Self-publishing and expectations…

Recently I had a visitor to the website who asked several questions about my self-publishing experience. There wasn’t a good way to keep my responses short, though I tried at first. Instead I’m putting my answers in a regular post so that anyone else who is curious can read them as well. Here goes:

“Could you please talk about your experience?”

Publishing is a lot like riding a rollercoaster. Some days I’m on top of the world writing good stuff and hearing back from readers who enjoy my work. Thanks to all those awesome people who commented on my last post! Other days I might have trouble moving forward while working on a scene and/or catch some criticism of one of my books that makes me think I’m the most horrible writer in the world.

There are days I can’t imagine having any other job and that it’s the absolute best. Then I have days where I question why I released my stories for anyone else to read because, obviously, I completely suck. What was I thinking letting anyone see the crazy ideas that come into my head?

Writers have to be deeply in touch with their feelings in order to produce quality work. This is important, but can also make the whole experience more difficult from an emotional standpoint. If a reader is disappointed with your latest book you feel like you let them down though you honestly wrote it the way you believed it had to be written. I thank God for all my encouraging fans. They’re what has kept me releasing the next ones, though I’d probably never stop writing regardless.

“How you went about it. What was the process like? What pit falls did you encounter?”

For how I went about it, you must keep in mind I was writing for a few years before I published and that Darkness Haunts was not my first book. It was simply the first I thought worth sharing with the world. So when I made the big decision to publish I waited nearly a year from the time the first draft was completed before self-publishing it. I queried agents, entered it into ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards), and also learned everything about publishing I could.

I researched cover artists, editors, ebook formatting, paperbacks, and a lot on marketing. Though I refused to change to a genre that might be more salable (people were saying urban fantasy was a dying genre), I did study my market so as to gauge my expectations. I also followed other authors and read about their experiences, soaking up every bit of information I could.  At the end, I even changed the title to something more fitting and catchy than the original.  It wasn’t Darkness Haunts until two months before I released it.

Continue Reading →

Back from NOLA and other updates

I just got back last night from a trip to New Orleans.  This was primarily a research trip, but my husband and I had a good time while there.  I would have preferred going sooner than this since some parts of Darkness Clashes do take place there (no spoilers, not to worry), but that was the soonest my husband could take off work.  He didn’t want to miss it since he’d never been to Louisiana.  This meant sketching out those scenes and/or writing a tentative draft of them ahead of time due to the tight schedule, but now I’ve got everything I need to fill them in.

Facebook fans have seen a few of the trip pics I’ve posted, but I’ll post a couple here as well (see below).

Susan at restaurantSusan on Bourbon Street 2

I stayed at The Olivier House and loved it.  Our room had older style furnishings, which is what I wanted, but it also had modern amenities like a television and cable.  With the final World Cup games taking place while there, this was particularly important to the husband.  I’ll confess to not watching, but I do want to congratulate Germany for their win!

I’m also excited to let you all know my cover artist and typographer finished the cover for Darkness Clashes during the trip.  It looks amazing!  I’ll be revealing it exclusively with Bitten by Books on July 25th, but will post a link here as a reminder on that day so you can check it out as well as the official blurb.  For now you all will have to satisfy yourselves with the new website header (top of this page) that has a never-seen-before pose of Lucas and Melena.  No, it is not the one on the cover.  This shot was taken for promo purposes only.

That’s it for now on updates.  It’s back to the grindstone for me so I can have this book ready by the end of next month.  Hope all of you are having a great summer 🙂

Playlist for Chained by Darkness

For those of you who are curious what songs I listened to while writing Chained by Darkness, I’ve got them listed below.  Some of them influenced the story overall while plotting/writing and a few were particular to certain chapters/scenes.  I’ll link all of them to iTunes and put up YouTube videos for a few of my favorites among them.  Enjoy!

