Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Efffect of Affect? The Affect of Effect?

Okay, let me be the first to admit, my copy editing is not perfect. I do the best I can to deliver a polished product to my readers, but the fact of the matter is I'm not in a position to afford a professional editor yet. I have noticed with the advent of e-books, which has brought more writers to light than traditional publishing ever did, that readers seem to be more tolerant of minor errors. I know I am. There's an author whose books I love who is constantly confusing set and sat.

As tolerant as readers are, that doesn't mean writers shouldn't be diligent. I think that indie writers have an even greater responsibility to readers, especially when you consider that some people still don't consider indie authors to be "real" authors.

I am the first to admit that I still have to stop and think, is it effect or affect? If I'm struggling, I'm sure other writers are. That said, there are some things that make me cringe.

Alright is not a word! It doesn't mean you agree everything is okay. It needs to be spelled out as two words; all right. Is something alwrong? Then it can't be alright! Fellow writers, I am begging you. Please stop using it.

Do I feel bad or badly? I feel bad. Bad always applies to feelings. If I'm going to talk about how the team did in the game last night, they did badly. Bad equals feelings. Badly equals how you did or reacted to something.

Do I want dessert or desert? If I'm talking about a sweet treat then I mean dessert. What child didn't learn that you put two of the letter S in the word dessert because you want two helpings? I can eat my dessert in the desert, or I can desert my post, but I am not eating desert.

Does this happen every day? Is it an everyday occurrence? Every day, two words, means every single day. Everyday means something is routine. I read every day.

Does it faze you when I point this out? Do you think it's a phase? Faze means to bother or disturb while phase means a period of time. So, I hope you are not fazed because I can assure you this is not a phase.

Ensure or insure? This is a big one. If I am ensuring you, I'm making you certain of something. Only property can be insured; my car, my house, etc.

Is it the past tense that you passed me by? Yes it is! Past is a noun that means the preceding time or an adjective that often means last. Passed is a verb. You passed me by when you walk past me.

And finally, my favorite, or least favorite, I guess you can say. Do they unconsciously or subconsciously  seek each other out in a crowd?  I hope they aren't unconscious when they do it since that means they aren't awake. I'm sad to say I see it happen often in books.

I'm also sad to say this is just a glimpse into a much bigger problem. Or is it a glimpse in to the problem? It's tough to say, but as writers we should do our best not to let our confusion effect the reader's experience. Wait, was that effect the reader's experience or affect it? Oh, hell!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ending one Era, Hoping to Start Another

Over the weekend, I put my latest novel up for preorder. Triple Play, the third and final novel in the Kinkaid Brothers series, will be released April 11th, and I'm freaking out here.

Without giving too much away, I took the story line in a direction that I honestly didn't expect when I sat down to write the book. I'm hoping my readers will support it and like the book. I'm terrified I may have let them down, but that's not what I'm freaking out about.

With the release of Triple Play, it feels like an era is coming to an end. I'm officially closing the book on these characters.

Several years ago, I wrote a young adult novel called Like You Mean It. That novel included a shy young girl, her two best friends, her annoying older brother, the boy she adored from afar and his amazing older brother. Like You Mean It struck such a chord with readers that they begged me for more. And I thought, why not? I loved those characters I could write a story for one of them.

When I sat down to write a love story for Justin Jacobs and Chelsea Schumacher, it was only supposed to be one story. The problem was that I had so many ideas that I couldn't cram them all into one book. It would have overwhelmed readers. Thus, the four book Time for Love series was born.

The Time for Love series follows the romance of Justin and Chelsea. Readers get to catch up with old friends and meet new ones along the way. Somewhere into writing those four novels, I was having so much fun that I decided to write another spinoff series.

After finishing the last Time for Love book, I wrote four books in a series I called Taking on Love. Those books featured characters that had appeared in the Time for Love series. In Taking a Risk, the third Taking on Love book, I introduced a gregarious group of guys; the Kinkaid Brothers.

Let me tell you what, those brothers were a hit. Countless people told me they could tell I had a good time writing about those men and asked if I was going to give them some books of their own. How could I not after a reception like that?

Since one of the Kinkaid boys got his happily ever after in Taking a Risk, there were only three books in the Kinkaid Brothers series as opposed to my usual four.

