Publishing

Welcome to 2016

white.jpg

It's a new year. I always feel like I need to reflect on the past year and all the good things that happened, or bad things that happened, and decide whether it was a great year or not. But, a year is an awfully long time and I think it's hard to categorize it as one or another because it's both. Life is both. I had some amazing things happen, things that I am truly grateful for. And I had some things happen that I would rather not experience again. But in the spirit of starting over, or at least starting a new year, I'd like to focus on some of the positives:

  1. My husband and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary. That means that he hasn't gotten on my nerves so much that I've killed him yet :-P.
  2. I began this insanely crazy publishing journey and self-published 3 books.
  3. I sold over 1,000 books in my first month of being published.
  4. I got to go on some amazing vacations to places like the Bahamas, Florida, Myrtle Beach, and New York.
  5. I met some great new friends, both in the writing world and otherwise, and reaffirmed how amazing my current friends are.
  6. I saw some amazing theatre including Something Rotten and Deaf West's Spring Awakening, which was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had.

The end of the year was a hard time for me and as I should have been writing, I found myself extremely unmotivated. The ideas floated through my head, but I just couldn't bring myself to put them down on paper (or computer screen). I'm finally starting to feel more like myself and I'm going to use this blizzard/Snowzilla/Winter Storm Jonas to try to find my voice again.

imrs.php

I think I'm also hesitant because I've started something new and that's always scary. It's a different type of story than what I've written before, and although it's something that I would love to read, I also have no idea how to do it. But I always hold the advice Colleen Hoover once gave, "Write the story you want to read." So that's what I'm going to try to do. I'll keep you posted and talk more about it when I know more myself.

Also, on another completely random note, I saw these articles on indie authors and self-marketing the other day and I found them really interesting. I think marketing is the hardest thing because the market is oversaturated, so how am I supposed to make my book stand out when it is purposefully like so many others? I hate talking about myself and constantly saying "look at me, look at me, buy my book, buy my book." This author offers up two points of view that I really loved reading about. Check them out:

Please Shut Up: Why self-promotion as an author doesn't work

Wait, Keep Talking: Author self-promo that actually works

To those of you on the East Coast, stay safe this weekend. To those of you elsewhere, enjoy the sunshine we'll be missing ;-).

Get'cha Head in the Game, it's September!

white.jpg
“A bee is never as busy as it seems; it's just that it can't buzz any slower.”
-Kin Hubbard

Oh my gosh, guys, so much is going on! I've been super busy for the past few weeks and am just now getting a chance to catch up on everything. Whew! School started and I'm trying to get out of the denial-state of summer ending and get my head in the game.

The next month is going to be such a whirlwind. On September 27th, I'm going to be at the Baltimore Book Festival in the Author's Tent! I'm super excited about it! If you're in the area, stop by, I'd love to see you! I'm even more excited about this event because I found out that Jay Crownover and Jennifer L. Armentrout are going to be there also! They're in the Romance Writers tent and are going to be leading some fun and sexy panels that sound AMAZING! It should be fantastic!

Then, just a few days later, I'm going to be heading down to Tennessee to the Indie Romance Convention. It's a whole weekend celebrating readers, and bloggers, and authors which I'm excited, and a little nervous about. It should be a great opportunity to learn and meet people. It's a lot smaller than my previous signings so I will hopefully have more of a chance to talk with readers!! And discover some great books to read myself!

And as if that wasn't enough, I'm going to be publishing an Every Series novella this month as well! It is called Every Chance, and is to be read after Every Beat and follows one of our favorite characters ;-). For more information, look at the previous post which has an excerpt and look at the "Books" tab at the top of this page for a synopsis. I don't have an exact date yet, but definitely this month! So many exciting things, so little time!

It's Gonna Be a Busy Few Weeks

white.jpg

 

“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.”
-Bo Bennett

I blinked and all of a sudden it's June. June! Part of me can't believe it's here and the other part of me is so glad that it is. Summer vacation is just a few short weeks and I can't wait (15 days with students left, just in case you were wondering). So much is happening that I'm excited about!!

