Wednesday, August 21, 2013

And the ride continues...

You know, when you have a dream or a goal, you build it up in your mind how it's going to be when you achieve it.  Part of what kept me working toward my goal of being an author is that I had envisioned how wonderful everything in my life would become.

Not really the case.

The reality?  It's been kind of anticlimactic.  Don't get me wrong, things have been exciting and honestly, it's like a roller coaster ride with amazing highs and terrifying drops and things speed up and happen faster than you thought possible and then it will slow down to a near stop.

I'm not a huge fan of the roller coaster.  

This has been my ride thus far:

November of 2011, I released/self-published my very first novel, "Jordan's Return".  It didn't do much sales-wise and I didn't do much marketing-wise but I was just happy to say that I had a book out there.  

November 2012, I released a little holiday novella called "The Christmas
Cottage".  It was a fluke.  I had planned on releasing it as a free read on Amazon to get my name out there until I released my next book.  A week after it was released, it was on the best-seller list on Amazon.  Now, here's the thing, I was so new to the game and so uneducated on the publishing industry as a whole, that I didn't pay attention to any lists other than Amazon because I honestly didn't think that anyone else paid attention to indie authors.  I can kick myself now because now I wonder if it had made it on to maybe the USA Today list or even the NY Times list because the sales were that high!

February 2013, I released the follow up to "The Christmas Cottage" with "Ever After".  I was still so uninformed with what the norm was for book sales that I just assumed that every book sold as well as the Cottage did and that was definitely NOT the case.  I was devastated by the numbers and although it did fine, it did not come close to the success that "The Christmas Cottage" had.
March 2013, I released "Catering to the CEO".  This book was a personal favorite of mine that I had written two years ago for NaNoWriMo and all I did was polish it up a bit and put it out there.  The sales on it were okay but again, certainly no competition for "the Christmas Cottage".  It's hard to say that I'm not disappointed because I am.  While I know not every book is going to be a bestseller, it's still a little disheartening when one book does so well and the next one doesn't.

May 2013, I released "Wait for Me" - book one in my first-ever trilogy, "The Montgomery Brothers."  I didn't do anything different with this book than I did with the others and yet it has been consistently on the Amazon bestseller list and hit #4 on Barnes and Noble!  Again, I could kick myself because I didn't think of the possibility of it hitting any other lists!

June 2013, I release "Trust in Me" - book two in the Montgomery Brothers set.  It didn't come close to the numbers that "Wait for Me" hit but it certainly held it's own out there on Amazon.  It wasn't a personal favorite of mine as a writer but overall the response to it was positive.

July 2013, I released "In the Eye of the Storm".  This book is KILLING me.  This was the book that was a top five finalist with an international contest through Harlequin (though they passed on publishing it), I had a New York literary agent sign me because of this book and then she couldn't sell it, I had a critique partner who just GUSHED over this book and yet commercially, no one wanted it!  So I got it back from the agent and released it myself.  It hasn't done exceptionally well; it didn't hit the levels of the first two books of the Montgomery Brothers series and barely eeked onto the bestseller list on Amazon.

July 2013, I also collaborated with four other authors on a contemporary romance box set called "Loving the CEO"; five books where our main characters are all CEO's.  This little set (which essentially is a collection of five books that have all been previously published as singe titles) has just taken off.  We have been on the USA Today bestseller list for three consecutive weeks and hit the New York Times bestseller list.  My book "Catering to the CEO" was my contribution and I cannot even begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to doing another set like this.  

August 2013, I released the final book in the Montgomery series, "Stay With Me" and in it's first week of release, I have hit the top 100 on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble .  I will be watching the USA Today and NY Times list more closely this time around because now I know that anything is possible!

I'm now in the middle of the book that I will release in September and working on the next box set that will be released in October.  I'm mentally and physically exhausted and much to my dismay, an Ed McMahon wannabe did NOT show up at my house the day that we found out about either the USA Today list or the NY Times list with a truckload of balloons or a slew of photographers.  The papparazzi are no where to be found.  I'm thinking that I'm all that and really, it's been like any other day.  

I've been nominated for THREE Indie Romance awards (but didn't win), I was interviewed by a local TV show (still don't know if it ever even aired!), had my book trailer for "Wait for Me" awarded an Oscar for best Indie Romance video book trailer,  and I've been able to essentially quit my day job and do what I love now as a career.
I'm sitting here now wondering if my appendix are about to burst, I have to go in to work tomorrow (I'm finishing up my office job - like the long goodbye) and life goes on.  In my fantasy version of my life when I hit these writing milestones, I whisk myself away on a vacation; I'm interviewed by the local paper and People magazine...and I'm about 25 pounds thinner.

The reality version is kind of boring...and not glamorous at all.

Bottom line is that it was silly to build it all up so much in my mind because while I'm not front page news, I am still proud that I have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time.  Why did I wait so long to start this???

Saturday, August 17, 2013

So how does a USA Today Bestselling Author celebrate?


I kid you not...I found out yesterday that the "Loving the CEO" box set hit the NY Times Bestseller List at #23!!  OH.  MY.  GOSH!!!  I was at work - my last day there - and came back from lunch and there was the email telling me that we made it.  I screamed, my co-workers screamed and then basically the rest of the day was a complete blur because really, who wants to work when you should be celebrating the culmination of a life-long dream???

So for now I am sort-of unemployed; I will be working 10 hours a week at the office until the end of the month and then I am a full-time author.  Never in a million years did I think that this was possible.  A year ago, I never would have thought that I would be sitting here today celebrating this success.  

To all of the fans who have purchased my books, I thank you.  You are the ONLY reason that I get to celebrate today.  You have brought me so much joy and I love interacting with all of you on Facebook on through the website!  I appreciate all of the reminders when there are mistakes in my books and all I can say is that I will strive to do better and have taken on a new proofreader.

