Tuesday, June 13, 2017

[TRUTH SERUM] A Year as a Novelist

I've wanted to become an author since I was fourteen years old, and one year ago today, I made that dream a reality. 

It was two days before my twenty-second birthday, and after four years of endless turmoil, of hard work, dedication, strife, and an array of growth... I ascended to what became my life's purpose.

June 13th, 2016, I became a published novelist. I made my debut in the industry, and there was so much that I was ready to learn, to see unfold, and to experience as the new kid on the block.

I wasn't disappointed in how much this year has changed me. But it was far from a pleasure cruise. Let me tell you a story about how the first year as a novelist really feels.

The First Day

I'll say this first: writing is not easy. And to this day, it is the most bothersome feeling in the world to be told by someone that couldn't possibly understand that writing a novel isn't a challenge. There's so much effort put into getting the words out, and if you're like me, you probably started your journey with absolutely no knowledge on anything outside of the field. So, after you've typed 'the end,' sent your book off to the world, and you've jumped the gun, congratulate yourself, have a drink (or just something super sweet if you're underage), and breathe! You're ready! 

And I really do mean crazy. 

The moment that your first book is in your hands, I guarantee that you will feel a sense of elatedness that has never washed over you before. "Today, you are official." I remember that I nearly cried when I first held "The One Left Behind: Magic" in my hands. I even got it on video, right here.

It was my first step into the world of creativity as a fresh, published author. Yours will be no different. But the journey doesn't stop there.

That first day that you start your marketing, traditional author or self-published, you're going to struggle, especially if it's your first book. No one will know you. Sharing your book with the world is difficult. You won't always get to be #1 in your category just because you've made your own personal bestseller. And believe it or not, even those family members and friends that promised to buy your book, they don't always follow through with that. It's a cold truth, but one that we eventually come to accept. 

That first step, you're on your own from the beginning, and it's going to frustrate you. But as you work, you find new ways to show off your work to others. One of my favorites so far has been participating in author takeovers (which I'm about to start a day-long one soon!), where you get to showcase your works on Facebook to an invited audience. It's hard to think up the right words to say about yourself, but it's one of the easier experiences I have. Sure, it doesn't guarantee you sales every time, but you definitely get people interested that way.

But keep faith. That first day is one of many to come!


The First Month
Now I'm going to tell you another cold truth: your career as a writer not only depends on sales, but on the reviews and criticism that people give you. And that's something that I came to learn the hard way throughout this first year.

I've been told that my story was poorly executed, worth 2-3 stars. I've been told that my book cover is more suited to middle grade audiences rather than a YA crowd like I aimed for. That it was a mediocre setup. I didn't have the money to pay for an editor at the time, and it was something that dealt me in, played a part in why my book never really broke free from a crowd. It made me feel horrible. I didn't compare to thousands of other people in my field, and it was hard to push away from my failures. The worst thing was learning that my work was never that great because I was too hasty. 

But after tears, it's always the best thing to pick yourself up and do better with your next book. Three stars on a novel is better than one, and it allows you to see your faults in your work. 

You won't always succeed with your first book. And that's okay. 

Someone else is reading your work too, and maybe they'll love it. Or they'll hate it. But you know what? They're reading it. And that's more than what most people can do.

You took the jump. Now free-fall, let the wind hit your face. Have your parachute ready to secure your impact. Rise, and start again.


Taking the Plunge

I was six months into my career when I finally got my first event outside of the online community, participating in Indie Author Day at my local library. It was their first time hosting, and it was amazing to see so many others around me. Though, it was also a bit strange given that I was the youngest person in the room, and therefore, the most inexperienced. 

But that event opened so many doors for me. It allowed me to make connections with amazing people, and it gave me the chance to participate in an upcoming event this August! I also got to join up at a Barnes and Noble book sale, and now I have a spot waiting whenever I can finish editing my book together! 

Taking the plunge means more than falling flat at times. The moment that you become ready to try again, you're able to push yourself past your limits, break your mold, and then you'll unlock so many opportunities. That's one of the fun things about being a novelist. Sales aren't always there, but you learn more to GET them.

And not just in person. Online too. Remember how I talked about attending Author Takeovers? Part of being a novelist is having a strong online presence in a few places. Not a ton, you don't need to go nuts trying to balance it. Pick two or three places that you frequent already, shape your author pages. I have a Facebook, a Twitter, and I frequent this blog! 

And whatever you don't know... there are plenty of people out there that will help you to grow and learn it in a better fashion. 

Make your mark.


Is It Worth It?

That's probably the weirdest question here. Yes, it's always worth it. You spend a lot of money putting it out there, but there's no denying that you'll feel grateful when it's over, and amazed when a paperback is in your hands.

You are a writer, or you're going to be. You carry creativity in your blood, and if you truly crave it, then it will always remain. Or it will consume you until you break it out. 

The first year in your career will be one of your most difficult, but you earn so much from it. 

Step forward. Your future awaits.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

[PROMO POST] Cowboys Forgive: Cowboys of Nirvana

Hey guys! I've got a fast-paced, hot-blooded new read for you all! Cowboys Forgive by Rhonda Lee Carver!


