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!

Saving Marilee Cover Reveal

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“This didn’t feel like bravery. It felt like pieces of me were scattered in the wind and I was just doing my best to snatch them from the air before they were lost. And even if I succeeded, I would still be left with nothing but crumpled pieces in my hands.”

Marriage wasn’t bliss—not for Marilee. Instead of finding contentment with the handsome son of a sovereign duke, she found betrayal and neglect. And fear. A fear that finally lifts when her husband dies, freeing her from his domineering hand. But freedom alone can’t give her peace, and she must battle to regain her love for life, rebuild her happiness, and reclaim the ability to trust. When her charming neighbor intrudes on her quiet life, she must determine whether his interest is genuine, and whether he deserves the fragile bit of trust she has managed to scrape together. However, trusting is a risk, and she has vowed never to put herself at the mercy of someone else’s whims. Can Marilee take that chance, knowing how terribly she’s chosen before? She doesn’t know if she can survive being wrong again.

Saving Marilee will be released on May 1st and I’m excited to be able to say that it is now available for pre-order!

Add it to your Goodreads shelf.

A huge thank you to Jen Fauset for the fantastic cover photo and for all the other photos that I’ve been able to use for memes and such. She’s amazing.

Cover Photo Shoot

As always, getting a cover put together for my newest book has been an adventure! At the beginning of January, my husband mentioned that he wanted to go watch our nephew in his wrestling state championship down in Salt Lake. I realized that it would be a great excuse for me to put together a photoshoot down there. My sister, Jennifer, is a superb photographer (Fauset Photography) and lives down that way.

So we put up a casting call and I got to look through pictures of a bunch of lovely women with fabulous long blonde hair and found a model who was perfect.

Then, the hunt for a dress was on. Once again, I relied on the wonderful ladies at In Retrospect in downtown Boise. I couldn’t resist trying on this hat while I was there. I’m ready for tea with the queen.

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I found two dresses that I thought would work and arranged to rent them. Continue reading

Missing Lily Release!

Missing-Lily-Cover-8

Finally! The day has arrived! I’m so excited to have Missing Lily available for purchase on amazon and nook! It’s been crazy, and wonderful, and fun—and yes, stressful too—and now I’ve reached the finish line. *heaving a sigh of relief*

Now I get to wait and wonder and hope that everyone will enjoy it. If I was in the habit of biting my nails, I’d be doing that, but I’m not. So, instead I will twirl my hair in anticipation (cause that is one of my nervous habits—oh the useless information I will give out). In all seriousness, I do wonder what the response to Missing Lily will be in comparison to Just Ella. Hopefully my second novel will impress you and not let you down. 🙂 Continue reading

This Is The Life

Link

This is The Life

Firstly, two orders of business.

#1. Just Ella has been published!! Hopefully this is old news, but I thought I should do an official post about it, because I never really get tired of saying it. So if you would like a digital copy, go here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EK7R5ZW/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00EK7R5ZW&linkCode=as2&tag=annklar-20

It’s available only for kindle right now. If you don’t have a kindle and still want the digital copy, there are all sorts of kindle reading apps that go on phones or tablets, etc… Or you could wait until it’s available for Nook, on smashwords, etc… That will happen in about 3 months.

#2. Print copies. If you prefer your books to be printed with real ink on real paper, then good news! Paperback copies of Just Ella should be available next week. I’m not sure the exact date, but I will let you know.

Now on to the sentimental stuff.

Just Ella was published on Thursday, so I spent the whole day trying to get the word out and making sure that everything was squared away and going smoothly. In the midst of my launch day, I was also taking care of my kids, just like every day. Around noon, I was sitting at my computer, still in my PJs, bouncing my littlest on my knee (he’s only 2 months old) and trying to type one handed. At that point I thought to myself, rather sarcastically, “This is the life”. But then I thought about it a little more and realized, this really IS the life. This is the life I want. It’s beautiful and hard. I get to stay home with my babies AND write books. How wonderful is that? I get to rock my baby to sleep while checking sales stats on my phone. I get to work with my husband on images and marketing strategy. Live the American Dream? Check.

This is the life.

 

Making the decision to be an ‘indie’ author

I feel as though I am slowly honing in on the conclusion that I will self publish. It’s been kind of an ordeal for me because when I first started thinking about publishing (several years ago) self-publishing was still bandied about as a somewhat dirty word. It was still thought of as vanity publishing, meaning that any Tom, Dick, or Harry could write whatever they wanted, no matter their talent level or background and foist it on the unsuspecting public.

However, times are a-changin’. I, like so many others, have an e-reader. I still buy a very few printed books, but for the most part I get my fiction fix by shopping in the kindle store. I’ve read many many books. I’ve read many good books, many mediocre books, and many books that weren’t worth the $.99 I paid for them. Some of the great books were published by big publishing houses, some were self published. Some of the awful books were published by the big publishing houses, others were self published.

