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It’s RELEASE DAY for Vol. 3!

It’s hard to believe that this series started off as an experiment to try out Kindle Vella and has now turned into a 5 novella series. Funny how life works. Today is the release day for Where You Left Me, Vol. 3. Jasmine and Shawn are back from The Bahamas and back to reality. Their wedding was fake, but the connection was real. Wasn’t it?

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Blurb

The honeymoon’s over. What’s next?

First, she was left at the altar. Then, she fake married a volunteer. What could have been torture with a perfect stranger was anything but. The honeymoon cruise with him was off the charts hot, but now the escape from reality is over. The fake relationship has to come to an end, right?

Jasmine doesn’t want to go back to her life where nothing but humiliation, personal tragedy, and financial ruin await her. She wants to stay in paradise with her fake husband. But she can’t. She confessed her feelings and he bolted.

Emotionally numb, she knows that once she gets home, her heartbreak will continue. On top of it all, her ex-fiancé comes sniffing around, wanting to take her back. But does she want to go backward? Knowing what she had with Shawn was possible?

And what will happen if Shawn ever finds out she might be having his kid? The honeymoon might be over, but the real fireworks are about to begin.

Find out the details today in this red-hot lust-to-lovers series in Where You Left Me, Vol. 3.

Reading Order

Not sure if this series is for you? Why not check out the FREE Prequel Chapter that tells Shawn’s point of view in the moments leading up to where Vol. 1 begins. It’s short, spicy, and should give you a sense of the tone/voice of the series without spending a dime!

You can snag that story right from this website: Where You Met Me.

If you happen to read Vol. 3 (or any in this series) dropping a quick review helps small indies like me out in massive ways. It lets reluctant buyers know if this new author is worth the money. Any love you can send this series way, I would be most grateful.

I hope to share some of those reviews on this blog once they start to populate! Until next time, happy reading!


Dani/Danielle Bannister, author and releaser of Where You Left Me, Vol. 3

Life

Attempting to create meal plans. ATTEMPTING.

I’m not much of a cook. In fact, it’s one of the things I hate most in life. Probably because I wait to cook food when I’m ‘hangry’ (so hungry you get angry.) I’ve noticed, however, that since starting my new remote 9-5 job, I enjoy cooking even less. If that’s possible. At the end of every day, I’m so mentally drained and hungry, that the idea of going to make food in this recent heat leaves me eyeing the cereal boxes. And on days when the kids are with their father, that is often my go-to.

My children, however, probably should have something a tad better than Corn Pops for dinner. Lately, it’s been frozen pizzas or chicken nuggets and fries, etc, because… well, see above.

Last weekend, I went down a YouTube rabbit hole of quick and easy dinner ideas. Two things I love. Quick and easy. These same YouTubers tell me I’ll save money this way too. Well, wouldn’t that be a nice bonus?

Most of them said variations of the same thing:

1. Take an inventory of what you already have in your house. What spices do you already have (have they expired?) What condiments are in that side drawer of your refrigerator (have they expired?) What’s in the pantry? What’s frozen that you’ve long forgotten about?

Yeah, this is not a great situation. I know. I know.

Admittedly, this is a valid step. Did I do it? Well, not to the extent it suggests, but I do plan on doing these things. In chunks. Starting with my spice rack. I KNOW there is stuff in there that should be tossed or I will NEVER use. I re-did my pantry recently, so things are pretty easy to see, and yeah, I have stuff I should use up before I buy more. My freezer is small, so again, not much hides there, but I could widdle that down too. I’m starting to see how this might save some money ha.

Write down all of the meals you know how to make without thinking about it. This will eventually sort itself out into about 20-30 meals that you can rotate through which will take out some of that stress of shopping.

I did say I wasn’t a good cook, yes?

My list is NOT great. Part of why I want to try this. Maybe my ideas can expand. My poor kids. ha.

Head over to Pinterest and start pinning. So many of these YouTubers said they went to Pinterest for meal ideas, so off I went, and I went a little pin happy.

I now have a bunch of ideas I think my kids would like and that I might realistically be able to make. Including several crock pot meals. If I can’t throw stuff in a crock pot and walk away, then I need to re-think some things.

Get a binder and start printing off meals you’ve tried/liked and will make again. Then, using your inventory, your grocery staple list, and your new list of meals, you can figure out what meals will work best for your family that week given the schedule you’ve got going on.

I’ve got my binder started…

These are the three meals I’m gonna try out this week.

I’ll eat up some of my frozen leftovers on the days the kids aren’t with me, but this is at least 3 days of dinners that don’t seem super hard and I think will work.

