The Finished Product

When writing a book, there are a lot of different levels of finished. With Just Ella, the first time that I “finished” it, it wasn’t really finished at all. I’d completed the plot. There was a beginning, a middle, and an end. That’s good. It’s a huge step in the process, but it’s so far from being the end.

I got so excited that I had a “finished book,” I started delving into how to sell it to a publisher, or get an agent, etc… But as I did that research and then went back to my book, it was glaringly obvious that my book was not done. My setting was all over the place. The camera lens of my perspective was so zoomed in that there was only a vague reference to setting here and a little description there. I realized I didn’t know what the setting really looked like. And that was something I needed to figure out, because if the continuity of the setting wasn’t firm in my mind, there was no way it would come across to a reader.

So I went back and rewrote, keeping that in mind. Everything with the castle walls and the sneaking out came after, when the setting was able to inform my plot instead of existing on the vague periphery. That was one of many rewrite session.

I finished the rough draft of a novella the other day. Though, once again, saying finished is a misnomer. I completed the rough draft. This time is different from my first book because I KNOW it’s a ROUGH draft. And that’s okay, because I was able to hand it over to someone who will tell me a myriad of things that I need to fix and then I can go back and do it better.

After I do that edit, I’ll put in into someone else’s hands again, and they’ll tell me more ways to make it better. And I’ll do those things, and then I’ll give it to someone else…you get the idea.

I’m trying to be more patient with myself this time around. I want to go at a more measured pace instead of the jerks and stops and rushing to which I’ve become accustomed.

Bets on how well I’ll succeed?

Clean Romance Book Highlights:

A second Chance by Amelia C. Adams is on pre-order and releases on the 30th.

When Nora Denning came to the Brody Hotel, all she brought with her was a suitcase and a secret. 

The Billionaire’s (Not So) Fake Engagement by Kimberly Krey is newly released.

Just one simple nod under pressure and Burke found himself fake-engaged to a gorgeous country girl who needed a lift.

When We Fail

First, a giant THANK YOU to all who have purchased, read, and even reviewed Songs for Libby. If you liked it, please tell a friend, or post about it, or tweet about it. All my yammering will do very little in comparison to a recommendation from you.

Moment of vulnerability, folks.

I had a crap day on Saturday. It was one of those times when the stars aligned (in a bad way) and I ended up feeling like a failure. I was failing at mothering. I was failing at housekeeping. I was failing at authoring.

The truth is that I wasn’t actually failing at any of those things (seriously, I did a book launch, why did my brain think I was failing?), but in those moments it seemed obvious that I sucked at all the things. Even though I knew rationally that I wasn’t a complete failure, that didn’t mean the feelings of failure were any less real.

They were crying-in-my-bathroom real. Angry-cleaning real.

So what’s the point of sharing this?

No point, really, but since I can’t just leave it at that, I suppose I’ll bring it back to writing.

I spend a lot of time in my characters’ heads. And they have a lot of complicated, often irrational emotions that they spew out all over the page and onto the other characters. And one thing I’ve discovered is the importance of letting my characters acknowledge when they’re being irrational. Because most of the time, in real life, when we’re screaming at someone because we’ve had a crappy day, we know we’re being awful. Even as we yell, we know we’re going to regret it later, and we know we’re being unfair, but in that moment it just feels necessary. Probably because we feel out of control, and this is our way of trying to regain control. Or some other shrinky explanation.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve always been drawn to writing. Because I can see in my characters all the flaws and stumbling blocks and humanity that I encounter. And often writing those things out helps me make sense of life.

So let’s all be kind to ourselves and be willing to forgive our own humanity.

Book Highlights

The Billionaire’s Second Chance Christmas by Chelsea Hale.

A billionaire who wants to give back to his hometown, his best friend’s younger sister in charge of the project, and the Christmas gift that could heal the heartbreak of the past and give these two a second chance at love.

Rescuing the Bad Boy by Anna Catherine Field.

He’s one court date away from ruining his life.
She’s the one person that can help him.
And she loathes him.
Can he redeem himself enough to make her believe he’s changed?

It’s Here! It’s Here!

Songs for Libby is out there in the world, waiting to be consumed.

Let the nervous, fluttering, heart-pounding suspense begin!

For me.

Because that’s how I feel—every time I release a book. Waiting on pins and needles to see if people will buy it. Then to see if people will review it. Then to see if people actually like my precious little book baby that I poured my heart and soul into! The characters I shaped. The words I bled for.

Dramatic much, Annette? Why yes, thank you. But it’s allowed, at least for today. I’ll be rational tomorrow. Just you wait.

Photo by Carlos Augusto on Unsplash

Because as much as this is excited, it’s also terrifying.

I’m not what you would call prolific. I write a book a year. That means I spend a lot of time with my characters. I invest a lot of time, thought, and emotional energy into their stories. So, while I’m trying to make this a business, it’s also deeply personal for me.

That’s the way I like it. It’s the way it should be. My hope is that because of that investment, my books will end up being deeply personal for those who read them. A tall order, I know, but I can dream, can’t I?

Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

So if you’ve preordered it, it should be waiting patiently on your kindle. And if you haven’t ordered it…well…there’s no time like the present!

TWO DAYS!!

Only TWO DAYS until Songs for Libby will be live and available. Only two days before it shows up automatically on the Kindles of anyone who has preordered it.

