Truth and the Stories We Tell Ourselves

This post today includes a collection of deleted scenes, the purpose of which is to emphasize my plea.

It’s not a plea for anything tangible or monetary. It’s a plea to everyone out there in the social media universe.

Can we stop weaponizing our opinions?

With every controversial issue out there, there are at least two sides. These two sides often have access to the same data, yet they come to completely different conclusions. So perhaps, instead of climbing up onto the soap box of our opinion and taking aim at anyone who disagrees, we could each try to be a little better about standing in the middle of the issues first. When we encounter debate, controversy, or issue, I hope we can take the time to look at all sides before carting ourselves off to one extreme or the other. I’m not asking that we all stay in the middle. Making informed decisions and holding informed opinions is a good thing. But I truly believe that the exercise of taking a few minutes to honestly consider the other sides would be a game changer in the way that we interact with one another. It would promote understanding and sympathy. We would be far less inclined to think someone is a bad person for simply holding a different view than us. It might even force us into the humble conclusion that we were wrong about something we’ve been defending our entire lives—whether it’s a political issue, a debate over the way we parent, the way we educate, etc.

It’s easy and natural to see the world from the perspective of the life we’ve lived, but putting on blinders and deciding that our view is the only legitimate view is flawed and short sighted.

Will we lose anything by considering a different point of view? I would say no. Even if we determine that the other point of view is just flat-out wrong, at least we will have gained a bit of understanding that will allow us to be a little kinder, a little slower to judge, a little slower to hate, a little slower to take offense.

This collection of scenes is an admittedly flawed example, especially when comparing it to two-sided issues where both sides have legitimate reasons for choosing their side. However, I do think it’s a good example of the way that we can all look at the same set of facts and draw completely different conclusions.

These scenes are from Keeping Kinley. They come from an alternate storyline that I pursued for a while before deciding that I didn’t want to delve into the subject matter that it presented.

You may recognize the beginning of the first scene because it remained the same in the final draft. This is when Kinley is visiting with Gavin and Ella, returning the book that she borrowed, which Jayden ruined and Rylan repaired.


“Jayden is a menace,” Gavin muttered as he studied the book and how it had been repaired. “Who fixed this? Obviously you can still see the damage, but I’m impressed with how well it was done.”

“A friend of mine offered to repair it.”

He raised one doubtful eyebrow at me. “How many friends do you know that appreciate books enough to know anything at all about repairing them?”

“Only one that I know of.”

He looked at me with a lopsided smile. “Who is he, Kinley?”

I twisted my lips to the side and wrinkled my nose at him. “What makes you think it’s a he?”

“Oh, it’s definitely a he,” Ella stated. “Come now, he’s clearly important to you. Are you friends, or is he paying you special attention?”

I fussed with my crazed curls, searching for the words to explain. “We are friends, and I think he wants to pay me special attention,” I admitted, though my neck felt hot when I said it out loud.

Gavin sat back and whistled. “What does Fynn think of him?”

“I don’t want Fynn to scare him off.”

Gavin laughed. “Fair enough. He must be gentry though, to have the skill and time to do this sort of work.” He tapped the cover of the book.

“Actually, his father is a lord.”

If possible, Gavin looked even more curious than before. “What is his name?”

“Rylan, or Rylander Baylor. Remember I used to work for the Baylors?” I gave him a meaningful look. “He’s the reason I can read.” He must remember the boy who had given us both a chance to learn.

Recognition came quickly to Gavin’s eyes, but instead of pleasant recognition, his face grew cold and angry. “Rylander Baylor has rekindled your friendship?” he asked through clenched teeth.

“Yes,” I admitted, confused by his reaction. “He’s…been very helpful.” I looked back and forth between Gavin’s burning anger and Ella’s face, which had fallen in disappointment or sadness or worry. “He’s always kind and solicitous.” Surely they couldn’t object to me spending time with someone so very human. A man who didn’t seem to care one whit that I was below him in station.

Gavin got to his feet, tension rolling off of him. “I’m certain he is,” he said caustically.

Ella reached out to touch his hand. “Gavin. Getting angry won’t help.”

He ran his hands through his hair, trying to listen to his wife’s soothing.

“It won’t help what?” I asked as a bit of panic settled in my chest. “What’s wrong?”

“Kinley, dear.” Ella took both of my hands, and my worry grew. “We are familiar with Rylander Baylor. He is considered, at the very least, to be an odd young man.”

“There’s nothing wrong with being odd,” I defended.

