Where I Am Right Now

Today’s post is just a quick update on the status of A Holiday Wishand my plans for now and beyond.

AAHWCover Holiday Wish is with beta readers, and one has already given it back to me with really helpful comments that I’ve already incorporated. I’m still waiting to hear from five others, but so far, it seems like impressions all-around have been positive! Is it possible that I actually wrote a good book? I mean, I like it when I read it, but that’s because I wrote it. Sometimes we authors are like mothers who look at their extremely physically unattractive kids kicking the crap out of other kids on the playground and think no child has ever been more beautiful or perfect. (Then there are the times that we go full on Tiger Mom and ground a kid for bringing home a report card that’s all As except for one B. We authors are a temperamental bunch.)

While my betas are reading, I’ve been busy. I’m planning the official launch for A Holiday Wish, doing my research and making notes on what makes a book release successful. There will be a soft launch in the fall, followed by an official release date a few days after that – I know when, but I’m not ready to say, so stay tuned for more concrete info. I’m also looking into booking blog tours, coming up with some teasers to whet the appetite, and thinking about possible contests to ramp up interest. I want to do something completely different from the launch of my first book, where I did nothing but shout a few times on Facebook. I’m very proud of A Holiday Wish and I want to give it the launch it deserves!

I’m also working on sketching out Book 2 in the Silver Bells Series, A Holiday Gift. I know a good deal about it already, such as the fact that it will run concurrently with A Holiday Wish and will feature different characters, with just a slight overlap. If all goes according to plan and I can get it written in a year (which I now know I can do), it should be ready in time for the 2017 holiday season. More on that in the next few months!

So that’s where I am at the moment. One book in the can and one in development. And since I’m a complete noob when it comes to marketing and promotion, I think I’ll end by asking – what kind of things would you like to see surrounding the release of a new book? Contests or giveaways? What kind of blog posts would you read? What can an author do to make you interested in their book?

Draft 1 in the bag!

photoLast Thursday I completed the rough draft of my second novel, A Holiday Wish. Considering my first novel took seven years from inception to publication, I feel a little dazed. I mean, I’ve heard people say it, but I never knew it was actually possible to write a complete draft in a year!

Even though I’m dying to start tearing it apart, I’m forcing myself to leave it alone and not take a single peek for an entire 7 days before I start the editing/revising process. I’ve caught myself literally sitting on my hands to keep from opening the document and start tweaking. To keep myself busy, I’m 1) sketching a rough plot for Book 2, A Holiday Gift, and writing a few short pieces from the POV of other characters in A Holiday Wish. The point is to develop a deeper understanding of them to make the rewrite a little less painful, but in the event that they’re not too horrible and/or embarrassing, I just might post them here.

Stay tuned for updates and publication information – I should have more in the next few months!

A New Year’s Resolution

One of my new year’s resolutions (yes, I make them; no, I rarely keep them) is to start blogging more. I’ve tried time and time again, and I don’t know what it is – the having to keep a schedule, the inability to come up with interesting topics, the thought that I’m not someone chock-full of words that anyone will want to hear (great attitude for a novelist, that) – that keeps me from sticking to it. But in 2016, I am going to make a solid effort to do it, and in order to keep myself interested (and interesting), I won’t be blogging much about my books or my writing process. Instead, I’m pretty much just going to blog about me.

So if you have any interest in all at getting to know me and what makes me tick, either click to follow the blog or find me on Facebook and Twitter. I hope to have a new post up every Wednesday! You’ll be able to find new posts on the Blog section of the site.

Happy New Year!

2015 – A Year in Review

 

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Well, here we are. At the end of another year, poised on the precipice of 2016. And I can finally – FINALLY! – wrap up my year as a published author.

Some Rise by Sin was published in March, to little fanfare other than that created by my critique group, family, friends, and of course, myself. Let’s get real – I’m no J.K. Rowling. But it’s done better than I expected given that I have no knowledge whatsoever of marketing. However, they say that the best marketing tool an author can have is a backlist – and trust me, I’m working on that. In the meantime, I’ve put together a little list of things I accomplished this year and things I hope to accomplish next year.

