Updates On What I’m Doing

It’s been a while since I gave an update on what’s happening, so I thought I’d do that today. 🙂

Even though I’m working on a lot of things, I haven’t forgotten about Shane’s Deal or Kidnapping the Viscount.

Shane’s Deal is with my publisher, and the estimated release date is April 5.

This is the final book in the Montana Collection.

Shane's Deal new ebook cover

If that changes, I’ll update it, but the last time I spoke with my publisher, that was the date that looked the most promising. I’ll give more details about this book as we get closer to the release date.

Kidnapping the Viscount is on track to be out May 18.

This is the final book in the Marriage by Fate Series.

Kidnapping the Viscount Ebook Cover

Not on pre-order at Amazon or Google Play yet.

I’ve already set the pre-order date on this one for B&N, Kobo, and Apple. I like to have the final book ready before I upload it to Amazon or Google Play. I expect to have it up and ready for pre-order on all retailers by mid-April. I’m waiting for two beta readers to get back to me before I finalize everything. I’ll also go more into what this book is about at that time.

Now for the stuff I’m currently writing…

Writing For Passion (a nonfiction novelette)

(cover coming soon)

Quickly, I want to announce the short ebook I’m working on for writers who are looking for inspiration in writing for passion. I’m taking blog posts and modifying them, but this is a subject I think isn’t discussed nearly enough in the indie writer community. Too many books out there are dedicated to the mindset of writing as a business. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it has left a gap for the writers who’d rather write for pleasure. That’s where this book comes in.

The book will be about 10,000 words long. I don’t like long books when it comes to nonfiction, so I try not to write them any longer than they have to be. I hope to have this one out in December.

The Wedding Pact should hit 50,000 words before the end of the week.

This is Book 3 in the Marriage by Fairytale Series. I’m hoping to get this out in July.

The Wedding Pact ebook cover

I hit 49,000 words today.  (For easy comparison with this book and the others I’m talking about, I usually average 60,000 words in the stories I write.) I don’t know when any of these books will be done. It’s still too early to tell how long these books will end up being since all of them have more things that need to happen in them. I just stop writing when the characters are done telling me what to write. 🙂

Anyway, this one is loosely based off of the Little Red Riding Hood tale. I initially expected one villain in the story, but it’s turned out there are two. The second one came up unexpectedly. A lot of what happens in any story surprises me, but I got to say that no book has been surprising me more than Fairest of Them All.

Fairest of Them All is 54,000 words right now

This is Book 4 in the Marriage by Fairytale Series. I’m hoping to get this out either in August or September.

fairest of them all ebook cover

This one has been the most exciting one to write. Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited about all of these books, but this is the one that has thrown more twists my way than the others, and I happen to love the unexpected twists when they come up.

The ironic thing is that, unlike the other books, I know how this one ends. The mystery is how things lead up to the ending, and it’s turned into a fun process to watch how the pieces are coming together.

Though I took Snow White as the launching pad for this particular story, it’s turning out to be a lot different from that fairytale. There is no wicked step-mother. The step-mother isn’t a widow. This story has pretty much launched me in a completely different direction than Snow White should have taken me. The only similarities is that there is a step-mother and a person’s beauty factors into the equation. So I’m not going to keep comparing this book to Snow White. I don’t want people to get disappointed when they find out how different it is.

Nelly’s Mail Order Husband hit the 50,000 word mark today

This is Book 1 in the Husbands for the Larson Sisters Series. This will probably be out in September or October. (October 26 is the latest it’ll be out.)

Nelly's Mail Order Husband for website

The exact word count is 50,007, but what’s a couple extra words? 😛

I have to say that I adore Tom Larson. He is the perfect dad for a group of girls. I figured going into this series that the his four daughters were going to be a lot of fun to work with, and that’s exactly how it’s turned out. These girls remind me of Joel Larson with their antics, except they don’t give poor Tom a difficult time.

The three younger sisters have all decided to get a husband for the oldest, and it’s just a blast whenever they all get together to remind the oldest of how great her new husband is. Because of them, this book is a fun romantic comedy.

Forever Yours is at 33,000 words

This is Book 8 in the Nebraska Series. (I’ll try to shift His Redeeming Bride to #9 and Isaac’s Decision to #10. If the retailers won’t accept the shift, I’ll make this a standalone companion to go with the Nebraska Series or figure something else out.

