Monday, December 21, 2015

Looking Back on 2015...

As 2015 comes to an end and the world prepares to welcome 2016, it's once again time to look back on the year and see what I accomplished, what I didn't, and what big changes I faced in 2015. To read my full 2015 goals post, click HERE!

My 2015 Goals Included:

1. Revise the sequel to The Georgia Corbins. 

Status: GOAL MET!

My thoughts: I've been able to revise this sequel and even get it beta read, so it's in good shape and is now awaiting a new home. I'd also like to note that I completely renamed the entire series as follows:
Torn: The Georgia Corbins, Book 1
Tempted: The Georgia Corbins, Book 2
Tainted: The Georgia Corbins, Book 3

2. Revise Fiery Lotus, the sequel to Deadly Orchid

Status: GOAL NOT MET 

My thoughts: In a long, complicated turn of events, I've decided to completely rework this novel and make it the first book in a new series. The new title is now Savage Passion, and I'll be finishing it up and sending it to my agent in early 2016. This will be an adult romantic suspense series with erotic elements.

3. Outline the third book in the Georgia Corbins series. 

Status: GOAL NOT MET

My thoughts; Although I didn't get an outline written, I did start writing it, so that's something! I have a very loose idea of where the story is going.

4. Outline a new YA paranormal with an entirely new species of characters.

Status: GOAL MET!

My thoughts: Not only did I get this book outline, I created a full series bible for it with really badly drawn maps and family trees. Additionally, I started writing it!! I'm 35,000 words into it, and I've titled it: Hallowed Ground (Graves Barren, Book 1)

5. Outline an epic romance that will break all the rules of the genre. 

Status: GOAL NOT MET

My thoughts: I'll be honest, I've completely lost steam on this book and have decided to shelf this idea for the time being. Maybe I'll revisit it in a few years when I finish some other things.

6. Outline a YA paranormal with angels and demons. 

Status: GOAL NOT MET

My thoughts: Like the project in #5, I've decided to shelf this idea as well for the time being.

7. Outline Broken Love, the third book in the Mending Hearts Series that I'm co-writing with Jody Holford.

Status: GOAL NOT MET

My thoughts: I think this is the hardest one to admit I didn't accomplish, and not because it was something I didn't do, but rather because Jody and I have decided not to write this book together. I assure you, it has nothing to do with our friendship or with our publisher, but rather with the fact that we're both in such different places now than we were two years ago when we started writing together, and unfortunately, other deadlines and commitments have made it so neither of us have time to write this book. It's very sad :( Maybe sometime in the future, we can write together again.

8. Outline Blood Blossom, the third book to Deadly Orchid.

Status: GOAL NOT MET

My thoughts; Due to my choice to rework this series (see #2 above), I haven't even touched this book.

9. Write Resistance, the sequel to Inferno.

Status: GOAL NOT MET

My thoughts: Okay, so my co-author, David Jemal, and I hit a little snag with this series. It was originally set to release in July 2015, but due to creative differences with the publisher, we had to step back and regroup. We've recently found a new publisher for it, and will hopefully see it in print in 2016. I am happy to say we did manage to write close to 25,000 words on this sequel. AND, we wrote a 28,000 prequel as well. So, this is a "win" in my book.

10. Write Jaded Love, the spin off to Dangerous Love.

Status: GOAL MET!

My thoughts: Woo hoo!!!! I'm happy to say this book is done and set to release in February 2016!

11. Write a prequel to The Georgia Corbins.

Status: GOAL MET!

My thoughts: When I originally set this goal, I estimated a word count of approximately 24,000 words. I didn't quite hit that goal, but it came in right around 20k, so I'm happy with that.

12. Blog more.

Status: GOAL MET!

My thoughts: Even though I didn't stick to any regular posting schedule, I did post a lot more quality content this year, and so I'm counting that as a win!

12.  Read and Review one book a month.

Status: GOAL KINDA MET

My thoughts: Although I didn't review many books, I did manage to read for pleasure a lot more. Some of my favorites this year:

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfield
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

13. Attend RWA in NYC.

Status: GOAL NOT MET

My thoughts: I was so looking forward to attending this conference. Unfortunately, due to some big life changes (see below), I just wasn't able to make this happen.

14. Build a Successful Freelance Business.

Status: GOAL MET!

My thoughts: I'm not actively advertising my editorial services, but I do edit for people who need it. I've managed to build a decent sized client list simply by word of mouth, which is great! So, if you or someone you know needs editing, send me an email: karaleighmiller(at)gmail(dot)com


Out of 14 goals, I only achieved 6 and a half of them. To most, that probably seems like I failed more than I succeeded, but I don't see it that way. Failing to meet goals isn't always a bad thing because this failure taught me a few things about myself:

First, I can fail and not wallow in an endless pit of self-hatred. Sometimes, it's okay to fail. The world isn't going to end, and I can simply try again.

Secondly, I'm very clearly not a plotter. lol. I had good intentions to get all these books outlined so when I was ready to write them, I could breeze through them. This doesn't mean I'm going to totally give up the idea of plotting because when I can actually do it, it helps me tremendously.

Third, even though I failed to meet a lot of my goals, I accomplished a lot of other things that weren't on my goals list.

  • I wrote a contemporary NA romance titled Tempting Tanner that is currently out on submission. This is the first in the planned Grayson Brothers Series.
  • I attended two conferences this year: The Michigan Writers Workshop and The Florida Writers Association Conference
  • I moved to a new state! I know to some this might not seem like a big deal. I mean, people move all the time, right? But it is a big deal for me because I have lived in the same small town in Upstate, NY my entire life. And now I don't. 
  • I sold Deadly Orchid (a Christian romantic suspense) to Anaiah Press and it's slated for a March 2016 release.
  • I did a (regretfully) short stint as a literary agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency. And even though my time there was brief, I learned SO much. 
  • I made some wonderful new writer friends that I cherish.


Overall, it was a very productive and exciting year. I look forward to what 2016 will bring.

So, tell me, how did you do meeting your goals in 2015??



