Countdown to a New Year, December 25: Santino Hassell
From December 20 through December 31, Binge on Books will be hosting a series of posts each day counting down to the new year. Joined by authors, publishers, and fellow bloggers, this series will focus on takeaways from 2017 and what we can look forward to in 2018. Think the biggest, longest, most book-filled reflection of the past year and the hopes and dreams for the new one all wrapped into one: that’s Binge on Books’ Countdown to a New Year. Come see what your favorite members of the book world have to say about the past year and what’s up next for them in the year to come!
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Looking at 2017 with Fresh Eyes
I think most of us can agree that 2017 was a very rough year. Personally, the political climate created a situation that often left me feeling uncertain, frightened, and cynical about everything ranging from the future of the world to my future as a writer. I know many other creatives found themselves blocked this past year because of the constant bombardment of negativity and tumult, so it was difficult to enjoy life even when things were going well.
This blog post will primarily be about me forcing myself to look back on 2017 with fresh eyes, and a small measure of optimism, that things can get better going forward. After all, it can’t rain all the time, right? (If you don’t get my The Crow reference… I don’t even know what to think).
Warning: This blog post will be me talking about things that I want to celebrate. If it comes off as braggy, I apologize in advance, but as someone with terrible anxiety and a pretty pervasive mood of unhappiness and depression, me trying to celebrate shit is kind of a Big Deal. I tend to only focus on the bad, and I’m actively trying to stop doing that type of thing.
Things I Wish I’d Celebrated More, a List:
1 – Solidifying friendships and seeing my Romancelandia friends.
This is a pretty big deal for me! For years, most of my closest friendships have been with people online, and I’ve met amazing folks via Romancelandia. As someone who is fairly grumpy and introverted with a solitary career like writing, those things tend to combine to turn me into someone who spends a lot of time alone. I appreciate my alone time, but after a while it’s undeniably isolating. But in 2017, I got to spend time with my tribe! I went to Shameless Book Con again and spent time with so many awesome people, I had a Family Vacation with Megan Erickson and her husband, I met my editor and publicists at Penguin, I hung out with my amazing virtual PA Keyanna Butler, and I got to hang out with Roan Parrish, Avon Gale, and Piper Vaughn for an awesome weekend in New Orleans. I realized that human contact is actually super important sometimes, especially with other people in the industry, and I’m making an effort to see my people way more in 2018.
2 – Releasing eight books. Holy shit.
I see a lot of think pieces on how people who write and release fast must be trash writers, etc, and sometimes I let that lead to me doubting myself. I wonder if I’m creating, like, a weird surplus of books, or if people will get tired of me, and those doubts were pervasive in 2017. In reality, if I look back with clear eyes, I never felt like I rushed through these projects just to throw them out there. I enjoyed writing each and every book even if I struggled with some projects more than others, and I’m proud of them all.
3 – I was nominated for a RITA!
This was an amazing and humbling experience, and not something I expected to happen. My primary thought looking back is that I wish I’d attended RWA with Megan Erickson, my co-writer for FAST CONNECTION—the book that was nominated. I’d have worn my Yankees cap to the awards ceremony.
4 – I read so much more than I did in 2016!
I’m a workaholic, and I tend to ignore things like self-care. With self-care comes reading for enjoyment, and I had neglected that for a long time. In 2017, I forced myself to make time to read. I’m not a fast reader, so I was limited to one book per week, but I fell in love with so many books. Two authors I just started reading this year who I absolutely adore are Molly O’Keefe and Austin Chant. I remembered what it meant to escape through books, and it did so much for my well-being.
5 – In 2017, I made a conscious choice to make writing my primary career. There was a moment where I debated quitting, but I rebounded from that with serious future plans. I’m ending the Five Boroughs series in mid-2018, I have plans for two new co-written series, I’m continuing Cyberlove, I’ll be writing a romantic suspense novel and posting it on Patreon, I have more Barons coming in 2018 and 2019, and I’ll have a M/F trilogy coming in 2019 and 2020 (this will be in, like, actual bookstores). I’ve also decided to eventually try my hand writing queer YA.
Basically, I love writing, I love romance, I love writing about queer people, and I will continue to write these stories until there’s no more left in my head. 2017 was the year when I nearly decided to set my passion aside, but hopefully 2018 is the year when I only look ahead while doing my work.
About Santino Hassell:
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.
He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Connect with Santino: Website | Twitter | Instagram | FB Group | FB | GR | Tumblr
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