December 3, 2018

Taking a Consumptive Courtesan into the 21st Century

Fallen—my most recent book—is a retelling of Verdi's La Traviata. But it is also a retelling of the original story on which the opera was based: La Dame aux camΓ©lias [The Lady of the Camellias] by Alexandre Dumas, fils.

The story is timeless, which explains why it's been adapted and retold in countless versions and multiple forms & languages, even by the author himself. Opera, ballet, film, stage, and yes, prose—all captivated by this tragic love. The movie Moulin Rouge! is one such retelling, and according to Wikipedia, there are 9 film adaptations entitled Camille, including the 1936 movie featuring Greta Garbo, not to mention the many film adaptations with other titles.

There were many challenges in trying to live up to the poignancy of the original, and of the retellings. (I'm anxious to know if I succeeded, which is to say, to see what readers think.) But one of the first was deciding how to make consumption (tuberculosis) into something relevant for modern-day Manhattan since, thankfully, TB isn't common in New York nowadays.

As I thought about the story I wanted to tell, already knowing I wanted to give more weight to the heroine's journey, I wanted to retain some of the key elements relating to consumption. The heroine's illness had to be life-threatening, and it needed to impact the lungs.

The rest of this post is up on Patreon, and in the interest of not doubling up content, click below to:

Keep Reading

And don't forget to grab your copy of Fallen—or read now in Kindle Unlimited!

November 13, 2018

Fallen is Officially Available!

I'm still struggling to believe it but:

4 years and 4 months—to the day!—since I first started writing it,
πŸŽ‰ Fallen is officially available! πŸŽ‰

I realized fairly recently that I actually started writing this book before any of my others were published. My first novel (Mending Heartstrings) was originally published by a small press in December of 2014—almost 5 months after the first words of Fallen were written. It still blows my mind to think about it in those terms. Just a quick reminder about this story:

 Violetta DorΓ©e wrings every drop of pleasure from her life, and Manhattan’s social elite are happy to help, pampering their darling with endless luxuries. And why not? She deserves a little fun before she dies.

But there are pleasures money can’t buy. When Adrian Thompson with his box-store khakis and overly concerned eyes insists that Vi’s missing out, her curiosity is piqued. What else can she do but indulge it?

Fans of Moulin Rouge! and Me Before You will love this contemporary retelling of Verdi’s La Traviata.

    It's been quite an experience writing this retelling, which you can read about in these posts:

Start Reading Fallen Here or Grab Your Copy!

October 31, 2018

A Halloween Treat: Mortal Musings and Murder

You may have seen a post circulating around social media (for a couple years now, on and off) that asserts any book's first line can be improved by making the second line:

"And then the murders began."

I tried it with a few of my own first lines, and the results are pretty fun. One I particularly liked was the one from Mortal Musings, partially because Brett is a mystery writer. So I wrote a quick (dark!) flash story set in an Alternative Universe of Mortal Musings, mixed with murder. My Halloween treat for you. πŸ˜‰


Writer’s block had walled him in. Again. And then the murders began. 

A football player strung up to bleed out on the goal posts, found at early-morning practice.

The stay-at-home mom injected with a fatal paralytic then positioned at her kitchen counter, prepping the ingredients for that night’s stew. Toppled by her four-year-old’s hungry nudge.

The garbage man chopped into pieces and scattered around neighborhood compost bins.

Gruesome, senseless death. And as far as the police could tell, unconnected. 

Brett scoured the news, glued to any live updates, all saying the same thing: No one knew anything. Not one clue had been found.

On the fourth night, Brett woke, heart pounding from nightmares of wielding a long blade, eviscerating a trio of restaurant servers before trussing them up in the freezer. 

Unable to face the darkness, he staggered to the light switch then landed in front of his computer. His hands came to the keys.

The authorities might not be able to catch the killer, but Brett’s detective could. Piecing together the puzzle behind grisly deaths was what Pete lived for—why he’d been created. And now, Brett knew what puzzle Pete would solve.

As the dark turned to a timid morning gray, red and blue lights flashed outside Brett’s window—a new ineffective patrol. He shook his head and blinked the grit from his eyes. The blurry lines of text on his screen came to 6,863 new words.

Brett sighed and leaned back in his chair. A rustle in the silence spun him around.