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

{GUEST POST}: How my Writing Process Impacted my Book by Carrie Dalby

Thanks for having me on your site today, Kara. I decided to focus on something that will give your readers insight into many aspects of Fortitude in the shortest period of time: my writing process. I promise not to make it as boring as it sounds.

Fortitude began life after I saw a picture of a goat in a tree. (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/19492210857092970/) Yes, a hooved creature in an oak tree on Dauphin Island was just the odd sort of thing to get my brain thinking about days gone by. It was by no means glamorous, but I had a location and an animal, and everyone knows a goat in a tree is in want of a human to look after it.

Claire O’Farrell’s younger brother, Kevin, was compiled first but Claire didn’t take long to shape. At first I worried about my stories sounding the same because I was fresh off writing a contemporary YA but I realized Claire’s voice was brave and feisty—a much different personality than the main character in my previous work-in-progress.  She stands on her own with conviction, even if she later doubts her choices.

Next I discovered the time period. After all, it’s difficult to write a historical without a certain year in mind. Information on the deplorable conditions U.S. soldiers met as they gathered in Florida for the Spanish-American War gleamed from a couple pages in the middle of a biography I was reading for fun. I was shocked, sickened, and upset that I’d never learned about the Florida camps in all my history classes. I knew it was a cause Claire would get behind, she just needed a catalyst to get her there in 1898.  Enter Loretta.

When I came across a collection of photographs taken by W.E.B. DuBois depicting African-Americans that were assembled for the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, the portrait of a young woman immediately spoke to me. (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3c24687/?co=anedub) She was extremely feminine, fashionable, and confident. Who else could pull off a hat like this? (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3c24686/?co=anedub) While I gathered the images of a few other characters from this amazing portrait collection (see my Pinterest board for more https://www.pinterest.com/wonderwegian/fortitude/), Loretta’s voice was the loudest. “Tell my story and make it great!” And once you read about her, you know most people can’t tell Miss Loretta Davis “No.”

I’m one of those people who cannot start a story unless I have a title and music. I knew Claire wouldn’t give up on her quest to help humanity, so I brainstormed words relating to that. A thesaurus may or may not have been involved, but when I got to FORTITUDE, I knew that was it. As part of my outlining (half of it went to the recycle bin once I was in the thick of the actual writing) I compiled “Fortitude GROOVE”, a playlist in my iTunes hub.  It has over thirteen hours of music but I listened to the “Master and Commander” soundtrack the most, especially during edits. From that musical selection, I created the “Fortitude SOUNDTRACK” for the book after I was done. That only has twelve songs, but it chronologically follows the storyline and emotions of Claire’s journey. The two prominent songs that you need to go listen to right now are “No Stone Unturned” by Europe and “Carry On” by Mitch Malloy. (I prefer live versions of both, but all are excellent.)

To write I need pictures and music. In the old days I filled notebooks with photos clipped from magazines and put a CD on repeat. Currently I use iTunes and Pinterest for most of my visuals, but it all does the same thing—inspire me. I don’t wait for the muse to come, I seek her out in all the shapes and forms inspiration can take place. What do you do to stay motivated and inspired?

ALL ABOUT FORTITUDE:

Growing up with a Creole best friend, sixteen-year-old Claire O’Farrell held little regard for the Jim Crow laws and the consequences of befriending those of a different color. But once she leaves the haven of her home on Dauphin Island, the reality of racial intolerance can no longer be ignored. Though she’s underage, Claire makes the bold decision to serve alongside Loretta, her best friend, in the “colored camp” hospital tents during the Spanish-American War, but her idealistic attitude and choice of working location immediately puts her in danger. Claire gives her heart to a soldier in the camp, only to find herself caught in the racial violence besieging the area. When the intolerant attitudes and stigma follow her home, she clings to her faith to navigate through her social isolation and find the path she was meant to travel.

BUY NOW: Amazon




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born and raised in California, but a resident of Mobile, Alabama since 1996, Carrie Dalby is a homeschooling mom with a love of literature for young adults and children. Some of Carrie’s favorite volunteer hours are with Mobile Writers Guild, SCBWI, and Metro Mobile Reading Council’s Young Author workshops. You can find Carrie anytime on her website: www.carriedalby.com

You can also find her on: Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

{TEASER TUESDAY}: Hallowed Ground

Hallowed Ground is Book 1 of The Graves Barren Series. It's a young adult paranormal  romance. Enjoy :-)


I was grateful for Abby’s presence as I found my locker and tested the combination. It opened easy enough. I shoved my sweater inside, not sure why I’d brought it in the first place. Old habits must really die hard. She showed me to my first class – Algebra – which we did not have together, and promised to meet me right after. I hated needing a personal tour guide. I mean, the school wasn’t that big. I was sure I could find my way around without her assistance, but after the way she snapped at me in the car, I wasn’t about to tell her that.

“Hey, Abby.” I grabbed her arm before she could walk away, then I quickly let go of her. “I just wanted to say thanks for all your help and… everything.”

She smiled. “You’re family, Chloe, and family always comes first.”

I fought back the surge of emotion threatening to overtake me. That was something my mom always used to say, too. I nodded, not sure I could speak anything coherent. Even if I’d wanted to say something further, I didn’t get the chance. Coming down the hall were three very tall guys, all with dark hair and even darker eyes. Flawless, tanned complexions with strong jaws and high cheekbones. They walked side by side by side, almost taking up the entire width of the hall. People knew to move out of their way, parting for them like the Red Sea. I’d never seen anything like it – or them – before. All three of them kept their gazes straight ahead, like they were better than everyone else and couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge any of us peasants. We were peons in their world.

“Who’re they?” I whispered to Abby.

She rolled her eyes. “The Halsteads. The one on the far left is Colton, he’s the oldest. In the middle is Jaxon, and the one on the right is Trenton.”

I couldn’t stop staring. They were like walking gods. Perfectly built, graceful, athletic. They were certainly the type of guys you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley alone. I shuddered, and that’s when the one closest to us – Trenton – slowed and looked at me. No, not at me. Through me. It was unnerving, yet, I couldn’t look away. He narrowed his eyes as if squinting against a bright light. I knew my jaw hung open, and apparently he knew it, too, because he gave me a faint smirk followed by a look filled with so much vehemence, it caused me to take a cautionary step back. Then, just as quickly as he acknowledged me, he turned away, returning his gaze forward as if I didn’t exist.