10171627_337614383090724_1414214904521417577_n

First of all, I'm going to my first ever book signing next week in Dayton, hosted by Just One More Romance. I'm thrilled and honored to be along side of many other authors who share my love of stories and romance. My friend, editor, fellow writer, supporter, confidant, and fangirl, Shannon is coming with me to help me get through it and I'm super excited. She's the one who introduced me to this wonderful world of books (thank you Shannon...and Travis Maddox and Kellan Kyle) and I'm lucky enough to be able to bring her along with me.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00024]

The following week, on JUNE 13TH, my second book, Every Choice, is being released! I am over-the-moon excited and proud of this book and I can't wait to send it out in the world. Like with everything, the more you do it, the better you can become. I can proudly say that this book is better than the first and I'm thrilled with the response so far. I can't wait for you to meet Cassie and Luca and root for them, even when they can't root for themselves. You can go check it out on Amazon or on Goodreads right now.

I've also started working on a new project (which I'm procrastinating by writing here) that I can hopefully share some details with you soon. I'm still trying to figure it all out, but let's just say some familiar characters will be coming back ;-).

In completely other random news, I've been reading, which is great because I feel like I haven't done it in forever. I have a really hard time reading and writing at the same time, so it's become a one or the other situation. Since I've mostly been editing recently, I've been able to read and have read some fantastic books. I am completely in love with All Played Out by Cora Carmack. I've read her books since the beginning, but this one was hands down my favorite. It's the third in her Rusk University series, but you can read it as a standalone and it is sexy, and steamy, and laugh-out-loud hilarious (just ask my husband who kept shooting me looks as I laughed). If you're looking for something new to read until Every Choice comes out, I highly recommend that.

I better get back to my real work, it seems like it's never ending. Happy June, everyone!

This Has Almost Nothing To Do With My New Book

white.jpg
“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes when people feel sad, they try to make a list of things that make them happy in hopes that it makes them feel better, allowing them to look for the silver lining. Well, a lot of pretty great things have been going on lately, so I just started making a list of things that I love and make me happy because...well, they make me happy. I'd like to share them with you:

1. Ian McKellan-this one isn't really just about him, it's about the entire cast of Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. I mean, c'mon, Emma Watson as Belle? Could that casting BE any more perfect? But, back to Ian, his tweet after their read-through was just perfection.

2. Younger- If you are not watching this show on TV Land, what are you doing with your life? Seriously. It is one of the best new shows I have seen in a long time, and that's saying something because I watch a lot of TV. It stars Hilary Duff (yay Lizzie McGuire!), Sutton Foster (yay Broadway star!), and Nico Tortorella (yay cute boy!) and is so subtly funny. To get a job, Liza (Sutton Foster) lies about her age and says she's 26 instead of 40. Kelsey (Hilary Duff) helps her navigate her new job, but it takes Liza a while to understand how just to act like a millennial (speaking in acronyms, using hashtags, debating over JTT vs. Andrew Keegan). Plus dating hot tattoo artist Josh is kinda fun. 10 pm on Tuesdays, do it!

3. Slam Poetry- Oh my gosh, I don't know why I have a sudden obsession with it (or maybe I do...blame it on Colleen Hoover), but I have found some freaking fantastic ones lately. If you're interested, try checking it out: Explaining My Depression to My MotherSomewhere in AmericaFor Teenage Girls, and what started it all-

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trmHJLJAgB8[/embed]

4. Humans of New York. If you're not following them on Facebook, you should be. The photographer walks around New York taking pictures of people every day and asks them questions about their lives. You hear love stories that are 50 years old and some that are 2 weeks old. You hear about the couple who take turns following their dreams: one is off being a dancer and the other is painting the front stoop until he can pursue acting again. You hear about the man who has been in the U.S. for five years and he went to Central Park to talk English to someone, but he ended up just sitting on a rock instead. You see the little boy who says his sister isn't old enough to have superpowers yet. You see the teenage boy who credits his high school teacher for changing his life and keeping him off the streets. It is amazing how many great, inspiring, heartbreaking stories are out there.

