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A Month of Happily Ever After

July 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

Writing a romance is all about the happy ever after. As a reader, I love the “ah” at the end when the two characters are finally together. Where they learned something new about themselves, opened their heart, and found the one that completes them.

That said, a happily ever after at the end of our novels doesn’t necessarily mean the hero and heroine get married at the end of the book. They could be newly engaged. The couple could decide they are now in a committed relationship. Or they could say I love you for the first time. There are so many options, that it really is the character journey that determines what fits best for our endings.

Personally this past month has been filled with happily ever afters. One fiction, one real life.

The Fiction Happily Every After

The first one was my debut novel, When Plans Go Awry, released in early June. Luke and Olivia’s story is not so much a will they/won’t they (although they didn’t know they would, we did). But the how were they going to figure it out and end up together. 

I won’t give away what happens to them at the end, but it’s been so well received and I have found it so much fun to talk with readers about the characters and the town of Washton, like they were real people. Having these discussions has made me feel the happily ever after my characters feel, and that has been so motivating for me as a writer.

Here are several review statements. Also last month I shared information about the launch activities and launch party held in my honor.

The Real Happily Every After

The second example and the real life one, is that my middle son found his happily ever after and married his sweetheart the last weekend of June. A beautiful ceremony, beautiful couple, and a wonderful day filled with love, laughter, family, and friends. With lots of planning before hand, everything came together perfectly.

And I now have a daughter in the family. It’s been so fun to have a front row seat watching them grow and bond as a couple and plan their future life together.

The Magic of Cinderella

As a little girl the story of Cinderella was my favorite. She has a fairy Godmother, she finds her prince (or the prince finds her), and they all live happily ever after. I now know that life is not as simple as that and that those endings are a moment in time where the couple is happy together. But they are still my favorite stories to read.

A story has to end somewhere, why not have it end happy. We all want that hope, love, and joyful feeling when we realize we are in a committed relationship and someone loves us just as much as we love them. 

There’s something about escaping in a story where the ending is just that. And that is what I love to read and love to write.

Here’s to many more stories of happily ever afters in our lives. Both fiction and real life.

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My Debut Novel, When Plans Go Awry, Released This Week

June 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

My very first book release happened last week (June 4, 2024). I have had so much fun launching my debut novel, When Plans Go Awry, into the world. From putting marketing plans in place to seeing them be implemented, I have enjoyed every single step. And learned a lot. 

When Plans Go Awry, my book baby, is now available at Amazon in paperback, eBook, and on Kindle Unlimited. The paperback is also available on Barnes and Noble’s website. Already great reviews have been posted. I’m just so thankful for the positive response so far. It can be quite a nerve-racking experience releasing a debut novel. 

Other Debut Novel Excitement

I’ve been busy creating author and book accounts at AmazonFictionfinderGoodReads, and BookBub, so if you are on any of these, please follow me! And if you haven’t yet signed up for my newsletter, please do so to stay informed of future book events and books.

I’ve created a logo, with the help of my son, who drew the schoolhouse.

Debut Author Denise M. Colby logo with red one-room schoolhouse, name and Historical Romance

And a variation with my tagline.

Denise M. Colby Historical Romance word only logo with tagline sweetened with faith, hope, & love

And a graphic of my rooster character, Bert, drawn by my son!

Bert the rooster from when plans go awry debut novel by Denise M. Colby

Almost every reader has shared that they love Bert. I love that he makes people laugh out loud with his antics and I’m happy he’s been so well received.

And my son’s drawings have now been made into buttons and stickers.

rooster and one-room schoolhouse buttons and stickers for denise m. colby

It’s been great to have some fun with this character for my debut novel.

Other Firsts

I’ve had my first author blog interview, and my first author podcast interview, and my first book blog tour that just finished on June 10. And I’ve received my first red rose from the OCRW writers group. 

Denise M. Colby with her red rose from the OCRW writing group June 8, 2024

For those that have been around a long time, you know that OCC gives out different color roses for published work. Twelve years ago I watched others receive a red rose for a traditionally published novel and I set a goal for myself. Here I am twelve years later receiving my first red rose! Finally!

Debut Book Launch and Signing Party

I’ve also had my first book signing party. This past weekend my friends threw me a debut novel book launch and signing party at my home. It was so much fun to celebrate the release with friends and family and several of my launch team members. I’m so thankful I stuck with it over the past twelve years (which in itself was something to celebrate). And now my house smells like a flower shop this week!

