01-21 - Gina Fluharty - Happy New Year Dear Readers!!!

Monday, January 23, 2017

This Crazy Business of Publishing

By Courtney Pierce

When I wrote my first novel, Stitches, the thought of being published was the furthest thing from my mind. I wanted the challenge of plotting a compelling story, to learn the craft, and to dive into the story that burned in my imagination. I took a sabbatical from corporate life to write that story, a deeply personal story of immortality filled with humor and adventure. Now, two trilogies later, I’m finishing my sixth book, Indigo Legacy, and I’m back to balancing work, a new family, and my writing.
But there was no greater feeling than finishing that first book in 2012, a creation born from the pure joy of pushing through the process and challenging myself with questions. To turn over the manuscript to the first reader was a test of fortitude, self-confidence, and my openness to criticism. I developed that much-needed thick skin.
I came up for air in a swirl of adventure, humor, and magical realism, only to feel a bit lost atHow to get Published and critiquing queries for a hefty fee. They weren't selling many books. Publishers were only interested in celebrity memoirs and established authors with a proven track record, those who could make them money without a marketing budget. What to do next? The publishing industry was in chaos in 2012, and so were retail bookstores, both big chains and independent ones. Life for the average reader had shifted to be an E-book experience―at a rate of $.99 or free. Only a select few were making a decent living from being a writer, earning pennies on the dollar for the long hours invested. The book business was about volume...in the millions. The industry had been plunged into a perfect storm of capitalism: an antiquated, crumbling process in need of rebuilding, fueled by new technology. Amazon was living up to its name. Literary agents had shifted their focus to teaching workshops about
And then a funny thing did happen on the way to being published.
The lone writer―the little gal―suddenly could have her own voice.
I could do everything myself: Tweet, Facebook, set up a website, hire an editor and cover designer, format and produce a book at the push of a button. Not easy, mind you, but I would’ve had to do much of it anyway. If I was prolific and built my audience with a steady stream of books, then the publishing industry might chase me. Publishers aren’t in the business of making dreams come true. That’s my job.
I made the choice to be a pioneer. I decided to go it on my own, and the process was liberating if not amazing. As a first-time author during that tumultuous period, my chances of getting traditionally published were a long shot at best. Self-publishing allowed me to control my timeline, protect my content, and retain ownership of my copyrights. I taught myself the business, and I got better at it with every book. But most of all, I found my audience, without delusions of grandeur. If I didn’t sell millions of books, I wasn’t a failure. I’m thankful for those 73 Million baby boomers, just like me. Those boomers who bought my books and personally connected with me showed me the way forward.
My sense of purpose is to stay true to my audience…and to myself. Chasing trends doesn't work to be successful. That can't always be measured in dollars. I write for the pure joy of it. I’ve circled back to my roots of why I got into this crazy endeavor in the first place. 

Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her bossy cat. She writes for baby boomers. By day, Courtney is an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor and mystery. She has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. 

Check out all of Courtney's books at:
courtney-pierce.com and windtreepress.com. Both print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com

The Dushane Sisters are back in Indigo LakeMore laughs, more tears...and more trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrixthree middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth? 

Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to a scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in 2017.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Happy New Year Dear Readers! by Gina Fluharty

Happy New Year Dear Readers!

This month’s theme is about First Book and the road to publication. I have a secret: Technically, this published First Book is actually the second in my Preternatural Portland series. Which seems off but hey, it was the best book I’d written so far and it was the one that got the ‘YES!’ from a publisher. I really needed that ‘YES!’

Writing is the toughest job I never want to quit. And after writing for a few years and hearing a string of ‘no’ from several publishers on two separate works, the ‘YES!’ from Loose Id was exactly what I needed to hear. Not to keep going, not to keep writing, not to feel worthy. I needed to hear the ‘YES!’ to feel like I finally, maybe, know what I’m doing. I needed the ‘YES!’ so that I didn’t feel like a fraud as president of Rose City Romance Writers, the local chapter of Romance Writers of America. I needed that ‘YES!’ so that I knew how to build another better book.

I’m sure none of you are unaware that writing is often lonely, difficult to figure out how to do well, time consuming, and somewhat difficult to manage while working a full-time job. I don’t know many writers that can claim this occupation as their sole means of income but I aim to be one of them.

