I've been asked about the origin of my last release, Flirty and Red. If you don't know, I'm in the process of moving my blog posts from Blogger to Wix. Imagine my joy when I saw the next one was the reason why Flirty and Red came to be.
Well, I did it. I qualified for my CCDW (Conceal and Carry Deadly Weapons) license at Louisville Armory in an eight-hour-long class surrounded by different people, some of whom I truly believe don't need to ever have access to a weapon.
Why did I do it? It wasn't because I wanted to, let me tell you.
I took my kids to the downtown skate park a few weeks ago. The place was covered in graffiti and had some overflowing trashcans, but in a place that's the domain of our youth, I pretty much figured that was the norm. We were concerned, though, and I had that little worry in my belly that accompanies being a mom. So, I called my hubby who said he hadn't heard anything about the place. I took a breath and went anyway.
We were there for maybe half an hour before two guys walked in. One had longish blonde hair, the other dark hair under a cap. First, they intended to walk past the place but looked up to see us. So, instead, they came in. We didn't see them again until I decided it was time to go, and I looked back to see them following us.
I told the kids to go, but my kids didn't read the urgency in my voice and weren't moving as fast, so I really had to push them to get their butts in gear because of the guys? They were moving faster. Finally, I practically dragged the youngest one into the car and threw her in while the oldest jumped in the other side.
We left, and I called my hubby.
It wasn't until later that I spoke with different people who knew about the skating park, that it's drug-infested, that the area can be violent, and it's not a place to take your kids.
It's beautifully made, has all types of different structures for kids to enjoy, it's large, and it's not fair. But, when is life ever fair?
That night, my hubby and I talked about getting my CCDW. He's been after me for a year to do it. I can shoot and shoot well, but it wasn't something that I wanted to do. Still, as a parent, there are things I don't want to do, but my little people take priority. I do what I must when I must to ensure their safety.
I'll follow through with the paperwork, and will probably even get a gun, but will I carry it? I just don't know.
A bullet doesn't solve the problem. But, maybe the presence of a gun can stop someone from doing something that would harm my family. I just don't know. Handling a weapon is a huge responsibility, and using it to harm others can be the very thing that takes me from them.
Now for writing.
This week, the beta readers have begun sending my chapters back to me for Getting There, and I'm truly pumped. First, I had to remember the rule of using beta readers:
So far, I've had to rework the first chapter, remember the cat is a boy and not a girl, that Anthony went into law enforcement after the military and not immediately after high school, and a few other choice items.
The most significant issue is backstory. Before my published work makes it to you, the betas have already done an excellent job of pointing out the areas of backstory rather than action. Backstory slows down the story and really needs to be included in dialogue or discovered by characters rather than narrated by some unknown speaker that takes away the energy of the story. Me.
When you find yourself writing, and no one's doing or saying anything, you've probably just written back story.
Need an article on it?
Check out this one:
Teyla Branton gives some excellent advice there.
Something else to remember when going through beta reader comments? Don't try to attack everything all at once. Give yourself some time. Me? I save all of them with the beta reader's name. Then I go through them in order according to the beta. If you try to make the changes all at once from all of the betas at once, you'll lose your mind.
I'm honestly considering just submitting Broken Pieces to another publisher, two actually. I've been told it's a good book. However, since I had no idea how to get Broken Bones, the first one, out there when Dreamspinner published it, it didn't do well. Broken Bones is a solid story, but I had to do the work of selling it. I realized a little too late that marketing is about what the author brings to the table and not about the publisher. Interested in knowing how to get your platform started? I provided several articles in my blog hopping, a few blog posts back. Check them out when you have a moment.
I was told by Dreamspinner that Broken Pieces is good, but it's not for them right now particularly because Broken Bones didn't do well. New author, new book without an established platform? Welcome to the reality check. Now, I have a few books under my belt, a platform and Broken Bones has an audience. I've also reworked the book. But, I'm ready to let it go. See what happens. I have a beta reader who's combing through it now. As soon as she's done, and I've made the final changes, I'll put it out again and see what happens.
