Exciting Announcements! Audio, Slow Heat, and Surprises to come! #gay #romance

Hello! Long time, no blog. But I’m back with some wonderful announcements that I can’t wait to share with you.

  1. AUDIOBOOKS ARE COMING! – After a confidence-busting false start and more angst than I’d anticipated, I’m incredibly excited to let you know that audiobooks are in the works for Training Season and the Wake Up Married serial.Michael Ferraiuolo will be narrating Training Season. He’s the voice behind the audio of Santino Hassell’s First and First and Sunset Park, amongst many others. I’m excited to see what he can do with the bratty Matty Marcus.
    A newcomer to the field of gay romance, Jason Mitchell, of Voiceovers 911, will be narrating the Wake Up Married serial. His Patrick was utterly perfection, exactly what I hear in my head when I’m writing Patrick, and so after discussing things and working the financial aspect out, it was a no-brainer to make an offer. I was thrilled when he accepted and I can’t wait to see what he does with this serial!

    I want to thank all patrons over at Patreon for making this monetarily possible. And I want to thank my $5+ patrons especially, for holding my hand while I fretted and worried, and for listening and giving their opinions on the various audio auditions. As a reminder, a $5 pledge on Patreon gives readers access to my entire back catalogue of books, access to new books for as long as they are a patron, and all kinds of extras and goodies. The $10 pledge gets all that plus access to any audiobooks produced for as long as they remain a patron. We have a lot of fun over there. 🙂

  2. SLOW HEAT IS ALMOST READY TO GO TO THE EDITOR! – My next release, a non-shifter omegaverse book is nearly ready to go to the beta readers and the editor. My personal deadline is to have it out to them within the next five days. (Another reminder that patrons at the $10 level will be offered beta reading opportunities. Not a requirement, mind you! Because beta reading means getting a less than quality book and giving critics to turn it into a quality book, and that’s not everyone’s bag! But it’s an option.) I just need to go over it really thoroughly one more time and then off it will go to find out all the ways it sucks. 🙂
  3. SURPRISES TO COME! – There is going to be a surprise coming to my Patreon in the next month or so. I’m not going to say much about it yet, because it’s still in the percolating phase. But let’s just say that I’ve had Dar Albert do something with this little picture to help promote the endeavor when the time comes, and we’ll leave it at that. It will be available to $1 pledges and up. Oh, and there might be a very grumpy doctor and a diabetic do-gooder involved in the storyline.

Day Job Is Tenuous But the Future Can Be Bright – What’s Happening, Leta?

I have a (wonderful, flexible) day job because I don’t make nearly enough money as a writer to pay my family’s bills. My employer has been sick for 2+ years now and his income has been cut drastically. Obviously, this affects me. It’s a very small business with just me and one other employee. The last time I talked with my employer about my job he said, “I will continue to pay you as long as I can. But I have no idea how long that will be. You need to get ready for that eventuality.”

My current day job allows for a lot of flexibility in my time which has let me write as many books as I have. Since 2013, I’ve put out what amounts to seventeen books. Guys, that’s a lot of books. And I’m nowhere near to earning enough that I don’t need the money from my day job. In fact, book sales were down by 1/3 this year over last and I’m not sure how to reverse that trend. That is, frankly, almost beside the point, though. Book sales go up and down, and there’s nothing I can do about that. All I can control is the making of books and what I spend my time on.

In the face of possibly losing my day job soon, I am determined to be proactive and get ahead of the situation before there is a crisis. I believe in my writing and my readers. I’m not a lazy person. I put a lot of time and effort into my work. I think the number of book releases I’ve had while carrying on a day job and being a good mom shows that. I work hard and harder and more and longer and yet without my day job my family would be in a crisis situation very quickly.

Which brings me to Patreon.

This video explains it better than I ever could. Please take a moment to watch.

“Patreon is for creators who love their communities and the communities who love those creators back.”

I love that line.

Don’t get me wrong! You can love me and my books a whole lot without being part of Patreon and I totally feel that love. More than feel it, I appreciate you deeply and thank you from the bottom of my heart for that love, devotion, and your readership. I get that not all readers can afford to give even a little bit more and I want you to know that I will continue to put out high quality books for you! Patreon won’t affect that at all.

