Category Archives: The Very Worst Man

We have a winner!

Ruth won my contest! She was randomly chosen by Rafflecopter, thank goodness. Otherwise, I’d want to be Oprah and give everyone a $50 gift card. Don’t tell my husband or he’ll pass out. ūüėČ He has this thing called a “budget” that he won’t let me ignore. I plan on doing more of these contests in 2017 so keep an eye open.

In other news, writing The Very Poor Man (sexy!), giving The Very Best Man a serious rewrite, 15281831_10154114959577338_501215846_n-pngediting Pleasures: a Nova Scotia Murder Mystery, and plotting Surplus from the same series has kept me busy. November got away from me and December is all about helping Christmas Veterans. Our unit adopted three families, so there’s a lot of shopping and coordinating!

Stay tuned for later contests and thank you so much for being a part of my 2016. I hope you’ll hang out with me in 2017.

Summer Vacation, Part 1 for #MondayBlogs

This year, I’m having three summer vacations. Yep, three. Am I lucky? Heck yeah! I’m also paying for it and working hard to earn them.

The first one and subject of this post was in Dallas for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention last May. I’d toyed with not going because money. The ROI (return on investment) isn’t there. I ended up giving away more books than selling, which I expected. I want readers who enjoy my work and if that means give to get, I’m ok with that a hundred percent.

Gosh, the workshops? Wonderful. Pushing myself to ignore the shy and meet authors I’d admired? Fantastic. Ava Branson deserves all the credit for me saying hi to so many people this year.

What was even better was I learned so much about being a better writer and getting my work out there. No one can follow exactly in an indie author’s footsteps but I can go in the same direction and find my own way. Isn’t that really true of everything in life?

Icing on the cake of work-I-love vacation? Seeing a beloved aunt and uncle, seeing the Red River full (too full!) of water, getting to decorate my parents graves (they’re nine hours south of my home), birthday cake ice cream from Braum’s (none near my home), mini champagne bottles at the events, new friends, and giving out swag like a big shot.

Not so fun things I missed? Being too self-conscious to ask my cousins to interrupt their weekdays or Saturday for a visit just from me. Their kids and grandkids are super active and I didn’t want to intrude. A champagne event that I was on time for but missed because of a meeting. Business first, champy and choccies later.

Pluses bigger than the minuses, right? I had an awesome time and am already looking forward to RT16 in Vegas. Even more friends will be there and we’ll get to be a gang! I really can’t wait.

Bonus for readers?

People who went to RT15 and saw my swag table already know this, but you don’t! I have Smashwords 50% off coupon codes for the Manly Series and for the current Oregon Trail novel, Undeniable.

The Very Best Man’s code is AP26W and The Very Worst Man’s code is NJ54V.

For Undeniable and Undesirable? Undeniable is free from today until June 20, 2015 everywhere, while Undesirable is $0.99 at the same time and places. It makes Undesirable’s 50% off coupon code of La32N redundant until June 21, 2015.

Coupon codes expire May 31, 2016, feel free to share.

Book Covers Before and After

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you likely know about my Very Manly series of books. All two of them. There’s four in the entire series, but the last two won’t see the light of day if the sales for the first two don’t pick up. I’m an artist and¬†a business owner. Do I want to spend my time writing and then spend the money on editing and book covers¬†to¬†do so at a loss? No.

Here are the two covers for the series, before. Notice how the photography is professional, the fonts clear? There’s some color and detail but not so much it’s overwhelming or difficult to see as a thumbnail. You can also see them in their natural habitat over at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and everywhere else.

 

In progress!

In stores now!

15d42c46-b227-4d72-b5f8-dba5e11310b3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice, right? Not huge eye catching best sellers in the contemporary romance department, either. And by ‘not huge’ I mean sad, very very sad.

So what to do? To take my editor’s sage advice and give them a professional makeover. I hired¬†someone to help me ratchet up the sex, which I did by having Carrie at Cheeky Covers help me out. I’d admired her work done for a friend of mine, Ava Branson, and needed her expertise.

This is what she came up with.

TVWM_sm

TVBM_sm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice, right? It’s way too soon to tell if the covers affect sales. Probably in six weeks, if nothing has seen a bump in downloads, I’ll have my answer. The stories are solid and professionally edited, so I know they’re good. Every time I go over a proof, I love what I read so if nothing else, there’s one person who loves these books. I’m not sure if that’s enough to write The Very Rich Man and The Very Poor Man, but I have those stories and covers planned just in case.

