All about Helping…

This month our topic was, well, there was no topic. It’s a “freebie” month. Scene13ers get to blog about anythingFirst Cover Reveal!they want. Well, normally I don’t like freebies. I freeze. I over-think until I can’t think. I stress myself out to the point that my stress is stressed. But this month something really great happened and I want to share.

Last month I shared that I signed a contract to publish my first young adult contemporary romance, “Unspeakable.” Now I have a novella, “Finding Willow,” releasing, too. But as great as that is, it’s not what I want to write about.

When I wrote my debut novel, “PODs,” I knew nothing about the writing community. I didn’t use critique partners or Betas—I didn’t know what a Beta was! I had no idea there were bloggers that lived to review books, nor did I know how many there were.

But writing “Unspeakable” I had a group of ladies who read my work and told me honestly what worked, what they liked, and what they loved. Man, that was a great feeling to hear them gush over my book! Then came the second half of their email… “And this is what sucks…” Well, that let the air out of my balloon.

Second Cover Reveal!

Second Cover Reveal!

So I read their critiques, did some rewriting and had some Beta readers take a look, mainly girls the age the book would be marketed toward, and of course my group of critique partners.

Their suggestions made a huge difference. “Unspeakable” went from a good book, to a great (IMHO) book. And I realize now how essential, how priceless my CPs and Betas are in my writing career.

But there’s one other group of people other than the bloggers who are golden to authors, CPs and Betas who are priceless, and that group is other authors.

I had two cover reveals in a week. I found out about both the day before. Whoa. So I started emailing anyone I could think of that might help. And the response was Amazing. Many of you already know this because you blog here, and you stepped-up and helped. I want to tell you, you are AWESOME.

The authors that dropped everything to set-up a post at the very last minute—twice—just rocked. The way they came together to help really showed me how tight the bond is between authors. Well, how it should be, anyway.

I love helping other authors. I keep a blog for that reason, and only that reason. But to have it turned around and the help focused on me was a very prodigious experience. And for those of you who helped, thank you. You made my cover reveals awesome.

How about you? Have you ever had a time when you needed help and authors or bloggers jumped in?

It's time to read!

How the World Has Changed…

picWhen I started to write this post, I was writing about transitions with a new job, a new schedule and my seven year old son.  Then I stopped.  Thought about what I was writing, and where it would be.

And I deleted each word.

Even though I was careful to keep specifics out of it, well it just didn’t feel right.  Even when it seems innocuous, even when you “think” it can’t connect to your every day life.  Of course it can.  We’ve all watched enough movies and TV shows and enough news programs to know it can.

I write romantic suspense, often historical, so a lot of my time is spent in researching just how bad things could be.  My upcoming book (and series) is set in Regency era England, showing the pretty worlds of ballrooms and debutantes and a side we see less of, the uglier underworld.  Somehow, I think we romanticize the past, we view it as less violent, less harrowing, and less dangerous.  But I’ve found facts and stories of the past that astound me.  After this series, my next book will be set in Victorian England.  The facts about a crime I unearthed in my research wanderings shocked me to my core.  (And I think it’s clear that I might need professional help since I can’t wait to write that story.)

I remember being a kid and heading out the door when the sun came up and not coming back inside until it was just peeking over the horizon.  I would stay out for hours. All day.  Playing, running around the neighborhood with friends, exploring the world.  Riding my bike most often.  I took city buses to school when I was in 3rd grade.  Did we live in a gentler, softer world?  Or perhaps what has transitioned is how much we know, and how fast.  Information exchanges at lightning speeds these days, and we can know within seconds of a crime committed in another state.

So has the world really changed?  What do you think?