Also, I want to be clear, EVERY SINGLE NEW COMPLETED STORY OR BOOK I WRITE THAT STARTS ON PATREON WILL EVENTUALLY GO OUT INTO THE WORLD FOR ANY READER TO ENJOY. The only difference would be that Patreon subscribers will have early access. I am not offering exclusive content in that way. For example, if I wrote a short story tied into the Wake Up Married universe and put it on Patreon first, I would eventually release it on Amazon, B&N, etc, or put it up free on my blog. Every reader will have access to every new story.

But I also know there are some readers out there who are passionate about some of the books I’ve written, who feel like those characters are friends or family, and who want to be part of seeing new books be built from the ground floor up, and who want and are able to help me do that for a living instead of looking for another day job.

So you’ve figured out that readers would make a monthly pledge to my Patreon account in exchange for more access to what I do. But what’s in Patreon for you as a reader exactly?

I have long known that some readers what more information and access than other readers. Many are happy to pay for a finished book, read it, and be done, but others want more information. What happened to the characters next? What other books do I have coming out? What does it look like behind the scenes of being an author? Not to mention, I’ve always had a lot more to say about my creative process and my books than I’ve taken the time to write up. Mainly because I haven’t thought that was a very good use of my time when I have bills to pay and a sick boss.

But Patreon offers a chance to change that for us! Readers who want more can get more and writers who want to share more can do that without fearing that it’s time taken away from something that will help pay the bills. Throughout time artists and writers have depended on the fans of their work to help support them. Today is no different. Patron acknowledges that and I can’t say how much I appreciate this opportunity the creators of the platform have given us.

Again, readers who don’t want to participate or can’t, I promise that you will still get quality books! Have no fear! I appreciate you and everything you are. Thank you for being readers and fans of my work! Patron or not!

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you’re curious about what I’m doing on my Patreon account, click below and have a look! (Even though it says “Become a patron”, you don’t have to do that just to have a look!) On Friday, I’ll begin posting chapters of my current WIP for all pledges at $5 and up! I’m excited to see how that process goes.

Thank you for reading this and considering contributing!


A Deeper Analysis of My 2016 Writing/Publishing Year by Leta Blake


Looking back, did you write more than you thought you would this year, less, or about what you’d predicted?

I always overestimate what I’m going to get done, so I’d go with less. I always think I’m a super-human machine who will be endlessly inspired and motivated to crank out word after word after word. Then it turns out I’m human and have down periods and times when four pages just won’t “lay flat” and I spend a week on them.

What did you write that you would never have predicted in January?

I published Angel Undone. That was never in my plan for the year. It hit me in June that I was essentially done with the story. That it was finished in my heart and that it was either going to languish on my hard drive forever or I was going to send it out into the world. So I quickly polished it up and published it. I also never would have guessed that I’d be working on my current WIP. It was never, ever in the plan for 2016/2017, but events transpired with the fall releases that made me have to take a step back from my goals in October. This WIP hopped into that space overflowing with words and begging to be written. In my need for something to feel good/right/moving, I took it on, despite reservations about it. And now I’m nearly 50% finished with the book. I hope to have it out in early spring.

What’s your own favorite story of the year? Not the most popular, but the one that makes you happiest?

The unfinished book that makes me the happiest is the one I’m working on right now. It’s a bit top secret until I’m closer to the release date, but let’s just say that it involves, um, male pregnancy. The book I published this year that makes me the happiest is You Are Not Me. You have to suffer through Pictures of You to get to it, but everything about You Are Not Me fills me with joy. Maybe I’m weird, but, unf, I love these characters so damn much.


Did you take any writing risks this year? What did you learn from them?

I did! Everything I did this year was a risk, from doing the Will & Patrick Wake Up Married serial to releasing ’90’s Coming of Age books, to Angel Undone. The real question is which risks paid off? And what does it mean for something to “pay off”?

Will & Patrick turned out to be a brilliant choice. It was crazy fun to write and has turned into a consistent little money maker, which, let’s get frank, is important.

Angel Undone didn’t really pay off in terms of critical reviews or sales, but it did get the hell off my hard drive and that, believe it or not, is a pay off that is priceless in some ways. No more agonizing over what to do with this little story. It’s out and done.