I wrote a rockstar romance. I didn’t set out to do that, but there you have it. Really though, the crux of this story is friendship. Not casual friendship, but deep and abiding, you-are-my-family kind of friendship. The kind where we put the other person first, sometimes to our own detriment. I explored a lot of that in this book–the boundaries that we set for ourselves, or the boundaries we don’t, but we should. The difference between being selfish and simply taking care of yourself. The pitfalls of taking responsibility for someone else’s choices.

The pain of letting someone fail.

It’s all there, and I tried to put it out on the page with as much honesty and vulnerability as I could muster. I wanted this book to be raw. I needed it to hurt. I expect it will elicit a more visceral reaction that my other books. I’ll be proud if it makes many of you cry. Because if I did my job right, you’re going to feel for Libby and the choices she had to make. The hand life has dealt her are worthy of a good sob fest. In one of my previous books from the Dalthia series, Saving Marilee, I dealt with some darker material, but most of it happened before the book started. So while you saw the results of her dark past, you didn’t experience much of it with her. For Libby, she has a different set of struggles, perhaps not as dark, but I’m afraid I’m throwing you in the deep end of it all. Good luck swimming.

That makes this novel sound quite depressing, but I promise there are all the lovely romantic moments. There is comic relief throughout. It’s still sweet and clean. It’s still heart-fluttering. And there is still a beautiful happily ever after.

So if you would like to dive into the beautiful story of a beautiful friendship that builds into something deeply satisfying, please go preorder now. And tell your friends to do the same. 🙂

Now, without further ado, here are Sean’s songs.

Leave—Glen Hansard. ONCE soundtrack

Amen—Amber Run

The Mess I Made—Parachute

You Are the Reason—Calum Scott

I Don’t Want to Love Somebody Else— A Great Big World

Who I Am Hates Who I‘ve been—Relient K

This is Me Trying—Taylor Swift

So Bad– Making April

If you would like to help me spread the word about the release of Songs for Libby, please feel free to go here and download any of the images and share them all over your social media! Word of mouth makes a huge difference for me, so thank you in advance!

Book Highlights

I have two new releases for you this week.

Knowing Amelia by Jen Atkinson.

True love can change the future—but it cannot fix the past.

Bella’s Beast by Marie Higgins.

Can Bella uncover the true identity of her beast and slay it before it destroys her once and for all? 

A Proper Scandal by Esther Hatch is on sale for $.99. I read this one and LOVED it.

Grace has two weeks to find a man to marry, after which she will be turned out of her aunt’s house.

My latest YouTube video:

Libby’s Songs

I’ve accumulated a pretty hefty list of songs that feel like they speak to my characters, so this time, instead of just doing one playlist, I’m going to divide it into two. This week I’m focusing on the songs that seem like they could be from Libby’s point of view, or have the dual point of view of both characters. And next week I’ll share Sean’s songs.

So, in celebration of Songs for Libby being released in only NINE DAYS, here are their songs.

Lest I scare you off with the angst and heaviness of the rest of the songs, I’ll start with the song that I associate with the end of the book. 🙂

♪ Lover—Taylor Swift

Continue reading

Counting Down

SIXTEEN DAYS!

Sixteen days, my friends, until Songs for Libby is released.

Here’s the thing.

This indie-author thing that I’m doing—it’s hard. And frustrating. And I seriously don’t know what I’m doing sometimes. All my marketing and launch ideas feel like one giant crapshoot. Will they work? Won’t they?

Continue reading

Behind the YouTube Scenes

As I set the Songs for Libby launch aside for a bit, I managed to record a video for my YouTube channel yesterday. I haven’t done that since COVID came on the scene. The video isn’t long, and there wasn’t much postproduction required for it, but I barely managed to finish it in the 2+ hours when all my kids were in school.

I want my videos to look nice. Of course I do. But to get all the lighting and sound dialed in, as well as a pretty background, it takes some finagling.

Continue reading

An Ode to Reviews

(Not actually an Ode)

I’m coming up on a launch. Songs for Libby releases on October 15 and is up for pre-order now. That means that I’m going to be putting out my hands to beg for reviews as soon as it’s out.

I think a lot of people think that in order to leave a review, you have to be a “good reviewer.” For the record, anyone who bothers to review something is a good reviewer in my book. You don’t have to do a special intro to the book before you give your opinion. It doesn’t have to be long. You don’t have to cover every aspect of what you did and didn’t like. If all you want to say in your review is, “I really liked this one,” that’s great! You can write as much or as little as you want. No one is out their judging your reviews (unless you are a professional reviewer, but that’s different).

Continue reading

Beta Alpha Delta

I’ve mentioned beta readers several times and I’ve had a handful of people ask me what the heck they are.

It’s like beta testing a product. When you develop computer software or hardware, you have to beta test it before you start to sell it for real money. There will always be coding issues that need to be fixed, so developers have to debug it so that users don’t waste their hard-earned cash on something that’s going to have issues.

Same thing with books. It’s a product, and my readers spend their hard-earned money on it, so I don’t want to sell them a product that is defective.

But how can a book be defective?

Continue reading

Wanna See My New Book?

Shall we have a cover reveal? I think we shall.

My approach for this cover was different than any of my others. For each of my other books I’ve been able to come up with a pretty solid concept of what I wanted the cover to be. I always had a jumping off point that I could work with and develop until I reached the point where I knew enough of what I wanted that I could convey it to my husband and he could put it together for me.

Continue reading