Weekly recap

Nice upon a time, I used to blog. A lot. If I found something cool, I’d slap it up on my journal to show folks the daily coolness I’d found. And it was good.

Then Twitter came around, the perfect place for my short attention span, and that took me over. It isn’t that one is better than the other but one IS easier to use (I’m looking at you, Retweet feature) when you want to spread news or links or cool videos of kittens. However, I think it’s a disservice to bloggers to focus on one and not the other so I’m going to try my darnedest (is that a word?) to make time for all media, including this blog and Facebook.

So, that said, here are a list of nifty things I found this week.

Quitting The Paint Factory by Mark Slouka : an old essay but, despite it’s wordiness, it struck home

Interesting iReaderReview article : so true, but does this have to be a bad thing?

Great post/series about Alpha males

– bestselling traditional author Sue Grafton trashes indie authors, calling us “lazy” to go this route, then later apologizes (sort of)

– interesting NYT article on font choice and “believability” of the text – I use Calibri and Garamond, if anyone is curious 😉

– fell in love with fellow indie author Hugh Howey‘s “Molly Fyde” series : I’ve been told that “Wool” is better but seriously, I can’t stop fangirling over this series; I’ve always loved space opera and YA, and this is seriously the perfect mix of both

Worst. First lines. EVAR. Still have me rolling in amusement!

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A quick note regarding AHW5: there’s a lot going right now in the background but I promise you I’m working on it and WILL be releasing it. I wish I had a release date set but as soon as I get that figured out I will let you all know. Promise!!!

Now, back to writing. I’m at this really nifty part where Lucy, Jeremiah and co are being shot at by… Well, it’s pretty cool. 😉 (too much teasing?)

Beat ’em til their bloody

I love to read. That probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to most folks as they assume all writers like reading, but books have always been an important part of my life. Christmas and birthday gifts were almost always books I wanted or gift cards to bookstores, which were always used immediately to restock my TBR pile. My favorite place (and my parents’ – free books for a voracious reader!) was the library, both public and at school. I read any and everything I could get my hands on; my nose was constantly in a book. Adulthood has lessened that to a large extent, sadly enough, but I do have brief bouts of manic reading.

What does this have to do with my subject line? Well, I learned early on that I most enjoyed reading about suffering characters. The more dire the situation, the more I relished the read. Cliffhangers were awesome, provided the next book was immediately available, but I’d eagerly await the next part to see how it all turned out. I didn’t like stories with unhappy endings (still refuse to read or warch “The Road”) but I enjoyed watching characters grow even as they suffered.

Where am I going with this? Well, for the last week I’ve been on a reading frenzy (and yes, my writing has suffered to my dismay) of a scifi YA “Molly Fyde” series by Hugh Howey. It has everything a girl could want: action, adventure, kick-ass heroine, angst, love, betrayal, genocide, politicking…

*looks back at that list* Okay, so this girl doesn’t want everything on that list, but it makes a compelling read. I love smart series like this, the kind that give characters impossible situations and, when they choose, they have to live with the ramifications of their actions. When they make a mistake and it comes back to haunt them. Reading books like this make me realize how much I as a writer still have to learn – its HARD to beat up your characters, even if it’s for their own good or the good of the story.

But boy, does it make for one heck of a ride.

Happiness is…

…traveling. 😉 The Dude and I are gearing up for a multi-week motorcycle roadtrip in either September or October and I’m stoked!! Last week we finally found a bike for the Dude: a 2000 BMW police bike that the previous owner had fixed up and repainted (working bikes like this get thrashed) and we got it for a song since it has higher miles. He’s over the moon about it – the bike hadn’t been his original choice but this thing looks so cherry (and has some of the original blue lights!) that after a test ride he caved. He says he’s going to have fun messing with peoples’ heads, and seeing all the brake lights on the freeway when people saw the old police bike in their rear view mirrors did make for some amusement.

