Results for category "DRIVE ME SANE"

Sale Alert :)

FYI … for a short time Drive Me Sane is on SALE for 99¢ (or FREE with Kindle Unlimited)

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Unable to perform her duties in the army after a twelve-month deployment to Afghanistan that leaves her with scars no one can see, Sera Cavins returns to her hometown hoping that some time alone will help her find her way back to being the girl everyone once knew. That is, until she finds herself sharing a house with the man who left her heartbroken merely weeks before her deployment.

Tyler Creech made it to Nashville and even earned a number one hit, but being a rising country music artist isn’t as easy as he thought. He’s back in Cobb City, Kentucky, looking for something to ease the stress of his next release. He discovers it standing on his mom’s and stepdad’s lawn when Sera, the girl he once planned to marry, shows up.

They’d been perfect for each other until the strain of Sera’s deployment and pressure of Tyler’s career drove them apart. Now with neither of their lives going the way they anticipated, both are fighting different yet similar demons.

But change is good, and sometimes going a little crazy is too. Sometimes it’s what keeps you sane.

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You can read the first chapter for free HERE

 

Re-release & Giveaway

Today is re-release day!  I just wanted to do a quick post, showing you the (slightly) new cover and price, $1.99.  Dive Me Sane is also available to download for free with Kindle Unlimited.

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And, as I mentioned, I’m doing a giveaway to celebrate.  If you haven’t entered through the tab on my Facebook page, all you have to do is click on this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway. And, since you’re here, would you be interested in subscribing to my newsletter?  I promise not to share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time.  I also won’t flood your inbox with silly emails.  But, I will be sure to share any upcoming releases, events, special pricing and giveaways with you first!

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TEN THINGS I LEARNED FROM PUBLISHING A BOOK

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Psst … guess what today is!  Yes, it’s Tuesday, but that’s not really what’s special.  And nope, there isn’t a major holiday you’ve forgotten or day in history to remember.   It’s my book birthday!  Yay!  Where has the year gone? It seem like just yesterday I released my baby out into the world.

And since it’s my (book) birthday, I thought I would take the time to tell you a few things I’ve learned during the course of publishing a book.  So here it is,

TEN THINGS I LEARNED FROM PUBLISHING A BOOK:

1.  Family and Friends will disappoint you.  Yes, that’s right.  Those people you thought you could count on and who you believed would be your biggest supporters, some of them won’t.  It’s hard and hurtful, but it’s one of those things that you just have to deal with and move on.

2.  This reverts back to number one, but you’ll find out who your true friends are.  I would be lying if I said relationships haven’t been affected.  Some have.  Simple as that.  Writing is a big part of who I am and publishing a book was an accomplishment I’m proud of.  And while I’ve tried to keep in mind not everyone shares the same enthusiasm, there were a few I felt could have been a little more supportive in other ways. It’s okay, though, because you’ll also make new friends.  Great friends!  Who will share your enthusiasm for writing and book related things.  You’ll also find out you have other common interest and before you know it, you’ll be talking to them every day.  Embrace this change.  Friends who support you wholly are a true blessing.

3.  Getting reviews are hard.  Really hard.

4.  My husband can hold down the fort at home all by himself.  Actually, I knew this already.  He does a fine job when I have to be away for work, but when I’m there, I tend to take on the more dominant role of keeping up with things.  But, he fared just fine and took complete control when I needed to shut myself away to meet an editing deadline.

5.  Quitting my day job anytime soon isn’t a possibility.  Actually, I knew this too, but in case anyone is wondering where my writing career is going, I thought I’d throw that in.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to write full time, but then I never considered it an option. It’s always been a hobby and now I’m lucky enough to earn a little from it.

