Cover Reveal: Better Than Now

I’ve actually taken a few days off from writing, so this feels a little weird. I’m in that limbo stage between having passed my MS to the editor and sitting here twiddling my thumbs, waiting for her to get back to me. Believe me—there’s plenty I could be doing, but sometimes a little break really does a creative mind good.

It’s said (by many, many authors) that to write well is to write every day. I strongly mostly agree with this. It’s a craft, so, yes, you have to keep up and practice to get better, however, a nice reset button with fresh eyes does wonders. It’s how I started writing book 3. I was obsessing over the ending of book 2 and had to put it away. Then, like magic, a coupe of days later—poof! Instant access to door number 3, which then helped me finish book 2.

No writing-break epiphanies here, but it feels good to be back at the keyboard and talking about book stuff 😊 Since it’s technically mid-July, the gears have *officially* been switched to Better Than Now (woop!) which means promotion needs to start soon-ish. And to get that done, I need to be broadcasting the cover.

So…without any more stalling…I’m excited/nervous to present to you the cover of Better Than Now:

Yep! Looks pretty much like the previous one except for title and cover. Two reasons for this:

  1. I am broke. When I say broke, I mean broke. It’s a skill to get a book published (editing, cover design, formatting) on a tiny little budget, but damnit money is not going to be the thing to hold me back. Not in this.
  2. I actually envisioned wanting all three to look very similar; I didn’t necessarily think they’d have the same background, but I love it. I’ve loved it since Joleene showed me and I love how it combines both Autumn and Alex’s talents. Changing only the title and cover adds a good sense of continuity to the series, so when you see one, you might remember having seen another (they say that on average a consumer will see a product seven times before purchasing it) so it can’t hurt.

What do you guys think? Too much like the first? Individual enough to be its own? You don’t care and want to go outside and enjoy this beautiful day? Gotcha. Me too. 😉

Well, whatever you end up doing, enjoy it! I’m off to help Batman with yardwork and boring adult things. But after the chores are done, it’s off to a cinematic adventure 😊 Anyone seen Jurassic World yet? Good? Bad? How hot is Chris Pratt? (That’s all I care about).

The Great Banner Switch

Since we’re teetering on mid- July, I think *THINK*it’s time to switch banners, right? I’ve been proudly—and staggeringly—waving my Better Than This flag, but I think it’s time to change it up. I’m no longer in the I’ve released a book last month phase; I’ve slipped into the I’m releasing a book next month club, and that means a switch of gears. So, I’m proud to present the FIRST (of many) posts focusing on Book 2 of the Better Than This series: Better Than Now.

::::::::::DANCING UNCONTROLLABLY:::::::::

::::::::::several hours of sleep followed copious amounts of Oreos::::::::::

Alright, so what’s going on with BTN? First of all, thank you for asking; you’ve always been so polite 😊 Second, you’ll be happy to know I’ve finished it, so, panic attack avoided. I’m sending it to the editor this week and I’m hopeful to have it available for pre-order on 8/3. It’s right around the corner, but I think I can manage. Know why? I got this.

Some other non-writing coolness: my sister and nephew came up this weekend and we went to St. Augustine. It always feels so magical in the oldest city in America.

What’s this? Am I actually at a castle?

Nope! Just the (Castillo de San Marcos) fort. Could be a castle, though right?

I meant to put a different picture here, but it got deleted. Sorry you have to look at this one.

Used to be a moat. Now, a place for kids to fall into.

Batman and my nephew, talking about the fort. Learning shit.

Great city if you’ve never gone. (You should go)

Alright, I’m back to the great banner-switch. Enjoy your hump-day 🙂

Time’s A Changing (and Flying) IWSG

I’m going to make this short (as time is limited), but don’t EVER only give yourselves three months between book releases, even if the thing is pretty much written (which it still may not be). I’m cutting it close, guys. Real close. Like, I’m too embarrassed to tell you exactly what’s going on, but let’s just say that you should NEVER give yourselves three months between book releases unless you’re Hermione Granger, and even that’s pushing it.

I haven’t been participating as much in writer groups and doing writer things because phones are pretty much banned at work and the precious little time I do have (not including time with Batman and Appa) I’d rather be writing. Editing. Making sure there’s a product. So, I’m off to go do that because I’m dumb and planned poorly and am just now realizing I’m publishing another book next month.

::mild heart-attack::

Anyway, onto the optional IWSG question!

What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

My writing goals have…loosely stayed the same. I used to want to be this huge, best-selling author that everyone knew, with movies made on each of my books (pretty much Steven King). Of course, that’d still be nice, but somewhere along the way, I realized I want a fanbase. I want to write for people who want to read the kind of stories I like to tell. Mega money would be great (fame—I could live without) but to support myself on selling my books to a loyal and loving fanbase…that seems pretty on point.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a monthly blog hop for writers at all levels to share their fears and insecurities in a safe and encouraging place. Please drop by and say hi to Alex Cavanaugh who started this nifty concept in bringing us all together.

P.S. All my books are free on Smashwords! If you like that sort of thing. ‘Til the end of July 😉

I’m Alive and Doing Things

I messed up, guys. I didn’t post on Wednesday. I’m sure many of you cried; several, probably, took to the streets in mourning. I’m so sorry. But I’m here now and everything’s going to be alright. 🙂

The reason I didn’t adhere to my “post every Wednesday (so you can still be relevant and gain an audience) rule” is because I was busy finalizing BTN, which I still need to do since I promised a beta she could read it next week. INWARD SCREAM. With that said (and with much more to finalize) I shouldn’t be here writing this post. I should be working on BTN, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Just wanted to pop in and say I’m alive and doing things and everything is good at work where I have to sit in the murder chair**. But they haven’t fired me and I get free donuts on Thursdays, so it’s not too bad. Oh! If you’re curious or a stalker, I’ll be on Debra’s Book Cafe for an interview. Because I do that. Professional-like interview things because I’m an author. Eat it, Janelle, from third grade who told me I could never be an author.

*drops mic*

*runs back on stage*

Oh, and there’s this thing on Facebook called The Indie Readers Party Room (Public group/place/still unsure how everything works/ but authors get to take over and “host” for the day where they can talk about themselves, their books and interact with their fans by doing games and having questions and giveaways. It’s actually pretty fun) and in a courageous moment of why the hell not? I threw my name in and requested August 16th (day before Better Than Now releases) So. On August 16th, I will be hanging in The Indie Readers Party Room, so, if you’ve been wanting to hang with me–and who wouldn’t? *tosses hair*–come hang with me.

**I sit at the murder desk at work. It’s the first seat you see when you walk in (door is at my back) so if some crazy madman shows up, I’m being tagged first. Murder desk is real.

Have a great Friday 🙂

Tired and Tag (But Not Tired OF Tag)

Raise your hand if maybe giving yourself three months between book releases wasn’t the smartest idea.

**looks around**

**raises hand inconspicuously**

No—it’s cool, guys. It’s cool. I got this. It’s just a LOT. A lot of writing and reading and thinking and planning and I’m not even doing half of what I should be. I feel like I should pop Adderall and stay up all night so I can go to work all day and still get everything done. I’m not going to do that, because I’m not stupid, and I grew up in the 90s when there were *way* too many afterschool specials and public service announcements and even that one episode of Safe By the Bell when Jesse almost ODs on pills. So, yeah, I get it. Besides, pills aren’t really my thing. My thing is stress-eating my way through the Ben & Jerrys section at my local Walmart, so, the next picture I post, I might be the super-fat version of me from another universe. NO JUDGING. God willing I’m not, but we are talking about from here all the way to November, when the final book comes out.

After that, it’ll be a little better. I’ll still have to advertise but I won’t have to worry about completing the books, editing them, marketing them, (possibly paying for the marketing), DEFINITELY paying for the editor and formatting and cover design fees (and wondering where that money’s coming from) in addition to completing author interviews, setting up takeover posts and more. It was tiring just typing all that out (but I did it because I’ve got this. I’ve *yawn* got this.)

A little derail from writing:

Batman and I saw Tag. We also saw Solo last weekend, but I’d rather talk about Tag because IT WAS AWESOME! Just like Deadpool, but I was kind of obligated to focus on my book release at that time so now that we’re on a book release-free week/weekend, I have to tell you guys Tag was good. Maybe I’m biased because I watched it in a reclining chair in one of those theatres where you have to buy your actual “seat” (so very European of us) or because I was elbow deep in double-buttered popcorn. I don’t care. It was an awesome time and I’m pretty sure a lot of it had to do with the hysterical movie I was watching. Please go see it 😊

Not much going on right now besides all of the above and the movie I was able to escape to. Oh! Next weekend I’ll be going back to the shooting range to practice being a baddass some more. I meant to post about the first time I went, but that was like, four weeks ago, and the pictures weren’t terribly cute so I wasn’t wholeheartedly convinced to write about it. Plus, I forgot. I’ll do my best NOT to forget this time and to actually tell you how it went. I’ll even (try to) pose cute too. We’ll see.

Don’t forget: Creature Feature Anthology releases tomorrow. These ladies are fantastic, so if you’re shy and unwilling to commit to a full-length novel, an anthology of shorter pieces from three different authors might do the trick. Try it out. Try them out. You get THREE authors for the price of one and SEVERAL stories for the price of…one. Again, the answer is one. I don’t see how you guys aren’t jumping on this deal. It sells itself.

P.S. And a happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, HAPPY birthday to my dear friend, Stephanie!

CEO. OF EVERYTHING

It’s a scary thing when you realize you’re the CEO.

That’s right, baby. It’s me. I’M the CEO. Woop! Finally got that imaginary corner office…so…why isn’t this easier? And where the hell is my assistant? The minute—or the culmination of minutes—it took me to realize that no one was going to do this for me—write amazing books, market them, and live comfortably off my earnings—was both liberating and terrifying. (Mostly terrifying)

I try to keep my posts somewhat writing related and that was one of many epiphanies recently; I’m CEO of my own company (even if it’s just having five books on the market.) It’s me. Just me. I’ve had this thought before, but never with the oomph of the “CEO” title. Somehow, it makes it even more exciting/scary. But, as I keep shouting to myself, I got this.

As CEO, that means I’m also in charge of all marketing. Haven’t you seen me all over the place? No, you haven’t, because I barely do anything BUT I’ve put together two ads. What do you think?

 

Oh yeah *tugs suspenders” Drink in all that homemade goodness ($0.00 budget, remember?)

If you support me, my work, or know anyone who you think would enjoy it, I invite you to share one or both of these lovely teasers with them. It’s all about word-of-mouth, you know. I rarely pick up something because I found it and sank in on my own (Eleanor & Park) but because someone recommended it to me. 😉

Do you run your own side business or feel like the CEO of something? How do you handle it? Is it scary? Exciting? Both?

P.S. I saw Solo. Meh.

P.P.S. I stopped watching Hemlock Grove. Just couldn’t deal. I AM watching Westworld and Sunday night’s episode might be my favorite. Did you watch it? Do you know what I’m talking about? ARE WE PART OF THE SAME TRIBE? <—- (see what I did there).

Creature Feature Anthology: Featuring Joleene Naylor

Who likes a sale? (*raises hand*)

Who likes a sale on really awesome stuff? (*raises hand more aggressively*)

Who likes a sale on really awesome baddass stories from badass authors? (*THROWS MONEY AT QUESTIONER*)

Okay, good. I’ve got your attention:

Vampires… Werewolves… Monsters… They stalk our dreams and nightmares… the stuff of legends and fantasies…

Featuring short stories by Joleene Naylor (the Amaranthine series), Amber Naralim (the Monsters series), and Gabriella Messina (the Bloodline series), CREATURE FEATURE invites you to take a taste of the worlds these three authors have created, and the creature characters you will never forget. 

Okay, I haven’t had the pleasure of reading Amber Naralim or Gabriella Messina’s stories quite  *yet* (though I’m sure they’re amazing) but I was able to sneak a peek at one of Amaranthine-world-creator, Joleene Naylor’s and it’s AWESOME. First, if you haven’t delved into her series yet- what are you waiting for? And second, this story is a Jorick origin, which means you get to see how he became a vampire. Woop!

