Reflecting on the journey from my first book, She Belongs to Me, published in December 2011, to now releasing my twenty-sixth novel, I'm struck by the remarkable transformation not just in my writing, but in my life as an author. She Belongs to Me is a suspenseful romantic mystery that marked the beginning of a thrilling and fulfilling path. Now, as I prepare to release Creatus Sovereign, I realize how much has changed and yet, how my core storytelling elements have remained the same.
When I started, I was driven by a passion for storytelling, creating characters that readers could connect with, and weaving plots that kept them on the edge of their seats. She Belongs to Me is a testament to that passion. It's about a troubled police officer, Jordan Monroe, and Jaynee, a woman with a past she wants to bury. Their story is one of love, secrets, and danger, elements that have remained a constant in my books.
Over the years, my writing has evolved. I've grown more confident in my style, and my stories have become more intricate. With each book, I've strived to create a world that readers can immerse themselves in, feel the emotions of the characters, and be a part of their journey.
The industry has transformed dramatically since 2011. The rise of digital publishing and social media has changed how authors connect with readers and market their books. I've embraced these changes, engaging with readers through my blog, newsletter, and social media platforms. It's been a journey of learning and adapting, but it's allowed me to reach a wider audience and connect with my avid reading friends in ways I never thought possible.
Writing, for me, has always been more than just telling stories. It's about touching lives, sparking emotions, and providing an escape. I've seen this impact through the comments and messages from readers, and it's what keeps me motivated. The joy and satisfaction I get from reading a positive review or hearing how my books have affected someone's life is immeasurable.
Reflecting on my journey, I am filled with gratitude for my readers, who've been with me every step of the way. Their support has been my strength, and their enthusiasm has been my inspiration. As I look forward to the future, I am excited about the new stories waiting to be told, the new characters waiting to be brought to life, and the new adventures waiting to be shared.
In closing, whether you've been with me since She Belongs to Me (Romantic Suspense) or have just discovered my Creatus Series (Paranormal Romance), and maybe you don’t usually cross over genres, here’s your invitation to read both bestsellers!
If you’ve read all of my books, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here's to many more stories, adventures, and shared moments!
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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No matter what you do in life, a third of the people will love you (5 STARS), a third will hate you (1 STAR), and the rest will be indifferent (3 STARS). This rule drives elections, surveys, polls, and I’m sure you’ve run into it in your life or workplace. Possibly, someone didn't like you, no matter how nice you were. Or, your job depends on good reviews. Nowadays, nearly anyone who deals with the public is subject to a review.
Instead of crying over that person you couldn't please no matter what you did, get over it and CARRY ON!
Yes, I'm talking to myself. If you're listening, GREAT! It's good advice! Is it easy advice? Heck No!
Thank goodness that ALL of the 33 1/3% of the people who don't like something, don't write reviews. On average, less than 5% of consumers give one-star reviews, so why do we get so depressed when we receive a one-star review? Why do we readily believe what less than five percent of people tell us, instead of embracing the 95%?
I'm certain I'm not alone in this, right? When I receive a three, four, or five-star review, I'm always happy. But I don't run around and cheer. I smile, release a breath that it was a good review, and then carry on with my life.
BUT...when I get a one-star review... My head drops, my heart rate increases, I almost always stop what I'm doing and sulk a bit. Sometimes I run to the pantry for some dark chocolate, read the review to my hubby who says, "I'm sorry, babe," which makes me feel fractionally better. If I'm really put off, I'll do something drastic like writing a blog post. Umm...like this one.
Why do I do this to myself? Why do I care? Hey, she didn't even attack my writing. All she did was write, "The main character is not a nice person." So what? Didn't 95% of the people write, “Entertaining and upbeat. I liked the steady pace, and the characters were likable.” — Vine Voice Reviewer Yep, they did. : )
If you don't feel better about that one-star person in your life, let me tell you about an exercise I used to do. I don't have to do this exercise anymore, because even though I sulk a bit when I read a one-star review, I really have learned to take poor reviews with a grain of salt. We need one-star reviews. If we never receive one-star reviews, other readers would wonder. Because even if you've never heard about the Rule of Thirds that I mentioned above, almost everyone knows that you can't please everyone.
