Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Truth Is Out

It’s finally here. After months of writing and rewriting and editing and then editing some more, The Truth Inside came out yesterday with little fanfare.

While I would love to have received a bigger reception, I’m still proud and excited. This book, the first in my New Beginnings new adult series, gets back to what I always wanted to do; write books that touch people’s hearts and give them characters they identify with. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed all of my books and I’d like to think my readers have too, but this is different.

I know parents aren’t supposed to have favorite children. Since authors often feel like their books are their children, I suppose the same could apply. Maybe we shouldn’t have a favorite book that we’ve written, but I do. This one is it for me.

The Truth Inside tells the story of Nate Holland, an MMA fighter who’s trying to get his career off the ground and having his first serious relationship since making the transition from female to male. Nate not only has to navigate his romantic relationship but also the ones he has with his friends who haven’t been privy to his secret until now.

I’d been toying with writing a new adult series for some time, and a transgender character in one of my stories seemed like a good idea. Stories with trans characters exist, but they’re difficult to find. Even more difficult is finding a story that doesn’t sensationalize the trans character or use him for shock value.

In The Truth Inside, Nate starts out by keeping his transition a secret from his new friends and girlfriend because he’s struggling with his journey. Nate has a hard time accepting himself and he projects those feelings onto those around him. Like with all secrets, this one won’t stay hidden for long, and readers join Nate in the aftermath of sharing that secret.

As soon as I got the idea for this story, I wanted to stay true to the theme. I wanted to write a story that anyone could relate to, especially anyone struggling with their gender identity. I not only wanted a realistic story, but a cover model who was transgender to pay proper homage to the theme. Thankfully, transgender activist Jeffrey Rubel stepped up to the plate to help me bring Nate to life.

The Truth Inside has finally come out. It’s my biggest hope that it touches people and helps them to feel better about who they are. Everyone deserves a happy ending, except maybe murderers and rapists and child molesters, but you get what I mean.

I hope you'll give this story a chance and share it with others. Thank you for taking this journey with me and Jeffrey and Nate.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Taking the Truth on Tour

We’re less than a week away from the release of The Truth Inside, the first novel in my New Beginnings new adult romance series.

Earlier in the year, I made a commitment to be more aggressive in promotion of my books this year, and I’ve taken the first steps. The Truth Inside will be going on a blog tour beginning February 12th and ending on March 2nd.     

The plan is to be featured on fifteen different blogs where readers will be able to see the cover and a sample of the book. Even better, readers will have a chance, fifteen chances actually, to enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card at the conclusion of the tour.

I’m equal parts excited and nervous about this tour. I’ve done one blog tour before, and as much fun as I remember it being, there’s still a bit of playing the what if game. What if there aren’t enough bloggers interested in hosting the book for the tour? What if bloggers don’t like the book or the cover and give it a bad review? What if there aren’t any readers interested in the blog tour? And the list goes on and on.

Instead of listening on these negative voices, I’m going to tune them out and focus on the goals I have for this tour. Book tours have one big perk that writers can’t deny. They introduce you to new readers. Don’t get me wrong. I love the readers I have. They are rabid in their loyalty and they never fail to brighten my day when I need it. Having more readers is always a plus. Likewise, I hope this will translate to more sales and especially more reviews, but that’s not the main thing I want from this tour.

The Truth Inside is a novel that’s near and dear to my heart and I’m grateful for the opportunity to reach more readers. I’m hoping new readers will discover this book and be touched by it. I’m hoping that at least one reader identifies with our hero’s struggle and that it somehow changes his or her life. Making money as a writer is always nice, but it’s not my top priority. I want to entertain my readers while at the same time affecting their lives in a positive way, be it large or small.

In March, we’ll find out if I’ve reached any of these goals. I’ll be sure to let you know either way. In the meantime, be sure to watch my social media posts in the upcoming weeks for details on each stop of the tour!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It's Time for The Truth Inside

It’s a new year, and with it comes the first book in my new series. This year, I’m dipping my toe into the new adult fountain with the release of The Truth Inside. Publicly anyway. This is not my first new adult rodeo, but that’s a story for another time. Today, I want to focus on what’s important.

The Truth Inside is the first book in my New Beginnings new adult series. At this time, there a total of six books planned. Each book will be a standalone romance novel that focuses on the journey of one young couple. All of the characters are friends and will appear in each other’s books. Reading each book is helpful but not necessary to understand and enjoy each book individually.

