A Month of Everything and Nothing

July has come has come and gone. I had big plans for July, but most of them were not fulfilled. And then I ended the month flat on my back so sick I couldn’t even read. Four horrible, blurry days of boneless misery. I’m a fidgeter, so my husband says he knew when I was starting to come back to life because my fingers and toes started wiggling and tapping again.

The brightest point of the month was the annual summer visit from my son Daniel Lewis and “daughter-in-law” Sarah Chavez, both professors at Marshall University in West Virginia. We always have a good visit with them. On one afternoon, we visited the Nonini Winery—said to be haunted. It’s been owned by the same family since it was founded in 1936, and I loved the old photos and documents displayed in the tasting room. I enjoyed the wine and, yes, it was a little spooky standing among those massive, old redwood aging tanks.

winery_7_15

The second brightest point was the release of my latest novel, High Tea & Flip-Flops. Unfortunately, launch day was one of my sickest. The early reviews are good. Readers are laughing, which is a relief because it’s my first romantic comedy novel. Of course I hope for more reviews, even a couple of negative ones—especially if the reviewer complains about too much s-e-x and bad language, since I hear those complaints tend to sell more books! :-)

High Tea & Flip-Flops is available for Kindle at Amazon worldwide as well as in paperback at Amazon and other online stores and by special order at your local bookshop. (Amazon.ca is slow adding the paperback, but it’s coming.) If you’d like to help me spread the word on Facebook or Twitter, please click this link, choose the appropriate image, and copy or save it. When you share it, please remember to add the link: author.to/LindaCassidyLewis in your post or tweet. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

So, that’s the everything part of this post.

The nothing part concerns my writing. No progress. I haven’t added a word to the first draft of my next novel. Oh, I think about it. I open the file and read parts of it. I stare at the Scrivener screen for a while. Then I hit exit. It feels odd not to be writing every day. It feels scary, to be honest. What if I never write again?

The odd thing is that it’s not this particular story I’m struggling with. The plot outline is complete. I’ve visualized the rest of the scenes. I believe it’s a story worth telling. The problem is not in that manuscript.

The problem is in me. I’ve had a blow to the confidence in my writing (concerning another manuscript) and haven’t been able to get beyond it. That seems silly when I have a new book out that readers are praising, doesn’t it? Or maybe it doesn’t. I’m as confounded by the writer’s mind as anyone.

I hope your July was fabulous and your August is off to a wonderful start!

Linda

My New Book: Free or Pre-order?

I’m excited to share with you a quick update on my third novel High Tea & Flip-Flops. If you nominated it for a Kindle Press contract in May, you should have received notice that your free copy is now available. If you don’t qualify for a free copy, the ebook is listed at Amazon for pre-order until its official release date of 28 July, which is when the paperback will also become available.

tea_front_heartAmazon sent out the advance copies in the hope you’ll download, read, and review the book before the release date. I realize many of you have a to-be-read list a mile long, but please download your copy anyway, and when you do get the opportunity to read High Tea & Flip-Flops , please, please, pretty please write at least a few words in review at Amazon. (And anywhere else you please.) You don’t have to write a lengthy, professional review, just a few honest words. The more action a book gets—in sales and reviews—the more promotion Amazon gives it. So I hope you’ll enjoy High Tea & Flip-Flops and tell your friends about it as well as help me spread the word on social media.

Here’s what it’s about:

Chelsea Cole has lost her way. A year ago, she had her heart set on launching a retail marketing career. Now, still working the deli job that got her through college, she’s one paycheck away from—OMG—moving back to her mother’s house. And that would seriously suck because her life recently got more interesting when a gorgeous Brit moved into the apartment above hers.

Jeremy Pearce is definitely not her usual blond and bronzed surfer type. He’s all sexy long hair, poet shirts, suede boots, and secrets. Lots of secrets. He’s definitely aroused her curiosity, but how will she get close enough to solve the Jeremy puzzle if she keeps humiliating herself every time he’s around?