6.  Marketing is equally as tough as getting reviews.  Although my publisher sent me a packet about an inch thick of marketing techniques, I had no clue what I was doing. I was lucky enough to come in contact with a book blogger that had some patience with me and walked me through some stuff.  So, a  big thanks to Whitney at Shooting Star’s Reviews for her help early on in this adventure.  I really have no advice for how you should go about marketing your book.  Each person transverses this on their own terms and different techniques work for different folks.  But if I had to give one piece of advice, it’s to make contacts and make them early.  Unfortunately, I jumped into marketing late.  As in, I waited until it was ready to release to start really talking about it.  My theory …. who wants to hear about a new author whose book isn’t available yet?  I mean, I’m no Nora Roberts, so why would anyone care?  While that may be true to some degree, you’ll find the more contacts you make and the more you talk about your story, the more people you’ll get interested.

7.  Editors can be your best friend.  That’s right.  I loved my editor, Jess.  Being a newbie, I had great concerns about understanding how things worked, but Jess was super easy and explained everything simply.  It also helped that she had my back on some big plot and character changes that were suggested in the second rounds of edits.  I was nearly in tears when I read over all the suggestions and then I got an email from Jess saying, “No, no, no.  I’m overriding this, because …”  and she listed my exact visions for the story.  Had it not been for her, Drive Me Sane would have probably ended up entirely different.  So, yes, find a good editor that you trust, it’s important.

8.  Writing that second book is much harder than the first.  You’d think it would be the other way around, being you have a taste for how things work, but sometimes naivety works to your advantage.  I now constantly find myself looking ahead and always seem to be ten steps forward instead of in the moment doing what needs to be done.

9.  All that time you had to write before seems to get sucked up into a big black hole.  This goes along with the marketing aspects.  I’ve found my time management skills aren’t as good as I thought and I’m easily distracted by social media.  It’s tough to balance writing and marketing while swinging a full time job and family (I’m not complaining here, I know 99% of us do it).  I’ve learned I’m a binger.  Yep, I’ll write, write, write.  Read, read, read.  And then I’ll decide that I’m a sloppy housewife and clean, clean, clean.  Eventually I’ll move on to remembering my family likes more than sandwiches and take to Pinterest for recipes to try.  Then I’ll cook, cook, cook.  You see my struggle here?  I need to learn how to make all this work together.

10.  There are certain times of the day I’m more creative.  I have a difficult time coming home from work and trying to write.  Writing a love scene while your thinking about dinner, the kids bath time, or all the laundry you need to do just doesn’t work out too well.  I’m at my best late in the evenings when it’s all quiet or very early mornings.

AND NOW FOR MY AWESOME NEWS !

You amazing people are the first to know, because I haven’t announced this anywhere else yet, but Amazon has bought the digital rights to Drive Me Sane.  So, not only do I get to celebrate today, I’ll be celebrating again next week when Drive Me Sane re-releases with Amazon’s encore program on August 4th.  I’ll have a slightly different cover and I believe a new price.  So if you haven’t read it and you’re dying to, I’m telling you to wait, because you’ll get a better deal 🙂

I’ll also be celebrating with a giveaway on my Facebook page with a $25 Amazon Gift Card, digital copy of Drive Me Sane, and some author swag I have coming.  So if you’re not following me on Facebook, hop over now and give me a like :).  I’m real close to 500 followers!  Plus, that’s where the giveaway will be announced next week.

In closing, I’ve learned a lot.  Did I make some mistakes?  Yes, I did.  Would I go back change some things?  Absolutely! But that’s the great thing about writing.  It’s an ever changing industry that really doesn’t require a set of rules.

 

 

THE ROMANCE REVIEWS 4th Anniversary Party

trrIt’s a month long celebration and I’m there! Well, I’ll be there tomorrow for a Question & Answer type game.   I’m offering up an ebook copy of Drive Me Sane to the person who wins.  And along with me, there are hundreds of other authors with prizes galore!  Head on over to The Romance Reviews for all the details.  Please note that you must be registered and logged into their site to take part in the giveaways.

I must admit, I’m partial to this site.  Unknown to me, my publisher submitted Drive Me Sane to them for a review.  Needless to say, I was beyond words and in tears with their response.  No lie!  I bawled like a baby.