“Of course not, but that’s the very least of it.” Her eyes held pity for me.

“He keeps a mistress,” Gavin blurted.

“A mistress?” I whispered. But that couldn’t be right. There must be some sort of misunderstanding. Rylan was good. He was curious and knowledgeable. He had shared his tea tray with me and taught me to read when I was nothing but a kitchen maid. He had fixed my book and helped me harvest and carved little wax flowers for me.

“And not a sweet young love affair,” Gavin continued, his tone bitter and accusing, “but a kept woman, a commoner, whom he refuses to marry, and with whom he has fathered a child.”

I couldn’t breathe. A child? He had a child? He kept some woman, some common woman just like me, hidden away while he played the young hero, the dashing nobleman who helped me pick fruit? It didn’t make sense. How could it be true? “How do you know this?” I asked, hoping against hope that I would be able to explain it all away.

“Everyone knows. It’s not as though he is discreet about it. He’s a foolish young man, arrogant in the extreme to believe that he can just pay regular visits to a commoner and not have the world know his shame.”

I didn’t want to believe it. How could I believe it of the man I knew? Yet, it made sense. Why he would be in the village on market day, wearing that ridiculous outfit. Why he would happen upon the village dance in his finery. No doubt he had gone to be with his paramour in the village and decided to toy with me at the same time. I shut my eyes in humiliation at the thought.

I stood and walked away, feeling used and discarded. I bit down on the tip of my finger to keep from screaming, hoping the pain would distract me from the betrayal.

He had a lover and a child. A woman he kept in the village. It was despicable. 

I cried myself to sleep that night after taking his little wax carvings and throwing them in the fire.

***

Rylan came the very next day. I had been working hard all morning, pouring my anger into my labors in the hopes that I could ignore him if he showed up. However, the moment we entered the orchard, I felt it. I knew he was behind me before he said anything at all.

“Please go,” I said, my voice tight.

“Are you not feeling well?”

“I am perfectly fit,” I said, ripping a plum from its branch. “I just do not want you to be here.”

There was silence, heavy with confusion as I kept to my work.

“Might I come back tomorrow?” he finally asked.

I backed down the ladder and dumped my apron before looking at him. “No. I do not want you to come back at all.” I turned away, hoping he would just leave.

Instead he took hold of my arm. “Kinley—”

I tore my arm away, spinning around to pin him with a livid stare.

He looked so shocked, almost vulnerable. “What…? I don’t understand. Tell me what’s happened.”

“I do not wish to have you paying special attention to me, when you already have a child.”

His chin pulled back and his brow furrowed deeply. “I’m not even nineteen years old, Kinley.”

“As if that’s too young to make a child.”

He sighed in exasperation. “You’re right, it’s not too young. But this is me you’re accusing. I had hoped you knew me a little better than that.” He had the audacity to sound offended.

“Do I really know you at all? You’ve had five full years to grow up and become a man, and I know nothing about it. I’m sure there is plenty that has happened in your life that I’d rather not know.”

“You can know everything about my life,” he said, tossing his hands in the air. “I have nothing to hide and nothing to be embarrassed by.”

“Yet you’re hiding a child.”

He threw up his arms. “I don’t have a child!”

“Then why is it summarily agreed upon that you do?”

“Agreed upon by whom?”

“The whole of society. Is that why you did not wish to meet Gavin and Ella that day in the market? Everyone knows there is a woman tucked away in the village whom you visit regularly, whom you support, along with her babe.”

He fell back a step. “Good glory, Kinley. Listening to rumors, are you?”

“Try to deny it!” I was tired of this dance. I wanted him to just admit it and go. 

“Yes! There is a woman whom I visit, whom I support and see to her welfare along with her child.” He said it with such confidence, as if it was nothing, as if he were proud of it. “I felt it my duty when I found that my brother had shunned his mistress the moment he became aware of her condition.”

But…What?

He flung a finger in the direction of the village. “That innocent child is my niece. And no matter what the rumor mongers might say, I’m not going to abandon her and her mother just to save my own reputation. That would make me no better than my brother.” He turned his back on me, taking several steps away before turning back with a fury blanketing his face that was so foreign, I hardly recognized him. “Society and all your opinions can hang!” He strode away, his angry steps cutting through my orchard like some sort of wildcat. 

I stood there in a stupor, and he was gone before I could think to call him back. My knees gave out and I sank to the ground. Part of me was elated to know that it had been all a misunderstanding, that he was as good—better even—than I had believed. But the other part of me heaved in panic and grief as I realized what I had done. I had believed him capable of horrible things and I had thrown them in his face even when he denied over and over that they were true.