And just because..

 Then in other news, sort of, the new book, "Stay With Me" is climbing up the Amazon charts!  It's been the best first week for one of my books ever!  This week has just been amazing.  Amazon had it up pretty fast and after some impatience on my part for it to be released on Amazon UK and Barnes and Noble, it's finally available on all three sites. Right now the rankings are:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

USA Today Best Seller!!!

So I'm sitting here tonight pondering life.  Unusual, right?  Not really, lately.  I've got a lot to ponder because there is still so much going on and it's such a time of transition that it seems like all I can do is ponder life!

The biggest news is that I am officially a USA Today Bestselling author!  That is
something to cross off of the bucket list for sure!  The box set that I did with four other amazing ladies, "Loving the CEO", hit the USA Today list last week at #77 and this week we moved up and are #56.  All in all, it's pretty darn exciting.  To celebrate last week I wore a tiara to work all day!  Every time my boss walked by my desk he said, "I can't believe you are wearing that all day".  Well, believe it, buddy, because I'm doing it again tomorrow!  

I released book three in my Montgomery Brothers trilogy, "Stay With Me" and it was my highest debuting book to date!  It released last night at 11:15 pm and by noon today it charted on Amazon at #1,932 and as of 10:00 pm this evening it is at # 892 in the overall Kindle Store!  That is just MIND BLOWING!!!

Then, because that's not cool enough, my author ranking on Amazon has blown up, too.   I am #35 out of all of the authors on Amazon.  I KID YOU NOT!  I am in the top 100 on five different sub-genre author rankings and I have to tell you, it's pretty cool when I see myself on a page with authors whose work I love and admire. 

Now for as exciting as all of this is, it's weird.  I can't quite put my finger on it but's not quite what I was expecting.  It's fun and exciting and yet the reality is that it seems to only be fun and me.  I don't know what I was expecting but the response from family and friends has been a little disappointing.  I'm not really an attention whore or someone who has to always be in the spotlight but I just was expecting, I don't know, a little more enthusiasm from people at what I have accomplished.

I'm being petty, right?

And I hate that!  I  don't want to BE petty but it would have been super cool if my husband would have gotten me flowers to congratulate me or if someone in the family called and was like "Oh my god!  Good for you!"  But it's been kind of quiet.  That's not to say that no one has been excited.  My co-workers at the office have been amazing.  They indulge my giddiness and I know that I am going to miss them all so much because over the last two years they have become family to me.  They have celebrated, laughed and cried with me and supported me in ways that I never expected.  It's going to be hard to not see them on a daily basis.  

I bought myself flowers.  I made myself a collage of all of my books - Frank suggested that I have it framed and so I did.  I love looking at it.  I'm treating myself to dinner out tomorrow night with a friend.  I may treat myself to a pedicure.  Is it wrong to be excited?  I mean, this is the culmination of a LIFE LONG dream!  I wrote my first short story when I was in the third grade and from that point on I knew that I wanted to be a writer!  Now, here I am and I keep looking around for people to jump up and down with me when I reach these milestones and for the most part the response has been kind of lackluster.

But it's okay...I am going to celebrate me and keep trying and reaching for new goals and milestones.  I made the USA Today Bestseller list with a group project and now my goal is to reach it with a single title.  I'm making a full-time career out of my writing; I'm taking control of my life and loving it.  

I want to encourage everyone to pursue your dreams!  You are never too old!  There is a commercial out there (and I can't remember what it's even for) but the tag line is "Not everyone hits their stride in their twenties" and to that I say a big AMEN!  Ashton Kutcher made an acceptance speech this week at the Teen Choice Awards and normally I am not a fan of his but so many people were posting the link to the speech that I decided to take a look.  Here are the highlights and I think it's something to really live by:

1. I believe that opportunity looks a lot like work.
2. I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. Every job I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job before I had my next job.
3. Steve Jobs said when you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way that it is, and that your life is to live your life inside the world and try not to get into too much trouble. But life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing, and that is that everything around us that we call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you. You can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life. Don’t live one; build one.

I worked hard for this opportunity to be an author and all that I did before this helped me get to this point and I am building my life my way rather than by what anyone else tells me I should be doing.

What is your dream?  What is your passion?  Are you doing it?  Are you encouraging those that are?  Have you high-fived anyone lately because they are taking a chance and doing their best to live their dream? 

Look around - live, love, encourage...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Amazon, Amazing and AMEN!!

I know I said that I might let the blog go but I have to be honest, I miss it.  I love coming here and just ranting and rambling and really, I seem to have a never-ending list of things to rant and ramble about!

Life is a precarious balancing act right now.  I'm happy, I'm scared, I'm a little bit angry and there is a whole lot of uncertainty in many areas.  A lot, right?  Okay, so here's the run down on what's going on.

Books.  OH.  MY.  GOODNESS.  Let's see, the last time I wrote I had released book number two in my Montgomery Brothers series, "Trust in Me".  It's done well on the charts but amazingly enough, it never hit the heights as the first book, "Wait for Me". I'm okay with that; I'm just thrilled that people actually read my stuff!  Who knew?

Earlier this month I released another book, "In the Eye of the Storm".  This book was the one that a New York agent wanted to represent but ultimately could not sell and it was also a top five finalist with Harlequin for their Desire Editor's Pitch Challenge.  Clearly people liked it so I decided to just release it myself.  So far?  The numbers aren't too bad.  I had tried pricing it a little bit higher than the other, at a whopping $1.49, but after two weeks of so-so sales, I lowered it to .99 cents and it's flying.  As much as I hate doing it, it seems like the way to a reader's heart is a .99 cent eBook.  Lesson learned.
I collaborated with four other indie authors and we put out a box set that is a collection of contemporary romances that all deal with CEO's as main characters.  It's called "Loving the CEO".  My book "Catering to the CEO" is part of it and right now the set is available for only .99 cents.  There's that price again, right?  Well, THAT is flying up the charts and if all goes as planned, we are hoping to see it hit the USA Today bestseller list.