If everyone says they love you, someone is lying.
Oh, the exercise. Look up your favorite book, movie, music, art, play, or whatever of all time, preferably a bestseller that's been loved by millions worldwide. Check out the one-star reviews, read a few. I guarantee they have more one-star reviews than you do.
And for all of you lovely readers out there, it's okay to give a one-star review. Just remember there's a person behind the book, movie, or music that you're reviewing. So please remember to keep it constructive. <3
If you'd like to decide if you like my characters, Down on Her Luck is one of my books where readers either LOVE or HATE the main character. Not sure what there is to hate about Alaina. She's trying her darndest to turn her luck and life around. What's so wrong about that? Aren't we all? Well, I'll let you decide. ;)
Read an excerpt right here!
Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn't be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. I love talking about all things books, so if you want more posts on writing, marketing, new releases, and giveaways, please leave your email address here. I only send out a post a few times a month at the most.
Until next time, happy reading and writing, friends!
"Publishing a book is like being pregnant. By the end, you're just ready to get that baby out!" Yep, I'm the one who said that! In fact, I've said it every time I've published a book.
I haven't been around as long as Nicholas Sparks or Nora Roberts, but this isn't my first rodeo either. This is my (hang on while I take off my shoes to count) 21st novel (plus I've written four novellas).
But yeah, just like being pregnant, it doesn't matter. That baby has to come out! And no matter how much preparation I've put into its arrival, no matter how many times I've done it before, when the day comes, I'm scared to death.
But here's the real reason I'm here today!!!
If "Publishing a book is like being pregnant," which I truly think it is--after all, I've delivered two real babies and twenty-five books, so I know the pain of both--I swear I'm in postpartum depression. Really, and it's not because I have a lack of books to write. In fact, it's just the opposite.
I have several half-written novels. I've specked out a six-book follow-up series to the Midnight Sons series, which will tell the stories of our leading ladies BEFORE they arrived in Alaska. I've started book six in the Creatus series. I have several chapters and tons of notes on book six in the Southern Collection. I have a half-written follow-up novel to The Library, which I'd set aside to finish the Midnight Sons series.
AND... I have a FINISHED supernatural suspense that has been sitting in my computer for years!
So, as I sat around last night, wallowing in my depressed mood--which is actually rare for me; I'm not usually a wallower (is wallower even a word)--I actually started another book. Yes, you heard me correctly. I have no less than ten things on my plate, and before I knew it, I had a thousand words typed out in a new series that has been chomping at the back of my brain.
What on earth is wrong with me? I thought.
Then I realized... I LOVE being pregnant!
Well, not really pregnant--I hate being physically pregnant. But I LOVE to write. It doesn't matter if I get a few bad reviews; I simply LOVE to write! And more than writing, I love to BE READ. I know there are a lot of snobby people in the world, but I assure you, I'm not one of them!!! If you tell me you enjoyed my book and follow me on Twitter, you're my friend.
So, after all this, I think I've resolved my question of why I have PPD. I crave the story... I crave that feeling when I finish a book and send it off to my beta readers, whom I hear from almost immediately, which satisfies my thirst for a while. So, I'm anxious to get back to work and pen another book, so I'll get my fix. Or--and this would be awesome--if you've already finished reading Daire's Resolution and enjoyed it, please write a review on Amazon, BookBub, Goodreads, and/or wherever you buy books. I promise you I'll read it. Unlike some authors, I read every review--good and bad. Though I definitely prefer reading comments from happy folks. :')
If you haven't grabbed the new release yet...
Daire's Resolution is available at all major book retailers!
I had to stop writing when I broke down over a character dying, and I’m the psycho who killed him...
When I sit down to write a novel, I generally have no idea where I’m going. My typical start of a story is usually the main character—whether it’s the male protagonist or the female protagonist—and whatever issue they are facing.