Formidable and fearsome, his hallucination stood wiping blood off a broadsword. Her gleaming red hair fell smoothly to her waist, miraculously avoiding the myriad weapons secured to her curves.

“Well?” she asked, her blade catching the light as it wove deftly through the air. The tip landed beneath Brett’s chin, tilting his face up to meet the challenge in the apparition’s astoundingly green eyes. “Aren’t you going to thank me?”

October 22, 2018

Save the Date!

Fallen will be published on November 13th, 2018! 

Just 4 years and 4 months (to the day) after I started writing it.πŸ˜‚ In fact, I realized recently that I actually wrote the first words of Fallen before my first novel was published, which is mind-blowing. 

It also makes me extra-nervous to release this story out into the world, since so much time, energy, and emotion has gone into writing it. Fallen has been a departure in so many ways, since it's a retelling, is not a romance, and demanded to be written in first-person present, which I still believe is the hardest mode. But I hope you'll love it—and tell me even if you don't. πŸ’•

Want to start reading now? Check out a sneak preview on Patreon!

About Fallen:

    Violetta DorΓ©e wrings every drop of pleasure from her life, and Manhattan's social elite are happy to help, pampering their darling with endless luxuries. And why not? She deserves a little fun before she dies.
    But there are pleasures money can't buy. When Adrian Thompson with his box-store khakis and overly concerned eyes insists that Vi's missing out, her curiosity is piqued. What else can she do but indulge it?

September 24, 2018

The Story Behind Fallen

I never thought I'd write a retelling. Oh sure, we can argue that every story comes down to one of a few basic plot lines, which is why we see all those graphics comparing hero journeys like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. But with plenty of ideas in my mind for characters I'd like to visit and get to know, a retelling was never the plan.

And yet... July 13th, 2014, I got to attend the San Francisco Opera's performance of Verdi's La Traviata. The first lines of my retelling, Fallenwrote themselves in my mind even as I was trying to focus on the performance. 

Of course, this wasn't actually my first exposure to this story. An adaptation of the same story will be familiar to many of you: ever heard of the movie Moulin Rouge!? The first time I saw it, the tragic ending destroyed me. (Is it any wonder I usually write romances—i.e. stories with happily ever afters?) By the time I saw the opera, I was a bit more in control of my emotions. But still, the story latched on and wouldn't let go. 

Of course, Verdi's opera is not the original version of this story either. After jotting down the words that hit me while still in the opera house, I decided to read the original source material: La Dame aux camΓ©lias [The Lady of the Camellias] by Alexandre Dumas, fils. The story has been adapted numerous times for the stage—as an opera, and multiple ballets and plays—and many times for the screen, including the 1936 film Camille, starring Greta Garbo, and the aforementioned Moulin Rouge!. Clearly, it is a story that resonates with many.

One thing that hit me in both Moulin Rouge! and La Traviata, the only two I'd seen when I started writing*, is that the story is framed around the hero—a young man, naive about the world, who falls in love with a fatally ill courtesan and is transformed by the experience. Unsurprising, as it turned out the original story is told almost entirely from the hero's perspective, recounted after the fact to an interested party (remember how Christian "writes their story" in the end? A direct reference to the original framework).
    *Wanting to preserve my own perspective on these characters, I decided not to explore any other adaptations while writing, beyond the ones I had already seen and the original story. (I actually celebrated finishing the first draft by watching John Neumeier's ballet, which led me to discover the extensive list of adaptations.)

The heroine's perspective in the original is relegated to a letter at the end, explaining the pieces the hero didn't know. Both the opera and 2001 film gave a bit more depth to the heroine, exploring her perspective on the notion of love, but still primarily used her as a learning experience for their heroes. Perhaps this is because in all three versions, the heroine is a woman who sells herself first, and becomes sick second.

Not so in Fallen, where I wanted to focus more on the heroine, on what drives the choices she makes, as well as the reasons behind them. On how a fatal illness shapes her life, her decisions, and of course her relationships.

Still, I was presented with the challenge of bringing a consumptive courtesan's tragic love story into the 21st century. Hopefully, by the time the story is ready for publication, I will have succeeded.

September 12, 2018

Introducing My Brand New Patreon Page!

As many of you know, the last year and a half or so have been a pretty spectacular mess for me, which of course in turn derailed my writing and publishing plans. I'm still trying to recover from all that and find a new "normal." The limited time & energy I can use for work has been necessarily dedicated to the "day" job—work that earns me money.

