Today’s the day, November 1st. Time to write with literary abandon.
Say what now? Let me explain. No. There is too much, let me sum up (*million points if you got that reference.)
For the last several years, I have been participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) NaNoWriMo is a personal challenge you make to yourself to write 50,000 words in the month of November, or 1,667 words a day.
Ready or not, here we go!
Usually, I have a project planned out months in advance for what I work on for the month of November. It’s always a first draft and I almost always just barely make my daily word count. This year, however, my plan for NaNoWriMo was tossed out of the window. Instead, my publisher has encouraged me to focus on beefing up a story that was at 55,000 words and bring it up to 80,000 by the end of November.
Now, even those poor at math know that 80,000 minus 55,000 words does not equal NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 words in 30-day criteria. Noted. However, time is of the essence for this request, so I’m putting the project I had planned for November’s challenge and putting the addition of these 25,000 words as the priority as a necessary evil.
IF, I hit that 80,000-word count by mid-November, then I will shift gears and focus on adding 25,000 words either on the original project OR another project that also needs some heavy revisions. So, there is a plan, just not a liniar story, which is a first for me.
What’s also a first for me is that I’m at a new day job so the hours I used to devote to NaNoWriMo in the past will not be the same as it was. On the surface, 1,667 doesn’t seem like much. But trying to write 1,667 words in my one power hour each day… Might not happen ha. BUT, I should still make the 80,000 goal if I keep on target which means maybe I won’t win NaNoWriMo, but if all goes well, I’ll still meet my goals. And that to me is a win.
Oh, and also, I have a book releasing in 15 days, and I have a book signing I’m going to be at. Um… when am I supposed to write all these words again? I guess it’s a good thing I have no social life. 😉 But like, seriously!
That’s all for now. Apparently, these words won’t write themselves.
Every few months, I like to do a giveaway either here on my blog or do an exclusive giveaway to my Newsletter subscribers. They got the last giveaway option, so this time, I thought I’d let my blog readers in on the fun!
Up for grabs are not one, but two signed paperbacks! Where You Met Me, Vol. 1 AND Vol.2!
WARNING: These books contain sexy scenes with lots of details, so if you’re not down for that, maybe skip this one!
If, however, steamy/spicy contemporary romance is your thing, fill out this super-duper short form and that’s it! At the end of the month, I’ll pick the lucky receivers!
Vol. 3 is already up for pre-order and will be going to the editor very soon! Vol. 4 is over halfway written and Vol. 5 will be shortly behind it. Winning these would be a great way to get started on this steamy romance.
Yes, I just had a release on May 10th, but when is the NEXT one? Great question. August 9th! Vol. 3 is finished and just waiting to go to the editor next month *gasp! Then I’ll set up ARCs and get that ready to rock but the pre-order is already up and running!
Vol. 4 and 5 will be out in early 2024 (I’m still writing those!) In November, I’ll be releasing a full-length novel I’ve held on the back burner for a while so that the series could get a running start. Then, in 2024, I’ll have an additional 2 releases coming your way. Four releases a year. That’s the plan. It may not seem like a lot compared to other authors, but the day job takes up a lot of time. Ha. I’m writing as fast as I can. Promise!
Speaking of, I need to get back at it. These words won’t write themselves. I know, I’ve asked.
How is it almost release day to Where You Left Me, Vol. 2 already? Madness, I tell you! But May 10, 2022, is just around the corner. Eeep! If you haven’t read Vol. 1 yet, there is still time, (these are novellas so about half the length of a novel.) If you’re not sure if this series is something you’d be down for, you can always check out a FREE prequel of the story of Shawn that focuses on the moments before he meets Jasmine. Just what was he doing at that church where she was left, anyway??
That story lives rent-free on this very website. You can read it HERE. Is this story crucial to the series? Absolutely not. It’s just a little fun introduction to Shawn but it isn’t necessary to make the rest of the books in the series work.
If you like your swoon with a little sizzle, then this lust to lovers series is for you
A few months ago, I introduced you to my new pen name. Now, three months later, here’s what I’ve learned.
Firstly, series are HARD to write/time out/market, etc. This series has consumed almost all of my writing headspace. Normally, I juggle three or four projects at once. I might write the first draft of Book A two days a week, work on the second draft of Book B another two days, and maybe a final pass on the weekends for Books C and D. It’s a process I’ve developed over the years that have helped keep my mind fresh.
