The Character Who Never Leaves

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I should have known from the minute she elbowed her way into Blue Heaven, acting like she owned the joint, that Lily would be trouble. She was 17 and secretive, a minor character who thought she should have a bigger part. I gave her a love interest, but it turned out she had issues with boys.

I thought I ended Lily’s story at the end of that first book in my Blue Lake series. She was safely away at college in book two, but came barreling back with vengeance on her mind in book three. I had a hard time deciding which of my two female characters would take the lead. I hadn’t meant it to be Lily, but damn that messed up woman was fun to write.

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By the fourth book, even though she left town, her name and her story stole a few scenes. I’d promised her her own book–I even tried to write it–but it was so dark I had to take a mental health break and write a light fun Christmas story. I thought about dumping the Lily chapters I’d started before my most recent release, but my critique group, who have more influence on me than I’d like to admit, would not hear of it.

I’d set myself a challenge with Lily’s story and I needed to see it through. It’s about done now, well at least a workable draft is almost there. But I keep thinking about where and how I want Lily to end up. I want to do right by her. I want to give her the peace she’s been seeking for so long. So I’m taking my time with the denouement. Not that it will be a lot of pages, but it will be the right way to leave this woman, now in  her mid-30s, who I’ve been following for most of her adult life.

It might seem strange to say I’m following a character I created. But that’s what I do. I know some writers would roll their eyes at that. Who’s writing the story, anyway? Well, here’s the truth: it’s me and then it’s not me. It’s a part of myself I only access when I’m writing. It’s where my imagination goes when I get quiet inside and try to keep up with characters like Lily.

Encore!

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I am not very interested in promotion or platforms or any of that. I have this blog because I like blogging. That’s it. Also I remember I used to look at Jennifer Weiner’s blog and see all her book covers marching down the side of her page and thought how cool would that be? And now it’s real!

Anyway, I’m not sure about how this will work but I wanted to say that Blue Heaven is being reissued by Amazon Encore on September 15, 2015. That means it won’t be available anywhere (except perhaps pirate sites!) until then in e-book form. It’s still out in print as Encore only contracted e-book rights.

Even though I don’t like pushing my books, I am excited about this. Who knows what will happen? New life for an old book. cindy.signature.IMG_1606

How I Got to #1 on Kindle

I’ve recently had the experience of five “free” days on Kindle. What this means is my publisher allows Amazon exclusive rights to my novel for three months, and in those months, I agree to give  my book away for free for five days. It’s a marketing thing. I am not good at marketing.

Also,  I’m deep into a semester of teaching college freshman how to write, so there’s not a ton of extra time to promote my other career as a writer.  Friends pitched in with advice. One said I should RT (retweet) more. Another said I “must” buy a Book Bub ad. The Wild Rose Press publicist gave me a three page list of websites to contact for free and paid promotion.

I did some of this, but not everything. Teaching takes priority when I’m working the day job. No way could I publicize the way I needed to. This realization gave me new respect for how hard authors and publicists have to work to get noticed in the e-book market. 

I love Twitter, so it was easy to RT and tweet a bit more every day the month of September. My free days were October 1-5, so I front-loaded the increased Twitter time. Not a problem. Like I said, Twitter is fun for me. Some reviewers and bloggers, (Big thank you Rosie Amber, Bodicia, and Melissa Snark) offered to host me on their websites. I didn’t ask, they generously offered, which was a bonus, because I really don’t like asking for things. Especially free publicity. Writing guest posts and answering interview questions are fun. I love to write, be it tweet or blog post or novel.

The only thing I don’t love to write is the begging letter, in which I ask for favors. I don’t even like to ask my friends to buy my book. But giving it away for free, that I like. I asked Book Bub to consider advertising Blue Heaven, and they agreed. I paid them to advertise my book because I didn’t have time to do everything myself. Their fee was about equal to two hours of teaching pay. Worth it.

The day before Blue Heaven went “free” I checked my stats. Blue Heaven had been out for a month and was at approximated 600K on the paid lists. My stats in the “free” realm were decent. Nothing to get too excited about. I got up to #125 in romance and somewhere close in contemporary novels while hovering in the low thousands for all free books.

Book Bub publicized my novel on October 5, my last free day. After Book Bub stepped in, Blue Heaven shot to #1 on all three free lists: #1 Kindle Top 100. #1 Romance novel. #1 Contemporary novel. Woo hoo.

The day after the free spree my stats went up and down, but I’ve gotten several new reviews and stayed for a bit in the Top 100 “paid” Romance category. My “free” adventure, because that’s what it felt like, was a blast. I’d do it again in a minute. And if you’re a reader, keep checking those free Kindle lists. You might find a new favorite author.

*First published on Melissa Snark’s Snarkology

Please Mister Postman

fall.dirt.photoI’ve been waiting patiently. Almost missed my BFN’s (best friend neighbor) birthday surprise. But, just in the nick of time, Mr. Postman came through. I live in a tiny town and everyone except me knows him by name. I think it’s Ron.

Love my dirt road even though Al refuses to wash my car anymore because I can’t help but drive down it. All the bright scarlet maple leaves have blown away after a windy storm, but’s it’s still so pretty.

I can’t get used to the fact that this is my town. And that these are my books. Every dream I’ve ever had and a few I never even considered has come my way. Well, there’s just one more thing. (There always is.) I want to finish and publish the book I’m working on now. It will happen. Just like everything else did, in its own good time.   print.books

After the books came, I quickly signed and wrapped a copy of Blue Heaven for BFN Jan. Her birthday was yesterday. We were both in the middle of cooking dinner, but I turned everything off for a sec and ran across the back yard to hand it to her. She took it and felt it and said “Is this your new book?” Jan has been reading my books since they were just manuscripts on typing paper. In fact, she read a few that were so bad I recycled them instead of trying to mend and publish. So of course I gift her my print books, even though she really needs a Kindle! In answer to Jan’s question, I said “You’ll have to open it and find out,” and then flew back across the yard to my own kitchen.

Another thing happened the same day the books came. I got an email from a fellow DWW member who invited any of us interested to take part in a book fair. So, I had bought these books pictured above as gifts for family and friends and now I am taking them to a book fair. Better get a new order in soon. And those of you who won my 11th Blog Birthday package, I will get the books out to you Monday. Better send my mom one, too. After I find the page with the consummation scene and warn her not to read it:)