Monday, December 29, 2014

Facebook changes, where to find me and a GLORIOUSLY MASSIVE GIVEAWAY!

Happy post-Christmas, everybody!  Do y'all feel as fat and lazy as I do?  OMG I seriously did NOT want to get up this morning!  Phew!  Talk about exhausted...wow!  But now New Year's is just around the corner, so I decided I'd better get some work done before another celebration knocks me flat. hehe But I digress.  Let me tell you what I'm doing today.  Other than editing:)

With 2015, there will be some very significant changes to Facebook.  Many of you have probably already heard the rumblings, but few of you will be affected. It's mostly those who use Facebook for their business that will be hit hard.  Those people like authors and small business owners, entrepreneurs and most artists.  I am one of those people.  I fall into all of those categories.

Starting in January, things that I post to my author page will no longer reach you in any kind of reliable, predictable way.  We will be expected to boost our posts, which costs money and STILL isn't nearly as effective as the good old days when you liked a page and then could see those posts.  So, in an effort to retain contact with you, I'm urging you to pleasepleaseplease follow me here on my blog, on Twitter and InstagramTsu and Goodreads and, most importantly, to sign up for my newsletter.  

As a thank you, I'm doing a giveaway that's exclusive to you, my wonderful readers.



Up for grabs will be a SIGNED PAPERBACK COLLECTION of my Bad Boys series, my Wild Ones series, my Pretty series, my Madly series, my Blood Like Poison series,  Fragile and the hard-to-find Until I Break.  To be entered to win, all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter.   You get 5 points in the Rafflecopter Giveaway for subscribing, but you can increase your odds of winning by following me on Instagram (3 points) and following me on Twitter (2 points).  If you're already subscribed or following me, you're still in luck!  Just list your email address for your subscription and your Instagram and twitter names for confirmation of following and you'll still get the extra points:)  Technology is so awesome sometimes, isn't it?

I really hope that you'll do all three of those options because while the newsletter is a great way for me to get information to you, it's harder for us to actually interact, which y'all know I LOVE doing.  It has inspired me and encouraged me, made me laugh, made me cry, made me hang on and keep keeping on when I worried that I couldn't.  I VALUE you!  So please, look me up on Twitter and Instagram!  Hearing from you makes me happier than you know.

I'll draw a winner on January 12th at midnight and announce it here on my blog (as well as post it on the Rafflecopter), so keep an eye out!

If I don't talk to you before then, have a safe and amazing New Year's celebration.  I'll be raising my glass to you in a toast to the most incredible year yet!  Here's to 2015!  May it be infinitely better than any year before!  <3


Monday, December 15, 2014

Cash and Olivia are back!

Y'all, I'm so, so happy and excited that the Davenport Christmas story is only ONE WEEK AWAY!  OMG OMG OMG!  I think I'd forgotten exactly how much I FREAKIN' LOVE these two until I got reacquainted with them.  *dreamy sigh*  Cash is just...just...yeah.  It's like that:)  hehe

Anyway, my wonderful publisher has sent me 10 Down to You paperbacks to give away for Christmas.  They'll be signed and personalized however the winners would like.  How do you win one?  Well, there are literally several dozen of the most wonderful bloggers I know who are posting over the next seven days.  Enter in the rafflecopter of as many of them as you can, post and tweet every day if you'd like to increase your chances of winning.  The more Cash love the better!  But if you can't find one of them, you can enter here.  And be warned that I will be adding a little something special to each of the ten packages that I mail out.  *wink wink*  So be sure to spread the love to the amazing bloggers who are participating.