Jorick dreams of leaving his native country but, after poor harvests, he can’t raise the funds. When a mysterious foreigner arrives with a job offer – care for his animals and stay away from his house until sundown – it seems like easy money. Except, something is killing the herd one by one. When Jorick sets out to stop it, he’ll discover the horrifying truth about his employer and will have to decide: Is the money worth working for the devil?  

Want a quick sneak peek? You’ve got it! Take a look below:

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The following evening, Jorick didn’t meet Malick at the door. Instead, he ate a meager dinner, and readied for the night’s plan. Malick might not care what was killing the sheep, but he was tired of being outsmarted. How the thing could get in the barn was a mystery he must have an answer to.

And once I see what it is, I’ll kill it.

He loaded up a bag, grabbed a lamp and his musket, then headed off through the night. The walk was familiar, but strange. A heaviness hung around him, like invisible mist. Every breath he took was laced with some dark presence; a sense of danger. There was even a moment when he was tempted to turn around, but his stubbornness pushed him on.

Soon the barn was a hulking shadow in the distance.  As he drew closer, he saw the moonlight glint on the boards, on the roof, on the open door-

Open door?

He’d put the sheep away and locked everything up himself! He dropped the bag and quickly set to work readying the gun, filling it with powder, loading it, snapping the ramrod back in place. A breeze blew, the door swung, and he quickly used the lamp to light the gun’s wick. A quick blow, a flare from the burning rope and he started forward, the musket shouldered and ready to go.

The few moments between where he’d left the bag and the barn turned into aching long hours. He moved softly over late summer grass, his feet wet with dew. His heart hammered. His breaths were quick, rasping sounds that seemed too loud in the stillness.

He got to the door and pushed it gently with the barrel of the gun, pulling it the rest of the way open. Inside, the sheep were silent, though not bedded down. They stood, pale shapes washed in shadows, unmoving. A dark figure stood among them, large for an animal, hunched. Jorick aimed the musket and blew again at the wick. The light flared. In that momentary glow he saw Malick, bent over one of the sheep, his lips drawn back from fangs, a drizzle of blood down his chin.

In the shock, Jorick fired. The gun jerked in his hands and the smoke puffed past him. He saw the dark shape of Malick stumble back, followed by a roar more animal than human.  Jorick knew he’d hit him, knew that the damage would be severe – he’d seen the balls push bone out of wounds before. Still, he saw the dark shape lumber back to its feet, let out a second roar-

Jorick ran. The pounding of his heart drowned out Malick’s fury as he raced away, not bothering to grab his bag as he passed it. On he ran, until he reached his own home. Inside, he slammed the door and knocked the bolt in place, too exhausted to do anything but sag against it, gasping for air.

The wick burned his hand. He reflectively dropped the musket, but retrieved it quickly. His hands shook as he moved through the rooms to his store, as he tried to load the gun again, preparing in case the monster had followed him.

Monster.

In that flash of light, that’s what he’d seen. Malick’s long white hair fell around a contorted face, his pale beard stained scarlet with the lamb’s blood, while the motionless sheep surrounded him, silent, glassy eyes looking on, but not seeing.

No wonder he wasn’t worried about what killed the sheep. He knew what it was. It was him.

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Want to know what happens next? You’re going to have to grab your copy!

The good news is that Creature Feature has a special preorder price of $.99 until it’s release date (June 21st) when it goes up to $2.99. All proceeds go to the Book Born Children’s Christmas Book Fund, sponsored by Book Born Facebook group. (link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bookborn/ )

Click here to pre-order on Amazon. Click here for everywhere else.

Aren’t you excited? We get to see how Jorick became a vampire. JORICK! Again, if you haven’t gotten into the Amaranthine series, what are you waiting for? This baby’s not set to come out for another two weeks so you have plenty of time. And with a pre-order sale of .99, you really can’t beat that!

Grab your copy of the Creature Feature Anthology for amazing stories from amazing authors like Joleene Naylor, Amber Naralim, and Gabriella Messina!