You can find Angi’s 4 Star Review here or below:

“They fell in love as teens but their fears and frustrations as young adults drove them apart. Years have passed and, now, both their lives are on a downward spiral. An unforeseen chance to reconnect is the second chance they both desperately need to exorcise old hurts, as well as conquer the troubles that are currently holding each of them hostage.

Discharged from the Army and suffering PTSD after a tour in Afghanistan, Sera Cavins makes a quiet return to her Uncle Roy’s empty home in Kentucky to attempt to get her broken life back together. The remorse, regret, and guilt she feels has manifested into fears she’s not ready to confess to anyone. Finding her former fiancé Tyler Creech at her uncle’s home brings back even older hurts that make it doubly hard for Sera to hide the many secrets that steal her peace of mind and sap her wounded spirit.

Up and coming country music star Tyler Creech’s life is being consumed by the demands of his career, and his life no longer seems his own. The mounting pressure is taking both a physical and mental toll on him, so a few weeks’ hiatus at his mother and stepfather Roy’s home in Kentucky is where he hopes to work through some of the issues that are leaving him sleepless and torn. He never expected to run into Sera Cavins, the woman who pushed him away and who still haunts him with unresolved heartache and regrets.

If they can bear to share the same roof, maybe they can finally uncover the reasons behind their broken engagement and broken lives, let go the pain and fear and, finally, heal and move forward together.

Debut author Dena Rogers makes a spectacular entrance to the field of romance with this nicely paced emotional tale that’s sole focus is on mending broken hearts and broken lives. In my humble opinion, one can’t help but applaud the author’s tackling of the subject of PTSD in a former female soldier, and I thought her handling of the subject was relevant, vividly moving, and very well done.

With regards to Sera, I found her attempts to repress her emotions, as a means of self-protection, to be utterly convincing and understandable, even though I found I didn’t always like her when she engaged these defense mechanisms. Ms. Rogers nicely countered Sera’s actions with the often understated actions of Tyler, whom she characterized with the compassionate ability to understand and sense Sera’s needs in the face of his own troubled emotions. This balance of give and take in characterization truly enhanced the gradual changes in this couple’s relationship and kept the plot moving with new revelations and just enough valid recriminations to keep Tyler and Sera’s relationship grounded and real.

Despite the novella length of DRIVE ME SANE, this tale has lots of depth, adequate back story, and there are few psychological or emotional issues that are left untouched. Crafting such a compelling story in approximately one hundred pages is a feat that deserves recognition and surely designates Dena Rogers as a talented new author to watch.”

Tis’ The Season

It seems like I just sat down to write my Hello December post and here we are three weeks into the month.  It’s a busy time for everyone, myself included.  Knowing that I’ll be off of work for twelve days, at the end of the month, means that I have to pack four weeks worth of work into two and a half weeks and since my oldest son turns thirteen in a couples days, I’ve got birthday shopping/party(cake and dinner at home) to do on top of finishing up my Christmas shopping.  As of today, I have only purchased four gifts, all of which were ordered online.

My family, some friends, and co-workers also sponsor a local boys home for Christmas gifts each year. Normally we do one cottage of approximately 13 boys, but my sister and her husband, who financially back the biggest portion of this task, decided this year we would take on the entire home.  We are supplying gifts and stockings to a total of 36 boys, ages 8-18.  Last Sunday was spent organizing what we already have and I’ll spend this Sunday getting the stockings ready so that they can be delivered on the 23rd.  By the time Christmas Eve at my in-laws rolls around, I’ll be exhausted, but like I said, I’ll have plenty of time to rest at the end of the month.

With everything going on, I haven’t actually sat down and written a post in weeks and I probably won’t get around to writing anymore until the end of the year.  I have some bookie things still going on.   Pure Jonel is hosting a giveaway of one print copy and one digital copy of Drive Me Sane beginning today and running through the 31st.  I’ll also be on her blog December 25th talking about things I love.  FYI, I’m sharing my super, easy and favorite white chocolate fudge recipe, so be sure to stop by and say hello.  InD’Tale Magazine also featured their review of Drive Me Sane in their holiday edition.  I’ll post that soon.

