So I changed my book covers.

I’ve been reading a lot about how important it is to always be aware of the market and to not be overly stubborn and precious about your work. I loved the retro feel of my old covers and I really thought they worked with the series, but they just weren’t selling the way I knew they could. So I went back to the cover artist and asked her to work with me on something that looks more like the other books in my “categories” (women’s fiction/contemporary romance/humorous chick lit) and we came up with the above. My daughter has deemed the first one “too much butt” and I’ll admit I felt a little hesitant about making such a big leap, but it’s been a great choice so far. The book is moving again, and at one point, I hit the top 2,500 on the Amazon Kindle charts, so…I think it was a solid decision.

I also put out the first novella in the series, which offers some backstory about Jake, Christmas Key’s only cop and Holly’s ex-boyfriend. It gives some perspective on how a guy like Jake ended up on a tropical island full of old timers and expats, and hopefully sheds some light on how he and Holly fell for one another. It’s a much shorter read (only 20k words), but I’m working on the third full-length novel in the series, so I thought it was a fun little in-between story.

I’ve also punched up my advertising big-time and gotten some good results. I can’t attribute the jump in the Kindle charts entirely to my new covers (though I think they helped), so after my promo run ends in a week or two, I’ll do an update on the results. It’s cost me a few bucks, but I think the returns are good.

In the meantime, Wild Tropics is in a multi-author Halloween promo through Monday night for just .99, so if you’re interested in checking that out (or finding some other great Halloween reads this weekend), click HERE to grab a book or two on the cheap. And if you do, don’t forget to help out my fellow indie authors by leaving a review! Happy reading!

Hello? Is anyone out there?

As it turns out, the most fun part of writing (other than the act itself) is being a part of the writing community. I’m sure the niches and pockets of the larger community are nearly infinite, but we’ve wedged ourselves quite nicely into a little corner of the internet where lovely, book-minded, word-loving writers and artists dwell. It’s been amazing so far. And it would have been anyway, but I’ve found that with the heat wave we’re having here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s been my lifeline to humanity. Because I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) when Holly was an infant, I have a ridiculously hard time with the heat. In fact, we left Florida because for a good portion of the year, even living a totally air-conditioned life wasn’t enough to slice through the pain, numbness, tingling, and the OH MY GOD I FEEL LIKE TOTAL CRAP AND WANT TO VOMIT sensation. Yes, move back to the Northwest, my neurologist said. It’ll be mild–perfect for you, he said. And truly, for most of the year it is. But in this beautiful season of wild, green gardens; of sunlight flinging rainbows through sprinklers; of driving with the top down and baking in the sun; in this season I’ve become a bit of a prisoner. Loosed for summer from the bonds of a full-time job (as most teachers are, come mid-June), this heat has instead shackled me to my curtains-drawn, air-conditioned house. And I can’t lie: as lucky as I feel to be able to stay inside and manage the pain, it does get a little lonely. So this wonderful community of people has acted as a bridge to life outside of my house this summer. I’ve had so much fun talking on the phone with Shayla of Curiouser Editing, exchanging emails and Google docs with Shelly of Keystrokes & Closed Doors, collaborating with Natasha Snow on cover design, and joining the Women in Portland Publishing group. I also stumbled onto a site where people who love to read offer to review books if you send them a copy and it aligns with their interests, so I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some people that way, too. Because of this cool network of humans who support writers, in the near future we’ll also be featured on The Howling Turtle, and on an excellent blog called She’s Novel. When you decide to indie publish, everyone warns you that your chances of becoming a huge success are small. They tell you to manage your expectations, to prepare for a slow slog towards visibility (if you even get there at all). I’m okay with all of that, because we know that the bigger picture here for me is doing something fun and positive with my daughter as she enters those oh-so-prickly pre-teen years, but there’s still a part of you that feels like you’re shouting into the abyss when you only sell a few books a week. Writing (even with a partner) can be a pretty isolated affair. And all of this is really just to say that I’ve had a wonderful summer so far getting to know and collaborate with lots of interesting people. Their dialogue and the back-and-forth chatter about all things writing-related has given my days purpose (beyond sitting around in my pj’s, trying to meet word count goals), and has broadened my horizons to include new friends from around the country and around the world. Being able to reach out into cyberspace from my dark, cool cave and chat with people about something I’m passionate about has meant more to me than they even know.