Iâ€™ve been preparing for my first Blog Tourâ€¦yes, Iâ€™m very excited. I have to admit, I had no idea how much work was involved. I have a lot going on and at one time, I thought I could set up my own blog tour. Stop laughing those of you who know how difficult it is to undertake such a daunting task. Hey, hear me out. I come from the school of, Do what you can to save money and farm out the rest to save time. So maybe, that really didnâ€™t apply to this situation. Okay, Iâ€™ll be honest with myself, it didnâ€™t apply.
I am swamped. I have two books coming out this Summer, another in the revision stage and another about thirty-five percent from finishing. I know that because Iâ€™m doing the RWA The End challenge and tracking my progress. Plus, I have to complete the second installment to my first book GENERATIONAL CURSE.
As an indie writer, I do a lot of the work myself, except, editing and eformatting. Thank God. If I didnâ€™t have those deadlines I donâ€™t know where Iâ€™d be.
Anyway back to the blog tour. I thought, if I can design a cover, then I should be able to set up a blog tour. Iâ€™m laughing at myself. I made a list of possible blogs and reviewers and that was the extent of that. I got so bogged downâ€¦did I mention I own an online lingerie store and our house is under construction. I think I got tired reading that statement. When I looked at what I wanted to accomplish, I just didnâ€™t have the time.
I remember hearing about Goddess Fish Blog Tours at an OCC meeting as well as from some other sites. So I contacted them.
I write a genre thatâ€™s not too common so I was little apprehensive about a blog tour because of that. So before I agreed to book their service, I submitted a couple of chapters of my book to make sure there wouldnâ€™t be a problem. Letâ€™s be real, I wasnâ€™t about to pay for something that might night work or only yield a couple of blog stops. [Remember, I write Christian Fiction with Faith and Sex]. Thank God, that didnâ€™t happen. After they reviewed my excerpts, it was determined, they would market my book as a Contemporary Romance with Faith Elements and a little heat. I can work with that.
So how does this all work? About a month ago I received a slew of emails from the tour promoter. I remember it was a Friday night, and I was standing in line at Panda Express trying to decide between the ribs and the teriyaki chicken when my phone started dinging. I looked at my phone and my email was full of requests from the tour promoter. Wow. I was on a roll. The messages kept coming. About a week later the last one came in and I got to work.
Hereâ€™s the ironic part. I wrote the book, now I had to talk about the book, which seemed relatively easy. Man, reviewing the questions made me start to question myself. How is it I can push put eighty thousand plus words without a problem, but ask me to sum up my book in one sentence and I draw a blank? Or tell you why you should read my book without sounding arrogant? And donâ€™t get me started on the character interviews, [donâ€™t tell my promoter, but these turned out to be my favorite posts] or the â€œtell me about yourselfâ€ question. On paper, I think I read a little boringâ€¦I should work on that.
Back to the tour. The promoter gives you access to a site so you can chart your progress. I was a little nervous about this. What if there were no takers for my book? When I checked the site, I was excited and overwhelmed. My tour was completely booked. Praise God! Now I had to get to work.
I printed all the requests, reviewed them and that overwhelming feeling came back. It may seem like Iâ€™m exaggerating, but Iâ€™m not. What I thought happened was you answered a few questions, submitted an excerpt, the cover and that was it. Not so. In my list of procedures, I was reminded, no duplicate posts. Oh man, that meant all twenty blog posts had to be different. After the initial shock, I realized this was a good thing. It allowed me the opportunity to reacquaint myself with my book and my characters.
As writers, once we complete a book [i.e., send it to press] weâ€™re removed from it, at least I am and on to the next project. This process helped me to enjoy my book again. It also reinforced my theory, do what you can and farm out the rest.
When does the tour begin? May 11th – June 5th, Iâ€™ll be on a blog tour. Am I expecting big things, of course I am.
Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys
How many people are at the party in your head? Ask any writer this question and you may be surprised by the answer.
Iâ€™ve been asking myself this question for awhile now. I currently have standing room only at the party in my head. Iâ€™m writing one book, editing two, promoting another, writing mental notes on three others and reading one for pleasure.
When I decided to become a writer, it was a different time in publishing. If you put out three books a year, that was considered a lot. As the indie writing market grew, so did the desire for fresh content.
