Perfection is Not Complicated

This past weekend was perfect for me. Why? I didn’t go anywhere elaborate, or do anything exciting. Instead I spent it sitting on my father’s porch. He has a great porch with rocking chairs, and a swing, and even a picnic table on it so you can do whatever you would like while relaxing and enjoying the summer.

The temperature was perfect – sunny and in the lower eighties (Fahrenheit) . And NO humidity. There was a breeze and if that wasn’t enough, my dad has a ceiling fan that can be turned on to circulate air.

I sat for two whole days on that covered porch, reading though my final proof of FOR BETTER OR FOR WOLF.  And I snacked on ice cream and some other yummy dishes as well. At one point, I sat in a rocking chair reading a book for pleasure as the breeze blew across the porch. At that moment, I realized how perfect it was. No fanfare. No lights and whistles. No deadlines. Just peace.

And it also made me appreciate that there is perfection in simplicity. My wish for you is that you find that moment of perfection, of simplicity and enjoy it. We don’t get a lot of those, so savor it when it happens!

Writer’s Crossroads

When an author writes “the end” to a story, it’s an amazing feeling. But it also signals the author to gear up for what they are going to do next. If they are in the middle of a series and have obligations to finish that, then it isn’t hard to make a decision to move forward.

For me, I will be publishing books 4 and 5 in my paranormal wedding planner series this fall which leaves book 6 to go. And I will get to that book soon. But right now, I am at a crossroads. Because when I’m done with book 6, I have to decide what I want to write next.

I have some ideas (all possibilities and not certainties, aka – no promises!).

I could write a spin-off shifter trilogy for my Mind Sweeper series and tie up the loose ends for my unattached characters – Doc & Jason for one, and Grffin for another…

I have also been toying with writing a cozy mystery series as well…

I could pull a partially written book I have started that would jump start a new trilogy on some pretty interesting supernatural that I have been playing with…

Or, I could work on a new series that’s starting to form in my brain which would be very different than what I have written before…

See? A lot of options to sift through. And while they are exiting, they are also a bit daunting. So any suggestions (or votes) would be appreciated. I’m writing for my readers after all…

Proof Positive

My proofreading editor sent back FOR BETTER OR FOR WOLF to me today with the final proof edits. And as I go through them I think about all the steps that got me to this (somewhat) last edit.

Brainstorming that started back in the prior book of the series so I could set up the heroine for book four (I’m tricky like that), followed by writing and writing and did I mention writing?

Then it went to content edits, then regular edits, then final line edits before I sent it to proof. And in between all of these steps, I read and reread the book some more. Soon I will be sending it for formatting as well so that it can be sold as an ebook and a print book. (But not before another read through).

It’s a journey for sure, but it’s always amazing to me when I get to this point as I read through the book, that I created this world, this story, and these characters. It’s a part of me and I love to share it with my readers.

So as I finish my edits, I thought I would share the joy with you 🙂

Writer’s Balancing Act

Writing is creativity and perseverance, but it is also a balancing act. Case in point below. (Hang on tight, you might get dizzy!)

I sent my draft manuscript for FOR WITCH OR FOR POORER (book 5) in my paranormal wedding planner series to my editor the morning I left for vacation (on the 12th). Then I had five blissful days off before I headed back to my day job (and my writing job). While I was on vacation, my editor did a content read on my manuscript and suggested some changes.

When I got back from vacation on the 17th, I started to work on those developmental changes. But before I could finish them, I had to switch back to completing final edits for FOR BETTER OR FOR WOLF (book 4) of my wedding planner series. I spent all this past weekend working on that book before sending it at 12:30 am last night to my proofreader.

Tonight I am back to working on edits for book 5 since it is due to my editor by this Friday 28th.  Then book 4 will come back from proof next week and I’ll finish proof edits and read it one more time before I send it to be formatted the first week of July.

Then I should get back book 5 with what I call my “bloody edits” in a couple weeks to work on those too.

The plan (fingers crossed) is to release book 4 in September and book 5 in October.

And oh yeah, there’s my day job too…

See what I mean? Balancing Act. And I share this because I’m often asked about what it means to be a writer. And it calls for tenacity with a side order of project management. When you love what you do, it all somehow works!

 

A Writer’s Vacation

So this past week I took a vacation. An actual, honest-to-goodness vacation that was not a writers’ conference. I saw the ocean, scrunched my toes in the sand, ate ice cream on a daily basis, and spent quality time with two of my writer-besties, Miranda Liasson and Sandra Owens.

We headed to the low country of South Carolina. You can tell by the picture that we were in the tidal marsh. We could see this from the back porch of the house we stayed in! What a view, and what a way to unwind. There is something magical about water. Sandra says that water is ‘her peace.’ And I can understand that.

So we spent time by the beach, and we walked along the sand several times as well as traveled the island on bike and golf cart. And we had some amazing food there too.

And when you get writers together, we’re going to talk books – whether it is what we are reading or have read that is ‘really good’, or talk about our own stories to see if we’re heading in the right direction. Brainstorming, synopsis writing, beta reads got tucked into the trip as well.

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And of course we’re there to support each other too. All in all, it was an amazing adventure.

I got home today and what did I do first? Write about it, of course!!

 

When A Writer Cries

This past weekend I finished the first draft of my fifth paranormal wedding planner book, FOR WITCH OR FOR POORER.

