Alpha’s Dream and the Marketing Dilemma

In a world of niche marketing the question remains. Where do I fit in?

It seems simple enough to answer, but I’ve found it increasingly difficult to pick sides for my first release.

The Alpha’s DreamThe Alpha’s Dream is exceeding my expectations. Despite its meager written reviews, the Kindle Unlimited page reads and books purchased assures me that my work is being read.  The numbers look good, better than any of my pseudonym work, and despite my previous doubts I’m confident that my audience is there. I’m proud of it. To see the work taking a life all its own and building momentum is something I’d hoped for. It is encouraging.

As I said before, just because I’ve finished writing doesn’t mean the work is done. It isn’t. The marketing is just as important a part of self-publishing as writing well. Great books die from lack of exposure.  If The Alpha’s Dream is to have perpetual life, then I must ride the waves of my momentum through well chosen marketing strategies.

One method that most authors have found particularly successful is direct marketing. The way it works includes platforms like Bookbub, Booksends, Bookdaily, and other ebook to inbox services. Readers sign-up with an email address for free. They are then prompted to choose the genres they enjoy reading. Everyday, the service will then send books that are free or discounted directly to the provided email and in accordance to the genre’s selected.

For a nominal fee authors can apply for a spot on the mailing lists. Some of the platforms are simple sign-ups while others have strict requirements. Most only allow one identifying genre and they are priced accordingly.

Marketing this ways is a preferred method because of the reach of these mailing lists. The readers have chosen the service and the genres they enjoy. They aren’t spammed with unsolicited newsletters or emails about books they don’t have the slightest interest in.

The service allows maximum exposure for authors to those who enjoy our genre without us having to individually track them down or worse “hope” they find us in the book pit that is Amazon. The one on one contact is a great way to expand into the book scope of our preferred demographic and offers a surge in the possibility of gaining a fan as well as possible sales. Great, right? Brilliant to be exact.

Here is my problem, The Alpha’s Dream is an African- American Werewolf Shifter Romance. So, where is the check mark for that one? Anybody? No. Right.

So here I have these incredible platforms for services I would have to pay for and I am struggling to determine which genre would best identify my work. My audience is both African-American romance readers and Alpha Wolf Shifter (Paranormal)  romance readers. Obviously there is some overlap. The struggle in  picking sides doesn’t come from not realizing this. The apprehension about which to choose comes from an attempt to include my entire audience in one marketing sweep. There is an intense feeling I’m neglecting some readers in order to pursue others.

In some ways, this is an irrational fear. Ultimately, whether or not this should even be a battle I have with myself is irrelevant. One marketing campaign at a time, I must pick a side.

Choosing is never easy.

The Alpha’s Dream is just one representation of that. However, at some point we all must buck up and pick which side best explains our position. Time and time again this surfaces in my life and I assume many others. What remains true is that there will always be a point where we or what we believe is “both”. Deciding to choose “neither” will be a futile decision.

Standing still will never move you forward.

In choosing progress, I weigh my odds and embrace the strongest identity. The Alpha’s Dream is still ” both”, but for marketing purposes it is African- American romance. It has not lessened by being sorted.

In order to become what we are meant, sometimes we must make the hard choice of defining ourselves even when one answer won’t do. If that means that someone will be missed, then so be it. Maybe, it just wasn’t their time to join the fold anyway.

What are some identities you’ve had to choose between? Comment below with how things worked out.

Joy.

 

#ShamelessPlug

The Alpha’s Dream is officially released and if you haven’t gotten it already, then what are you waiting for?!?

I’m still not over the excitement of my first official release. It has truly been a crazy ride and I’m still learning the ins and outs of publishing as I work on my second project.  That doesn’t mean I’m not watching closely even the slightest movement on the Alpha’s Dream! I loved writing the book and I wanted to give you reasons to love it too. So, here are my completely biased and utterly self-serving, top five reasons you should purchase The Alpha’s Dream.

1.The Alpha’s Dream is a sexy and tension filled love story of how our past haunts us.

