New covers, #99cent sales and social media
It looks like I haven't managed to do any blogging for the last two weeks. I've had a few rather craptastic things happen which have meant my attention has been pulled in a few directions and as they say, something has to give.
Still, I haven't been entirely stagnant.
* The lovely Scarlett Rutgers redesigned the cover for Alphabet Dating for me. (See Left). I just never loved the old cover the way I loved my other illustrated covers so I thought I'd give it a face-lift. I think she's done a really great job of capturing the mood of the story.
To celebrate Alphabet Dating is currently on sale for #99cents so if you haven't got a copy now is a great time to do so. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CMHEVXG
* I have kept up with my 2015 #1000wordsaday and my total now sits at 78,000 words which all in all I am very happy with. I've almost finished the first draft of Book 4 in the Upper Crust Series.
*Upper Crust Series - Book 2 is back from my BETA readers and I spent today working through Book 3 to send it off. I'm still on track to release Book 2 /Any Way You Dream It for the end of April.
* I had a great time on the weekend as one of the hosts of the March Madness ChickLit Style Party on Facebook. Sometimes I wonder about the so called "social" aspects of social media but I feel like I got to connect to some great readers at that event, and hopefully they felt the same way.
So I guess although my blog has been a little bit quiet I have been staying busy enough.
And now for Musical Monday - a song that sums up the last few weeks and where I am in my life. This song is an old friend - Landslide the Dixie Chicks version.
3/8/2015 2 Comments
This week I will have been married 21 years. I have been pondering what that means about me and my life. A girlfriend pointed out recently I have known my husband for half my life, that seems kind of bizarre to me. Part of me can't remember what life was like before we got married and another part of me thinks "hang on, I just met this guy."
Some days I really don't like being married. Lots of days, actually. It feels like I have to be nice too much of the time and think about other people too much, and you know, act interested when I'm not. Yeah, see I can't possibly have been married 21 years with that attitude, right? I'm really a petulant fifteen year old at my core. Most of that has little to do with my husband and a lot to do with who I am as a person.
My husband is a famously and ridiculously nice guy. I do know a couple of people who don't like him, but they're pretty rare, and I kind of think that tells you more about them than him. He's a far more affable human being than I am. He's nice to old people, is incredible helpful with my friends and loves small children. He cooks, he irons, he can build stuff and he tells a great story (even if way too many of them involve fishing these days). In fact one of the most annoying things about him is that he's so damned pleasant I can't even complain about him to anyone.
That doesn't mean that being married to him every day is like living in a romance novel. He also has no short term memory (like none at all), can't make a plan to save himself, only acknowledges birthdays and holidays as an act of appeasement and has a job that so lacks rhythm we've lost our entire social life as a result.
We've had job losses, grief, financial issues, failed dreams and we've battled infertility. We've made decisions and had circumstanced thrust upon us that made us both sad and a little angry. It certainly has not gone to plan.
And we haven't even started on me yet. My husband and I are actually complete opposites (though I would like to think we were both kind) but for every memory he's lost I've held on to five and for every plan he's failed to make, I've made ten. I love celebrations, themed dinners and organisation. All of which has to annoy the snot out of him.
And yet here we are.
I look at marriages that work and those that don't and wonder why that is. On paper, we don't work. We just don't. And yet despite the differences here we are.
So how is our life like a romance novel then?
We did romantically meet on a tropical island (just like in my novel Hearts Afire) and we've been together ever since.
We do still make each other laugh.
We like each other.
We are kind to each other. We never want to see the other fail or get their come-uppance or relish a chance to say 'I told you so" (even though we've both had plenty of them).
We're both people people.
We both have a sense of adventure.
We appreciate each others differences - you go fishing, I'm off to the art gallery, see you later.
We're both romantic in different ways.
We still go on dates, we hold hands, we dance in the living room.
He brings me flowers every now and then (And not from the petrol station!)