And then ’90’s Coming of Age (Pictures of You & You Are Not Me)… Well, guys, I don’t know. I have a lot of mixed emotions about this risk because it did exactly what I expected it to do: it was a financial and sales flop, but a critical darling, and, dammit, I lived off those reviews like it was ambrosia of the gods. But reviews don’t pay bills and they don’t put food on the table. For the first time ever, books I self-published didn’t pay for themselves or even come close. I’ll be releasing something in the new year regarding the plans for ’90’s Coming of Age, but I will state here that I can’t afford to put out more in the series until I produce something that refills the coffers.

So, the risk of publishing the ’90s Coming of Age series paid off in a few ways: wonderful reviews, dedicated fans, and starting the process of getting a 14 year old project put to bed. But now I’m looking at knowing that I have to invest another large hunk of money into two more books in order to finish it off, and I have quite clear evidence that those two books won’t be able to pay for themselves. So I have to be careful and very wise with my next publishing choices. Something my muses don’t understand–as evidenced by the male pregnancy WIP!

So, I guess, as you’ve seen, I’m diving into bigger risks this year, too. But more on that later.

My most popular story of this year:

The Wake Up Married serial for sure!

Story of mine most under-appreciated by the universe, in my opinion:

Ha! Well, I think it’s pretty clear from my rambling above that Pictures of You & You Are Not Me didn’t get massive sales numbers (or even decent sales numbers) so that’s what I’d have to go with, though I will say the people who did read it, mainly reviewers and those who got ARCs, seemed to love the books so much that I felt they were quite appreciated by those who took the plunge.

Most fun story to write: 

I have adored working on this current story! It’s just been delicious and fun and everything I’ve needed right now.

Story with the single sexiest moment:

Hmm, I think that You Are Not Me has a really sexy moment, but it’s not as graphic as some I’ve written.

Most “Holy crap, that’s wrong, even for you” story:

Probably this male pregnancy story? Or maybe the dark erotica I’m working on under a different pen name?

Story that shifted my own perceptions of the characters:

You Are Not Me. Once I understood Daniel, everything fell into place.

Hardest story to write:

We Can Be Good. The third book in the ’90’s Coming of Age series. I wrote 90,000 words of it several years ago and in reviewing those words recently I was sort of horrified to realize that most of it has to go. (And most of it is sex. Apparently, I was really into showing ALL THE SEX and that just doesn’t fit the vibe of the books anymore.) So now, between realizing that I’m basically going to start Book 3 from scratch, and knowing that I haven’t even come close to paying for Books 1 & 2, I sort of quail in fear every time I open the document. I’ll move past it, though. Eventually. It will be released in 2017. I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Biggest Disappointment:

*smiles softly* I think that’s pretty clear by now.

Biggest Surprise: 

How well the Wake Up Married serial was received. I had been told that serials were a mistake and a disaster and don’t do it, but while they weren’t the rousing success of Smoky Mountain Dreams, they have proved consistent and worth the time and effort.

Most Unintentionally Telling Story:

Definitely the male pregnancy WIP I’ve got going. All my societal issues are getting dumped into it. Yay.

Do you have any goals for the New Year?

I do! I wrote a whole blog post about that a few weeks ago. Check out the second half of THIS POST for my 2017 goals.

I’ll update more on my plans for ’90s Coming of Age books in a week or so. Until then, let me leave you with the best New Year’s Wish in the world, penned by Neil Gaiman:


I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Taking Stock of My Year: 2016 Accomplishments & 2017 Goals

It’s time to take stock of what I’ve accomplished in the last year and what I’d like to do in the next one. I live in a perpetual state of feeling like I’ve never accomplished enough. So sometimes it’s healthy for me to take a minute to say, “Look, you did these things. There’s actual proof!”

In 2016, I published the following books:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00075]
Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00075]
Will & Patrick Meet the Mob
Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00050]
Angel Undone

Pictures of You
You Are Not Me

In 2016, I had the following books released as translations:

saison entrainement
Saison d’entrainement: Entrainement tome 1

Centre d’entrainement: Entrainement Tome 2
Überraschend … verheiratet!
Training Season: La stagione dell’allenamento
Un fiume in piena

The year has had its blessings and its troubles. I think the most surprising thing I’ve discovered is that I need to create two new pen names in order to work on non-Leta Blake brand ideas. In the end, I think it will serve me well to have three brands to allow my creativity to flow, but in the meantime it will bring on some lean times.

Which brings me to my 2017 Goals…

1) AUDIO: I’d like to explore audio and after much thought I’ve decided that Will & Patrick Wake Up Married is probably the way to go. The length of each installment is less than my usual book and so, hopefully, it would be more affordable to produce. I haven’t even begun to look into it, but intend to do so starting in January.