I’m a hopeless romantic. A sweet romance will always make me swoon, but real relationships don’t just fall into place. Case in point, Euphoria and Nathaniel. While you escape into an eventual happily ever after, the journey the two must go to be with each other is the ultimate focus. My hero and heroine aren’t expected to simply fall in love with each other. They are forced to address quiet insecurities and very noisy resentments just as they would in “real life”.

2. New Orleans is the perfect location for a little shifter magic.

I should have said Louisiana here. I’m a LA native, born and raised here. It means I have a special connection to all things paranormal. New Orleans, with its flurry of activity and torrid history offers one of the perfect locations to bring in a little more of the extraordinary. Of course there would be werewolves in New Orleans. Just like there would be witches, vampires, changelings, and strong women like Euphoria who bravely carve out their lives.

3. The sister love bond between Euphoria Atkins and her best friend Charlotte is enviable.

In a world that loves a good catfight, I find it most important to show women of color with strong bonds. Euphoria and Charlotte are the type of sister girlfriends who tell each other hard truths, fight for each other without reservation, and will not once let the other sit back on their greatness. They are the epitome of strong, loving support systems. All of us should have best friends like these!

4. Nathaniel’s eventual self-awareness.

Nathaniel doesn’t have a lot of time for introspection. He takes things as he sees them, is not easily persuaded otherwise, and ultimately only changes kicking and screaming. It was tough to get him to a point where he wanted to be someone different. He wanted to be a man free enough of his resentments that he could love Euphoria from a whole place. There is nothing more powerful than his resolution to make peace with his past and his love for Euphoria as the catalyst.

5. Diversity in all things romance!

It is a small thing that the characters of my shifter romance are predominantly black. That isn’t to say that it isn’t a very important thing. Often, in stories outside of the norm, almost stereotypical romance characters of color are excluded. On days when they are included, there is generally one primary character as a person of color. It is important to me as a reader to have characters like Euphoria and Nathaniel; strong people of color with rich lives, honest fears, and prosperous.

I love my book. You will too. Add The Alpha’s Dream to your shifter collection today.

 

Joy.

#freereads

Writing is a tedious love affair. Just when you’re finished, you have to take a second look at it to figure out you are wrong.

I love my job. I love taking a premise and fleshing it to a plot, then taking names and turning them into people. It is a passion. It is my life’s dream. I used to write for the sake of writing. Now, I don’t.

My release date is three weeks away, April 23rd. On that faithful Sunday,  months of hard work will spill out for your consumption. I will be at your mercy. That’s a lot of pressure, right? WRONG! It’s actually no pressure at all. The great thing about books is that you have the right to choose what you read. That isn’t pressure, it’s power.

So, let’s share power.

One of the fascinating things about books is discovering new authors. Some of you have quietly followed along with me. You’ve seen the highs, the lows, and read the concerns. You’ve been there when I’ve struggled to determine if it was worth it. Now, I’m asking you to take things a little further.

I want you to read my book…and review it.

That might be a little pressure.

It is no small task, breaking into the world of being a published author. There are a lot of hours, doubts, fears, and so on. What makes it worth it for most of us is the finished product and your response. We know as authors what we love, but we want to know what you love too. Like I said, I use to do this for the love of it, and now I don’t.

I write for a living. It is my career. I spent long hours for years writing for others. Now, as I write for myself I need your voice in my head. I’m asking for your curiousity, and offering a chance to read my book(s) for free. Here’s is how it works.

You the curious reader, sign up to receive an Advanced Reader copy of my book. This copy will have all the plot and basic editing for your consumption. It’ll ask you to determine whether or not you like it and why. Once finished, you would leave an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. The end.

It really is that easy. It feels like a small thing, but ask any author, it’s not. Those few sentences and star ratings make a huge difference in whether the work lives or dies. I’m pretty partial to The Alpha’s Dream living.

So do me a solid and just sign-up. I’ll send you a free ARC copy and on April 23rd, you’ll review it. We’ll both be ecstatically happy. Don’t believe me? Try it and see. 😁

 

Joy.