I probably knew him better than anyone else, and yet I had acted just like every other judgmental person around me.

I dug the heels of my hands into my eyes and heaved a sob.

***

Gavin came to check on me two days later. I knew that was the purpose of his visit because he came directly to the shed and leaned in the doorway, watching as I loaded apples into barrels for several moments before he spoke. “How are you?”

How indeed. I paused in my work, resting my hands on my hips as I stared down into the barrel. I had been angry at Gavin and his presumptions yesterday, but today I felt nothing but disappointment in myself.

“Kinley?” he prompted.

“I realize you were just looking out for me.” I finally looked up at him. “But you were wrong.”

Gavin’s look was pitying. “I know you want to believe the best of people. But sometimes even those we care about the most disappoint us. Multiple people have seen him with this woman. Many people have reported that he does in fact support her. Are you saying that everyone is lying?”

“No.” I gave a shrug and a shake of my head. “It’s all true.”

“Then how am I wrong?”

“Everyone took the pieces of truth that they had and came up with a story that made those pieces fit together. Then they called that story truth. But that’s not how truth works.”

“Then tell me a different story that makes sense. If everything that people say they’ve seen is true, then what other truth could there be?”

“His brother is a good-for-nothing philanderer who seduced a young commoner, then abandoned her when he discovered that she carried his child,” I said in a monotone, though my voice strained with emotion. “When Rylan found out about it, he took it upon himself to look after her, to make sure that his niece was cared for and safe.” My breath heaved as my grief and regret started to consume me. “That is the truth.”

*END*

So what do you all think? Have I convinced anyone to consider a different side? Is this something you do already? How do you think social media has affected the way that we interact with one another?

 

If you would like access to other deleted scenes or extras, you can sign up for my newsletter, or join me on Patreon.

Spotlight and Giveaway

Hello readers!

This is the post put together by I Am A Reader. Please pay special attention to the sale prices of Just Ella and Keeping Kinley!

I’d also encourage you to head over to the I Am A Reader site and check out the other authors she has highlighted to see if there is anything else that catches your fancy.

 

Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen

Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined.

“I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me.”

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Praise for Just Ella

“This book is so well written it felt just perfect. Honest. I loved it from beginning to end.” -Aimee Brown, Getting Your Read On

“Full of those tender moments you want to go back and read again, plus exciting moments, clever humor, and some suspense as well.” -Jana, The Writer’s Assistant

“Loved every second of this book. It was engaging, eventful, beautifully written and hard to put down. It’s wonderful for all ages!” -Jen, Goodreads

 

 

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He gave me a sad smile and shrugged. “I apologize if my bluntness offends you. I figured you would leave if you were upset by me.”
“That would be very rude of me.”
“It’s what I’d expect.”
“Why? Because that’s what a noble would do?”
“Well.” The confusion was back, forcing him to make a slight concession. “Any other noble.” It was somewhat gratifying that he no longer felt compelled to lump me with the nobles he despised. However, the fact remained—I wasn’t a noble. And I knew he would think even less of me when he knew what I was.
I wouldn’t lie. “I told you, I’m not—”
“Come now, Ella. Your tree climbing hasn’t got me fooled.” He used an almost paternal tone, his eyes laughing. “You are nobility, aren’t you?”
I buried my hurt. “No, I’m something worse.”
“Oh, come now, I don’t think that badly of people. The only thing that might be worse is royalty.” How charming he was, even when insulting me.
I stood silent for a moment, wondering if he would catch on. When he continued to gaze at me, I simply said, “Exactly.”
A look of horror crossed his face and I gave him a sad smile before turning to leave.
“Oh,” I heard him stuttering behind me, sounding utterly mortified. “No, I…my apologies, miss—Your Highness,” he corrected himself sharply. “Princess, I’m so very sorry, I…”
I shook my head as I turned to face him again. He looked so different: the confidence, the grin, the amusement were all gone, replaced with a look akin to physical pain. “It’s all right,” I said quietly. “You’re not wrong.” I should have inclined my head, waiting for him to bow before I left. Instead I lifted my hand in farewell.

 

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Author Annette K. Larsen

I was born in Utah, but migrated to Arizona, Missouri, and Virginia before settling in Idaho.

Though I dabbled in writing throughout school, being an author seemed like an unattainable dream. It took me seven years to write my first book, Just Ella. During that time, I taught myself how to write a novel. Not the most time effective method, but it gave me an education I wouldn’t have received from a class or a how-to book. Something about the struggle of writing without a formula or rules worked for me.