5. Also, T-Rex short arm jokes and reenactments of The Lion King make me laugh always. Seriously, go Pinterest it!

eb1e3dc55ec63deff0eecb6e801cd3a5

be3b12e6dc38ab0ab73d04ab18cc0112

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

47394f5fb4c8ef478250f826c7836977

2031d3eb09a78a7afce8316cd7117bc0

enhanced-buzz-7044-1380993831-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For every silver lining, there is a rain cloud, so here are the things that are NOT making me happy:

1. Shonda Rhimes and Grey's Anatomy...I do NOT want to talk about it.

2. All TV shows that kill off/get rid of characters I like...I'm talking to you Vampire Diaries, Chicago PD...and that other show I am NOT talking about.

3. My house is a mess and I don't have enough time to clean!

 

Ok, I guess I should update you on my writing. So many exciting things are happening that I can hardly keep up. Every Choice is going to be released on June 13th which is SO SOON and I'm beyond excited about it! I'm in my final rounds of copy editing so it's getting close. I should have a cover reveal for you shortly ;-).

I am appearing in my first author signing on June 6th in Dayton, Ohio! It's going to be a great time and I can't wait to meet everyone. Check out this link for more details!

To end, here's a little teaser from Every Choice, out June 13th :-P:

I had just pulled my key out and was about to slide it in when his door flung open and an intense Luca charged across to me. He caged me against my door with one arm on either side of my head.

“I told you I could play the game, sweetheart. You ready to surrender?”

I narrowed my eyes at him and tried to ignore how good he smelled. “Not a fucking chance,” I said.

He pressed his body in closer, so it was just a few inches from being fully against mine and I couldn’t stop the gasp that escaped. He leaned in and I could feel his lips coming closer. Yes! This was what I had been waiting for. He hadn’t touched me yet, but my body was ready to explode when he did. 

My eyes closed of their own accord as his mouth came closer to mine. I could feel our lips barely brushing as he whispered, “Suit yourself. Game on.”

He pushed himself off and I heard him chuckle as he walked back into his apartment and closed the door.

How Did I Get Here?

white.jpg
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
-E.L. Doctorow

I am constantly amazed and humbled by what has happened in my life in the past three months or so. I had no expectations about publishing a book. How can you? How can you possibly know what expect? You know what to hope for. You hope that someone will buy your book. You hope that the person enjoys it. You hope that the person will recommend it to a friend. You hope that someone will like your status on Facebook supporting the book. You hope someone retweets your Tweet about it. But you also know that there are tens of thousands of other ebooks out there so what's to make anyone pick up your book?

I'm not going to lie, I've had some moments of complete doubt in myself. And by some, I mean a ton. But every time something happens that makes that pit form in my stomach, something wonderful happens that reaffirms my confidence, at least for the time being. I hope that the feeling goes away with time, but I'm not sure it ever does. I think when you put something out there to be judged, whether you're an actor, singer, poet, author, painter, whatever, you will always have moments where you worry that your work is complete and utter crap. It makes the kind words and good reviews and friendly support mean that much more.

Instead of focusing on those moments, I think it's important to focus on the good things. Like my friends and my husband who are insanely supportive and celebrate with me every time I hit a milestone. Like the readers who take their time to leave a review saying that they enjoyed their time with Sadie, Gavin, and Jamie. Like every single person who has liked my page on Facebook, or followed me on Twitter or Instagram.

Like the fact that over 5,000 people have taken a chance on an unknown author and purchased Every Beat.

Like the fact that I am #24 on Indie Author News's Top 50 Indie Books for March...something readers *voted* on! Check out the list!

Like the fact that I will be appearing at my first author signing in June! Check out the signing!

Like the fact that I just finished writing my second book, which is incredibly mind-blowingly fantastic.

For every moment of doubt I've had, I've had five of infinite love and support. I am so grateful, just so completely grateful that I have been able to go on this journey and that I am where I am today.

