I Need Your Help (again)

Well, we’re Covid-free again.

The plan was to return to work last Wednesday from our failed attempt at vacationing. Except, due to excessive coughing, Batman tore a muscle in his lower back as I was on my way to work, and we ended up rushing him to the emergency room instead.

Fun times.

The fun continued at home when the pain meds (which helped in the hospital) ended up causing waves of nausea, and plummeting Batman into the dark ages of pain, annoyance, irritability, and discomfort. He tried a second pain reliever from the hospital with the same results. Dizziness and nausea. Batman just wasn’t feeling it for the last two weeks, and I got to say – I feel bad for the guy. We’re not in our twenties anymore (sadly) and things just aren’t bouncing back as quickly as they used to. I knew we’d get to a point in our lives where we might have to frequent hospitals, but I didn’t think it’d be in our thirties. (This is after a few back surgeries for Batman, other issues, and now this). I think Annie Potts said it best in Pretty in Pink – “Why can’t we start old and get young?”

Things are going pretty well. Except for the last two weeks of illness, life has been lovely. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot accomplished on my writing/publishing schedule with updating my bio (take a look if you if you care to), updating my back matter (new release info) on my current works, and I’ve even started working on the second book in my companion novella series. WHAT. I know. Already? Yep. This isn’t set to release until June 2023, but it’s always good to have the project started, am I right?

This is where I need your help on two fronts:

  1. Need Character name assistance
  2. Need BETA readers

For the first request, I’m in need of asshole names again. This time – four males. I have placeholder names that can definitely work, but I’m throwing it out in the universe. Did some prick wrong you in the past, and you want to immortalize them as an asshole in my book? Let’s do it. Send me your names and I’ll pick four of them (two main and two supporting) to use in In The Moment Before.

For the second request, who wants to BETA read for me?? (insert personalized compliment just for you).

Book details:

Title: In the Moment Before

Word count: 37,000

Genre/Trope: contemporary romance, enemies to lovers, forced proximity, hidden romance, bullying

Working Blurb:

Robin Drake hates Grayson Knight with a passion. After an embarrassing childhood prank, she’s kept him in the mortal-enemy category, avoiding the troublemaker and his bullying friends whenever possible. As the daughter of a police sergeant in a crime-ridden city, Robin knows she needs to set an example, so when an argument escalates, landing Robin and Grayson in detention, she’s forced to endure not only disappointment from her father, but two weeks with the boy she detests the most.

Assigned to assist the Homecoming Committee, Robin wants to get through her punishment as quickly as possible. But after an interaction with a sleazy basketball player—and an immediate rescue by Grayson—she sees the boy she’s always hated with new eyes. If things weren’t stressful enough, a secret, shared kiss sends everything scrambling, leaving Robin and Grayson to confront feelings that neither expected—or are prepared for.

If this sounds interesting or something you’d like to read, please let me know! I’m aiming to get this to the editor at the beginning of October, so I would need feedback mid September or so. 😊

How is life going with you? Any illnesses? Any upcoming vacations? Any people you want to immortalize in my characters? I’m curious to know all the things.

~ Lady Caitlin

I Used the Time Off Accordingly

We got covid again.

Actually, it was Batman. Batman got covid. He’s the one who brought the disease into our household this round, and just in time to cancel our Asheville trip. Literally the same week. That’s twice now this stupid virus has cost us fully booked trips to destinations we really want to visit. Champagne problems, I know, but I’m still allowed a brief time to wallow and rant and hate everything (and I did and I feel better now).

I cancelled our tour at the Biltmore Estate, which Batman and I were excited to visit. It’s some grand estate and the closest thing we’re getting to a castle until we fly across the pond in 2024. It’s also what Batman and I were using as a model for our own personal castle mansion when we make it big. Also, I heard there were multiple wineries and restaurants on the premises, so it definitely blows. I also cancelled our hop-on-hop-off tour, numerous dining reservations, and our stay at this vintage hotel with spacious rooms that looked wonderfully haunted. I guess Asheville wasn’t meant for us in 2022. It’s all good though; I used the time off accordingly.

