A Little White Lie and Other Updates

For the past few years, I’ve been wondering how to link Everything She Ever Wanted (Dax and Harlow’s story) with Falling for Jordan (Addison and Jordan’s story), Book 1 and Book 2 respectively in my Different Kind of Love series.

Somehow, I never really linked them together except for the second version of the Prologue that replaced the original version in the last year and a half. Only that wasn’t what I should have done.

Instead, that second version of the Prologue should have been a short story, one that would be available at the end of Book 1 as a bonus story (appearing AFTER 90% of the ebook) and the same one I’ll link here. So if you’ve read Everything She Ever Wanted and want to take a peek at the wedding reception through Addison’s eyes, you can read it here.

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Little White Lie introduces Addison Rowe, Harlow’s best friend, a Filipino-American doctor who just finds out her life is about to change while attending Harlow’s Taos wedding to Dax.

In the writing front, I’m still working on stories I set aside a month ago. Somehow, subconscious me wants to finish the stories I started before tackling the big ones and so that’s what I’m doing. They won’t fit any of my current series but my subconscious mind won’t let them go either so I guess I’ll have to follow that muse for now.

Oh, and two earthquakes happened in my neck of the woods. The house was rocking for over a minute during that second one and the lamps were swinging and so was the front door. It was scary but at the same time part of living in Southern California. My main concern during the second one was that my kid was wearing only his underwear (he has SPD and likes being in his underwear while wrapped in his two favorite fuzzy blankets when he doesn’t need to be outdoors) and I told him that if we had to run outside, he was running out in his undies.

I need to know where to shut things off should the big one hit and it’s just me and the kiddo at home (water, gas, electricity). I need to stock up the emergency backpack, too. Two earthquakes in a week is not a good sign. But then, what else can we do but keep on going, right?

How about you? How’s life treating you so far?

Fathers and Daughters

This video above depicting Serena Williams and her father/coach really hit me hard in the feels when I saw it today.

I had written a long post about all the why’s that had to with my writing but I decided, in the end, just to save it on my blog because it reminds me of relationships I missed out on and never got a chance to explore… until I started writing my stories.

Because under all that romance and all the romance beats the story hits (and sometimes don’t), it’s all about relationships, especially the ones that shape us.

 

Falling for Jordan is on Sale!

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So my post went out early this morning before I was ready to publish it. I remember seeing the notice while I was still in bed and thinking, but I didn’t finish writing that post.

Oh well, too late for that. Apparently, I scheduled it to post but didn’t finish writing it.

So here it is again and while it’s the same thing, a promo is a promo and I do love the graphic I made for it. And since it’s St. Paddy’s Day weekend, what better way to celebrate it than to have my book featuring an Irish-American hero go on sale for 99 cents?

When You Try Something New – Part 2 #outlines

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A week ago, I wrote about how plotting for two weeks didn’t work out for me and that I was going back to pants-ing. Yes, I was whining but after much thought and finally a conversation with other authors who write a lot of books in a year because they outline, I’m going to give it a try again.

But this time, I won’t call it plotting.

I’ll call it Outlining.

I already do this, to a degree, only I never finish outlining the full novel because I end up getting so excited that I would then start writing Chapter One before the outline is completed. And that’s when trouble starts because it’s like mapping out your journey to see the country and not knowing where you’re going to end up at the halfway point. Worse, not knowing where your last stop will be.

And so that’s how I’m looking at my current WIP now. It’s all outlined and ready to go, broken down by chapter and even word count, all the way until those sweet two words, The End. All I have to do is fill in the blanks, writing the chapters as outlined without much deviating.

So far, I’ve written over 2100 words so that’s a good start. I’m finding myself defaulting to my bad habit of editing the current novel before moving on instead of just writing the darn thing and coming back to edit it. Today, my goal is to write 3k more words and follow the outline as religiously as I can.

So what’s the story about? Well, after posting a poll on my Facebook Reader Group as to whose story they would like to read next, the majority picked Sawyer Villier, Dax Drexel’s friend and neighbor in Taos. Sawyer works for a private security firm, Fredrikson Security which is from Collateral Attraction. When Sawyer’s not building and maintaining Earthships in Taos, he’s guarding some billionaire named Heath Kheiron whenever the man travels for business. Yes, I’m totally mashing two series(es) together!

The story is angsty and like Everything She Ever Wanted, deals with heavy topics of PTSD and suicide. It’s left me feeling angsty for the last two days and that’s a good sign. It means I’m starting to lose myself in the story and I’m hoping to finish writing it this month. I’ve got 25 days more to go.

In the meantime, I woke up this morning to this baby, and what a nice treat it was to see while sipping my morning coffee:

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Yes, I changed the cover again from man and baby to this hottie. I’m indecisive like that…

Finally Done

So I lied.

