Award Winning Novel!

standard May 15, 2014 2 responses

I’m pretty sure that at some point in the last few months I got an email from my publisher letting me know that she’d entered Aloha Also Means Goodbye in some literary contests. I have a vague memory of reading that email and instantly mentally filing it under “information I should care about, but don’t really know what to do with so I’ll just get on with my day.”

Basically, I instantly forgot about it.

So, cue complete and utter surprise this morning when I received an email letting me know that Aloha had just taken silver in the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards. (in the romance/erotica ebooks category)

Over 2500 books from all over the world compete and my little book came second in its category.

I’m quite the proud mama. And an award winning novelist apparently.

Aloha Also Means Goodbye

Award Winning Novel! Oh yeah!

The paradox every author faces

standard February 19, 2014 4 responses

At my monthly book club meeting the other day, one of my friends turned to the group and gushed that she’d read Aloha Also Means Goodbye and that she couldn’t wait to discuss it with the group.

At a friend’s birthday party last week, one friend turned to another and raved about the book, telling her that she absolutely had to put it on her list of books to read.

Both of these encounters should have filled me with pride; instead they made me want to crawl into a hole and hide.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am insanely proud that I’ve published a book that is receiving so much positive attention. I love that my friends are loving it. I love that complete strangers are loving it too. I just seem to have trouble talking about it with people.

It feels a little like this.

Imagine that you’ve spent a long time pouring your most intimate fears, hopes, desires, thoughts into a diary. Now your friends are passing around this diary of yours and are stopping you in the street to discuss it with you.

It might make you feel incredibly naked and vulnerable.You’d probably want to vanish too, right?

Now, to be fair, Aloha Also Means Goodbye is a work of pure fiction. Every character and experience is wholy made up. I did not draw from my personal experience in any way shape or form. And yet, I spent four years writing this book. Four years slipping myself into the skin of all these characters, feeling their pain, their struggles, their hopes. They might be a work of fiction to everyone, but they feel like parts of me.

Discussing them feels like I’m violating their privacy.

I know. It’s twisted. Especially when I think about how much of a thrill it is to read a positive review, to hear that a reader has fallen in love with these people I created, to discover that they too have become close to them. But face to face? I just can’t handle it.

Funny that someone who writes a personal blog might feel this way, eh? (Trust me, it’s just as weird when someone wants to discuss a blog post I wrote.)

Now that challenge here is that in order to sell books I have to talk about it. I have to tell people about it. I have to bring it up on a regular basis. I have to ask if they’ve read it, if they’ve told their friends about it. And I can’t just assume that people will remember without being constantly reminded.

I know why so many painters become famous after they die. I really truly get it. Who wants to be the person always parading their most intimate self in front of others for attention?

I am a blogger. Have been for a long time. You’d think that self promotion would be second nature by now. And yet it so isn’t. I’m a million times more likely to tell you about my friends who have written books, other bloggers who have written great posts, other women who are doing amazing things, than to toot my own horn.

This self promotion thing doesn’t come easily to me. It makes me want to find a hole to crawl into where I could perhaps, spin a new tale, invent some new characters, until I remember that I’ll have to sell that book too, I’ll have to share it with the world, I’ll have to let them see this new vulnerable side of me… and then I freeze and the words just don’t come.

It’s quite the paradox. One that has me scratching my head and wondering if maybe I really would be better suited to a career as a carefree barista.

Have you read it? Have you told your friends to read it?

I wrote a novel; now I need your help

standard January 16, 2014 1 response

As you know, if you read this blog even sporadically, way back in 2007 I sat down at a coffee shop table, placed Little L’s baby carrier at my feet, and typed the first words to a story that would, over the course of the next five years, become Aloha Also Means Goodbye, my very first novel.

Typing those words never stops feeling surreal. Writing a novel is one of the hardest and most amazing things I’ve ever accomplished. I have to admit I’m not just a little proud.

Aloha Also Means Goodbye is the story of a girl, Jo, who heads to Hawaii to renew her wedding vows with Jordan, the man who saved her when she was beyond broken. When she arrives on the island she discovers that Andy, part of the reason she needed fixing, is there too. With the help of her two best friends, and despite the meddling of her mother, Jo has to face down her past in order to move on with her future.

It’s a fun read; a quick escape to a tropical island. If you’re looking for a little vacation, it’s the perfect book for you!

Right now the book is available in Kindle format, which means that you can read it on a Kindle or any device that supports a Kindle app (computer, smart phone, iPad, iPod, tablet…. You name it, it probably has an available Kindle app). We’re releasing the paper version imminently. So if digital books really aren’t your cup of tea, hang tight!

But really, why this post?

Well, that’s simple; I need your help. And please, let me assure you, asking for help is not something that comes easy to me. If I’m asking it’s because I truly believe that you can make a huge difference. Even with just a few seconds of your time!

Interested? Yay! Here’s what you can do!

1) Read the book! (Ok, ok, that was a pot shot. Sorry.)
2) If you’ve already read the book (Thank you!) pretty please take a minute to write a review
       a) on Amazon (My goal is to reach 25 reviews! Help!)
       b) on Goodreads
3) If you haven’t already read the book, please take a second to
       a) mark it as “want to read” on Goodreads
       b) put it on your wishlist on Amazon
4) Tell your friends about it!