I’ll serve up the sliders with sliced cucumbers, and that bag of frozen fries taking up space in my freezer. The pasta I’ll pair with some frozen garlic bread I have on hand and I’ll whip up a simple salad with the lettuce that I always buy that seems to go bad before we eat it. For the chicken and potato, I’ll roast up some carrots or if I’m super lazy, grab a can of corn or green beans and call it good. Not sure why recipes leave out veggies but they usually do.

Now, did this prep work save me any money at check out? It did, actually. About 50 bucks worth. Is this sort of prep something I can pull off every week? Well, that remains to be seen.

Curious, do any of you meal prep? Got any tips/tricks or easy meals I should add to my binder?

Until next time,

Danielle/Dani Bannister author and experimental cook

writing

In one week Vol. 3 drops!

If you’ve not been reading the Where You Left Me series then this post probably won’t mean much to you. But if you have, you only have ONE WEEK left to wait for Vol. 3!

And then there were three

This is part three of a five-part series, of which Vol. 4 is already up for pre-order! If you like steamy (lights on bedroom scenes) that have heart and humor, than this series is for you.

  1. In Vol. 1, Jasmine gets left at the altar. So, she decides to marry a stranger in the church instead. A hot stranger.
  2. In Vol. 2, she takes her new fake husband on a 5-day cruise to The Bahamas. Sharing one small bed. Whatever will they do with all that time stuck together?
  3. In Vol. 3, they are back from the honeymoon. They aren’t technically married, but there was a connection. Right?

BLURB

The honeymoon’s over. What’s next?

First, she was left at the altar. Then, she fake married a volunteer. What could have been torture with a perfect stranger was anything but. The honeymoon cruise with him was off the charts hot, but now the escape from reality is over. The fake relationship has to come to an end, right?

Jasmine doesn’t want to go back to her life where nothing but humiliation, personal tragedy, and financial ruin await her. She wants to stay in paradise with her fake husband. But she can’t. She confessed her feelings and he bolted.

Emotionally numb, she knows that once she gets home, her heartbreak will continue. On top of it all, her ex-fiancé comes sniffing around, wanting to take her back. But does she want to go backward? Knowing what she had with Shawn was possible?

And what will happen if Shawn ever finds out she might be having his kid? The honeymoon might be over, but the real fireworks are about to begin.

Find out the details today in this red-hot lust-to-lovers series in Where You Left Me, Vol. 3.

WHERE YOU MET ME (Free prequel chapter)
https://daniellebannister.wordpress.com/free-story/
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 1
https://books2read.com/WYLMV1
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 2
https://books2read.com/WYLMV2
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 3 (8-9-22)
https://books2read.com/WYLMVl3
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 4 (Pre-order)
https://books2read.com/u/b6Rd6M

Until next time,

Dani/Danielle Bannister, counter downer of release days

writing

Another Cover Reveal? Say what?

One of the things about doing a rapid release (or rapid for me) is that you have to plan stupid far ahead for things. For instance, Vol. 3 of Where You Left Me releases on 8.9.22. That’s all fine and good. It’s got ARC readers, the manuscript is uploaded, I’m working on promo graphics, etc, but there was one slight hiccup with my plans. I can’t actually release Vol. 3 without the link to order Vol 4. That would break the buy-through chain (an author no-no.) Okay. Fine. I’ll do a pre-order link. No biggie. Except, in order to make a pre-order, you need the cover.

Flipping through my planner, I looked for when I’d booked my designer. I’d booked her for AFTER Vol. 3 released. Well, that’s not helpful. In a panic, I asked if she could squeeze me in sooner, and because she’s a rockstar she got me in.

That means I can show you the cover reveal for Vol. 4, which is now also up for preorder!

It’s peachy-keen!

Blurb

They’re in love. Right?

Shawn has left her. Again.

Their love story isn’t traditional, but Jasmine thought it was real. Now he’s walked away. Does that mean he doesn’t love her? Or does he just need time?

Jasmine wants to believe their love will endure, but when a new guy in town sets his sights on her, she doesn’t know what to do. Should she wait for Shawn, or take a chance on a sure thing?

If you like fake marriages, steamy love scenes, and happily ever afters, you won’t want to miss the fourth installment of Dani Bannister’s Where You Left Me.

Reading order

WHERE YOU MET ME (Free prequel chapter)
https://daniellebannister.wordpress.com/free-story/

WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 1
https://books2read.com/WYLMV1

WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 2
https://books2read.com/WYLMV2

WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 3 (8-9-22)
https://books2read.com/WYLMVl3

WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 4 (Pre-order)
https://books2read.com/u/b6Rd6M

Until next time, friends!