Actually, it is my dream to hit the USA Today list with a single title but I'll take the success where I can get it.

Book number three of the Montgomery series will be out mid-August and I am starting to get some serious fan interaction on Facebook.  It's kind of cool.  THEN...because I am just loving the author thing, I broke into the top 100 Overall Authors on Amazon!  EEK!!  I'm talking OVERALL!  Not categorized by genre (although I am on FIVE of those in the top 100) but the whole shebang!  That was mind-blowing!

So...with all of the good things happening with the writing, something had to give.  I will be leaving my office job in two weeks.  It was not a decision that I made lightly.  I used to enjoy my job and I love the people that I work with but there have been some changes being made and I sort of got put in an awkward position and, long story short, it became blazingly obvious that it was time for me to leave.  I'm excited to be able to focus on being a full-time writer but I'm terrified to sort of be flying without a net!

We had a major power surge hit the house two weeks ago and it blew out our stove and refrigerator.  I THOUGHT my insurance was going to cover it, but they are not.  So we had to go and buy replacements.  Thanks for NOTHING.  They told me that surges weren't covered but have yet to answer me on what exactly has to happen to my stuff for it to be covered! 

Basically, I've been busy.  Tonight I'm working on tweaking the new book cover and eating some gelato to celebrate my Amazon Author Ranking.  I'm feeling pretty sassy right now.  If you look at the post below this one, you'll see the video for an interview that I did.  My first ever video interview!  Not my greatest look but all in all, a total blast. 

Please share the book links with your friends; please buy the books.  I would LOVE to keep climbing the charts and feel a little more secure in my new-found employment!  Let the journey begin!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

It Takes More Than Long Hair to be a Diva

I'm not going to lie to you, I'm in the bitter barn right now.  I shouldn't be because for the most part, life is good.  Unfortunately, however, there is a small part of my life that is like a big, black cloud that I just can't seem to get to move on.  And by big, black cloud I mean a big, fat, loud-mouthed jackass with long-hair that thinks that the world is all about them and because they whine enough, they get their way.

This is a HUGE issue for me and my life right now.

So basically my husband is a drummer without a band right now.  He dedicated five years of his life to this band, put up with mega diva behavior from ONE of his bandmates and we thought that he had a good friendship with the other two.  

Apparently not because when the diva threw a hissy fit, they threw my husband under the bus.  These men who all call each other "brother", clearly don't know the meaning of the word.

What is my definition of a diva? Well, in this case it's a completely self-centered individual who thinks only of himself and what works for him and doesn't care how his actions make others feel or how those actions inconvenience anyone else.  It's his show and we're all just lucky to be able to watch.

News flash, fat ass, you and your show SUCK.

When the diva's behavior became more than my husband could tolerate, he finally spoke up.  No one EVER speaks up to the diva because then he carries on like a whiny little girl and no one wants to hear it.  It's not a pretty trait in a 50+ year old man.  So after my husband spoke up HONESTLY (as a man should), this bastard pretty much made it clear to the band that it was either him or Frank - he refused to play with my husband anymore.  Maybe the other guys were on the fence, maybe they were hoping it would all blow over but the diva essentially played the "I've been here longer and I write 2/3 of the songs" card and so Frank was out.  He was going to take his toys and go home.

And you know what gets me the most?  They all bitched about the diva's behavior, his lack of consideration for anyone and the fact that he is the NUMBER ONE REASON that they don't get to play (because he's also a hypochondriac who is forever with an ailment) and they kept HIM!  And since his little ultimatum, Frank graciously packed up his stuff and acted like a gentleman and what happens from there?  From his supposed friends?

He gets the call to share how they are auditioning other drummers.


So to the band of "Brothers", I hope that you rot in rehearsal hell for YEARS.  I hope that the piece of crap who is nothing but an aging JOKE keeps you there and I hope every time you hear of other bands playing out and getting gigs and doing things that a REAL band does, that you all remember to thank the Diva for putting you guys first - just like you put him.  

Congratulations on keeping yourselves on the road to nowhere.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Comparing the Bestseller Lists

There are a lot of lists out there and to be honest with you, I cannot wrap my brain around how they work.  It seems like a crap shoot most of the time how a book gets on one but you can be certain that the most popular authors with the big publishing houses behind them will be on there first.  

It's not as easy of a trek for us indie authors.

I write, I publish.  After that it's anyone's guess on where those books will show up and on what lists.  I have been blessed enough to hit the "bestseller" status on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble with my books but there is no formula to guarantee that.  

Frustrating as all get-out, I can tell you that!

I have yet to hit a point where I am comfortable spending a lot of money on marketing and promoting my work.  I know plenty of authors do it and I commend them on it and they do see results but I am too scared to spend too much money at this point in my career and then have it not work.  I'll get there some day, just not right now.  So by marketing you get seen by more people, the more people that see you the more they may be inclined to buy your work.  The more people that buy your work, the better your sales stats, blah, blah, blah and then there you are on a list.  I get that but what I find amazing is the vast difference in rankings.

What do I mean?  Okay, this morning my newest book "Trust in Me" is number 32 on  And not just in romance!  No!  It is #32 on the site!  That is pretty freakin exciting, right?  I mean, top 100!  There are some seriously big named authors on there all around me!  So I get all giddy and excited and dance around the house and then I jump over to and there is the same book, released the same day and where is "Trust in Me" on their list?  I'm number 1406.  The book is only .99 cents on both sites so it's not like one has the advantage over one another but if you do the math, clearly there's a difference.