Okay, y'all, let's enjoy the week that leads up to the posting of the story on December 21st because at that time I'll also have a Cash-related announcement to make.  Eeeeeeeeeep *bounces*  I think you'll like it:)

Happy Monday, everybody! And my wonderful blogger friends, don't forget that by participating you're automatically entered in a special giveaway that's just for you:)  <3

p.s.  If you've forgotten how much YOU love these two or if you haven't read about them, maybe this will make you swoon as much as it does me.  #LoveCashAndOlivia







Purchase links for the Bad Boys books:

Amazon   Barnes&Noble    iBooks    Kobo    Google Play    Signed Paperbacks

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ramblings about why I love my readers

I was just thinking about y'all this morning, counting the numerous reasons I love you.  I think it goes without saying that you had a hand (a BIG one!) in changing my life, in making it possible for me to FINALLY have a job I love.  That's probably the most obvious and...humongous one.  But there are other reasons, too, like the fact that so many of you make me smile on a daily basis and so many of us who love the same television shows, so many of us who have the same affinity for shoes and purses (and perfume and all things shiny and sparkly).  But we also share the love of people.  Fictional people.  Men and women in books who feel as real as that chick who works in the next cubicle over or the guy who jogs by your driveway every morning.  We love them, we have that love in common, and it ties us together. It gives us something to swoon over, someone to commiserate with, another universe to dream about when the troubles of this one overwhelm us.

But for me, it goes even deeper.  When y'all fall in love with someone from one of my books, I feel so close to you, even though we've never met and are often thousands of miles apart.  We share that love as though we're neighbors who have coffee together every morning.  Or old high school friends who laugh and drink wine when we get together for lunch twice a year.  That's a very special feeling to me and I treasure it.  It's like this big, worldwide sorority of the earth's most awesome ladies, bound by my books.  You can't imagine what that means to me.

So if you ever wonder how it makes me feel when I hear from you, know that I LOVE IT!  If you ever think it might bother me or that I might just blow it off like "another day at work," you'd be tragically mistaken.  Y'all give me a network of friendship that spans the globe, transcends time and defies the laws of physics.  I could never thank you enough for that.  Keep it comin'!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pocketful of Sand-- Cover and Blurb Reveal

I seriously cannot tell y'all how excited I am right now!  OMG OMG OMG  This book... GAH!  I have something to share with you on how the story came about, but that can wait until another day. Right now, I have the cover and blurb for you.


Pocketful-of-Sand600px PoS-BLURB
Coming March 15, 2015!
Preorder on iBooks†|†Add it on Goodreads
Sign up for M. Leighton's superfan newsletter to get exclusive teasers and preorder links before anyone else:)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

German/French/English Down to You paperback winners!

I have some winners!

Betul E, Elena Lim and Kelly Morin, please contact me within 48 hours at m.leighton.books@gmail.com so that I can get your book to you.  If I don't hear from you, another winner will be chosen. Thanks so much to everyone who participated!  I love it when we can all share some Cash love:)





Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Random things, Germany, Brazil and a giveaway

First of all, I have to get a few random thoughts off my chest.

1.  Why is it that when you put shredded cheese in hot chili, no matter how much you stir, it all ends up in a big glob in the center of the soup?  It's like the shreds suffer immediate separation anxiety and find their way back to each other. Not that I object to a blob of chili-coated cheese, but that's not the point.  #OneOfLifesMysteries

2.  My husband has this crazy spider sense that notifies him about three seconds in advance when I'm about to give him a wedgie.  Let's move past the fact that, yes, in my house wedgies still happen so that we can focus on the important things.  Like the fact that no matter where he is or how sneaky and quiet I am, he ALWAYS manages to clench his butt cheeks riiiiiiiight before I yank. It's very frustrating. Just sayin'.

3.  I really don't know how to connect directly with YOU, my foreign readers, but I really, really want to.  To thank you, to include you in giveaways, just to find out more about who you are and what you like.  So until I can find a better way, I'm going to use my blog:)

Over the last year and some change, my traditionally published books (the Bad Boys series and the Wild Ones series) have been translated into many, many languages.  I'm so grateful and so honored that people from all over the world want to read my books.  I could make a whole blog post just gushing about that alone. I mean, seriously. I'm WOW'd!  So. Freakin'. Grateful.