In the meantime, I’ve been critiquing and beta reading for two other authors.  So far, I have only scanned my NaNo project, hoping that a few of the hangups, I know it has, will work themselves out.  I’m excited to finally dive back into it while I’m off on Christmas break.  An author I met on NaNo looked at the first three chapters and gave me some positive feedback with some areas to develope.  I’m also hoping another author friend is still open to taking a look and critiqueing it with me after the first of the year.

So, yes like everyone, Tis’ The Season to be busy, but I’m trying to take it as it comes.

I’m over the moon today after reading Pure Jonel’s 5 Star review of Drive Me Sane.  Be sure to stop by and enter the giveaway for a signed print copy and digital copy beginning today through December 31st!  And if your needing a quick dessert to make on Christmas Day, check back in for that fudge recipe- no cooking required!Natural BridgeHad a blast at Natural Bridge State Park last weekend.  Thanks to all who stopped by!

Do Reviews Really Matter?

Apparently they do, at least to some people. I’m not one of those that read a review before buying a book. In fact, I never look at the reviews until I’m finished and then it’s only to see if other’s felt the way I did towards it. I’m a title, cover, blurb girl. If the title and cover catch my attention, I’ll turn it over to read the blurb and then if it’s something that catches my eye, I buy it. But never do I look at the reviews prior. I’ll be honest, I don’t really get the whole book review thing. This is coming from someone that has done review’s for a couple different sites, but as a reader, I don’t understand why someone would judge a book based on another person’s opinion. We are all different and like different things. Maybe I’m not the norm, but I’d rather try something out and make my own opinion. However in attempting to market my book, I have come to realize just how important reviews are. I’ve previously mentioned the struggles of asking book bloggers to write a review. I’ve received two. One was mediocre. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad, they said they liked it. The other was an amazing review, the kind that every first time author wants to have. So, right there goes to show you that opinions differ. However I’ve come to notice that many readers want to see not only positive feedback about a potential book, they want numbers. They don’t want five reviews, because we all know those first reviews come from our friends and family. They want to know what people who don’t know us think of our book. I don’t have a problem with this. I’m not an easily offended person. I know my writing isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea and I know there are going to be good reviews along with the bad. So I’ve continued to seek out unbiased reviewers, but it’s not always an easy task. Late last night, I sent another request. This wasn’t aimed at a specific blog or blogger, but a group of authors, readers, publishers and reviewers, whom pick and chose what they are interested in. I received a response today and after seeing the subject I was excited. Yes! I got a hit. But then I read the message and my stomach knotted and my chest heaved in a big sigh. My first instinct was to reply with, “Thank you for your interest, but I’d prefer that you didn’t review my book.” It might sound crazy, but that was my honest reaction. Maybe I should back up and tell you a little about my story so you’ll understand my predicament. The heroine in Drive Me Sane is an army veteran suffering from PTSD after a deployment to Afghanistan. It’s funny that just as I sat down to write this, I read a blog post of a friends that entailed how writing about what you know leads to writing about things you don’t know (Thanks Bill). I grew up near Ft. Hood, Texas so the military has always played a role in my life. I come from a strong military family; my husband served, my sister and brother in law both served, even my dad was in for a short time. I have several cousins and uncles who have also spent time in the armed forces, as well as, many friends who have devoted time as well. As for me, I thought about it once. Fresh out of high school and in my first year of college, I even went to see a recruiter. I was all up for it until I was informed that I’d be showering with other woman while in basic training.  That was the end of that idea. So I have no personal experience with being in the military and definitely no experience with PTSD. And yet, I chose to write about a female character that has experienced those things. It wasn’t the path that I set out to take. I knew my girl would be in the army, but never intended for PTSD to be a part of my story. It just happened that way. I researched the disorder and spoke to people about it, which did help in trying to develop her character, but I’m also a true believer in that if you’ve never walked in someone’s shoes, you truly have no idea how they felt. Which brings me up to point. My response came from a two time Iraqi War veteran. A gentleman whom has experienced the things that I know nothing about, yet tried to convey through words for others to read as enjoyment. Do you see my delimina? I see this going one of two ways: really bad or really good. I knew at some point my book would likely fall into the hands of a female soldier and I’ve always had mixed feelings about that. I worry if I missed something or if I stayed true to fact. I suppose every new author has concerns about these things. So my first instinct was no, I’d rather he not read it, because I’m sure what I’ve written can never stand up to the real thing and the last thing I would ever want to be is disrespectful in anyway. It took me five hours to think about it and respond, because not only will he be reading this from a soldiers perspective, he will also be reading it from a man’s. Please don’t think I’m being biased, but the truth is, romance is generally a woman’s genre. So it does surprise me a little when a man say’s he’s going to read it. In the end, yes I sent him a copy. Because, as a writer, I need to learn to overcome these fears. The fear of offending or completely botching it up.

So back to my question: are reviews really all that important? Generally, I’d say no. But this one? Yes, it’s very important, because it’s coming from someone who, to a certain degree, has lived my story and their thoughts will hold a great deal of meaning to me.

What’s in a song?

What goes into writing a song? I suppose it’s a lot like writing a book, something sparks the idea and there you go, but I’ll get more into that in a minute. Right now I want to address what’s more important. It’s RELEASE DAY! I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. Well…if I’m being honest, I haven’t really been sitting around and waiting. It’s something I’ve thought about, but never imagined would happen. I began writing seriously about ten years ago. I dabbled in it as a teen and always loved writing essays for school, but it was never anything I ever considered for a career. My plans included law school, but then I met my husband, moved to Kentucky, had kids and well you get the point.  Law school never happened, and I’m thankful for it every day.  Because I work closely with the field and know without a doubt that I would have been miserable.  Besides, for the most part, I like what I do, even though it isn’t always easy.  It’s probably why I read so much-to escape the real lives of everyday people whom I encounter. But that isn’t necessarily true either. I’ve always been a reader. It started when my mom took my sister and I to the library one day and I checked out a book by Christopher Pike. I was about eight, so it’s been a while since I’ve read any of his books and I can’t remember any of their titles, but his name has always stuck with me. Needless to say, my obsession with mystery and suspense was born. I remember the way my heart raced with anticipation and how even though I’d be scared to death, I’d still want to finish the book. From then on I’ve had a love affair with reading and although I haven’t always been faithful, I always seem to come back to it. When marriage, kids, and work took a front seat, it was another trip to the library that again sparked my interest. I took my son to story time and while waiting for it to begin, passed by a rack of paperbacks. A book by the name of Night Sin’s caught my eye.  Tami Hoag is now one of my favorite authors. It seems weird that my passion has always been in mystery and suspense and that I write romance, but I’m not particularly choosy in what I read. I love a little bit of everything, but romance for now, is where I’m comfortable.

