Category: The String Serial

Writing Update 2/12/18

Just wanted to give a quick update to where I’m at in my writing. Last year was trying, and my head was not in the game. I actually have six half-finished manuscripts waiting for me to finish them.

Early this summer, I’m a part of an anthology called Strange Impulses with four other Orange County writers. We’ve each interpreted the title a bit differently, but everyone’s talented and I’m excited to be a part of it. Nervous System will definitely be included, and I’m feverishly working to include a new novel as well. If I finish, it will be included. If not, I should have it done by the end of summer.

The new novel is called The Revolution. Set seventy years in the future, it’s about a peaceful rise to power in the US of the Revolution Party, whose goal is equality. I take equality to its absurd conclusion, but it’s not really about that – it’s about two genetically engineered sisters, one a worker bee, one a future leader, who end up being pitted against each other to become the next Head Guide (the new title of the president). Ironically, neither wants the job for the power. They both know, though, that being Head Guide is basically a death sentence (the people of the US aren’t taking this equality thing so well), and they want to save each other. So it’s character-driven with a dystopian backdrop.

I’m also working to conclude the String Series.

When that’s done, I’m going to concentrate on a new science fiction series. The first book is titled The Trader. The Trader has the ability to trade skills between two people – the muscle memory, the knowledge. He gained this skill through a family curse where his great-grandfather made a deal with the devil – give me this ability, Mr. Devil, and you can have any of my female children. So when the Trader has a daughter, he has to figure out a way to save her. And yes, she’s a trader, too.

Thanks for being patient. I can’t wait to interact with you all soon!

Persevering in the Face of Negativity

For years, I sat in my comfortable bubble and wrote stories from my heart. I didn’t worry about sales or marketing, and if I got a review (or a sale), it made my day. I was fulfilling an inner need, relieving stress, taking some time for myself. I didn’t really care what people thought of my writing.

And then I got to the point where I wanted to write full time. But I couldn’t do that unless I could also generate a decent income. Which meant sales. Reader interaction. Providing a product that others actually want to pay for.

I’d never written to market, and my stories didn’t fit neatly in genre categories. NERVOUS SYSTEM is about a six-year-old boy who can control his autonomic nervous system. Is this science fiction? Fantasy? He explores religion, because when you’re born with an ability that’s not “natural,” you wonder why. Did God make me this way? Does God even exist? So there are elements of religious fiction, even if the message is to question and not to preach. How do you sell such a book?

I did one marketing campaign back in October 2015 for NERVOUS SYSTEM. Spent almost $1000, and tripled my money in less than a week, even though I gave 40,000 copies of the book away. Readers went on to buy the rest of the series. I was grateful, and in awe. But I was still only working on my writing in stolen moments, and I didn’t really have a long-term plan. I needed one.

My mom is a huge reader. She reads widely but has a soft spot for funny, clever, steamy romance. Romance is a hot genre, and I wanted to write something for her. So I came up with the String Serial.

But you see the flaw in my plan, don’t you?

How do you sell steamy romance to readers who found you based on an out-of-the-box speculative fiction series? My current readers were less than enthused.

So I’ve had to start over, in a sense. Find a new audience. But true to my nature, the String Serial does not fit neatly into the current contemporary romance genre. No naked men on the cover. No scantily clad women. No best friends calling each other “bitch” (do real women actually speak to their friends like this???). Cliffhangers with every episode (it’s a serial, not a series). And the main character thinks and speaks as real women do, especially during sex – she uses real words for body parts, with no “love rod,” no “hot beef injection,” no “steel manhood penetrating my quivering womb.”

And I’m already getting negativity for it.

And that’s okay. The negativity is not gonna stop me.

When you create something where the value is wholly subjective, you expect some people not to like it. You have to love what you do, have faith in it, and have a thick skin. And I do. I continue to get pushback about my covers, and I already have a disheartening review on Part Two on Goodreads. But that’s part of the gig. I believe in my stories, and I just have to keep going.

Three things have helped me do just that.

One, I’ve cut down my online interaction. People seem to be the nastiest version of themselves when they can hide behind their computers, and I don’t need that. While social media can be a wonderful way to connect, it can also breed hate and jealousy and misunderstandings. And I don’t know if you’re experiencing this, but half my feeds are filled with ads and requests to join people’s marketing schemes and buy their products, books included. If I want a book, I’ll go looking for one. I don’t need to be bombarded with this crap. And if I feel this way, I imagine others are feeling this way, too.

Two, I count my blessings. Supportive, healthy family? Check. Roof over our heads? Check. Food in the pantry? Check. Nothing else really matters.

And three, I’m keeping the people who love and support me close. Recently, I was thinking about cutting back on some of my extra-curricular activities to focus more on the business of writing. But the people I interact with in these activities are a positive influence. They support me and believe in me. Why would I give that up?

I’m hoping that the String Serial finds an audience and allows me to continue doing what I love. If it doesn’t, then I put my head down and write the next story. I’m going to do this. I’m going to succeed. And no amount of negativity is going to stop me.

FIRST STRING – A Look Behind the Scenes

First String - The String Serial Ebook CoverMy new steamy romance serial launches on September 16 with Parts 1-3, FIRST STRING, SECOND STRING, and STRUNG OUT. I’m thrilled with the project and excited to share the story with my readers!

You know that all my books contain love stories, but this series is actually categorized as romance, and I have to say, this is something I wrestled with. Yes, it will end happily and with the romance wrapped up, but it’s in large part about the journey: accepting your past, making peace with who you are, finding your voice, and loving yourself enough to believe you’re worthy of someone else’s love. I think these are universal struggles, and we all can relate, no matter if we had a happy, supportive childhood or not.

The heroine of this serial did not. So she faces some not-so-nice memories, and deals with not-so-nice repercussions, but I tried to balance the serious with the lighthearted. In short, I tried to make it realistic.

Realism is not the reason people generally read romance novels, though. They want escape and entertainment and heat. But I’ve never been a write-to-market kind of writer. Nothing wrong with that, but my characters speak to me, and I have to tell their story as faithfully as I can, warts and all.

And in keeping with that goal, I had a specific look for the covers in mind. We played with dozens of images and designs before deciding on one, and I love it. I think the image of Hope on the cover hearkens back to Lucille Ball. And I didn’t want a naked man on the cover. Nothing wrong with naked men, but that’s not the focus of the story, just a part.

So will this serial sell? I have no idea. It’s not typical, it’s not following the tropes (much), it has a completely different kind of cover. But it also has my signature – deep characters and emotion. A love story. And it’s a fun read. I hope you fall in love with Hope just like I have.