I write clean romance because I love it. Jane Eyre is the hero of my youth and taught me that clinging to your convictions will be hard, but will bring you more genuine happiness than giving in ever can.

I love chocolate, Into the Woods, ocean waves, my husband, and my five littles. And I love books that leave me with a sigh of contentment.

 

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Also by Annette K. Larsen

 

 

Keeping Kinley is on Sale for just 99 cents!

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/28/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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12 Days of Clean Romance

I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in this event. Kathy, over at I Am A Reader chose 12 authors to highlight as a 12 days of Christmas theme, but with clean, romantic books! This promotion includes lots of giveaways, so check it out!
I’m copying her post here, so that y’all can look over the details.
***

* $100 Kick-Off Giveaway *

12 Days of Clean Romance!

This promotion is hosted by Kathy from I Am A Reader and features 12 of her favorite authors whose books you can trust to be clean, fun and 100% worth reading!

Just look at this great list of Participating Authors!!

12 Days of Clean Romance Schedule

Jennifer Peel – December 4th
Taylor Hart – December 5th
Rachael Anderson – December 6th
Josi S. Kilpack – December 7th
Janette Rallison – December 8th
Jennifer Griffith – December 9th
Taylor Dean – December 11th
Sheralyn Pratt – December 12th
Heather B. Moore – December 13th
Annette K. Larsen – December 14th
Lucy McConnell – December 15th
Cami Checketts – December 16th

In total $500 will be given away as part of this promotion so be sure to sign up for email updates so you don’t miss any of these giveaways!

If you have a blog and want to help promote these authors for the chance to win additional gift cards you can sign up here.

 

Now on to what you are here for

The $100 Giveaway!!

 

Giveaway Details

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/17/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Riding the eBook Industry Roller Coaster

When Just Ella had been out for just a few weeks, Amazon took notice of the fact that I was selling a few copies a day, which meant I was quite a bit more successful than a lot of self-pubbed authors, so they picked it up and marketed it for me. That made all the difference. I had the power of the great Amazon marketing machine in my corner and my sales shot up.

Knowing that, when Keeping Kinley was published with Kindle Press, I was very excited. I would have the full weight and power of Amazon marketing on my side. I thought I would see a marked increase in sales over my last couple books. After all, surely the combination of my own efforts with the Kindle Press team would equate to many more sales than I had been able to generate by myself, right?

I have spreadsheets of each month of sales for each of my books. It was pretty disappointing to compare my Painting Rain first month with my Keeping Kinley first month and realize that it was pretty much a wash. The numbers were very similar, and if anything, my Keeping Kinley numbers were actually lower.

The why of those numbers has been bugging me, and I’ve been giving it a lot of thought.

The eBook market has been an interesting thing to watch as it has developed, not only as a reader, but as an author as well. When Kindle, Nook, and iBooks came on the scene, they broke open the publishing industry. They made both consuming and publishing books as easy as a click of the mouse.

Prior to those platforms, any author who wished to be published had to either be chosen by a publishing company, or they could go the route of “vanity publishing.” My understanding is that it was known as vanity publishing because only people who were too vain to realize that their book just wasn’t good enough would be willing to shell out the money to have their own books published. Vanity publishing was synonymous with bad writing.

A lot of us had a front row seat as that changed. More and more authors who had been summarily rejected by the publishing industry became brave enough to publish their own books now that the big eBook distributors allowed you to do so without the need to cough up a bunch of cash.

When I first finished Just Ella and started querying publishers in 2012, the industry was just on the cusp of of changing. People were starting to read books published by the authors themselves, and it turns out that some of them were really well done. Thus the change from calling it “vanity publishing” to “self-publishing.” There was no longer a heavy stigma hovering over self-published work. After all, we live in a world of computers, and maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing to change with the times. Perhaps we didn’t all need to be held captive by the publishing industry.

Looking back, I realize that Just Ella hit the eBook market at exactly the right moment. Readers were ready to give self-published authors a chance, especially when such books were usually priced at half the cost of traditionally published books. Just Ella was comparatively cheap and with the help of the ‘look inside’ feature that amazon offers, readers could sample the book before committing to the buy.

No one was more surprised by the success of Just Ella than I was. When my first day of big sales numbers rolled in, my husband and I both agreed that it was a technical glitch. But the sales continued the next day and the next. I slowly realized that it had been included in some emails that Amazon had sent to readers. The pump was primed, and I had jumped into the market at the opportune moment.

