Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Relationship Between Music and Writing

Probably since the first moment I began watching the movie Once, I was captivated by Glen Hansard's voice and music. I quickly bought the soundtrack and it has been on repeat during many moments in my life. "Falling Slowly" is easily my favorite song in the world.

Several years back, only knowing the music from that movie, I dragged Alan to a Sunday night concert at San Francisco's iconic The Fillmore to see The Frames and from that moment on I was hooked.

Writers often talk about their inspiration, and while I wouldn't say that Glen Hansard or The Frames has had an influence on my writing *that you can see* it's there. His music makes up a large part of my creative soundtrack, especially when I'm writing a scene or dialogue that requires a lot of introspection and rawness. There are very few musicians I listen to who reach inside my soul and squeeze, but there's just something about the honesty, transparency, and realness to his music that can bring out those emotions in me as well.

 I'm hoping that when we are living in Dublin I'll be able to see him "at home," in one of that city's iconic music venues that he's so much a supporter of. In the meantime, I definitely plan on picking up his new music when it comes out on September 18

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Her Confessional #3 Now Available for Pre-Order

I'm thrilled to announce that Her Confessional #3: Playing for Keeps is now available for pre-order exclusively on Amazon, and will be delivered to your Kindle device on September 30!

After months of hiding their engagement to promote a farcical PR relationship tied to Cameron's new movie, Sarah is struggling to remind herself of the benefits of the plan – if only she can make it that long. Having just about reached their breaking point, Cameron proposes a romantic weekend away to re-connect but their boss has a better idea: a two-week trip away from the prying eyes of Hollywood and the PR team’s aggressive gossip machine. 

Once out of the Hollywood spotlight, Cameron reverts back to the loving, attentive man Sarah first fell in love with and idyllic days spent hiking, biking, and surfing lead to sensual nights wrapped in each other’s arms. But when a gossip columnist viciously pegs Sarah as “the other woman,” they’re forced to acknowledge the reality of their situation. Vowing to beat the studio at its own game, Sarah and Cameron openly flaunt their relationship, knowing their actions may mean giving up the careers they both love. 

With help from some new friends along the way, Cameron and Sarah re-discover what matters most as they work to find their happily ever after.

This 53,000-word novella is the third and final installment in the Her Confessional serial 



“Despite how it may look to the outside world, I know in my heart we’re not some whirlwind romance. I wanted to be with you for so long and there were times I went weeks on end wishing for your body next to mine at night. But now that I have you, I feel like I’m not living up to my own dreams for how it would be. I told myself that after that first disastrous margarita-fueled night if you forgave me – if you took me back – I’d do everything in my power to be a better man for you. But it seems like no matter how hard I try, I’m being stonewalled at every turn. 

“I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t have been better for me to keep my feelings to myself – kept my distance – so that you could eventually meet and fall in love with a man who is worthy of you. Someone whose circumstances don’t have you hiding in the shadows. Somehow who goes out of his way to tell everyone how much he loves you, a man who screams from the rooftops how he can’t wait to make you his wife. Instead you’ve got me and I just can’t help but think that maybe you’ve settled for someone who can never be what you need. That you’re wasting your love on me.”

His confession left me breathless. I’d never seen – or heard – Cameron so conflicted about himself, about the decisions that lead him to where we were today. About the rightness of us. Since that night at Zuma Beach he’d been so self-assured, so no-holds-barred when it came to being with me, to getting what he wanted. 

By all accounts we were having a whirlwind romance, and mostly that had been because of how quickly he had moved us from the friend zone to something much more serious. I had never expected he would ask me to marry him, much less for him to have done so that quickly. But now that he had, I couldn’t imagine our relationship being any different. From the moment he had shown up in the parking lot the day he had been cast in The Ties That Bind, he had pursued me with a single-minded passion. While it had been a heady thing that oftentimes left me reeling and looking for some sort of anchor to grab hold of, I couldn’t imagine anything else, how we would have altered our lives just a little bit here and there to slowly – calmly, and in a measured way – make room for a relationship that went from hanging out all the time as friends to becoming lovers. 