We want to tell each other our stories.
We want each others dreams to come true.
So for Musical Monday I give you our wedding dance - Into The Mystic.
I was talking to a writer friend this week who BETA read the second book in my Upper Crust Series, Any Way You You Dream it (due out April). We were discussing the book series and I was explaining to her how I came to write it.
I realised that I hadn't actually shared the impetus here so I thought I would do that now.
About this time last year I downloaded a novel by a very successful romance author whose novels include marriages of convenience in them. Her books do hugely well, she's an international best seller and she writes really well. I admire her work, her output and her career a lot. ( I read a lot of successful authors books sometimes for the stories and often to see if I can find the keys to the treasure chest of success.)
So I sat up and read one book in her series while my husband lay beside me snoring in a rather un-melodious way. (Yep I do paint a pretty picture of marital bliss, don't I?) I thought the book was well written (and I have read others in the series since then) but I kind of wanted to throw the book across the room.
"Why Monique?" I hear you cry. "Why?"
These books took smart, successful business women and had them agreeing to arranged marriages with smarter, more successful businessmen - preferably billionaires. Of course the woman had a choice in the books and the 'marriage of convenience' is a well-known romance trope and I know it is fantasy, but it annoyed me.
"Why?" Simple, it still seemed to me the guys were getting the better end of the deal and the women tended to need a little bit of rescuing. It wasn't simply a business translation, they needed to save a sick relative or a family business or someone else's reputation. These were nice, smart girls but they weren't girls with a lot of options.
So, I decided to write a 'marriage of convenience' story where ultimately it was the woman seeking the partner and yes there has to be quid pro quo for these relationships to work but I didn't want there to be a massive power imbalance.
In Any Way You Slice It, Piper needs to be married to stay in America because her successful business is really taking off. Aaron who offers to marry her needs something too, but really this is Piper's story, it's about our heroine getting what she wants, without compromising herself along the way. Well, that was what I set out to do with this book.
I guess only the readers can decide if that worked or not.
These are so pretty aren't they?
I really am working very hard to get the rest of these babies on the shelf soon. I was hoping to have Any Way You Dream It out in March but I think April now looks more realistic and Any Way You Fight It Will Follow in May.
As some of you know I write under two names and as my pen name I also have two new books coming out in the next two months. It isn't like I'm not trying very hard. It takes a long time to write a book and honestly,the e-space, which makes everything seem instant required speed. It's hard to get a balance. Not enough books and you lose readers. Too many books that might be under-written or under-edited and you will also lose readers.
As you can see by this little ticker I am writing. This is my word count so far this year. I am a little behind where I wanted to be because I lost a whole chunk of a novel (10,000 words) and had to rewrite it to meet the deadline. So I lost 10 days. When you consider that I'm only one day behind so that's not too shabby.
It's really hard to maintain your momentum after something like that. Picking oneself up and the dusting off are not really my personal strengths so the fact I did it so well this time I'm taking as amoral victory. Maybe I'm finally growing up? Yeah, I doubt it.
Anyway I'm busy writing book 4 in the Upper Crust series while the Beta readers work on Book 2 and hopefully Book 3 this week. I always feel so nervous sending the books out and usually they tell me what I already know to be true. You can usually feel where the lags are or where the story doesn't quite gel but that outside voice saying what you already know is so very helpful
I really need to get a newsletter out. The mailing list is the big thing so I better do something to grow mine. It would be nice to go back to the days where writing was all about the writing I sometimes think. There are aspects of the marketing side that really don't overly appeal to me.
Enough of my ramblings (I should be writing anyway). It is of course Musical Monday and I heard a great song yesterday and of course now I can't remember the name. In my defense I'm just home for the doctor and we established I've probably been living with a sinus infection for six months so I think all in all I could be a lot more ditsy.
And because there is indeed a school reunion in Any way You Dream It, here is a lovely school yard song for Musisal Monday - we're kicking it old school today.