Since then, a lot of people have read my books. A lot of people have liked them. So with the success of my first, I anticipated that the launch of each subsequent book would be even more successful. After all, I’ve gathered a fairly loyal following and my name is known by a few people (at least in my niche market). However, that hasn’t been the case. Each of my book launches has been less and less successful. The numbers aren’t as high right off the bat, and the sales taper off more quickly.

When even Keeping Kinley (with the Kindle Press team on my side) didn’t compare to the success of Just Ella, I had to wonder: What gives?

My guess is this.

Demand for ebooks rose sharply when:
1) Self-publishing lost its stigma and those books started to be welcomed and anticipated by readers.
2) With the Kindle app and other eBook reading apps, people were given the ability to read anywhere they went. We now have access to hundreds of books from our phones and can consume books at a higher and faster rate.

This demand for more books was met with a response from authors.
1) Authors who had been too timid to publish before decided to give it a try. Many had multiple books finished and just waiting to be published.
2) As self-published authors learned how to navigate that world, they have banded together to cross-promote; they’ve teamed up on series and anthologies; they’ve taken an industry that used to be exclusive to the big publishers and they’ve figured out how to do it on their own. They write and edit and market from their couches and their home offices. Some do it full time, others do it as a hobby in their spare time. Regardless of how they got into this, self-published authors have claimed their spot in the publishing industry.

Huzzah!

However, all of that means that the eBook market has been absolutely flooded with new content. The number of books published every day is staggering. Even just looking at the clean romance genre, which used to be minuscule, I now come across new books constantly. That’s great for readers. As a reader, I love it.

As an author, I have to adjust to it. And I also wonder how long this trend will hold. Is it already turning in a new direction? Will the demand for books stay high? Or will the ability to stream Netflix and other on-demand TV shows and movies right to our phones mean that consumers choose to watch their entertainment instead of read it?

If the demand for books does go down significantly, will some authors decide it isn’t worth their time and pull out of the game? I saw a Facebook post recently from an author who was disappointed with his sales numbers. He was thinking about throwing in the towel and not finishing the sequel he had planned. I wonder how many authors might do the same. Will that become a norm? Will those who can’t find an audience in a bloated industry back out altogether? Maybe.

So then, should other authors be leery of jumping into the publishing game? That depends entirely on what they’re after. Writing isn’t a way to make a quick buck. Books sell well when they’re great books, and it’s been my experience that the best books are the ones written by those who love the writing.

I wrote a piece several years ago about suffering for your art. My advice now would be a lot the same as it was back then. If what you’re doing is truly your art, you won’t mind the suffering. Writing keeps me sane. Writing is my time to think grown-up thoughts and interact with grown-up (though fictitious) people. Any author will tell you that if you’re in it for the money, you should pick a different career. But if you’re in it for the joy of it, for the sanity it brings to your life, and for the love of characters no one else realizes exist, then in the end, what the market does or doesn’t do won’t matter.

I could wonder, research, and try to understand the grand complexities of eBook supply and demand, publishing trends, and marketing, but nothing I learn is going to change the fact that I love writing books—so I’m going to keep doing it.

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Keeping Kinley Release Day

It’s launch day!

Keeping Kinley is officially released, which means that all you wonderful readers who pre-ordered should have your copies ready to read on your Kindle.

A big THANK YOU to all who nominated Keeping Kinley on kindle scout and then left reviews. I ended up with over 60 reviews before the official release, which is huge!

In celebration of this 5th (and probably final) installment of the Dalthia series, I’ll be giving away a free signed paperback.

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Happy Pre-order Launch Day!

It’s official! Keeping Kinley is up for pre-order on Kindle, with an official publication date of May 30th. Right now you can pre-order for $3.99. However, that might change. I have absolutely NO CONTROL over the price. Since it’s published by Kindle Press, the price is set by them.

 So what does this mean for all you beautiful people who nominated it on Kindle Scout?

It means that there should be an email sitting in your inbox letting you know how to get your free copy. If it’s not there yet, it will be soon. Some have already received theirs, so I know it’s happening!

I hope those of you who receive copies find joy in reading it. And I hope that you will let me know what you thought when you are finished. As always, I’m anxious to know if you will enjoy it as much as you have enjoyed my other books.

When you’re finished, it would mean the world to me if you would go onto Amazon and/or Goodreads and review it. Or tweet about it, or tell a friend. Any help you can give me in spreading the word makes a HUGE difference.