Days off with Covid:

  • Finished third draft of ITMB
  • Finished August Newsletter (have you signed up?)
  • Worked on Marketing Plan for 2023 (there’s stuff on it!)
  • Cleaned up/organized personal documents on computer
  • Social Media Marketing Research

See?

I still got stuff done through the gross coughing through the runny nose and random splashes of laziness. Gotta say this round is way better than the one last year which, ironically, is right around when I left my previous job. Like leaving most of my jobs, my main concern was not with how I was going to pay my bills or what I would do next, but the excitement of having an initial few weeks off to write. Even though I had Covid, I was still pumping out the first real draft of ARPIP. A little more than a year later, I’m working on its companion series, the second book, publishing the first, and applying a marketing plan that 1) is better than no marketing plan and 2) actually might be a smart strategy. We’ll see.

Other than literally everything mentioned above, nothing much is going on. Just taking these at home covid tests until I can return to work. Until then, it’s working on the laptop in the other room while I cough uncomfortably loud, but I don’t have to worry about annoying any coworkers. It’s just Batman, Appa, and Regis, and it’s not like any of them are going to start something (I’d like to see a MOFO try.)

How are you? How is life? Have you caught the vid for the first, second, or third time? Able to get anything accomplished?

Either way, good for you, you little survivor!

Off to do more stuff. Why am I feeling so motivated lately?

**looks around with confusion**

**realizes it doesn’t matter**

Next week!

~ Lady Caitlin

The Amazing Publishing Schedule

I (sort of) have it figured out.

I’m always hesitant to say I know what I’m doing because that’s never the case, so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m doing for the rest of the year and into next year in regards to writing & publishing.

Ready for this?

That new random thing I was writing: that’s nice a prequel/side story I’m releasing in December. DECEMBER THIS YEAR. Yeah. My original idea was to write a short story/novella, but “write it to market” so I’m still attracting readers on the side. The plan was to put it on serialized platforms to hopefully make some money and gain some followers until I’m ready to release ARPIP next year. But then it clicked—why not set this short story in the universe of TCATC? Make it an initial taste so it can generate interest beforehand, even if I’m not advertising the way I will with ARPIP.

YESSS.

Not only that—I’ll be releasing additional short stories between the major book releases to keep the side story going! It all makes sense now. It’s like I’ve been staring at one of those artsy pictures from the 90s with an image of a sailboat in the middle and you have to stare at it a while before actually seeing it. First, I didn’t know I was looking at an artsy picture from the 90s, so when everything clicked, it really CLICKED and I think I had a celebratory (or two) Angry Orchard.

To recap the amazing publishing schedule:

December 16th 2022 – release In The Moment Before, a companion novella set in the TCATC universe

March 24th 2023 – release A Royal Pairing in Perish

June 23rd 2023 – release short story (still to name)

September 22nd 2023 – release Book 2 (name to announce soon!)

December 15th – release short story (still to name)

March 2024 – release Book 3 (name to announce soon!)

Right? Look at it. All organized with dates and everything. I’m super excited, guys. Because whereas I LOVE my ARPIP characters, I also LOVE my ITMB characters and was slightly bummed they only got a novella in the universe. Weaving them back in with short stories is going to be so much fun and I’m already excited for next year!

Whoosh! Well those are all the writing updates I have. Oh, and that I’ll be back to sending out my newsletter again…which…may or may not have taken a short sabbatical May through July. But it’s returning in August, baby, along with even more updates pertaining to all upcoming releases. And I’ve got snippets for you too. So, if you want even more of a sneak peak, you’ll have to sign up for my newsletter. No way around it. #Sorrynotsorry.

Personal life-wise?