Synopsis:

Taking a dirt bath off a bull lands Jace Jackson into the hands of beautiful, smart, sexy country singer Jessa Garvey. In pain and loopy on pain meds, he has no clue he’s flirting with her, and making a big damn fool of himself. Back in high school she rejected him, and although years have passed, sometimes a cowboy can’t forget. When Miss Priss invades his space at Nirvana, he decides to give her a dose of her own medicine and puts her to work mucking stalls. That’ll teach her…

Or will it?

Trading her guitar for a shovel, Jessa is out to prove to Jace that she isn’t the same person she was as a teenager. As far as she’s concerned, he’ll forgive her even if it kills her, or lands her hot and willing in bed with the dangerously handsome cowboy.


She’s in deep.


Forgiveness is granted, but she isn’t prepared for the choices she must make. Has she changed enough? Does the sliver of selfishness remain?




0_0 Gotta admit, I'm interested in seeing how the relationship between Jace and Jessa unfolds, why he's on pain meds, and maybe a little back-story on them given that they were apparently in high school together.





EXCERPT:

“I’m getting my pants back on. I’m feeling a draft.” He searched the room and found his clothes neatly stacked on the table. As he stepped over to grab them his gown opened in the back, showing off a pair of blue striped boxers. She stifled a giggle. Good thing he wasn’t naked, but good for whom? She wouldn’t have minded. Tight asses were hard to find. 

“Damn!” He gave his head a quick shake. She noticed that he was having some difficulty managing sliding one foot into the leg of his jeans because he was favoring his sore ribs.

“Here, I’ll help.”

She heard his gasp as she knelt before him, helping him slide one leg in, and once that was done, she smiled. “That’s wasn’t too hard.” She looked up and gulped. she was eye-level with his crotch—his bulging crotch.

His eyes fell to her mouth and he didn’t need to say a word for her to realize where his thoughts headed. She couldn’t help herself as her own thoughts stumbled down the same direction. Looking further up his body, he was wide-eyed and a tuft of his hair hung down his forehead.

Clearing her throat, she wasn’t sure where to go from here.

As if he couldn’t help himself, he closed his eyes. Could he be trying to control his thoughts? Things only got worse—or harder. The tip of his erection poked out of the hole in his underwear. He opened his eyes and groaned in humiliation.

With jeans scrunched at his ankles, he took a step back, lost his balance and fell back onto the floor, hitting his head on the metal table sending it crashing against the wall.

“Damn! Son-of-a-gun. Mother fucker!” After the strings of explicits finished, he lifted a hand to touch the back of his head, wincing in pain.

“Jace? Are you okay?” She squatted beside him, helping him sit up. “Does it hurt?”

“No, it feels great.” He touched his ribs lightly.

She bit her lip, not sure what to do to help him at this point. “I’m sorry.”

“I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed this morning.” He moaned. “Go ahead, hit me right here and knock me out.” He patted his cheek.

“I wouldn’t do that.” She frowned.

“Damn pain pills better work!” he groaned.

“Hold on. Let me see what I can do.” She stood, scanned the small area and found an ice bag that he must have been using on his ribs. She brought it over and he watched her, his eyes glazed. Yeah, she’d guess the meds were starting to kick in. She sat next to him and patted her lap. “I’ll ice the back of your head.”

He wrapped his steely arms around her. Their faces were so close she could see a freckle on his cheek. “I’m a little blurry-eyed and wobbly, but you’re beautiful.”

“Yes, you are.”

Before she knew what was happening, he bobbed back and forth then moaned. Just as she’d suspected, she was no resistance against his weight. Together they fell to the floor with him sprawling on top of her, pinning her underneath his unconscious body. “Jace?”

Nothing.

“Hello? Yoo-hoo!” She tapped him on the shoulder. This time she received a deep snore in response.

Oh no. I’m trapped. 

She tried pushing him to the side, but her arms were stuck under him. His snoring grew louder, tickling her ear drum. Her limbs were quickly falling asleep. And if this position wasn’t enough to throw her for a loop, his hand came up and grasped her breast. What should have been pure humiliation skittering through her body, instead was a reminder that she was a woman who craved a man’s touch. A woman who found this cowboy sexy and amazingly virile.

He jerked and she looked down at his profile. He was staring at her. “Jessa? That’s you,” he mumbled. “You, snob, you. I didn’t like your prom dress.”

She froze. So, he did recognize me. Although he was talking out of his head.

“You’re cozy,” he said against her chest. Jessa realized she should be doing her best to get the brawny man off her body, but instead, she found it quite entertaining. And she had a feeling this wouldn’t be the last time she saw Jace Jackson, not if she could help it.


Oooooh, steamy~ I'm definitely curious now!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

At an early age, Rhonda fell in love with romance novels, knowing one day she’d write her own love story. Life took a short detour, but when the story ideas would no longer be contained, she decided to dive in and write. Her first rough draft was on a dirty napkin she found buried in her car. Eventually, she ran out of napkins. With baby on one hip and laptop on the other, she made a dream into reality—one word at a time.

Her specialty is men who love to get their hands dirty and women who are smart, strong and flawed. She loves writing about the everyday hero.

When Rhonda isn't crafting sizzling manuscripts, you will find her busy editing novels, blogging, juggling kids and animals (too many to name), dreaming of a beach house and keeping romance alive. 

Oh, and drinking lots of coffee to keep up with her characters.