A big difference.

Now I understand that the two sites really are vastly different.  For me, when I think of a physical bookstore, I think Barnes and Noble.  But online?  It's Amazon all the way.  So that takes a little of the shine off of my bestseller glory because it's a ranking on a smaller site.   People look at you a little bit more - or take you a little more seriously as a writer - if you are an Amazon best seller.

And don't even get me started on the NY Times or USA Today lists.  I haven't even figured those two out.  If there is a way to get your book on there, I haven't found it.  Although, I am working on a collection/box set with several other indie authors and as of late, collections like this HAVE gotten onto the USA Today list.  We'll also be paying a decent amount of money to be seen so maybe that's a big part of it.  

I know, I know, you gotta spend money to make money, blah, blah, blah.  Someday I'll do it.

Then you have the Goodreads lists or the Shelfari's exhausting.  Can somebody please just buy the books and save me from obsessing over the lists??

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hello, yeah, it's been a while...

I know, I know...bad blogger.

In my own defense, writing and promoting books is EXHAUSTING.  In this last month so much has happened and I'm still not sure how it all came to be.  So let's start with the basics:

Wait for Me.  I decided to not go with the Kindle Select program this time around and just published it on NOOK and Kindle and guess what?  My sales SKYROCKETED on NOOK!  I could not believe it.  It had been the complete opposite when I did it with The Christmas Cottage and that's why I shied away from B&N because it wasn't making any money for me.  Clearly I was wrong to jump the gun because it has been in the top 100 for weeks and peaked at Number Four!!!  I was a spot better than James Patterson!  Go figure!

Trust in Me.  This is the next book I'm releasing and is book two in the Montgomery Brothers trilogy.  So I've been writing, writing, writing and editing and helping design a book cover...and basically wishing that there were more hours in the day.

Ever After.  I released Ever After in paperback finally and that was a process that nearly brought me to my knees.  Formatting a book for publication is not something that can be rushed.  As I found out by the THIRD print proof that came to my house.  It's now available on Amazon for $7.49.  It's kind of fun having an entire bookshelf in my house that is being filled with books that I wrote!

I'm in the process of working with a group of indie authors like myself to put together a box set.  We have picked a theme and we will each contribute a title and do all of the marketing and promoting (oh, joy!) and see how it goes.  A lot of these sets have been making it on to the big bestseller lists like USA Today!  I would LOVE to have that happen.  So we'll see how it all comes together and I've got my fingers crossed that it will be something that builds my audience a little.

I did a marketing promotion that promised 2,500 likes on my Facebook page.  It was a $15 fee and I figured, why not?  Well, I ended up getting over 5,000 likes from it and was near giddy.  What they don't tell you?  Most of those likes don't last.  So even though I gained 5,000 likes from them, by the time most people un-like it (and why?  No one knows) I'll end up with the 2,500 that they promised.  

I hope.

I survived Mother's Day.  Barely.  I stayed in my pajamas through Memorial Day.  I'm still loving my new car and still feel pretty darn sassy driving it.  Yeah, me!  Frank's work schedule is crazy, Michael is finishing up the seventh grade and Nick is plugging onward with college and trying to find a job.  All in all, it's a busy time for us.

Some things that I'm considering to help me clear the way a little for more writing is closing down the blog.  I know, I know, I've been doing this for years but it's hard to maintain a blog, a Facebook page, an author website, a Twitter account and a Tumblr all while trying to write and promote a book so something's got to give.  I had someone leave me a rather nasty message not too long ago (which I chose not to publish) where they complained that my blog was spam.

Seriously?  It's my blog and I'm writing about ME!  I've been sharing the link to my posts on Digg, Reddit, Twitter and the like and this guy saw my stuff on Reddit and told me that my stuff was Spam.  I thought that Reddit was a way for people to promote their blog contents, articles and whatnot but clearly I offended this guy.  Not my intention, dude, seriously.  I'm just trying to get a little creative writing/venting done and sell some books.  I know you can't please everyone but sometime I just wish that people didn't feel the need to throw the hate around.

I'm still dealing with some issues with some people in my life who are convinced that I'm making a boatload of money from all of the books.  Seriously people, .35 cents a book.  That's it.  Do the math.  On average, I sell about 2,000 books a month.  Divide that by the .35 cents and you'll see, I'm not getting rich on this.  I'm not able to quit my day job.  I'm not hiding anything from anyone so quit complaining that I'm not sharing my money with you.  There is no money to share.  AND...while your bitching, how about maybe taking some of that energy and putting it into actually helping me SELL some books.  If you're that interested in me spending my money on you, how about helping me make some?

So that's it.  Not sure if I'll be doing this much longer.  It's a nice creative release and I've made a lot of really great friends here.  It's a lot to consider...

Monday, May 6, 2013

"Wait for Me" by Samantha Chase

It's Release Day!  Love, love, LOVE Release Day!  "Wait for Me" is officially out there and is available on Kindle and Nook for only .99 cents!  Such a deal!  

This is book one of The Montgomery Brother's series and focuses on youngest brother Lucas Montgomery; a former NFL quarterback who is living a very solitary life after a career ending injury.  The only hope of getting him out of his self-imposed exile?  Sweet and sassy Emma Taylor.

I love this story because Lucas is a fairly complex character while Emma is a very down to earth and practical.  Their differences make for some great interactions.  I think that you'll love reading about them as much as I enjoyed creating and writing them.  

You can get "Wait for Me" on Barnes and Noble Nook HERE or on Amazon Kindle right HERE - both sites have it for only .99 cents!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

New Book Series Coming Your Way!