*** Copyright 2015, Kara Leigh Miller ***

Monday, December 14, 2015

{COVER REVEAL}: Jaded Love

I have been waiting for this day forever! I can FINALLY share the cover for Jaded Love with all of you!!!!! Be sure to scroll all the way to the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of Dangerous Love, Book 1 of The Mending Hearts Series.

Okay, enough chatting. Here it is....






They can pretend they're fine...

Moving to NYC is supposed to be the fresh start Kristy Andrews so desperately needs, but she can't seem to shake the after-effects of having been kidnapped last year.

Detective Jackson Reed never meant to kill an innocent man, but knowing that doesn't change the guilt he lives with every single day.

But they can't hide forever...

When Kristy and Jackson meet, the connection is instantaneous, but neither is ready to open up about their pasts. Can love and trust conquer their demons?

In order to have a future, they'll have to face their past...

When Kristy starts receiving threatening messages, her anxiety kicks into overdrive, but the last thing she wants is Jackson worrying about her.

Jackson may doubt his ability to return to active duty, but he has no doubts about his instincts concerning Kristy. Someone is trying to hurt her, and he refuses to let that happen, even if it means going back to work; something he wasn't sure he'd do.

As the threats increase, Jackson shows Kristy that strength doesn't mean facing her fears alone, and Kristy shows Jackson that forgiveness starts from within. Can they save each other before it's too late? Or will the past come back to haunt them?




About the Authors:


Kara Leigh Miller combines her knowledge and prior editing experience with a passion for the written word and a love for all things romance. Represented by Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency, Kara is a multi-genre published author, and an avid reader with eclectic tastes that range from the tame to the taboo. She currently lives in Michigan with her husband, three kids, three pit bulls, and two cats. When she's not busy writing romance novels that leave readers swooning, she's spending time with her family. Find her anytime at: www.karaleighmiller.com




Jody Holford lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters. She is a fan of Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis, Rachel Gibson, and Rainbow Rowell. In reading and writing, she likes characters who are flawed, but driven toward the pursuit of love and happiness. In November 2013, she published A Not So Lonely Christmas with Short Fuse Literary. In December 2014, she published Forever Christmas through Kindle Direct. In 2016, Damaged and Falling for Home will be available from Penner Publishing. Find her anytime at: http://jodyholford.weebly.com




GIVEAWAY  ~  GIVEAWAY  ~  GIVEAWAY!
The below giveaway is sponsored solely by Jody Holford and Kara Leigh Miller and is in no way sponsored by Anaiah Press, LLC. Furthermore, all prizes will be awarded by the authors directly to the chosen winners. The giveaway starts today and will end on Sunday, December 20, 2015. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter and will be notified by email no later than Monday, December 21, 2015. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

{TEASER TUESDAY}: Death of a Waterfall 2

"What're they doing over there?" Annabelle asked.

"I don't know." Teghan walked toward them. That's when she saw him. He was leaning on the hood of a royal blue Aston Martin One-77, arms crossed over his chest, one ankle crossed over the other. He was gorgeous. No, he went beyond gorgeous. He was magnificent. So was his car. At least, she guessed it was his car.

"Wow!" Annabelle whispered.

"I know," Teghan said. But she didn't know. Was Annabelle talking about the two million dollar car or the guy? Not that it really mattered. Teghan couldn't take her eyes off him.

        Dressed in navy blue dress pants and a white button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, he was the poster boy for California--tall, athletic, slim yet beautifully muscular with biceps the size of coconuts and a six pack to make Coca-Cola envious. He had naturally short blond hair with a hint of a spike to it, blue eyes deeper than the sea, but just as dangerous. A tiny gold hoop earring graced the corner of his right eyebrow, and his skin looked as though it had been kissed by the sun, tanned to perfection. A bronzed image of a Greek God--that's what he was.

"Stop drooling." Harmonie laughed.

Teghan shook her head and forced herself to look away, but as she did, she locked eyes with that guy. He smiled. Oh sweet Jesus have mercy on her. She wondered if it was bad manners to melt into a puddle at his feet.

**Copyright Kara Leigh Miller 2015**

Monday, December 7, 2015

Getting Back to my Writerly Roots

Back in 2010 when I first started writing, I was blissfully ignorant. I didn't know anything about the "rules" of certain genres or what is and isn't acceptable in romance. I had no skills when it came to dialogue, and I used cringe-worthy phrases such as "explosion of love" and "stiff manhood." Yeah, yeah, I know... It's hard to read those early novels now because all I do is cringe and giggle. None of my characters knew what contractions were. And I, as an author, had no grasp on the concept of point-of-view. Holy head hopping! 

I wrote two full length novels and one partial within a year and a half totaling over 260,000 words. I lived, breathed, ate, and slept those stories. I'd stay up into the early morning hours writing. I'd get up early to sneak in words before my family obligations took my attention. These books were the epitome of word vomit. The ideas poured out of me and onto the computer screen. I was on such a high, consumed with telling these stories. 

Of course, I've come a long way as a writer since then. I know more. Write cleaner. Now I can break the rules and not have it be from ignorance. And that's great! It's led to several publications and snagging an agent. I've accomplished a lot more since I took the steps to truly learn my craft, something I will never regret doing. It's something every author should do. 

Unfortunately, doing so has cost me. Now that I'm packing all this knowledge, I've lost that high. I've lost the rush of writing whatever pops into my mind and being mildly happy with it. I can no longer write as much or as quickly as I could before. I don't have the all-consuming drive to focus on just one story. I criticize every word I write as I write it. My characters have stopped talking to me. 

I've lost my passion, my zest for writing.