I had it all planned. Iâ€™d release my first book and take about three months and then release the next one. I figured Iâ€™d release the follow up to GENERATIONAL CURSE early next year. The problem with my original plan was the ebook.
When the ebook was born it opened the door to easier accessibility. Readers no longer had to wait months or years for follow up books. They were now able to get the next book within a couple of months, if not sooner. At first I thought this was a trap by the publishing industry to sell more books.
I hearing a writer say she really didnâ€™t read other peopleâ€™s books, because she felt she might be tempted to use their ideas. That stuck with me and I read sparingly. Then I joined RWA and heard something completely different. I love print books…I like how they feel in my handâ€¦but I digress. I downloaded the Kindle for iPhone and then I got an iPad for Christmas and my life changed.
I began reading for research on both devices. Iâ€™m not sure how many books Iâ€™ve read in the past six months, but itâ€™s increased tremendously.
Trust me, Iâ€™m going somewhere with this. I became like most readers, downloading every free book I could download. Once I finished the free book in the series, I wanted to know what happened next. I was hooked. I quickly downloaded the next book. I think I read six books in a month. [For some people thatâ€™s not a lot, but for me it is.]
Now I understand the formula.
When I increased my reading and understood why my old plan wasnâ€™t going to work, I started writing and editing and readingâ€¦more. Needless to say, I wasnâ€™t prepared for this new plan.
I wrote GENERATIONAL CURSE, while waiting to hear from a potential publisher about a different book. I figured once that series was sold, Iâ€™d have a little time before GENERATIONAL CURSE was ready to go. So I focused all of my energy on the other series. However, things changed and GENERATIONAL CURSE was released first. I was caught off guard.
I did a little research and discovered there are writers out there putting a title out a month. How am I supposed to keep up. It took a while to get my first book just right. My good sense side asked my not so good sense side if Iâ€™d lost my mind.
Hereâ€™s what I found out. A title could be a short story, a novella or a full-length book. Okay, so I donâ€™t have to be chained to a chair and only released for potty breaks. Then I signed up for the RWA â€œThe Endâ€ Challenge. I figured this would help me finish a book I had to rewrite. [Iâ€™m half way done with that one.] In one month I wrote 20,000 words. I CAN DO IT!
I felt empowered. If I could write 20,000 words in a month, then I could write a novella. Wait a minute. If I write a novella, I can sell it for $.99.
New plan. Set up a realistic production schedule that includes novellas, short stories and full length novels. It seems like a lot, but if I could write 20,000 words in a month [not including the 9,100 on a different project] then I should be able to stick to my plan.
So how many characters are in my head? Too many to list. Smile.
Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys
I recently self-published my first book, GENERATIONAL CURSE. However, it isnâ€™t the first book I wrote. That honor belongs to THE ALEX CHRONICLES:WHAT MY FRIENDS DONâ€™T KNOW. Itâ€™s the first book in a series about five best friends. The stories follow the characters as they maneuver and meander their way through a lot of secrets. The tagline asks the simple question: How well do you know your best friends?
I think I was watching Bridget Jonesâ€™ Diary or Sex And The City, when I got the idea for the book. I went into this thinking it would be a stand alone and then the characters reminded me I had left a few unanswered questions. I immediately started answering those questions in the second book. However, a new book answered those questions, but it also created a few new ones. On to book three.
Fast forward, a couple of new computers, three crashed hard drives and a healthy relationship with Dropbox and back up drives, I am 30 pages away from completing my first series. NOT.
I went to a conference and an agent requested it, didnâ€™t like it. Another agent liked it and signed me. [I shared this story in an previous post]. While my oldest child was out making the rounds, I gave birth to a surprise baby, GENERATIONAL CURSE. In writing that book, I saw my oldest baby with fresh eyes. While working on GENERATIONAL CURSE, I read a lot [I also judged the BBB which exposed me to some different genres]. The advice that in order to learn how to write, you have to read, is so true. I liked how GENERATIONAL CURSE developed. It has just the right amount of heat and edge to keep the reader engaged. THE ALEX CHRONICLES was missing that.
I got a stack of post-its, a notebook and a few red pens and started performing surgery. When I was done, I liked the characters even better. They were mature with great personalities and better story lines.
Hereâ€™s the funny part. I had a cover based on the old manuscript. No matter how much I wanted it to work, it just didnâ€™t now. And because I knew I had the other books complete, except for those last 30+ pages for book three, I bought the covers for them as well. Now none of them fit. Back to the beginning.