Book #2 is out in my trusted beta-reader/editors' hands and I can't wait to hear what they think and to share it with you. Cassie and Luca are getting restless, so stay tuned for another sneak peek at their story soon!

Thank You and I Don't Have a Title

"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once."
-John Archibald Wheeler

Time is a funny thing. Sometimes it feels like it's racing by and all of a sudden minutes, and days, and months have passed in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, it crawls so slowly that you are sure that a snail could travel a mile before that terrible work meeting you're in will end. And sometimes, the days seem to pass slowly, you are fully aware of every hour and what you are getting accomplished (or not accomplished), yet, all a sudden, six weeks have gone by and you have no idea how it happened. For me, it's that third one.

Every Beat was published six weeks ago today and I feel like it's been forever and like it was just yesterday. It has been a crazy six weeks, and I've loved almost every moment. I have sold over 2,100 books and it is amazing to think that there are 2,100 people out there who have met, are meeting, or will meet Sadie, Gavin, and Jamie. I am thankful for each and every person who has taken a chance on a complete unknown and decided to one-click. Thank you to the bloggers who have helped to promote and review my book so far (Exclusive excerpt and Author Q&A over at Shayna Renee's Spicy Reads http://wp.me/p3OnYR-2Na and 4.5 Star review at Red Cheek Reads http://bit.ly/1CUT3En). Thank you to each person who has added the book on Goodreads, and thank you especially to each person who has taken the time to review the book. It is extremely helpful for authors (and readers) to hear opinions to make informed decisions on how to spend their hard earned money. So thank you for your time and your words. Not every review is a positive one and that is completely okay! I know my book is not for everyone. While I don't always love when negative reviews seem like they are attacking, I do appreciate their opinions. Even with my closest reading buddies, we have differing thoughts on books sometimes, and that's just the way it works. But thank you to those of you who shared positive and kind words, and thank you to those of you who left constructive criticism that will help me grow and make the next book even better.

Speaking of the next book, I'm probably a little more than halfway done with it right now. It is exciting and crazy scary at the same time. With Every Beat, I knew the big plot ideas and how I wanted the story to end (for those of you that have read it, the tent scene and the final scene drove me). With this one, let's just call it I Don't Have a Title, things are unfolding as I go and I'm not quite sure where we are going to end up. It is terrifying and thrilling letting the characters talk and just sort of see what happens. I tried to outline the rest of the story the other night, and I had some ideas, but the characters are not being as helpful as I would like. I keep changing my mind, people's names have changed, their relationships, their jobs. I'm still trying to decide what makes for the best story...and the most drama. (We have to make Joey Potter and Brooke Davis proud.) My main character is being super stubborn and is proving to be her own worst enemy. I've made a complete mess of things which is fabulous, but now that I'm trying to get out of them out of the mess...it seems like I've dug a pretty deep hole. I guess only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

 

As a special treat, I'll include a small teaser from I Don't Have a Title. Keep in mind, this is pre-re-reads, pre-edits, pre-everything, so don't judge too harshly! *Warning: language and mature themes*

“Do you want to make love to me?” he growled. I titled my head and observed him for a moment. His expression gave nothing away. “You hardly seem like someone who makes love,” I replied. “You’re right. I don’t. I fuck. Hard.” I arched off the wall and my breasts brushed against his chest sending tremors through my body. “That’s what I’m offering. No strings. Just a fun night.” “Sweetheart, you aren’t capable of offering me that.” My eyes narrowed at him. They had adjusted to the minimal light but saw no humor in his expression. In fact, he was a blank slate and I didn’t like that I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. “You don’t even know me,” I said, throwing his words back at him. “I know enough. You are confident enough to use a fake trip to gain my attention. You’re a little arrogant in thinking that games could actually fool me. And you are sexy as hell, and I’d like nothing more than to peel you out of this dress and fuck you against this wall with your legs around me, screaming my name.”

