The Joy and Terror of a Book Release

When I first decided to write with an aim toward publication, I followed dozens of writing blogs. Common advice, at that time, was “Don’t expect to make any money until you have at least ten books published.” As of today, I’m halfway to that goal. Love & Liability is my fifth published novel.

Love & Liability

Some authors hit the motherlode with their first book, of course, just as some authors publish far more than ten books and never make much money. At my age and lack of speed writing, I may never get ten books written and published. So the odds of me making a living at writing are slim to none. But then, that’s partly my fault.

I’m not a business woman. I don’t “write to the market,” which means writing whatever type of book that’s bestselling at the moment. Unless luck strikes you, that’s the only way to make money writing fiction. You must be able and willing to change genres—or sub-genres, at least—as often as it takes to satisfy the whim of the gods. And, in this case, readers are the gods.

Also, you need to write lightning fast, publishing several books a year. My first novel, The Brevity of Roses, released in March 2011. It’s now May 2017, and I’ve just seen the release of my fifth. See a problem?

So, why do I persist in writing? Though I’m serious and conscientious with my work, and though this retiree absolutely appreciates every dollar earned, writing is not primarily a business venture for me. Writing is partly therapy—it keeps my brain nimble and engaged. It’s partly vanity—it boosts my self-esteem when people read and enjoy my words. But mostly, I write because I have a need to create.

I’ve expressed my creative nature in many ways during my life, usually in multiple ways during each period, but for the last few years, I’ve concentrated on creating with words. I can’t describe the thrill and satisfaction of making a whole new world come to life—literary-ly. 🙂

If you’ve written a novel, you know it’s not easy. You know you will alternately love and hate your work as it progresses. But eventually, when it’s done and polished and ready to share with others, you’ll be proud of it. And then comes release day. Your creation is in the hands of strangers. You can barely breathe, waiting to learn if those strangers appreciate your vision, your skill, your determination. Only a small percentage will ever let you know, personally or publicly, but that doesn’t stop you from looking forward to the next creation in words.

That’s the joy and terror of the next few weeks for me. I’ll be watching my sales stats obsessively. I’ll be thrilling at good reviews and deflating at bad ones. But I’ll continue working because I love it. I have a few more worlds to put into words.

Linda

‘Tis the Season for Rain

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It appears our rainy season has begun here in the central valley of California, but we’re still in the midst of a severe drought, so we’re always hoping for more rain. Time to buy more sweet ground chocolate and another bottle of cream whiskey for Irish hot chocolate. Or maybe I’ll try making my own cream liqueur … and I might try some in homemade chai latte. I do love tasty ways to warm up cold, rainy days, don’t you?

As you know I’ve been writing the sequel to High Tea & Flip-Flops. This one didn’t come easy. There was more than one time I was tempted to set it aside and work on another book. But I’m happy that I persevered because I’m excited about it now. A fellow author sent me her feedback on the first draft, and I finished that round of edits. Now the manuscript is in the hands of another trusted author friend. When the manuscript is totally polished, I’ll probably enter it for a Kindle Scout campaign.

I can’t tell you the title of the sequel yet because I don’t have one … at least I don’t think I do. Usually, a title comes to me before I finish the first draft, but that didn’t happen this time. One came to me in the middle of the night, but as you probably know, what seems brilliant when you’re half asleep often loses some of its luster in the daylight. All I know is that the title will contain an ampersand–Something & Something.

My romantic comedy High Tea & Flip-Flops will be getting a new look. I wanted the covers of HT&FF and its sequel to be similar, and I’m sick of the black silhouette cover, so now I’ll have two shiny new covers. Here’s that cover, but I can’t reveal the cover for the sequel until it’s titled.

winter-solstice-kindle-cover-copyIn October, as a side project, I wrote a short story to be included in an anthology titled Winter Solstice. This is a collection of stories written by Kindle Press authors from the worlds of their KP novels, and to introduce you to our writing, we’ve made the digital version of this book absolutely FREE!!

In my story, Chelsea Does Christmas, Chelsea attempts to make Jeremy feel at home on their first big holiday together. There are some humorous hiccups in her plan, of course. Please get your copy today and, as always, a review on Amazon would be greatly appreciated by us authors.

May your day be filled with a joy for life!

Linda

I’m not here, I’m there.

A quiet beach

Just stopping in to let you know I’m a guest author on My Two Cents Worth (Before Inflation) today. Author Jim Jackson poses great questions for his guests to answer. Most are about reading and writing, but one intriguing question asked what three people I would invite to an all-expenses paid weekend anywhere in the world—with time travel allowed. Isn’t that fun to think about? I’d love it if you’d please go read my responses.