I'd love to continue creating stories and putting them out there for readers, so I've been trying to figure out a way to make writing a viable option. To that end, I've created a brand new Patreon page, which I hope will end up being an integral part of the solution. 

The basic idea behind Patreon is that Patrons (like you!) offer support in different tiers ($1, $3, etc.), primarily to help Creators (authors, musicians, etc.) continue creating their works. In exchange, Patrons receive rewards, including exclusive content. Patron rewards can be just about anything, and mine currently include first looks at my works-in-progress, behind-the-scenes access, some book-specific goodies, and more. You can check out all the rewards directly on my Patreon page, with absolutely no commitment. Right now, all Patrons will instantly have access to the first three chapters of Fallen!

Any finished stories will continue to be published and available for purchase through retailers, of course, but if you want to be among the first to read them, to see how they come into being, and generally to give me a chance to keep writing them, I hope you'll consider becoming a Patron. Hopefully then, the stories in my head can finally make it onto the page—and out into the world. πŸ’•

I completely understand that not everyone has the ability to lend financial support by becoming a Patron. So I also wanted to include a reminder of some absolutely free ways you can help me keep writing:
  1. Leave honest reviews of my books everywhere you can (on retailers like Amazon, on Goodreads, on your own website if appropriate, etc.).
  2. If you enjoyed a book, tell your friends!
  3. Add my books on Goodreads, including to your TBR list if you haven't had a chance to read yet.
  4. Share my books—or my Patreon page—on your social media, for example by sharing a photo of yourself with the book.
    • Don't have a print copy? Take a photo with your kindle open to the book's cover!
  5. Ask your local library to stock my books (digital or print), then borrow, read, and do #1–4.
  6. Engage with my social media posts so that algorithms help them be seen by more readers.

Bonus (note that this isn't a free method): check out everything available in my Zazzle store, and find your favorite new bookish goodies!

However you support my writing, thank you. I couldn't do this without you. πŸ’•

September 10, 2018

Shana Tova! Happy New Year!

Sunset last night marked the start of the Rosh HaShanah (new year) festivities in the Jewish Calendar. The holiday kicks off the days of awe, a time for apologies and forgiveness, which end with perhaps the most serious holiday in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. 

Rosh HaShanah is celebrated with prayer, the blowing of the shofar (a ceremonial ram's horn), and goodies such as apples dipped in honey and pomegranates. A traditional greeting wishes others a happy and sweet year: Shana Tova Umetuka!

There is a bit more to the holiday, but rather than my going into it all and possibly boring you, how about a video by the awesome a cappella group The Maccabeats: 

August 20, 2018

Mortal Musings is Turning Three!

This Saturday (Aug 25th) is the 3-year anniversary of Mortal Musings coming out into the world! Of course, those of you who've been here for a while know that this summer it also got a brand new look. What's your preference—vintage or the makeover?

Recently, I've been looking back on the journey Mortal Musings took to publication. It's so rare when we can look back on a decision or set of decisions without regret or the question "what if?" Sure, I almost certainly made mistakes in the process of indie publishing this story, but I know without a doubt that turning down all the traditional offers wasn't a mistake—difficult as it was to pull the plug on each of those contract negotiations. 

One crystal-clear example is Samhain, arguably the most established and best respected publisher to show interest in Mortal Musings. About 10 months after I turned down their offer (following lots of agonizing and even spreadsheets to help me decide!), Samhain first announced it was closing its doors. In traditional publishing, 10 months is nothing. There's a good chance that Mortal Musings wouldn't have even been published at that point—though I would have likely already spent plenty of time and energy going back and forth with the editor on revisions* he wanted.  
    *One of the reasons I turned down the contract was that the direction this editor wanted to take my work wasn't right for me. I'm happy to elaborate if anyone's interested! Just ask in the comments.

According to the aforementioned announcement, since my book wouldn't have been out yet, my rights would have been reverted. But what that means is months of wasted time and countless hours of wasted effort adapting my story for a publisher that ultimately would never have published my book anyway. Instead, Mortal Musings came out about 6 months before Samhain's original announcement. (Indie publishing can be fast!)

