I suppose I should save this for next Tuesday, but I’m in the mood to celebrate and share my joy. I sent Wolf’s Prize to the publisher tonight. So I’m free to work on the collection of short stories I’ll be outing out in early 2014. The first of these will be about Connie Mondale, the crashed plane’s co-pilot, and Des, Taye’s Beta. This takes place at the Plane Women’s House.
Des walked down the dim hallway on silent feet. A sound caught his attention, and something perilously close to panic surged through him. Crying. Almost soundless crying, coming from the apartment Miss Connie shared with two other women. Panic was followed swiftly by rage. Without hesitation he opened the door and flung himself inside, gaze sweeping the room to find whatever had reduced his strong, unclaimed mate to tears. There was nothing to see but Connie, sitting at a table, her pale blond hair untidy as if she had raked her hands through it. She jerked her head up from the cradle of her hands to stare at him.
“What the hell?” she began.
“Who hurt you?” he snarled.
She rose from the chair to face him, chin up and mouth firm. “I’m not hurt.”
“Then what made you cry?”
Red bloomed over her pale face. “I’m not crying.”
Tenderness, a feeling utterly alien to his nature before he’d seen this brave woman, swamped him. “Okay,” he said, attempting to sound calmly reasonable. ”I can pretend there’s no tears on your cheeks if you want. Tell me what upset you.”
She folded her arms with a glare that aroused him. Instead of answering his question, she attacked. “What are you doing upstairs? Men aren’t allowed up here.”
Did she have any idea what her strength did to him?
I’m working hard on Quill and Ellie, and plan to have the rough draft done by April 20. But while I was washing dishes, a scene and a bit of dialogue between Rose and Sky came to me so I snuck an hour in on Wolf’s Princess. Here is a snip. Rose and Sky are at his place in Omaha.
Rose stamped her way up the stairs and into their room, wheeling on Sky when he slammed the door closed behind them. “Why did you do that?” she seethed.
His voice was almost frighteningly gentle. “Because he hurt you.”
“Barely. And so what?” She forced her fists onto her hips to better resist the urge to punch him. “I can take care of myself.”
His voice lost a fraction of the gentleness. “That’s my job. You belong to me.”
“Since when?” Kicking him was too tempting, so she flung herself to the other side of the room and spoke between clenched teeth. “I’m here for two months so you can court me. I don’t recall Taye giving you a bill of sale for me!”
Well, it’s sort of an anniversary …
It was 3 years ago today that I decided to steel myself for rejection and submit Sleeping With the Wolf to a publisher. From January to March, 2010, I’d written one big story with both Carla and Lisa’s stories all mixed together, and sent chapters as I finished them to the gals at work as a type of gag gift. We were all tired from working overtime and it helped cheer us up. My friends (named purely coincidentally–cough, cough–Lisa and Carla) urged me repeatedly to send it to a publisher. I was flattered, and I have to admit I liked the idea of being a Published Author ™, but I resisted. I mean, only “real” writers submitted to publishers. But l I finally agreed just to get them off my back. When it was rejected they’d have to quit bugging me, right?
That was scary. What if the publisher didn’t like it? What if they did? It took me another 2 months to work up the nerve to chop it into two parts, one for Carla’s story and one for Lisa’s, polish it up and submit the first three chapters of Carla’s story per the publisher’s submission guidelines. I thought it was a cute story, not very serious, kinda cheesy and not remotely publishable. I pretty much expected a form rejection letter, so imagine my shock when they wrote back in only a few weeks, asking for the full manuscript. Yahoo!!!
But I still steeled myself for rejection. Just because they’d asked for the whole story didn’t mean they’d want to publish it. You see, I suffered what many would-be authors do: self doubt. I still struggle with that. I mean, I usually think I’m a decent writer, but not a great writer. But sometimes I can’t imagine why anyone would want to spend their book money and time on one of my stories.
In only a few more weeks Liquid Silver Books offered me a contract for Sleeping With the Wolf. It’s not unheard of for a first time submission to be accepted, but it’s not a general rule either. I was shocked, ecstatic and horrified, all at once. I signed the contract in July and it was published in November. From November 18, 2010 to December 31, 2012 I’ve sold about 6500 copies of Sleeping With the Wolf. That’s not a best seller in most places, but it’s pretty darned exciting for me.
That one gutsy decision altered my life SO QUICKLY. I thank God for it, and I thank my friends for their support. And I thank YOU, the readers. I used to write purely for the fun of it, and I was happy with that. But the feedback I’ve received from you has made me see that writing for myself is fun, but nowhere near as satisfying as writing for an appreciative reader. Thank you.