So let me start with an apology for stepping away from the blog for so long.  I have been wrapped up in a new book - which will be part of a series - and setting up an actual website for Samantha Chase.  I was pretty darn proud of myself because I managed to design it and set it up all by myself and it was NOT an easy job!  You can find it at Chasing Romance and it will have links to all of my books as well as news on upcoming releases.  Yeah, me!

Next up is my newest endeavor - a trilogy!  My very first one!  When I wrote "The Christmas Cottage" it was meant to be a stand alone book but people wanted to know what happened with the best friend so I wrote a part 2.  But this next book?  It was always meant to be a series and I am very excited about it!

"Wait for Me" is book number one in the Montgomery Brothers series.  First up is youngest brother, Lucas Montgomery.  Here's the blurb:

 There’s no time like the present…

Executive assistant Emma Taylor is desperate for a little time away; away from her job, her life and from thoughts of her boss’s son who doesn’t seem to know she even exists.  Tired of waiting for the time to be right, she takes advantage of her boss’s generous offer for a little weekend getaway to thank her for helping out with a difficult business deal.

Unless you’re still running from your past…

Former NFL superstar Lucas Montgomery is still suffering from a career-ending injury.  His self-imposed exile from life is exactly what he wants; a sanctuary where there’s no chance for disappointment or distractions and that’s exactly the way he likes it.  While his family has been patiently waiting for Lucas to come around and embrace life once again, they don’t realize that it wasn’t just his career that was lost, but his sense of identity.

…And afraid to hope for the future

Lucas thought everything was fine until sweet, sexy and completely off-limits Emma Taylor comes crashing into his carefully constructed world one snowy weekend and turns his entire life upside down.

Was Mother Nature really to blame or did someone else lend a hand?

I am VERY excited about this book (as if I'm not excited about them all!) and I have to just say that I LOVE the work that my cover artist does.  I would be totally lost without her!  "Wait for Me" will be out this week and as soon as the link goes live, you will hear it here first!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

If you don't like happy endings, find something else to read!

Everyone's a critic.

Honestly, I am having to learn to have thicker skin because as a writer, when you put your work out there, everyone has something to say.  Whether it's a 'well-meaning' friend, co-worker or family member, it seems that because you publically put your writing in print, that clearly means that you WANT to hear what they're thinking.

When my first book came out, I didn't market it very much so a lot of the people who reviewed it were friends who were just being nice.  I think they all thought "Hey, Stace wrote a book.  Let me cheer her on."

By the second book they were like "A second one?  Really?  Oh, good for you!" and they wrote very nice reviews.  But because "The Christmas Cottage" got a lot of publicity - mainly because it was a Christmas book at Christmas and everyone LOVES Christmas time, I was suddenly dealing with people I didn't know leaving reviews.  For the most part, people were nice but there were a few that were SUPER critical.  I was hurt but I moved on.  The biggest complaint?  Grammar errors.  I mean, they were completely right and it was an easy fix.  It was my own damn fault for rushing things so I couldn't be too terribly upset.

When the third book came out, it was not received very well.  The friends and family were like "Another one?  Already?  Well, I'll see if I have time to write a review".  Okay, fine, I get it.  You only want to help - to a point.  So most of the reviews on "Ever After" are solely from strangers.  The biggest complaint?  They didn't like Ava - the main character.  They said she was annoying.  Um...if you'd read "The Christmas Cottage" ("Ever After" is the continuation) you would have known how over-the-top her character was.

Then we got to "Catering to the CEO".  Seriously, for the first week or so, NO ONE wrote a review and I was a little devastated.  I didn't really ask anyone but I figured that since I was promoting it all over Facebook, SOMEONE would have gone and written one.  Finally, a friend of my in-laws (who has been my absolute biggest supporter!) wrote a wonderful review.  The others all came basically from strangers.  

Now here's the funny part and something that you need to keep in mind - I write romances.  Okay, when you THINK of romance, what comes to mind?  Love, relationships, sex...happily ever after?  Right?  Well, I had someone complain about the happily ever after!!  Ever romance I ever read consisted primarily of a couple getting together, having some sort of conflict, then someone apologizing and admitting their love and then, THE END!  

**SPOILER ALERT***  DON'T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK!!  So when my character Adam (who had been a controlling jerk for most of the book) finally came to his senses and confronted Cassie about how wrong he'd been and tells her that he loves her, she forgives him!  Why?  Because what good would it have been if she had responded with "Um, yeah, that's great but it's too late" and walked away?  I would have wasted 170 pages building up to something that wasn't going to happen!  

For real, lady.  She said women were pathetic.  Clearly this woman had run someone off who never came back and said they loved her.  Sorry, mean girl moment, but when you read a romance book, you WANT the happy ending; you want the man to realize he's been a jerk and that he can't live without the woman.

Maybe I need to put the spoiler alert in my book descriptions.  Something like "Warning:  This book contains a happy ending.  If that doesn't appeal to you, go find another book".  

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Because THIS is what friend's do...

It seems like nowadays (I sound like I was born in the 40's, don't I?) that a lot of people not only work a regular job, but they have second jobs to make ends meet.  You know what I'm talking about; we all know a Pampered Chef consultant or a Tupperware consultant or some other home-party based business.  Or the guy who fixes computers on the side.  

Or an aspiring author.

Am I right?

Okay, so here's the thing, when it is possible, I do what I can to help my friends with their businesses.  I've hosted a home-party.  I've paid someone to help with my computer stuff.  Today I ordered a RIDICULOUSLY expensive cosmetic primer that, while I like it, I didn't really need.  Why? Because someone very sweet was just starting their new business and I wanted to help.  She was beyond grateful and even offered to DRIVE 500 miles if I wanted to host a party!

I am an aspiring author.  Or am I no longer aspiring because I'm published?  I don't know but basically I'm an author, self-publishing, self-promoting and I have little to NO money to use for marketing and I desperately need help from my friends to get the word out on my books.