The Truth Inside is the story of Nate Holland, a transgender MMA fighter. Nate’s had so much rejection in the past from parents to peers that he’s decided to keep his birth gender a secret. Things get complicated when he meets Natalie Cox. Nate finds himself falling for her but still afraid to take that leap and tell her the truth. When he finally does, Natalie’s reaction is the last thing he expected.

The preceding paragraph was not a spoiler. Readers learn early on that Nate is transgender. The story isn’t about the readers trying to unravel Nate’s big secret which is held until near the end of the book. It’s about Nate’s journey as a transgender man and athlete and how that affects his relationship with his friends and ultimately his girlfriend.

This story isn’t about going for the shock value. I’ve read far too many stories labeling themselves as romance novels that are all about how everyone reacts to the trans character. Often, these stories are erotica, which is fine with me since all of my novels feature some pretty graphic sex scenes. My biggest problem with them is that the trans character doesn’t reveal his or her truth until in the midst of getting hot and heavy with the new love interest. Once that happens, the scene and usually the book as a whole, tends to focus on the reactions of the non-trans character and how that person copes.

That’s not to say there aren’t books out there with solid story lines that explore a trans character’s journey. There are, and I’ve read a few. That’s the problem. There are so few. Certainly not enough when you think of how many transgender people are in this world.

With Nate’s story, I wanted to stay true to what it means to be transgender. I wanted to tell as beautiful story that didn’t demean what it means to be transgender. I am not transgender, but I did my best to provide an accurate and beautiful portrayal, thanks in large part to the number of transgender people who have been open to sharing their stories with the world.

In keeping with the spirit of authenticity, I somehow managed to convince transgender activist Jeffrey Rubel to lend his image to the cover to portray Nate Holland. That’s right, Jeffrey donated his image and time with no expectation of compensation, which is never going to stop amazing me.

I hope that I’ve done this story justice. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, I ask for only two things. First, please review the book on Amazon. The more reviews it gets, the more we can spread the word about this book. Second, tell others you liked it and encourage them to read and review.

Thank you for taking the first step on this journey of New Beginnings. The book will be out 1/30/18, but you can preorder your copy now.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What's the Plan?

Happy New Year, everyone! Is it me, or does it seem like 2018 came up fast? Last week, I told you that we’d talk about my writing plans for this year. As promised, here they are.

First, I’m tackling a new book series this year. Don’t worry. I’m still going to be writing romance. Honestly, I’m not sure I could write another genre. I’m just going to be taking on a new subgenre. My new series is called New Beginnings and it will be a new adult romance series. Right now, there are a total of six books planned for this series, but there may be more. We’ll have to see what happens with the characters. The first book, The Truth Inside, is scheduled for release on 1/30/18. Keep watching my social media for news about the preorder.

This year, I’m making a commitment to do more promotion of my books. While I keep up with my social media accounts, or try to, I’m not very good at promotion. In the past, I’ve had an issue with my budget. Truthfully, I didn’t have one. That changes this year, starting with my first book of the year. So far, I’ve already scheduled a book trailer for The Truth Inside. By the end of the day, I will have also scheduled a book tour. By this weekend, I will have ordered several new promotional pictures to use on my social media sites. I’m also planning to take a look at the wonderful World Wide Web to see what other efforts I should pursue. You’ll have to bear with me if I’m slow to start on this since it’s all new to me.

Instead of only offering my new books in electronic format, I will also be making them available in paperback. This is for my new adult series and any books that I publish from this year on. I may consider going back and making my prior books available in print format. That's still up in the air.

I plan to be a best-selling author this year. Other than writing a great book, this is something I have little control over. That’s where my promotional efforts come in. With any luck, investing more time and money in promoting my books will translate to more sales. At the very least, I would like to be an Amazon best seller, but I would absolutely love to be on the New York Times and/or USA Today best seller lists.

I would like to go to at least one author event this year, but I can’t make any promises. I’m an indie author who not only has a small budget but also a day job. Both of those things make it difficult to travel, but maybe I’ll get lucky. Maybe my first book of the New Year will do so well that I’ll have the money to go to an event this year. I’ll keep you posted.

I think it’s time I joined Romance Writers of America. I’m a romance writer after all. If I’m going to invest in promotion of my books, I think I can invest in this as well.

This year, I also hope to gain some new fans and see more Amazon reviews of my books. Only time will tell if this happens. I’ll let you know at the end of this year when I do my annual recap. Until then, wish me luck!