Category Archives: Books

Five Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming a Writer

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Actually, there’s a lot more than just five, but in the interest of keeping this short I’ve narrowed it down.

First, I learned that everybody and their aunt thinks it’s the coolest thing that you wrote a book.  Friends and acquaintances treat you like a local celebrity.  I almost started to believe it!  I was like “Do you know who I am?”  And the mail lady was like, “Yeah, I’ve been delivering your mail for about ten years.” You’re inundated with emails from strangers who loved your book and can’t wait for you to write your next novel.  When you write the second one, people are still fascinated by it.  Mostly people who don’t know you very well.  Your friends are getting sick of hearing how cool people think you are when they know you for the nerd you actually are.  By the third one, everyone calms down and they realize you’re not really a celebrity and resume treating you like the everyday, normal person that you are.  In the end, you’re left with a small base of loyal fans who you will love forever.

Second, I learned that marketing is not easy and people who choose to go into that profession must be a glutton for punishment.  The big wigs don’t pay trillions of dollars in marketing research for nothing!  There’s a science to it that I’m struggling to understand.  I thought, “Great, I wrote a book, got great reviews, and now people are talking about it.  I’ll just sit back and let my novel be read by thousands!”  It turns out that’s not how it works!  Who knew?  There’s nothing that makes you feel so small and insignificant as tooting your own horn to the sound of silence.  It’s very awkward, and I think I’m doing it wrong.  I’ve read marketing books, I’ve joined support groups for indie authors, and I’ve had some success.  But it’s two steps forward, and one step back.

Third, I learned this is an emotional roller coaster ride unlike any I’ve ever taken!  And I have three children!  One day, things are in a slump and I’m telling my family that I’m going to take a year off and re-evaluate my choices.  I’m going to try to improve my writing and give it a go another time.  Then someone tags their friend on Facebook in the comments of one of my promotional posts saying “Jane Doe, this is that incredible book I was telling you about!” After I read that, I’m in my kitchen like “KIDS!  Momma’s back on!”  Then sales slow down and post interaction on Facebook comes to a halt, and I’m back to “I don’t know guys, maybe I’m going down the wrong path.”  Then a friend does me a solid and promotes my book on her page, and someone I’ve never met comments “Oh!  I’ve heard of her book.  They were talking about it in a Facebook book group. They said good things.”  I got that wide, toothy, creepy-clown grin on my face, turned to my kids and I’m like “People are talking about me!”  Can you believe it?  People were talking about my book!  Then I wondered if she maybe mixed me up with somebody else.  Then I was back to doubting myself.  Today I’m good though.  For now.

Fourth, I learned that you absolutely must have a Facebook account.  Zuckerberg basically owns me.  He’s got what I need, and I can’t shake that soul-less eyed, twerpy kid.  I’m pretty sure his cocky-ass knows it, too.  After a long love/hate relationship with Facebook, I spontaneously and quietly deleted my account.  I felt free of my chains.  I wanted to make a shirt that said: “Suck it Zuck.”  I walked away and never looked back, for six months.  I had no regrets over the deletion.  I spent my newfound free time with my kids, enjoyed my summer, and continued writing novels and other short stories.  Then it came time to tell everyone about my upcoming book.  Do you know where everyone is?  Freaking Facebook.  Yeah.  I tried to release the book without being on the social platform, but sales were pretty much non-existent.  After rejoining the social media monster again, sales rapidly picked up.  It was bittersweet.  But what is the point of putting all of myself into writing a novel if nobody knows it exists?

Fifth, I’ve learned what it means to truly find your passion.  Books have made such a difference in my life.  The temporary escape and emotional distraction they offer literally saved my life once.  It is a blessing to be able to provide this beneficial opportunity to others through the creation of my novels.  I enjoy helping people relax and unwind.  I love knowing that for a moment in time, I was able to entertain someone by taking them into their imagination. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do!