Here are some pictures from the event

I’m just so grateful Luke and Olivia’s story can be read and enjoyed by everyone. Happy Book Launch, Happy Release Day, Happy Debut Novel Launch, and Happy Book Birthday to When Plans Go Awry.

Thank you to this writing community for your support. If you are interested in reading When Plans Go Awry, I hope it makes you laugh as well. And if you feel led to leave a review after reading it, that would be so appreciated.

Blessings, Denise

Denise’s most recent posts are related to her book launch and include details about the events leading up to her book launch and a debut author checklist she created.

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My Debut Novel When Plans Go Awry Releases June 4, 2024

May 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , , ,

The time is finally here! I’m so excited to announce my debut novel, When Plans Go Awry, launches on Tuesday June 4, 2024. I have a pre-order link on Amazon for the digital version. If you are interested in an actual book, Amazon does not allow pre-orders (which I find absolutely frustrating). Anyway, you’ll be able to snag it for the special pre-order price of $3.99, if you order now. Click on the book cover to take a peek.

Book Cover for Denise M. Colby's Debut novel When Plans Go Awry

Debut Novel and Author Things

As I mentioned in my Debut Author Book Launch Checklist post, I’m learning all the variety of things needed to launch oneself as a debut author (and for a any new book debut). I’ve been busy creating author and book accounts at AmazonFictionfinder and GoodReads, building a new logo, and getting everything ready for my launch team. 

For my logo’s, I wanted to focus on the one-room schoolhouse theme, since that’s the setting for my books. I seem to use this word a lot, but it’s so true. Excited for how these came out.

I have loved partnering with my family to launch my debut novel. My son, Kyle, drew the one-room schoolhouse. He also drew the map I included in my book. My husband drew the journal shown at the beginning of each chapter.

For so long I was building my platform without a book to promote. I’m finding it so fun to finally have a book cover to include in all my author accounts. Here’s my new Facebook author cover.

Also for my debut novel, I’m partnering with Silver Dagger Book Tours and she created this lovely blog banner from my book cover. If anyone runs a book blog and is interested, I’ve included the link here where she is taking signups still to participate.

The blog banner for debut novel When Plans Go Awry for Silver Dagger Book Tours

Launch team for When Plans Go Awry

My launch team fun for my debut novel, When Plans Go Awry, begins this next week. I’m so looking forward to this. It’s not too late to join us. Click on this link to signup. When Plans Go Awry Launch Team Application.

Thank you

I just want to say thank you to all my author friends for their support. I have been on this unpublished journey for over twelve years. If not for my writer friends, I wouldn’t have stuck it out and made it to see the day I could say I have a debut novel!


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Debut Author Book Launch Checklist

April 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

As a new debut author, it’s amazing how once you get the green light to publish, there are so many little details for an author to complete. And quickly. I’m in the process of building a debut author checklist to help me keep track of everything. One is specific to book launch, while the other is for a debut author overall.

blog header with title debut author book launch checklist by denise M. Colby with laptop graphic on right side

I’m sure there are lots of helpful lists out there. I’ve seen many posts and emails related to this over the years. I’ve even taken lots of notes during workshops. But it’s sooo different when you are finally in that moment yourself.

So I’m compiling my own list and would love to have input from all the other authors who are part of this blog. Please share lists you use or your own ideas in the comments below. And keep reading to see if I’m missing anything.

Book Launch Checklist

Your book is being published, and you have a date. Now what? Here’s what I have experienced so far with my first book, When Plans Go Awry, launching June 4, 2024.

Book Cover for Denise M. Colby's Debut novel When Plans Go Awry
  • Cover design
  • Announce cover reveal in newsletter and social media
  • Sign up for some blog interviews close to book launch date
  • Back cover copy
  • Send file out to authors to write endorsements
  • Final edits
  • Final inside matter – map, dedication page, acknowledgements, author’s note, endorsements, author bio
  • At the end of the book include a link to sign up for newsletter
  • Teaser for next book
  • Galley Proof
  • Update facebook header with new book cover
  • Book page on your website
  • Book page on your publisher website
  • Book page on GoodReads (and link to author page)
  • Pull quotes from book to create graphics

Are there other things you do with each book? Since I work full time and my son is getting married the same month my book launches, my husband and I agreed a book launch manager would be beneficial for my first book since I wanted to do an official launch team. Additional tasks for this include:

  • Recruit people to be a part of book launch team (with google form for signups)
  • Identify giveaways for book launch members (see my rooster below)
  • Create content for book launch members to use
  • Create special content for members
This Rooster Squishmellow is a giveaway for a debut author book launch denise colby
One of things I’ll be giving away to a book launch team member

Debut Author Checklist

I’ve been working on this journey a long time and even though I’ve established my website and social media, I’m finding my debut author checklist is long for all the things I still want to do. Of course working on Book 2 is on the list, but there are other things that need to happen so I can maximize this first book launch.

