How Publishing a Book is Like Having A Baby

I keep trying to think of a metaphor for releasing a novel into the wild.2013-12-07 11.45.56
The first one that I came up with is releasing novel is like having your first baby. You prepare for nine months (although this book took about 15 months), you read everything you can about parenting (all of those books on character development, pacing, etc.), and you buy everything you can think of to help you with your baby. You have parties (showers), you fix up the nursery, paint the room. But as the date gets closer, you wonder, have you done enough? Do you have everything you need? Will the baby be healthy? Once you bring the baby home, you start to get your confidence up as a parent. That’s where the metaphor fails.
The second one that I came up with is sending your child to college. Now, granted, my children are 12 (almost 13) and 11, and I haven’t sent either one of them to college, but here are my thoughts. You took care of your child for years, making sure that he does his homework. You hope that you taught him the right things about life. You hope he will have a good work ethic and not flunk out. You buy him everything you think he will need to help him in his new life. He needs a new computer, new clothes, and bedding for that extra-long twin bed. Then he moves out, and suddenly your control vanishes.
I‘m getting ready to send this baby on out its own. It’s hard, so very hard. I think the story’s strong. I love the characters. I’ve been working on the language for a month now. My editor has gone through it and four beta readers. Why is it so difficult to take the final steps required to publish it?
I’m not a perfectionist, but last minute changes can kill you with a book. That’s usually where those typos and “oops” moments happen. When I read it, I see what’ supposed to be there, not what’s really there. It’s also nearly impossible for me to read it and not tweak. Sigh.
When you send your child to college, she has to stand on her own. You’re not going to be there to make sure she goes to class, or eats breakfast.
Once I hit publish, the book either makes it or doesn’t on its own merits. Either the book will get good reviews and some attention from readers, or it will languish in the millions of ebooks available now, never read or loved. I have to give it the best shot I can, and then it’s on its own.


 

Update…

I wrote this last Friday, but I couldn’t bring myself to publish it. The book was still in process with Amazon, and taking forever, and I was like an expectant father of old, pacing the waiting room with cigars.
And now I find I’m mentally exhausted and not wanting to get anywhere near my computer, although I know that I need to be looking for ways to promote this book. After working all day, and then staying on the computer an average of 3-4 hours a night, that’s about 12 hours a day of computer time, and I have to admit that I’m burned out.

So, if you are looking for something to read, Under His Protection can now be downloaded from Amazon
Under His Protection (City Lights Book 2) Barnes and Noble and iTunes will hopefully release soon. The first in the series can be found here: No Strings Attached (City Lights Book 1)

I’m sure I will tell you in the future how great my baby is, and how it will scare and titillate you at the same time, but right now, like a new mother, I just want to sleep. Oh, and psssstttt, if you want to keep up with how all my babies are doing, don’t forget to join my monthly newsletter here. Every time I get ten new susbscribers, I give away a $5.00 gift card to Starbucks.

Character Interview – Meet Elizabeth from Under His Protection

Well, we’re getting close to delivery date on Under His Protection, so it’s only fitting that we sit down and have a chat with Ms. Elizabeth Crowne, lawyer extraordinaire.

Elizabeth is a beautiful brunette, with long straight black hair and brown eyes. Elizabeth loves the color red. Pull up a chair and have a listen.

So you’re one of the hot female lawyers in the greater Atlanta area. You must have to fight off the men with a stick.

I don’t date. I thought this interview was about my career.

Of course. So you were in the top of your law school class, and after you graduated you went to work for your father. He’s a Georgia state senator, right?

That’s correct. But I don’t work exactly for him. I work for Brad Lawson, one of the other partners. I started out working for my dad, but that was a recipe for disaster. He’s way too controlling for me to work for him. I mainly practice criminal law at this point. I’m getting ready to declare my intentions to run for attorney general.

So why don’t you date? Is it because your ex-fiance works in the same office?

I have nothing to do with him. He was supposed to stay in Miami.

I see. How do you think your life will change if you decide to run for attorney general?

Why, what have you heard? At this point I don’t plan to do anything differently.

There was the little matter of the death threats…

No comment. That will all blow over.

I see. So, tell me what issues you feel will be important in this election?

I want to draw attention to the increase in sex trafficking in Georgia. I also want to make sure that business regulations are enforced equally..

Well, good luck with the election.

Thank you.

___________

Elizabeth wasn’t in the mood to talk, not about her ex or about the death threats. We’ll be hearing more about her campaign in the coming days.

Although the attorney general is a partisan elected official in Georgia, meaning that one would run as a Democrat or a Republican, this book stays away from partisanship and doesn’t mention either political party.