When I say I began writing seriously ten years ago, everyone automatically assumes Drive Me Sane has been ten years in the making. Nothing could be further from the truth. My first completed novel still sits on my hard drive. I’ve never submitted it to anyone and I’m not really sure if I’ll ever do anything with it. I think the storyline is decent, but it needs a lot of work. I’ve considered turning it into short story for an introduction to another work in progress, but I just can’t seem to get on the ball. It’s like one of my kids that I don’t want to let go. Drive Me Sane is actually a relatively new story for me. It’s not been quite a year since the idea popped into my head, while driving home from a race at two in the morning.  Both kids were asleep in the backseat and as usual, I had the music turned up and was singing away.  Then a song came on that I didn’t know, so I just listened.  I’m not one of those people who hear a song and immediately fall in love with it.  I’d never heard of Tyler Farr or his song Redneck Crazy before that night, but the words really drilled inside me and made me think about relationships and how we handle breakups.  I know some of you that don’t listen to country music might be turned off by the title, but it’s not a hyped up in your face redneck song. It’s actually a love ballad and the lyrics made me realize that we don’t always react to a breakup the way we’d like to.  In fact, we do some silly and sometimes embarrassing things. I went home that night, bought the song and the next morning began what would eventually become Drive Me Sane. I’d like to go ahead and answer what anyone who knows this story asks. Is my hero based on Tyler Farr? No. I do not know, nor have I ever met Mr. Farr-although, I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea :). I did catch one of his shows at The Tin Roof in Lexington, but in no way is my hero a reflection of him in anyway.  I do enjoy his music though. In fact several of his songs are on my Drive Me Sane playlist, but he as a person was not an inspiration.  My hero and him simply share the same first name and profession.  In fact, I tried to name my hero anything but Tyler.  I toyed around with different names and nothing would stick. Tyler isn’t a name I particularly love. No offense, but it’s not something I’d name one of my boys, but it seemed I kept coming back to it and so I finally gave up. That’s the problem a writer. Sometimes your characters speak to you and you may not always like it or agree, but you have to go with what they want. It’s just the way it is.

It took me five months to get my story at a place I was happy with and confident enough to submit. I was in the process of writing query letters and synoptsis’ when I saw an online pitch opportunity through twitter. Prior to writing Drive Me Sane, I had only submitted one other piece of work. It was declined and looking at it now, I completely understand why. It was rough and like my first finished novel, still needs a lot of work. But I felt good with Drive Me Sane and although apprehensive, I was determined not to let one reject deter me. So I entered the online pitch and had not only one, but two of it’s editors interested. Needless to say, three weeks later, I got a nice email saying your storyline is strong, but there are some issues with the manuscript that don’t make it as strong as we’d like. I’ve done enough research to know that not every publisher gives detailed feedback, but I was lucky enough that I got a few pointers of where my story faltered. So I put my manuscript away, thought about what they said and began working through the suggestions in my head. Two weeks later, I was well into the new edits. And then I saw another twitter pitch for a different publisher. For days leading up, I thought about entering and finally decided I wasn’t ready. I still had some work to do and I’m not the kind that throws things out half finished, but on the day of the pitch, it was still on my mind.  I had taken my son to the doctor and we decided to stop by my mom’s work to say hi. Sitting in the car, waiting for her to get off, I scanned through twitter and there it was again.  For whatever reason, it was just too tempting. So I typed out my 140 characters and waited. Nothing came quick, but then I got a response asking for more detail. I’m not good at being put on the spot, so I nervously typed out something and waited. My next response was, “I’m not sure I understand the plot, but I like the characters.” Then they asked for the first five chapters. Two day’s later, after frantically combing through those first five, I sent them along with a query letter and synoptsis to Crimson Romance. A week went by and I didn’t hear anything. But, I did see a post advertising an online editing workshop. It was a three week course and it covered the topics that were what I had been initially told was wrong with my manuscript. So I decided to give it a go.  It’s been the best thing (as far as my writing is concerned), that I’ve done. It not only taught me about dialogue tags and comma splices, it let me know that I had no clue what an editor was looking for. A great idea and a terrible manuscript will not get you published. A decent idea with a decently edited manuscript, might. Three weeks, $75.00 and no word from Crimson (I assumed they weren’t interested), I began a major overhaul of Drive Me Sane. I completely tore it apart.  And then one day, in the midst of doing this, I woke up to an email that said, “I’m really intrigued by Sera and Tyler’s reunion. Could you please send me the full manuscript.” My exact words were “OH SHIT!” Remember me telling you about the adrenaline I felt as a kid when I read Christopher Pike’s books? Yeah, it came back except that it was much worse. I was excited and scared at the same time. My husband said, “That’s good.” But it wasn’t. Drive Me Sane was in a state of complete mess. I had about thirty five thousand words in a novel I submitted as having fifty-six. So for two weeks, I threw myself into getting it together. I worked on it through lunch, I shut myself in my room after work and barely came out. I lived on coffee and whatever I could find left over to eat. I did it, but it wasn’t easy and I couldn’t have done it without my husband who stepped up to the plate and took over at home. I added about fifteen thousand words and completely rewrote the ending, but I wasn’t all that hopeful when I sent  in my full manuscript ten days later.  I still wasn’t up to the word count they required and my story had changed so much, it didn’t coincide with the synopsis I’d sent them, but I was honest and up front.  I explained what I had done and that I understood if it was no longer something that they were interested in. Five days later, I got the news. They wanted to acquired my manuscript.
So here we are five months down the road and I have a published book. Yes, it was fast and crazy. It’s been thrilling and overwhelming at the same time. It’s even been scary, but it’s also been an experience that I’ll cherish forever. If I never get the opportunity again, at least I can say I accomplished what I set out to do.  Thanks Crimson for taking a chance on me and Jess, my editor, for truly understanding my characters.  I hope I don’t disappoint.

So what goes into a song? I really don’t know, but I can tell you want comes out of one. Sometimes it’s a mended heart or the strength to carry on. Sometimes it’s a memory of a good time. And sometimes it’s the idea for a book.

The full playlist of Drive Me Sane can be heard here:  http://open.spotify.com/user/1235812/playlist/2HJxkCYiejpa4DZGpaov8B

5200 miles, 12states, 10 days and I still have a ways to go.

Two weeks of travelling across the US with my familly not only spoiled me, but my husband too.  We each keep saying “I just want to pack up and leave again.”  Although, I’m not so sure the boys would be up for it so quickly.  They were starting to miss the dog and riding next to each other was beginning to wear on them (me too!).  Yellowstone was a trip my husband and I had been planning for years.  We’d looked at pictures and talked about it so often, that I felt at times I’d already been there.  However pictures will never do justice for the beauty of that part of the country.  The Battle of Little Big Horn, Beartooth Pass,Yellowstone Park, Grand Tetons, Devils Tower, Mount Rushmore, and The Bridges of Madison County.  If you’ve never been to any of these places and ever get the chance to do so, I encourage you to take the opportunity.  They were stunning!  5,200 miles, 10 days and 12 states. It was a journey and a lot of memories made.

Now we are back to reality.  Paying bills, going to work and getting ready for the kids to start school.  Not nearly as fun as seeing Old Faithful erupt or enjoying the landscape while driving through South Dakota.  I do have the release of Drive Me Sane to look forward to.  Ten days to go! Yes only ten!!  I have to take a deep breath when I think about it.  It still seems a little surreal. Everyone keeps asking if I’m excited.  Stressed, nervous, and can’t sleep because my mind won’t shut down would be better descriptions right now.  Come July 28th, I’ll probably be exstatic, but now I’m overwhelmed.  I know I keep saying I’m going to write that post about things I’ve learned (I still will), but I’m going to go ahead and throw this out there.  I’ve never considered myself a naive person, but I realize there are a lot of things I have no clue about.  Publishing a book was one of them.  If your under the assumption that publishing a book means you write a story good enough to catch an editors attention and that’s it, think again.  Basically that’s what I thought it would be like.  I thought…hey, here’s my book, glad you like it, thank you!  Ha!  Not my luck.  But honestly no, I wasn’t that naive.  I knew a lot of self promotion would go into it and I knew I’d have a hard time doing that.  I’m not a social butterfly, nor could I have ever made a career in sales.  I’m more like here it is, if you like it great, if not, that’s fine too.  Now I’ve been thrown into the world of marketing, in which I have no experience in.  Social media is the way of the world.  I’m pretty okay with that.  I have all the “pages” and “sites” in place.  But how to throw your work out there without becoming annoying or overbearing is the problem I have.  “Now is not the time to be shy.”  I’ve been told that more times than I can count.  I’m trying…really trying and it gives me a stomach ache every time I reach out.  I’ll probably be on Xanex like the characters in my book before this is all over.