Dani/Danielle Bannister author and cover revealer

Uncategorized

Between Two Couch Cushions is Back!

Pre-pandemic, fellow friend and writer R.J. Keller started a fun little show called Between Two Couch Cushions. It was a monthly live video where the two of us talked about life, our writing, and usually shared some sort of alcoholic beverage.

Covid and health issues put those monthly recordings on hold. We’re doing them as often as life allows us to, and today is one of those broadcast days. We’ve also swapped out our wine glasses for coffee mugs. Neither one of us can handle it the way we used to anymore. ha. And that’s okay.

We’re back!

To find out what we’ve been up to in our most recent broadcast, you can watch below.

While we are wistful for the days of being in the same room to broadcast, that just might not be feasible anymore. And that’s okay. We’re accepting the changes with grace.

If you want to check out any of our past broadcasts, you can do so over on our Facebook page: Between Two Couch Cushions.

Until next week my peeps!

Danielle/Dani Bannister, author and sitter between two couch cushions gal

writing

What say you? Character Poll Question

About a month ago, I asked my Newsletter subscribers a question. Who did they see as the main hottie in the Where You Left Me series. I’d confessed to them, that I had two men in mind as I wrote it: Sebastian Stan (because YUM) and Shawn Mendes (because curls rule.) I was curious, however, between the two, who did they, as readers, did they think matched the character better.

Blue suits, black shirts…Honestly, I wouldn’t be mad with either answer

While the results are in for the Newsletter and will be revealed in a few days to my subscribers, I’m curious who YOU would have chosen.

If you chose neither, I’d love to know who you pictured. And honestly, this poll has no losers because I’m all for equal muse opportunities and will happily use the ‘loser’ in an upcoming project for my inspiration. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge

Until next time,

Danielle/Danielle Bannister, author and searcher of inspiration

writing

Keeping Track Of All The Details

It should come to no one’s surprise that there is more to writing a story then putting words down on paper. There are a lot of details that we have to hold onto and some details slip right through our fingers. So, how do I hold all of the moving parts in my head?

Easy. I don’t. I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night, let alone what color I gave a character’s eyes when I wrote them last month. Hell, sometimes even a character’s NAME escapse me. (After 18 books that feels moderately forgivable.) So, how do I keep track of all the details?

I’m old school

I use “book bibles” filled with worksheets I’ve made/researched over the years to hold all of the details together (and still, I forget stuff.) It holds stuff like:

Character details I consider
  • Theme (What’s the lesson you want your MC to learn in this book?)
  • Hero’s problem/want/need (What problem does the MC have at the start of the book. What do they want that they THINK will make them happy. What is it that they actually NEED to reach the theme/lesson?
  • Character Profiles Basic stuff like job, family, age, looks, quirks, flaws, horiscope sign, etc. I’ll use images from Google and paste in a person who matches close enough that I can refer back to when describing the characters
  • The Outline A beat by beat play down of what the story arc will be.
  • Time and Space More Google images or terrible hand drawn sketches of locations and printable calanders for the month(s)/year the story takes place in. Time is something I have a hard time holding onto in the details, even WITH a print out.
  • A Family Tree It’s hard enough to remember a MC let alone the sibling or parent details of them!
Most of this outlining stuff comes from Save The Cat Writes A Novel. A GREAT tool if you’re trying to understand outlining. Highly reccomend. I just turned her ideas into worksheets.

If the book is a trilogy or a series, I’ll have a few other addtional bits in there as well. Such as;

  • Series Details Is this going to be a serial series (must read the books in order) or a regular series (books are lined by characters/locations but each book can be read on its own.)
  • Branding/Vision Basics How many books will there be? What titles will you use? What tropes are you lifting up? What is the genre and heat level for the series?
  • One Page Outline If writing a series, before I begin the first book, I’ll do a one page mile-high look at what the crux of each book will focus on so that I have an idea of where it’s going.
Varing worksheets I use for thinking about branding and vision for a series

Even WITH all of this, I still forget stuff. Hey, it happens. But at least this helps me hold on to most of it. And at the end of the day, that’s the best I can ask for.

If you want to hear more about this, author Marianne Morea and I dive a little deeper into the topic on our Bound By Books Podcast. You can watch that below.

ADD LINK

We’re on YouTube and wherever you listen to podcasts!

Until next time, keep those pencils sharp!