2) 90s COMING OF AGE BOOKS 3 & 4: I intend to finish the 90’s Coming of Age series in 2017. They are tentatively called We Can Be Good and We Make It Real.

3) M/F SERIAL: I want to start putting out the M/F serial I mentioned above. I have planned out twenty installments, but I’d like to get that down to ten, and put out three to five of them next year.

4) DARK EROTICA PEN NAME: Books published under this name won’t be “Leta Blake brand”. I intend to put out two (or possibly four) books under this name next year, depending on how things go.

5) A CHRISTMAS BOOK: I have three ideas and whichever one jumps me hardest will get my attention.

6) A LETA BLAKE BRAND BOOK: I’m waffling here. I’m torn between a Will & Patrick sequel, a heist book I’ve wanted to do forever, the Gareth/Lowell book from Smoky Mountain Dreams universe, and a book about Varun from Will & Patrick’s universe. But I’m already pushing the limits of my abilities with these goals, so I will just say that I’ve got to make a choice on this rather soon. It’s important to me that I get a stand alone Leta Blake brand book out this year.

It’s my belief that 2017 will be a building year for me. It will be a lot of work and expense with potentially little profit. It will probably feel a lot like the uphill part of the roller coaster, and I hope it only takes one year to get to the top of it. It’d be nice to experience a fun ride down before I start building again. Because that’s life, isn’t it? You go up that hill and then whoosh, it’s over in a flash, and you do more work to get up the next hill, and whoosh. There’s always hard work to earn the rush. I can promise there will be books to show for the work. I truly hope readers will enjoy them.

Let me take this opportunity to thank all the readers out there, all across the world, who’ve made my writing career thus far so wonderful. You’ve allowed me to write books that move me and I’ve loved hearing that they also moved you. Thank you for your trust. I know you invest money and time whenever you read one of my books. It’s an honor to be granted those precious hours of your life.

Thank you and blessings.

NOW AVAILABLE! Pictures of You by Leta Blake (90’s Coming of Age, Book 1)

“Go ahead and start getting excited about this.” Katie, Back Porch Reader
“An amazing story that I couldn’t put down!” Jaime, Alpha Book Club
Five freakin’ awesome stars. Wow, Leta, you have outdone yourself.” Jewel, My Fiction Nook
“I couldn’t put this book down. I absolutely loved it.” Tracy, Bayou Book Junkie
What a book! It consumed me from start to finish.” Amy, Goodreads Librarian/Reader

Growing up gay isn’t easy. Growing up gay in Knoxville, Tennessee is even harder. 

Eighteen-year-old Peter Mandel, a private school senior—class of 1991—is passionate about photography. Peter doesn’t have many friends, preferring to shoot pictures from behind the scenes to keep his homosexuality secret.

Enter Adam Algedi, a charming, worldly new guy who doesn’t do labels, but does want to do Peter. Hardly able to believe gorgeous Adam would want geeky, skinny him of all people, Peter’s swept away on a journey of first love and sexual discovery. But as their mutual web of lies spins tighter and tighter, can Peter find the confidence he needs to make the right choices? And will his crush on Daniel, a college acquaintance, open a new path?

Join Peter in the first book of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

This new series by Leta Blake is gay fiction with romantic elements.

Book 1 of 4.

These books contain aspects of: New Adult fiction, ‘90s gay life, small city homosexual experiences, Southern biases, sexual exploration, romance, homophobia, bisexuality, and twisted-up young love. Oh, and a guaranteed happy ending for the main character by the end of Book 4.



Crossposted to Steemit.

Leta Blake’s Writing/Publishing Plans for 2016: ALL THE BOOKS! #amwriting #2016

The Sunsphere. Icon of Knoxville, the setting of the 90s Coming of Age series.
The Sunsphere. Icon of Knoxville, the setting of the 90s Coming of Age series.

As I sit in the lobby of our local ice skating rink, waiting while kiddo and her pal skate, I’m being forced to listen to the most uncool playlist of 80s pop songs I’ve heard in a long time. I think my mother did Jazzercise to most of these, though, and so I have a certain fondness for them despite not really feeling the need to ever hear any of them again

I brought my laptop with me with the intention of getting some writing done, only to realize that I don’t have access to my Dropbox from here. Poor planning on my part. So, instead, I’m going to finally type up my writing plans/goals for 2016. Yes, that’s me burying the lede again. I’m good at that.