So how did I get here? How did I get that very-important (to me) ‘YES!’?

For one, belief in myself and my willingness to commit to this dream I’ve always had. My mom was a huge influence in my love of the written word. My earliest memories are of us reading together. That shared love of books and my admittedly twisted imagination lead to me telling myself stories in order to get back to sleep after a nightmare.

Fast forward to the next crucial step: Support. I had the great fortune to fall in love with the most fantastic person currently in existence. His unwavering support allow me to write stories that hopefully, make the reader know what it is to be loved wholly and passionately without reservation.

Finding Rose City Romance Writers and RWA were absolutely necessary pieces that shortened my journey considerably. Without RCRW, I wouldn’t have known about various writing books like Save the Cat! By Blake Snyder and The Emotions Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi. Without my Roses, I wouldn’t have companionship, support, and the joy of being with people that love the HEA as much as I do.

Because that’s what this is all about, yes? Happily Ever After. Our quest to write it, read it, discover it in real life. Our chance to escape into a world that it not our norm. The ability to not leave our environment but still get to taste something from another galaxy, smell leather and metal on a medieval battlefield, hear the exotic music of the rain forest, see the world from someone else’s point of view. To fall in love every time we visit the blank page or crack open a book from a debut author.

www.GinaFluharty.com on Twitter @GinaFluharty

Embrace the beast within.

Gina Fluharty never met a piece of profanity that didn’t taste like sin-soaked heaven. She’s lived in a lot of places: Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, Small Town America, but nowhere has called to her like Portland, OR. It’s there that she wrestles all of her personal demons and turns them into playmates. After all, why exorcise such good source material when she can use it as research instead?

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Funny Thing Happened...? #writing #publishing

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions. And this month's topic is a funny thing happened on the way to publication. Well...

I don't know that my path to publication was funny in the humorous sense. More like nothing I expected and rather twisty turny. There are some things I can look back at now and chuckle, though I didn't find them amusing at the time. Like the fact that when I initially looked into publication, I naively contacted an infamous vanity press. Luckily that opening inquiry was as far as I went when I discovered what they were, so despite their many phone calls attempting to contact me (and even emails full of typos and grammatical errors FIVE YEARS LATER!), I had no further dealings with them. *shudders*

At least I learnt from that mistake. I spent the first year submitting to UK literary agents via snail mail (the very few who would consider SciFi or specialised in it - about a dozen in all). I remember one submission came back the very next day after I sent it with just a 'No' scribbled on my submission letter - I'm surprised it didn't have scorch marks on it from passing across the agent's desk in time to make the post back, considering the sluggishness of Royal Mail! There was also the almost completely illegible feedback scrawled on another query letter (at least they gave me feedback!). Another submission asked for a reading fee - big red flag!

Or maybe more of a laugh at the time I sent in an email submission and completely forgot to attach my query letter and manuscript. Oops! Luckily the publisher was kind enough to forgive my newbie slip up and allow me to resubmit. >_< Or the fact that I had to re-read my first acceptance a dozen times before I even realized it *was* an acceptance for a change, before collapsing in a sobbing heap. :P


And even after that first acceptance and with my debut novel (something I later learned is a rarity - acceptance on a first book from an author), there were still rejections through the years since. Back then, the plan was to release each of the five books of the series for that debut over the next five years, which would have taken me up to May 2016. Boy, did that not happen! Even now, and after many twists and turns, and bumps in the road, I've only released book two of the series, but have twelve published works in all, so while they might not have been the plan I certainly haven't been idle on the story side. That's kind of funny as I remember panicking about running out of ideas and books *eyes bulging Plot Bunny Storage Facility nervously*

I also remember before my debut was even contracted, I got into a somewhat heated discussion about self publishing. I considered it vanity to self pub (yeah, I was that dumb back then). I'm pleased now that another writer put me straight about my views. After losing three publishers in three years, seeing the Ellora's Cave debacle, and even the very recent All Romance eBooks closure, and how even SFR authors with agents have struggled to get books accepted by trad publishers, self publishing has become my preferred method of publication. In June 2016 the rights to my last book tied to a publisher reverted to me, giving me full control of all my work.
A Scifi Adventure Novel
Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks
So here I am, almost six years on from my debut and a fully independent author. That certainly wasn't in the plan, but then things never do go quite how you expect...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Boycotting Valentine's Day

I have three novellas releasing in February.  Boycotting Valentines is about three friends who decide to boycott Valentine. Myra Carr, owner of Wicked Temptations, a bakery, has decided to celebrate her tenth year of being single on Valentine’s Day by spending the month celebrating holidays that are overshadowed by Valentine’s day and recruits her two best friends to help her. 

