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May 2017

Coming Soon!

Y’all. I have more stories coming out.

This is the sort of observation that hits home when one GETS PAID and also finishes page proofs. I can’t believe that I’ve finished a fourth novel. I can’t believe I have a novella coming out in July. Ya know, you wait and wait and submit and submit, then you turn around one day and realize that you’ve written a few books. It’s kinda looking at my rising 6th grader and my rising sophomore and realizing. . . . I’m old.

But I’m not as old as two of the main characters of my novella, Orange Blossom Special. Edie and Janice are in their late 80s, and they are on a mission to scatter Jerome’s ashes in some strategic places in Tennessee. The biggest catch? Edie, Jerome’s wife, and Janice, his sister, have never really gotten along. To add more tension, Walter and Peyton, two teens who used to watch Tennessee football with Jerome, have been recruited to drive the Orange Blossom Special, an old hearse that’s been painted orange and white.

Did I mention that Jerome requested that his ashes rest in a Carmen Miranda cookie jar?

If you wanna PREORDER (7/25/17) Orange Blossom Special, you can do so at one of these places:

Amazon     Apple     Google     Kobo     Nook

Do save some room for Bless Her Heart, my fourth novel, in which a preacher’s wife gives up church for Lent. Oh, there will be tarot and tequila, stripper poles and tasers, and, of course, Tom Brokaw. Like all good novels set during Lent, Bless Her Heart will be out on Halloween. You can PREORDER (10/31/17) it here:

Amazon     Apple     Google     Kobo     Nook

Whew! Now I need to get to work on book five. Someone’s left a baby in the manger at the drive through Nativity. No one knows who she is, but they’re pretty sure she’s not Jesus!

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What I’d Wish I’d Known…

This is a post about practical things I wish I’d known sooner. I don’t have an RWA chapter close and it took me awhile to hook up with some local authors. Some of this might seem super obvious, but it’s stuff I seriously did not understand/know early on.

Publishing contracts. My first contract was a no advance/% of earnings type contract. Super straightforward and easy to understand. My second contract was an advance-type contract. Y’all. I did not know how the advance worked. So here’s a run-down so you won’t be as ignorant as I was (hopefully was, maybe still am!)

First thing you need to understand is that an “advance” is just that…an advance on profits. So you have to make that much money back in earnings before you make any more money. Only the % you earn counts toward that number, not a total earnings on the book. So, for example, if you are given a 1k advance on a book that sells for $4.00 and you make 50% on the book AFTER the distributors take their cut. You’ll need to sell more books than you think to make that 1k back. If Amazon takes a 30% cut for distribution, then the author is only making $1.40/book sold. That means the author must sell 714 copies before they make any more money or “earn out.”

The other thing to understand about an advance is that it is paid in chunks. The way mine works is that if I sign a 3-book deal, each book has an $X advance attached for a total of $3X. Once I sign, I get half of the total advance or half of $3X upfront. Then, after I finish developmental edits with my editor I get the other half of the advance for that book, or half of $X. So when you hear a number for your advance and it sounds really great, just remember depending on how fast/slow you write that money will be doled out over the course of a year or two. And when you think about how long it takes a book to make it from contract to release to earning out…you’re not getting rich quick.

Speaking of publication times. This pertains to traditional publishing only. One of the advantages of indie pub is the turn-around speed of releases. Traditional publishers are slow. I just turned in a finished manuscript today (yay, me!!) My publisher St. Martin’s Press has already set their spring 2018 publishing schedule. This book won’t come out until summer 2018 at the earliest. That’s a long damn time.

Mailing books. Did you know that if you’re mailing books to readers or for prizes that you can request USPS to send by Media Mail. It is cheaper and super easy. They say it’s 5-7 days shipping, but things I send usually end up there in 2-3 days.

Speaking of USPS. I would recommend renting a PO Box at your local post office to use as return address and in your newsletter. Unless you feel comfortable putting your home address out there.