As I said, it's rare in life that we get to look back and know with certainty that when faced with a difficult decision, we made the right choice. Oftentimes, there is no one right choice, even in hindsight. But despite all my challenges with getting this book out there, my struggles with the appropriate marketing and branding decisions, one comfort is knowing that standing behind my story—not sacrificing my rights, my voice, or even my financial stake for the sake of a publishing contract—was definitely the right choice. 

Now if only I could figure out this marketing thing so more readers could (hopefully) enjoy this book... πŸ˜‰

The Festivities!

So much has changed in the last three years in publishing, but one thing that hasn't is how awesome it is to celebrate book birthdays! This year, I've put together a few different prizes, starting with a big old Mortal Musings prize pack:

One winner will receive the full pack pictured above, including a signed copy of Mortal Musings, a magnetic art print of the new cover, 2 Dreams to Dishes coasters (from the diner featured in the story!), and a vintage fold-up Mortal Musings bag featuring the original cover.

3 additional winners will receive a magnetic art print of the new cover and 2 Dreams to Dishes coasters.

And for a chance to win another prize, head on over to my Instagram!

Oh, and have I mentioned? This week Mortal Musings is available
for just $0.99! (Or you can start reading for FREE right here!)

Enter the Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As if that isn't enough, this week there's also a huge sale of 99-cent romances plus another giveaway happening with Love Kissed Book Bargains! Click the image below to check out all the awesome books (including Mortal Musings, of course πŸ’•), and scroll down for the giveaway:

July 30, 2018

Moana (the Movie): Let's Break it Down

Fair warning: this post has nothing to do with my books or my writing. It does, however, look into the elements of one specific story and the underlying messages that story conveys—intentionally or not. This is very different from my usual topics, but the realization hit me hard and seemed worth writing about. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well!

Movie poster from the Disney site.
So, as you can tell from the post's title, I want to talk about Disney's Moana—a movie one review called "the perfect Disney movie" (Tasha Robinson, The Verge). Let me be clear: I like the movie; this post isn't about bashing it.

But upon watching it (not for the first time, thanks to it being on Netflix), I realized something about the basic underlying story. This post will include details from the movie, so if you haven't seen it, you may not want to read on.

So, Moana broken down:

Man assaults woman then freaks out when she—instead of taking it lying down—gets angry, taking zero responsibility for his own actions.

July 16, 2018

Mortal Musings Has a Brand New Cover!

Thank you so much to everyone who cast their votes and helped me pick the new cover! Thank you especially to the members of the Real-world Romantics who gave me feedback on countless mockups and helped me discover this combination. πŸ’•

And the new cover is:

What do you think?? Personally, I love how the artist (Jade Foster) did Allie's hair. And to celebrate this new design, I've decided to temporarily drop the price to $0.99!

So if you haven't already done so, you can grab your copy at:

This also seems like the perfect time to unveil the new logo for Dreams to Dishes—Brett's local diner in Mortal Musings:

And I've created a collection of keepsakes featuring the logo!
Now you can bring a piece of this world—and a touch
of Allie's inspiration—into your life:


Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you think of this new cover for a chance to win a fold-up bag featuring the new Mortal Musings cover as well as a pair of Dreams to Dishes coasters!

Open through 7/22/18, void where prohibited. Check back on 7/23/18 (or enable comment notifications) to find out if you are the winner.

July 2, 2018

Taking Chances is Now Available in Print!

Update: And the winners are...Heather C. and Linda R.!

Happy July!

Mini spoiler: The last scene in Taking Chances takes place July 4th. So this week seemed like the perfect time to release the paperback version!

Now Available Through:

Wordery (free US shipping!
Book Depository (free international shipping!)

Of course, such good news deserves a giveaway. πŸ˜‡

Enter below for a chance to win either:
  1. A Forging Forever prize pack, including signed copies of all three available Forging Forever books, a guitar pick necklace, 2 Cavaliere Vineyards wine glass charms, and a Mending Heartstrings magnetic art print, all wrapped up in this Taking Chances bag:
  2. A signed copy of Taking Chances, an art print of "From My Lips" (featured in the story), and a guitar pick necklace
Open Internationally! Please note: international winners may receive unsigned books, depending on country (only because shipping can be extremely pricey).


a Rafflecopter giveaway

June 18, 2018

Help Me Choose the New Cover for Mortal Musings!

Mortal Musings is a fish out of water romance featuring a writer and his (mythological) muse—and it's getting a new cover!