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What is The Facination With Vampires

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My latest novel, Vital Spark, is a vampire romance set in New Orleans.  I’ve been a fan of mythical vampires since long before Twilight oversaturated the market.  In all the novels I’ve read, I never really questioned what it was that made the vampires so appealing.

Obviously they are written as gorgeous, so there’s that.  Then there’s the idea of superhuman strength and speed, which creates a situation that would make anyone feel safe and protected, and that’s a nice feeling.  Some people are a sucker for a tortured soul, which could also explain some of the facination.  A lot of us can relate to having that “darker side” of ourselves.  We bury it and struggle to keep it contained, but we all have our inner demons.

Then I got to thinking, what is it that most people fear?  Death.  And also aging, because that seems to lead to death.  But with just a little bite, a vampire can give you the gift of immortality and eternal youth.  The older I get, the more I realize there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for eternal youth.  Maybe not botox though, I’ve seen some pictures. But I have to do something because it’s not going to be pretty you guys…

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A vampire can ease your biggest fears.  Can you imagine what you would do if you knew you couldn’t die?  I’d eat two pounds of bacon for breakfast every morning.  And a stick of butter covered in sugar.

I always say it would suck to live forever.  At some point, I’ll want to move on to the next realm so I can start haunting people or whatever.  But I can bet that on my deathbed, I’ll be screaming for Dracula.

What do you think?  Would immortality be a blessing or a curse?

It’s the Most Difficult Part of Being a Writer

No, not coming up with the idea.  That part is fun and easy.  I can come up with a million story ideas, and every now and then, one of them is actually pretty good!

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The next part is turning that good idea into at least sixty-thousand words.  If you know me, you know that I can talk for days…months, even!  It’s entirely possible that one day I’ll get started, and never actually stop.  So this part is not the most difficult part of being a writer for me.  Sure there are times when scene A doesn’t connect so easily to scene B, but eventually, a bridge is built and everything flows together.

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Then there’s the re-write.  It’s a little boring, in my opinion, because the novelty of getting your story written has passed, and now you’re left cleaning up your mess.  And I can leave one, big, hot mess.  It’s a lot of work, but not the hardest part, for me.

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Editing is a nightmare, I’ve made no attempt at hiding the fact that I detest editing.  Even saying the word “edit” makes me throw up in my mouth.  But I can push through and do my best.

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Then there’s the part where I have to come up with a title for my novel.  This part is only slightly worse than a root canal, but still not the most difficult part of being a writer.

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After all that and a little more, it turns out the hardest part of being a writer, at least for me, is the marketing!  Nobody warned me how hard it would be.

First of all, I’m just a drop in the ocean over here!  I’m barely noticeable in a room of ten, much less a sea of millions.  It’s hard to stand out against a backdrop of so many fantastic writers.

Second, I’ve been conditioned to be humble and not brag.  A popular saying when I was growing up was “nobody likes a show-off” and that lesson really stuck.  So I’m supposed to be over here saying things like “Check out my awesome new book, I guarantee you’ll love it!” or “I really outdid myself this time, you have to read this!” or “Get your copy of the best book ever written!”  But inside my head it’s more like “Check this out if you want!” or “This one might be pretty good and if you think you might like to give it a chance that would be super!” or “I feel really bad asking you to buy this, I wish I could give it to you for free just in case you think it sucks.”  But according to my husband, that’s just bad marketing, and he’s a Virgo so he thinks he knows everything and, frustratingly enough, he’s usually right.

And lastly, I grew up in the Catholic school system, where (back then) from a very young age we were conditioned to believe that everything we did was a sin, and all of our choices are wrong and shameful.  I hear it’s a lot different these days, however, I did not escape without my fair share of guilt issues.  So anytime I ask someone to “like” and “share” anything promoting my book, I get heart palpitations over the fact that I’m asking them for something.  Like, no one owes me anything, what right do I have to bother them with my personal business?  And Lord forbid they don’t “like” or “share” because then I just know I’ve crossed a line and must hang my selfish head in shame.