Batman and I are headed to Asheville next week! We’ve never been to the city, and have only stepped foot in the state once or twice, so we are very excited! Plus, we’ll be driving, so this is our first “road trip” in our fifteen-year relationship, and I’m excited to see if we’ll kill each other. But we’ll bring plenty of snacks and listen to good music so hopefully, that should be avoided. We’re going downtown to do some shopping, to the Biltmore estate for ideas on decorating our future castle-mansion, and to the Pinball museum (requested by Batman). Not sure of other activities, but hopefully we’ll get lost finding things to do—the best way to explore a city.

Be on the lookout for my August newsletter. Should be in your inbox on 8/15. You know, if you sign up. Here’s a nice little link for you.

nice little newsletter link

Go on. Click it. We’re all waiting.

Enjoy the week!

~ Lady Caitlin

The Master Plan

I figured it out.

Not, like, the secret to life—though, that’d be sweet—but what I’m doing with this random new thing I wrote. I thought it was some small story that popped up for distraction, but nothing is ever random or coincidental as I have come to learn in life—and neither is this. It’s suddenly become completely integral to the publishing plan I’m working on for the remainder of this year and over the course next year, but I can’t reveal anything now. Two reasons:

  1. I’m still working everything out
  2. I don’t want to jinx anything

Very legitimate reasons, I think. I’m not even sure I’m sharing the master plan next week. It might roll into mid-August just to be safe, but I’m already so excited to share.

Soon, guys. Very, very soon!

**taps fingertips excitedly**

Let’s see… Other than realizing my publishing plan for the next year or so, I’m also shifting gears toward my current/already-published-for-your-reading-needs books. I’m talking Better Than This and Arizal Wars. Arizal Wars will probably chill as is for now until it gets a facelift at some point. But Better Than This needs a scene or two *reworked and since I’m updating a new version anyway, I figure I might just update the covers too. I like them; I like that they are what I imagined, but…I don’t think they’re doing me any favors. People like pictures of people on books (apparently) and I guess some stray away from anything cartoonish. Whatever. I’m not taking it personally, but if there’s a better cover I could use for this series, especially one that will entice readers more: let’s do it.

I feel like a juggler right now. I’ve got to keep to my new publishing schedule—which shall be revealed in a future post!—as well as work on updating my books so I can get them to their correct platforms to then start promoting them on tiktok, which I still need to learn. Yeah. It’s all good. I can learn to be a master juggler with the best of them. (Random fact: I always thought jugglers were hot. Maybe I was just impressed with their magical multitasking skills. Who knew?)

Life is good. Batman and I have an Asheville trip coming up next month, and we’re throwing gross gobs of money at Disney for my birthday in September. It’ll probably be the last time we go for a while, but I still want to get on the Peter Pan ride. I haven’t been since I was a kid and every time we go, the ride has a miles-long wait. Screw Space Mountain. I’m headed straight to Fantasy Land for Peter Pan. I’ll push kids out of the way. I don’t care anymore.

What about you? Any plans coming up? It’s already the second half of the year, in case you haven’t panicked yet about Christmas. But it’s nice seeing the Halloween stuff.

I just love fall!

~ Lady Caitlin

No Regrets

So…I’ve been doing a major no-no when it comes to self-publishing. Any guesses? I’ll tell you since I—a self-publishing author—didn’t know myself. I have (and currently am) breaking the cardinal rule of NO GENRE HOPPING.

Woops…

Let’s see. I’ve got a Sci-fi (with romance) series, a Contemporary Romance series, and an Urban Fantasy Romance series that I’m currently working on, so…it’s not like I’ve been genre-hopping my entire self-publishing career, right? Oh wait. Yes, I have. Among several other things I’ve been doing incorrectly, I really shouldn’t have been jumping genres since it’s harder to build and retain an audience. Most of us like reading a certain genre/trope, and we depend on our authors to write only in that box.

HAHA again woops!

In my defense, I didn’t know what kind of author I wanted to be. What kind of stuff I wanted to write. So, I wrote whatever story came to me. And you know what? No regrets. I like what I wrote, and I definitely think it helped shape me to become the author I am today. Was this the smartest way to go about it? HAHA nope. But I want to tell the stories I want to tell, and I did that. And now, I know what I like to write and why. Just took a couple of genres to figure it out.