Lately, I've been doing a lot of self-reflection and soul-searching. My dream has always been to be a writer. Sure, I'd like to make a decent living wage doing so, but if I don't, that's okay, too, because when I first started on this journey, it was purely for myself. I wrote the story I wanted to read / tell. Nothing else mattered. Somewhere along the way, that tidbit of knowledge was cast aside. I began to write for the market, write for trends, write for fans, write whatever I thought had a good chance to sell. All very bad things to do, by the way. 

In an effort to get back to that point in my writing career -- the passion and excitement, not the I-know-nothing part -- I've gone back to my roots. And I can't tell you how much it has helped! I'm excited to be a writer again. I can't wait to get up and write in the morning. I can't wait until my kids go to bed at night so I can write some more.

So, how did I do it? 

1. I started by updating my website / blog. I created a spiffy Press Kit and in doing so, I had to go back and read all my blurbs, sort through reviews to include as praise. That alone was exciting. Knowing I wrote something that someone read and enjoyed -- that's why I started writing in the first place. Because it was FUN! This process made me realize something: I wanted more books to add to my website! Talk about a great motivator ;) 

2. I forced myself to go back and read those early novels. It was my Hayden Falls Saga. Book 1, Death of a Waterfall, was published back in June 2013. I picked up my print copy and read it cover-to-cover, which is something I NEVER do. Once my book is published, I don't look at it again. But I did. And you know what? It was quite good! lol. Sure, there are things I'd change now, but back then, it's what I knew and how I wrote, and I stand by that proudly. 

Then I opened up those long forgotten Word docs of books two and three. And I cringed my way through them. Laughing at myself for some of the things I did and the cheesy dialogue my characters spoke. It wasn't easy, and I'm super grateful I never rushed to publish them. What did this self-inflicted torture show me? 

My passion! As awful as those unedited manuscripts are, there is one thing they have that my recent work doesn't -- raw, undiluted, no holds barred passion. As I read them, I could vividly remember exactly where I was sitting when I wrote them and what I was feeling when I wrote certain scenes. I knew when I'd cried and when I'd laughed during the writing process. And if I can feel it, you bet your butt readers will be able to as well. At the end of the day, isn't that what I owe myself and my readers? A fun, emotionally fulfilling experience?

3. I dusted off the draft of book two and began the pain-staking process of weeding through it, keeping the scenes that are salvageable, cutting those that aren't, rewriting parts that desperately need it, and writing new parts. I'm happy to say I'm now almost 30,000 (good) words into the Death of a Waterfall sequel, and I hope to have it out sometime next year. 

Returning to this world and these characters has been liberating. I'm finding myself typing faster, spewing more and more ideas... having fun again! And now that I'm back here, I don't plan to leave or lose sight of why I do this in the first place. 

Have you ever lost your passion? What did you do to get it back? 




Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Teaser Tuesday and Book Sale!

Wow, it has been a long time since I've done a Teaser Tuesday here on the blog, but I think it's about time to start up again, don't you?

But before I tease you, allow me to offer you a book sale...



Twenty year old, college freshman, Teghan Jacobs didn’t think anything could be worse than learning she’s pregnant by a man she’s been dating less than six months. Boy, was she wrong. Her mother, whose drowning in the river of denial, refuses to take a side on the issue. Her overbearing, manipulative father threatens to disown her and cut her off from her trust fund if she doesn’t have an abortion.

Donnie Marks couldn’t be happier. The woman he loves, the woman he fought so hard to be with, is going to have his baby. Life has never been better. But when she shows up in his dorm, sobbing and heartbroken, he learns the horrible truth of what happened. He vows to get revenge on the man who's responsible: Teghan's father.



And now, teaser time... Today's sneak peek comes from book two of The Hayden Falls Saga (Death of a Waterfall 2) which is currently untitled....

She fumbled in her purse for her bottle of aspirin, oblivious to the fact she was being watched by him. She had no idea when the headache hit her, but it was fierce enough to make her want to throw up. Or maybe it was the alcohol that made her feel nauseous. Either way, she felt like total shit and really just wanted to go home.

"Damn it," she muttered, "where are they?" Teghan's heel caught on a crack in the road, and she tripped. A string of curses erupted from her mouth.

"Whoa, easy there." His voice was a velvety rasp. Deep, seductive, and so damn masculine it should be illegal. Her gaze met his, amusement danced behind his blue irises. She swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat and almost choked on it.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

His hand clutched her elbow, steadying her. It sent a shiver through her body and for the first time in months, she could feel her libido clawing its way to the surface; scraping at her insides, making her raw with desire.

Teghan straightened and smiled at him. "Yes, I'm fine. Thank you." He released her arm, and she forced herself not to sigh like a lovelorn teenager.

"Good." He stepped back and resumed his leaning position on the hood of the Aston Martin, arms crossed, muscles bulging.

Teghan eyed him. What's his deal? "Nice car."

"Thanks."

"I bet Daddy is real proud of it, too."

He gave her a sexy half smile and raised an eyebrow. "This is all mine, sweetheart." He patted the roof.

"I'm sure it is." Teghan turned to walk back to the club. What a joke. Who the hell comes to a club to stand outside and show off his daddy's car? It was obvious this guy had more money than brains. And that spelled trouble with a capital T. She didn't need any more of that.

"You realize I don't care if you believe me or not, right?" he called after her.

Teghan stopped and turned around. His air of self-confidence bordered on smugness, which caught her off guard. She didn't know if she should smile or be ticked off. "And your little playboy act doesn't work on me."

"Playboy act?" He laughed.

"Oh please," she huffed, trying to ignore the way his laugh made her insides tingle. "An Aston Martin, Armani pants, silk tie, a shirt whose sole purpose is to show off your muscles, Louis Vuitton shoes, a Rolex." Teghan rolled her eyes. "You're a hot shot sucking on the parental teat, using your trust fund to pick up women. It's pathetic."

"You're obviously well versed in the trust fund life yourself." He said it so calmly it stunned her into silence. Or maybe it was the way his gaze raked over her body in a slow caress.

Teghan stared at him, dumbfounded. It takes one to know one. She turned to walk away again but then stopped. No, she wasn't going to leave just yet. She was having too much fun. Not to mention, if she went back inside, she'd have to deal with Donnie pawing at her again. "Okay, hot shot," she sauntered up to him, "take me for a ride."