The difference between the last two is that I can sort of excuse a horribly written self published book. They were so anxious to get their precious baby out there, that they did themselves a disservice (in my opinion) by not hiring an editor and many seem to have decided to skip the critique step. Fine. At least they only charged me a buck. But the awful books that were accepted by a publishing company, put through all the rigors of edits and re-edits, cuts and critiques, and still made it into print, where they charged me around $10. No excuse, my friends. No excuse.

So I have accepted the fact that in the ever changing publishing world created by the ebook, a good book will do well regardless of how it was published, and a bad book will flop. I also acknowledge that how ‘good’ a book is, is only an opinion.

And if you’re curious as to whether I have tried to be published ‘for real’, the answer is yes. I’ve queried a good number of literary agents, and I’ve even submitted directly to a couple of publishing houses. Each rejection felt awful, regardless of who it was from or how much I was expecting it. There is simply no armor to be applied that will protect one from the sting of being told that their work isn’t good enough.

So, I will most likely throw my hands up and say a figurative ‘bite me’ to the publishing houses and see how I fair as an indie author. And truth be told, I really enjoy the idea of readers being the ones to determine whether a book is successful or not. Especially as an author of clean romance, which by definition does not have as much sex appeal, and attracts a much quieter audience. And I know that audience in out there. I am part of that audience. I am a witness to goodreads groups and blog review sites that cater to that audience. We tend to think of ourselves as a small group, but I think that the want–and certainly the need–for this genre is greater than most of us will admit.

So, I will continue my own editing process and psych myself up for the prospect of shoving my novel down other people’s throats. Wish me luck.

Thinking Out Loud

It’s one of those nights when my hubby went to bed early.  Whenever I am up at night by myself, I end up like this.  Depressed almost.  I suppose it’s really more pensive than anything.

I’m trying to think what I should be writing about.  Surely, there is something that I have to say, but I guess I’m not feeling profound right now.  And I wish I were, I feel like I should be feeling profound because. I don’t know.  I’m wanting to embrace my writer-ness.  I’ve been writing a book for five years and last week I sat back and realized that I was done.  The story was complete.  It was all filled in, a solid line from A to Z.  So hubby helped me figure out what to do next and I started researching literary agents and I started reading agent blogs and author blogs and anything I could find about writing and submitting your work and I realized:  I’m not done.  I’m not even close.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to be at the point where I have an entire story.  But most of the agents will request the first pages or chapter if your query is good enough (which is a long shot in the first place).  And I realized how unsatisfied I am with the beginning of my book.  It’s not good enough.  I know that.  I know that there are large chunks throughout the beginning of the book that just aren’t that great.  I’ve been avoiding them, convincing myself that they’re good enough cause it gets me form C to D and then from G to H.  But that’s not good enough.  If I’m going to take the time to research and submit to all of these agents, if I’m serious about getting this thing published – which I am – then why in the world would I leave parts in it that I’m not satisfied with?  I’m not; I’m going to fix them.  But I’m a little scared to get started because I’m afraid that if I rework the beginning, the story will try to take me somewhere that doesn’t fit in with the rest of it.

But really that’s not it.  I know I can steer it where it needs to go.  Really, I know what my biggest problem is.  The problem is that I don’t have a good enough setting.  I don’t know exactly how and why my city is set up the way it is.  And so then my characters end up drifting from place to place and there’s no cohesion in the setting.  I don’t know what it looks like.  How the crap did I get to the end of the book when I had a modpodge setting that didn’t flow together and didn’t really make sense?  I need to sit down and draw it out, or something.  The problem is that I suck at visualizing a setting.  I can feel the emotions of my characters, I can hear their voices and see their expressions, but it is very difficult for me to see the space around them.  Why?  Because I don’t care about the space around them.  I do once in a while, but for a lot of the scenes, the scenery just doesn’t matter to me.  I care what goes on between my characters, I can see what happens between them, but the place where they’re standing just isn’t there.  I have to make it up and so much of my setting description is just crap that I threw out there because I had to describe where they were, but I don’t see it. I wish I had the video we took when I was driving across france with my Dad and sister.  Maybe that would help.  Maybe I need to quit trying to make up a setting and instead base it on somewhere I’ve actually scene.  Heck, I could stick the castle on top of the hill in Buena Vista and throw it back in time.  Of course, I won’t actually do that because that’s not quite what I’m looking for.  My point ( I love how I say there is a point, when really I’m just thinking through my conundrum; it’s not as though I’m trying to convince anyone of an actual point) is that I’m going to need to look at something and describe it because apparently my imagination is not good at coming up with imaginary lands.

I guess I know what I’m doing tomorrow, you know, during all my free time…