 

#HeroineInterviews

E: Sorry I’m late. I lost track of time.

(Euphoria Atkins enters the restaurant wearing a pretty black silk blouse and  pencil skirt that hugs her ample hips. She smiles easily and takes a seat directly across from me.)

E: I had a meeting that ran long. I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long.

You’re absolutely fine. Should we order or dive right in?”

E:Oh you haven’t ordered. Oh God. please get some food. I called in my order because I thought you would have by now. In the meantime, fire away.

Firing now. So tell me about your friendship with charlotte Jackson. How did that began?
It began in college. Charlotte is a take charge kind of woman and substantially more extroverted than I am. So it took some pushing and pulling, but we’re really close.

Because you are opposites?

E:Absolutely.  We see the world from different places, and so we compliment each other. She’s the sister I never had, and I’m very grateful.

What did she say about your relationship with Nathaniel Blanchard? did she try to discourage you from being with a werewolf?

E: I won’t be commenting on Nathaniel.

(Her smile has grown exponentially. As the waiter places her food down in front of her and takes my order. I notice a moment of quiet joy sweeping over her smooth brown cheeks.)

Why not? He refused to talk to us about you too. Is there something the two of you are hiding. Maybe wedding bells or something along those lines.

E: Nathaniel and I agreed that we wouldn’t disclose details about our relationship until after the book was released. Even then, we don’t plan to share everything.

So what can you share with our readers about yours and Nathaniel’s story? Anything.

E: I can share that it is worth the discovery. I think your readers will enjoy watching  our story unfold, and gain a lot from it.

Okay, so you’re not going to tell us anything.

E: No. (She says with a throaty laugh.)

Well, I guess we will have to wait until April 23rd for the official release.

E: You won’t be disappointed. I promise.

We’ll take your word for it. So on to other subjects. It is rumored that you left a high paying Graphic Design job to start your business Euphoric Designs. What was the catalyst for your venturing out on your own?

(Euphoria holds her fork balanced on mid-way between her plate and her mouth. She’s thinking. Her brows are smooth, but her eyes are deep with concentration.

E: A number of things drove that decision. Ultimately, I believe I just wanted to own  more of my time and my creations. I was exhausted from working long hours on projects that didn’t matter to me or didn’t make me grow. I wasn’t motivated to do that for the rest of my life. So, I decided that if I were going to  work my life away I would do it for myself.

Dreams seem to play a big part in yours and Nathaniel’s story. What advice would you give other women who have a dream that they can’t get out of their heads?

E: I would tell them to stop trying to forget it. If it wasn’t part of my purpose to be a Graphic Designer and someday own my company, then it would have been an easy thought to dismiss. Since it wasn’t, I knew I had to pay attention to this. I had to  attempt to build it or it would eat me alive.

Eat you alive. That is a powerful choice of words.

E:It’s an honest choice of words. I love what I do. I was suffocating doing it for someone else. I realize it isn’t that way for everyone, but it was that way for me. I had to do something about it. I had to make a change.

How does building your company factor into your romantic life?

(Euphoria exhales as if I’ve just knocked the wind from her lungs, but her eyes glitter with amusement.)

E. It is challenging because entrepreneurship requires such long hours sometimes, but when you have the right partner your dream becomes important to them too. They understand, and you make the time whenever possible to ensure the relationship survives.

Is Nathaniel Blanchard the right partner?

E: No comment.

Darn. I thought I would get you with that.

E: Yeah, I saw what you did there. ( Euphoira wags her finger and smiles gleefully at me. I smile back amused that she’s caught me in my own trap.)

Since obviously you aren’t going to spill the beans for us, I’m going to ask you one final question on the record. Maybe when we’re off the record you will let me in on some of you and Nathaniel’s closely guarded secrets.

(Euphoria’s laughter is a wind chime of happiness.)

E: Off the record, maybe.

Give me three words to describe The Alpha’s Dream to our audience.

E: Hmm. Wow. Okay. You know the story has so many layers to it that I’m not sure where to begin. I think I would have to go with authentic, transformative, for us at least, and sexy. We  spin a pretty sexy story.

It’s funny  you should say that. Sexy and layered were two words Nathaniel used to describe The Alpha’s Dream too. I guess great minds really do think alike.

E:Yes, they do.

Thank you for you joining us Euphoria.

E. Thank you for having me.

Joy.

 

 

 

 

#HeroInterviews

(When at Authors& Characters Magazine arrive for our dinner conversation/interview Nathaniel is already there. He’s wearing a pair of denim jeans, a tee shirt from the team he played for, and tennis shoes. His muscles quietly carve out their place beneath his shirt and he smells like an expensive cologne that I can’t name. For a man worth millions, he looks very comfortable in jeans and a shirt. He stands as I take my seat, and only sits again after I do. True gentlemen. I’m already impressed.)

Today, we have a special treat. We’re going to be interviewing Nathaniel Blanchard of The Alpha’s Dream.  How are you Nathaniel?

N: I’m doing well. How are you?

Doing great. I’m excited about being with you here today. Your debut to the world is a little over a month away and there is a lot we want to know about you.

(Nathaniel laughs. It is a deep burst of sunlight and the smile that follows stretches his face into rows of gleaming white teeth. for a moment, I am quiet in all his black man joy.)

N: .I will answer anything you ask. Just fire away.

Great. We’ll try not to be too intrusive. So let’s begin with something easy. When did you realize that football would change your life.

N: I was in Junior high school before I picked up a football for the first time. I was bigger than all of my peers and faster and stronger. Pretty soon, I was getting attention from local high schools, then high school, and later college. It wasn’t until college that football started to feel like a possible career. I knew if I worked hard, I would be the same on a professional field as I was on that junior high field. So I kept pushing until the my stats proved it.

Wow. So It wasn’t a life dream, but an opportunity.

N: Yes, and opportunity. I knew that with playing football came a lot of other opportunities. I was financial stability, butt it was also a whole network of people who lived lives I’d only dreamed of.

Was it everything you thought it would be? You were on the highest platform and in front of millions. That had to be thrilling.

N: I was, but I wasn’t the whole picture. For every successful player I saw, I saw another who was throwing away his millions or just didn’t know what to do with their lives after playing ball.

Is that what inspired Alpha Athletics’?

N: absolutely. I saw a need among my peers for direction. We were the upper echelon with the best money managers, and agents the world had ever seen. Yet, I’m the only one of my retiring class who can still afford my lifestyle. I knew that other upcoming players would need more than just access to the best they could afford. They would need people who would tell them the hard truth. So, we have great agents, but really we look at each player individually and help them build their team with their future in mind.

Wow. That’s  a big undertaking.

N: Yes, it is. I’m okay with that. I’m okay with doing something extraordinary because of the effects it will have on the community at large.

How would you say your wolf heritage contributes to your need to build community?

N:That something I’m still working out. I have a complex relationship with my wolf heritage, and I want to explore its relationship to my life as is. I just haven’t don’t much of that yet.

Fair enough. I get the impression that saving the world takes a lot of your time. So, how does that translate for your love life?

(he laughs again. This time, he brings his hand to his mouth and rocks back in his seat. He’s staring at me with a lopsided grin as he begins again.)

N:It means I have very little time for things that aren’t … fruitful.

Is Euphoria Atkins fruitful?

N: No comment.

Aww Come on, I thought we were getting close here. She obviously has some influence, because your face lit up when I mentioned her name.

N: “She does have influence, but you’ll have to read the book to know to what extent.

You’re really protective of her. Care to delve into why?

N: Some things are worthy of protecting.

(Nathaniel straightens his long legs in front of him. The smile on his face is gentler now, and I can tell he is lost in his thoughts. Despite his refusal to elaborate on his relationship with Euphoria Atkins, I  know she has a special place in his head. It is written all over his face.)

Well, I’ve held you long enough. before we go, I have on more thing to ask. Give me three words that describe your story for our readers.

N: That’s a tough one. There are so many things I think the readers could take away from this book. I guess having to narrow it down now I would say… haunting, layered and sexy.

Haunting, layered, and sexy. Those are some strong words to live up too.

N: Believe me, The Alpha’s Dream lives up to that and more.

You’re not just saying that because you are in it?

N:I guess you will have to read it to find out.

I guess we will.

Joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#DiversityinRomance

Love is so multifaceted that I think we sometimes take for granted the many identities it has. There is often an urge to one size fits all what romance looks like despite the variances in the people who look to fall in love. There is no safety in limiting the  way romance or love in general is glorified and we should work collectively to expand its reach to everyone.

My contribution to this is by writing Shifter romances with people of color driving the plot. primarily, my characters are African-American like me. However, I keep having characters of all nationalities pop up wanting their stories written. Some of them biracial, some of them Native American, Hispanic, and so on and so forth. They are all there, demanding acknowledgement of their existence. I want to acknowledge them all.

It feels like such a small thing. I’ve even been called petty because of it. Maybe it truly is petty. I’m not sure. What I am certain of is that representation in art and all forms of life is critical in adding to the richness of our lives.

Shifter Romances are not true stories. They are not reality meets romance as Urban fiction and other African-American Romances usually are for most of us. You’ll likely never walk out of your house and fall helplessly in love with a man who is half werewolf and occasionally shifts to his beasts form. I know that. I also know the power of whimsical thinking.

What drew me to Shifter romances wasn’t the idea that it could happen. It was how fun it felt to imagine. That though these heroes definitely had some very human flaws, they also had an exception that set them apart. It was the idea that of lifetime love that was so engrained in their DNA that despite their best efforts, they would find and forever hold on to the one.

That is powerful.

That is a night’s vivid sweet dream.

I wanted to hold on to that feeling forever.

As I continue to work on my characters I am find myself questioning if the only reason I think it is important to have heroes and heroines of color in these works is because I’m black. Somehow, it feels like my desire to see them should be validated by something else. I could write all night about validation, but that is something else. The truth is that I write my characters to look like me and people I love and that doesn’t need validating.

I look out of the landscape of self-publishers and other authors and I see that many others are taking the same leaps. They are also looking for a place that feels representative and often carving one out when they don’t find it. It is a tricky thing to create a space when you feel like there should already be one. Yet, someone must be a pioneer and go boldly forth.

My hope is that more and more of us will take the reins into our hands and push forward to create the diversity that we seek. It is worth it for ourselves and our children to fall in love with a myriad of love stories. Let there be countless romances. Let us them up and create a rainbow of writings about love in all races then let us consume them like sweet candy.

There will come a time where the hashtag #diversityinromance will be a throwback to an era long passed. Until then, I will write endlessly and hope that you will join me in reshaping the landscape so that it is more inclusive of those we reach for and who reach for us.

#HeroineIntroductions

Last week, I introduced our lovely hero Nathaniel Blanchard. The strong Alpha wolf is nothing without his loving mate. Today, meet the woman who makes him reconsider everything he ever believed about life long love – Euphoria “Euri” Atkins.

Euphoria Atkins, is a talented and curvy New Orleans transplant. After years in corporate America, she decided to venture out on her own and do the work she loves as a Graphic Designer. Business is slow, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t give every project her utmost attention.

She’s the type of woman who treats her friends like sisters and believes there are no coincidences. Smart, funny, and endearing Euphoria is authentic to a fault.  She doesn’t lie to herself, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

Beneath a strong and confident exterior is a soft and sometimes fragile interior. Her realistic nature won’t let her believe anything too willing, unless it already supports her premise. She trusts her gut, and her best friends. She loves hard, and long. When the time comes to lay it all on the line she does so with reservations. NOthing tests her heart more than her hero Nathaniel Blanchard.