I went back and updated two chapters of my latest book. The changes went to Chapters 19 and parts of 20.

I know, I know. The book’s been published. What do you mean, you published something that wasn’t your best?

Not exactly, although it was my best then. The editor didn’t complain or ask, can this scene or arc go any deeper? Can you expand it?

But in my perfectionist’s heart, I knew Chapter 19 was a cop-out, one that allowed me to focus on the romance more because dang it, I didn’t want to go down the road of self-harm in a book that was supposed to be a lighthearted follow-up to the angsty Dax and Harlow one. And so I let it go until I was ready to update it without feeling like it was an uphill battle.

Last night, it wasn’t. It was half of a chapter change; still a closing of another character’s arc that had been closed so easily in the original version. Too easily. This time, there was a bit more depth to it. And with that, the book is done.

It was Russell Blake* who gave the advice to fix something in your book that you’re not happy about. You want the future reader to get only your best work so if you can change it, then change it. Make it better.

And with that, Falling for Jordan is finally done.

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  • Took me awhile to scour KBoards where I’d first seen the advice but I found it finally and will put it here so I won’t spend another hour looking for it again. Bold my own.

I want every example of a Russell Blake book to be as good as I can make it. Not as good as I could have made it two years ago. Or good enough for what it was when I released it. If my command of craft has improved, I want to improve the books that need improving, so that the product I’m selling is the best possible product for the customer who buys it and reads it today. I’ve re-edited about 10 of my 22 novels. Some were minor tweaking, others were eliminating echoes or doing other craft-related chores, still others were adding backstory where I felt it was lacking. They are all better books for it. I’m glad as a business person that I did it, because if I’ve invested countless hours and effort in gaining a reader, and that’s the only book they read to decide whether to buy my oeuvre or not, I don’t want to take the chance that ANY of my work isn’t as good as I can make it. If you look at the car business, they are constantly tweaking and improving models from year to year. It’s understood. So I’ve taken that position with the books I sell, as well.

– Russel Blake, author of the Jet series

And there you go. As a “business person,” I re-edit and update my work even though the creative part of me, that writer, loathes the idea that I didn’t get it right the first time.

On Cover Changes, Wrong Models, and a Whip…

Yup, it’s a cover change… again! But first, the final trailer with the new cover for Falling for Jordan!

While the guy-and-baby picture was adorable, in the end, it didn’t fit my branding for the series that started with “perfect-bearded-guy,” as readers call him. And with that series established to have guy’s faces for the cover, it was something that I had to change so it would fit with the rest of the covers of the series that have already been set up last summer complete with their titles.

And so here is the new cover for Falling for Jordan, who happens to be the same guy that I saw as Jordan inside my head while I wrote the story. It’s also why he’s in the video but because this was a stock photo and someone else used it for her romance novel this past summer, I was reluctant to use it. Still, sometimes I really should just follow my gut instinct when it comes to my book covers… and stop buying exclusive images! In the end, it’s the story between the covers that matter.

So now I’m off to write. I’m not even going to shop the Black Friday sales tomorrow. I know I won’t because after I bought my last exclusive model photo last week, my bank account said so. And as if that isn’t bad enough, when I sent the exclusive image I’d bought to my cover designer, his reply to me started with, “erm, that picture is all wrong…” and now my PA made me promise that I will no longer buy any more exclusive model images or she’ll get her whip out.

Who knew my PA knows me so well?

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens

Yesterday, many authors received the news that Pronoun, an aggregator for books like Falling for Jordan and Finding Sam, was closing in two months. Their new owner, MacMillan, had decided that it just wasn’t a sustainable model, this after they got the most of the real reason they acquired it, for data mining purposes.

While I knew Pronoun’s run was never going to last, it took me awhile to process things. It was no biggie for my other books I distributed through them like Finding Sam which was the first book I’d put up apart from all my other books so I could separate earnings I made from its sale which went straight to Ovarian Cancer research. The short stories would be easy to migrate as well. They’re stories I also give away as samples of my writing.

But then it hit me: I’d just released Falling for Jordan and all the links for my promos are through them. That means when I migrate all that information to the corresponding vendor on my own like the rest of my books, it’s basically starting over. Any reviews on iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Google Play are will disappear although Amazon works to match the reviews to the new book when you request them to.

Changes, changes… it comes with the territory.

But it’s not all bad or so-so news. I just received permission to use lines from this song in my book! So can you say Second Edition just in time with Pronoun announcement? YES!