Wake Up Married serial. Episodes 4-6 will be released in the early months of this year. Pre-orders are available already for Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings and Will & Patrick Meet the Mob. The final installment, Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending, is not available for pre-order yet, but it has a Goodreads page. We are doing our best to be as timely as possible with them. Each installment of this serial is between 30,000 and 40,000 words in length.

I’m excited by the reception these episodes have received already despite the general consensus that serials aren’t most readers’ favorite way to receive their story. I do think the serialized format fits this particular storyline, though, and these guys. I’m excited to wrap it up and have the entire set out there for readers


How to Steal a Heart. A stand-alone art heist novel inspired by the movie How to Steal a Million. This book has been building in my head for about four years now. I’ve read tons of books about art thieves, art heists, art con artists, etc, and I feel like I’m ready to finally tackle it. I’m pretty excited for this one! I hope to have it out early in the summer, but it might take a backseat to the next items on this list if necessary, because they are where the bulk of my writing/publishing plans rest for this year. My goal for release is May or June 2016. But if I can’t make that due date, then we’re looking at Spring 2017 instead.

The next set of releases are books made up of pieces of my heart. Their titles are: Pictures of You, You Are Not Me, You Make It Real, and Never Tear Us Apart. Also known as The 90s Coming of Age series.

I started writing these books back before I knew I shouldn’t.

Yep, I started them in 2004, when writing a book set in 1991 didn’t seem like I was writing about a different world altogether. I wrote what I knew and mixed it with what I didn’t know, because that was the advice we’re all given to start. I wrote about a time before 9/11 when a non-practicing Jewish boy in Knoxville, Tennessee could be in love with a non-practicing Arab boy from “all over the world” and the issue of religion/race is the least important problem they face.

I wrote about emotional abuse. I wrote about being in the closet. I wrote about beards. I wrote about a world where first love doesn’t always mean last love. (But it’s me so there is a happy ending for the main character.) I wrote about a world where AIDS was still tearing down any sense of safety gay men might have ever created for themselves. I wrote about graduating high school and going to college. I wrote about all kinds of things that don’t fit what anyone expects from me as a writer or from novels in this genre because I didn’t know any better.

But my beta readers tell me they love these characters and this world. They tell me I have to put the books out. And to be honest, these books have taken up space in my head long enough. If I don’t publish them and let them be free, if I don’t let them go out in the world to face readers who will love them and hate them and whatever other reception they get, then I’ll feel like I let them down. I don’t want to do that. I want them to have their chance. So, yes, Peter, Adam, Leslie, Daniel, Minty, Renee, and all the rest will be out this fall. Releases expected as follows:

August: Pictures of You
September: You Are Not Me
October: You Make It Real
November: Never Tear Us Apart
December/January 2017: Box Sets of the above books

Middle Grade Christmas Book: I promised my ten year old daughter to write a Middle Grade book for her, and I intend to keep that promise. Her present for next Christmas will be the book she and I planned/plotted together. I’ll release it under another name, obviously, but I’ll let my readers here know about it when I put it out.

My last tentatively planned book of 2016, one that I’d love to release in December if possible, is an unnamed Christmas story. I honestly have my doubts that I’ll get it done in time, and if I don’t feel like it’s going to happen, I’ll probably shift my focus from it to the Mail Order Bride story that I hope to have out in early 2017. We’ll see how it goes. I always like to bite off a bit more than I can chew. It keeps me constantly striving. I have a terror of being lazy, so planning for more than I can accomplish is one way I keep myself from slacking off too much.


These are the books I’m looking at putting out for 2016. I hope you’re as excited by this list as I am and I hope you can make room in your heart to give the 90s Coming of Age series a try even if it’s different from what you might otherwise expect from me. 🙂 Here’s to a publication packed year!


“I loved this book. Couldn’t put it down and if I didn’t have to work I would have finished in one sitting.” Review of Training Complex by Leta Blake #gay #amreading

“I loved this book. Couldn’t put it down and if I didn’t have to work I would have finished in one sitting.”

via Goodreads | Sharon Blanton’s review of Training Complex.


Click to buy on Amazon.
Click to buy on Amazon.
Available at:

ARe|Amazon|Smashwords|Barnes & Noble|iTunes.