This past week there was a small flap on GoodReads resulting in some readers and an author deleting their accounts. If I understand correctly, a reader/reviewer had won or been given a copy of the author’s work and after reading the book wrote a review. The author’s friends were displeased by the 3 star review and a thread was started on a forum, questioning whether manners were a thing of the past when it came to reviewing.
Well, I’ve seen some pretty nasty reviews, so I felt some sympathy with the poster, assuming the review she she was unhappy about was one of those nasty ones. No one likes for their book to receive mean, snarky reviews that seem designed to make the author feel like crap. I later read the review in question and found nothing rude about it at all. The reviewer listed what she liked about the book and what she didn’t. She was clear and polite. I re-read the thread and had to shake my head. I have some advice for authors receiving negative reviews: Shut up. No book is going to be loved by every single person who reads it. An author isn’t allowed to tell people how to feel about their books. If you can’t take criticism, don’t read reviews.
My latest book came out on March 18 and I’m bracing myself for some negative reviews. The hero is not like the other heroes in my books. He’s not one of the fiercely protective wolves who’ll chew off his own paw before he’d do anything to hurt or disappoint his mate. Eddie doesn’t slap Lisa around or beat her up, but he is self-centered and careless. I know that’s going to make some readers unhappy. There is nothing wrong with a reviewer saying so. An honest review giving a balanced account of what worked and what didn’t is like gold. Whether a reader loves the book or hates it, my job as an author is to write the next book, not whine about Reader A’s review or Reader B’s snark.
I’ve discussed reviews before and my views haven’t changed. Reviewers, please be polite and honest. Authors, step back and let readers do their thing.
I am considering putting out another free read next winter.
I’ve had several requests for Connie and Des. Why did she so suddenly change her mind about marriage? And in my current work in progress, Wolf’s Prize, both Snake and Jelly find their mates. I thought it could be a collection of short stories. I’ve been trying to think of a title for the collection. Wolf’s Pilot is the title for Connie and Des. Snake’s story will be Wolf’s Vengeance. Jelly’s story will be titled Wolf’s Delight. These are all just working titles and may change. In fact, I may not write them at all. I need to finish Wolf’s Prize first and get a good outline set up for Wolf’s Princess. But if I do write a collection of short stories, what should I call it?
Well, Eddie’s Prize has been out for almost a week. I spent January and February doing edits. The first three weeks of March was eaten up by getting ready for the release. But now the online promo has been completed, the contests are done, and prizes mailed. That means I can finally get back to Quill and Ellie’s story. In the month of March I have written less that 2000 words, and some of those were for a review of a book I loved.
Oh, and that reminds me that I wanted to talk about reviews. There are, as of now, two reviews on Amazon for Eddie’s Prize. I’m really pleased with these because the reviewers gave honest, well written, balanced reviews. They listed what they liked about the story, and they said what they were disappointed with. Those are the best kinds of reviews. Go take a look.
Before I can write more on Wolf’s Prize, I need to finish knitting the shawl I’m donating for the Rock the Cradle fundraiser for Cats Cradle, the local cat rescue and shelter. It has to be done by Monday morning, so I’m busy with that today and tomorrow. Then Monday evening I have my Word Weavers critique meeting. So Tuesday I will finally get to write the wedding scene, which will be followed next weekend by the wedding night scene. I better invest in some ice water. Or, no, I don’t need to buy that. It’s still plenty cold here. It’s supposed to warm up next weekend and be (maybe) in the 30s for Easter. Easter! Oy, I need to clean for company!
So, that’s what I’ve been doing on the writing front. In other words, not much. But it will get better, I promise!
Many thanks to everyone who entered the contest for the Eddie’s Prize Release Celebration! I had 240 people enter, with a grand total of 659 entries.
The Winners were:
5th Prize, ARC of Eddie’s Prize-Carrie
4th Prize, ARC of Eddie’s Prize-Tara
3rd Prize, Coffee Mug-Rachel, with a back up of Sharon
2nd Prize, silver key necklace-Heather
Grand Prize, afghan and cup-Rhonda
Eddie’s Prize will be available tomorrow evening at 7pm eastern time from the publisher www.lsbooks.com
The publisher sends the files to online retailers like Amazon, Kobo, the iBookstore, Barnes & Noble and ARe at the same time, and the retailers load the file for sale at their discretion.
Thanks again, everyone, for playing!