Euphoria’s journey is one that most women can relate to  in at least one phase of her life. She is stronger than she thinks she is, wiser than she gives herself credit, and determined to make the best of her life. Noone walks away from her unmoved.

As we travel the journey of Euphoria and Nathaniel’s relationship together, the question is never whether or not she loves him. However, she has to get out of her head and let her heart guide if their love is ever to last.

#Therearelayerstothis

No. I don’t write Urban Fiction. I write African-American Romances.

Yes, there is a difference.

As everything does, the African-American romance genre has grown. When I was a girl and first getting into romances there was only one name for the genre. It encompassed any romances that included A.A characters as the driving leads. The list of authors was constantly growing and the different styles were developing write under my nose. I loved it then, I love it now. So when it was time for me to write for myself using A.A. romance novels as my foundation was ideal.

As I have gotten older, I’ve watched the genre make room for more. The rise of Urban Fiction came as a surprise for me. Suddenly there was another outlet, another expression of A.A. romance in its various forms. I tried to get into it, but found myself feeling like an outsider. I was trying to interpret something that I didn’t have a base line to understand. Urban Fiction had almost all the elements that I loved about old-fashioned A.A. romances, but there was something more. There is a deeper edge to everything about urban fiction.

The language is coarser, the settings and circumstances center around a more street lifestyle. The methods and motivations of the characters to get what they wanted felt more cutthroat. I grew up in the woods in a home my stepfather built us. The love written between the pages  of Urban Fiction I could relate too. I have a hard time with everything else.

I keep reading anyway. When I discuss being a writer, even before getting to the shifter angle, there are questions about my work. Urban Fiction has become the unofficial face of black romance. Which leads to some explaining when I say I don’t write it for myself. I’ve ghostwritten several, but that is the extent of it. I know women who swear by it, who race out for the next bestsellers. I’m not one of them.

However, when I look over the landscape of romance writing, I love all the voices that are making their way. Representation is so important. Having someone who gets where you are from and your experiences mirrored back in something like leisure reading is fun and inviting. It is a welcomed sight. It is as it should be and kudos to those who saw the need and filled it.

The romantic lives of black people and people of color in general has almost always been presented as either something taboo or something one-dimensional. It is important that we as writers make room for more voices to demystify the layers of relationships and how they are created within our communities. To show the world at large there is no one way to quantify loving. It exists in its own forms both similar and differing everywhere the sun touches.  I don’t write Urban Fiction, but I am thankful for its existence. Just as I needed the old-fashioned A.A. Romances, so did those who read and love Urban Fiction. I’m forever here for that.

Comment below with your favorite Urban Fiction books and authors. I’d love to hear some of your reviews.

Joy.

#shiftersmateforlife

My husband is one of the reasons I write romances. He is the absolute love of my life.

When I first met my husband we were both poets enjoying a vibrant and inviting spoken word scene in the city we live in. I was a naïve, very green, little woman. He was a self-assured, smart, and inviting man. I enjoyed his gregarious nature, and his ability to work seamlessly within whatever crowd there was to be navigated. He could shift into whomever the moment called for and it would still be his authentic self. It still amazes me. It would take years for our very casual friendship to turn into anything more.

We were and still are, polar opposites of each other. His wild, extroverted, Gemini heart is  downright terrifying to my sedated, introverted, Virgo spirit. Yet, we exist. We thrive together because he makes my soul happy. We push toward lives that neither of us could have predicted out of an unrelenting need to hold on to what we have in each other.

He is quiet strength and a complex, brilliant mind. He is a loving father, the kind who stands back patiently until needed/wanted. He is full of stories. Some of them are quite extravagant, but mostly true, versions of lives he’s lived. Most days, I feel like a bystander watching his brilliance unfold.

That isn’t to say we are without failures, and utter disappointments.  We’ve been married for ten years plus. For all the days that I felt awestruck by his human complexity, there are numerous days that I have felt foolishly in love. There is plenty of heartbreak between those years, but we continue. We always find our way back to each other.

“Having him here reminds me of who I am.”