The Aftermath

white.jpg
"Joy is the feeling of grinning on the inside."
-Dr. Melba Colgrove

A little over two weeks ago, I pushed "publish" on Every Beat and there was no turning back, even if I wanted to. It has been a whirlwind of mostly positive feelings and excitement and shock since then. The support from my family and friends has been overwhelming. The support from my husband has been overwhelming. The support from strangers I don't even know has been overwhelming. And fantastically amazing.

I have been obsessively checking my sales on Amazon for the past two weeks simply because every time the number goes up, I am a little in shock. People I DON'T KNOW are buying my book?? Oh my God. Complete strangers all over the country, in different countries, are buying my book?? That's crazy and insane and unbelievable and fantastic. They are hopefully falling in love, choosing sides, gasping, crying, biting their nails, and hopefully, hopefully, smiling. I so desperately want to talk about this story but it is so hard to mention anything without giving something away, so that's all I can say. But PM me on Facebook and I'll talk your ear off ;-).

There are almost 40,000 Kindle books on Amazon. That is more than one can read in an entire lifetime and I am so grateful and humbled and absolutely thrilled that almost 500 people have decided that my little book is one they would like to jump into for a time. That is crazy! I've watched my book become the number one item that shows up when you search for "Every Beat" instead of fifth. I've watched my ranking on Amazon drop until I was in the top 3,000 books on Amazon. 3,000 out of 40,000?? In two weeks?? I am stunned and amazed and thankful.

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 9.09.59 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 1.21.34 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-04 at 5.16.38 PM

So, if you are reading this and have read Every Beat, thank you for taking a chance on me. If you are reading this and haven't read it, what are you waiting for?

Every Beat Cover Art

 

I'm a Published Author...What?!

white.jpg
"The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story."
-Ursula K. Le Guin
Oh my God, guys, what just happened?!? About eight months after completing the book, and after months and months of edits, I finally figured out which buttons to push to format the manuscript correctly and I clicked "PUBLISH." It said it would take up to 12 hours...but less than 2 hours later I got a text:

IMG_0614

I never thought it would happen so quickly, and I never expected to feel like I do. I've been talking about publishing for months. Even when I was writing, I knew that was the end goal. What I didn't expect was this feeling, this feeling of falling and flying at the same time.

giphy

The only thing I can compare it to is when you are standing in the wings about to enter the stage for a performance. You are a jumble of jitters: excited, nervous, ecstatic, and scared all at the same time. That's how I feel. I can't believe I have a giant piece of myself out there for the world to enjoy, out there for the world to judge. It is terrifying. But the best kind of terrifying. I mean, what if they hate it? What if they rip it to shreds? What if they say it's the worst thing they've ever read? I would like to say I've prepared myself for it. I know everyone won't love it. And I'd like to think that I'm okay with that. But even so, you still kind of hope that it doesn't happen.

I am thankful that I was able to get out of the house today and couldn't sit by my computer refreshing the page to look and see if people had bought my book every ten seconds. I think I would have gone mad. Every Facebook post or new Twitter follower I've had today has made me want to jump for joy and has kept this ridiculous smile on my face for the last twelve hours.

I know I probably should have expected it, but the outpouring of love and support I have received from friends and co-workers today has blown my mind. If I didn't already think I had the world's greatest friends, then I definitely do now. I could never have guessed that they would have jumped at the opportunity to tell me "congratulations" or to say "I bought your book." It is so overwhelming and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are amazing.

IMG_0615

I could go on and on forever thanking those of you who have showed faith in me today, so I'll leave you with one last thought.

I remember writing stories in elementary school...none of which got very far because what eight-year-old has enough discipline to write a book, but I remember them vividly. In high school, I entertained my friends with a teen drama based on us full of all the teen angst you could hope for. When I joined Facebook nine years ago, I wrote that it was a dream to publish a novel one day, never really thinking that it could actually happen.

But today it did. Today I was able to achieve something I have wanted to do for practically my entire life. And it is amazing.

It feels like I'm falling and flying all at the same time.

giphy-1