The Year of the Heart – Olivia agrees to help Myra plan the Chinese New Years celebration. After her long time boyfriend announced he thinks they should spend the year soul searching and exploring their inner conflicts, she is as against Valentine’s as Myra. Besides the Chinese New Years celebration of her childhood in New York are some of her best memories. Olivia calls a family friend who helped with orchestrating the fireworks during the celebration in New York. As soon as they begin planning things begin to go wrong as if someone is sabotaging their efforts.

The second novella in the series is Walk Like A Llama. The main character is Aimee, a pet shop owner, and co-head person for Love Your Pet celebration. While Amiee knows her friend’s intent is to have these celebrations to remove the focus off Valentine’s and love, Amiee has every intention of using the holiday to try to get closer to the new county vet, Matthew. Olivia and Aven are going to host a pet tea party and Myra is baking special pet treats. So Amiee goes out to Matthew’s animal hospital to invite him to be a part of the celebration and to bed. While she is out there, he receives a call that Jennifer, the owner of an animal sanctuary for animals that were once exotic pets, had a heart attack.

Once out at the sanctuary, a February snow storms traps them. Aimee sees this as an opportunity to seduce Matthew - until she has to help feed the animals. Between the tiger hugs, the monkeys flinging poop, and the llama spitting on her, she’s ready to call it a night. No man is worth getting poop thrown at you.

The third novella is Blood in the Cupcakes – Is focused Myra and the Brazilian Carnival holiday that takes place at the end of February.  Myra is excited to host the Carnival celebration. Her family originally came to the United States from Brazil and much like Olivia, she has fond memories of the Carnival. Her excitement quickly evaporates when she learns her aunt Gabriella is coming up for the celebration. She warns her friends to beware of Gabriella’s eye. If Aunt Gabriella gives them the eye they will have a baby within a year. She explains that her cousins pooled their money to send Gabriella up so they could stop having children.

Myra receives a box and opens it excited to see the decorations her cousins sent her. Instead she finds a man’s head. Myra has her hands full, trying to organize the Carnival, avoid Aunt Gabriella’s eye, figure out who the head belongs to, and not fall in love with the sexy new sheriff.

 What are some of your favorite non-valentine things to do in February?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A funny thing happened on the way to publication…

A funny thing happened on the way to publication. That’s this month’s writing prompt. Well…for the life of me, I can’t think of a single “funny” thing that happened. Perturbing, frustrating, heart-breaking, humiliating, wonderful, unbelievable, holy-cow-I’m-gonna-explode-I’m-so-happy—now those words come to mind when I look over my writing journey.

For me, the main message that emerges when I think back is that if you want to be a writer, you better be resilient, cautious, adventurous, selectively inquisitive, and patient. And perhaps, most important of all, don’t expect your writing experience to be like anyone else’s.

Before my first book was published, I tried for years (seemed like eons) to find an agent. I got enough “I just don’t feel a connection to your story” letters to wallpaper my entire house—twice. But then, I finally received a rejection where the agent told me, “You don’t need an agent for this story. Submit to some of the small presses and go ebook with it.” Bless her generous advice-giving heart! I submitted the book to The Wild Rose Press and after a bazillion revisions under the tutelage of a wonderfully talented and patient editor, they published it! Beyond a Highland Whisper was born.

Then I won RT Book Review’s Writing with the Stars contest and published Eternity’s Mark with Kensington. That process was a rollercoaster ride of gut-wrenching highs and lows. But I learned a lot.