The thing is, because of your love for those series, I'm getting offers for my other books (indie books) as well.  You'll soon be seeing the Pretty Series and Fragile in bookstores across the globe. You just CANNOT imagine how humbling and thrilling and just awe-inspiring that is for me.  But if it weren't for YOU, my readers from other countries who gobble up my stories, that wouldn't be happening.  See how powerful you are?  When you create a demand, someone comes along to fill it.  And you demanded MY books and for that I'm deeply, profoundly grateful.  I hope one day to come to a city near you so that I can meet you in person and give you the heartfelt THANKYOU and hug that you deserve.

But until that day, I'm going to do random giveaways here on my blog for signed copies of my books in YOUR language.  Not every publisher sends me copies, so they are limited and not available in every language into which my books have been translated, but I will give away the ones that I have:)  And of course, I'll always include one for this country, as well, since my readers here were instrumental in making my most treasured dreams come true.  Today, I chose the German and Brazilian paperbacks, along with an English one.  So here's how it will go:

Up for grabs:  


  1. Signed paperback of Down to You in English
  2. Signed paperback of Addicted to You (Down to You in German)
  3. Signed paperback of Louca Por Voce (Down to You in Portuguese)


To enter:


  1. Comment below with your favorite Cash moment
  2. Follow my blog

I will draw the three winners on Sunday, Nov 23 and announce them here on my blog, so be sure to check back!

Oh also, December is going to be a huge month for me in many ways.  The first big thing will be a cover reveal for my upcoming novel, POCKETFUL OF SAND, on December 3, so IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER and have not signed up and want to, please do so here:


As always, thank y'all for being glorious.  I'm blessed beyond measure to have you in my life.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The holidays are coming WINNERS!

Let me first say that it is SO nice to read a list of beautiful gratitudes. It reminds me to count blessings not troubles:)

Okay, so via Random.org here are the winners of the gift cards from my previous post:

Mary Mooney and Donna Reynolds

Please email me at m.leighton.books@gmail.com within 48 hours to collect your prize.



Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment. It made for some wonderful reading!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming!

Is it weird that I just channeled Paul Revere?  Probably.  But I'm a nerd, so...why is anyone surprised?     hehe  *snort*

Anywho...

I'm here today because I was thinking <----dangerous, I know.  God has blessed me with yet another day, another YEAR of good health, a loving family, a wonderful husband, and amazing friends.  To me, that's worth celebrating, so I thought I'd do a little giveaway. The holidays are coming up and I know they're a source of stress for a lot of people for one reason or another.  A lot of smiles turn into worried frowns, and, although it's not much, I thought this might brighten a face or two as we head into Thanksgiving.  My wish would be for all of you to have so many things to be thankful for that you can't count them all, but today all I'm asking for is one.  Here's the deal.

Up for grabs:

  •  $25 Wal-Mart gift card  (both cards will be sent via email, so open internationally)
  •  $25 Target gift card


How to enter:

  • Make sure you're following this blog 
  • Comment below with something you're thankful for today


I'll draw two winners on Friday, Nov 14 and post the names here, so be sure to check back!  In the meantime, have an amazing week and try not to worry about what lies ahead. It takes too much away from the joy of today:)  <-----I tell myself this all the time because I was born a worrier, so I speak from experience. hehe

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Winner of Fave Quotes Giveaway

Let. Me. Tell. You.

I had no idea how fun and satisfying and humbling it would be to read through the quotes that stood out to y'all from all of my books.  I got to revisit someone from nearly every book I've ever written, which makes me happier than you'll ever know.  To think that of the hundreds of thousands of words that I've written, a few short sentences from Bo or Jackson or Cash or Trick, or Ginger even, would stand out to you so clearly is absolutely, astonishingly wonderful.  Y'all made all of last week just awesome!  I know without a doubt I'll be going back to read your comments again and again and again. I can think of few better pick-me-ups.  *sigh*  So thank you.  Seriously.  Thank you!

Okay, winners.  Random.org chose two random winners and they are Courtney Herbert and Whispering Pages Book Blog.  Please email your paperback of choice and your mailing address to me within 48 hours at m.leighton.books@gmail.com.  Congratulations, ladies!