I could be honest enough with myself to know that a small adjustment like that wouldn’t have been enough – for either of us. We needed this all-consuming passion like we needed air to breathe. With us it needed to be all or nothing. As difficult as things had been since the night he asked me to marry him, I knew to the depths of my soul that we were doing the right thing – for us. It might not have worked for a different sort of couple – probably wouldn’t have – but this was the relationship we needed. Anything less would have felt like we were short-changing ourselves. 

“Cameron, you have to know that I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else. I’ve loved you for so long that I don’t know who I am without that. There’s no way I could have met and been with someone else. You already lived in here.” I brought my hand flush against my chest and felt my heart beating strong and steady for him. 

“Thank you for loving me. You shouldn’t, but I’m happy you do.” 

I took in Cameron’s face so close to my own and watched the myriad emotions he was experiencing play out in his features. As I stared at him, his eyes turned glassy with a pool of unshed tears, then he took a deep, steadying breath and swiped at his eyes to clear them. “I promise I’ll be a good husband to you.”

I had no doubt of the veracity of his words. I knew that he would be a good husband. We just had to get there first. We would no doubt experience more difficulty ahead, but I felt to the tips of my toes that this time away with him would help me weather any coming storms.

(Excerpt subject to change up until publication day.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Choosing Sarah's Wedding Dress in Her Confessional

When we pick up with Her Confessional #3: Playing For Keeps, things have been tense between our heroine, Sarah Travers, and the love of her life, Cameron Scott. He's asked her to marry him and she'll be damned if she lets the ridiculous plans of his movie's PR team stand in their way. But before Sarah can marry Cameron, there are so many things that need to be taken care of ... not least of which is picking out her dress.

So, which one do you think she chooses?

All dresses from David's Bridal, one of the more affordable options for pretty dresses for plus size brides

Which dress will Sarah pick for her big day?

Option 1
Option 2
Option 3
Option 4
Option 5
Option 6
Option 7
Option 8
Poll Maker

Saturday, August 15, 2015

I Miss This View

Not going to lie to you. It's really hard to feel motivated to write when a little over a week ago this was my view.

It's just not the same looking at a desk, or a fireplace, or the back of the stucco building out my living room window.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Impact of My KDP Select Exclusivity Period Coming to an End

When Amazon announced its change to the way it paid authors who participated in KDP Select - and thus Kindle Unlimited - I had a bad feeling about what it would mean for how I'm paid for the books that I enroll in the program; however, since none of my books were close to ending their exclusive period, I didn't dwell on it too much. Well, in the past two weeks both A Time Apart and Her Confessional #1 have ended their 90-day period and I feel like I can give you some formal insight into what it means for me as an author to have my books enrolled.

First and foremost, as an author, my earnings dropped significantly. And with the new reporting structure I no longer had insight into how many of my books were being downloaded, just the number of pages read. Were people just now getting to my books after having downloaded them before? Were people downloading but not reading? One thing I did find interesting was how many pages of A Time Apart people were reading. Last month it looks like a number of people were actually reading it and so I wondered if that would translate into reviews. It didn't. So not only was I making as much money as I had been before, but I also wasn't seeing any tangible feedback.

Another interesting thing happened with A Time Apart, and while it may be a coincidence, I've talked with other authors who have experienced the same thing so I'm hesitant to say that the two aren't linked. For the past several weeks, my paranormal romance has been doing really well in the rankings. I wrote about this before. I've solidly been in the Top 100 across several categories, going so high as the Top 25 in a couple of them. Then my KDP Select period ended and within hours my rankings started to plummet. I went from #23 to #47 to #53 to #88 and as of this writing, my highest ranking is #121. I expect by the end of the day I'll be much lower as well. And because I currently have more sales for A Time Apart than I did during the timeframe when I was ranked #23, I can only surmise that this drop is directly linked to my participation as an author in the KDP Select program. Of course there's no hard proof, and Amazon will never confirm nor deny how exactly the algorithm works, but it's just too much not to see a link.

I've been considering offering my books on B&N and iBooks for those readers who don't have a Kindle. I need to do some significant formatting updates to make this happen, so it won't be for a bit. Still, I'm curious to see if offering it to consumers who use different devices will have a positive impact on my exposure as an author. Or, if being part of KDP Select really is the best way to get my words in the hands of the most readers.

Only time will tell ...