That’s it! Now you have my eternal gratitude!

Oh wait. One more thing.

I’m killing myself in an effort to not spam people via email. I only ever want to send emails to people who want them.  I also don’t want anyone to miss updates about sales, deals, important releases, or even book tours. So, if you’re interested in hearing about any of that, pretty please subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/LKUSz. I promise to only ever email you when I have something of value to say!

Now I’m all done. Off you go and read or something. I’ll try not to bite my knuckles too hard while I wait to hear what you think.

How to chose a non-traditional writer’s life and be ok with it…

standard September 10, 2013 4 responses

A while back I read a book called Chapter After Chapter, by Heather Sellers. So much about that book inspired me to keep pushing through the chaos and actually write the book that was in my head and my heart. Much about that book also frustrated me to no end.

In one chapter, the author, a writing teacher, urged the reader/wannabe writer to give up everything that wasn’t about the writing. No more book club, no more volunteering at the church soup kitchen, no more going out with friends after work or at lunch. Basically, she said, the writing has to be your everything and if you’re not willing to give up everything else, then maybe you’re not really meant to be a writer.

I hated that premise back then and I still hate it today. When I read that chapter I decided to just ignore that tidbit and get on with my writer’s life as it was – living my life to the fullest and writing when I could.

I still live like that.

True, I don’t get a ton of writing done (see: piss-poor posting schedule on this here blog). True, it’s taken me many, many years to get to the point where I can say my book is being published in January. True, my next book might well take just as long to make it to the public eye.

So be it.  I have a book club I love. Friends who lift me up and fill my heart with joy. Well adjusted children who are happy at school. And a thriving relationship with my husband. (The house is still a mess. I do have some priorities.)

But every so often, I hear a little voice in the back of my head that whispers “You should be writing now instead of doing this. You don’t really need to take on another project…” Then the guilt comes.

Yesterday another mom at school, successfully published author of many books, asked me how my new book was coming along. I cringed and had to answer truthfully that, since our last chat two weeks ago, I’d been caught up in a maelstrom of volunteer committee prep for the school year.

“Oh,” she said with a little shrug. “That’s funny. I chose to put my writing before all the volunteering stuff. I guess I’ll be in the classroom when I’m done with my book.”

There wasn’t an ounce of judgement in her voice. It was pure observation. But I walked away feeling awed by her dedication to her craft. She was putting the writing first and everything else second. And, if ever there was a case of the proof being in the pudding, she’s working on her eighth book, while I’ve barely finished the first third of the first draft of my second book.

I walked my kids to the car listening to them chatter about their day and pondering how the exchange had made me feel. I’d spent the whole morning and a good chunk of the afternoon working on volunteer stuff and if I was honest ab out it I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. The program I had worked on is one I truly believe in and one I’m proud to be spearheading at school.

Turns out, I didn’t feel any guilt about not having written anything yet that day.

We drove home and I made the kids and their play date friends some snacks and then I sat down at my computer… to do a little more volunteer work. I hesitated for a minute and thought about the writing again. And then I thought about the kids.

This year I’m going to be the “party mom” in both of their classrooms and I’m going to be a lead on the Project Cornerstone team (a YMCA lead anti bullying and self esteem building program). I’m pretty sure I’ll get involved with the book fair in some capacity or another. And, while I’m at it, I agreed to run local mother’s group again.

Yes, it’s a lot of volunteer work, no doubt about it. Add to that the hours that I have to spend on work for clients and it leaves precious little time to work out let alone write.

But I think I’m OK with that.

My kids are going to be “little” for a really, relatively speaking, short amount of time. In our district parents are only invited into the classroom to volunteer through 6th grade. After that, there’s very little cause to even be on campus much. Soon enough everyone will be in middle school and I’ll find that my volunteer opportunities are few and far between.

Sure, I could spend the next 6 years holed up in my office, keyboard under my fingers, computer screen in front of my face, cranking out novel after novel. I bet I could have a nice little collection of books on my shelf before Little L starts 7th grade if I did that.

But I don’t think that’s how I want to live my life.

There are mom writers who write every moment they can, who spend their days living and breathing their stories. In many ways I envy their focus and their drive. But I don’t believe that that’s the only way to be a successful writer.

When I was a kid I dreamed of the day I’d be a mom. I didn’t decide I also wanted to be a writer until after I had C. I know I’ll be writing for the rest of my life. There’s going to be plenty of time to eventually devote hours on end to my craft. And while I know I’ll also be a mom for the rest of my life, my role as leading player in my children’s lives isn’t a forever thing. I’m very conscious of this.

Last year I shared with you how Disney urged us all to remember that we only get 18 summers. I’m trying to remember that I only get 6 years. In the grand scheme of things, that’s really nothing.

So for now, I’ll volunteer as much as I can, be as engaged as possible, and write when I can. I’ll journal, blog, write and store up all the stories I gather as I live my life to the fullest rather than just observing everyone else live theirs. It’s not how every writer works and it’s definitely not the quick path to success, but it’s the right path for me and my family and I’m more than happy to live with that.