Danielle/Dani Bannister author and keeper of all the details

Life

My MCU rankings of Phase Four (so far)

I know Phase Four is still going, and there is much more to come, but as an MCU fan, I thought it might be fun to take a look at what’s come out so far and rank them accordingly. I realize that my scores likely will not be in the majority, and that’s okay. Projects that didn’t work for me, could very well have worked for you. That’s the beauty of art. It resonates differently with different people. It’s supposed to.

There WILL be spoilers ahead so use caution.

The Movies

6. Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness I went into more detail about why this movie upset me so much here if you want to read more, but basically, the film delivered too much telling of plot points and not showing us them. Not to mention the blatant disregard for character arcs that have come before it.

5. Black Widow Look, I love me some Natasha Romanoff. She defined the term ‘bad ass’ for me. But her movie… well, she deserved a better script and earlier in the release rollout. Giving her a solo move AFTER you kill her off is not great, Bob. To add insult to injury, this film turned out to be Yelena’s movie and it should have been Natasha’s. I think most of us were hoping for her origin story to land shortly after Avengers. After that movie, people were pumped to hear about her backstory. Why wait until she was dead to give it to us, Marvel?

4. Thor: Love & Thunder I won’t go into too much detail yet. I’m saving that for another post once more people have had time to see it. Briefly, I’ll say this. It’s not as bad as Thor: The Dark World but nowhere as good as Thor: Ragnarock. Ultimately, it fell in the ‘meh’ category. Too many cheap jokes and not enough stakes/heart. Not the typical Marvel formula.

3. Eternals Despite what some people thought, I did enjoy this movie (and not just because of the Harry Styles’ cameo.) I enjoyed the gorgeous cinematography, but because there were ten new characters to introduce us to, a movie time frame doesn’t give us enough room to care properly for all of them. Personally, I think this project should have been a series. That would have given more space to develop all of these new players. That said, I will be curious to see where they go with them. There is some great potential, and visually, it was stunning.

2. Shang-Chi I was pleasantly surprised by this one. While I’m not one for a lot of fight sequences, the ones in this were so original and compelling that you couldn’t look away. The cinematography and CGI were great and the story was fresh. Plus, Morris!

1. Spider-Man: No Way Home Sure, some people call this movie ‘fan-service’ and it was, but it was done in the best possible way (unlike that scene in Multiverse of Maddess.) I hadn’t cheered, cried, and been so invested in an MCU project since Endgame. That was a community-shared experience and one I won’t likely forget.

My rank will NOT reflect your rank. And that’s okay. They shouldn’t.

The Series

6. What If Just because it’s last doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this series. I did. They were different, funny, and could take writing/character risks the movies and shows can’t. I will say this though, Episode 4 did a better job with Dr. Strange than either of his solo movies did. I said what I said.

5. Loki I have a feeling I’m going to get some slack for this. Look, I love Tom Hiddleston as much as the next person. He IS Loki. I really liked the plot, the story, all of it. Owen Wilson was a perfect addition. I just like the others in this phase better, that’s all. I still really loved the show and eagerly awaiting Season 2.

4. Hawkeye Yes, I put this before Loki. Again, nothing against Tom Hiddleston. I adore what he does with Loki. I just think Hawkeye was more enjoyable in repeat viewings. And I’ve always wanted to have more Clint in the movies so, this scratched a particular itch for me.

3. WandaVision I’ll be honest, I almost didn’t finish this one. That first episode had me so confused. I didn’t understand what they were doing. How did this black and white sitcom make ANY sense in the MC? I am so glad I stuck it out because it was really fun guessing week-to-week what the heck they were up to. Solid storytelling, and intrigue, except for that last episode. Yikes. Cringe fest. However, this show has one of the greatest lines ever too: What is grief, if not love persevering?

2. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Don’t come at me. I love Bucky. No shame. Episodes 4 and 5 were epic in terms of writing/acting so that is another reason to put it so high. I’m an actor myself and these guys brought it. Yes, even Walker. You have to be a great actor to get that much hate. The Flag Smashers plot line was the real weak link in this one.

1. Moon Knight How did the MCU get me to care/obsess over a hero I’d never heard of before? Two words. Oscar Isaac. His performance in this is a chef’s kiss. Give this man ALL of the awards. Seriously. He’s that good. I also love that it’s a stand-alone and can act as an entry point for non-MCU watchers. More character-driven stories like this please, Mr. Feige.

(Note: I haven’t finished Ms. Marvel at the time of this writing so it will be included in the final ranking when Phase 4 completes.)

Who knows if this order will hold at the end of this run but that’s where I’m at now. How would you rank the projects? Let me know!