What I Did This Year

  • I published a book! ‘Nuff said.
  • I began to think about a sequel to said book.
  • I realized that the idea I have for said sequel would require a LOT more research than my brain was ready to do. Having spent the last 7.5 years immersed in Tudor England, I needed to come back to reality for a bit. So I put off plans for a sequel, and…
  • Started writing a contemporary holiday romance. At the moment this post is published, I’m about 2/3 of the way through a rough draft, and the seeds of not one more, not two more, but FOUR more books are starting to sprout. So we’re looking at a 5-book Christmas series here, to be completed at some point as yet undetermined. 2020? Egads. Something tells me I’ll be begging for France under Charles X by the time that’s done. And of course, other seeds are always being planted.
  • The authors’ cooperative to which I belong, Five Directions Press, has been picking up steam – which is an accomplishment in itself, and I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful group of writers (and friends). We did a few public appearances through the year and have continued adding to both our author list and our bookshelf. By spring, we’ll have added at least two more books to our list, with more to come throughout the year.
  • I spoke – publicly! – twice, and did not die. First was the library panel in September, where all of the prep work I’d done immediately failed me and I completely forgot the thread I’d meant to follow when giving my part of the discussion. However, my cohorts Ariadne and C.P., in addition to giving me little prompts to keep me talking for longer than 30 seconds, kindly assured me I made more sense than I thought. I chose to believe them. Second was the interview for New Books in Historical Fiction which, considering it was only me and C.P. (and her cat) in her house, was much easier, but I still knew that I was essentially talking to the public, so the nerves were there. But after listening to the interview (and mentally thanking the editor, who cut out all of the awkward pauses that happened while I attempted to form a coherent thought), I must admit, I sounded pretty all right. Of course, it’s hard to be a decent interviewee without a fantastic interviewer!
  • I changed my website design another half-dozen times. Seriously, the work of a frustrated graphic designer is never done.

Goals for 2016

  • Publish another book. Peek around the site and you’ll find bits about my current WIP, A Holiday Wish. I expect to have this out in time for the 2016 holiday season – specifically, I am shooting for October, which gives me a nice month-long cushion of November on which to fall back in case I lose momentum. (I hope I don’t. It looks good so far.)
  • Start plotting a third book. As of right now, I’m planning for the second Silver Bells book to run concurrently with the first and feature mostly different characters. But the main character I have in mind has (so far) two walk-on spots in A Holiday Wish, so I need to start weaving her in sooner than later.
  • Complete my “writer’s room”. My husband and I purchased our first (and last, hopefully – I am not eager to have any more dealings with mortgage companies) house over the summer and it needs a lot of cosmetic TLC. So far my writing room has taken a backseat to the areas that see the most traffic. And while my desk at my day job has served as an adequate place to get my writing done, part of the reason for buying a house was to have my own space unencumbered by necessary storage of unrelated items and the relentless dive-bombing of upstairs neighbors’ undisciplined children. I finally have that room, and over the few days I’ll be home for a Christmas mini-break, I plan to start making it mine.
  • Learn more about marketing. I’d like to say I’m the kind of author who writes just because I like it, and that’s about 97% true, but that 3% of me would be a big, fat liar if I said I didn’t want to sell more. 
  • Give serious thought to becoming a book cover designer. Sometimes I think I prefer designing covers even to writing. (That’s another reason why my Silver Bells series might have 5 books – I came up with 5 covers that I got seriously attached to.) I make covers for books I haven’t yet written and redesign books other people have written. And I like to think I’m even a little good at it. I only have to figure out what I can offer indie authors that they can’t already get somewhere else. It shouldn’t be that hard. Right?
  • Lose 30 pounds. (Oops – how did THAT slip in there? Oh, well. Now I have accountability.)

I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful holiday season and a safe, happy, and successful 2016!

 

Creative Commons Happy Holidays Custom Sugar Cookie by Sweet Flour Bake Shop is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Holiday Swag Giveaway!

Giveaway is now closed! Make sure to come back next year, when we’ll be giving away another basket of Five Directions Press swag!

The holidays are almost upon us – and Five Directions Press has a great gift for one lucky newsletter subscriber! If you’re not already subscribed, head over to our website and get yourself entered for a chance to win some holiday swag. Included in the gift box are some fun gifts, sweet treats, and your choice of either 3 of our paperback books or a thumb drive containing an extensive sample of our e-books!

Sign up by December 8th for your chance to win. The winner will be announced in our next newsletter, which will go out on December 9.

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