I had an absolutely awesome time at the Holly Springs Book Festival yesterday. Want to give a huge shoutout to my fellow Romance Writers panelists, Amie Knight and Reese Ryan. We had so much fun, and I am so glad to have met you both!
This festival is annual, so if you live in the Raleigh area, definitely look out for next year’s event. You won’t want to miss it!
It’s a solid 3-Stars and overall very positive, along with some very good feedback that I absolutely appreciate. Some of the issues were things that I was aware of – a general use of more casual/modern language in places (and that was a choice I made, even knowing it would likely be an issue for some), while others were things that, quite honestly, I just missed, even though I was careful about researching particular things.
I will probably make a separate FAQ page as time goes by, but for now, I wanted to address some things just to clarify for myself (and anyone else who might have been wondering), but also, particularly for the things I missed – so I know to do better next time!
To start – though it was not a common name, and to be sure it was more often seen as a surname, Rylee as a name is not a completely modern thing. At least not according to my search through Ancestry records of the mid-1800s. In Ry’s case, it was her mother’s family name that her father, in his grief, decided would make a great baby name for his newborn daughter as a way to honor his wife.
While I did spend quite a bit of time looking up individual words to ensure that they were not too out of place – I missed “mantra” completely. I can honestly say I didn’t even think twice about it as I was writing it, or any of the numerous times that I read back over it in the various editing phases. The same goes for “kudzu.” That stuff is all over the place and it never occurred to me that it hasn’t always been that way. But I learned something new, so today is a good day!! XD
I really can’t tell you all how much I value thoughtful, specific feedback like this, because no matter how much we, as authors, think we’ve covered all our bases, there’s always stuff we’ve missed (and I will endeavor to be much more detailed in the future). But if our awesome readers don’t tell us – we might never know. So please – and this isn’t just for In Plain Sight (or any other of my books to come) but for anything you read past or future from other authors – when you read something, especially if you really like it, write a review. Be enthusiastic about what you liked, but if there are issues, don’t be afraid to mention what things didn’t quite work for you. For my books, if there is something truly glaring that you come across, you can also always message me if you don’t want to leave negative public feedback.
I was browsing through the reviews I’ve done for others over the years, and realized that I actually haven’t done that many, which is a travesty because I do read frequently. Not quite as voraciously as I used to, but still… the lack of reviews I’ve done is pretty appalling. I aim to fix that and I want to challenge my readers to do the same. Especially for books that you really like and/or authors who are not as well known, your review can make a difference to other readers who are considering reading that book. So if you’ve got thoughts about a book, be sure to share them and encourage others to do the same!!
Every single one of you amazing people who have bought a copy of Ry and Eli’s story, or who have read it via Kindle Unlimited – Thank You so, so much! Honestly, you ROCK so freaking hard!! I don’t even have words…
For those of you who might be on a tight budget, but still want to read In Plain Sight… I invite you to check out the Kindle Unlimited program.
The first month is free, and if you don’t like it you can always cancel. But if you read a lot, it’s a great way to access a ton of books for a fairly decent price (after your trial, KU is only $9.99 a month). Once you sign up, you can go to the page for In Plain Sight, and click on “read for free.”
Don’t have a Kindle reader… that’s ok too. Because there is an official Kindle reading app from Amazon that makes it super easy to take your entire library with you, wherever you go. It’s free and available for most devices (phones, tablets, computers, etc…).
It’s official – both the Kindle version (currently $3.99) and the physical copies (currently $9.98) of In Plain Sight have been released!!! I’ll be hanging out tonight on Facebook if anyone wants to drop by and celebrate with me. Currently, it’s only available on Amazon, however, in the coming weeks it will likely be available in other places, though at a slightly higher price (due to things that are completely out of my control).
Once you read Ry and Eli’s story, please let me know what you think, not only Amazon reviews (which are always welcome), but feel free to message me here or on FB. I am already aware of some minor formatting issues with the Kindle version, and though I’ve pushed a quick fix for some of them, I am working on a full re-formatting. So hopefully that will be up soon, once I’m done fiddling with it.
When I announced that I was releasing my book on August 7th, some who know me may have questioned the date. The fact is, it’s generally a pretty shitty day. One that I, given a choice, would rather spend wrapped like a burrito in bed, doing my best to ignore the rest of the world. This year, however, I wanted to do something different. Something that would make it a better day.
My mother was always one of my biggest supporters in life – no matter what. She was always there for me. That ended 20 years ago when Al Qaeda targeted the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. I’m told that she helped save lives, right up to the last moment before everything went to hell. And honestly, that’s exactly the sort of person that she was, so it’s not surprising to me in the slightest. But the gods themselves know how much I miss her and that each year that goes by, doesn’t really change that. Hence, me adopting my queen of the blanket burritos persona, at least once a year.