I'm not asking for a Kidney.

I'm not asking for a loan to buy a pet elephant.

I'm asking for .99 cents or to just click a button.

I think I'd have more luck with the Kidney.  I know I'm being kind of down lately but it amazes me how many people have eReaders/Kindles and won't even just download a free copy of something to get me the ranking.  I never made it to the #1 spot last night.  I have no way of knowing how far I was from it but it sort of blew my mind with 919 Facebook friends and 693 fans on my author page and only having to click on something that was free and no one would do it.  I've gotten more kind words and reviews from strangers than from friends.

It just makes me sad.

Do I help everyone that I know with their home business?  No.  Sometimes I just can't.  I'm not going to host a party for a product that I do not want/need/ or believe in but I will certainly share the link to your website or Facebook page!  I've written reviews for fellow indie authors to help them get their review count up...don't get the favor returned too often.  

I just wish that people had more of a spirit of giving.

So here's my giving for the day:  A brand new indie author reached out to me.  She released her first story today.  It's a short story (24,000 words) and it's a sexy contemporary read (yes, there is sex - gasp!) and she's dipping her toe into the self-publishing pool and not so much feeling the love from other authors.  Well I'm willing to give some love.  Breah Elise's "Mistaken Identity" is a sensual, sexy read that had me turning the pages for sure!  It's only .99 cents on Amazon right now.  You can click HERE to buy it. 

Will you show the love?  Will you buy it?  Will you share the link?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Settling for Number Three When Number One is So Damn Close!

I am a tortured artist.

No, I'm not being dramatic.  At this moment in time I am, indeed, tortured and as a writer I am technically an artist.

This self-publishing thing is making me crazy.  I'm completely losing my mind and it's not a good thing.  I watch numbers, rankings, reviews and it's enough to make a grown woman cry.

Which I do.

A lot.

So as part of the Kindle Select program that I have done with my current book, "Catering to the CEO" and my previous book, "Ever After", I get the option of offering the book for free for up to five days.  I get to choose the dates and for the most part, it's a cool marketing tool.

Unless you are SO CLOSE to being number one but you just can't do it.  I mean, it's a FREE book.  It doesn't cost your friends or family ANYTHING to just download the damn thing.  You don't have to read it, just download it and give me a freakin minute of joy today.  But are they?

I hit number two in Free Women's Fiction, number four in Free Contemporary Fiction and number 21 in the Free Kindle Store.  Seriously?  I cannot break that invisible barrier and get my minute in the spotlight?  IT'S FREE, People.  As in NO COST TO YOU.

I'm cranky.  I'm annoyed and I am going to have to eat some brownies to deal with the pain.

I think I'm disappointed more than anything else.  I watch people share ridiculous posts on Facebook or tweet utter nonsense but to do something that cost nothing that would actually HELP someone, and they can't do it.

So, I'll sit here with my brownie bites while I give away my 13,000th book in three days and STILL not get that coveted spot at the top of the list.



Monday, April 1, 2013

Getting Votes, Gaining Stats and What the Heck, Amazon!

It is a very busy time to be me.  Seriously.  I just released my fourth indie book (this time a full-length novel), I'm editing a completed novella, writing a follow-up to said novella, and trying to figure out which work-in-progress I want to finish up/polish to submit to my agent.  

As if that isn't enough, I am doing 95% of my own marketing and promotion on all of my books and just found out that I have been nominated for THREE Indie Romance Awards that I have to campaign to get people to go and vote for me!  It's exhausting.  All of this WHILE being a wife and mother, working a full-time job and just fighting to survive.


So how can one person with a VERY limited budget do it all?  It's not easy, I can tell you that!  Okay, the fourth book, "Catering to the CEO", is out on Amazon.  I went with the Kindle Select again just because.  Honestly, it's very time consuming to submit your file to multiple sites because they all want it in different formats and whatnot and I just don't have the time or energy.  I am trying a little bit different of a marketing strategy on this one and I'll see if it pans out for me.  Being that this book is a full-length novel, I was able to justify pricing it a little bit higher.  Again, we'll see if it pays off.

I'm guessing that the "Like" button on Amazon is a thing of the past because I have used multiple browsers on multiple computers and asked dozens of people and nobody seems to see the dang thing.  Why would Amazon take it away?  Probably because people try to manipulate results and do the "I'll like your page if you like mine" and so the results are kind of not an accurate telling of what people honestly think of the book.  I can admit that I am guilty of that.  But still, I wish there was a way that they could track traffic just to see if there is interest in your book!
Then the Indie Romance Awards.  I'm pretty excited about these but this offers a challenge all its own.  Getting votes.  Good grief, you'd think I was asking people to donate a damn kidney.  With 500 fans on my Facebook Author Page and another almost 900 on my personal page, do you know how many votes I have?  21.  TWENTY-FREAKIN-ONE.  I can't even get angry anymore but I'm still seriously annoyed.  This whole self-publishing thing is hard enough - with just the actual writing and editing.  Add marketing and promotions and then campaigning for votes?  There aren't enough hours in a WEEK! 

There's a site called "Get Online Votes" that you can submit your info too that will direct people to your site where you need votes.  It's not as sketchy as it sounds because people have to actually go to the site, click on your link and go and vote; it's not like it's hacking the site or anything.  And believe me, I don't know enough about computers or programming to even try to hack anything!   No, right now I'm seeing if I see any results from them to help me gain some votes and in return, I go and vote for other people's stuff.  We'll see.

Stats, Votes, Sales...Oh, my!

If you can, please vote for me on the Indie Romance Convention site.  I am nominated for Best Indie Contemporary Romance for "The Christmas Cottage", Best Indie Romance Novella for "The Christmas Cottage" and for Indie Author of the Year - Samantha Chase.