Take a look at the new book trailer for Under His Protection. Make sure and give it a like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXjCDDiGJto

Click here to join my mailing list and receive my monthly email newsletter. I’m close to giving away a $5.00 Starbucks giftcard to one lucky winner.

Character Interview with Lee Thornton, from Under His Protection

I’m getting so excited about this book!

Today I’m interviewing Lee Thornton, Fox’s younger brother. He’s getting his own book, but he doesn’t seem happy to be here. He’s sitting with one leg flung over the other, his arms crossed in front against his chest. He looks like a young Antonio Banderas with his long ponytail and muscled arms. If you can’t remember young Antonio, you can find him here.

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So, Lee, what do you think about this whole book thing? Are you ready?

I guess. Is this really necessary? You followed Fox and Laura around for a few months, and now you want to shadow me?

You know the routine. All of our fans are dying to know what is going on in your life. Do you have a lady you’re interested in?

And that’s why this isn’t going to work. I’m not even seeing anyone. I’m trying to get this company off the ground and I don’t have time for romance.

(I didn’t remind him that Fox wasn’t seeing anyone when we started with him either)

What about Deena? (If he could look even more forbidding, he did)

I don’t want to talk about her. She moved to Las Vegas. She didn’t have time for me and I didn’t have time for her. I guess it was mutual.

I see. (I didn’t know how to respond to that. During the last book, he and Deena seemed really cozy.) Are you still doing Bonnie’s show?

I told her I wouldn’t be back on. Mom’s not happy about it, but it’s hard to be taken seriously in my line of work if your face is plastered all over a cooking show.

So there has been some question as to whether you can cook or not. Fox said you are an awesome cook, but Laura told me that you had trouble with turkey bacon. Who’s right?

I’ve been on a cooking show for years. Of course I can cook. When I made BLT’s for Laura I played helpless to get her to let her guard down. I cook all the time.

Tell me more about your company. What will you be focusing on?

I’m still working on a business plan, but I basically want to help business owners and individuals obtain the security they need for their budget.

So you want to be a bodyguard?

[He grimaces.] Not really. I’ll mostly be the link between businesses that want additional security and other companies that provide it. I’ll be deciding what they need, and then putting them in touch with companies that provide it. Sort of like a general contractor for all things security.

But you wouldn’t turn down a bodyguard job if it were short term?

Why do you ask?

No reason. Is Robert upset that you’re branching out on your own?

No, he always knew that I wouldn’t work there forever. I’ve followed orders for too long in the Marines to have someone else in charge now. I want to see what I can do, see if I can make it on my own. In fact, Robert is the one who set up this job with Senator Martin Crowne.

That’s right. You’re meeting with him tomorrow?

He wants to talk about security for his daughter Elizabeth. She’s running for Georgia attorney general, and apparently there have been some death threats.

What do you know about her?

Not a lot. She’s a pretty successful lawyer from what I hear. I’m sure it’s just the basics. Check the office, put a system in her house. Pretty routine. It will be nice to have a senator as a client. That can’t hurt.

What are you looking for in a woman to date?

I’m not looking for anyone right now. I said that.

But if you were?

Someone who realizes that I have a lot to offer even if I didn’t go to college and get a degree. There’s more to life than book learning.

That’s all I have. Do you have any questions for me?

What’s the name of this one?

Under His Protection. And you’ll get to carry your gun.

Works for me. I never go anywhere without it.

You’ve got it today? [Since he’s wearing a golf shirt and khakis, I didn’t see where he could be hiding a gun]

He lifts his leg and shows me the black cowboy boots and the holster hidden inside.

Oh, and one other thing. Stay out of sight. If you get in my way I’m canceling the whole project.

Did you notice me the last time?

Can’t say that I did. All right. If that’s all, I’ll head out. I need to do some more digging on the senator’s daughter.

 

We started to shake hands as he left, but then he said “What the hell” and pulled me into a hug. I shouldn’t have been surprised – Lee was always really friendly to me, and I’ve known him for a few years now, but it still took me off guard. If I weren’t happily married I might have to check into some security for myself. He doesn’t know it yet, but I think he will be the perfect match for Elizabeth.

(If you’re in the mood to look for Spike’s list of top 10 bro-tails, check them out here.)

http://www.spike.com/articles/wb4cs2/the-top-10-most-important-dude-ponytails?page=1

I’ll be interviewing some of my other characters as we lead up to book launch. Stay tuned!

Also, if you haven’t yet, make sure to click here to sign up for my newsletter. I still need a few more subscriptions before I can give away the $5.00 Starbucks Giftcard I promised.  A new one will be coming out around the middle of July.

 

Cover Reveal: Under His Protection

Are you ready? I’ve held onto this one for almost six months. This is the cover that made me change the name from No Time for Love to Under His Protection.

 

 

I am so excited about this book. We continue Lee’s story, and no, he’s no with Deena, the chef he was dating in the first book.