Thank y'all so, so much for participating and for giving me so, so many things to smile about.  Y'all are just freakin' awesome!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Nocte by Courtney Cole

Today marks a special occasion.  My very talented BFF, Courtney Cole, is releasing her latest novel today.  It's her best book ever by far, in my humble opinion, and I'm here to tell you a little bit about it. Not much, as she's keeping the details mysterious for a while, so I'll just show you the stunning cover, the gripping blurb and then direct you where to buy it.  Because you should.  Buy it, that is.  You'll love it!



My name is Calla Price. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m one half of a whole. My other half--my twin brother, my Finn--is crazy.

I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I’m terrified he’ll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me.

I’m doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I’m drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline.

Dare DuBray.

He’s my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I’m afraid, where I belong, where I’m lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me.

He has the power to destroy me.

Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt.

Why? Because of a secret.

A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming.


You won’t either.


You can purchase Nocte here:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fave quote for the win!

Happy Monday, lovely readers!!  I hope your weekend was so superfantasticphenomenal that today is a piece of cake.

What?  A girl can hope!

:)

So, what brings me here today is nostalgia.  *dreamy sigh*  September 23rd was the two-year anniversary of Cash Davenport, a delicious hunk of man who changed my life in ways I never, ever, ever thought it might be changed.  I wanted to celebrate him SO FREAKIN' BAD, but I had Sig's release a few days later and I didn't want them to have to share the love, so I decided to have a special anniversary for Cash.  I've planned a very, very, VERY exciting "thing" for the Davenports in December.  I don't want to spoil it, so that's all I'll say, but I think you'll be pleased.  *beams*  Eeeeeeep  Unfortunately, that doesn't stop me from thinking about them, along with all my other main character guys and gals, so I thought I'd find a fun way to bide my time and include y'all in the stroll down memory lane.  Here's what I want to do:

Post your favorite line from ANY of my books in the comments below.  By doing so, you'll be entered to win your choice of any one of my signed paperbacks, along with a swag pack.  I'll draw TWO winners via Random.org and post the names on my blog on Tuesday.  BE SURE to check back to see if you were chosen!

That's it. Easy peasy and fun, fun, fun!  I'm so excited to read what one quote stood out most to you from any of my books.  On Monday, I'll also share what stands out most to me.  You might find that interesting. hehe

I'll be reading each comment and hoping you have a wonnnnnnderful week!

Okay, ready, set, go!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My blogger friends and some exciting news

In some ways, I'm a raging over sharer, as you've no doubt seen if you follow me on social media.  There are times when I just sit back and shake my head over what I say or admit, thinking, "Dude..."  But at other times, I err in the other direction and neglect to share things.  This is especially true if I have any question that my sharing XY and Z information could be misconstrued in any way.  I probably WAAAAY overthink things, but that's just the way I'm made, so I've kinda gotten used to feeling crazy and torn most of the time. LOL

Anyway, I have several things to share here today, along with a call to ALL MY WONDERFUL BLOGGER FRIENDS who might be interested in helping  share some cool stuff in the coming months.

First of all, I'll just say that I'm planning for this year to be a Cash and Nash kind of Christmas.  Eeeeeeep I'm not going to give away too much right now, but I did want to let you know that it's in the works.  So, so many of you have asked about them and...well...I miss them, so there you have it.  I'm doing something super cool with them and I'd love to have some blogs participate in sharing/posting exclusive stuff, so if you're interested, please fill out the very short form below.

Secondly, I'll be revealing the cover and blurb for book one in my new Berkley trilogy very soon.  I'm SO FREAKIN' EXCITED by this series, I just can't even... yeah.  it's like that.  OMG!

Thirdly, I mentioned to y'all a few months ago about a special favor my husband asked of me.  Well, that's now officially in the works, too.

As you can see, I've got a lot coming up in December and then throughout 2015. I'd love to have your help for one or two or all of them. Whatever you can do, I'm always grateful for.  I know your time is donated and very, very precious, so I will just notify you of the event as far in advance as possible and then you can sign up if you're interested.   Easy peasy.