Triple Play is the last book in the series, and I can confirm there will be no more books featuring those characters or anyone from their books. It seems difficult to believe that one young adult novel spawned eleven additional books! That just amazes me.

As much fun as I've had with all of these books, it's time to move on. So, while one era is coming to an end, I'm throwing the door open on the next one. My next book series, the New Beginnings books, is a new adult series. Each book will focus on one couple's story, but all the characters will be intertwined. I'm so excited for this series, and when the time comes, I hope you will be too.

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's Almost My Birthday!

In two short days, my birthday will be here.  A little over two weeks ago, I got the question. You know the question I'm talking about. What do you want for your birthday?

While I could come up with plenty of things I'd like to have, I thought I'd attack this question from a writer's perspective. If you're trying to decide what to get me for my birthday, there are two things I'd really like to have.

I would love for one of my books to make a best seller list. This has been one of my lifelong dreams as a writer. I think it's one that every writer has, and it's one I need your help to achieve. All you have to do is buy my books. There are several to choose from and most are $3.99 or less. I'd say spending less than $5.00 on a birthday gift is a pretty good bargain.

The other thing I'd like is more Amazon reviews. Those reviews are important. Reviews let me know how you feel about my work, the good and the bad. Believe it or not, even a bad review helps me. Now, don't go rushing out and write a bad review. As a matter of fact, I would love it if you'd take a moment this Wednesday to write a good review. It doesn't have to be much. Rate the book and review the book. One of my books has a review on Amazon that literally says "Enjoyed this" and it's a five star review. I will absolutely take that. A short and sweet review is better than no review.

There it is, the only two things I want for my birthday. I suspect the first one will be a little more difficult to give, but that second one is easy. Best of all, it's free. You don't have to spend a dime to review my books.

Happy almost birthday to me! 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

I Need Your Help!

Something has been on my mind for a while. I've thought about it and stewed about it, and I think it's time to share it with all of you. Hopefully, you can give me some advice so I know what I should or should not do. First, a little background.

From the time I was a child, I wanted to be a professional writer. I used to write stories and make my own books out of construction paper. I remember being so proud of the fact that I was the only person in my fifth grade class who understood how to use quotation marks in my dialogue.

What I wrote was influenced by what I read. When I was younger, I read a lot of Judy Blume and Lurlene McDaniel and the like. Judy Blume appealed to me because she wasn't afraid to tackle tough issues and didn't shy away from portraying teens in a realistic light. I liked that Lurlene McDaniel's books never took the easy way out. In every Lurlene McDaniel book I'd ever read, someone died, and it was usually the main character. Growing up, I remember thinking I wanted to be a combination of these two awesome women. I wanted the grittiness of Blume and the drama of McDaniel.

As I got older, I moved from writing angsty young adult stories to even more angsty new adult stories. There was just one problem with that. When I wrote, Letters from Linc, agents didn't know what to do with my book. Though they claimed to like it, they didn't think they could sell it. The new adult genre didn't exist yet.

I did have an agent who liked me enough to ask if I had anything else he could see. I gave him one of my young adult novels.  The agent liked it, we signed a contract and he set out to sell it. Nobody wanted it and nobody could agree why. One publisher liked the character development but thought the dialogue was weak. Another thought the opposite. Yet another felt like the story was underdeveloped. After so many rejections, my agent explained that vampire books were all the rage and asked if I had any. I didn't, but I was willing to write one if it meant getting a book deal.

I ended up writing a four book vampire series. The agent set about trying to sell the first book and I'm sure you can guess what happened. No one wanted it. This was about the time Twilight was hitting theaters and True Blood was airing on HBO. I was told my books weren't good enough to compete with the others.  My agent suggested I come up with a concept no one had tackled yet because he believed I hadn't found my story.

At this point, I was pissed. I'd never wanted to write vampire novels anyway. It was probably that anger that led me to the decision to write my next stories. If they wanted something different, I would damn sure give it to them and The Unholy Trinity was born.