But this year, when I realized where things with the book were in relation to being completed and when I might actually be able to get everything ready for publishing – it was hard to miss how close it was to the date. I’d used said day as a moment of significance in the book as well, so it was really impossible resist taking a much needed chance to make a positive change.
And so, I dedicate the release of my debut novel, In Plain Sight, to my mother. Who never got a chance to read it, but absolutely would have loved it nonetheless. She was an avid reader, and among other things, instilled her love of reading in me as well. I would not have made it far in life without her, and the gaping void that was left with her passing has been really hard to fill. Not that I expect it ever will be, but at the very least, I can do this one thing to make things just a little better.
Anyway… thank you for allowing me to be a bit maudlin for a moment. I will post again a bit later today after the book goes live. For now I leave you with a poem from Simple Musings (which to be honest, is mostly filled with angsty poetry from my younger days, but there’s a few, like this one, that were written for my mom, as well)…
A tearing hole
So deep inside
A pain so real
I just can’t hide
A gaping void
Within my heart
Tears me apart
The silent tears
I shed each night
A silent rage
I have to fight
A light so bright
That now is dark
I long to see
One tiny spark
As memories fade
My heart clings on
Knowing that you
Forever are gone
This is it!! In Plain Sight will be officially released tomorrow!! Have I mentioned how excited I am? Well… I’M EXCITED!!!!!
But also nervous, of course. So once you read it, please leave a review and let me know what you think of it. I hope you love Ry and Eli’s story as much as I do.
The Kindle version will definitely be available tomorrow (not sure if it will automatically poof from pre-order to available right at midnight or if there is some sort of lag involved), and physical copies should follow soon after (well… as soon as my lazy butt gets out of bed and pushes the publish button). Whether they will be available the same day or not, I don’t know, but generally within a day or so at the most, I would think.
(the part where I share my epic fails so hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes)
I got a wild hair up my butt the other night (after watching a trailer for particularly interesting looking book) and thought that it would an absolutely FABULOUS idea for me to make a book trailer for In Plain Sight. I mean, how freaking cool would that be?!!!
I will fully admit that I was overly excited and totally didn’t think any of this through before I sent off the request to the random guy on FIVRR (who had the highest number of positive reviews). The first mistake, besides my failure to employ any sort of critical thinking skills, was choosing “expedited delivery” – meaning I wanted this bad boy in my hands within 24 hours. I mean, really this is what this person does, how hard could it be? (I know, I know… I’m an ass. It’s super freaking hard to do it right. But… EXCITEMENT!!!)
Bless his heart, he tried. And though I really wanted to be mad, as I watched the first video he sent me in a kind of horrified silence (the burning roses were particularly delightful… NOT), I realized almost instantly that it was entirely my fault. I mean, yeah, it was a total travesty, but at the same time, given the difficulty of what I was actually asking for, it was probably about the best he could do in less than a day. So being pissed wasn’t an option and I briefly considered just accepting the video as it was and writing the whole thing off as “lesson learned.” Because one of the things I finally realized – harsh light of day and all that – is that trying to come up with a video to accurately represent the Civil War era (in particular), along with the other elements of my story, on a minuscule budget (I’m cheap so sue me), all in less than 24 hours, is nearly impossible. So I’d totally set him up for failure. Oops, my bad.
However, I did have some revisions built into my “contact” (such that it was) so as a last-ditch, I contacted him and was like, ok, I’m so sorry but… ummm… that’s not really what I was looking for. I followed that with a laundry list of more specific feedback, and a few things that I probably should have included the first time I messaged him. What?! Pretty sure we’ve already established that it was late and I wasn’t thinking! XD Thankfully, he agreed to do some editing without adding any additional charges. Whew!
The finished product still isn’t necessarily near to an idealized version of what I might have wanted, though honestly, I think that would have been difficult to pull off even with a decent budget – short of actually making my own mini-movie, which obviously isn’t something I’m able to do at this time – but at least it does get the point across.
Anyway, let me know what you think of it.
The moral of the story though, is it’s definitely worth it to take the extra time to fully think through your projects before rushing to get them completed. No matter how excited you are, if you fail to cover all your bases in the beginning, odds are you will be disappointed in the end. 😉
It’s hard to believe it, but In Plain Sight will released into the wild this time next week. From concept to completion, the telling Ry’s story has been a long time coming – over 10 years. For those of you who have stuck with me along the way, there aren’t words enough to express how thankful I am for your support and feedback. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Anyway, to celebrate, I’m having a little release party over on Facebook on August 7th from 7p to 11p EST. Drop on by anytime during that time to hang out and party! Lots of fun and maybe even a few giveaways!! Can’t wait!!!
PS… Don’t forget that I’m donating 50% of all presale royalties to help a friend in need (you can read all about it here). So it’s a good time to get a great book to read and help someone out of a rough situation. ❤