Maybe You Shouldn’t Put your Book on Amazon Pre-Order #sales #writingtips

FIRST A DISCLAIMER: I have never used Amazon Pre-order because, honestly, if I have a book ready enough to make a pre-order page, then I’ve got a book ready enough to go on sale for realsies. So any discussion here is based on what I’ve witnessed from the experience of author friends who have used the pre-order system on Amazon and the research/reading I’ve done into it via author blogs and writing forums. And basically? I’ve realized that everything said by Renee Rose on her blog and quoted below via the Press This button appears to be 100% accurate. Most of my friends who have used pre-orders have seen zero help in their sales rankings on Amazon, no engagement of Amazon also-bought algorithms, and poor showing altogether for their books. In some cases, the worst showing of their careers.

Please read below to understand why the use of Amazon pre-orders may be linked to this potentially negative outcome, and then head on over to Renee Rose’s blog to see more. If you are having poor sales ever since you started using Amazon pre-orders, possibly consider not using the pre-orders for your next book. Amazon algorithm engagement is key to any sales success and if the pre-orders get effective algorithm engagement then the book is basically doomed.


From Renee Rose’s blog:

“Amazon Pre-order

Don’t do it.  That’s my expert advice.  Here’s the scoop:  unless you are close to reaching New York Times or USA Today’s Best Seller lists, it will only hurt you. Why? Because if you’re like me, you rely largely on the Amazon algorithm to sell your books for you. That means, Amazon’s recommendations that come in the form of “Customers who bought this book also bought… ”.  No one but the programmers at Amazon know exactly what data goes into Amazon’s algorithm, but most of us agree it has to do with the number of sales you hit initially on your own.  It’s generally accepted that the first 72 hours your book hits Amazon are crucial for getting the Amazon wheel turning in your favor.

So what happens when you put your book on pre-order?  I had understood that the orders made in advance of the release date would count toward my opening day “ranking” on Amazon.  Not True.  I repeat: Not True.  What it does count toward is books sold if you’re trying to hit the New York Times or USA Today list.  While I wish I was in that camp, unfortunately, I am not.

So what happened when I set my latest book to pre-order?  Amazon rank started immediately.  So in the ten days before my book released I had some trickle sales (I think around 25 total) which gave me a lousy ranking, but I wasn’t worried, because I thought they would count on my opening day. Nope. On my opening day I had the worst ranking of my entire career.  Talk about supreme disappointment. I had split my usual opening sales in half with the pre-order thing, and Amazon’s algorithm made a decision on my book based on that ranking. It seemed like my “also bought” recommendations took a long time to come in and sucked. So far the mistake seems to be unrecoverable, not that I’m giving up on my book baby.

The only benefit, I found, was having my links ahead of time for promotional purposes, but considering all the promo I did didn’t help my book, I don’t think that little bonus is worth it. Also, if your book happened to be tagged “adult” (since we are all sex writers here) you would know it ahead of time.  But again, the clock has already begun ticking, so knowing it in the pre-order stage is hardly a boon unless, of course, you pull the book entirely and resubmit with a new title.”

via Why You Shouldn’t Put your Book on Amazon Pre-Order.


Unbelievable Coincidences – Okay in Life but not in Fiction #writing #life

Another post from the abandoned draft vault! 😀


Readers are more likely to say something is unbelievable or too coincidental when it’s in a book, but these kinds of things happen in real life all the time. Two examples off the top of my head, though not of the same importance, they were, possibly, even less likely to happen.

1) On a trip to NYC in 2002, we only knew one person who lived there at that time. He wasn’t a friend, he was a total acquaintance from high school and we only knew he lived there because his mother lived around the corner from us. We didn’t know where he lived or where he worked or anything else. So, we’re in Soho with Punny, and around the corner we come, and WHO IS THERE? Richard. Yep, the one and only dude we knew who lived in the city. Did he even live or work in Soho? No, he was there leaving a cafe where he’d met a friend for lunch. He lived in Queens and worked in Midtown. And yet in that city of endless people, we somehow ran into him during the course of the four days we were there. The odds of that are insane!
2) Once I was driving in a mall parking lot in Chattanooga, singing along to a song and looked over to see that the driver at the stop sign across from me was singing along to the exact same song, at the exact same place in the song. I could see her lips making the words very distinctly, and I was like, “Wow, that’s wild. We must be listening to the same radio station.” But then I remembered I was listening to a cassette tape! What are the freaking odds of THAT? And it wasn’t even a hit song. It was an old Cure song, if I recall correctly. Love Cats or something.
Anyway, yeah. I have no idea where I was going with this…just that coincidences and weird synchronicity happen in real life all the time, but in books they’re often doubted and dubbed unrealistic. I wonder why we are so much stricter with fiction than reality?