  • Create an author GoodReads page (this is a bit of a process without an ISBN number, but it is possible. I was able to get this built and link my book page together) Need to have this account use the email that you use for your website
  • Newsletter set up – build newsletter list
  • Update website pages where needed (make sure all references to previous book titles or content have been updated)
  • Create a new updated logo (my son is designing one for me)
  • Create Amazon Author page
  • Booksweeps account
  • Bookbub account
  • Fictionfinder account
  • Take new head shots
  • Post a lot on social media to generate buzz and gain momentum

Again, I’m sure there’s things I’m missing and I would love to learn what others have done or wish they would’ve done in the very beginning. Let’s hear it! Post in the comments below.

All-in-all, I’m enjoying this new stage of my writing journey, even though it’s all new for me and feels a bit never-ending. This year I chose the word grow as my focus word. As you can see from the list above, I am growing in lots of knowledge on how to be a debut author and manage a book launch.

If you are interested in joining my book launch team, I’d love to have you. Sign up on my book launch team google form. And have a chance to win the stuffed rooster.

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All the Emotions with Designing My First Book Cover

March 12, 2024 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , ,

This month I have had the pleasure of experiencing all the emotions of designing my first book cover. We all know how important book covers are. Book covers sell your book. They communicate what’s inside. And there are numerous blog and social media posts just on covers. So EVERYONE looks at book covers, because they are very important. 

Blog Header with title All the Emotions with Designing My First book Cover by Denise M. Colby and photo of a book with a plain brown cover

Initial thoughts for book cover designs

I think many of us newbie authors visualize what we think we want for our covers at the beginning of chapter 1. So I knew going in that I had an opinion. And ideas. Lots and lots of ideas. So how do you put all those ideas together into something appealing. A design that sells your book?

I have a graphic design background. Sort of. Things have kindof evolved since I was in college over thirty years ago, and even though I work in the field of marketing, my years of experience is more on layout now then specific design elements. I’m also a visual person. So I like to see something to see how it would work. 

My publisher, Scrivenings Press, has a questionaire we fill out to add our ideas and thoughts behind the story for our book cover design. This is useful to communicate key messaging and visuals desired. I might’ve had a lot of ideas written down on my sheet. I certainly didn’t fill it out like a work project. Many emotions were tied into all my ideas. And it was hard for me to land on just one set.

Can anyone else out there relate?

Taking out the emotions when looking at book cover design

So I have to give a shoutout to my husband who asked me some very pointed questions like he would a marketing packaging project (he works in product marketing), since my book cover is my packaging. 

This discussion was not emotional based, but true design and product packaging based. He asked me what is the main element of the story that you want people to know? And then asked to look at some books and guessed what the stories were inside.

When I told him what elements were most important, he agreed that those were in my cover design.

Our Emotions Can Get In The Way of Our Decision-Making 

And this is when I realized I had a slew of emotions tied up into my cover design.

First, we spend years writing our first novel and agonize for weeks on the verbiage we use, editing continuously our words. My book cover was designed in less than a week. Something as important as a book cover shouldn’t be done overnight, right? But I have to remember my publisher makes mulitple covers a month and know what they are doing. They have standards and expertise. I need to trust that and get out of the way.

Second, we have so many ideas to convey the story on the front of our cover, but then realize that all those elements would make it way too busy and really don’t work the way we think it would’ve. Simpler really is better.

Third,  I’m terrified how my cover will be received. But I’m also terrified on how my entire book will be recieved. So my emotions may not be just about the cover.

A Moment to Grow 

Now that I’ve realized these new things (remember GROW is my word this year), I can learn from them. Processing emotions is an important step for me (and writing this blog post has helped me immensely).

I do not make decisions quickly. I kindof over think things a bit (Hello! Remember twelve years working on book 1). With a contract and deadlines (I love saying those words and wrote about that last month), everything is moving so fast and it’s all new territory. 

There’s bound to be fear, uncertainty, and second-guessing. I need to allow myself room to feel those, but also know that this is all normal and not get caught up in them too much.

Clearly, I will have a much better handle on the process and my emotions for the next round (right?)

Now to agonize on how to do the cover reveal!

Denise’s first book, When Plans Go Awry, will launch June 4, 2024. Watch her facebook page and instagram page for her cover reveal

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