Here's the sign-up form and I so, so, SO look forward to sharing yumminess and fun with you:)



Bloggers! Sign up to receive offers to participate in upcoming release events

Email Format

Monday, October 20, 2014

Self-publishing: How it worked for me and how I did it practically for free

Self-publishing.  I think this is as hot a topic now as it was when I first started looking into it in December of 2010.  I also think it has just as much merit now as it did in 2010, possibly even more.

Let me go back.  Allllll the way back to where I was before I read Twilight (which is what prompted me to write my first book.  No, I'm not kidding. LOL)  I was a registered nurse before I started writing. I had never so much as kept a journal before then, never once considered that I might one day be a writer.  It just never entered my mind.  Not only that, but I was the type of reader who got my books from bookstores, had never been on a blog of any kind and hadn't heard of a digital reader. I had a Facebook account that had been closed for years, and had only a vague idea what Twitter was. So as you can see, your beginnings, no matter how humble or clueless, need not effect your future. Yes, things might've moved faster had I been familiar with...all this, but they still moved. So consider yourself to be ahead of the game as of right this minute. LOL

Because I wasn't a part of this digital literary world, when I wrote my first book in June of 2009, I queried it the traditional way. It's the only way I knew of, the only way I thought it could be done.  So I went to the library and borrowed a book (actually, it was two HUGE books) called the Literary Marketplace.  I'm sure there are websites that you can reference now, but again, I did it all the hard way. I'm goofy like that.  LOL  Anyway, once I began to see that many of them had websites, I started visiting them.  I emailed an obscene amount of literary agents and publishers.  Basically anyone who was open to submissions, I submitted. It's easier to do that these days, of course, with the advent of email and the popularity of paperless processes.  It was as simple as looking up that agent/publisher, reading through their preferences and then tailoring my electronic letter and attachments to their specific wants and needs.  None of that helped with rejection, of course. LOL  There was no book or website for that.  And like most people who write a book, I was absolutely certain that NONE OF THEM could go another day in their life without snatching up my work.

About six weeks after that is when I got my very first check. It wasn't the kind you can cash, though. It was the reality kind. Bahahahahaha  Lemme tell ya, the competition is stiff and your work truly has to stand out among the rest to get noticed.  Consider yourself warned that not everyone will fall as much in love with your project as you have. But that's okay.  I think as authors we have to love our work and our characters long before anyone else does and long after.  They're very personal to us and there's no amount of coaching that can prepare you for what it feels like when others who you look up to essentially tell you that the love of your literary life isn't good enough.

Here's where the first (well,  maybe second) realllllly tough spot occurs.  Do you give up and admit defeat? Or do you continue?  Throw in the towel or write more, learn more, keep at it until you get better?  I hope that, like me, you will continue on. I can't even imagine my life right now had I given up.  I mean, I just can't...I can't even... Nope. Not gonna go there.

Okay, so back to self-publishing.

It was after those rejections that I found Amanda Hocking. Well, actually my husband did. She was the breakout star of independent publishing and hubby had been trying to convince me to follow in her footsteps since June of 2010, one year after I'd written my first (and second, by that point) novel.  I refused to listen at first, thinking that self-publishing was tantamount to giving up.

Now before you get offended, let me tell you that I no longer feel that way AT ALL.  That was simply ignorance on my part.  Y'all, self-publishing changed my life. Since the moment I first hit PUBLISH on Amazon KDP January 30, 2011, I have gone on to sell hundreds of thousands of books, appear on the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and a few other best seller lists multiple times, and secure not only an incredible agent, but three traditional book deals with my amazing publisher, Berkley as well.  I'm not boasting; I'm just saying that NONE of that would've happened had I not taken that first scary step!  I wanted people to read my book and I was willing to publish it myself in order to accomplish that.  And what a crazy-awesome, wonderful decision that was!  Self-publishing took me from quitting my day job with nothing more than faith and the support of my husband, through a couple of months of getting gas money from rolling quarters and grocery money from selling some of my gold jewelry, to being able to write full-time and make a living doing something that I love.  Finally!  Believe me, I'd be the first person in the world to sing the praises of self-publishing. In fact, I often am. LOL