The tagline for the first book in The Unholy Trinity series was; what happens when the daughter of a mass murderer falls for the son of Satan? The books, three of them, were based on the concept that the son of Satan was looking for his soul mate and he wasn't as bad a guy as everyone thought. Sure, he did some evil stuff, but there could be no good without evil. The guy was the ultimate anti-hero, and his nemesis, Christian Church, was the son of Jesus.

Yes, I was taking a big chance with this concept, but that was the point. I was going for shock value. I wanted to be brave and bold and tackle the most taboo subject of all. And do you know what happened?

My agent was appalled. He freely admitted there was no way he could push this novel. It was too risky. No one wanted the son of Satan to be a good guy and no one wanted to read about people selling their soul to Satan.

We parted ways after that, but I decided I was going to put my money where my mouth was. I started uploading the first Unholy Trinity book on Wattpad and sat back and waited. And the damnedest thing happened. Readers loved it. It shot to the top of the most read lists. Readers were following me and clamoring for more. They were sending me art and poetry inspired by my characters. They were debating about plot points and giving me feedback that I used to develop future installments. Some even wrote fan fiction! How cool is that?

Of course, not everyone loved it which is to be expected when you take on sensitive subjects. Some people told me I was going to burn in Hell. They prayed for my soul and begged me to stop writing. I never engaged with these people, but I didn't have to. My readers were always quick to jump to my defense.

After publishing all three of the Unholy Trinity books on Wattpad, I published a prequel as well as a spin off. Then I walked away. I left Wattpad and went back to writing romance novels, everything from young adult to new adult and even gay romance.

It's been five years since the first Unholy Trinity book was published on Wattpad and to this day, I still have people who seek me out on social media to ask one question. Am I ever going to publish a print version of the books? Usually, my answer is no.

Lately, I've been giving it more thought, but I have to admit I'm worried about a few things. Is it too late? Will readers still want to buy these books? And my biggest fear? Am I going to lose any of my new readers who have read my romance novels but didn't know about my Unholy Trinity series?

My husband tells me to go for publishing the books, but I'm still divided. Once in my career, I sold out in an attempt to sell my books and it didn't work. I swore I wouldn't do it again. I would write what I wanted, what my readers wanted, and screw what people thought I should do.

So, I ask you, my readers, the people I write for. What do you think? Better yet, what do you want? Do you want to see these books in print, or do you think I should leave them firmly in the past?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Remembering my Dad

Four years ago today, I lost my father. He passed away at the age of fifty-nine, leaving a huge hole in my life. Every day, I wish he was still here, and these are just a few of the reasons why:

My dad always encouraged my writing career. Every time we talked, whether one day or one week had passed, he asked if there was anything new going on. Even when I told him that nothing had changed, and I was still getting rejected, he told me not to give up.

When I decided to pursue independent publishing after too many years of rejections and one sham of an agent, my dad was surprised. I remember him asking if I meant I was going to use a vanity press. I was upset by his attitude, and I think it showed. The next time we talked, he could not stop apologizing for what he said. He told me that times were changing and it was smart of me to change with them.

After my first novel, Letters from Linc, was released, my dad told anyone and everyone that would listen that his daughter was a published author. The dreaded phrase 'vanity press' was all but forgotten. Not only did he champion me to anyone within earshot, he put a copy of my novel in his office and always plugged it when they stopped by.

My dad never wanted to read any of the sex scenes in my novels. He told me it was because fathers didn't want to know that their daughters knew such things. I didn't mind. The fact that he knew my novels had sex scenes meant he was reading them.

Growing up, my dad was full of funny sayings, some of which have made their way into my books. I've often joked about making a book devoted entirely to his quirky quips, but I don't think I could do him justice. I also don't think I'll ever remember them all.

My dad was a good listener. He was always willing to help others and he didn't expect a big deal to be made in return. At my father's funeral, I learned he took in a homeless couple and helped them get back on their feet. My dad was a big man who was larger than life. He liked being a father, but he loved being a grandfather.

When I eloped at the age of twenty, my dad didn't disown me or harm my husband when he found out what we'd done. He laughed and then he said, 'Now, the real work begins.' Truer words were never spoken.