If you're looking for something to read, "Catering to the CEO" is out on Kindle along with "Ever After", "The Christmas Cottage" and "Jordan's Return".  


Sunday, March 31, 2013

A New Release and a Freebie!

So it's new book release day!  "Catering to the CEO" was released today on Kindle and I am very excited about it.  This is a full-length novel (my last two were novellas) and is $2.99 right now on Amazon for the Kindle version.

And as a gift to you to celebrate CEO's release, "Ever After" is FREE today!  So happy reading everyone!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Indie Romance Convention Nominees Announced

I'm not going to lie to you, friends, I did a bit of campaigning on this one and it looks as if my efforts have paid off.  At 8:00 p.m. this evening, I received official word that my book, "The Christmas Cottage", is nominated for Best Indie Romance Novella!!


I did a little dance, I jumped around a bit, then texted a whole bunch and then celebrated with a Milky Way ice cream bar.  Don't be jealous.  

So what does this mean??  I think it's a pretty cool thing to get nominated.  The Indie Romance Convention is a fairly new thing but that just makes it all the more fun to be a part of.  I can say that I was there from the beginning!

Voting will start April 1st and I cannot be any more excited!!!  Being an Indie Author can be so much fun!!!

Have you read "The Christmas Cottage"?  It's not just for Christmas!  Actually, Christmas is only a secondary theme so really, it's good to read any time!  You can get it on Amazon for only .99 cents for the eBook or $6.99 for the paperback.  It's still available on Barnes and Noble in both formats, too.

I honestly have to thank NaNoWriMo for this; if I hadn't made myself sit down to write for the competition, I don't know when this story would have been written and it certainly wouldn't have gone out with such amazing timing as it did nor would it have received such recognition.  I LOVE BEING A WRITER!!! 

Click HERE and order yours today and then come back on April 1st to vote for me so that I can go and walk the red carpet in October!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

What makes a best seller on Amazon?

This whole indie publishing thing is a daily learning process.  Just when you think you've got it worked out, your formula doesn't work.  When I wrote "The Christmas Cottage", I did not set out to write a best seller.  It just happened.  Only I didn't realize that until about two months after its release.  

What does that mean?  Well, here I was thinking that I was doing something phenomenal with my cheap and free marketing.  The truth was that I released a romantic holiday novella at Christmas time and people enjoy a holiday themed book.  It was priced at .99 cents as an ebook and so basically, the planets lined up on that one and I had a best seller.  

When I wrote the follow-up, "Ever After", there was no hook; there was no holiday that it was tied into and so I was just hoping to ride the coattails of the success of "The Christmas Cottage".  I marketed the same way; utilized a lot of the same websites that offered free or low cost promotions.  And I got two VERY different results.  "The Christmas Cottage" went into the top 100 Best Seller List in the Kindle Store in eight days.  "Ever After"?  It has never gotten that high on the list.

Well, that's not totally true; let me clarify.  The Kindle Store is the listing of ALL Kindle books.  Then it gets broken down into genres.  So while "Ever After" has (just recently) been on the best seller list, it was in sub-sub-SUB genre categories.

I did the free promo option on "Ever After" and STILL didn't break the top 100 in the Kindle Store.  And I did not get the bounce-back sales that I've heard people talk about, either, after their free days.  

I have blogged, tweeted, Tumblr'd, Facebooked...everything I could to spread the word about BOTH books and lightning did NOT strike twice.  I've come to learn through multiple indie authors that what happened with "The Christmas Cottage" sales-wise, was not the norm.  What I am experiencing with "Ever After" is.  A month after it's release, some random romance web-site promoted it on their bargain e-book day and I sold almost 800 books on that day alone!  That was more than I had sold in the month!  That was pure luck.

I'm learning to not obsess about the numbers and to not rely on this income.  I thought that I was going to be a bit more on easy-street when I was seeing the sales from "The Christmas Cottage" but have quickly learned that that was a seemingly one-time deal and I was lucky to experience it.  

So what makes a best seller on Amazon?  There seemingly is no direct answer.  They took away the like button so there goes that.  You need to get reviews.  THAT is a biggie.  The more reviews the better (and even more so when they are GOOD reviews).  But I've seen well-known authors having to essentially beg for reviews so imagine how hard it is for little ol' unknown me to get them!  

I'm going to keep writing.  I'm going to keep marketing the way that I do and maybe someday I'll luck out and get noticed by a big review site or by someone who just likes my work and I'll be able to get on and stay on the best seller list again.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Why I Write What I Write

Being an author is a funny thing.  When people hear that you're an author their first question is always "What do you write?"  Depending on who is asking the question normally alters my answer.

I live in a Southern Baptist town.  Seriously, the Baptist Seminary is less than a half a mile from my house.  There are churches on every corner.  Now, I am a Christian; have been for almost 20 years.  And yes, I read and write romances.  Saying that in certain circles, will have people praying over me or throwing me out of church groups.  I've learned to lean more toward saying that I write women's fiction.  It's clearly a more acceptable response.

What kills me?  Is that most of the bible thumping people who gasp and look at me with disdain, are the same people who stand in judgement on those around them (though the Bible tells them not to), will gossip amongst one another about who is acceptable and not acceptable (though the Bible tells them not to) and are the ones secretly ready 50 Shades of Gray.

Which I have not read.  I have it; ordered it from Paperback Swap, but haven't brought myself to read it.

And you know who you are.  I've seen them in the aisles of Barnes and Noble looking at it and have heard of multiple book clubs in the area that many belong to promoting it.  Honesty should be what you're all about, not judgment.