Anyway, I wanted to share with you how I went about it not because it's a big secret, but because I did almost everything for free or for very little financial investment.  It's not that you can't figure all this out on your own, but maybe it can be one or two less things that you have to think about or google the crap out of.  I would've loved, loved, loved to have information like this when I started out, so I hope that you find it helpful.  I'm going to put it in a step-by-step format, just for ease of reading and to keep myself on track.  <----we all  know how susceptible I am to tangents. hehe

#1- Your Product-  Make sure before you do anything else that your book is as polished and shiny as it can be.  If you need help with the writing process itself, do an internet search for writing groups or ask around on Facebook.  Very often you'll find some invaluable information in those places and you'll likely make some friends.

      #1A-  I'll also mention here that it's good to have a critique partner, another author who can give you honest feedback about your work.  At first, I had never even heard of one, much less known to go find one, so I used my husband and my sister.  Granted, those probably aren't people who were likely to be BRUTALLY HONEST, but they did a wonderful job for me!  They both even caught some mistakes along the way, which made editing a lot easier.

      #1B-  You can also find beta readers or other authors who might agree to help you fine-tune and even edit your book.  Many of them will automatically point out any errors that they come across.  And while at first, you don't know who to trust, find a few reputable people to take a look at your book.  It's always better to have more than one set of eyes on your work before you put it out in the world.  Hiring an expensive editor isn't always the ONLY way either. To this very day, I still edit my own books.  Most would advise against that, and yes, there might still be a few mistakes, but I find mistakes in traditionally published books, too.  Nothing is perfect and expectations like that will only end in disappointment.  The fact of the matter is, when you're just starting out, money is often a sticking point, so I'm just telling you how you can get all this done with as little spent as possible.  Not being able to pay for a professional editor isn't the kiss of death for your book. Just go over it as many times as you can, run spell and grammar check on it every time you make changes and always, always, always look at places that others point out to you as questionable.


#2-  Formatting-  Formatting is different for each site, so be sure to reference the guidelines for the etailer you're uploading to.  This is also a good time to set up your account with each site.  That's how you get paid!  Whoop!  But back to formatting.  Here's what I have found (accurate as of 10/2014):





  • Barnes & Noble will accept a Word document.  As far as I can tell, Nook Press does a great job of converting it to epub, although you can convert to epub using Calibre and upload straight to site if you choose.  Here is where you get started with Nook Press.  









  • Smashwords has very, very, very specific guidelines. If you intend to publish through them (which could actually cut out many steps, as they will publish to Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Kobo and several other sites), I would highly suggest that you read their Style Guide BEFORE you even type the first word so that you can set up your document that way and not have to go back and fix things.  But, I assume that you have at least a portion of a book already completed or you wouldn't be so interested in this. In that case, read it now so that you can clean up your book and get fewer errors upon publication.    **Hint:  Here's the way my blank Word document is set up.  I use Times New Roman, 12 pt font.  I don't use any fancy fonts or page headers.  I never use the tab button.  I never hit enter more than twice. I always use hard page breaks (or section breaks) to separate pages.  It might seem overwhelming at first, but stick with it.  And they also have a great support team!  Mark Coker is just wonderful! Here is where you get started with Smashwords.


      #2A-  I also want to mention here that you should have a different copy of your book for each site, one that includes which site you're publishing to as well as links SPECIFIC to that site.  That way, when you have more than one book, people can click the link and be taken directly to all your work on that site.  It's a bit of a pain when you're publishing, but when you have to go back and update something or have 10 books under your belt, you'll thank me:)

#3-  Your Cover-  There are dozens of sites that have pictures you can download for free, but just because they don't cost you anything does NOT mean that they are ROYALTY FREE.  That's what you need to worry about.  For me, I found that the best thing was to buy a picture package from  a stock photo site. I use Shutterstock.  At the time, I bought 25 pictures for $49.  I think it's a bit more than that now, but it's still a great deal!  You can also use some of your downloads for graphics and teasers if you want.  Just be sure to give credit for the photo as specified by the site.