"What?"

"Better yet, let me drive," she said with a wicked grin.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dear Authors: Do Your Research!

Dear Authors:

Yes, I was a literary agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency for a very brief period of time. Note the "was" -- as in past tense. Due to personal reasons, I made the difficult decision to leave. (To learn more about why, please read this post.) When I made the announcement, I received an outpouring of support and encouraging messages. Heck,I'm still getting messages. I was humbled by the sheer amount of concern and well-wishes heaped upon me, and I cannot begin to tell you how much that has meant to me. So to everyone who reached out and to those who kept me and my family in your prayers, THANK YOU!

Just last week, the wonderful Chuck Sambuchino tweeted that I was a new agent looking for certain genres. (On a side note - I had the chance to meet Chuck earlier this year, and he's just as personable and friendly and knowledgeable in person as he is online. Seriously, if you have the chance to attend one of his workshops, do it!) That single tweet received dozens of retweets and favorites, and resulted in me gaining a lot of new followers. Chuck was simply doing what he does and trying to help. Unfortunately, in the midst of dealing with family issues, I never emailed Chuck to alert him to the fact I was no longer an agent. The blame for this is on me, and I fully own that. Let me be very clear: I do not blame Chuck in the least. He's a great guy and I fully support his efforts within the writing community.

However, since that tweet, I have gotten an influx of emails from authors seeking representation. At first, I answered all of them, explaining that I was no longer an agent and wishing them well. But the emails continue to come. I just got two more this morning. And you know what I realized? They are being sent to my Anaiah Press and / or my personal email address! And you know what this tells me?

Authors aren't doing their research! And that, dear authors, is on you. Yes, I should've made sure Chuck knew I was no longer an agent. Yes, I should've shared my announcement more frequently on social media. But it's your responsibility, as an author, to do your homework, to know who you're submitting to and what their role is withing the publishing industry.

I mean, that is the number one thing authors are told when they start querying -- DO YOUR RESEARCH! It's clear that none of these authors have, because if they did, they would've learned two very important things:

1. I am no longer an agent. I'm no longer listed on the Corvisiero Literary agency website. There is a post on my blog about it. I've tweeted about it. Posted on Facebook about it.

2. Anaiah Press is a publisher who is in the business of publishing Christian fiction. They are not a literary agency and they do not represent authors. They publish books.

I cannot stress this enough, authors, DO. YOUR. RESEARCH! Know who you're submitting to, know what they're looking for, and most importantly, know the difference between agent and publisher. Don't send a publisher an email asking them to represent you and your books. And conversely, don't send an agent an email and ask them to publish your book.

Anyone who knows me or has ever had any interactions with me will tell you that I am always more than willing to teach and help authors in anyway I can. And that hasn't changed. But please, I beg you, do your research. From this point forward, I won't continue to answer emails asking for representation; and honestly, I really shouldn't have to because if you're doing your research, you'll know I'm not a literary agent and that I don't represent authors or their careers.

All my best,

~Kara




Friday, November 20, 2015

Author Interview with Molly Zenk

The lovely Molly Zenk stopped by today to talk about her new book, OUT OF CHARACTER! Check out what she had to say, and be sure to stay until the end for a chance to win a paperback copy of her book!

Before we get started, here is a bit about Molly's book....

BLURB:
After the loss of her brother, actress Harmony Jones struggles with daily life. Landing the lead role on the hit faith based living history show, 1700s Life, might be the perfect way to reconnect with her faith and be her big acting break.

Tired of hiding his strong faith and convictions to get secular roles, David Hawkins jumps at the chance to play the curate on 1700s Life. It's the perfect vehicle to spread God’s word.

Elliot Banes’ career needs an image makeover, so he accepts the naval hero role on 1700s Life. Getting away from his overbearing mother is an added bonus. His true hope is to learn to speak his mind instead of always fading into the background.

When a scripted love triangle between Harmony, David, and Elliot becomes a real life love triangle, Harmony must make a difficult decision. She hoped to find her wavering faith, she didn't count on finding love as well. If that was her only obstacle, the role would be a breeze. Unfortunately, there’s an on-set spy intent on causing drama. Can Harmony see through all the lies and secrets to the truth in her heart, or will she end up falling for the wrong man?


Add to Goodreads


Without further ado, let's have a chat with Molly...

1. What was your favorite scene in OUT OF CHARACTER and why?
I'm not sure I have a specific favorite scene.  I like how all the main characters stories weave together.  I do like Katie's journey because she changes the most out of everyone.

2. What was the hardest part about writing OUT OF CHARACTER?
Having 4 very different, distinct narrators.  Some were more 'talkative' than others.

3. Can you tell us what you've got in the works next?
I have a series of picture books featuring special needs characters and I'm also writing the sequel to OUT OF CHARACTER.  It picks up immediately where OUT OF CHARACTER ends and follows the characters through filming season two of 1700s Life.

4. Where did you get the idea for OUT OF CHARACTER?
It started as a straight historical fiction novel but one too many people told me historical fiction was a 'hard sell' so I came up with the idea of the characters being actors on a living history TV shows to give it a unique twist and modern sensibility.  It's evolved a lot since then.  I'm really happy with the final published book.

5. Any words of wisdom for other authors out there?
Stick with it and be true to yourself.  Write what you love, not what you think will make you rich quick.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, Molly! If you haven't already picked up a copy of OUT OF CHARACTER, be sure to do so! It's a fantastic read :-) Or, if you're feeling lucky, try your hand at winning a paperback copy!

Monday, November 16, 2015

{COVER REVEAL}: Perfekt Control by ST Bende


COVER REVEAL



PERFEKT CONTROL
THE ÆRE SAGA: BOOK TWO

Genre: Upper YA Paranormal/Fantasy (Norse Mythology)


Release Date: February 9, 2016

Back Cover Copy

Rule the realms.