I’m hoping to have this out in November.

NO COVER YET

This one took longer to take off than the others, and that’s because I wasn’t sure what the tone of the story was going to be. I had to get back into Dave and Mary’s world, and it took time to get a feel for how to best proceed with their third and final book. This will be the last one I write featuring them because there is nothing else to tell. But I have plenty of stuff for this one, and while some bad things do happen (like Dave breaks his leg), it’s mostly a light-hearted story. I don’t know if this is an outright comedy, but there’s definitely some laughable moments.

This is largely a reunion with the Larsons story. It’s a lot of fun. I feel like I’ve returned home after being gone for a few years. Though I enjoy writing about the children these characters had, there’s something about the original six siblings (Richard, Sally, Tom, Dave, Jenny, and Joel) that have a special place in my heart. From talking with some of you, I know you feel the same way.

At the moment, Mary is trying to figure out what to tell Dave when she and the kids return home and their oldest son Isaac is going to ramble on about how exciting it was to visit his Uncle Richard who’s been interviewed by a reporter from Chicago because of his successful business. Poor Dave isn’t going to like that at all, and it’s where his insecurity is going to come into play. It’s hard for any father to hear his son talk about how great another man is. You can’t blame Isaac, though. He’s only nine, so he doesn’t realize what Dave is going through.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The One Simple Trick to Getting More Done

Today’s post is inspired by this You Tube video.

It’s twenty-six minutes long, but there are a lot of good tips in it. I’m not going to rehash them. I’m using this video as a springboard.

There is actually a very simple trick to getting more done, but it requires discipline to follow through with it. Ready for it?

Here goes:

Limit how much time you give yourself to doing the task you want to do.

That’s all there really is to it. I tried two different methods. One was giving myself a set word count to finish. I couldn’t stop writing for the day until I hit that goal. On average, it took me all day to reach it. I found if I don’t set a limit on how much time I’ll give myself to write, I’ll actually write more in a shorter amount of time.

For example, I used to give myself 6-8 hours to write 3,000 words for the day. On some days, I would get to 3,000 words, but on others, I would only get 1,500 or 2,500 words. I rarely ever wrote over 3,000. Why? I guess it’s because my mind was fixed on 3,000 words at a maximum. But I also would let myself check social media, emails, You Tube, and do other things with my time while I was supposed to be writing. Then I started giving myself 1 hour per book to write in as much (or as little) as I could for that particular day. I found that I not only got more words in, but I got more time freed up afterward to exercise or relax.

I know this sounds like it wouldn’t work, but it does.

Here’s the key: You have to get rid of ALL distractions AND you have to focus only on that one book for the ENTIRE time you have devoted to it.

You can listen to music if it tends to motivate you for writing. You can even take a drink of water, tea, coffee, etc. You can stretch your muscles if you need it. You can also use the bathroom as long as you come right back to the computer. No cheating on this one.

But you can’t do any of the following: answer phone calls, make phone calls, check the internet, listen to TV, watch TV (even if it’s out of the corner of your eye), listen to the radio, engage with anyone on social media, talk to someone (throw people out if they come into your room, or find a library/cafe/park to write).

The basic idea is that it must only be you and the story. Nothing else matters.

See what I mean? This requires a lot of discipline, and it’s not easy. Some days, you’ll do better than others. I have fallen out of this routine after implementing it, and it’s lowered my progress each and every time. So you have to be dedicated to this method.

It’s really easy to do, and yet, it’s not. The bottom line is how determined are you to write the book?  If you want it bad enough, you’ll do this.

So, let’s say you have one book you’re working on, and you’re crunched for time. Give yourself 30 minutes to give your 100% attention to it. When those 30 minutes are up, you’re done. You can’t go back to that story until tomorrow. So, if you didn’t get much done on your first day, you have extra motivation to get more done the next day.

This is a process. It takes time to develop this habit. It won’t always be easy to stick with this. If you fall off the wagon and slip into old habits, give yourself some grace (because we’re only human), and just hop back on the wagon tomorrow.

I used the example of writing for this post, but this tactic works for a lot of other things, too. It can be used for social media, emails, blogging, formatting, marketing, cleaning a room, exercise, etc, etc.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Writing for Passion Buffers Writers From Fickle Trends

Today’s post is inspired by an excellent blog post I came across in a Facebook writing group on The Ghostwriter Game by Sherry Ficklin.