Isn’t that what romance is? Sweeping, inspiring ways to tumble into another flawed person, and layered methods of navigating their flaws? For me it is. For me, my marriage to my husband is one of the best ways to explore romance on a realistic level. When I think of us, there is always a wrinkle in our relationship.  Yet, when he isn’t here with me I am lovesick. It doesn’t matter if it is errands, work, or any circumstances. Having him with me reminds me of who I am.

As I think of my characters, I think of he and I. I think of how we’ve learned each other over the years. I think of the layers we pull back to show ourselves to each other. I think of the ways we’ve healed each other and the new scars we’ve created. I think of how even at the worst of our lives together, we’ve always managed to come out together. I think of the gratitude we feel for each other.

I work to transfer those things into my characters. I want them to know the struggle of having the one you love. It doesn’t mean constant chaos or even perpetual bliss. It means uncovering, delving into who they are so that they are prepared for love in its various forms. I want them to know that finding “the one” doesn’t mean there won’t still be work to do. Every love, needs room to grow. Every partner needs the willingness to make room. There is always more to learn and outlive about the person you love.

Shifter romances lend themselves easily to this premise. The shifter is often keeping a bit of a secret, something of himself from his lover. It isn’t meant to be deceptive in my writing. It is a tool, a type of self preservation. Being a shifter comes with numerous intricacies and a woman who is looking to share her life with one most be adaptable. She must know when to give and when to take. She must be brave and as strong, and fearless of her lover. their place in the pack is critical to it’s survival. So, I work hard so that these qualities are shown. Let them be resilient. Let them fight for what they love, brave the wild of their own fears. when it is all said in done, let them do it for love.

I don’t know if this is a great method for writing just as I don’t know what will happen with my marriage to my husband. I know that right now, all that we are goes into my work. I have his support. I have characters I love. Both of these things are shaping my life into one that I love. My heart spills open  with joy because of it. Shifters mate for life. It is no different for me.

When you read my work, I hope you are able to see a little of you and your lover in its pages too. I hope your happily ever after is just as vibrant and real as these. I hope it lasts your lifetime.

Comment below on some of the things the shifter in your love moves you to feel.

Joy.

 

 

 

#amediting

Nathaniel Blanchard isn’t looking for a relationship, let alone a mate. In fact, he is in the process of ending one relationship that is more trouble than it was ever worth. Determined to shift gears and turn all of his attention to his new company, he’s sworn to keep his distance from women.

When Euphoria Atkins walks into his office as a potential employee, she literally transforms the energy of the room. Nathaniel feels a connection to her unlike any he’s ever had with anyone. When his wolf insists they hold on to her, Nathaniel isn’t so sure.

What follows is a tension filled journey that will force both of them to face an unlikely future that neither is certain they want.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I am in the process of editing my first official release. The snippet above is about all I can share right now, but as we get closer to my release date I’ll give you guys a little more. This post isn’t about the plot, but the edit.

For the life of me, I can never get through an edit without feeling like I should scrap the whole thing and start over. It’s no different with this one. Normally when working with my clients,  I would make tweaks to give the story more fluidity and depth without major apprehension. I’m less likely to get attached to ideas that aren’t working and can see the inconsistency’s easily. It’s the opposite while working exclusively for myself.

There are so many things that don’t work, but I want to keep anyway. My attachment to the story as it is makes it even more difficult to smooth out the story. I’m going to have to get over that sooner than later. My aim is a great piece of shifter romance. I don’t need a few interesting pieces in the middle of a broken plot just for sentiments sake. It’s a process determining what to chop and what to work through. Nonetheless, I’m determined to get it right before crafting a second draft and sending it to my editor.

I’m excited by the reality that I am within a few short weeks of the realization of a dream. I think it is like that for all of us who dream long and vividly. There is a sense of pride for having come so far and a resurgence of motivation to stay the course. I’m looking forward to the final copy and the knowledge that despite everything, I’ve done this. I’ve created what I set out to create. I can hardly wait.