I sat my butt in a chair and wrote 9,635 words over the course of a weekend. And just so you know, that is NOT a normal occurrence for me. By Sunday evening, I was exhausted.

I told my father I felt beat up and that I had cried twice while writing. He went into “Father-Mode” and said if writing makes you cry, you shouldn’t do it!

And I had to explain to him that I wasn’t crying because I was writing. I was crying because of WHAT I was writing.

I always know the good scenes are the ones that pull raw emotions from me. I can find myself laughing out loud, or just plain excited about what the characters are facing. But some of the most powerful scenes are the ones that I cry through while writing them.

Those pack an emotional punch because I’m with those characters experiencing their heartache and their growth and watch as they move forward and allow someone else to be close to them.

For this story, it isn’t just about the emotional journey of the main couple, but also the emotional journey of family whether born into or chosen to part of.

Good stories are about emotions for both the reader and the writer.

Spring has Sprung! Time for a Book Sale!

Spring is finally, FINALLY in the air where I live. And I want to celebrate. How does an author celebrate sunshine, green grass, and flowers?

With a book sale, of course!

And what better book to put on sale than FROM THIS FAE FORWARD. I mean, look at the cover below – it screams spring!

For the next week, you can get this book for 99 cents. If you haven’t spent any time in my paranormal wedding planner world, you’re in for a treat. Charlie, the hero of this book is a sexy, southern sea nymph who thinks he can sweet talk his way through anything and anybody. Until he meets woodland nymph, Sheila that is.

Sparks fly, sexy-banter ensues, and a mystery is solved along the way. Check it out!

 

Buy:   Amazon | iBooks  |  Kobo  | B&N  From Fae Final Ebook

What if Romeo and Juliet were paranormal…

Exiled from her woodland nymph clan, Sheila Hampton works as an exercise instructor for stressed-out paranormal brides—until her father tries to force her to marry as part of a political power play. Her unlikely hero/fake fiancé? A sexy-as-sin sea nymph from a rival clan. She should hate him, she really should…

Charlie Tucker has protected people in the past. It’s just a job—until it’s not. Not when it comes to a beautiful and headstrong woodland nymph. Now he’s posing as Sheila’s loving fiancé and planning the biggest fake nymph wedding of the century with her. He should hate her, he really should…

But when Sheila’s life is threatened, can this paranormal Romeo and Juliet find a way to change their tragic ending to a happy ever after?

WHERE is the journey taking us?

I hope you’ve been having a good time on this journey. We have been talking about re-covering my Mind Sweeper Series. We’ve touched on WHY, WHO, WHEN and WHAT. Today we’re going to talk about WHERE.

When you decide to change or re-brand your books, it isn’t just the print book cover that you need to worry about (if only it were that easy, my friends). No, re-branding touches ALL aspects of the book.

First, the retailers need to be updated. When you download the books from Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, or Kobo, or Apple you now see the amazing (if I say so myself) covers.

But that also means updating my website with new book covers as well as an social media that carries the AE Jones brand, like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

And let’s not forget my newsletters, and other areas where my covers appear. It can be a bit daunting to change all of this, but it’s worth it to give your covers a new look and feel. Because covers also convey emotion. Take the two covers of my series that deal with Jean Luc and Talia – I was looking for emotion and I got that and more in these two covers!

The Journey Continues with Who…

Thanks for joining me on this journey of redesigning my covers for my Mind Sweeper Series. Last week we talking about WHY and this week we’re going to talk about WHO. Who is an important question on several levels.

First – who do I want to partner with to create the covers. I have learned in this business to play to your strengths and while I think I have a good visual eye, that doesn’t mean I can actually create the cover myself. For that I need an expert. I turned to my cover artist that created my cartoon (or vector) covers for my Wedding Planner Series. She was more than happy to help me come up with a new vision for my Mind Sweeper Series as well.

And so I filled out a questionnaire for her about the first book. The questionnaire asked about the important characters in the book, as well as the setting and the plot summary. She asked about important symbols or emotions to convey on the cover. And a host of other questions, and then the process began. It was time to pick out the second WHO – the characters on the covers.

As you can see, my cover artist hit it out of the ballpark on the first swing when it came to Kyle, my heroine of the Mind Sweeper series. This is a hint at cover number one. Hopefully all of the covers will be available on the retailer sites by next week at the latest, but I couldn’t wait anymore to share one of the covers with you.

So what do you think?

 

Cover This

This spring I will be releasing new covers for my Mind Sweeper Series. Why, you ask? As much as I love the original covers, it’s time for a face lift – taking the brand and dialing it up a notch.

Covers are a vital part of a writer’s book (and brand) – it entices readers to click on your cover, read the blurb, AND hopefully buy your book.

For many authors, changing covers has become a part of their normal marketing process. And yes, authors are also marketers as well. We have to be. In 2017, over 1 million books were self-published and that doesn’t count the books traditionally published. I’m sure that number increased for 2018.

So authors have to find ways to get noticed in the ginormous crowd. Covers, blurbs and other marketing techniques to find readers are something we have to take seriously as part of our writing business.

Over the next couple weeks, I’ll share my new cover journey with you and some of the thought behind where I started and where my cover artist and I ended up.

Come along for the ride – it should be interesting!