I’ve always loved to travel. When I was little my folks packed us up and moved the family near Frankfurt, Germany. In the four years I was there (2nd – 6th grades), we went all over the place and saw many things I didn’t appreciate at the time but long now to see again. I remember driving down the roads in Germany and every single town we passed had a castle – most were up on a local hill and naught but ruins, and I find that incredibly romantic now. So many things I took for granted – all the trips to East Germany through Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, climbing the Eiffel Tower leaning tower of Pisa, living in the German countryside, being in Europe at the end of the Cold War, seeing the Eagle’s Nest (without really understanding its significance)…

I’ve spent my adult life dreaming about travelling through Europe but have been quite content with the US. Giant sequoia pine trees, the lava formations at Zion National Park, Utah’s arches, spring break and several Mardi Gras in New Orleans, driving down highway 90 in south Mississippi immediately after Katrina and seeing the devastation to the majestic homes along the coastline. My goodness, there’s so much world to see, so many people to meet even if only for a moment.

Traveling expands the mind. Even if you never make it to see the pyramids – perhaps the farthest you go is the next state/province over – its an incredible way to appreciate where you’re from. I’ll always be a California girl – living everywhere from Mississippi to Idaho has taught me that – but oh, how I love seeing new places, new things. That’s one of the thing I love about writing, the way I can take readers to places they’ve always dreamed of going. The Greek coastline, a pub in Dublin, the moors of Scotland, the man-made islands of Dubai, the glaciers of Alaska. I read about these places and dreamed of visiting them myself someday, and maybe someday I’ll be able to go. In the meantime however, I’ll dream and imagine and write, and visit the wondrous joys of North America.

OMG. I can’t freaking wait!!!!!

(and yes, silly goose, I’ll still be writing on the road.)

August goals

Good morning everyone!! I’ve been getting a lot of the same question – When is AHW5 coming out? – so I thought I’d address it in a blog post all it’s own, as well as touch on a couple things happening behind the scenes.

First however, a promise: Anything He Wants 5 will be out in August. Do I have a date in mind? Yes. But one of the things I’ve always disliked is setting a date that I’m not yet sure I’ll make – its not fair to readers. There’s a lot going on in the background that I’m trying to sort through as well, and the business side of being your own boss takes up a lot of time.

Which leads me into my next Big Thing: I mentioned I acquired an (awesome, glorious, fantastic) literary agent and he’s been doing a lot to help determine what direction AHW (and it’s subsequent parts – yes, it does continue) will go in the future. I spoke with several NY editors (!!!) at the RWA conference who seemed interested in my stories/series. Have they made any offers? Not yet. Everything is too new and shiny to make any long term predictions, so I’m trying to do the only thing I can: get out AHW5. The future will take care of itself.

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In other news, the search for The Dude’s Perfect Bike continues. Yesterday saw me driving out to Timbuktu looking at one possibility that was ultimately a no-go. Pooh. I’m probably the most un-girl-like creature in the world: I hate shopping, or shopping around for best price/quality/etc. I prefer to walk in, see The Perfect Thing on the very first display, and buy it promptly at the nearby cashier. Barring that, buy online. 😉 Of course, there I can spend hours or days hunting for things because, hey, it’s the interwebz – it’s actually FUN. We’re gearing up for the fall motorcycle roadtrip – cant wait to try my hand at writing on the road!! I love visiting oddball places, gets the creative juices flowing.

And just ‘cuz, here’s a picture of a bunny with a pumpkin on its head.

RWA (or, how Sara is a fangirl)

Sorry about the relative radio silence over the last several days. For those who didn’t know, I made the journey (through the grace of several friends, and Amazon paying out foreign royalties early) to the RWA conference down in Anaheim, CA. For a girl who can navigate the rough waters of self-publishing well enough, I was a real fish-out-of-water at the much more professional, traditional world of the conference. For example, I didn’t (don’t) have any business cards, never knew I was supposed to bring formal wear – I literally was meeting editors in jeans (and a nice top, yes, but JEANS people) and FLIPFLOPS (!!!). These ladies were dressed usually to the nines in power suits and matching pumps – but oh, they were wonderful. Everyone had such a passion for writing, for getting stories out to readers, and they were excited to talk to me. Little, introverted, bubbly-when-she’s-nervous me.

