Stories, news, writing tips & other fun stuff
I just wanted to give my loyal readers an update on book 3 of the Isabella Howerton series. I've been going through the last round of edits with my BETA readers. The book has a title, obviously, but it was not an easy thing. It started as Bloody Dreams, then bounced around from Bloody Desires, Bloody Decisions, etc. before finally settling on Bloody Defiance. I have the title for the fourth book ready, but really had a hard time with this one.
The book also has a cover, which I will be revealing very soon along with a release date.
Book 3 is told from two different points of view, which is a considerable difference from my other books, but needed to happen. I think you'll like the other POV! I was about halfway through writing this book when I realized I really needed the other POV. So, I went back and added it in.
Keep watching here for release date info and the first peek at the cover. Oh, the ideas I have for book 4... and beyond!
Thanks again for reading! Don't forget to share the love! How do you do this? Tweet my book, Share it on facebook, write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, and most importantly, tell your friends! Word of mouth is the best assistance to an indie author.
After a bit of time away from the writing/editing/publishing/posting/Tweeting etc. scene, I'm back. My mom passed away just after Thanksgiving, and needless to say it's been rough. She was, of course, one of my biggest fans. And not afraid to tell it like it was!
I miss her so much, words escape me at times. She was strong, beautiful and full of life, and she left this world far too soon. This past Thanksgiving I spent by her side in the hospital, watching the parade and what seemed like a never-ending dog show. Christmas Eve, which was always with my mom, sister, and our families, was the worst Christmas ever without her.
I've been going through her things, cleaning up and organizing. I came across some pictures in an album just before I was born. It was Christmas, and my mom had just lost her own mom. There was a hand written note beside the pictures, stating what a sad Christmas it was without Mom. I lost my mom at the same age my mom lost hers.
Life, as they say, goes on. I cherish the pictures and keepsakes that belonged to my mom. I wear her necklace now, almost daily. I have been overwhelmed with heartache and a ridiculous amount of stress. But things are slowly returning to normal. Slowly. I still cry thinking of her, and missing her. Sometimes my tears are at the most inopportune moments- like in the random meeting at work that thankfully no one noticed. (I hope!)
Today I opened my computer and started reading through my BETA reader notes for book three. I had already looked at the first several chapters from this particular BETA reader, but I decided to read through the entire book of notes. And I'm so glad I did! Reading her funny commentary and pet names for some new characters brought back some of my joy and creativity. There's a reason I started this writing journey. I LOVE to write. This is my happy place.
Well, back to editing/writing/tweeting/posting etc. Book three coming very, very soon. I promise!
The entire event was four hours, and while business was much slower than in previous years I was told, I still learned a lot. Here are my tips to make the most of your book signing event:
Thanks for reading! :)
Have you ever had a friend who inspires you? That person who, just by their actions, inspires you to be better. The person who says something, or does something, and you decide on something right then and there in your own life. Maybe it doesn't even seem like something that fits, but for whatever reason, that person inspired you.
I've had a few of those people in my life. One in particular was a friend I used to work with. She would come in to work with the most delectable cupcakes and treats, because she simply loved to bake. Then, one day, she decided Culinary School was the path for her. She moved, enrolled in school, and became an amazing baker. At the same time, she decided to get fit and make health and wellness a top priority. An odd combo, some might think, to have a passion for baking sweet treats and want to be healthy. But she did it!
This amazing woman inspired me to pursue my dreams of publishing a book. It seems like an odd thing to inspire a writer, but it did. Why? She was fearless! She had a dream, and she grabbed it with both hands and didn't let go. That is inspiration! That is determination! That is something we all could strive to have just a little more of.
So, I quietly pursued my writing dream. Over time, I broke out of my introverted little shell. I published one book, then another, and am currently halfway through book three. This summer I will be part of The Northwest Author Fair in Lincoln City, Oregon, along with 34 other authors. Pretty exciting stuff for a wall flower.
I've attracted more unique friends along the way, and even inspired others. I've had a few people come up to me and tell me they're writing a book. Recently, a friend of mine decided to move to L.A. to pursue his dreams. He was one of my go-to people for bouncing writing ideas off of, but I wouldn't be a very good friend if I didn't support him in his endeavors. At the wonderful going away party we held at work for him, he quietly turns to me and tells me I was part of his inspiration to leave and embark on a terrifying journey. He had a dream, and watching me pursue my dream encouraged him to pursue his. Talking about my fears and the obstacles I overcame in my pursuit, encouraged him to go for it.
His words meant the world to me. We had spoken many times on many subjects, but somewhere in those sometimes random chats, I had triggered something in him. He was leaving his comfortable job and life, to really take a risk in pursuit of his dream. That is true courage in my book! These are truly the types of people I wish to surround myself with. They are the knights of this new world. They are the future star ship captains, exploring galaxies.