To Chelsea’s amazement, Jeremy comes to her rescue with an offer that not only ends her financial worries but means they’ll be spending long hours together. The first secret she discovers is his surprising occupation—one that sets her on a new career path. While Chelsea’s confidence grows so does the sexual tension between them, and she boldly suggests they would be perfect together for more than business.

Linda

Thoughts on NOT self-publishing

A funny thing happened when I received notification that Kindle Press had selected me for a publishing contract: I had little obvious reaction. My husband was joyous. I felt like I’d suffered a kind of shock, and it took nearly a week for that feeling to completely dissipate. That happened when I woke in the middle of the night and thought, I’m going to be published by someone else!

17zv8Except for a vignette published in an online literary journal, I’ve only been self-published. Oh, I tried for a “traditional” publishing contract with my first novel, but at that time indie-publishing was really taking off, and my impatient and impulsive self jumped in. By the time my second novel was ready for publication, I’d decided I didn’t have the personality type to have a successful traditional career. Or a writing career at all.

I saw myself as a hobbyist, writing what I wanted, the way I wanted to write it, accountable only to myself and readers in that I would write the best books I knew how. I didn’t set out to brand myself as a women’s fiction writer or a romance writer or any other single genre writer. My author friends, volunteered as beta readers and editors and, for one book, a cover designer. I did everything else on my own. And I’ve made mistakes.*

The biggest mistake was in failing to understand the necessity of abundant platform and marketing resources to succeed financially as an indie author. Realizing, finally, how much I lacked in that area, I didn’t expect to—and didn’t—make much money. And for a while, I convinced myself I was okay with that. Oh, how we lie to ourselves!

I work hard at writing. For the last seven years, I’ve sat at this computer nearly every day—for several hours on each of those days. Writing is my full-time job. The thing is, my only job before this was raising children—four of my own and then providing day care for four of my grandchildren for various periods over the next several years. Though childcare was absolutely the most rewarding thing I’ve even done, I didn’t receive a paycheck for that job.

Now, things have changed. For the first time in my life, someone has paid me for my work.

As I write this, I’m waiting to hear from my first professional editor. I’m accountable to someone else. I’m no longer just a self-published author. Someone has seen value in my work and was willing to invest in it.

Yes, I know authors say validation comes from satisfied readers. And definitely, it does. I don’t discount that a bit. Readers complete the equation. And I don’t discount the readers who’ve invested their money by purchasing my books.

Still, the money Kindle Press deposited to my bank account was a different kind of validation. It was a much needed boost of confidence. Finally, I feel like a professional. I feel like a grown-up. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a bit apprehensive about this new kind of publishing too. Then again, I suppose the unknown is always a little scary.

We shall see.

Linda

*I’ve been wondering if, once again, I acted impulsively by submitting High Tea & Flip Flops to Kindle Press … but that’s a topic for my next post.

An Author by Any Other Name

When is it worth publishing under a pen name? That’s what I’m asking myself this week. Soon I’ll have two novels published under the women’s fiction category and one under romantic comedy, but my next novel is neither.

If I published under a pseudonym, I’d proclaim authorship on this blog with a dedicated page and the cover displayed in the sidebar, but the book wouldn’t be linked to my other books on my Amazon or Goodreads author pages. And search results for readers of my other books wanting to know what I’ve written lately wouldn’t include the book.

direction

Some authors use both names on their covers such as Nora Roberts did when she started publishing in a different genre as J.D. Robb—Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb. Now, she doesn’t need to do that because her pseudonym is well established. Then again, Nora Roberts was already a big author name when she chose to write under a pen name.

I haven’t established my real author name yet. Unless the literary gods choose to pluck one of my books from the masses and shoot it to the top of the Best Sellers list, I’ll have to establish my name by writing more and more and more books. So, at this point, can I afford to “lose” one to pen name?