After many—many—mockups, I've narrowed it down to the options below. Now I need your help! Which cover would make you click?

Please keep in mind, these are still mockups—which means watermarked proof files and some extremely rough edges. The final design will of course be all polished and pretty. πŸ’•
    Psst. You can check out the current cover in the right sidebar.




Did you know you could start reading Mortal Musings 
for FREE right now? Just click here!

May 7, 2018

Taking Chances is Now Available!

Taking Chancesa sweet standalone novella in the Forging Forever world—is officially out in the world! 

🎊 For this week only, it's available at a special release price of just $0.99! 🎊

About Taking Chances:

Liz Anne is determined to make it in country music—and get away from the judgmental whispers of her hometown. But when she finally gets a shot to play for a successful singer, he’s unimpressed, leaving Liz Anne right back where she started: with an old guitar, a handful of songs, and a mountain of responsibilities.

Carefree guitarist Bobby, however, likes what he sees. And hears. Sure, Liz Anne’s songs are rough, but there’s definitely some potential buried beneath all that tension. So he offers to help her out with some guitar lessons.

Just guitar lessons, she insists.

Because Liz Anne has a secret. And if Bobby ever found out, he’d run the other way—taking with him her chance of building a better life.

✨ Grab Your Copy ✨

And what's a celebration without a door prize?

Enter to win a Forging Forever prize pack, including an art print of original lyrics featured in Taking Chances, a signed copy of Mending Heartstrings, a Tasting Temptation magnetic bottle opener, the necklace pictured below, and more! πŸ’•

a Rafflecopter giveaway

April 23, 2018

Guest Post: On Author Websites by Hailey Stratton

These days, it’s hard to get by without a good website. Like it or not, a website can often be a first glimpse into your life that potential publishers might see, so you want to make sure it represents you accurately. At minimum, your website should be a place where it’s easy to find out more about you, what inspires your work, and how to get in touch. However, there’s so much more you can do to make your website one of your most important and useful assets.

Build your website

Here are a few basic guidelines for creating an attractive website which will help you accurately display your passion, creativity and skill while also helping you land more work or sell more books.

Elegant Design:

This is quite possibly the most important aspect of creating a website. You want a website that’s attractive and will give your visitors a glimpse into who you are as a person. You want something attractive and easy to use. And perhaps most importantly, you’re going to want to pick a design that lends itself to the topics you write about. For example, if you write about romance, you might consider picking a theme that makes use of colors generally associated with love, like pink, whereas if you’re a horror writer you’ll probably want to go with something darker.

Contact Form:

Having an easily accessible contact form on your website goes a long way to helping people get in touch with you. Often times, I see authors with websites that only list an email address as a way to get in touch. While this will definitely be some of your visitors’ preferred way to reach out to you, having a page with a contact form where people can quickly and easily send you a message will streamline the process and quite possibly increase the amount of feedback you get.

Easy Navigation:

If it’s hard to get around your website, your visitors are probably going to leave, so make sure there are clear paths to everything a visitor might want to see. At minimum you should have prominent links to an About page, a contact form, and your social media profiles as well as any products you’re selling.

Mobile Responsiveness:

One of the reasons that having a website is important is because more and more people are spending great portions of their time online. Most of which is done by mobile devices. If your website is hard to navigate from a phone or an iPad, you’re probably going to frustrate your visitors.

Once you’re ready to begin building your site, or maybe you’ve just realized you’re in desperate need of a redesign, here are some resources to help you along the way: — a great guide to help you create a Wordpress site from the ground up for under $5 per month. — if you’re not totally convinced on Wordpress (which is my recommendation), here’s a great guide to help you choose a blogging platform. — chances are you need a little help in the graphic design department. Canva can help you make great looking logos and more.

Get creative

Once you have your website created, you don’t want to let it go stale by just sitting there waiting for visitors to hit your contact form.

World Building:

In addition to being a helpful marketing tool or central hub, a good website might also serve as a creative outlet and might even be a direct extension of your printed works. For example, you can use your website to continue building the world where your books take place by publishing additional short companion stories. Maybe you had an idea that you liked but didn’t make it into the final draft of your book. Or let’s say there was something you wanted to explore but it didn’t make sense to include in your book, for one reason or another. You might be easily able to reformat those plots into easily digestible bites to publish on your website.