A sale, an interview, and a review!

newtea_pageSALE!!! High Tea & Flip-Flops will be priced in the US for only $1.99 the whole month of May! As one reviewer said, it’s “Perfect for a lazy afternoon and an umbrella drink.” Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YNKHFII in case you’d like to share it with a friend.

I’m working on a sequel now. I mean, you knew Chelsea would insist on going to London and meeting Jeremy’s parents, didn’t you? After all—what could possibly go wrong?

Recently author Craig Hart interviewed me, and the result is up now at his blog. Among other things, he asked me how I managed the change in genre and tone in following up the romantic comedy of High Tea & Flip-Flops with the dark suspense of Forever. A friend assured me I didn’t embarrass myself in this interview … but judge for yourself. Read it here.

Forever_welcomeI suspect the genre of my latest book surprised some—a lot?—of you. My publisher mainly promotes it as suspense with subcategories of horror, occult, and ghosts. I think of it as psychological supernatural suspense, the story of a marriage under extreme—and extremely unusual—stress. So it pleased me when one recent reviewer gave it five stars and said this:

A Gripping and Original Tale!
Linda Cassidy Lewis has penned a unique story line in her new novel FOREVER. Tom and Julie are at a crossroads in their marriage. Their daughter is going off to college and that development will change the dynamics of their relationship. Will it be for the better? Or will their marriage crumble without the glue that is their child. Like many long endured marriages, the passion between them has waned. Still, there’s a comfort level between them that Tom believes will help them weather the storm.

Until he touches the hands of an unlikely woman working at the cinema. Only then does a powerful force stir within his soul. Or is it his soul? His obsession with Annie, for whatever vague reason consumes him, and little by little, their past-life affair awakens within a vortex in his soul. The monster—and I do mean monster—that once destroyed them, has returned in full force to once again exact his savage revenge.

Lewis has created an engaging plot that combines horror, romance and the supernatural. Be warned: it is violent and horrific, some of it sexual. But for me it only heightened the monster that was Eddie. Lewis keenly understands the rhythms of domestic life and uses it in FOREVER to give this story a feeling of authenticity. Intelligent, very scary at times, and filled with supernatural twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, FOREVER is an original and entertaining take on true love and the evil that tries to break its eternal bond. I really enjoyed this book.

By the way, author Joseph Souza wrote that review. No, I didn’t pay him to write it. But I’ve read two of his books so far—Unpaved Surfaces and Need to Find You—and can tell you he’s a very good writer. Here’s a link to his Amazon page.

I wish all the mothers out there a HAPPY MOTHERS DAY! To everyone, I wish you the blessing of joy.

Linda

How can anyone write like that?

deskroseTime for another confession. I posted this photo on Facebook last week, and Judith Baxter commented that, now, she could picture me at my writing desk. Well, yes and no. The vase is sitting on my desk, but the photo is carefully staged. Even so, it shows a bit of the mess on my printer stand. I’m a messy writer … not in my actual writing, but in my surroundings as I work.

I’ve read that this is a bad way to work, that a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind. Well, yeah. That’s my mind, ten things going on at once. To be honest, I can’t explain how I’ve managed to write and edit four full novels. Probably my messy ways explain why I have four partly written novels.  But even those I know will be finished at some point.

A lot of writers blog and even write whole books about their work habits. Some of them speak as if theirs is the only way to write bestsellers. They could be right about the bestseller part; I haven’t accomplished that—yet. But I wholeheartedly believe there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to writing methods. You can force yourself to work in a way that’s not natural for you. But why should you?

Writing is hard enough without stifling your “muse” with some other writer’s rules. I know. I’ve tried. My brain rebels at rigid systems of outlining, work scheduling, or fast and furious, non-edited first drafts. I don’t dress up like I’m going to an office. I don’t meditate before I begin work. I don’t create music playlists for accompaniment. I don’t use dictated writing prompts. I don’t set daily word count targets.

I write in comfortable clothes, generally without makeup or hair styled—to be honest, sometimes I never change out of my pajamas. I write while I should be doing the laundry or the gardening or a thousand other things. I write because there are stories in my head. And I love stories. And I delight in figuring out how to transform those stories into words.

Today, I sat at my desk surrounded by drawings and trinkets made by my grandchildren. I sat amid scattered papers and sticky notes, and tea mugs, and cookie crumbs. I sat beside the open window that enhanced my workspace with bird song and rose perfume. I closed my eyes and saw. I stopped my ears and heard. I rested my fingers on the keyboard, and the pure unadulterated magic of imagination directed them to create.

That’s the way I write.

Your mileage may vary. And that’s totally cool.

Okay, are you ready? Don’t judge. This is what the rest of my desk usually looks like.

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Linda