Oh my…

Folks, you’re going to have to forgive me for not taking pictures. What was one of the coolest experiences of my life also made me braindead and unable to remember, “Hey, I might need proof I went!” I was also surrounded by writers whose work I’d read all my life so, without further ado, I present my list of fangirl moments. Cuz I totally made a silly of myself on a number of occasions:

– Bella Andre. Guys, she’s even more full of awesome in person. We’re on Kindleboards together and when she saw me, she gave me a big hug. 😀 😀 😀

– Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I’ve loved her stories since I was a kid, and when I heard she was at the conference I got bouncy. THEN, when I was at the Avon party (in jeans, surrounded by cocktail dresses – oh my, I was out of my element!), she sits down in the seat across from me and my new bestie Lauren Hawkeye (who I’m doing an anthology with later this year) told me who it was. I was literally bouncing in the seat for almost ten minutes, trying to get up the nerve to say SOMETHING that wasn’t a gushing omgIloveyourstoriesYOU’REMYHERO! Managed not to make a fool of myself, somehow – sounded fairly knowledgeable when I said even self-published writers don’t understand all things about the practice – but couldn’t help but gush a teensy bit. She was super gracious.

– In one of the most awesome, definitely-going-to-be-a-forever-memory kind of moment, I was recognized by one of my readers in the Starbucks line. SHE then proceeded to fangirl ME, and we talked about everything from Nathan Fillion to ComicCon to the dastardly nature of cliffhangers. Tameri Etherton, if you’re reading this, you’re awesome. We DEFINITELY need to hang out next RWA (or at ComicCon, so awesome to meet another Browncoat!!!).

– Another wonderful writer I met was Lauren Hawkeye, a future anthology buddy. OMG, she understood what it meant to be a newbie and helped me navigate the deep waters of RWA. She’s awesome, and also writes REALLY COOL BOOKS!!!! …just sayin’. 😉

– Finally, I had my very own Close Encounter With Nora Roberts at the RITA awards ceremony. There was this familiar lady sitting at my table but I couldn’t place her face but had a sneaking suspicion. Google images never look like real life however, so I couldn’t be sure it was her until she stood up to accept the RITA for Best Romantic Suspense as JD Robb. Guys, I will admit this once to FINALLY remembering to take evidence photos, but unfortunately it was too dark for my surrepticious photog skills and, yeah, you gotta take my word for it. :( Woe and betide…

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It was like all the stars aligned this weekend to make it PERFECT!! I released AHW4 on Wednesday, Tweeting the links as they went live (technically it was for a Thursday release but some came through early) and you guys flocked to the sale price! I couldn’t believe it: I was #1 on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list, plus AHW4 rose to the Amazon top 100 within the first 24 hours!!! I was also informed by eagle-eyed readers (YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!) that I’d landed at #85 on the USA Today Bestseller List (and haven’t moved off it yet). AND, I’m a Featured Book on AllRomanceeBook.

*pinches myself* Did I just die and go to heaven?

I have some writerly business to take care of for my agent (does saying that ever get old?) then I need to get to writing tonight. I have a deadline in my head of when I want to release AHW5 – don’t want to commit yet because I’d hate to disappoint you guys by missing my release, or worse yet release something that isn’t ready – but it means I’ll be working overtime on getting everything in my head committed to paper. Er, electronic paper at least. I’m playing around with Dragon Naturally Speaking, learning how to use dictation software – haven’t told myself stories since I was a kid!!

Oh yeah, and today I handed in my notice of resignation to commit fully to writing. *blink-blink* By the end of the month, I’ll be a full-time writer, and it’s all your guys’ doing. I’d blame you, but really all I want to do is hug and THANK YOU PROFUSELY for this opportunity!! 😀

We’re live!!! …mostly.

“Anything He Wants 4: Collateral Damage” is now live on the interwebz!!! …mostly. Well okay, halfly. (is that even a word?)

Kobo and B&N are being brats about loading the file (come on guys, hurry up it’s been long enough!) but the story is available on Amazon (Kindle) and AllRomanceeBooks (all different formats including PDF and ePub). If you keep track on Twitter, I was posting links in real time when they came available; a lot of people are telling me AHW4 isn’t showing up in Amazon’s search yet so here are direct links.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | AllRomance eBooks

Keep an eye on this post as I’ll update when more links are available. Now excuse me while I email Mark Lefevre from Kobo and the B&N support team asking them, hello, we need some help here! 😉 Remember the price is a promo for my fans, the sale ends on Sunday!! (probably later for Kobo-ites and Nookerians)

A big Thank You to my readers!!

The last couple days have been hectic at Casa de Fawkes for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is gearing up for the release of AHW4. Editing, formatting and tweaking bits until they shine in the sun. I enjoy the writing process, letting my creative side run free, but there’s pleasure to be had in editing too, adding that extra bit of polish to a story.