Maybe I’m dreaming a little bit (and it is something I wish was reality), but I like to imagine that if J.R.R. Tolkien were alive at a time when he could have been publishing on the internet that he’d have had his own website or blog where he explored nearly endless side stories of various characters, vast elaborations of his worlds, maybe it would have even allowed him to create full excerpts of the fictional writings within his stories.

I’m sure you could come up with a ton of ways to incorporate blogging into your books. There’s a marketing benefit of this as well at it would generate interest from people stumbling upon your short stories on your blog and possibly make them interested in purchasing your books to read more.

Writing Prompts:

If using your blog for world building doesn’t seem like it would fit in with your work or it just doesn’t interest you, using your blog to help you generate new ideas or get yourself out of a writers’ block would serve as a great tool.

One way you could do this is by using writing prompts. There’s a good chance you already do this to some degree but there’s added value to publishing them on your blog as well. This would allow you to create an easily accessible hub full of your own ideas to revisit and build off of.

You could even use writing prompts for marketing! A simple way would be to participate in Reddit’s Writing Prompts. There you can choose to write about a topic that interests you, write it up in a comment and also publish a longer version on your blog with a link to your website where anyone who’s interested can read more and potentially discover your other work.

You’re all set!

Now that you’ve got your website created and a blogging strategy lined out, it’s time to start using it to its fullest potential. Most importantly, remember to have fun. A website or blog can be an incredible way to get your creative juices flowing without being tied down to any restrictions.

Hailey Stratton is a freelance writer, graphic designer and aspiring photographer currently in Nashville. When she’s not working on various projects, she enjoys spending time with her cats Larry and Gary (yes, they have rhyming human names. That idea was entirely her fiance’s!) and cuddling up to watch a sad movie with a glass of wine.

March 26, 2018

March FREE Romance Reads & Giveaway!

This week, romance authors are offering over 20 books for FREE! It's just our way of thanking our loyal readers. πŸ’•

Most of them are only FREE for a limited time, so grab your copy now! 

Even better, we've pooled our funds to offer an awesome giveaway. You can enter to win a Kindle just for subscribing to our newsletters or following us on social media!

March 19, 2018

Cover Reveal: Taking Chances (Forging Forever #2.5)

Despite the recent obstacles, the first draft of Taking Chances (a novella in the Forging Forever series) is officially finished! I won't even tell you how long this one took from first word to last...

Instead, let's celebrate with a cover reveal. πŸŽ‰  Share what you think in the comments!

Cover by Christa at Paper & Sage

About Taking Chances:

Liz Anne is determined to make it in country music—and get away from the judgmental whispers of her hometown. But when she finally gets a shot to play for a successful singer, he’s unimpressed, leaving Liz Anne right back where she started: with an old guitar, a handful of songs, and a mountain of responsibilities.

Carefree guitarist Bobby, however, likes what he sees. And hears. Sure, Liz Anne’s songs are rough, but there’s definitely some potential buried beneath all that tension. So he offers to help her out with some guitar lessons.

Just guitar lessons, she insists.

Because Liz Anne has a secret. And if Bobby ever found out, he’d run the other way—taking with him her chance of building a better life.

March 12, 2018

Guest Post: On Co-writing

by Jamaila Brinkley and Rebecca Norinne

Writing a book with another author can be a daunting proposition, and there’s a lot of advice out there about it. Everyone has their own journey, and every co-writing scenario is different, but there are a few things that worked really well for us.

Be Friends
I can’t imagine co-writing with an author who I didn’t personally know and support. We’ve been friends a long time, and started our writing careers at the same time even though we wrote in different sub-genres of romance. We’re familiar with each others’ writing, but more importantly we’re familiar with each other. We know what’s going on in each other’s lives, so we’re patient with delays and excited about successes.

Plan — Just a Little
One of us is a "pantser," and the other is a "plotter." But when you’re blending two writing styles, you have to at least have a vague idea of where you’re going, even if it’s just a few chapters ahead plus an idea of what the happy ending looks like! We put together a shared Google document that had a timeline for our book in it, and then cheerfully strayed wildly from our original plan. Our document is full of markup and comments, but it served as a baseline for us, especially when we needed to go back and refresh ourselves to see what was supposed to happen next.