So what all goes into publishing a book?  A lot!  Much more than I ever anticipated, but I’m not going to dig into all the small details.  I will say that writing the book and going through the editing process was the easy part. It’s the what comes next that’s hard.  Of course my publisher has their own marketing tools, but they also send you a nice little packet (about an inch thick) of ways to do your own marketing.  Do any of you follow blogs? Maybe some of you have your own.  Mine is very generic, as you can see, but it works.  I’m a simple kind of girl and although there are a few upgrades I’d like to do, most likely this will never get too fancy.  Fancy means more upkeep and that’s something I don’t have the time, knowledge or patience for.  But back to the blogs.  Contacting reviewers or bloggers is one way to market your book.  If you follow any, you know that they are a great asset to whatever their cause may be. Most book blogs offer author/book spotlights, reviews, and will do giveaways- these are all ways to get the word out there.  And let me tell you…there are a lot of book blogs.  Being an avid reader, I followed a few, but had no idea how many there truly were until I started researching them.  So as soon as I received my ARC copy, I began contacting blogs requesting reviews, etc.  I sent a handful out and got one response.  One.  At least they were willing to review it.  None of the other even bothered saying “We appreciated your request, but…”  I know most of these are run in a person’s spare time and are done profit free and they can not accept or respond to every request, so I’m not dogging them in any way.  Please don’t think that.  I’m simply pointing out the frustrations of being a newbie in this industry and not knowing what to expect.  So round two, I sent out a few more.  Still haven’t heard from any of them, but at that point vacation was coming up, so I decided not to stress over it.  Back from vacation, I decided to give it another go around and I finally hit the jackpot.  Okay, so no money is involved, but I did finally get a few responses.  In fact, not only did I get reviews, I got a few opportunities to spotlight my book on their websites.  I also had one person have enough patience with me to talk me along and walk me through some promotional stuff too.  Banners, playlist, character Q&A, author interview, teasers, blurbs, excerpts, trailers, media buy links- I got lost somewhere in all of the things that could possibly be done.  Like I said, I follow a few blogs, I see this stuff, but what goes into putting it together…clueless.  I’m not a wing-it kind of person either.  So for the past week, my nights have been spent researching all these things, looking at different blogs to see how it’s done, checking out other author’s spotlights and playing around with different ideas.  This is what I mean by haveing no clue about what goes into publishing a book, but then again, I guess I really had no concept of what went into marketing a book.  I have no qualms admitting that I’m not all that tech savy and how to put some of the stuff that was requested together went way over my head.  However, I’m proud to say, a few banners later, a playlist on spotify and a whole list of other stuff, and I offically have a media package put together.  I slept better last night than I had in weeks.  So yes, today, finally I’m a little excited, but I’m pretty sure the nerves will hang around until this baby gets launched.  I may have traveled 5200 miles and seen 12 states in ten days, but I still have a ways to go when it comes to this book stuff!

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DRIVE ME SANE

DriveMeSane CoverUnable to perform her duties in the army after a twelve-month deployment to Afghanistan that leaves her with scars no one can see, Sera Cavins returns to her hometown hoping that some time alone will help her find her way back to being the girl everyone once knew. That is, until she finds herself sharing a house with the man who left her heartbroken merely weeks before her deployment.

Tyler Creech made it to Nashville and even earned a number one hit, but being a rising country music artist isn’t as easy as he thought. He’s back in Cobb City, Kentucky, looking for something to ease the stress of his next release. He discovers it standing on his mom’s and stepdad’s lawn when Sera, the girl he once planned to marry, shows up. They’d been perfect for each other, until the strain of Sera’s deployment and pressure of Tyler’s career drove them apart. Now with neither of their lives going the way they anticipated, both are fighting different yet similar demons. But change is good, and sometimes going a little crazy is too. Sometimes it’s what keeps you sane.

Drive Me Sane

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