1)  Insensitive by Jann Arden

2)  It Must Have Been Love by Roxette

3)  Wait For You by Elliot Yamin

4)  See You Again by Carrie Underwood

*Influenced the epilogue

5)  Just a Dream by Nelly

6)  The Way by Ariana Grande

7)  Titanium by Madilyn Bailey

*Influenced chapter 1 & 4

8)  Love is Blindness by Jack White

9)  Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

*Influenced chapter 2, 9, & 14


10)  The Freshmen by The Verve Pipe

11)  Now or Never by Three Days Grace

12)  Take Me Under by Three Days Grace

13) Not Afraid by Eminem

*Influenced chapter 14

14) Lose Yourself by Eminem

*Influenced chapter 15


15)  One Last Breath by Creed

*Influenced chapter 1

16)  My Sacrifice by Creed

17)  I will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan

*Influenced chapter 17 & epilogue


18) Angel by Sarah McLachlan

19) It’s All Coming Back to Me Now by Celine Dion

*Influenced chapter 16 & 17

20) Because You Loved Me by  Celine Dion

*Influenced chapter 17


Feel free to comment if any of these songs are your favorites 🙂

Playlist for Darkness Taunts

MusicI know some people are interested in what music an author plays to help inspire them while writing a novel.  For anyone who wants to know which songs I’ve been listening to as I make my way through Darkness Taunts, the list is below.  It’s a rather eclectic mix of genres because I like a little of everything.

Do keep in mind that not all of them relate to the story, but help set a tone for a scene.  A few have key lines that resonate with me while the song itself doesn’t actually fit.  Some do not pertain to the main character, Melena, but to other characters and their side stories.

They are in no particular order and all song titles are linked to iTunes:

1) Savin’ Me by Nickelback

Favorite lines-

Heaven’s gates won’t open up for me, with these broken wings I’m fallin’

2) How You Remind Me by Nickelback

3) All You Wanted by Michelle Branch

4) Always by Bon Jovi

5) Gotta Be Somebody by Nickelback

6) It Matters to Me by Faith Hill

Favorite line-

Baby tell me where’d you ever learn to fight without saying a word.”

7) Skinny Love by Birdy

Favorite lines-

Who will love you? Who will fight?
And who will fall, far behind?”

8) You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift

9) No Surprise by Daughtry

Favorite lines-

There’s nothing here in this heart left to borrowThere’s nothing here in this soul left to say.”

10) No Love by Eminem (featuring Lil Wayne)

Favorite lines-

I don’t go around fire expecting not to sweat.”

11) Not Afraid by Eminem

12) Tourniquet by Evanescence

13) Love the Way You Lie by Eminem and Rihanna

14) Too close by Alex Clare

Favorite line-

And it feels like I am just too close to love you.”

(Love the beat to this song and it fits a very specific scene)

15) No Church in the Wild by Kayne West and Jay Z (feat. Frank Ocean)

16) Down by Jason Walker

17) In the End by Linkin Park

18) Cooler Than Me by Mike Posner

19) You Make Me Sick by Pink

(This is actually the ringtone I use for when my husband calls, but it works for the book too)

20) Naseny El Donia (Translation- Make me forget the world) by Ragheb Alama




Darkness Haunts updates

I’ve been working hard on writing Darkness Taunts.  It’s turning out even better than I expected.  I hope to put out an excerpt in the next month or two for those who are interested as well as the official synopsis.  It will take place in Alaska again, though parts of the story will be in Juneau this time.  If you have any particular questions, check out the FAQ page.  The answers may be there or you can feel free to ask.

The giveaway on Goodreads was a great success.  I was really pleased with the turnout.  871 people entered, though only three could win signed paperback copies.  I’m in the process of mailing those out to the winners this week.  If any of them are reading this, I’ll be messaging them soon with the shipping number so they can track their packages.

For those who didn’t win in the giveaway or are just hearing about the novel, I am offering a chance to get a free ebook copy (Kindle or Nook).  All you have to do is leave a comment below with the following information:

1) Tell me where you first heard about Darkness Haunts.

2) List your three favorite paranormal/urban fantasy authors.

Make sure you enter a valid email address in the field where it asks for one.  On March 20th I’ll conduct a drawing to select three random people who will receive copies.  If there is a large enough turn-out, I may even increase the number who can win.  Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away, I’ll approve it within a few hours and it will  count as an entry.

Hope everyone has a great week!