       #3A-  As for making it pretty, I downloaded Paint.net for free to my PC and learned how to manipulate pictures and text until I had a cover that I was pleased with.  That's something else that I do to this very day.  With the exception of books through Berkley, I still do all my own covers.  For those who want to try it this way and have a Mac, I use the Pixelmator app.


#4- Marketing-  This is a loaded topic!  What works today will be obsolete tomorrow, so I'll just be brief and say that if you haven't already set up a blog, a Facebook Author Page and Twitter and Instagram accounts, get right on that!  LOL  And if you've never met a blogger, go browse around the blogs that host some of your favorite authors.  What you'll find there are some of the world's most amazing women who share your passion for the written word. They're as much a part of this community as the books themselves.  Many of them have been doing this for years and are wise beyond words!  Most of them are very helpful if you'll but ask.  As for submitting your book to them, always adhere to any guidelines that they have posted about review submissions or genre preference.  It's the very least you can do since probably 90% of them blog and review for the love of reading rather than to make money.  Be sure to be respectful of their time.  As far as paying for any kind of marketing services, I would just suggest asking around the author community for a good recommendation and then putting in some time doing research. In fact, I would suggest researching pretty much all of this stuff before you strike out to publish your book. That's what I did and I learned a lot of valuable stuff along the way.

Well, that's pretty much it in a nutshell.  I'll add to this as I think of other things you might find useful.  Remember that things change almost daily in this industry, so all this might shift to some degree. I do believe, however, that there will always be options for doing things in a cost-effective manner.

Don't let all this dissuade you. It might seem daunting at first, but just take it a step at a time.  The biggest hurdle is finishing your book.  Once that's done, just look at the rest as tiny bumps in the road to getting your baby in the hands of those who might really enjoy it. And when that time comes, revel in those readers!  They're investing in you.  They're taking a chance on you.  They're spending their hard-earned money on the blind faith that you'll deliver what you've promised. I never take that lightly, which is why I'm always gushing about how much I love my readers. Because I do.  They took a chance on me...ME!  And they change my life for the better every single day.

I wish you the best of luck with your journey.  Try to enjoy every step of it.  Rejoice in the good, learn from the challenges.  You just never know what's around the corner and how different your life will look in the space of twenty-four short hours:)



Wake up!

For those of you who don't know, I have a small dog that is very much like my child.  She belonged to my mother-in-law, Karen, and when she passed away, Karen willed us her dog.  She knew that we would take good care of her, which we do.  The dog's name is Callie.  She's an 8-pound Malti-poo that's smarter than most toddlers.  I'm not kidding.  We thought her intellect was unusual until we started researching poodle breeds.  They're freakin' smart!  Seriously.  She knows so many words that we have to spell things around her.  She can literally complete some of the tests that are designed to measure a 2-3 year old's  thought processes. It's insane!  Annnnnyway, it drives her nuts when Mr. Leighton lies in the floor and snores, pretending to sleep.  She can't stand it!  She whines until I tell her to wake him up, at which point she will scratch his head until he moves or I praise her.  It's adorable, and I secretly (okay, maybe not so secretly) snicker over her taking off a few layers of Mr. Leighton's scalp. hehe  <------Is that mean?  Probably.  But it's just so cute!  And listening to him yelp-laugh (which is what he does when she digs in) makes ME  laugh for some reason.

Here's a video of the little devil doing it. So. Cute.  As I taped it, sitting in the living room with my family when I should've been working, I was reminded of the important things in life.  Family, friends, love, laughter.  In that moment, I realized that I had it all, right there three feet away. That makes me blessed beyond measure, doesn't it?  Yep, it sure does. #Perspective

If any of you have cute pet tricks and stories, share away! I'm a huge animal lover, so...that never gets old to me:)  LOL

Happy Monday, y'all! I hope that you get to spend time with your family and friends this week, and that it's filled with loads and loads of love and laughter:)


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Oops!

Well, here we are on Thursday.  Two days post release of All Things Pretty part two.  It was supposed to go out to all newsletter subscribers automatically and seamlessly.  <------that's where things got hairy.

Rather than using negative terms like "epic fail" or "disaster" I'll just say that the day was not without it's challenges.  *snort*  Neither was yesterday, which I compare to the writer's life version of cleaning up after a hurricane.  But I survived.  Just a few cuts and scrapes.  Nothing life threatening.  And I learned some really valuable lessons along the way, which I'm going to share with you. You knew I would, right?  That's my M.O.---->  Overshare.

#1:  Don't let an epic fail rob you of your desire to try again or to do nice things.  For about 30+ hours, I was telling myself that I will never...NEVER, NEVER, NEVER try to do something like this again.  I probably won't, actually. Not exactly like this anyway, but I WILL still do what I think is right and kind and fair.  When life kicks you in the teeth, despite your good intentions, you can't stay down on the ground and roll around.  As much as we'd sometimes like to, we can't wallow (or waller, as we say here in the south).  It's far too easy to get comfortable in the defeated position.  We have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and take a step forward.  We just have to tread more carefully and USE the wisdom that we learned when we were face down on the ground. LOL

#2:  For all the rotten apples in the world, there are a hundred beautiful, shiny, sweet ones.  I'm not sure how accurate my ratio is.  1:100 is probably very low. Maybe I should say 1:10,000.  That's probably closer.  Regardless of the real statistics, I'm learning to appreciate the bad apples.  Sounds crazy, right?  But seriously, that the one bad, nasty bitter apple can make you so, so, SO much better appreciate the good ones, know what I mean?  How would we know light if we didn't see darkness?  How would we know the sweetness of honey if we never tasted vinegar?  Sometimes it takes a trial to remind us of what's important, to make us SEE what's important. They make us grateful.

#3:  Focus.  Focus, focus, focus.  For me, this one is super important!  I can be trucking along beautifully one minute and then BAM!  One little thing will throw a kink in my whole day.  You know what that is?  INSANE!  That's what that is!  I can waste a ridiculous amount of time beating myself up over a mistake or crying over something small when there is still so much good and right and positive everywhere around me.  Just because All Things Pretty had every problem imaginable from release day of part one on 9-30 all the way through release part of part two on 10-14 doesn't mean that I need to dwell on it.  I can't change it. I can only go forward smarter. Smarter yet still happy.  I can't let this snafu sour my job or my life or my outlook.  I have to focus on the POSITIVE, take the bad for what it's worth and then move on. Learn my lesson and go.  So that's what I'm doing.

Today, I'm back in the saddle.  Focusing on the good.  I've apologized a million times for the problems that occurred with the free copy of All Things Pretty, part two.  I can't go back and undo it, and letting it ruin even one more hour would be an irresponsible tragedy on my part.  I have more books to write (my next three for my publisher, in fact), something that I'm sooooo looking forward to.  I love my job and I won't let a bad day or two steal my thunder.  Life is about balance and appreciation, taking the bad with the good.  We suffer through the icky and revel in the WOW.

So today I'm diving into my next story, which I already love because it's kind of dark and totally delicious.  I'll be gushing about it as soon as I can.  And I'll have a cover to share soon, hopefully. I've seen it already and O. M. G.  I adore it!  The art folks at Berkley really outdid themselves.  It speaks so perfectly to the book that I can't...I can't even... Yeah, you know how that goes.

Annnnnnywho, go on with your day.  Enjoy the good.  Every day deserves that.  More importantly, YOU deserve that.  Be happy.  Live smart.

Love, peace and bacon <-------my new ending thanks to the wonderful Michelle Lee.  Girl!  That is just perfect for me!

p.s.  For those who were waiting for live links to purchase All Things Pretty, part two for $0.99 (even though it is still available for free for those who want it), here are the sites that are up and running:

Amazon

iTunes:  (pending)