for us to enjoy the pleasure of reading which we indulge in all the time. Congratulations and wonderful times ahead for 2013.

    • Thanks Pearl, but it’s a labor of love. There’s a magic about creating a story, working a gem of a story into a full-fedged 100,000 word manuscript with characters that feel so real you swear they are sitting in the car chatting away. Love it.

  • EC Spurlock says:

    Congratulations, Banditas and Bandita Buddies on a fantastic, productive year!!

    Our 2012 was less than stellar, between our car blowing its engine and my husband’s stroke, and we’re more than ready to say goodby to it! But the engine’s replaced, and DH makes new strides in his recovery every day, so we are grateful. Meanwhile out of necessity I doubled my freelance design output and not only paid the bills but made the front cover of Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine three months in a row. I also sent my ms out to the Harper Voyager open call and started submitting to agents again, and started working out the kinks in the sequel so that hopefully I will have that rewritten to more satisfaction by the end of next year.

    2013 will be a busy one for us — both our sons will be graduating (one high school, one college) within two weeks of each other, and following that will be our 25th Anniversary, which like Nancy we plan to spend in Savannah. Looking forward to it and hoping it will be as “lucky 2013” for all of us!

    • EC –
      Oh my word, I can see why you’d be pleased to bid 2012 goodbye – but all the writing news sounds exciting. Have to say – I’m working on a counted cross stitch project right now and paused it so I could check the blog. Didn’t realize you were a cross-stitch/needlework fan. Congrats on making the cover. Wishing you a much healthier 2013!

      • EC Spurlock says:

        I’ve actually been a professional needlework designer for 18 years now and spent nine of them as design editor for a major craft publisher. I always said I would never go back if I ever got out of the industry but I’m glad I didn’t burn my bridges; all the folks I used to work with remembered me and rallied around me and sent a lot of work my way when I really needed the money. It was exhausting keeping up but as I said it paid off a LOT of major bills in reasonably good time. And I still love designing, even though the business end can get a little crazy.

        • EC –

          You know, they say do what you love and the money will follow. Shame that they don’t tell you how much money 🙂 . Glad that your talents rallied in your time of need.

  • Pat Cochran says:

    Lots of numbers in 2012 for me:

    1. DD1 and groom, DS2 and bride all
    celebrated their 22nd anniversaries.

    2. Eldest granddaughter celebrated her
    21st birthday.

    3. Totaled up 37 years of volunteer work
    in our parish.

    4. 51st wedding anniversary for Honey
    and I.

    5 Attended my 58th HS reunion.

    6. Celebrated my 76th bday in August.

    As I mentioned, lots of numbers, but also
    very memorable occasions for our family.
    Wishing everyone a happy and healthy
    new year!!

  • Congratulations Pat on hitting some sizeable and memorable numbers!