My next book, besides High Tea & Flip Flops, will be a dark story with a little light at the end. I’ve described it variously as psychological suspense, supernatural suspense, and even romantic horror. No vampires or zombies, but an evil spirit is a prominent character. There’s some violence, but there’s also a lot about love and marriage and family. Here’s a quick description:

Tom and Julie Cogan’s marriage of twenty-three years is in crisis, but it’s not cliché when Tom becomes attracted to young and beautiful Annie. Not when they were lovers in a past life. Not when the orchestrator of this renewed attraction is an evil spirit with a lust for revenge nursed for over two hundred years. Not when the odds of surviving this grudge match are slim—for Annie and Tom, certainly, but for their loved ones as well.

So, yes, that’s definitely not romantic comedy or even women’s fiction. But is it different enough from what my readers might expect to warrant starting over with a new author name?

Do you have an opinion on when it’s best to use a pen name? If so, please share in a comment.

Linda

Big News! I have a new publishing contract!

I’m thrilled to announce that Amazon’s Kindle Press will be publishing my romantic comedy High Tea & Flip Flops! A huge thank you to those who supported me during my Kindle Scout campaign.  So what comes next?

High Tea & Flip FlopsI have a 30-day period to make changes and resubmit my manuscript, cover, and book details to their editorial department. They may or may not request further changes. If they do, I have the option to accept or reject those requests. Then the ebook will be formatted, scheduled for publication, and a pre-order product page will be created on Amazon.

If you nominated the book, you’ll receive an advance digital copy to read and (we hope) honestly review on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, or wherever you talk about books. Kindle Press options only the digital, audio, and foreign translation rights, so I’m free to self-publish a print version, which I will.

So why didn’t I self-publish the ebook? Discoverablilty. Some self-publishers have a built-in target audience or a substantial marketing budget. I have neither. I’m just a little fish in a big—and ever-growing—pond. I need someone with clout behind me to help get my books discovered. Amazon has that clout. I’m not sure how many Amazon customers will see a promotion for High Tea & Flip Flops, but I assure you that number will eclipse astronomically the number of people I have the means to get the word out to.

If you’d like to know more about the Kindle Scout program go to https://kindlescout.amazon.com/.

Stay tuned here for the latest news on High Tea & Flip Flops and my next book.

Linda

A Crazy, Crazy, Crazy Start to the Month of May

You all know fiction writers are a little crazy, right? I mean, we make stuff up and call it work! It is work, of course. Making make believe believable is danged hard work. Well, just so I can drive myself a little crazier, I decided to put my first two novels on sale. This rock-bottom price sale on The Brevity of Roses and An Illusion of Trust will run for one week on Amazon US and UK. Rock bottom means 99-cents or 99-pence! That’s right—less than a dollar or a pound, so get ‘em now. Just click on the book covers below.

The Brevity of Roses: A man discovers himself through the two women he loves. An Illusion of Trust: A woman learns to trust love by facing her abusive childhood.

tea_front_widgetI may bite my fingernails to the quick this month. My romantic comedy, High Tea & Flip Flops, is still vying for a Kindle Scout publishing contract. Have you nominated it yet? If each person who’s subscribed to this blog clicked the book cover –> and then hit that pretty turquoise Nominate Me button, Amazon would really be impressed! And I’d be ever so grateful. Over the moon grateful. Pot of gold at the end of the rainbow grateful. No joke. (And don’t forget: if you help my book win, Amazon will give you a free copy!)

Promoting three books while I’m working on a fourth is … you know … crazy. So, of course, that’s what I’m doing. I’ve just about finished another edit of my romantic supernatural thriller. (Say what?) I’ve wrangled a new beta reader for this one. She’s a voracious reader, but not a writer, so her feedback will give me a different perspective than usual at this stage. Then, after another revision/edit, I’ll have to find another beta or two willing to read this dark tale.

So … that’s how my month has started. I hope you have good things in store for you this May.

Linda