Nathaniel and Euphoria are facing a long journey together. What do you think it is? Leave your hypothesis in the comment section below.

Joy.

 

 

 

 

#WIP Status Report: The Alpha Dream

If you’ve been following along, you’ve noticed that I’ve finally printed for edits my debut novella. It even has a name, The Alpha Dream or The Alpha’s Dream. I don’t know which one will show up on the cover yet, but you get the idea.

As we speak, I’m taking a break from procrastinating on my edits. Here’s the part where I confess it is because I’m kinda scared of all the chopping I’m going to have to do. There are a few plot holes I have to fill and a few choppy sections that I have to smooth. However, I’m up to the challenge.

Hopefully.

I can’t tell you much without feeling like I’ll be giving it all away. Suffice to say, that my characters are two transplant professionals who take a leap of faith right into each others arms. Yeah…right after they find every decent reason to run screaming in the wrong direction. A turn of events neither of them are sure they are ready to face forces them to confront the issues holding them back. It’s a total disaster…until it isn’t.

My debut hits close to home on a few fronts. It’s based in New Orleans, because I’m a Louisiana girl. New Orleans has always been an amalgamation of transplants and natives for me. It makes a lovely setting for a romance.  Louisiana is the perfect location for all things Shifter. I love when a setting comes together. Don’t you?

It’s hard for me to draw you in without giving you all the juicy details. Honestly, it feels kind of selfish to dangled them over your head. You’ll forgive me when you get the chance to read it. I’m sure of it. 🙂

In the meantime, I can tell you that the biggest hurdle for me was getting it to this point. The initial finish is always the hard part for me. Now, I have to get down to business. The baby-will-be-here countdown is t-minus four months. That’s like two weeks in pregnancy urgency time. I still have a few other books to get written and under my belt before the little love makes it here. Because what being a mother of two has taught me is that I am useless after birth. All I want to do is sleep and nurse my child. In addition to being a mama and eating all the junk food because I’m constantly starving.

In other words, I won’t be writing immediately after baby is born. So, I have to get it done now.

In the coming weeks, I will be posting snippets on my Instagram, twitter, and Facebook. Maybe even one or two will suddenly appear here. Who knows?!? I might get a little spontaneous.

I’ll also be looking for a slew of readers, bloggers, and book lovers to receive a free copy in exchange for an honest review on Amazon and Goodreads.  I’ll give you more details on that when I’m ready to dish it out. I can’t wait to share this with you. Save the date. #April 23rd, 2017. I can’t wait to see you there. Leave a comment on how you’d like to be charmed into reading my debut!

Joy.

 

Author At Work

It’s official. April 23rd, 2017 is the date of my first release.

As I type this, I expected mountains of anxiety or at the very least pressure to sit on my chest. Instead, what I have is a ton of clarity. It feels right. It’s taking a long time to get myself together, and most days I still feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants. Maybe I am. Whatever the reason, I will take it.

I’ve spent years working hard for other people and watching them profit from my long hours. I loved being a ghostwriter, I still love being a ghostwriter. Income from that  career is what is paying for this one. Eventually, I won’t need to ghostwrite. I will be too busy keeping up with my own work. Until then, I have immense gratitude for even being able to get here.

If you are wondering what to expect from my first release, I will give you a hint. A boy (werewolf) meets a girl(heroine) and they have to overcome their personal hangups in order to be together. It doesn’t say much, right? I know. I’m terrified of revealing too much before it is published and having someone beat me to the press with my premise.

Of course I know all the good tropes are recycled, but I’d like to be the first to tell this story this way. Isn’t that the entirety of what being an author is? Telling an old premise in a way that makes it your own? Don’t worry as we get closer to drop date, I will share more details. Afterall, I can read my work any day of the week. It’s you who I want to be interested.

Mark you calendars, April 23rd, 2017 and be among the first. Also keep posted here for details of how you can receive a free Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review on Amazon and Goodreads. I’d love for you to be a part of my tribe. Comment below with perks you would like me to include with sign-up!

#theshiftersarecoming

Joy.