Will this upend my success? I mean…I hope I have fans who enjoy my stories regardless of the box it fits into, even though it includes the same elements all my stories do:

Romance? Check

Adventure? Check

Escaping something? Check, check, check

Can these three elements be considered a genre, because if so, I’m set. Or maybe I’m set with themes? I don’t know and I’m tired of thinking about it. I wouldn’t change what I did, and I’m honestly not sure what I’m going to do. I like writing across different genres, so maybe at some point, I’ll create pen names for each. Until then, a new release by C.G. Coppola will always be a surprise, but just know, it will ALWAYS CONTAIN romance, adventure, and the need to escape. Seems pretty dependable to me.

Non writing news:

We went out on a tikibar! If you’re not familiar with the concept, don’t feel bad. I’ve lived in Florida my entire life and just discovered the service. Or, maybe the service is new? Either way, it’s a ninety-minute cruise in whatever city you live, normally around an historic or touristy location. Cooler and ice provided, but you bring your own food and drinks. Not too expensive and it’s just…fun. You can sit on the floor like me and stick your feet in the water—and subsequently scream when a glob of seaweed touches you—or you can walk around the tiki or sit on the barstool while they play island music. Honestly, I’d go again. But, only for the ninety minute cruise—got to remember there are zero bathrooms unless an unplanned stop at the sandbar is needed. Something to keep in mind.

There’s more non-writing news, but nothing much to note. I learned how to pronounce the word cognizant. Batman and I worked on it for a while, so I’ve got that going for me. Also: didn’t break the washing machine like I thought I did. I will remember not to overstuff it with towels next time so it doesn’t freak and keep resetting itself. Ah, life lessons.

Hope life is good in your neck of the woods. Also hope you’re seeing gas prices drop a smidge. It’s not a lot, but at this rate and with this record-high inflation, I’ll take what I can get.

~ Lady Caitlin

The Puzzle Solved

Earlier this year I signed up for a serialized fiction platform, Radish. Remember? I barely remember because it’s a platform that I rarely check. I’ve had the same 78 views since February with no comments, no subscribers, and no traction. I probably glance at the thing once or twice a month. Well, last week they emailed saying Better Than This would be featured as a free book on their Free-Book-Friday promotion. Okay, cool. Last time they highlighted BTT with a promotion…still sat at the same 78 views, no subscribers. No traction. No big deal.

Guess this one was different. I checked early Friday – still nothing. I checked Sunday morning and I had 8,900 views. WHAT. WWWWHHHHAAATTTT. Of all the combined platforms I’ve been on, this is the first one that’s pushed over 1,000 views. And in two days? WHAT. Also got me 60 new subscribers.

It’s weird because I didn’t actually do anything. Literally. I signed up for Radish at the beginning of the year, uploaded the series and kind of…waited. I applied for a previous promotion and it didn’t do crap. Now I know if people want to read my books, I should give them away. That, or apply for promos making them free. Aha, the puzzle solved.

It kinda jumpstarted me to get things going. I’ve already pushed back the release date of ARPIP until some point (when I can get my ducks in a row for a semi-successful launch / not have wandering ducks with the same lackluster launch) but it means updating my books with all new backmatter, revising prices, getting the newsletter going (…having more than 9 subscribers…) and working with other authors. Not to mention finish editing ARPIP and writing AROG.

I don’t know…something about seeing the 8,900 views was like having an angel pat me on the back saying. “See? You can do this. It’ll take some time and energy…but you can do this.”

Thanks, Angel.

How are you? Did you have a nice weekend? I had a lovely one with my mom, sister, nephew, and Batman. We explored the city, had many delicious meals, and even more drinks. It’s how I like celebrating a holiday. Other than that—and the increase of views/subscribers—everything is still the same. Still growing pretty new silver strands and Batman keeps reminding me I’m older. Because he’s evil. Because he thinks that makes me a cougar…even if he’s only six months behind me.