Brynn Aksel is a valkyrie—a battle goddess tasked with protecting both the God of War and the future of Asgard. She fends off giants and dark elves with an iron fist, a glossy smile, and no less than perfekt control. She’s focused one-hundred-percent on rising through the valkyrie ranks, and not at all on her lifelong crush on Henrik Andersson—the one guy in all the realms who could be her undoing.

Henrik serves as War’s other bodyguard, and he’s too focused on protecting their shared charge to realize that Brynn’s a girl. When an unprecedented surge of darkness abducts the Goddess of Love, Brynn’s already-steely focus is singularly directed on her new assignment—accompany Henrik to recover the realms’ source of light before the cosmos descends into chaos.

While battling demons, dragons, and the not-quite-dead, it becomes clear that immortality does not equal invincibility. And when Hel herself puts a hit on Brynn, the valkyrie has to decide if staying in control is worth losing everything . . . or if it’s time to rule the realms.

Pre-Order Links

Add PERFEKT CONTROL to your Goodreads TBR

AUTHOR BIO:
Before finding domestic bliss in suburbia, S.T. Bende lived in Manhattan Beach (became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of McVities cookies. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired the books of The Elsker Saga and The Ære Saga. She hopes her characters make you smile and that one day, waffles will be considered a health food.


Find S.T. on Twitter @stbende, her website (www.stbende.com), or send her an e-mail. While you're at it, introduce yourself to @UllMyhr and @TyrFredriksen -- when they’re not saving the cosmos from dark elves, they love meeting new friends . . . especially the human kind.

Want to connect with fellow Norse god fans? S.T.'s readers have created a Facebook group! Head over to the RagnaRockstars page to chat with other readers, talk with S.T., and get access to exclusive content... including Ull POVs and sneak peeks at upcoming Ære Saga books!

AUTHOR LINKS
Connect with ST Bende at:

TUR is currently available for FREE to newsletter subscribers!

Skål, y’all!








MONDAY MUSINGS: Book Auctions and Fast Deals

Let me start with a massive disclaimer: I have never had a book go to "auction" with agents or publishers. But that's okay, because I'm not here to talk about what it's like behind the scenes. I'm here to talk about what it looks like on the outside, as someone peering in, gazing longingly from the sidelines.

Recently, I've seen a few Facebook posts, blogs, and tweets about books that have gone to auction, where agents and/or editors have fought to a bloody death to get their hands on said book. Or a situation where a book is snatched up within days of querying. And it's exciting, right? Of course it is. For those who are directly involved in it. But for everyone else? Not so much. In fact, these success stories are harmful, and in my opinion do more harm than good. Personally, I really dislike reading stories like this.

Now, before you go lighting your pitchforks and calling me "jealous" or "bitter" or whatever else you want to call me, allow me to explain...



I'm always one of the first people in line to shout cheers of congratulations when someone lands an agent or gets a book deal. I know how hard it is to get there, and so it absolutely deserves a celebration when an author achieves their dreams. I'm not denying anyone their successes. But here's the thing....

When an author -- whether brand new or seasoned -- reads these awesome stories about a book that was offered representation by 19 different agents, or was offered representation within hours of querying and then the book is snatched up by an editor within a few more days, it sends the wrong message. It makes authors think it's the norm. Why? Because these types of success stories are the ones that go viral. Which is sad, because these types of stories are the exception NOT the norm. And so authors sit back and think, "My book isn't going to auction or selling that fast. Something must be wrong! I suck. I give up!"

Well, I'm here to tell you, YOU'RE WRONG!!

It's absolutely normal for a book not to sell fast, to wrack up rejection after rejection after rejection. And you know what?


That's right. IT IS OKAY! You're not a lessor author or your book isn't bad just because it doesn't sell fast or get into an auction. So many authors wrote numerous books, wracked up dozens if not hundreds of rejections before finally landing an agent or getting a book deal. Unfortunately, those stories, the ones of numerous setbacks and rejections and perseverance... THOSE stories don't get shared often enough. And they should! I mean, why not? Why not celebrate all the times people told us "no" only to then come out on top where we want to be?

So, this post is dedicated to all of you! Share your stories in the comments. Don't be afraid to tell us how many rejections you got or how many years it took to get where you are now! Wear your success (and your "failures") like a badge of honor. Own it. Flaunt it. Be proud of it!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jennifer Novotney on.... Writing Series

I'm happy to welcome Jennifer Novotney to the blog today. The second book in her Winter in the Souls Series, INFINITE SPRING, is now out in the world and she agreed to talk about her process for writing a series.



When I first started writing Winter in the Soul, I never intended to begin a series. I simply had an idea for a book and began writing. But after the first book was complete, I realized that this story would continue. That’s when the idea for the series came about. At first, I wasn’t sure how many books would be in the series or how far it would go. Yet, as the second book was well underway, I planned to have four books, one for each season.

The titles of the books are acronyms. Winter in the Soul is WITS and Infinite Spring has the abbreviation IS. The acronyms for the books will eventually spell out a sentence. This sentence will reveal something very important about the series, which will be exciting for readers when the fourth book comes out.

Typically, I plan one book at a time. With a series, I do have to alter my plans a little bit. I have to think about where the characters are going and where I want them to end up in the fourth book, so there is a bit of planning out ahead of time. Now that the second book is complete and the third book is well underway, this is where the real planning happens. I think the end of the series needs to be quite satisfying and so that does take some forethought and outlining.

I was once asked if I am a pantser or a plotter. In other words, do I fly by the seat of my pants and just write or do I plot things out carefully beforehand? While I once was a pantser, writing a series really demand that I become a plotter.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
As the Black Kingdom spreads, Lilika attempts to save the land from destruction. But is it too late?

With the golden forsythia in hand, Lilika and Talon must work together to plant it before powerful Cyperus and his mallow close in on Summer Harvest and Spring Bloom. Transformed by her recent discoveries, Lilika puts her own safety at risk in hopes of taking down the Black Kingdom. She is their only hope at redemption and the only one with the knowledge to defeat them.

In this breathtaking fantasy sequel to Winter in the Soul, Lilika finds herself trapped in the grip of the Black Kingdom where one mistake could cost her everything, but the right move just might save everyone she loves.



