There Is Still Time

Ever have a pimple under the skin that you (and others) can’t really see but you can feel it because it’s part of your body? Yeah, I’m growing a mount everest under my right nostril and IT. IS. AWFUL.  Every time I wiggle my nose or sneeze or even just move my face, I feel it. And it feels like I should look like Rudolph which makes me reach for my mirror a thousand times a day to ensure it didn’t mutate and I’m not hideously deformed. (Just checked – we’re still good).

I also have a huge bump on my head. It started out as a small bump, so after confirming with my doctor that it’s benign, I went on living my life not realizing it recruited an army, and now I have random bumps covering my scalp. Thankfully (I’m already married and) my brown and silver locks cover my mishappen head, but the bumps keep developing. It’s odd. (And the masuese always feels it too…awkward.) Doctor still said they’re also benign and not to worry and since I’m deathly afraid of MRIs, I won’t be getting one of those to check. Should probably get a second opinion but…eh. I’ll get to it. I guess some people just go through life with a bumpy head.

I did go to a Shrimps game recently! That was fun. (The Shrimps are our city’s minor league baseball team, so there you go, stalkers, now you can track me down.) Since we were slightly rained on our first game, Batman was smart enough to book us under the covering this time, so rain or shine we would be covered. Didn’t do much for the Florida humidity, but we got a nice a breeze every so often that kept us sane. A pic for reference and to prove we exist:

WRITING UPDATES

Last call for any possible/potential beta readers out there! I’ve gotten some feedback on In The Moment Before, and plan to start implementing that soon. But I need to have the final version over to my editor at the beginning of October so THERE IS STILL TIME. If you’re interested, please let me know asap so I can send it over and get all your juicy thoughts!

Also still looking for any male names that you want to immortalize in fiction (in a negative way). So far, I’ve got: Donald, Brian, and Austin. Want to throw any names into the hat? Let me know.

Keeping this post short since no news is good news, right? No covid scares. No muscle-torn hospital scares. The only thing I really should report on is how adorbale Appa and Regis look in their Hufflepuff sweaters I ordered:

I’M IN LOVE. I also order them new toys and treats through Barkbox every month and I’m honestly not sure who gets more excited. Because check out these amazing toys:

Okay I need to go be productive and write some more, probably. I have one novella publishing this December, two next year, and two full books next year. I’ve always got something to work on, but I guess that’s a good thing.

~ Lady Caitlin

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 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

I Wrote Something New

I wrote something new. It’s newer than ARPIP and the first draft of AROG (which I still need to finish…) but I took a break and wrote a short story (novella?) specific to a serial platform and—probably what’s most important—to market. What does that mean? It means I’m experimenting.

Since I’m a genre-hopper and can’t pinpoint who my audience is (other than people who love great stories with a lot of adventure, laughter, and romance) I’m writing a highly marketable enemies-to-lovers high-school drama with all the juiciness. Unlike my other books, I’ll slap on a cover with actual people (not space or guitar images) to see if that helps. I know I had a bit of interest on Better Than This before it got booted for violating Radish’s policy (boo!) so I know some of my readers are on there. The plan is to write something for them (within policy) and hopefully gain a following/some fans who I can maybe convert into fans/sales of ARPIP when I publish that…possibly next year.

There is some definite strategic planning going on in the background, and while I still feeling like I’m failing in multiple ways (no advertising, dropping the ball with the newsletter, updating my books) I’m creating content. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing because with no content…no business. Right?

On the flip side, content with no marketing—aka people don’t know I/my books exist—doesn’t do me any good either. So, in order to combat this completely combative process, I’m going to make myself accountable. I’m going to do something EVERY DAY marketing-wise (although the majority of it is probably research for now) in addition to content-creation. I need to hold myself accountable for both aspects of this business, and even though I’m cringing as I type this, I need to. It’s part of it. And no one is going to stop me—not even I.

Marketing Stuff I’ve done so far:

I’ve signed up for TikTok. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but a LOT of indie authors are finding success on this site. Why? It’s zero paid advertising (which definitely helps profits) and, apparently, readers are on the platform. Next thing to do is study the platform, what other authors are doing, and then actually play around with the tools and create some badass videos.