From there, I just ask myself questions:
The great thing is, just like the reader, I never know exactly what my characters will do. Sure, I know I want a happily ever after, but I also know that not every character will get a happily ever after. And the detours they make along the way sometimes even surprise me. Why? Because I allow my story to progress naturally.
I typically write two thousand words a day, and then every night I read the last few chapters to make sure the story flows, marking any areas that need addressing, and then go to sleep, allowing the characters to come alive in my dreams. And ohhh how they do. It’s not unusual for hubby to see me typing on my iPhone’s notepad in the middle of the night. Often it’ll just be a great line or a missing link I was in search of.
When I finally finish the novel, I take an entire day and read from beginning to end, making sure the story flows and that there are no holes or contradictions.
I’ve read this story almost thirty times at this juncture. How can it surprise me, how can it make me cry? And yet, here I am, sitting on the sofa, my afghan curled around me, and I’m bawling over something that happened.
Hubby, who has been sitting quietly by his computer—because he knows it’s read-through day—whips his chair around to face me and asks, “Are you okay?”
I swipe away my tears and answer, “Yes, I just can’t believe that happened.”
“Wait. I thought you were reading your book?” he asks.
“I am,” I answer. “But it still makes me cry.”
He shakes his head and goes back to typing his nonfiction.
One of my favorite quotes is by Robert Frost: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
Well, I’m always surprised, and I always cry when something happens to my characters, so I hope when you read my books you will, too!
If you enjoy stories that blend happy and sad, romantic and suspenseful, click the link for your favorite retailer below and grab one of my free books. If you’ve read all my books, make sure you grab my new release, Erik’s Revelation, so you’ll know why I was crying!
Until next time, happy reading!
Visit one of my author pages to grab my free bestsellers or my new release, Erik's Revelation!
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How do I keep myself and family from going insane during my up-and-down emotions, especially over family get-togethers or major life events... How do I use my personal strengths and weakness to my advantage...
I write during and about them. I keep a running notepad on my iPhone of my thoughts and feelings throughout normal events, such as eating out, grocery shopping, vacations, holidays with family, and children’s events. Anything that will make my characters more believable. But, I also go one-step further.
After all, how do you write about a character's tragic death when you just spent a great day with friends and family over a holiday weekend. Sometimes I can. Occasionally, when all is perfect, the writing flows effortlessly, but other times it doesn't. So, if I am experiencing a particularly strong emotion, I'll seek out a scene in my Work In Progress that requires that sentiment, reread, and almost always edit accordingly.
When I am feeling down, I seek out a troublesome period in my protagonist’s life, be it past or present. My depression works to my advantage because the words on the page reflect my inner turmoil. The reader will feel the character’s pain and be able to empathize. And a plus, after pouring out my frustrations--as though I've spoken to a good friend, who only listens--I usually feel better when the section is finished.
When I am happy, my joy spreads like wildfire, and so the reader will sense my excitement and therefore feel the happiness my characters are experiencing.
Romantic... Well, you get the idea. The reader should feel as though she is a part of the scene, as if she is the main character or, at minimum, a close friend.
Isn’t that what a great novel should accomplish? The reader should feel chills spread down her arms and butterflies in her stomach at the idea of a first kiss. Her pulse should race as if she is prey in a game of cat and mouse, and when appropriate, she should even shed a tear.
So if you're like me and fret when all the extended family is around, and somehow you got the job of managing the food for a small army, don't get upset. Delegate! Then sneak away and jot down what your mother did to upset you. How Uncle Joey dressed for the event. How cute all the new kids acted who were finally old enough to play with the sparklers.
In other words, use your emotions, happy or sad! And if you're not a writer, that's okay...trust me, it still helps to write it down.
And since you'll probably need a mental escape at some point this week, grab my new release so you'll have something to read when you slip away, and see how Jana Embers deals with her lying, cheating husband of fifteen years and her new life as a single woman.
Until next time, Happy Reading and Writing!
FIRSTS IN SERIES