If you see any typos (OH NO!), please let me know! Contact me through my website, or through FB, or tweet at me if you’d like. Hopefully everything is all clean and tidy, but even with all my rounds of edits, sometimes I miss things.

I’m excited to hear early feedback, and I can’t wait for this month to be over so that my little book can go forth into the world. Huzzah!

The Prologue that Wasn’t

The KindleScout campaign for Keeping Kinley has officially ended. Thank you so, so much to everyone who nominated it! Whether it’s chosen or not, it’s been a great experience. I hope you all enjoyed reading the first couple of chapters and I’m excited to get the rest of the story into your hands.

As I was going through my manuscript (yet again) and looking over different files, I found a prologue that I toyed with using. In the end I decided it was unnecessary (as most prologues are) and it went into my ‘deleted’ folder. However, I thought it would be fun to share it with y’all, because I do like how it turned out.

The Prologue that Wasn’t:

I told myself I wouldn’t look, but some self destructive tendency drove me to part the curtains. He was returning from a carriage ride. With her. She was dressed in her finery, the picture of innocence and ladylike decorum. He smiled at her.

I loved that smile.

It shouldn’t have hurt. The crushing disappointment shouldn’t have had the power to knock the wind out of me. But he had made me believe in him, in us.

Even so, I was practical enough that I should have expected this outcome. The world was always going to come between us. The truth of who he was, and who I was. The truth that had forced me to walk away from him—again. Yet this was so much worse than when I had left him the first time, when we were children, and the only thing we had to lose was friendship.

Fun, huh?

I also wanted to share my print cover. As always, the handsome man that I call my own helped me with it. Or…I helped him with it. We collaborated, there you go. I especially love the apple watermark that he made for me.

 

I ordered the paperback proof several days ago, and I’m so excited for it to arrive. That’s still my favorite part of this whole process—getting to hold the physical book in my hands for the first time. There’s nothing quite like testing the weight and flipping the pages, knowing that I wrote all that.

So now I’ll sit back and wait to hear from the KindleScout people, and in the meantime I’ll proof my paperback so that it will be ready to go as soon as either KindleScout or I publish the ebook.

ONWARD!

 

Keeping Kinley is Coming!

This one feels like it’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally time for Keeping Kinley to become a reality.

I’ve got a beautiful cover!

I’ve got a book trailer!

I’ve got a way for you to earn a FREE COPY!

First: The Cover

I think this might be my favorite of all my covers. *sigh of contentment*

Keeping Kinley Cover

Rylan made me feel like things were possible. Like I was possible, and he was possible, and we could be possible together.

Kinley is content tending her apple orchard, until a chance meeting with a childhood friend changes her priorities. Spending time with nobility is not socially acceptable, but Rylan rejects the norm. He pushes his romantic interest with a charming carelessness, hoping it turns into something more—something she hadn’t realized she wanted.

When Kinley’s livelihood is threatened, any thoughts of a relationship are set aside as she’s thrust into Rylan’s world, where commoners and nobility don’t mix. The Rylan she encounters there is not the quirky and carefree friend she thought she knew. Can she trust what her heart has told her and believe in him, or will she be forced to accept that her dreams are only that—dreams?

Second: The Book Trailer

 

 

Third: You can earn a FREE COPY.

Yes, you read that right. You can earn an EARLY, free copy of Keeping Kinley by clicking here and nominating Keeping Kinley for publication through the Kindle Scout program.

“But, Annette, I’ve never tried to use Kindle Scout. I don’t have an account. Do I need to sign up?”

Nope! That’s the beauty of it. As long as you have an Amazon account, you’re good to go. You just use your usual Amazon sign-in for the Kindle Scout page. This link takes you directly to my campaign, where you can read the first two chapters of Keeping Kinley (well, ALMOST the first two chapters), and push the nominate button. If enough people nominate it, then Kindle Scout will publish it. And if they choose to publish it, then you get a free copy! so long as my book is on your nomination list when the campaign ends.

At the end of the nomination period (30 days), if it is not picked up and published by Kindle Scout, I will publish it as usual just as soon as they tell me “no.” Either way, Keeping Kinley should be published mid-late March.

So, what I need you to do right now:

1: Head on over to Kindle Scout and give it a nomination.

2: Go over to Goodreads and add it to your bookshelf.

3: Hit up Facebook and Twitter and share the Kindle Scout Link with all your friends. Remember, EVERYONE who nominates it will get a free copy IF it’s selected for publication by the Kindle Scout team.

I’m so excited that this project is moving forward! Happy Reading, everyone!