Smart, contemporary romance with a lot of happily-ever-after

Thanks for stopping by

Thanks for stopping by. This is mostly a place to find out about my books, but I’m also likely to blog about commas, talk about random things that delight and annoy me, and I’m certainly going to complain about how the stranger sitting next to me is inevitably bugging me. I’m bitter and grateful, angry and joyful, critical and accepting. Welcome!

Time to Review Some Books

Being bitter, angry, and hopeless must mean it’s time to review some books.

Euphoria, by Lily King
Amazing book I couldn’t put down. Stayed up far too late reading this one! The characters and their interactions were masterfully done. It’s simply one of those books, like Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, that I’m in awe of. I’ve read it’s loosely based on the story of anthropologist Margaret Mead, but I picked it up on the promise of romance. The romance was there, poignant and quiet, but the book was so much more.

Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
I can’t tell you how many times I almost stopped reading this book. Not because it wasn’t written in a compelling manner—it is—but because my heart was just breaking for one of the characters and I was afraid that situation wouldn’t change. The character was so real to me that I hurt. However, I stuck with it, hoping against hope, and I was rewarded. Good book.

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
While this lacks the artistry of the first two books on this list, I still enjoyed it. Pulled me in and kept me wanting to know what had happened. Glad I read it, kept me entertained, can’t ask for much more than that.

And now we come to the less positive part of the list. I’m not going to call anything out here, because the books I’ve read that are not good are in my genre, and I feel like I should keep my mouth shut. So this is what I’ll say…

Author A: Your book was mostly serviceable, too shallow to really be my cup of tea, but I especially hated it when you made your character dumb and/or naïve in order to pad out your story. You just made it long in the wrong places.

Author B: Oh, dear Lord, stop trying to hard to be clever. I might be amused by the wordplay, references, and pop similes if they weren’t so tortured and weren’t so constant. No wonder that guy left your girl. (I’m only a few chapters in on this one, so I’m hoping the author settles in to tell her story in a less desperate manner. She’s on thin ice with me.)

Author ME: You must stop reading free romances from the Bookbub list. This rarely works out for you. Just because you’ve shown up until now that you’re incapable of learning this lesson does not mean that it’s too late to change your ways. Seriously. Save yourself.

My New Hero

So Kristen Lamb is my new hero. (At least for today. I nominate people as my new hero a *lot*.)

“Good Girls Don’t Become Bestsellers”

I don’t even know where to begin. This spoke right to me. She’s even got a section on “Good Girls Need Permission”, and here I am feeling, “Oh, good, *someone* is giving me permission to think I might be successful”. Because you know what? I’ve been smacked down for thinking it. I’ve been condescended to for thinking my work might be worth something because I’m a debut author. (And damn it, I nearly wrote “only” a debut author. I’m not having any more of that.)

I don’t care what the odds are. I can still reach out and try. I can still want what I want.

So I’m just going to be over here singing “Defying Gravity”. (Badly. And I can say that cheerfully because I’m not a good singer. Don’t have to be. I’m a writer.) That’s the point in the musical “Wicked” where Elphaba meets her inner bad girl and tells her critics to go to hell… and my inner bad girl and I are going to continue to get very well acquainted.


So yesterday was my “official” release day for When It’s Love, I’ll Let You Know. (Official is in quotes because it’s actually been on sale for a couple of weeks.)

It was kind of fun to get a real idea of the massive scope of Amazon, as I saw my sales rank rise 50,000 spots from where it started in the morning, yet still remain in Amazon’s basement. (I think that’s where they keep the packing tape and the souls of academic writers who never sell a book.)

The best part about this is seeing how many people cheered me on and are rooting for me to succeed. So many friends shared the sales link, generally said nice things about the book, or even just shot me a Facebook “like”… I can only hope they’re all tired of hearing how grateful I am, because I’d hate to be remiss in expressing the scope of it.

(I also got definitive proof where I don’t have support, and was not the least bit surprised.)

So anyway… here I am, for today, still in the TOP 100,000 of Amazon! And in the romance categories, in the TOP 4,000 and TOP 15,000! (Ooops—I was when I started writing this. It’s dropped. Ah, the vagaries of book sales.) Yeah, the world’s a big place and I’m a tiny author out here on my own. But overall, I’m just glad to be at the party.

Taking My Time

Conventional wisdom says that it’s best to follow up one book with another to build on any momentum you may have.

It’s all about the fast draft, the NaNoWriMo, the books that come out every two months. And I know people are making sales, and I know they’re doing a lot better than I am. But I also recognize that the books I most enjoy and the authors I most admire are putting out a single book every year or two. They’re taking their time and they’re crafting.

Who do I want to emulate? The authors whose books I read once and that I think were passably fine, or the authors whose books that I love and I read over and over again?

So I’ve had to make peace with the fact that I don’t want to slap a book into the world that I’m not happy with yet. I suppose my current work-in-progress could be considered complete and I know there’s a coherent narrative… but it’s not the book I still hope it can be. So I’m going to take a deep breath, try not to stress out about the time that is passing, and undertake the major revisions that I feel are necessary to get past mediocre and turn it into a book that people can love.

This attitude has earned me scorn, I’ve been accused of procrastinating, and it’s been made clear to me that I think I’m better and more important than I am because I have the conceit not to settle for good enough. How dare I want to be more like the best writers than like the very large pool of “everyone else”, especially when I’m such a tiny, tiny fish in this pool? Clearly I am getting above myself.

Time to put on some bad music that I love and Shake It Off. It’s going to be…as long as it takes…until I’ve got another novel completed to my satisfaction. Not great for business, but it’s what I have to do.