BUY NOW: Amazon / B&N / Smashwords





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Novotney is the author of the Winter in the Soul series. She was a 2014 recipient of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. Jennifer grew up in Los Angeles, California and attended Northern Arizona University, graduating with highest honors in English. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter.

Follow Jennifer on her website, Facebook, and Twitter

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Sad End to a Short Endeavor

I'm not even sure where to begin this post...

Back in July, I joined Corvisiero Literary Agency as an Agent Apprentice. I was so excited to jump into this new endeavor and forge a new path in my career on the other side of publishing. I came out of the gate running, signed two clients fairly quickly, and was busy moving forward with both of them to get their projects sold.

Then.... Life happened.

Doesn't it always?

Due to some very personal family issues -- and no, I'm not going to go into detail or discuss them here as I firmly believe one's personal laundry has no business being aired online -- but suffice it to say, my family always has and always will come first. As a result, I had to make the very difficult decision to leave Corvisiero Literary Agency. I hope, someday, to be able to return to either CLA or another agency and continue this journey. In the interim, I'm going to focus on my family and my personal writing goals. I have some big things planned on that front ;-)

To any author who has queried me and is waiting on a response: Please feel free to resend your query to another agent within the agency.

To any author who has sent me requested material: I will be sure your materials are passed along to another, appropriate agent within the agency.

On this note, I want to take a moment to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry to all those authors who took the time to query me, who have waited patiently for a reply from me that will now not be coming, to any other who had their hopes set on possibly working with me. I never wanted to let any of you down or disappoint you in anyway. So, for that, I'm terribly sorry. I wish each and every one of you success in achieving your dreams ;)

And finally, THANK YOU to everyone who supported and helped me on this short journey, and an even bigger thank you to all the authors who trusted me enough send me their work. The writing community is amazing and there is a lot of talent out there waiting to be discovered.

Onward and upward!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Making "The Call" -- An Agent's Perspective

When an author gets that ever elusive, super exciting "call" from an agent, they will often talk about it with their friends, family, fellow writers. They'll blog about it, Tweet it, share it on Facebook. And they should. It's a huge deal! But, ever wonder how an agent reacts to making that call? Well, get comfy because you're about to find out...

Two weeks ago, I made two phone calls to potential clients. Both of whom are now signed with me  :) WOO HOO! If y'all haven't taken the time to check out Kelly Comarda and Winter Austin yet, go do it now. Trust me, you won't regret it. Anyway, back to "the call."

Long before the scheduled call, I prepared. I had some chats with a few of the Senior Agents on how to conduct the call, what to expect, and things to keep in mind while making my final decision whether or not to officially offer representation. Then, I took notes on what I liked about their book, what I felt could be improved, questions I wanted to ask them, and I even had talking points -- just in case things started off slow and neither of us had anything interesting to say -- because I'm kind of a dork.

Truth be told, I was a nervous wreck! My stomach was in knots, I couldn't sit still, worst case scenarios were running through my mind. Like, what if I say something stupid? What if they don't like me? What if I don't like them? What if they ask a question and I don't know the answer? What if they simply don't answer my call? And to make my nerves even worse, I had a Senior Agent listening in on the calls and assisting when needed. I'm sure that made the authors nervous, too, because let's face it -- talking with one agent can be scary enough. But two? Talk about pressure! Obviously things went very well. I mean, I signed two new authors!!!

You're probably wondering what the point of this was... Well, basically, it was to let all you querying authors know that it's just as exciting and nerve wracking for agents as it is for you. So, when your time comes for that call, just remember: We often have the same concerns and worries, and we often prepare just as frantically as you do.

Or, maybe I'm just neurotic ;-) 


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

TEASER TUESDAY with Sharon Struth

Welcome to another installment of TEASER TUESDAY. I'm excited to have the lovely Sharon Struth here with us today. She'll be sharing an excerpt from her contemporary romance, SHARE THE MOON


~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT:
“Hi, Teresa.” Bernadette yelled, loud enough for a few other heads to turn.
Teresa’s perfectly-plucked brows arched in unison. “Hello, ladies. Enjoy the karaoke.”

“You, too,” they all chimed.

“Wonder where Lucy is tonight.” Sophie seethed, remembering the church kitchen, and how she swooped in and swiped Duncan from her grip. “I thought they traveled in a pair.”

“Like us.” Bernadette cracked a grin.

“Sort of. But we’re nicer.”

“Speaking of Lucy…” Veronica’s words trailed.

Sophie reached for a nacho but stopped an inch from the plate and followed Veronica’s gaze. Lucy sashayed to Teresa’s table, Duncan in tow. While Teresa introduced Duncan to another couple, Lucy brushed against his arm, close, the way an animal staked their territory. She’d dressed to kill in a short denim skirt, knee high black stiletto-heeled boots, and a tight T-shirt that read “What Happens Under the Mistletoe, Stays Under the Mistletoe.”

Duncan shook hands with the others. Dressed in his pressed khakis and a light pink and white striped oxford, he was approachable, gorgeous, and desirable. Sophie squirmed in her seat. Yes, they made a lovely couple.
Sophie’s hunger disappeared, both for the nacho and Duncan. A lump settled in her throat, one she hoped nobody noticed but felt so large she was certain everyone did.
She’d been an idiot. The truth bruised. Duncan viewed her only as a reporter.
In a hushed voice, Bernadette said, “What a phony bastard. He was all—”

Sophie rested her hand on Bernadette’s arm. “At least we know. I won’t have to endure the embarrassment of what that lying lawyer did to me.”

Rage swelled, replacing the ache in her chest. She’d been a passive participant in the fight for her land up until now. One card she hadn’t played always seemed wrong: telling Duncan about Henry’s death on the land he wanted. Maybe the time had come to put the card in play.

From across the room she studied the man who kept stealing little pieces of her soul. He laughed at something Lucy said to the entire table. The lump in her throat forced itself down and crushed her heart.