So. What do YOU think? Enticing or meh?

A Lost Week

From last Monday to this, I’ve been way under the weather. It’s been a long week of cough, edit, try to sleep, stuck on repeat. I am not a person who gets sick at all and thus, am a lousy patient.

So what have I accomplished? Spiffing up previously released, soon to be released, and released for preorder works. The Oregon Trail series is very close to being done. Depending on how my “Men” go over with the romance crowd, I’ll either call them done at the Best and Worst, or add in The Very Rich Man and Very Poor Man books as well.

I think I’m due for another shot of Nyquil, so I’ll close with this.

Fall in love with the Very Worst Man. Preorder now, release date 2/28/15.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TQJ290K

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-very-worst-man/id969863602?mt=11

There should be a #WackyWednesday!

First of all, I have to admit I’ve been living in a ‘Quil haze this past week.¬† My usual solid steel immune system has let me down. While my blog has been neglected, nothing else has been. The Very Worst Man is up for preorder with a release date of February 28th. Unfortunate, Daggart’s fate, is at the editor’s, as is Undeniable, getting its makeover in round two of edits. The Very Best Man is getting another polish, too. When writing advice says “Sleep on it,” believe them. You’ll find mistakes from way out in left field.¬† Also, weigh a good editor, on a scale, and give them that much in gold because they’re worth it. Mine is, and if I earned it, she’d be paid double.

You did catch that The Very Worst Man is up for preorder, right? In case you’re not convinced you NEED this book, here’s a little teaser. Available now at Amazon, everywhere else by the 28th, maybe before then.

TVWM Teaser 2

Notice how I’ve not mentioned Uncivilized? Shhhhhh. I’m finishing it in a marathon session as soon as I can quit snorting Benadryl. Kidding about the snorting, but wish I wasn’t. Mass quantities of meds at this point can only help. I’ll look back on this post and think TMI. Or not. I tend to look forward.

Something in the fun and procrastination department is I’ve started a personal Learning from the Masters series where I take a billion selling book and give it my own what if. Like, what if Christian Grey was a dollaraire instead of a billionaire?

Thus, I present, 50 Shades of Gremlin

He rolled up in the Gremlin and my breath caught. Was it his cold steel eyes or the exhaust fumes choking me? I couldn’t tell. All I knew was my heart raced, seeing him get out of his car. Most of the paint still clung to life on the vehicle, discolored to a light grey from what I assumed had been navy blue.

“Miss Steele,” he said, holding open the door. “You’ll have to slide in from the driver’s side, my passenger’s side is broken.
The sexy growl in his voice convinced me as much as his muscles as they flexed under the tattered flannel shirt he wore when he continued, “I’m good at driving backwards through the drive through, since your window rolls down better than mine.”

What if I didn’t write? What would I do? #MondayBlogs

Good questions, right?

I’ve been writing fiction off and on since 1990. ¬†I’ve submitted works to major publishing houses and received rejection form letters with a few personal rejections thrown in. ¬†I’ve tried to be ‘normal’ all my life and obviously not well or I’d be a big name in the traditional published writer world.

Back when I first started submitting, there were independently published writers. ¬†They sold their ‘books’ out of the back of their van, truck, or car. ¬†Most of their works had those plastic ring binders, while the shorter works were stapled. ¬†All of them had covers with ‘original’ artwork scribbled by the author. ¬†Ninety nine percent of the time, these authors had to self-publish via vanity press because their subject matter was way too esoteric for a major publisher to consider. ¬†The history of a now extinct town in West Bumfuk Egypt? ¬†Yep, esoteric. ¬†Publishers aren’t in it for their health or for the benefit of art and the author. ¬†They’re in it to make money and lots of it.

So how does this history lesson apply to today’s world of literature and why writers write?

Today is very different. ¬†With one click and a document, anyone can be an ‘author’. ¬†This fact is both wonderful and horrific. ¬†People who were subjectively rejected by the Big Five are now able to publish and letting readers enjoy works written outside the boundaries. ¬†Me, personally, I’ve wallowed in this like a pig in a mud hole, enjoying the ability to read works outside of the romance formula. ¬†There are authors I one-click who have never been traditionally published. ¬†They’re the ones I’m sitting around like a word junkie and asking “You done with that paragraph, yet? ¬†Can I be your alpha reader? ¬†Don’t care about editing, just gimmie gimmie gimmie.” ¬†You know who you are.