Fox and Laura are in several scenes, and they are getting ready for their wedding.

Lindsey has been at Clemson for a year, and is progressing towards her Master’s degree in mathematics.

Lee has started his new business, as he planned in No Strings Attached, but he’s having trouble getting any traction. No one wants to give a new company a chance. Robert Stephens, his mother’s husband, uses his connections to get Lee an interview with Senator Martin Crowne, who wants to hire security for his daughter.

Elizabeth Crowne (don’t call her Beth) is running for attorney general for the state of Georgia. Someone is threatening her with vicious notes, but she doesn’t think they need to hire security. She has a feeling that her ex-fiancé is behind the threats and it will all blow over. She goes along with the bodyguard for her dad, but she thinks it’s a waste of time and money. When the threats become attacks, she has to admit that someone wants her dead.

Two jaded loners find a connection, but nothing is as it seems.  As Lee digs deeper, looking for answers, he only raises more questions, uncovering a conspiracy that goes deeper than they suspected. When those closest to you betray your trust, nothing is sacred.

Originally I envisioned this series as connected books, meaning that they share characters and not much else in terms of story line.  However, I found unresolved issues carrying forward into this book, and the plots are becoming more entwined than I planned. For this reason, I recommend they be read in order, and put the order number on the cover. My editor has the complete book now, and I am hoping for a release date in June or early July.

Today I dropped the price for No Strings Attached to $0.99, to celebrate its birthday. I’m planning to run the sale through the end of May. I’m not sure how long the different retailers will take to lower the price, but you can find a direct link to your preferred ebook seller here.  All-Romance ebooks also sells the book in pdf format if you don’t have an ebook reader. The book is now available in iTunes, Kobo, and the Nook. You can also download a kindle reader app for your tablet.

Everyone who signs up for my new email list between now and the end of May will be entered for a drawing for a $5.00 giftcard to Starbucks. You can choose either the monthly newsletter option, or the email on new release only option. Either way, you’re eligible for the drawing.

The first newsletter will go out June, and the contest will reset. So be one of the first subscribers and have a chance to win. Newsletter subscribers will also be the first to read the new prequel that I’m coming out with in August or September, that explains tells some of what happened in the first book from Lindsey’s point of view. What really happened in that casino with Ric? Sign up for the nesletter here

Happy Birthday to No Strings Attached!

The official birthday for my book is May 25, 2013, because that’s when it went live on Amazon. But on May 24th, at about ten o’clock at night, I clicked publish.

2013-07-08 11.00.55It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year. One year ago today, on May 24, I clicked publish on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program. We had checked and checked and made changes, and as I stared at that screen, I was terrified. What if I had some stupid error? What if everyone hated it? What if? What if? What if?

It’s scary as a writer to Let it Go. (Cue the Frozen song, because that’s what we do at our house).

But I knew that I had put too much time and effort into that book to let it languish on my computer. So I hit publish. Since no one knew me from Adam, and I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on promotion, I’m pretty proud of my results. In it’s first year, my book has sold over 500 copies.  The most interesting thing for me is that I have developed quite a following in the UK. For the past two or three months, I have sold more books over there than in the United States.

I have had strangers email me and tell me how much they enjoyed it. People regularly harass me as to when I’m releasing the sequel. So, to celebrate the one year anniversary of No Strings Attached, tomorrow I’m going to reveal the cover for Under His Protection.

I struggle with titles. The working title for the first book was always A Corporate Affair. The sequel was to be called A Political2013-12-07 11.46.15 Affair.

Then I decided to start each book in the series with the word No. So, following No Strings Attached, I planned to have No Time for Love, which was the working title for the second book. Tomorrow you will get to see the cover that made me change my title to Under His Protection.

If I wasn’t using the title to tie the series together, I needed a series name. I liked the idea of the city background for all of my books in this series, so I decided to name the series City Lights. While we travel to the Caribbean a good bit in the books, much of the action takes place in Vegas, Miami and Atlanta in the first book, and Atlanta in the second. Plus using the city background ties the covers together. Here’s the new cover for No Strings Attached with the series name.

Tomorrow I will celebrate the first book by starting a week long sale, and we’ll have a big cover reveal for the second book.  Everyone who signs up for my new email list between now and the end of May will be entered for a drawing for a $5.00 giftcard to Starbucks. You can choose either the monthly newsletter option, or the email on new release only option. Either way, you’re eligible for the drawing.

The first newsletter will go out June, and the contest will reset. So be one of the first subscribers and have a chance to win. Newsletter subscribers will also be the first to read the new prequel that I’m coming out with in August or September, that explains tells some of what happened in the first book from Lindsey’s point of view. What really happened in that casino with Ric? Sign up here