She wanted Duncan to feel like a schmuck and knew exactly what she needed to do.
~~~~~~~~~~~



BLURB:
"Heart-tugging small town romance with real emotion.
Struth is an author to watch!"
—Laura Drake, author of RITA-award winning The Sweet Spot


Sometimes trust is the toughest lesson to learn.

Sophie Shaw is days away from signing a contract that will fulfill her dream of owning a vineyard. For her, it’s a chance to restart her life and put past tragedies to rest. But Duncan Jamieson’s counter offer blows hers out to sea.

Duncan still finds Sophie as appealing as he had during boyhood vacations to the lake. Older and wiser now, he has his own reasons for wanting the land. His offer, however, hinges on a zoning change approval.


Bribery rumors threaten the deal and make Sophie wary of Duncan, yet she cannot deny his appeal. When her journalistic research uncovers a Jamieson family secret, trust becomes the hardest lesson for them both.


BUY LINKS: 
Amazon   /   Barnes & Noble   /   Kobo   /   GoogleBooks   /   iBooks   / Amazon UK



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sharon Struth is an award-winning author who believes it’s never too late for a second chance in love or life. When she’s not writing, she and her husband happily sip their way through the scenic towns of the Connecticut Wine Trail. Sharon writes from the small town of Bethel, Connecticut, the friendliest place she’s ever lived.


SHARE THE MOON, book one in the Blue Moon Lake Romances, is a finalist for a RONE Award and a Chatelaine Award for Romantic Fiction! Visit her webpage at www.sharonstruth.com


Monday, July 27, 2015

There's a BIG career change coming my way...

As many of you may know, for the past (almost) two years, I've been the Editorial Director at Anaiah Press. During my time there, I've met some truly amazingly talented authors, and I've made some close, lifelong friends. I owe so much of my knowledge and skills as an editor and industry professional to the entire staff at Anaiah Press. I wholeheartedly acknowledge that I wouldn't be where I am today without the experiences and support of this publisher. With that said, today I embark on an exciting and new direction in my career. 

I'm an agent apprentice at The Corvisiero Agency!!!! 

Eventually, I will move up to a Junior Agent, and hopefully, someday, a Senior Agent. I'm both thrilled and nervous about this new opportunity. 

Please note: I am NOT leaving Anaiah Press. I will continue on as the Editorial Director for the foreseeable future. However, as a result of my increased workload and to avoid any and all conflicts of interest, I will no longer be taking submissions at Anaiah Press. Furthermore, any author that I offer representation to as an agent of The Corvisiero Agency will not be considered for publication at Anaiah Press. There are absolutely no exceptions to this, so please don't ask. 


Confessions from the Editing Cave with JM Stewart

Welcome back to yet another installment of Confessions from the Editing Cave. Today in the confessional -- romance author, Joanne Stewart!




1. Tell us a bit about your background working with editor(s). Did you hire a freelance editor? Work with an editor at a publishing house? Work with an agent in the capacity of an editor? All of the above or some other combination?
Hmm. Let’s see. I’ve published six books so far, though one of those is no longer in print and one of those I got the rights back on and re-published recently. I guess it means I’ve worked with about five different editors. I think my agent technically makes six (providing I’m doing my math right). All with publishing houses, from small press to big 5.

2. What was your overall relationship with your editor? Good? Bad? Indifferent?
I guess I would call them indifferent. I mean, I know going into the publishing process that my book is going to be edited. I’m not perfect. I’m no grammar guru and plotting is my bugbear. I know there are going to be changes, and I know going in that it’s her job to make my book shine. 

3. What was the best edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
That would probably be my most recent release. It was a book I’d written probably over two years ago now, and we had over a year wait from the time it was contracted to the time it was edited (contract stuff). It was a hard book to write in the first place. I have a personal connection to these particular characters and their storyline, so editing it was difficult. My writing had also grown by leaps and bounds by the time we got to the editing, so the book was…well, if you ask me, it was a mess. It needed a lot of help. lol


My editor was ruthless but kind, and she worked with me every step of the way, including reading over excerpts when I needed her to or even just talking through things with me so that I understood what I needed to do. She was extremely supportive and understanding and patient, and I adored her for it, because she made the whole process a whole lot less stressful. She needs a raise. Seriously. lol

4. What was the worst edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
I’m probably being a party pooper here, but I’ve never had a bad edit. I was asked a couple of times to do things I didn’t necessarily agree on. For example, one editor wanted me to exclude the epilogue. I’ve had a lot of reviews that tell me readers wanted that teensy bit more at the end, and so I write epilogues for books where I think it fits. But I wouldn’t call this a bad edit. Just a difference of opinion. So, I left it out of the book, but the epilogue is on my website. 

5. What was your first, initial, gut-reaction to your edits?
Oh lord, it makes me nuts. I go from panic and anger to depression (otherwise known as “I-suck-itis”). lol I’m a perfectionist and a complete control freak. I write by feel. I put words and sentences together so they convey what I want them to, but there’s also a certain flow to them for me. So changing even one word…can throw that all out of whack for me. I also don’t do well with change, it takes me a while to think outside my narrow little box, and so now I’m panicking, because I know I’ve got a deadline for completion. That sounds crazy right? lol I’ve learned to take a peek, so I know what I’m dealing with, maybe talk them over with a critique partner, then I leave it for a day and come back to them. 

6. Confession time! Share anything else you’d like to confess.
I hate editing. Loathe it. But growing to…well, like is such a strong word, but not fear revisions. These are easier on me, because for the most part, you get an overall and the editor lets you work on problem areas your way. Aka: I get more control. lol This one comes from experience, though. I’ve gotten to watch a book I loved only get better through a round of revisions. So in truth, I almost look forward to this part of the process.


I also like seeing what the editor thinks needs improving on. This part helps me learn. You know, what not to do next time. lol


ALL ABOUT JM:

JM Stewart writes passionate, heartfelt contemporary romance. She’s a wife, a mother, a spiritualist, and lover of puppies, and happily addicted to coffee and chocolate. She lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest with her husband, two sons, and two very spoiled dogs. She’s a hopeless romantic who believes everybody should have their happily-ever-after and has been devouring romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing them has become her obsession. 

For more about JM or her books visit:  Website /Blog /Twitter /Facebook