Then, there's the problem of what to write next. Well, I have it, and you won't believe where I got the idea. Okay, maybe you will.
At the Louisville Armory CCDW class!
As a writer, we find stories everywhere. There were two men talking at the class. For now, I'll call the guys Flirty and Red. I loved watching Flirty reel Red in. It was like magic, and I can't wait to bring a little of that magic to paper. It's going to be so much fun. I wrote their outline while we watched the video on laws, the laws that were completely written out word for word in the manual that we had just gone over for hours.
Now, should Red be a shifter? Hmm, I'll have to think about that.
Then and Now
And that's where Flirty and Red originated. Now, it's a whole book and everything! Even has a blurb. Want to check it out?
A traveling nurse who doesn’t mind a little fun. A griffin who’s not playing around.
Gentry Red Redmond gave up on finding a mate. It turns out the one he needed just didn’t come in the package he was used to hunting.
Sebastian Del Marco, a traveling nurse, wants to be loved, but he’s afraid to trust. Instead of relationships, he’s been willing to accept just having fun.
Once Red realizes Sebastian is just the mate he needs, can he convince Sebastian to take a chance on love?
Click here for more.
Getting There was submitted after addressing the beta readers' suggestions and later published. For more about Getting There, see below:
Can a broken-hearted professor be taught how to love again? Can a business-minded surfer handle the task? Can they both survive the one man willing to kill to tear them apart?
Lucas Masterson’s life turns on its head when his long-time lover leaves him for his teaching assistant. Lucas is devastated, and the only person who seems able to help him live again is Creed Hamasaki, his brother’s best friend, who doesn’t waste any time staking his claim. But can Lucas and Creed’s love survive a return visit from Lucas’s ex who’s willing to kill to get him back? Even more so, can Lucas?
Click here for more.
And I got a yes for Broken Pieces! Check it out here:
A detective and the future leader of a deadly coven. What can go wrong?
Remi Devereaux is a Louisiana born detective working murder cases in Louisville, Kentucky. While shopping for game-day with the guys, he spots the most amazing person he has ever seen. Peter is a man Remi wants with his whole being, a man he just can’t let go.
Peter Romanoff is a photographer who possesses the spirit of two creatures. Two beings that are slowly tearing him apart. He needs a Supruga, a mate, to help give him balance. When he meets Remi, there is a magnetic pull he can’t deny.
The next in line to lead a powerful coven, Peter is hunted, and the people he knows and loves are being killed. It will take Remi’s love and Peter’s skills to combat the enemy after them. Can Remi be the balance Peter needs before the coven destroys them both?
Click here for more about Broken Pieces.
In Other News
Tomorrow is my last day before I get to enjoy my summer break. I can't wait. I have all these ideas of things I want to do. I want to write, refinish my breakfast table, swim every day, and hang out with the kids. I want to read and sleep late. I want to get some much needed down time so I can be ready for the next school year.
I'm a school counselor, and all I've heard toward the end of this school year is how much extra money I can make if I work summer break. My answer? No. Yes, I have bills. I have student loans. I have a family which includes a teenager who eats everything. But I think sometimes you just have to fight for your sanity, and you honestly can't put a dollar amount on that. Would it be good to have the extra money? Yes, but when a kid comes to me next year with a need and I'm too burned out to give them the love they deserve, it will be me who is at fault because I failed to say no.
Mental health is huge for me, particularly because I struggle with anxiety. We all do in some way or another, but when you know you do, you have to take care of yourself.
Do you have trouble with anxiety? Check out this article.
The tips are solid. It's worth a read.
Now, I know I won't do everything I want because it's only a month, right? But, if I just rest and hang out with the family, and write, that's good enough for me. Oh, and my family is coming to visit from South Carolina. I haven't seen them in almost a year! I can not wait!
That's it for me folks. Take care of yourselves.