Traditional writers have always…how to write this…looked down their nose? ¬†Thought less of? ¬†Didn’t take seriously? …the self published authors and with good reason. ¬†I’ve been through four Warrior Dashes and each was much easier than getting traditionally published, even the Dash I didn’t train for AT ALL. ¬†Plus, there is NO instant gratification with traditional publishing, and I’ve heard one multi published author, Jodi Thomas (who is wonderful!! I’ve worked with her husband at a college and both of them are great people!), who has said you’re being paid to wait, not write. ¬†As an impatient control freak, I more than admire the traditionally published authors. ¬†They do what I am mentally unable to, which is wait.

Which all leads us to the bottom line and answering the question of what if I didn’t write¬†and why continue to write, especially when considering 2014’s bust after¬†2011-2013’s boom.

Being personal, here are my bullet items.

I write because I must. ¬†There are so many stories in my head, they need an outlet. ¬†Plus, I can’t help inventing new characters and plots, and¬†even if it’s garbage. ¬†I truly have no choice in this. ¬†Some of what I imagine is fit for publication, others you’ll never see because no one wants to read a Mary Sue about Data from Star Trek:TNG. ¬†Yes, I feel shame and no, you can’t read it.

What went up and came down will go up again. ¬†This is a certainty to me because I’ve endured many booms and busts. ¬†From the oilfield, to the dot coms, to housing markets, and now to self-publishing, I’ve seen days of making tons of money to making just enough to keep the lights on and ramen noodles stocked. ¬†This downturn in ebook sales doesn’t scare me. ¬†It reminds me of what my true goals are and that is to write the best story possible, every single time.

My mother taught me a long time ago that there are no even numbers in art, so here’s a third. ¬†What would I do if I didn’t write? ¬†I’d keep reading and I’d be more aggressive about scheduling knitting classes to teach. ¬†I might even go back and see what it would take to update my computer science degree from client server skills to web guru. ¬†Not a problem because I’d already went from mainframe to client server. ¬†I can do all this for the money, but writing? I do it for my heart and soul. ¬†Cliche’? ¬†Yeah, but still very true.

Now back to work! ¬†My editor is expecting The Very Worst Man in her email on January 2nd and it’s going to be fun to deliver.

#MondayBlogs for the Readers

I’ve had a lot of feedback from readers in the past week and thankfully, it’s all been great. ¬†It’s super hard for me to take compliments¬†and I find¬†praise both wanted and difficult. ¬†Whenever someone is gushy over my work, I have to take a deep breath and say thank you. ¬†Then nothing else. ¬†No deflecting or saying I’m not worthy because doing such will dilute the compliment and who wants that?

That’s my thoughts on the past week. ¬†Back to you, the reader. ¬†In that ‘Fine’ voice you get from your mother when she’s been worn down by your pestering, I say, “Fine.” ¬†There’s been enough ‘eh’ reviews about The Very Best Man’s ending that I’ve decided to add another chapter. ¬†This last bit of the book is inspired by Kung Fu Fighting.

I think most of the readers who didn’t like the current ending are those born after 1985. ¬†They’re too young to remember the non-endings of movies made in the early and mid seventies like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Did they die? ¬†Or did they survive and live out their lives in Bolivia? ¬†We can only guess because that movie’s end didn’t tell us, just hinted.

I’m currently mired in the thing that is National Novel Written in a Month. ¬†The word count is good and I’m using the month to write The Very Worst Man.

In progress!

In progress!

It’s wonderful so far. ¬†I’m having the best time ever writing it. ¬†The dialogue is a blast. ¬†Plus, there’s already a secondary character trying to take over and I’m having to back off from letting her do so. ¬†Can I just drop her and go on? ¬†Of course not! ¬†She’s my heroine for The Very Poor Man.

Most of my readers will probably be wondering whose blog they’re reading. ¬†Like, am I not the author of that whole Oregon Trail series? ¬†Yes! ¬†I am and Uncivilized is in progress. ¬†When I hit the word count goal on The Very Worst Man, I go back to the 1850’s and hang out there. ¬†I thought when starting the contemporary Worst Man that intense research could take a break. ¬†Nope! ¬†Thanks to writing Hayden and Alexandra’s love story, I know a lot more about Wyoming law, prisons, and prosecuting attorneys than I had planned. ¬†Something else that’s been a surprise? ¬†How much of the villain’s crime I need to know. ¬†So much for my idea of writing a few sex scenes and calling it good. ¬†The best thing is how all my research makes it a better book for you, the reader.