Figure Out Who’s Doing What
There are a lot of ways to co-write. Some people alternate full drafts; some alternate acts or even scenes. There are even epistolary novelists who just exchange letters! What worked for us was to agree to a dual POV story, and alternating POV chapters. Then each of us took one POV, so we wrote alternating chapters and simply passed them back and forth.
    Bonus: can you guess which of us wrote which POV in THE VINTNER’S VIXEN??

Agree On a Release Plan
When will your book come out? How much editing will it go through, and where are you getting your cover? All of the same decisions you make when you publish your own work have to be made by committee in co-writing, so you’d better make sure you’re on the same page. No pun intended. Who’s going to be in charge of publishing, if you’re self-pubbing? Whose Draft2Digital account is going to be the one the book is published through (and sales come back to)? What marketing will you do individually or together?

Have a Contract
This is the boring part, but it protects both of you. Have a contract that spells out what happens with money spent, money earned, and rights, particularly if something should happen to one member of the partnership. It doesn’t have to be complex, and it doesn’t even have to be in legalese, but it should be written down somewhere (and, preferably, signed!). Nobody thinks that your co-writer is suddenly going to turn into a villain and abscond with the profits of your book; a contract is in place to remind you both what you agreed on and to make sure that if something happens, or one of you decides not to keep going with the project, that the effort you both put in wasn’t in vain. And your heirs will appreciate the clarity on what happens to the rights to your work! (You have a will, right? That’s another post, but please. Make a will. And add in a clause about your literary rights while you’re doing it.)

Love Your Work
Listen. Co-writing is a big deal. You’re creating something with another person. Both of you are expending tremendous emotional and creative labor for this thing, so please make sure you actually want to be doing it! We LOVE River Hill, the fictional town we created. It’s the perfect combination of all of the shared interests that made us friends in the first place, so we’re excited to keep writing there!

If you’re thinking of co-writing, hopefully these tips have made you a little more ready to take the plunge! It’s been an amazing experience for us, and we’re so excited to keep going. If you’d like to see the fruit of our labor, check out THE VINTNER’S VIXEN! Available at all major retailers on March 14th.

About The Vintner's Vixen:

Welcome to River Hill, where the only thing more intoxicating than the wine is the man who makes it.

With movie roles for "curvy best friend" drying up fast, actress Angelica Travis is happy to be leaving Hollywood behind for a project she's truly passionate about: renovating an historic bed and breakfast in peaceful wine country. She's got plans and power tools ready, but an inconvenient attraction to her obnoxious new neighbor is NOT on the agenda.

Winemaker Noah Bradstone wants nothing more than to cultivate his grapes and win awards for his wine. But when construction on the B&B next door threatens his vines, Noah goes on a rampage—and comes up hard against the sexiest starlet he's ever seen. Exactly the sort of woman he's vowed never to get involved with again.

Angelica and Noah might be able to resolve their differences over a glass of some very fine wine, but when her opportunity at breakout stardom comes calling, all bets are off.

Preorder for $2.99:

February 19, 2018

February iBooks Super Sale & Giveaway!

When it comes to bookish promos, Amazon & Kindle Unlimited seems to get the bulk of the attention. Well I've joined a group of authors who think it's time to spread the love! So we're featuring books available on iBooks (like most of mine are, if you were wondering πŸ˜‰ ), and offering a giveaway to boot!

🌟 Check out the February iBooks Super Sale & Giveaway: πŸŒŸ

Our Romance Authors are offering their iBooks at reduced prices. Most of them are on sale for a limited time. It's just our way of thanking our loyal readers. Even better, we've pooled our funds to offer an awesome giveaway! Enter to win one of three $25 Amazon Gift Cards just for subscribing to our newsletters or following us on social media.

Enter Here

February 5, 2018

Celebrating 5 Whole Years! Anniversary #Giveaway

Update: And the winner is...Timberlee! Congratulations Timberlee, and thanks everyone for celebrating with me! πŸ’•

There have been some complicated things going on, which have unfortunately meant less posting and a delayed publishing schedule, but I've decided that's no reason to ignore this week's occasions:

Yesterday marked the 5-Year Anniversary of this blog! πŸŽ‰ And Friday marks 2 years since Mending Heartstrings came out! 🎊

What better way to celebrate than with a giveaway? I've put together a box bursting with romance goodies from a variety of authors, including books, magnets, a swanky velvet bag, and more. Plus, the winner will also get to add their choice of any of my novels!

Enter to Win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway