Business Unusual

Last summer, I parted ways with another manager with whom I was extremely dissatisfied. On one side, I have worked for some wonderful leaders in my career. On the other, I also worked for and under people with zero interest in the business or the employees. Their concern was how to look good on paper quickly for their next role or promotion. The latter frustrated me endlessly, and after this latest parting, I found myself entirely disillusioned with the corporate world I had loved after graduation.

I also enjoyed being a manager and often said “I could do this better.” The last four months have been about me putting my time, money, and effort where my mouth is as I have worked toward buying and executing a new franchise business. Everything comes together over the next six weeks as I attend training, hire employees, and start serving customers.

If I fail, I set myself back five to ten years of savings and will have to spend double that working longer before I have enough to retire. If I succeed, I will make less annually than before from a salary perspective, but there are other benefits. I can still hate my boss (myself), but I will be able to change the things that frustrate me about her. I will be able to create an environment of employee development and culture I’m excited about. I will focus on the things that matter to the employees and business rather than making someone else look good without consideration for the broader implications.

I don’t think it will all go horribly wrong, but wish me luck anyway!

On the Writing Front

My goal is to get the book 100% revised/edited to send to my beta readers before I head to the training class, but I don’t think I will make that timeframe. It will be close though, so I might be able to finish it after class in the evenings of the training week. Either way, I’m still within the buffer timeframe to hit the release date for Hidden Promise in June.

The greatest challenge will be if my betas come back with broad revision recommendations. I’m working through the grander adjustments from my alphas now, so it all depends on if we all missed something big. Don’t worry, though. I gave myself enough time to get through this in addition to working a full-time job.

I will probably place the release date for Hidden Strength, the series finale, another year out to be safe again. I can always move it up, but pushing a preorder date out has penalties I want to avoid.

If you haven’t started the series yet, or if you want to leave a review, you can find the first book at this link: Hidden Memory. The first two are free to read in KU, and the third will go into KU a month after release. Hidden Promise is also on a preorder discount. You can pick it up for $3.99 until after it releases. It will then go up to $4.99, the same price as the second, Hidden Sanctuary.

As always, thanks for all your support, and you can find more by signing up for my newsletter on the home page or following my social media accounts. Have a great weekend!

Snippets and Freebies

I recently set a target of forty reviews on Amazon between my first two books. When we reached the goal, I would post a deleted chapter from book 2 for free on my website. We crossed the rating threshold in December, and I diligently added the document to my book page for your reading pleasure.

I have been thinking of doing something similar for when I hit the fifty review/rating milestone for Hidden Memory. It is currently sitting at thirty-two ratings, and I hope they keep trickling in as they have in the days since the December promotion. I’m not making promises since I don’t have anything prepared, but get me to forty-five, and the tune might change.

The whole thing has me thinking about snippets and freebies in general. I love when my favorite authors have extras on their websites and share teaser snippets. Especially when they have fun, dynamic characters about whom I love reading more into their lives. Usually, this is for the more lighthearted fare I read. I find those extra bits when looking for the next book, Google the author to find out when it is coming out, and stumble through their website.

Many who read my blog followed before I published for the first time, following my author journey, so I wonder if snippets are a draw here. Do others enjoy those freebies as much as I do? How enticing are snippets shared in a blog if you don’t already have a rabid following? Would a potential additional scene or short story related to a book you loved entice you to leave a written review rather than a rating? Do you miss my sci-fi short story installments here?

I have not received an immense amount of engagement on the blog historically, so let me know if there is something you have particularly enjoyed reading in the last couple of years. Maybe I can even figure out how to do a survey for the blog’s two-year birthday coming up! For now, back to editing this draft of Hidden Promise so I can get it to my beta readers!

Wish me luck on my path to 50 reviews/ratings, and have a great weekend!

Tweeting

I have never been a social media maven. I signed up for FaceBook a decade after it was trending primarily for events and sharing pictures with family and friends. It was not until I made my author accounts that I got on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Of the bunch, Twitter is at the bottom of the list for me.

It feels like being back in high school, but you just moved to a new one. The cliques already exist, and if you are not the gorgeous, exuberant person that people are innately drawn to, no one interacts with you. Trying to break into a group otherwise garners you the one “like” or generic comment that is the online equivalent of an awkward chuckle.

Maybe it is just me. I’m socially awkward to start, and I’m sure part of this is me internalizing the abyss into which it seems I shout into via Twitter. Either way, yesterday, I decided to stop worrying so much about it and jumped in. What follows is a thread I posted, daring to tag Stephen King. The worst he could do was block me. Even a roast would garner attention, and he asked the question in the first place! As that book by Master Payne says, sometimes the jokes are just for me.

*For the purposes of public posting: yes, appropriate attire is involved*

@stephenking re: soap

Mr. King, you don’t know me, but you asked a question about soap that stuck in my head. I firmly believed I had used a bar of soap to the end, but I could not recall the details. As a result, I began an experiment, an adventure born of curiosity, if you will. (1/7)

At the time, I was not halfway through the bar. Life continued as usual, and I held the experiment at the back of my mind each day as I watched it shrink. This week, I knew I was close and opened a new bar. Yesterday, I gently perched the thin slice atop the bar, hoping it would better maintain its sudsy abilities. (2/7)

The perching was a mistake. I nearly despaired this morning when the little bit of soap was stuck. Would it break and ruin the test? Would I have to start over? Heart in my throat, I gently pulled with as much grip as my nails could gain. It came free with a tiny snick of sound, and I breathed a sigh of relief. (3/7)

I continued my business as carefully as possible, checking on the soap often. The sliver was so thin I could not feel it in my hand and lost it at one point. My hand came back empty, and I looked around to see if I had dropped it. The piece was so soft at that point, I wondered if I would even be able to pick it up without destroying it. (4/7)

The soap was not on the floor, but it had been too large to have disappeared down the drain. I craned my neck and found it clinging to my shoulder. Peeling it off, I returned to my chore. (5/7)

When the little piece of soap was the size of a dime and so thin it became translucent, I decided not to risk losing it again. I worked the lather between my hands. The ever-shrinking bit slipped between my fingers, but I returned it to my palm every time. Eventually, it disappeared beneath one finger into the mass of bubbles. (6/7)

Can it be done? Yes, but I find I cannot handle the soap drama. I will return to smushing that last slice into the carved decoration on the next bar.
Thank you for the inquiry. I hope you found this to be as entertaining a diversion as I did. (7/7)

Have a wonderful new year!

Anniversary Book Sale!

Earlier this week, my debut novel turned one year old. Hidden Memory came out last December and has since surpassed my initial goal and measure of success. When my husband asked me, pre-release, what a “win” would look like, I told him it would be if fifty people bought and enjoyed my book. While I have to guess at the enjoyment part, the first book sold around four hundred copies in the first year, and the second is already approaching two hundred. 

Achieving the success I wanted, I now dare to dream of even greater goals. I already have another three milestones picked out. 1) Fifty reviews on Hidden Memory. 2) Cover my advertising spend. 3) Reach the point where the books pay for themselves. Each one is a little step toward continuing to write and create stories I love. 

Celebratory Promo!

In honor of this one-year mark and to push in the direction of the reviews goal, I decided to test out the free ebook promotion tool on Amazon. From December 15th-19th, 2022, I have made Hidden Memory free in ebook format in all markets it is allowed. As of this writing, you still have a little time to jump on the deal if you have not already bought my first book. (It is also an opportunity to share the joy with fellow fantasy fans if you already read it yourself.)

This promo is also an experiment of sorts. Do people actually read the books they get for free? Does it generate interest and read-through for the other books in the series? Will it generate additional reviews/ratings? Inquiring minds (mine) want to know, and I hope to gain some insight from this event. With two more books in the series coming out and more books, worlds, and series planned in my head, I have ample opportunity to put what I learn into action for years to come. 

Grab your copy today, and don’t forget to leave those reviews as a thank-you for the free entertainment!

Series (drafts) Complete!

I still have the epilogue to write, but I have officially completed the first draft of the last book in the Hidden Series! For NaNoWriMo, I wanted to finish this draft and write over 32k words. This officially accomplishes both goals three days ahead of schedule.

Book four will now be set aside for a while so I can do a revision of Hidden Promise based on my alpha feedback. It took about three months for me to do this for Hidden Sanctuary, and I’m targeting having it for my alpha readers in April, my editor in May, and it is due out in June. The timing cuts it pretty close, so I will work to cut two or three weeks off of these deadlines.

Book Four: Then and Now

One of the greatest challenges with this one was that I could not really use any of my original writing. Years ago, I finished a draft of the complete series. I knew where the story was going and many of the stops it would make along the way. Most of the characters were at least rough outlines in my mind. I had over 72k words already written for this portion of the story.

Then, I built it out, starting with Hidden Memory. The world grew. The characters grew. I did it again with Hidden Sanctuary. With Hidden Promise, I had only scratched the surface of the fairy lands and people initially. So, I delved deeper and gave them more.

By the time I returned to the point of the final book, there were too many changes. People were not where they had been. The importance of some places and events shifted. It would have been more effort to squeeze the previous writing into the new form than to write it all from scratch. In the end, I used the former writing as an outline, trashed the writing itself, and the draft ends up at around 107k words.

If I can swing it, the series finale will be available before June 2024. This means going through all of the reviews and revisions. As always, if I can release early, I will.

Interested?

If you are interested in joining the team, know I have openings for ARC readers. The first two books are free on KU. Start with those and leave reviews. If you are still interested, reach out to me, and I can add you to the team for Hidden Promise coming out in 2023.

Happy holidays to all!