Danielle/Dani Bannister author and MCU lover despite a few of Phase 4s rocky entries

writing

When no one shows: A signing story

For the last several years, I’ve been going to Books in Boothbay. A local signing event in Boothbay, Maine. The first year I attended, it was an all-day affair. 9-4. Lunch was provided and about 40 Maine authors tucked in for a day of selling their books. The event is hosted by Sherman’s bookstore (of which there are several in Maine.) Authors don’t need to bring in books, as they arrange to have them ordered and brought to the location. All we need to do, as authors, is show up, talk to readers, and sign copies if they want to buy one. They even handle the sales. When the event is over, they take the unsold books and distributed them to their stores for consignment sales. No pack in or pack out. Talk about a breeze!

The first year I attended, they allowed us to have banners, display racks, swag, whatever.

My first year at Books in Boothbay

Then, COVID hit. No signing. Understandable. Last year, they held the event, but broke the event down into two times (to have fewer people in the room at once) and didn’t want us to bring any display materials or food (presumably for transmission issues.) We had to be masked and windows and doors were open. My display looked a little lackluster, honestly without my bells and whistles, but I was happy to comply.

That’s too many books, Danielle. Next year, do less, m’kay?

This year, the rules were the same. No banners, no swag, but bookmarks, and postcards were okay. I took another crack at it. They limited titles we could display to five. Smart. So, I tried to find five titles that might appeal to the summer beach crowd.

Still not as impressive as the first year, but better than the year prior.

Lunch was still provided for us in the form of a bagged lunch. I opted to try the second half of the signing 1-4 since I did the morning shift the year prior. One immediate downside of this choice? Lunch options were pulled pork or nothing. Ha. The hams, turkey, and veggie options were long gone by 12:30 when I arrived. But hey, at least now I know that I don’t like pulled pork, so that’s something. They did give us a lovely brownie though, so win.

Then, promptly at 1:00 PM, the authors munching their lunch on the lawn assembled for the second slot. We tucked ourselves into the folding metal chairs and waited. And waited. A handful of browsers trickled through as the afternoon dragged on, but no real rush of activity. I chatted with the authors on either side of me. Talked shop and life. Read a book I’d brought in case things were slow. Then, at 3:00 PM, I signed the copies on my table and went home at 3:30 as most everyone had left by that point.

During my time there, no one picked up a book from my table to buy. Does that mean I didn’t sell any? Not necessarily. See, my books were on display during the morning too, and they had some copies of titles by the checkout. So, maybe I sold some. I won’t know until I get a check sometime in the next few months.

Which begs the question: was it worth driving an hour and giving up an entire Saturday? Yeah. Of course. I mean, this is the gig. Signings are a gamble. They always have been. This particular day was a rare, gorgeous sunny day in Maine. Not a great day to be indoors. Maybe there wasn’t enough publicity for the event, I know I didn’t do much because I didn’t have time to make promo images for it (thanks day job). Then again, my Maine readers aren’t really that close to the Boothbay area, so I’m not sure it would have made a difference even if I had.

All that said, if they invite me to attend next year, will I go? Of course. At the end of the day, a signing is an opportunity. An opportunity to meet new readers, to get your name out there, to talk shop with other creatives, and to just be surrounded by books. They won’t all be packed. But they are almost always worth it.

Hope to see you again soon, Books in Boothbay!

Until next time,

Danielle/Dani Bannister, author and signer of nothing. ha

writing

Writing Serial Series: Pros & Cons

Last year, I had a crazy idea to write a serial series. I’d written trilogies before (3 books following the same characters/storyline. The Twin Flames Trilogy and The Hallowed Realms Trilogy) I’d also written a series before. (Stand-alone books written in the same universe/world, but with different characters. The Later in Life Series: Doppelganger, Must Love Coffee, Taking Stalk.)

But this was the first time I was attempting a five-part, rapid-release serial series, (meaning you have to read the books in order for the story to make sense.) I’m halfway done with the series and this is what I’ve learned so far about it.

The Pros:

  • You can live in the same character head space for longer
  • You can give your story time to grow
  • You have a steady release schedule to follow

The Cons

  • You have to live in the same character head space for longer
  • You have to give your story time to grow
  • You have a steady release schedule to follow (like it or not)

In short, writing serials are both fun and frustrating. Most of the income you will make on a series won’t happen until the series is done because readers like to binge content. Even waiting a few months for a release is too much for many readers. So, if you’re thinking of starting a series, focus your energy on getting the content done. All of it. Then, you can think about trying to make money on it. Ha.

To hear more about this, you can check out the podcast I did with author, Sherri Hayes on our podcast, Bound By Books, below.

Danielle/Dani Bannister, author and pro and con list maker