I ordered a proof with the manuscript changes, but every time I looked at that cover, it just reiterated I had to make a change. After reading the proof, something else kept gnawing at meâ€¦the first seven chapters. I had been fighting with myself about those pages longer than the cover issue. No matter how much I liked the content, I felt it didnâ€™t really tell the story. This was a major realization for me. So, last week, I highlighted the pages and hit delete. It felt like someone had chopped off one of my arms. I stepped back, looked at the book with a revised chapter eight as my new chapter one, did a little tweaking and I like it. It immediately grabs you.
What about the first seven pages? My plan is to add a few thousand words and make a novella. So now my little three book series, will become a four book series. As for the new cover, it has a much more sophisticated feel. Iâ€™m saving the Cover Reveal for later.
Iâ€™m hoping to release this book by the end of Spring.
Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys
I want to talk about the preconceived notions people have about Christian, Inspirational or Faith based books. When someone hears a story has one of the three aforementioned tones, they immediately shut down thinking the story is going to be sweeter than cotton candy dipped in chocolate and covered with gum drops.
Thereâ€™s CIF [Christian, Inspirational, Faith] fiction that falls into that description and thereâ€™s nothing wrong with it. Itâ€™s written extremely well and packs a message for the reader. However, itâ€™s the misconception that all CIF books are like that which provokes a closed mind to experiencing some really great stories. [I swear Iâ€™m not preaching.]
When I decided to start writing, Iâ€™d dabbled a little in high school and college. Even so far as to writing a couple of plays. I found them later and felt theyâ€™d be a good base for a barbecue fire. When I read them again, I realized, although they were poorly written, they had a few things in common. The characters were all Christians but in real life situations. Let me explain. In a lot of CIF books, the story centers around the church with conflict between the pastor, the board, the choir director, pastorâ€™s family and some evil person not affiliated with the church. Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with those books. Iâ€™ve read a few and like them, however, they werenâ€™t the kinds of stories I wanted to tell.
I have always loved God, fashion and cute guys. I liked â€œThe Devil Wears Prada,â€ â€œBergdorf Blondes,â€ â€œElements of Styleâ€ and â€œThe Debutante Divorcee.â€ These were characters I could relate to. The books are filled with the most incredible fashion and very handsome men. The only thing they didnâ€™t have was a faith based theme. It was reading these books that it occurred to me, why not write a book with similar content, but add a little CIF to it.
My first attempt at writing a book sounded very much like ChickLit. I was fine with it until my beta readers ripped it to shreds. After a lot of re-writes, I finally had a book I was pleased with. Problem was, it wasnâ€™t considered acceptable. Why not? Response, Christians donâ€™t act like that, Christians donâ€™t care about designer clothes, Christians are happy being upper middle class at best, Christians donâ€™t get challenged, tempted, have racy dreams or wicked thoughts, Christians only have sex for procreation and on special occasions. And there is no way a Christian would get divorced, commit adultery, fornicate, swear, drink wine or dance.
Needless to say, I was stunned at the comments because I know a lot of Christians that have experienced and or faced a few of those things. So I set out to write books for â€œmy people.â€
It ticks me off when I hear people say no one will read books about Christians [or people of other religious beliefs] in real life situations. I want to read about â€œmy peopleâ€ dating, regretting, marrying, divorcing, falling in love, wearing designer clothes, traveling and being pursued by wealthy men. I donâ€™t want my heroine to be naive and deceived by an evil protagonist whose only objective is to steal her virginity or corrupt her. What about the sexy, fun Christian girl who works hard and falls for her boss, or divorces her cheating husband or who used to be a little slutty and is now in love with God struggling not to slip back into her old ways. These are great stories and if theyâ€™re written well, you can take the CIF elements out and theyâ€™ll still be great stories.
My next book is a take on Sex And The City. Itâ€™s five successful women all searching for love while wearing amazing clothes. I hear you saying thatâ€™s not possible because that book was all about sex. Not really, the core of that book was friendship. Sex was just one of the supporting characters, much like the clothes, men and New York.
I think itâ€™s a little more challenging to write a CIF book because you have to determine how far is too far. Although I want my books to have a little heat, Iâ€™m very careful about crossing the line. I want my kissing scenes to be as passionate as those found in traditional romance. Although most of my characters are Christians, I donâ€™t want their passion or desire to be watered down. I have chosen to share my characters thoughts. If my heroine finds the protagonist hot, sheâ€™s going to say so. And if heâ€™s having a lustful thought, I want you to read it. These little nuances make the characters feel realâ€¦just like in traditional romance.
So back to the original question, IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? Not really, just different levels of intensity.
Why Did You Chose To Self-Publish? This is the first question most Self-Published Authors are asked. However, what’s really going through the mind of the person asking is, “So you couldn’t get an agent or your work wasn’t up to snuff.” That’s so not true.
I’ve learned a lot on the road to becoming a self-published writer. First, I had an agent. A well-respected agent in the world of Christian Fiction. Let me preface this by saying, she knew my writing style. She’d read the first five chapters of my book. Actually, it was a different book. [That’s a story for another time.] She got my book to ‘Board.’ Two years later and I’m still waiting to hear if that publisher wants to move forward with my book. I think it’s safe to say, they passed on it.
I need to back up. I write what is classed as Edgy Christian Fiction. What is that you ask? ECF [Edgy Christian Fiction], is fiction with Christian themes. What makes it ‘Edgy’ is that it includes elements not common in traditional Inspirational or Christian fiction. In my books, that means the kisses are a little more passionate, there’s sex between the married couples, language with a little bite, lots of physical descriptions voiced by the characters, wine, talk about abortion, divorce, fornication, lust, not liking your in-laws and anything else that goes on in everyday life. The men are hot, the women are loaded with curves and both are quick to render their appreciation of the opposite sex.
As a Christian, I wanted to read stories about women who weren’t ashamed or embarrassed to express their feelings, with strong personalities and business owners. Let’s be real, when you’re sitting down with your girlfriends talking, you’re not talking in prose. No, you’re very descriptive in your comments on how amazing Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Johnny Depp or Daniel Craig looked in their last movie. So why not write stories from that POV.
I feel it’s a little difficult to convey to the reader the heroine’s attraction is to the hero by not being descriptive in this manner. Traditional Inspiration Fiction, the heroine’s feelings might be described with something like, ‘His thick black hair was beautiful blowing in the wind, brought a smile to her face.’ That’s nice, but in my world, it would have a little more umph, like, ‘She wondered how his thick black hair would feel brushing against her chin as he placed hot kisses along her neck.’ Or maybe, ‘When he kissed the back of her neck, she lost the ability to stand.” Statements like this aren’t necessarily acceptable CBA approved.
In my GENERATIONAL CURSE, I wanted to tell a story about a man who never turned down a drink or a woman. But when he hit rock bottom, he went cold turkey and fell in love with God. His priorities changed and he refused to let anyone or anything destroy that relationship. The heroine, is the complete opposite. She hasn’t had a relationship with God since she was a child. And even then it was more forced. Now as an adult, the only part of marriage she wants, is a married lover. She has no desire to be with a single available man. In her mind, a married man is less complicated. But she is intrigued by the hero and he her.
In order to tell the story, I had to take the reader on a journey with the heroine. I had to show how complicated and empty her life was by detailing her relationship with her married lover. I’m sure the story could have been told without the sex, but I don’t think it would have had the same impact. I don’t want to give too much away, but in the end it all makes sense.
So Why Did I Choose To Self-Publish? I wanted to tell the stories I wanted to read. I met an agent at a conference and she gave me two options: tell the story with the sex and no God or tell the story with God and no sex.
I wrestled with that statement for quite a while. But, I felt God had given me a great platform and I refused to back down. Also, I wanted covers and titles that were a little racy, another thing not really permitted in Inspirational or Christian Fiction.
So here I am, a newbie writer taking a chance writing stories with a little heat and taboo subjects. I know my style of book isn’t for everyone and that’s fine. For those willing to read something a little different, I think they’ll enjoy it.
Funny thing, a few weeks after I published my book, I got a LinkedIn request from my former agent. I’m still deciding if I should accept it.
That’s why I chose to self-pub.
In the gloomy mountains of Shadowvale, Ascot Abberdorf is expected to marry a somber Count and settle down to a quiet life terrorizing the villagers.More info →
The captivating story of a brilliant woman's passionate affair with a time and a place . . .More info →