That said, I have a few small-to-medium sized announcements, some of which might explain the recent radio silence:

– I’ve signed with a literary agent, Steven Axelrod of the Axelrod Agency. It’s hard to tell you how HAPPY JOYFUL ECSTATIC this makes me as he was a dream agent before I decided to self-publish. Omg I’m still over the freaking moon just thinking about it!! I normally wouldn’t have gone this route but I’ve been approached by a few editors of big name houses, and I knew immediately I was WAY out of my league. Still, it boggles my mind – ill have to do a post someday of my journey but for now I’m content to see it through.

– The RWA conference is happening this week only three hours away, and I’ve been scrambling to figure out how I might attend. Nothing is set in stone yet but I’ve been wanting to attend for years, and right now seems like the perfect time.

– As I said before, I have the best fans in the world. You guys have stood beside me, tweet and promoted and recommended these stories to friends and family… *sniff* I’m so humbled and thankful for your help!! So as a gift I’ve decided, for this week only, to make “Anything He Wants 4: Collateral Damage” $.99 at all outlets. Believe me, if it was possible to make it free across the board I’d do it, but most distribution outlets frown on that (I guess it doesn’t make them any money. Imagine that!) so I’m making it as cheap as I can make it. The sale is only for a limited time as a thank-you to everyone who’s supported me, but is obviously open to the public. Tell your friends, family, pen pals, everyone you can to get it quick as the sale goes through Sunday.

The day job awaits but, gah, you guys are so incredible. Thank you, THANK YOU for the support and praises and comments, it means the freaking world to me!!! 😀

Just a quick note

This weekend has been busy between writing, life, angsting over what to do about some opportunities I’ve been given and gearing up for AHW4’s release this week, but I thought I’d address a few topics I’ve seen in comments. I DO read all the comments, although I’m horrid lately about replying, and I’ve seen a pattern so hopefully I can answer questions in this post:

– regarding “Back In The Groove”: Yes, it was meant to be a series and is definitely meant to go on. I decided to focus my energy on the “Anything He Wants” series however due to its insane popularity; for those BITG fans out there believe me, I’ve got much more to tell about James and Alice (like what he did in the Army, he’s not just a surfer dude!) but the story’s been put on hold for the moment until at least AHW5 is released.

– the AHW mirrors I promised: I’ve given priority, again, to finishing the original series first, THEN I definitely will be releasing the mirrors. So far I have AHW1 from Jeremiah’s POV and to finish Loki’s story/POV from AHW3, with more planned (at least in my mind; it’s crazy the amount of stuff going on in the background of this series, and I figure you guys would love to see what’s happening).

– Yesterday I received the gorgeous final cover from A.D. Cooper for AHW4 and, HEE, it’s pretteh!!!

I thought it catches the mood of the story perfectly, although perhaps not as shmexy as the first covers. What do you think, thoughts?

Any other pressing questions? If I promise to answer any and every comment on this post, will you guys go easy on me? (and yes, that’s a promise not merely a rhetorical question 😉 )

Expansion, and new release announcements!

Well, that took longer than originally planned, but WOOHOO we’re live!! AHW 1-3 is now available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and AllRomance, with iTunes hopefully being added to the mix in the near-ish future. Barnes and Noble is for all those who use the Nook to read their stories, Kobo is much more international (I remember seeing the reader in Borders Bookstores before they shut their doors forever) and AllRomance allows their customers to download all sorts of formats including PDF to read on a computer and ePub which can be transferred to several different types of ereaders.
:)

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ANYTHING HE WANTS
Kobo | AllRomanceeBooks | Barnes and Noble

ANYTHING HE WANTS 2: ALL’S FAIR
Kobo | AllRomanceeBooks | Barnes and Noble

ANYTHING HE WANTS 3: LOVE AND WAR
Kobo | AllRomanceeBooks | Barnes and Noble

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I’d also like to announce that the release date for “Anything He Wants 4” is now set for July 26, which is next Thursday. I had a heck of a time last month getting the book live on the right date – Amazon sometimes takes it sweet old time letting new books through, and other sites can be similarly annoying – so I’ll be a bit more proactive with getting the book out early. If you see the book earlier than Thursday by all means, buy and enjoy!!

Look for a cover reveal this weekend. The lady who does my covers has chosen one heck of a picture for part four and I think it’s perfect! Can’t wait to show it to you guys!!
😀