But with this series, I’ve needed to stay hyper-focused on Vol 1-3 so that they can release in a faster fashion. That means, my muse can only jump into my suspense project on the weekends. Toss in a new work schedule and things get interesting.
When starting a new series, you are starting at a disadvantage. It’s a whole new story/characters readers have never met. This is why a series usually doesn’t pick up a larger audience until at least three books are out in the series. (Reader’s don’t like to wait for their content. Not that I can blame them. I’m the same way. I want the next book or TV show/movie NOW! Ha. Even I forget that it takes time to make the creative process work.)
Adding to that new series hurdle, I also was adding a brand new pen name. While readers who knew my work under Danielle Bannister likely know that Dani Bannister is also me, most readers don’t. So my ‘reputation’ as an author is basically starting from zero. Which makes everything harder. Sales aren’t as strong, marketing doesn’t reach as far, reviews are smaller. But that’s how things start. You have to pay your dues. You have to build a backlist of titles. Earn readers’ trust with time and solid stories.
All that said, I won’t hit the marketing of this series hard until Vol. 3 drops, because to do so before then feels like a wasted effort. In the meantime, I need to write Jasmine and Shawn’s story in a fresh, fun, and frisky way five days a week for now.
Now that I think about it, there are worse ways to spend your mornings. 😉
If you’re still on the fence about this story, you can still check out the prequel of their union for free right here on my website. Read Where You MET Me.
Wanna hear more about the pros and cons of pen names? Check out my Bound By Books Podcast on YouTube or Spotify below!
Two weeks ago, I started a new full-time remote job. Anytime you start a new position, there are changes to your natural rhythms. Maybe you need to wake up at a new hour, maybe your work attire has to shift, maybe your days of standing turn to hours of sitting. Long story short, there are adjustments that need to be made. And those adjustments take time to get used to.
For me, who was already used to working from home, the shift to remote work was fairly easy. The most frustrating part is having to learn how to use a Mac. When you’ve been a PC girl for as long as I have, a Mac feels like a foreign language. But, I’m getting the hang of it. Sort of.
The most challenging part of this new job is honestly the hourly structure. Having set hours is new for me. In my past job, I did the work whenever I wanted. Some days I’d start at 4 am, others at 11 am, and just keep at it until the tasks were done.
This job? I clock in at 8:30 and clock out at 5:00. Time cards are a whole new world to me. Ha. Knowing that I have set hours means I now have a much smaller window in which to write since my brain feels like toast after 4:00 on a good day.
Starting at 8:30 means that I can sync to my existing sleep and waking rhythms: This new work schedule means that:
1. I don’t have to set an alarm. I can wake naturally which has been great for my sleep patterns.
2. I can still enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee before my kids wake up.
3. I can still do my morning yoga without feeling rushed.
4. After breakfast/showering, I still have an hour to get writing or editing done. That might not seem like a lot, but if it is focused and intentional time, you’d be amazed what you can get done.
After dinner, I can tackle any writing administrative tasks that need attending or things I wasn’t able to tackle before work. The weekends have now become the time when I do the heavy lifting of my marketing and planning prep. That might include writing out blog posts or newsletters, recording videos, that I would have normally done on the day they were due, but now have to create that content in batches so that I can keep my plans on schedule. (And you know how much I love a schedule.)
My marketing meetings with my team will still happen (they were gracious enough to change their schedules to meet mine,) the Bound By Books Podcast will still go on, my TikToks will still be posted, I’ll carry on delivering a short story every month to my newsletter subscribers, and, of course, I will continue my writing. I have no plans to stop any of that momentum.
I made it a point to be strategic with my writing this year, knowing this change was coming. I wanted to make a release plan that would be realistic given a whole new work schedule. As of this moment in time, my next three releases for the year are still on track.
That said, things may shift as I settle into a new work/life balance, but that’s what life is. Changing to meet the ever-changing tide. Kind of like we’ve all done the last few years!
On Monday, the podcast I’m part of Bound By Books talked about writing myths. I thought I’d give you my take on a few myths I’ve heard about writing.