Who knew promoting yourself was such a hard thing to do?  It feels uncomfortable and unnatural, and I wish it wasn’t a part of being a writer.  Maybe after my fifty-seventh novel, it’ll be less painful.

Thank you for letting me be honest!

Vital Spark: A FREE Peek Just For You!

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Happy book release day!!!  Vital Spark is now available for purchase on Amazon!

In honor of book release day, I’m sharing the first two chapters of the novel for free.  So, check out your free sample of Vital Spark and if you like what you read, you can buy my latest novel, Vital Spark right here!  It’s available in both the Kindle and paperback editions.

Thank you for your consideration!  Happy reading!

 

Blurbing it Up

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Elaura Maitland is searching for her missing sister in the deepest, darkest shadows of New Orleans when she unwittingly gets pulled into an underground war between the vampires of the French Quarter.

Max has been the most powerful vampire in New Orleans for decades, ensuring a peaceful coexistence with humans.  Now people are disappearing, which can only mean one thing: a vampire uprising.  If Max can help Elaura find out what happened to her sister, maybe he can discover who’s trying to wage a war against him.

As if he didn’t have enough on his plate, Max’s longtime enemy, a vampire hunter named Trevor, is back in town.  The mysterious hunter and the beautiful Elaura have developed a close relationship, which complicates things even further, as Max tries to fight his own growing affection for her.

Lost in a world she never could have dreamed existed, Elaura must find out what happened to her sister, before the entire city goes down in the flames of a war waged to destroy humanity.

 

Vital Spark.  Coming to you October 1st!

Thoughts?  Questions?  Comments?  Let me know!

Cover Reveal

We finished the cover…so there’s that!

My husband has the patience of a saint, but if you never hear from me again, it’s safe to assume he smothered me in my sleep.

I think this is the millionth try. He had to keep tweaking and moving things to make the cover exactly how I wanted it. That would have been easier if I hadn’t kept changing my mind about exactly how I wanted it.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to my husband, Phil! I LOVE it!

Vital Spark, coming October 1st!

Title Rejects

You know you're a writer when... you've spent more time brainstorming the title for your novel than writing.

To title a novel is a process.  Every successful author has one and I’m pretty sure my process -while fun- is flawed.  I don’t know.

It usually starts with a glass of wine, after I’ve had a shot or two.  I complain a little bit about my upcoming task to anyone who will listen…so, my dogs and the one cat who’s too lazy to run away.  Then I sit down at the computer and start typing any title that comes to mind that’s even loosely tied to the novel I’m working on.  Any words or phrases that pop in there.  This strategy works well because there are no rules, nothing is off the table in this moment.

I usually keep going until I find myself typing things like “You’ll Never Pick a Good Title” or “Just Give Up.” At that point, I’m just being negative and clearly a refill of wine is necessary.  But what I’m left with are some great ideas for a title that I get to choose from.

I mean, I haven’t actually chosen any titles that present themselves during these brainstorming sessions, but I figure, if I just keep with it, one day it’ll work.  Maybe.

Here are a few rejected titles from my upcoming novel.  It’s a vampire romance set in New Orleans.

Suck It ……………………………………….I like the blunt approach, but it seems a bit rude.

Bite Me (A Vampire Romance) …At least it’s to the point.

Eat. Drink. Prey. ……………………….Get it?  “Prey?”

Bae in the Bayou ………………………This is just dumb.

I Thought He Drank Wine ……….She made an honest mistake.

My Boyfriend Can Fly ………………Not really the point of the story.  At all.

Love Can Be Draining ………………Too pessimistic.

This Book Has No Title …………….Too honest.

Just Read This ……………………………Too bossy.

There should be a profession where people get paid to read a book and come up with a title for it.  I would pay good money for that service if I ever had any good money.