My dad wasn't perfect, but he was my dad. I miss him every day, and I would trade anything to have even one more day with him. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

This Year

Happy New Year, everyone! Can you believe it’s already 2017? To close out 2016, I did a post highlighting what I had accomplished for the year. With that in mind, it makes sense to start out 2017 by telling you what I have planned for this year. Here we go…

This year, I will be releasing the last two books in the Kinkaid Brothers series. Change Up, the first book, was released late last year. Heading for Home and Triple Play will both be released this year. Heading for Home is currently being edited and will soon be sent for formatting so its release is closer than you think. Triple Play is still being written, but it will be out this year as well and will close out the series.

The end of the Kinkaid Brothers series will also bring an end to a group of characters I’ve spent years writing about. My first young adult novel, Like You Mean It, had a supporting character that readers liked and asked for more of. That request led to the four book Time for Love series which brought back some of the old favorites from Like You Mean It and introduced some new characters as well. Those new characters were given their own books in the Taking on Love series. It was in one of those books, Taking a Risk, that readers met the Kinkaid brothers and asked for more of them. It still amazes me that one book could have such a ripple effect, but here we are.

This year, I will also be releasing at least one book in my new adult romance series which is tentatively entitled Second Chance Boys. I’m extremely excited to embark on this new adventure in a new genre. Each book in the Second Chance Boys series will feature a new couple facing new challenges that today’s young adults can relate to. In fact, I’m so jazzed about this series that I’m having a hard time not jumping ahead and writing them now, but never fear. The Kinkaid Brothers will be finished before that happens.

This year, I will more aggressively promote my books, especially my new adult release. There will be more contests and giveaways on my social media that will help generate a buzz. I will also be doing more book tours and actively seeking more reviews. I am determined to get more exposure for my work this year.

This year, my website will be getting an overhaul. I hope to make it more fun and eye catching so that you want to keep coming back. While I did have some changes made last year, I want to go bigger and better this year.

This year, I am going to participate in another group project with my fellow authors. I can’t say much about it yet, but I’m supposed to release that book in November.

This year, I am hopeful I will finally become a best-selling author. It’s been almost twelve years since I’ve been a professional writer. I’ve released a total of 15 books in the last twelve years and not one of them has reached best-selling status yet, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up. Each year, my writing gets better which improves my chances. Let’s hope this year I break that glass ceiling.

This year, I am going to kick some writing butt! I am going to make the most of the year and I’m looking forward to seeing what it brings. Who’s with me?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Looking Back at 2016

With the end of the year fast approaching, it seems like a good time to sit back and reflect on what I’ve accomplished so far. Here we go.

I kicked off the year by releasing Taking a Risk, the third book in my Taking on Love series, in January. Taking a Risk also added another milestone to my accomplishments as it was the first male/male romance novel that I’d ever written. I have to admit, I was a little nervous about how my readers would feel about a gay romance novel, but you all came through with flying colors. The book was as well received as the others in the series. The fourth book, Taking Another Shot, came out just a few months later to cap off the Taking on Love series.

In between the release of the third and fourth Taking on Love books, I released the ten year anniversary edition of Letters from Linc. This book came with added content as well as a new cover. It’s hard to believe that the first edition, which was also the first novel I published, came out ten years ago. Letters from Linc holds a special place in my heart both for its subject matter and the fact that it launched my writing career.

After finishing up the Taking on Love series, I moved on to the Kinkaid Brothers trilogy. This is actually a spinoff of the Taking on Love series. All five Kinkaid brothers made their first appearance in Taking a Risk, and they were so much fun to write that I decided to give the guys their own books. Austin Kinkaid was up first with my novel Change Up which came out in September.

Heading for Home, the second Kinkaid brothers novel, was planned for release this year. As you’re aware, that didn’t come to pass, but don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about Reese, Marc and Max. In fact, I’ve already finished the first draft of Heading for Home.

It was a trip to Sapphire Falls that delayed the release of Heading for Home. When best-selling author Erin Nicholas invited me to write a Sapphire Falls Kindle World novella to be released in October, I jumped at the chance. I love all of Erin’s books and I was honored to share my Sapphire Falls story with her amazing readers. I knew when I accepted that I would be pushing back the Kinkaid Brothers, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be a part of the Sapphire Falls world. My novella, Going for Wilder, joined several others that came out in October.

There you have it. It’s been a fun year for my writing career, and I’m already looking forward to 2017.