You MUST write x amout of words a day or you aren’t a real author. First off, any writing rule that tells you MUST do something is almost always wrong. Writing is a craft. An expression of creativity. You wouldn’t tell a painter they MUST paint with a certain canvas type or they aren’t a real artist. The same is true with writing. Some authors write everyday, sure. Some only get out words on the weekend. While still others write whenever the mood hits. The important thing is to find the method that works for you. That might mean you have to try on a few different styles to see what translates into the best results for you.
You CAN’T read books in the genre you write in. There again, anything that tells me I can’t do something… I’m gonna want to. The reason behind this myth is that if you read books in your genre you might inadvertantly steal another story idea. Let me end the suspense for you. There are no original stories. What makes a story original is your unique take on it. More importantly to this point, if you aren’t reading in the genre of the story you are writing, how do you know that you are meeting the expectations of those readers?
Writers make a ton of money so it’s no big deal if I download this illegal copy of a pirate site. There is so much wrong with this myth it makes my eyes cross. Unless you are a MAJOR bestseller, authors are not making near what you think they are. Trust me here. And being an author isn’t free. We have costs we incure. Editors, designers, marketing expensies, and on and on. It’s not cheap to produce a book. If you get your books from a pirate site, the author sees NONE of that royalty, which means they might not be able to pay for that editor for the next book in the series you really love. If you love books, you won’t pirate them. If you’re not able to buy them, ASK YOUR LIBRARY TO GET A COPY. It’s really that easy. And we DO get a small royalty for library purchase. Not sure if the site you’re on is a pirate site? ASK. Reach out to the author or visit their website. They’ll have the sites where they’re books are on. If you don’t see the site listed on their website, don’t use it. Period.
If you aren’t traditionally published, you aren’t a real author. I think you all know how I feel about that as a primarily indie-published author. I call BS. There are MANY paths to publishing. One path isn’t any less valid than another. That’s true of any art form.
If there is a typo (or more) in your published manuscript you clearly didn’t hire an editor. This is a million % wrong. You’ll find typos in even traditionally published works of huge names. Are there more typoes in an indie book over a traditionally published book? Maybe. It depends. Editors aren’t cheep. And if you are an indie author, you have to pay for that work yourself. If you’re just starting out, you might not be able to pay for a massive edit. That might be something you fix over time. It’s an individual experience. Personally, I usually have about 10 pairs of eyes on a manuscript before it sees and editor and even still… I end up finding something once it’s published. ALWAYS. Typos are like cockroaches.
What other writing myths have you heard? These were the ones at the top of my mind, but I’d love to hear about more of them!
Until next week my peeps! (Speaking of Peeps, they are in stores now! eeep!)
As a writer, you would THINK that I read constantly. And I do. My own words. Over and over and over again. But that’s really not the same thing as reading. That’s critiquing.
Even before I started writing, I was never an avid reader. Sure, I read books, but I didn’t devour them one after the other. I’d maybe read a couple of books in a year. *gasp. I know. I know. Then, when I started writing, the reading, ironically picked up. I was introduced to more authors, saw more covers, etc. but still, I wasn’t what I’d call a rapid reader.
Every year, around this time, I see people posting their reading challenges, that are often in the HUNDREDS! Knowing I couldn’t pull off a goal that lofty, I started to wonder if maybe a smaller challenge might more my speed. Then I saw this challenge posted on Facebook.
Twelve books in one year? That felt achievable. And probably the most books I’ve read in a year in a long while. So, I sat down with my TBR pile and I made a list of not only 12 books I want to read, but also 12 books on the craft of writing that I want to read, so that’s really 24 books in a year… That might be a little harder. But I’m up for it! (This is my January optimism talking.)
So, what are the 12 books I want to read?
January: You Love Me. This was a book I started back in August, and well, life got in the way of reading. So I decided this was the month to finish it out. I’d already read books 1 and 2 (which are really different from the Netflix series if you haven’t read them.) Book 2 in the series was pretty weak if I’m being honest. The Netflix series did a better job because they changed a LOT of the book, so I was worried Book 3 would be more of the same, but she shook off the cobwebs of that second book slump and really came through with another winner. I have NO idea how the TV series will tackle this as they have spun off in a whole new direction, but I’m here for it.
February and March: Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m counting this as two months because there are technically 2 books and the things are MASSIVE. It’s also non-fiction, so it will be a little slower to read, me thinks. But I’m excited for it. I’ve already started book 1!
April: Alien’s Captive by Tina Moss. This is an author friend and it will be my first alien book! I know it’s a super hot trend now so totally curious to see what the hype is about!