So, go out there and watch for inspiration. Seek out those creators, explorers and dreamers. You never know when one of them will inspire you, or perhaps you will inspire them!
Well, it's a new year and it's been almost a year since I published my first book, Bloody Beginnings. Many things have changed in the pats year. Besides publishing two books in the Isabella Howerton series, I've created this website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and learned a lot about the world of publishing.
I haven't been active on social media the last few months, and a lot of that is due to work and the rest due to the holiday season. My family spent Christmas in California bouncing between Disneyland, Universal Studios and Hollywood, with a trip to visit my uncle in San Diego. Oh, and of course we saw Star Wars! Twice.
This year should see book three published. I'll try not to take too long! That's my main goal. Keep writing! Short. Simple.
Always remember to follow your dreams. Walt Disney did it, and look what he created.
Today is Thanksgiving here in America, where we stuff ourselves full of turkey and mashed potatoes. It is also a day of giving thanks. In a year, so much can happen. But on this one day we slow down, spend some time with those we love, and reflect on everything we have to be thankful for.
So often as the days, weeks, months go by, we lose sight of what is important in life. It's not just the big things, but many times it's the little things that brighten your day. Family, friends, a full belly, a roof over your head, a kind word, a hug, a random text that makes you smile, kindness from a stranger. Give thanks for the little things as well as the big today, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not.
I am thankful for all of you out there reading this. You took time out of your busy life to stop for a moment. So, I'll keep this short!
A year ago around this time, I had finished writing Bloody Beginnings and was working on fine-tuning the cover and figuring out the self-publishing world. Alone. I didn't tell anyone what I was doing, because fear kept me quiet. It took me until January to get the courage to push that "publish" button, and I am so thankful I did. It's been almost a year, and it's been an amazing journey so far. So Thank YOU! Thank you to my family and friends. Thank you to the people who support me on this crazy journey. Thank you to that first Amazon review- I don't know you, but you made a huge impact on my life with your few kind words. Thank you to the new friends I've made! Thank you to my readers! You encourage me to continue. Any time I get frustrated because my proof copy isn't coming out right, or editing is getting me down, or I really want to write the ending of the book, but I'm only on page 10, YOU are there for me. You may not realize it, but every time something has gotten me down, one of you has been there. That first review. A random message. Running into a fan who is anxiously awaiting the next book. Hearing from an excited reader who marathon-read my book in three hours. Thank you for urging me to continue.
I couldn't have done any of this without you!
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.
A lot of new things have been happening in my little world. First, the exciting ones!
Bloody Beginnings is now available on Barnes and Noble, in both paperback and Nook format! Bloody Consequences should be available in the next few days!
Final proof paperback for Bloody Consequences is due to arrive Friday. If it looks good, paperback book should be good to go ASAP!
I'm ordering Scrivener. For those who don't know what that is, it's an exciting new way to outline, design and write your book or screenplay, or whatever you want to write!
I've been desperately trying to get my book onto iTunes/iBook, but I am not Mac, Apple, iAnything savvy, so it is not going as easy as Amazon or B&N. I spoke to my IT buddy, and hopefully I'll be able to get this up and running soon, but it won't be as quick as I was hoping. Sorry to those who have been patiently waiting for iBook. The good news is, once I get the first book up, the others should be much easier!
Book three is coming along slowly. I seem to have it written in multiple formats right now (paper, sticky notes, computer). This is part of the reason I'm buying Scrivener. I'm excited about book three! While I've been writing the beginning portion, my mind has been fixated on the ending. I can't wait!!!
Beyond book stuff, I've been busy with a new full-time job, my kids both have fall sports, my oldest got her first job, and I've been trying to find time for writing and working out! If I didn't have to sleep, this wouldn't be a problem! Oh, did I mention we've been remodeling our master bathroom? If you follow me on Twitter, you'll see a few random remodel pictures. It's crazy! We decided to completely gut the bathroom down to nothing and start over. The destruction part was fun. Figuring out the crazy plumbing, not so much.
Well, tomorrow is going to be an all-write day. Until later!
It's funny what people think writers actually do. Not all writers are able to write full time. While that is the dream of most authors, it is not the reality unless you have a name like J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, for example. Even those high-profile authors had to start somewhere.
After I published my first book, I suddenly had all these people around me telling me about the stories they were writing. I had no clue any of them were aspiring writers! They were closet writers, like I had been. They wrote when they could, sometimes going weeks, months, or even years between writing. This was exactly how I had been! Only my family, and friends who had known me for years, knew the truth about my love for writing. I had kept it hidden.
Why? I'd been writing since 10 years old, but I'd been too afraid to put myself out there for the world. Sure, I'd entered some short story contests, and I'd done well in every one I entered, but I didn't tell people about it. I sent off a few short stories to magazines, and received my rejection letters very quietly, alone. Then one day, I pulled out an old story I had started five years prior. Why hadn't I finished it?
Writing had always been my dream. It was something I loved to do, but I didn't share my stories, my passion. So, I decided I would finish a full-length novel. I spent three months straight writing.
The more I wrote, the faster I got.
The more I wrote, the more confidence I had.
The more I wrote, the HAPPIER I WAS!
Then I finished book 1, with an entire series floating on my brain (and on a thousand sticky notes). After writing came the hard parts. Editing, cover design, marketing, publishing, etc. All of that took another three months. Then I still had fear holding me down. My book was done, but had my closest family and friends read it? No. I wanted them to read it first, but at the same time I didn't. What if even my family didn't like it? Even though I knew I was going about it all wrong, I decided to just click publish. Quietly. Secretly. Then I promptly ignored it for 24 hours. Fear held me back, again. After a full 24 hours, I looked on Amazon and I already had a review. A random person saw my book, downloaded it, read it, and reviewed it all in one day! And they liked it! Confidence level high, I made my Facebook author page, website, Twitter, etc. and told everyone!
Now when other aspiring authors come to me, I feel like I have some wisdom to share. I certainly have a lot more to learn, and I've made plenty of mistakes on this writing/publishing journey, but I will help how I can.
One of my favorite quotes is "Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game" by Babe Ruth. I've loved this quote since I heard it, but it didn't really sink in until I applied it to myself, and writing.
Write often, and set goals for yourself. Stick to your goals. Finish your writing project, whether its a short story, poem, or full-length novel, finish it. Then edit. And most importantly, let others read it!
While others are reading your stories, READ a lot of books! Write reviews- because authors thrive on them! Be honest and be helpful. Then write some more! And above all, have FUN!
To use Kindle Unlimited, or not?
I've read so many different takes on utilizing Kindle Unlimited. For my first book, Bloody Beginnings, I decided to enroll right away. For those who don't know, Kindle Unlimited is an Amazon program. For a monthly fee, people enrolled in the program can borrow enrolled books for free. Since it was my first book, I thought I should try it out to potentially reach more users.
You must sign up for 90 day periods, and here's the real catch... You can't sell your e-book on any other markets. You must be exclusive through Amazon.
As with any program, there are good things, and bad.
Sales- You have the option, during each 90 day enrollment period, to put your book "on sale", utilizing the Kindle Countdown Deals. This puts your book in an extra search engine, for those looking for these deals. During my first 90 day period, I utilized this, making my book $0.99 for the full 7 days. My results were less than satisfactory. While I did have a good jump the first day, my sales trickled in the rest of the time.
During my next 90 days, I decided to try the Free listing. You can pick any five days during your 90 day period to put your book free. The first time I made my book free, I had a HUGE jump! I didn't do any advertising outside of Twitter and my website, but the results were fantastic. I reached the best-seller's list for Paranormal Fantasy (top 100 free). Even after the sale ended, I had quite a few paying sales, but after a few days it trickled off once more.
A few weeks later, I tried the free day again. Sales were minimal. I did two more days, consecutively this time, and sales were slightly larger, but still nowhere near what they were that first time.
Part of the problem with the free days, is that your book leaves the paid category to go to the free category. When that happens, your sales rank drop drastically.
I'm coming to the end of my 90 day enrollment period, and I think it's time for me to branch out beyond Amazon. Amazon recently changed their structure with KU, and I find it fascinating seeing how many pages of my book were read instead of how many books were downloaded, but it isn't enough to keep me in the program. What am I missing by not having my book available for Nook or iTunes? With my second book coming out in August, I think this is the perfect time to branch out. Who knows what my results will be, but I don't want to be stuck solely on Amazon. If Amazon decided to change the rules, and get rid of the exclusivity clause, I would likely enroll in KU once again. Things are constantly changing in the publishing world, so there is bound to be something new and exciting to try in the future.
When I started this writing adventure, I had no idea all the other things it would entail. I am constantly learning, and trying to evolve with this ever-changing market. I'm just trying to keep up!
It's been an exciting summer so far! My second book in the Isabella Howerton series, Bloody Consequences, is now available for pre-order! Release date is August 17, 2015!
Keep watching here for updates, contests and events coming soon! If you want the first scoop, be sure to subscribe to my blog by clicking the RSS feed to the right, or sign up for my Newsletter (see Contact).
Thank you to all of my readers! I love to write, but it's so much better to have an audience to write for! Every time I get a new review, I feel like a kid at Christmas! Thanks again, and feel free to contact me via email, Facebook or Twitter! I'd love to hear from you.