Sunday, January 25, 2015

Author pitfalls

One of my Biggest Pitfalls is the same pitfall many people have in daily life. You see the success of someone else and think, "Why can't I have that?"
For an author, it's "Wait a minute. She's selling like hotcakes, how come I'm not?" Or it's "I know I'm as good a writer as he is, so why is he the darling of the press today?"

There's no answer to this, of course. It's like looking at posts on Facebook and thinking somebody else leads the perfect life. The whole author thing could have a variety of causes. Better publicity; better word of mouth; right place, right time.

I remember hearing Jenny Crusie talk once (Google her. She's an author and a damn good one). She likened getting published to standing in the middle of a field with a finished manuscript, holding it up to the sky, and having lightning strike you. I content that "best sellerdom" is similar. It's a lot of luck, right place, right time, and the right kind of promotion.

I have no idea what kind of promotion to do. I'm going to experiment this year with a few things and see if anything makes a difference. And you know what? If it doesn't make a difference, then that's okay, too. I'm working full-time in a pretty stressful day job. There's only so many hours in the day for me to work, write, and relax. Promo has to get wedged in there somewhere. So I'll do what I can, and let the chips fall where they may.

I just have to keep reminding myself that there are no answers to the Big Questions in Publishing, like "how the hell did he sell that many books?" Ask the questions if you will, but there really isn't a good answer...


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Words Can Be Fun - Dawn Marie Hamilton

Wow! I can hardly believe it is January 21st and 2015 is in full throttle. I’m spending most of my time working on my next novel in the Highland Gardens time travel fantasy romance series, Just Wait For Me. I’m what writers call a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants—so to speak. Actually, the term means that I do minimal plotting before jumping in and letting the words flow.

Words can be so much fun. The other day, while doing research, I stumbled across a new-to-me word in the Etymology Online Dictionary. Fern-tickles. I just love the way the word sounds. Fern-tickles is from the late fourteenth century and means: freckles, spots or blemishes on the body.

So, I just had to use the word in my book…

Stephen meets Jillian for the first time in Just Wait For Me:

The lass standing before him must be the one of whom Munn spoke. Her garments were strange. Of a type of cloth unknown to him. But it was her face that left him spellbound. Dark lashes graced warm brown eyes specked with gold that made his insides shiver. And the tip of an impish nose sprinkled with fern-tickles—as if the lass was descended from the fae—begged to be kissed. And her lips—

Just Wait For Me

Coming Spring/Summer 2015

In the chaotic aftermath of the battle of Flodden, an injured Highland warrior makes a bargain with a twenty-first century lass cast back in time by a meddling, matchmaking faerie. Stephen MacEwen promises that if the lass will help him get home, he’ll find a way to send her forward to her own time. But is that a promise he’ll want to keep after finding love in Jillian O’Donnell’s arms? And after saving Stephen’s life, will Jillian want to leave?

To learn more about the Highland Gardens series visit:
 Dawn Marie Hamilton Writes

~Dawn Marie

Friday, January 16, 2015

Welcome back to Hollywood After Dark

So a long time ago I wrote a set of books about werewolves, vampires, and psychics who I nicknamed the "parafolk". These characters lived in California and the first book, named "All Night Inn" was set along coast in a little town off Highway 1 called Los Niños de la Noche.

 Now if you know Spanish that translates into "The children of the night" and is a Dracula reference, clearly tongue-in-cheek. I was writing vampires and werewolves but I was writing humor as well and had a lot of fun creating my world. For example, my heroine works in a bar and many of the patrons are werewolves... so I provided bar snacks for them of puppy chow to go with their beer. It was meant to be fun but still a romance with my hero being a vampire who owns the bar, and my heroine a woman desperate enough for a job that she allows him to mark her as his companion. But he has demons, she has demons... the usual stuff that will get worked out over the course of the book.

All Night Inn was a pretty big hit with readers and my publishing house at the time, so they promptly wanted more books which led to Fangs For The Memories about a old-time actress who used to be a movie star before getting turned into a vampire, leaving her only able to get a job as a late-night TV host of horror films. She meets a man who wants to be her companion and kidnaps her to get her to agree. That book is a little sexier than All Night Inn but still a fun read. It garnered a bunch of great reviews and an RT Booklover's Top Pick and nomination for their Reviewers Choice Award back when it was first published.

Then I wrote Tasting Nightwalker Wine about another vampire, Prince Sebastian and his favorite romance author, a lady who specializes in writing vampire books. I'm sure by now you can see how these books are really intended to make people laugh as much as sigh over the love scenes. One thing I loved was that I have a pair of werewolves in Tasting Nightwalker Wine, and the lady werewolf is pregnant... which means she's having cravings. But where my shapeshifters normally eat raw meat, she's craving vegetarian lasagna.

The last book I'm going to mention is Ghosts Of Christmas Past which I mentioned in my last post with the Christmas books. Again there is humor in that story, although it is less than in the novels. Sometimes a story comes out a little different. But the world remains the same, a bit of fun, a lot of romance.

All four titles are available now at Amazon with the lovely new covers you see above and over the weekend I expect to make the novels available at other vendors as well. 

Since these are older titles in some cases they are a bit out of date. For example in All Night Inn a major plot point is that my hero and heroine don't have cell phones. This was because at the time cell phones were not something everyone had, and even if you had one the chances were a phone wouldn't work in a remote area such as where I located "Los Niños". There just wasn't cell phone coverage the way there is today. 

I could have provided them with modern technology and found an excuse for the phones not to work, but instead I simply left the stories as they were. It was a personal choice not to update the story.

So is anyone else resurrecting old titles? If so, what are you doing to them besides new covers and editing?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Always look on the bright side ...

I had a problematic Christmas season. A dear friend died, and while it was a blessing (he had suffered from a terrible disease for a long time), it's still a big adjustment for everyone, especially his wife of 53 years.

My day job has also been challenging for the last few months. And I'm in the initial stages of a new book and it's like pulling teeth to write. And I need to find a publisher for my cozy mystery series. And the weather sucks. And ...

Yep, I can find reasons galore to be in the depths but my Word for the Year is "upbeat". I promised myself that this year I would be upbeat, I would look on the positive side of things, I would not dwell on misery but always look ahead, to the next thing.

Deep breath.

You'll hearing me humming some Monty Python tunes soon....

The simplest way to stay upbeat is to remember: this is all temporary. Just wait a day, or a week or a month, and it'll all change. I'm telling myself that now as I prepare to delve back into my book.

Just a while now. Soon the words will flow....

(so many books, so little time)