Signed up for 1:1 Consult with Successful Indie Author. Seems silly to spend money on a one-hour consult with a fellow indie author…until you realize she started after you and has been successfully paying her bills with writing for four plus years. Yeah. Time to bite the bullet, admit defeat, and invest in myself. If I can drop money on a purple, velvet couch on Wayfair, I can spend money on this.

Stalk FB Groups. Doesn’t sound important, but it’s a wealth of information. It’s also how I decided to do the consult. Before I walk with marketing, I need to crawl, and that means hours of reading and research and learning. I could go in blind, but I’m trying to do it smarter this way since doing the dumb way has kept me sad and poor.

A few small steps in the right direction, but they’re steps. I’m not standing-still, which is what I’ve been doing for a while. So, I’m proud of myself. I’m getting out of my comfort zone to be all uncomfy to hopefully do this thing right. And “right” to me is the ability to write full time, however that comes to fruition.

Alright, enough jabbering with you. I need to do more research.

And coffee. I’ll definitely need more coffee for this.

~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

A Lot of Content

I’m keeping this one short because 1) I lost track of time again (yes with a three-day weekend, but I was busy and working on other stuff. Shut up) and 2) not a lot of updates with writing or life (also hence my absence last week).

Writing-wise, this is what I’m thinking:

Finish AT LEAST the first draft of book 2 before I start advertising/choose a release date for book 1.

Eh?

Good plan? Bad plan?

I hear a lot of arguments for both sides, but I feel like the more I write before I release book 1—the better. I wrote and published all three of the Better Than This series in 2018 and it was AWFUL. My job at the time didn’t help, but it was just too much going on at once (not to mention financially) and I don’t want to go through that again, which is why I’m considering having the second book written while I market and release the first. Maybe even have the third one written? I don’t know. But, just know I’m working on a lot of content coming your way!

Non-writing-wise, everything is pretty much the same. I haven’t won the lottery, I haven’t bumped into Chris Pratt (boo!) and I haven’t become the best-selling author you and I both know I will one day be. But it takes time with these things, you know? Until then, I’m being patient. Growing out my silver-unicorn hair and taking it one day at a time, like we’re supposed to.

Hopefully, I’ll spring back to life for next week’s post, but, that’s like seven days away, so who knows.

Guess we’ll see.

Let the suspense commence…

~

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

Just…No News

Here we are—4/20

Sadly (and very disappointingly) this post does NOT have to do with the magical wonders of this most celebrated holiday. Like last week and possibly the week before (or is that when we visited the castle-fort?) nothing major has happened. Other than Gilbert Gottfried passing (RIP Iago) life has carried on like life should carry on, pretty much the same. No big news, no small news. Just…no news…which tends to be good news, apparently.

I’m still working on edits for APIP and am chugging right along with it. Why do I write such long books? Why? If this was a bit more normal, I could see the finish line. But, I’m about ten to fifteen thousand words over what the “ideal” word count is, so I’ve still got a ways to go. It’s probably what I’m doing now—going through the manuscript and cutting out unnecessary words. Taking the old axe to the baby. Slicing and dicing her up. Got to love the editing stage.

And I do, but I love the writing stage more. Now that I’ve allowed myself to write AROG only on the weekends, I’m more excited for them. (As if you can be more excited for weekends…) But I am! I love fine-tuning ARPIP, but with AROG, I’m seeing everything for the first time. And even new scenes pop up that weren’t on the outline. It’s exciting!

Non-writing related, everything is good. Batman’s good. Dogs are good. House is good. I’m afraid to knock on wood but I’d feel a bit anxious if I didn’t. So, there. Wood has officially been knocked on. Gonna keep this positive vibe going as long as possible.

Hope all is well with you, and that you’re able to knock on wood too.

Alright, off to edit ARPIP. Until Friday, that is.

Since Friday evening is *technically* part of the weekend, I can work on AROG to my heart’s content. Just following the rules.

~ Lady Caitlin