Then I heard about Loveswept, a digital only imprint for Penguin Random House. I’m an Outlander fanatic aka time travel back to the Highlands addict and I had an idea for this series…so I pitched it through Loveswept’s website and they loved it! That’s how my four book Highland Hearts series found a home.

So far, I’ve worked with three publishers: one small press, and two traditional houses. I still don’t have an agent. After being laid off from my day job of twenty-nine years, I’m toying with some other writerly options to pursue.

I guess what I’ve really discovered along this bumpy road is that everyone’s writing path is different and the only time that’s a bad thing is when you compare your path to someone else’s and get upset because your results aren’t the same. Stay focused on your path. It’ll keep the “nauseating crazies” away and let you write the stories that can only be written by you.

Maeve’s Bio:

No one has the power to shatter your dreams unless you give it to them. That’s Maeve Greyson’s mantra. She and her hubby of nearly thirty-eight years were stationed all over while in the U.S. Air Force before returning to their five-acre wood in rural Kentucky where she writes about her beloved Highlanders and the sassy women who tame them.

Find out more about Maeve at these places on the web:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sweet Americana Sweethearts Presents: GRANDMA'S WEDDING QUILTS

What do you get when eleven authors band together to create a series based on one common character--and her gift of heirloom quilts to her 11 grandchildren, upon the occasion of their weddings?

The obvious answer: A multi-author series.

Another obvious answer: A dozen sweet romances.

Sweet Romances = no sexual content, no offensive language, and no gratuitous violence.

Less-obvious answers:

  1. 12 different quilts to entwine in stories, in keeping with The Prequel (contemporary setting)
  2. 12 different (but similar) approaches to Grandma Mary
  3.  Two sisters, both with an urgency to leave home...
  4.   ...and one who's desperate to return
  5.  Cousin rivalry and sweetheart kisses
  6.  Talented young ladies straining society's limits (Kizzie, Gloria, Monica, Josie, and Pleasance)
  7.   A mystery or two...or three
  8.  Music and song
  9.  Suspense
  10.  Ladies in big trouble, and ladies who are trouble
  11.  Men with hearts as big as the western territories (Tad, Jesse, Zebulon, Leander, Luke, William, Gabriel, Jacob, Morgan, Callum, Chase, and Colin.)
  12.  Mail-order brides from England, New York, Colorado (via Paris, France), and Iowa
  13.  Second chances here, and second chances there (don't you enjoy reading another chance at love?)
  14.   A doctor, and onewho doesn't want to be...
  15.  Love in the least likely places
  16.  Quilts celebrating love of family, the ties connecting generations, and marriages in simpler times and places
  17.  A new book club!

  1. Grandma's Wedding QuiltSeries, THE PREQUEL, by KateCambridge, January 1
  2. Kizzie'sKisses by Zina Abbott, January 9
  3. Jesse'sBargain by KayP. Dawson, January 10
  4. Meredith'sMistake by AmeliaC. Adams, January 11
  5. Monica'sMystery by KateCambridge, January 12
  6. Pleasance's First Love by Kristin Holt, January 13
  7. Zebulon's Bride by PatriciaPacJac Carroll, January 14
  8. Ione'sDilemma by Linda Carroll-Brad, January 16
  9. Josie'sDream by AngelaRaines, January 17
  10. Chase'sStory by P.A.Estelle, January 18
  11. Gloria'sSong by KathrynAlbright, January 19
  12. Tad'sTreasure by Shanna Hatfield, January 20

So, what's where's "the funny thing that happened on the way..."?

I'll leave the discovery of the 11 brands of humor--some subtle, some abundant--in each of these twelve stories. That, perhaps, is the best part of a multi-author series. Different flavors, styles, and focus. Some authors' writing will make you laugh, others will make you smile. We hope all the stories in this series are "keepers" to those who prefer a sweeter read.

Hi! I'm Kristin Holt, USA Today Bestselling Author.
I write frequent articles (or view recent posts easily on my Home Page, scroll down) about the nineteenth century American West–every subject of possible interest to readers, amateur historians, authors…as all of these tidbits surfaced while researching for my books. I also blog monthly at Sweet Romance Reads, Sweet Americana Sweethearts, and Romancing the Genres.

I love to hear from readers! Please drop me a note. Or find me on Facebook.

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