May: The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer. I got this book from the author herself when we were both at a book signing in Boothbay earlier this summer. We were sat next to each other and spent the afternoon talking shop and swapping books. I gave her a copy of Girl on Fire. 🙂
June: Her Captive Dragon by Marianne Morea. Another author pal and another first for me. I’ve never done this sort of a shifter book either. Whole new worlds are about to be opened to me!
July: On Harbor’s Edge by Kate Hotchkiss. I got this book in another author signing swap! I get a lot of books this way actually. When two authors sit next to each other at a signing, it is inevitable that the conversation goes to books, writing, craft, and ultimately a swap is in order! She got a copy of Girl on Fire too!
August: Wait with Me by Amy Daws. This one has been on my Kindle for YEARS. Literal YEARS because, well, I suck. I have bumped it up the list though because when this book came out there was a LOT of talk about it. I’m excited to dive in.
September: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I think this is the only John Green novel I haven’t read yet. I got this book for myself as a Christmas gift and I know I’ll love it. Because, well, it’s John Green.
October: Burning for her Kiss by Sherri Hayes. Another author friend and only my second book of hers. Now, I’ll point out that yes, there are four man-chest covers on this list, but each book is a different genre, so I’m broadening my horizons. 😉
November: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, 1) by Sarah J. Maas. I have succumbed to BookTok pressure and will read book 1 to see what the hype is all about.
December: Verity by Colleen Hoover. I have heard this book is messed up, so why not finish out the year with something twisted?
That’s it. That’s my pleasure reading challenge for the year. I won’t bore you with the craft list. Do YOU do a reading challenge? If so, how many books are you attempting? I’ll keep you updated over the next year to let you know if I’m meeting my goals or not!
Starting next week, if you are a member of my newsletter, I’ll be sending out a free short story on the 15th of each month. That story may be sexy, sweet, or suspenseful but it will be delivered directly to newsletter subscribers as a way of saying “Thanks for being here!”
If you haven’t joined my newsletter yet, now is a great time to start as the first story will be dropping next week!
Today is the day that we get not only the full cover reveal for my next project but also the title!
Wait a second… Isn’t that the same book you told us about that was on Kindle Vella? Yup. Sure is. But I’ve pulled it off from Kindle Vella (it should disappear soon off the platform) to make it available wide, which means you don’t need to read it an episode at a time or learn a whole new way of reading just to enjoy the story. You can read it like you read all of my other stuff. In ebook or paperback!
I heard many of you asking if this would ever be made into a regular book and I listened! After leaving it in Vella a few months, I decided to pull it and make it wide so the majority of my readers could enjoy it!
This will be a rapid-release set of novellas, which means you’ll only need to wait a few months between stories vs years! How exciting! The series will revolve around the same couple as they navigate their given circumstances. And you know me, I like to give my characters hard circumstances.
You might be wondering if there is anything different about this wide distribution of the book over the Kindle Vella version. Yes and no. The heart of the story is still the same, but what is different, is a few character names changed (that’s a story for a different day) and this new version has been officially edited. (The Vella version I didn’t bother with a professional edit because the platform was so new. I didn’t want to put too much money into an unknown platform.) That means, this version is more fleshed out, grammatically stronger, and hopefully, a more enjoyable ride. *snicker. Ride.
This will be a full steam novella, so if you like fade to black stories, this one is not for you. BUT, if you like some spice with your romance, might I suggest adding this one to your pile.
You can pre-order Volume 1 here. Other platforms coming soon!:
Jasmine Fairchild has been left at the altar. Literally. With the bouquet still in her hands, she’s determined not to let her cheating ex have all the fun. She was going on her honeymoon to The Bahamas. All she needed was a ‘groom.’
Fortunately, she found a mysterious cutie in the crowd willing to partake in a fake wedding and go on an all-expenses-paid cruise with her. In less than 24 hours, she’d be far away from her failures and the embarrassment of being left at the altar.
The only hiccup is she can’t keep her hands off her pretend husband. Not that he appears to mind. He can’t seem to resist her either.
Is he playing for keeps or toying with her heart?
Will Jasmine be able to avoid rebounding with a perfect stranger or will desire win the day? Find out in this red-hot contemporary romance novella, Where You Left Me, Vol. 1.