Anyway, all is well here. Better than well, actually – I got 8,900 views!!! This will probably be my highlight for the rest of the year, so apologizes if I refer to it often. But when good things happen, you got to celebrate, right?

Yeah, you do.

Cheers!

~ Lady Caitlin

The Inevitable Question

I missed last week.

I know. I know.

I told myself (and you, silently, in my head) that I wouldn’t miss another post unless there was a DIRE EMERGENCY kind of situation, because how long does it take to write a few-paragraphs-long post? The answer is not very long. At all. The thing—if you’re skilled at writing totally awesome posts like I am—only takes a little bit of time. Maybe an hour. Probably less. So, how can I not find one tiny (maybe less) hour in my day to write the weekly blog, right?

I know. I planned poorly and did not underestimate the amount of energy my day-job would suck out of me because missing last week’s post is inexcusable, especially since I had this great theme about how all the hair on my head is slowly starting to betray me, and turn unicorn-silver. It was more a cathartic post for me to come to terms with the fact that I’m getting a new hair color, but I realized something even more important, something about my newest book…

Brace yourself (or don’t)—

I’m pushing back the release date of A Royal Pairing in Perish.

*GASP*

I know. I know.

I didn’t want to do it either, but I need to. I’m just not ready or even close to releasing a book next month. Because yeah, I can literally go and ‘publish’ the thing, but I really want to do this differently. I want to really try this time, and I feel leaps and bounds behind where I should be for launch-day. I’m following my gut, and it’s saying I have good intentions, but my timing is off. Way off, which leads to the inevitable question:

When am I planning to release?

Great question! I’d love to answer that, but the jury is still out, and I’m not sure when those fools are returning. I’d like to say by the end of the year (and could still be the case) but I’m just not sure. I’m taking a big step back so I can do this smart and I know you guys will support me because 1) you normally do and 2) I only hear from like, three of you, and it’s all been supportive.

Thanks for taking it so well, guys. And thanks for the initial vent on all the unicorn-silvers coming through. They used to be buried in a sea of luscious brown, but now they’re sparkling like diamond, gossamer strands. Very much on the fence about dying them.

Thoughts?

On anything?

~ Lady Caitlin

Cover Reveal Time

Here we are, folks. Cover reveal time.

I thought about putting it in the newsletter, but then I’d have to wait until at least 4/15, and I’m pretty sure I said last week I’d do it this week and I don’t want to make a liar of past-Caitlin. Besides, there’s no reason to wait anymore. I got to get this thing going, and it all starts with peeling back the curtain so you can see it first.

Here we are, the cover for APIP, the first book in The Coyote & The Claw series, an urban romantic fantasy featuring superheroes:

Ay? Ay?

You like it? Hope so, because I’m not changing it. Haha—but seriously. This is it. I went back and forth with the original purple, but I think this version captures the D.C. mood I’m attempting to replicate (Detective Comics. Not the capital…) I wanted it to have a darker, noir-feel, and between the two options, I really think this one is it.

Whew.

Cover reveal DONE! Checkmark and thank you. Wow. Okay, well that feels good. Now I can move forward with the next phase of this thing since any sort of marketing seemed quite impossible without a cover. But no more worries on that front. They can all shift to the marketing and the advertisements I need to work on now. That, and still editing the book…

Yep. I’m cheating on myself…with myself. I’m supposed to be editing ARPIP. I need to, and I know this. This should be my primary focus and goal, and it is…but so is writing AROG. Every time I block off time to edit, I sneak a peek at the other WIP and figure writing one to two more paragraphs won’t hurt. That turns into five or six, and then half a page, and then I’m reviewing previous chapters to check something, and then Appa is nudging me to come to bed and all my time is gone. It’s not great since I’m literally the only one who can edit this thing. And with each passing day, my window is getting smaller and smaller if I still want to make my June release date. And I do. I’m just saying it’d be great if I had a clone, because I’d use her strictly to edit. That way, I could just write. We’d get so much done.