But judgmental people aside, I enjoy reading romances.  Not erotica; romances.  I love the development of a relationship; I love the building of attraction.  I enjoy reading it and I enjoy writing it.  Relationships fascinate me and I don't think I'm too hideous at writing about them.  I'm not the best at it but I am certainly not the worst.  

What I have learned recently is that you have to write what is in your head and in your heart; not what other people tell you to write.  Case in point?  "Ever After".  I had no intention of writing that story when I did.  I wrote "The Christmas Cottage" and then was working on other stories but people wanted to know what happened next.  What was Ava's story.  So I went with it.  It's not a hit.  People don't like her very much and to be honest, she's not a favorite of mine either.  But I created a character who was flawed and had to stay true to that end.  

Do I regret writing it?  No.  Do I regret writing it too soon?  Yes.  Maybe in time, without the pressure to get that particular story out, I could have made her a little more likable.  Now I'm stuck with it and can only move forward.  

So the next book that I am releasing is called "Catering to the CEO".  I have to admit, I had written this one specifically for one of Harlequin's lines.  I never submitted it to them but I think that I met all of the criteria for it.  I probably could submit it, but I'm just not ready for more rejection right now.  I'd rather self-publish and deal with that.

Here's the new cover and here's the blurb:  Jaded CEO Adam Lawrence knew exactly how to get what he wanted in business and in the bedroom. When independent, sexy and impossible to ignore Cassie Jacobs dares to best him on a business deal, Adam vows revenge. But how far can he go when the two find out they about to become family?

Actually, my agent asked for another book and I have several in various stages of progress so I am having to go through them and see which of them I want to use for the next submission.  In the meantime, I'm having fun with the self publishing thing.  It gives me something to look forward to and to work toward.

So the quest to become an established author continues...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Life or Launch?

Okay, so I've been M.I.A. again and for that I apologize.  But seriously, it's with good reason.


I took my week off from work and yes, it was quite refreshing.  We did the Great Wolf Lodge, we went and visited Nick at school, I had breakfast with friends and read two FABULOUS books (thank you, Kristan Higgins and Jill Shalvis!) and did very little writing.

Bad author!

While we were visiting Nick at school, something very traumatic happened.  We went out to dinner Saturday night and while waiting for our table, I pulled Nick aside to talk to him.  I've been a little concerned about Michael and he won't talk to me or Frank but I thought he might actually talk to his brother.  So I had a very adult conversation with my elder child and asked him if he could maybe talk to his younger brother and just sort of see what was going on with him.  I had overheard a conversation Michael had with a friend while playing Xbox where he admitted that he'd asked a girl out and she said no.  I wanted to make sure he was okay.

Never send a snarky 21 year old to do ANYTHING.

Basically, rather than just talking TO Michael, Nick decided it would be better to talk AT Michael and dump on him everything that he doesn't like about it.  By Sunday afternoon, Michael had essentially been told that everything about him is...wrong.

Thank you, Nick.  Don't go in to motivational speaking.

We arrived at Nick's place to take him to lunch before we headed back home and he convinced Michael to basically shave his head.

Moms, are you as outraged as I am???

Did I mention that Michael has BEAUTIFUL curly hair???

Did I also mention that Nick essentially had some dull utility scissors and a fairly useless electric razor to take on this task???

I asked Michael if he was okay with it and he said that he was but I sort of feel like he was trying to save face here.  Then Nick and his fiance took him into the bathroom to get him ready.  When the razor turned on, I had to step in.  I told them they were NOT allowed to shave his head.  No buzz cut; I did NOT want to see scalp.  So they cut it really, really, REALLY short.  I don't recognize my child.  There was about three pounds of hair on the floor and the look on Michael's face broke my heart.

They aren't allowed near him any time soon.

I cried that night for HOURS.

I know, I know, it's just hair but to me, those curls were Michael.  That was my boy's signature thing and a part of his childhood is now gone thanks to the dull-scissor-happy-duo.  Wait until they have children and I do something like this - take their first born for the first hair cut or get her ears pierced without their permission.  Ah...revenge.

Then there's our car situation.  We've known that we need another car and that we need to get rid of Frank's van.  We were kind of hoping to do it this summer when my car was paid off.

Best laid plans and all that...

The van died the other day.  Frank call's me from the damn interstate and is like, "The van died".  Well, okay.  We have AAA, call them.  No, no, no, it's just overheated and he needs water.  It's 5:00, I'm getting ready to leave work, okay, I can do it.  Where is he?  He's not sure.  He wasn't paying attention.  So I now have to head west while he was driving east and hope that I can see him on the opposite side of the side of the road!  

Wanted to KILL him.

Got there, we got the van home and essentially as we turned into the driveway it died.  Thank God we made it home.  But now there is no money from the sale of the car to help with a down payment on another one.  There goes my new computer that I desperately need and that my royalty check was going to get for me.

And speaking of royalty checks, there's me, the indie author.  Harlequin and Random House turned me down on the book my agent submitted.  I wasn't upset about Harlequin but I was pretty bummed about Random House.  It's still in with one other publishing house but they don't thrill me.  

I'm releasing another book on my own on April 2nd.  This one is called "Catering to the CEO" and it was originally written to Harlequin guidelines but I never submitted because basically it's been in the press a lot lately about how poorly Harlequin treats and pays its authors.  Thanks, I'll pass.  So I got my cover designed by the wonderful Gilded Heart Designs, I created my video trailer with Animoto and I will be releasing it with Amazon.  All in all, I'm not overly psyched like I was with "Ever After" which has been a bit of a disappointment.  I think I hyped it too much in my own mind and there was no way it was ever going to live up to those expectations.  

I should be doing some major pre-launch work right now but I just don't have it in me.  I've got work, a car to try and finance, Easter is right around the corner and just everyday wife and mother stuff to deal with.  

Are you as exhausted as I am?