Teasers. Do you see incredible looking teasers on FB or Twitter and think…how do they do that? Are they hiring professionals? In some cases yes, but there are several awesome free tools to create teasers. My favorite at the moment is Canva (google it) but I like to use PicMonkey to add affects like B&W or fuzzy edges, etc. It’s free too. As far as pictures to use, Deposit Photos usually runs deals for pictures. If you have money to spend or are looking for cover material then iStock is great.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some great tips, so leave them in the comments!


Rejection 101

Let’s talk about rejection for a minute–or more accurately, how to transform rejection into success.

Wait a minute… Why am I showing you an image of a chair if we’re talking about rejection?  Because you’re going to travel back in time with me to to a class I took my freshman year of college: Art 101! 🙂

We’re now sitting in Art 101: Introduction to Drawing. It’s the first day of class and we’re about to learn how to draw a chair in negative space.

The professor places one of the chairs from the classroom on a table with a lamp behind it.  The lights are dim in the room and the lamp casts long shadows of the chair legs out across the blank paper in front of you.  You’re instructed to shade in with pencil every space you see around the chair until a chair emerges on your paper.  Basically you’re going to spend the next few hours, drawing everything that isn’t a chair.

It’s tedious and exhausting work.  At times you feel like you’re just scribbling on paper.  Does any of it really matter?  More than once you’re tempted to give up.

Then it happens.  You look back down at your paper for the thousandth time, and for the first time you can see it.  Just like that…

You’ve drawn a chair.

Now let’s travel back to today.

You’ve sent out a pile of query emails.  The silence from No response means no cuts you a little bit deeper with every passing day.  The rejection letters – that for some sick reason you keep instead of throwing away – are piling up.  There are fewer and fewer agents and editors out there who are options for your manuscript.

The process of submissions is tedious and exhausting work.  At times you feel like you’re just scribbling on paper.  Does any of it really matter?  More than once you’re tempted to give up.

Then one day, it happens.  You meet someone, or you get an email, or you have a moment of complete clarity.  And for the first time you can see it. You’re going to get the book you’ve written into readers’ hands.  You’re going to share your story. You’ve successfully carved away everywhere you aren’t meant to be.  You’ve eliminated every option that wasn’t meant for you.  And through it all you realize that you now understand what you want.  You have a clearer idea of where you want to go and how you want to get there. And just like that…

You’ve drawn a bright future for yourself.

Never give up on your dreams no matter where you are on your journey.  There will always be blank paper before you.  And paths to success, just like chairs, will always be waiting for us to find them.

Where are you on your journey to success?  Have you carved out what isn’t your path to publication?  Are you carving out what isn’t your path to finding your readership?  Let’s chat about it.


Welcome to Temperance Falls

Seven months ago, half-tipsy and amped up on chocolate, I was having dinner with local friend and fellow writer Ellis Leigh. Our conversation wound all over the place, as per usual, from husbands to kids to trips to business to writing to recent books we’d read and loved. During that conversation, we realized we both had deep love for quick, fun, and filthy books—nothing too heavy, nothing too dramatic, but deliciously dirty all the same. Off-handedly, I suggested we should write books like those together for the hell of it. Instead of laughing it off like I thought she would, Ellis’s eyes got bright and she responded with, “We should.”

When we both realized we were totally serious, we got down to business. We planned (because that’s what we do). We discussed boring things like LLCs and business accounts and budgets. We fretted over a pen name (and, of course, did a throw back to our fanfic roots with it—London Hale). And once those pesky details were out of the way, we got to the fun stuff. Like sex positions and pet names and varying forbidden romance tropes (our text messages are a thing of beauty, truly).

We’ve worked hard these past seven months, writing a total of six books and creating a pen name from scratch. Today we celebrate the release of our first book in the Temperance Falls series, DADDY’S BEST FRIEND, the first of three books that are part of the Experience Counts: May-December Romance trilogy! The remaining books in this trilogy will be released in May.

Normally this is where I’d put an excerpt, but, well, I’m not sure I could find more than a single sentence that’d be appropriate. *devilish grin*

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AU:
Amazon CA:



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