Upcoming Releases Babble and Waffling On Release Dates

Imma go home and read my book set in the middle of summer in the South. That’ll take the chill outta my bones!

So I had a great email correspondence today that puts another book on my plate for 2015. I’m pretty excited about that and hopefully all will progress smoothly there. This all led to me getting out my Spreadsheet of Doom (nipped from Aleksander Voinov’s spreadsheet he shared once), which lists out all of my Works In Progress and most of my story ideas. This was helpful because now I know what order I need to be working on things (again).

First, and most importantly, I have to finish the Training Season sequel. Despite still being utterly terrified of it, I’m seeing it as an exercise in bravery and giddily diving into the fear, so I feel pretty okay about the chances of me actually getting it done this spring as promised. Secondly, I’m going to work on a joint writing project with Indra Vaughn starting in March. And thirdly I must begin the first draft of the fourth and final book in the upcoming ’90s Coming of Age series. And it’s that series that I’d like to talk about now.

So, when Smoky Mountain Dreams came out, I got a lot of surprised feedback from readers who said they had no idea I had a new book in the hopper, much less being released. I suppose I am publicly rather quiet about my books when I’m working on them. That comes from that veil of terror I was speaking of before. I am so absorbed in trying to keep the car on the road despite the fog before me and the demons of self-doubt flinging themselves at my windshield constantly that I get a bit superstitious about discussing the stories in public.

[By the way, as a long and winding aside, Aleksander Voinov wrote a great blog post recently about limiting beliefs and I think that it really helped me get a grip on some of my own. I’m not sure they aren’t still utterly terrifying, but naming them is interesting and has helped. For example, one of my limiting beliefs is that each book must be better than the last. You can imagine how completely that can paralyze a person, right? Especially when you have people telling you, “Oh, I liked this one, but it wasn’t as good as the other one you wrote.” And especially when that sentiment is expressed about completely different books, so it’s not even consistently the same one whose bar I feel compelled to exceed! LOL! Oh, what a maddening and limiting belief to have. So I vow to just write each book to be the best I can give it and not try to make it as good as some other book I’ve already written. Because I wrote that book already. And this new book will be as good as it is and that’s that. ]

Um, back to the ’90s Coming of Age story. So, I started this series 10 years ago now. I wrote a big, long, huge, and very flawed book. I realized when trying to fix those flaws that it would work better as a series of books, one bleeding right into the next. There are no cliff-hangers, but nothing is ultimately and finally resolved until the end of the fourth book. The series follows a boy named Peter (oh, Peter! my heart! I love you so much!) over the course of his senior year in high school and his freshman year in college. It trails him through very bad choices, very good choices, into the path of lies and out of it, and through the highs and lows of first love, and first hurt, and loss, and recovery. It’s with him while he grows up into a man. Not a perfect man, but a man. It’s a Coming of Age series with heavy romance in it because, well, he mainly grows up through the choices he makes around love and sex and romance. And yes, it’s set in Knoxville during the 1990s.

So, here’s the thing. I’m putting the first book in the series out in September. It is set September through May of Peter’s senior year in high school. The second book is set in the summer, June – August, and if I go with my current release plan, it would come out in November. And that? Bugs me. And that’s my question. Would it bug anyone else? Because THEN if I continue with the plan, a book that is set September – Christmas would come out in February, which just seems all kinds of wrong. And then at the end we’d catch up again, kinda, and release a book set Jan – May in April or so, which seems okay.

But…am I the only one totally weirded out by releasing a book in the “wrong” season? For example, Smoky Mountain Dreams. I couldn’t have released it in June! That would’ve been so weird!

And yet because these books don’t have hard endings to them, but rather soft pauses, I feel like making a reader wait six months to find out what happens next isn’t a great idea either.

Help me Obi Wan Readership, you’re my own hope! 🙂 But seriously, what should I do? Thoughts? Opinions?