First part: write the book – check

Second part: edit the book—meh, still working on it

Third part: create a cover—check

Two out of three ain’t bad. I’m working on the last one, and I PROMISE I will get it done. I’ll hit a road-bump in my WIP, and will switch back to editing. But whatever works, right?

~ Lady Caitlin

A Festival and Wedding

My excuse this time is that I went to a festival and wedding.

Excuse me—an amazing festival and an amazing wedding. I barely have pictures of the former and none of the latter, but just know in your hearts that I was away this weekend celebrating life (like we all should) which is why this is going to be a short, to-the-point post.

So, which festival did I go to? Reggae Rise Up, and it was hands-down awesome, from the chill but lively music to the relaxing atmosphere to the delicious fried Oreos. My sister has been a few times and always raves about it, and she thought Batman and I might enjoy going. Spot on, sis. Other than the slight sunburn (due to not properly thinking through the OUTDOOR festival) and the port-o-potty-bathroom situation, the whole thing was so great. We attended Friday and Saturday and got to see Rebelution and Slightly Stoopid among other terrific bands. And yep—probably going again next year, so there’s that.

The wedding was equally great because it was a high-school friend, making the whole thing a mini-reunion since I saw some faces I hadn’t seen in a while. It’s crazy that I still feel mentally sixteen (ten at times…) and here I am, this gorgeously amazing thirty-six-year-old goddess. Crazy how that works.

In regards to writing, I’ve got my first round of edits back, and I’m working through making APIP slightly better. I was on such a roll with AROG, but I think I’m going to do half and half. Half editing ARPIP and half writing AROG because I can fly through the edits pretty quickly, and—more importantly—I’ll go mad if I’m not writing. And no offense to blogs or newsletters or witty emails to my coworkers throughout the day, but those don’t count quite the same. They’re fun, but I’m still in this reality. I like to be in other realities with my popcorn watching my characters do their thing. It’s so a passport I wish I had (and existed!) but until then, writing is the only commute.

Also: I’ve made a final decision on the cover and it feels sooooo good. I’ll probably share it in next week’s post because, you know, reasons, but just rest assured knowing it’s chosen. You don’t have to lose anymore sleep over it, so, you’re welcome. That hill is behind us. Only a few hundred more to go.

Since I actually do have evidence of Reggae Rise Up and that I exist as a person (and not an adorable figment of your imagination), here you go:

Until next week’s cover reveal…and whatever happens between now.

~ Lady Caitlin

The Final Countdown

Here we are again, folks. I’m writing this at the last minute, so please forgive any missing words or typos or any stranger than usual content because I haven’t gone through it like, 1,000,000 times before posting like usual. Probably only two look-throughs and that’s it. Let’s see what we get.

For those lucky newsletter subscribers, and even the more select out of that narrow group that actually reads them…what did you think?? Did you choose a cover you like more? Which was it? TELL ME.

As mentioned previously, I haven’t revealed my cover yet because I’m down to two options, one with the original purple I’d requested, and another with a tint or something cool done to it. I don’t know. But, I don’t want to show you either until I’m a BILLION percent sure that’s the one I’m going with, so I’m only including a small section of each. A snippet. And here these mofos are:

Option 1
Option 2

It’s just a peek, but I’m sure you get the picture. So…which one do you like? Which one catches your eye more and would maybe make you want to buy based off that little bit of an image? I have one I’m slightly leaning toward, but apparently, I can’t make decisions on my own. So, I need your help again. The goal is to have this picked by next week. NEXT WEEK. I’ve got to commit because the longer I stall, the less time I have to advertise. Or pay other people to advertise. Something. I’ll figure out something about advertising later but I need a book cover to do that. So…

Other than this, I got my edits back! Woot! Now I’m putting a hold on writing book two and switching back to the first. With a great cover needs to come a great book, and editing probably helps with that.

Alright, can’t wait to hear which tiny piece of a possible book cover image you like more. Let’s call this the final countdown, shall we? By next week, it’ll be one of these two, so do your part:

Let’s do this.

~ Lady Caitlin