Musings Over Coffee: Put On Those Blinders

I was grounded so much when I was growing up that all I had were books, usually Readers Digest books that my mom would order. Classics, Seven Wonders of the World, Ghost Stories, those kinds of titles, and the annual almanac (do they still have those?). Then one day I found this paperback with a torn cover hidden away on the top shelf in my room and the prologue and first chapter baffled and shocked 12-year-old me so much I had to read the rest of the 800 pages of that book. The book made me laugh, cry, root for the hero and then mourn him (sorry, spoiler although not exactly a spoiler when the prologue was also the epilogue). It was called The Adventurers by Harold Robbins. It was then I wanted to be a writer.

Then in 2nd-year high school (eighth grade here in the US, I think), I almost got suspended for writing this steamy (and taboo) romance drama that got circulated between classmates during homeroom. I was sent to the guidance counselor for an evaluation and then to Sister Gerri who told me that she’d pull me from Drama Club and put me into Poetry Club (I don’t think she told my mom and maybe that was the deal then) so I could channel whatever frustrations I was going through. Back then, I thought it was such punishment that I plagiarized a Shakespeare sonnet and submitted it to the club. And to my horror, they published it in the school paper with my name on it. I figured I’d probably end up doing penance by writing original stories from then on.

It’s been a tough road since those good ol’ days when I thought I could be everything I wanted. I’ve made so many mistakes along the way and through it all, books and stories sustained me. Fate led me to people who would get me into conferences that had Frank McCourt, Mitch Albom, H.W. Merwyn, Neil Gaiman, James Elroy, and Jane Smiley on the list of speakers and I even hung out with Ray Bradbury twice when I was an officer for a small South Bay writing group called Southwest Manuscripters. I learned from these people, not about publishing companies or how publishing works, but about the importance of STORY. Just tell the story and keep writing.

Put on those blinders and write.

It’s been three years since I published my first book and today, I just released the seventh, a shorter novel called Falling for Jordan. It’s the first book I’ve written where I feature my Filipino culture prominently for the first time and maybe that’s why it’s a shorter novel than most of my books. I’m sure if I’d let myself go, it would have probably hit 200K words and contain a full glossary of terms and a recipe section. The characters in it are also not perfect by a long shot, but then who is?

If I were to ask the person I was three years ago who tentatively published her first book what she thought she’d be doing three years later, I’m sure she’d never have thought she’d be publishing her seventh book—or still be writing for that matter. So if you want to write, write. Worry about the story first and then the rest later (formatting, editing, cover, etc.). Don’t even worry about the critics especially when the voice of one critic can often drown out the rest of the non-critics, the ones who actually enjoyed your stories. Don’t even worry so much about the rules like passive voice and purple prose. You gotta start somewhere and if you worry too much about the rules, you won’t get anywhere. Especially these days, when the rules that used to be in place often no longer apply.

Except for one: Just write.

And another: Keep writing.

 

Falling for Jordan is LIVE!

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FALLING FOR JORDAN, the second book in a Different Kind of Love series that began with Dax and Harlow’s story in Everything She Ever Wanted, is officially live. I’m so grateful for all the people who have helped beta-read, edit, and proofread this book, and to the many ARC readers who had way sharper eyes than I did after I thought everything was said and done.

This is my seventh novel to date since I published my first book in 2014 and it’s a strange feeling. I’ve also published two novellas so the count, as far as published stories are concerned, is nine. Still, every book published is a special event and this one is just as special (although not as nerve-wracking) as the last one.

Anyway, I’ve received emails from some readers asking me what programs I use to make my videos like the one above and the lowdown happens on the next page.

Falling for Jordan #TeaserTuesday

The sidewalks aren’t crowded at this time of the morning and I like it. Piper probably thinks it’s one of our leisurely walks, although this time, there’s no elevator ride up to the High Line where I walk all the way to the end of the line and back. Sometimes I find an empty bench and read a book while she naps in her stroller or peruse the art at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

“It’s a beautiful day,” Jordan says, breaking the silence between us after we emerge from the subway, coming up the stairs with me carrying the baby carrier and him, the stroller.

“Yep, a beautiful day for a DNA test.” The words come out before I can stop them and he rewards me with an annoyed glare. I don’t know why I’m being snarky other than I’m nervous. “I’m sorry. This is all so new to me.”

“And you think that it isn’t for me?” His frown is replaced with a smile when Piper gurgles at him after I set the carrier back in the stroller.

“I’m sorry.”

“That’s alright. I understand we’re both stressed right now,” he says. “How long before we find out?”

“Three days. And from there, based on the results, either your life will change or it won’t.”

“Addy, my life changed when you told me that Piper’s mine. And honestly, I believe you,” he says. “I do have to tell my family.”

My heart skips a beat. I knew it! He has a family. A girlfriend and maybe kids. Just because he said he wasn’t married or isn’t wearing a ring didn’t mean he didn’t have kids.

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