Writing for passion offers wonderful buffers that I didn’t even consider when I decided to leave the rat race of trying to keep up with the trends in the indie publishing world. There have been several trends I’ve noticed over the past ten years I’ve been in this business.

Here are four trends I’m aware of that has played a big role in indie publishing:

1. Exclusivity to Amazon. This meant authors had to enter the Kindle Direct Publishing Select program, which later gave birth to Kindle Unlimited. Authors who entered this program could only sell their ebooks on Amazon. They could not sell it on any other retailer. In return for this, Amazon gave these books special rankings (aka visibility) not granted to books not in the program. Greater visibility means more sales (or, at the very least, more pages read money).

2. Writing to market. If authors wanted to keep sales going, they had to figure out what types of books were selling the most and then write books tailored to that audience. (I fell into this particular trend, which I have come to regret. But I learned a lot of valuable things from it, so it was worth slogging through the pain of being immersed in it.)

3. Ads. This one gained serious momentum in 2018 and is still riding high. Authors are talking about how it’s “pay to play” now. In order to make money, you have to spend a lot of money. Some authors spend $1000 to $10,000 a month on ads. These ads are mostly run through Amazon or Facebook, and yes, people really do spend a lot of money to get noticed. So if you’re not playing this game, your sales are taking a hit. Even authors writing to market have to run ads to stay relevant.

4. Ghostwriters. This is the latest trend. I’m not sure when it started, but I suspect it was around 2017. That’s when I noticed that in order to stay relevant, I had to get books out as fast as possible. Before 2016, I  used to be able to release a book and rest for a month or two before I needed another one to keep sales going. I can’t speak for other authors on when they noticed they needed to get books out faster to keep a steady amount of sales coming in, but 2016 is when I noticed it. (Hence why I began writing to market at that time.) Anyway, over the years, the time period between release dates has gotten shorter and shorter. It started out that a book would fall off the map of visibility in 90 days. Then it was 60 days. Then it was 30 days. And at the time I’m writing this (March 2019), it seems like you need to get a new book out every week or every other week to stay relevant. This is where ghostwriters come in. There’s no way in the world an author can stay sane while getting all of those books out so quickly. Authors need breaks. No one can work without a break. So ghostwriters are a trend. They help authors stay relevant in the indie publishing world.

Why writing for passion buffers against trends:

I don’t fault authors for doing any of those trends. As I said, I did one of them myself. They keep authors afloat in an ever-changing landscape. But chasing these trends is stressful because they aren’t consistent. They only work for a while. And believe me, this ends up taking a toll on the author. This is why some authors have personal assistants to help them. They can’t manage all of this load on their own. There’s only so much any one person can do in a day.

Chasing trends is really about chasing money. Yes, money is important. I’m not going to pretend it isn’t. We need it in order to pay the bills and eat. Who wants to work at their job and NOT get paid? Writing is work. It’s work authors enjoy, but it’s still work. Just because you enjoy your work, it doesn’t lessen its value.

But when money becomes the focal point of what we do, it can hinder us from being able to enjoy writing. Most writers I talk to started writing early in life. They wrote because they loved writing, and they had stories they wanted to share with the world. When you replace that passion with the quest for money, it makes writing a chore. As I said in the last paragraph, money is important, but it needs to be placed in the right perspective to avoid making it the only thing that matters.

This is where the benefit of writing for passion comes in. Writing for passion gives you something other than money to aim for. It focuses your attention on the story itself. It frees you up to indulge in the characters’ lives. You immerse yourself into the story, and, as a result, the story becomes the reward.

When your focus is on the story, your eyes go off of the trends. It no longer matters what the new gimmick is. All that matters is writing a story you can give 100% of yourself to. So while other authors are chasing trends at a frantic pace, you can relax and enjoy the world you’re creating. I’ve written plenty of stories for passion and more than I care to admit for money, and the difference between the two is like night day. Writing for passion energizes you. It excites you. It makes you eager to wake up. Really, what it does is produces a joy in you that money can never give you. Money is a temporary pleasure, but the joy that comes from working on something you’re passionate about brings pleasure for a lifetime. When your focus is on the joy of writing for passion, you will stay level while the rest of the world is on a crazy rollercoaster ride.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments