An honor to be nominated
Now I know why people say that!! Last night, we were having our typical hanging out with friends Saturday night. I'm trying harder to not let my phone stay glued to my hand when we have people over or when we're out because...well, manners and all that. But after several fun little signals that I was being messaged, I decided, "hmm...I should see what's up".
Kara and I message almost daily so it wasn't just that I was being sent a message...it was the rapid fire dinging. Something was up. Opening my phone, I saw this:
So of course, I put manners aside and asked what was up. It turns out, we were nominated for an award! I had seen the nominations were up for Ind'taled's RONE awards. But I had no idea that DANGEROUS LOVE, which Kara and I had released last year, had been nominated in the suspense category. Honestly, I never even thought to check, even though I knew it had been reviewed (so nicely) by the magazine.
It's a long journey to get a book published. Longer than I'd considered. And some days are harder than others so we forget what the original goal was when we're trying to reach the next one. When we started, Kara and I wanted to create a book that people would fall into and enjoy. Knowing it has been nominated for this (something that we didn't know would even happen), surpasses that goal in ways we never imagined.
Fair warning, we'll likely be posting a lot in the next little while as the next round of the award process is public voting. (Voting for our category takes place April 25- May 1st) There are some amazing titles in every category so we have some great competition. But regardless, whatever the outcome, that moment of realizing OUR book was included? Amazing. Definitely an honor just to be nominated.
Our second release as co-authors is out today! Make sure you scroll through the entire page for a chance to win a $25.00 gift card from Amazon
They can pretend they’re fine…
Moving to NYC is supposed to be the fresh start Kristy Andrews so desperately needs, but she can't seem to shake the after-effects of having been kidnapped last year.
Detective Jackson Reed never meant to kill an innocent man, but knowing that doesn’t change the guilt he lives with every single day.
But they can’t hide forever…
When Kirsty and Jackson meet, the connection is instantaneous, but neither is ready to open up about their pasts. Can love and trust conquer their demons?
In order to have a future, they’ll have to face their past…
When Kristy starts receiving threatening messages, her anxiety kicks into overdrive, but the last thing she wants is Jackson worrying about her.
Jackson may doubt his ability to return to active duty, but he has no doubts about his instincts concerning Kristy. Someone is trying to hurt her, and he refuses to let that happen, even if it means going back to work; something he wasn’t sure he’d do.
As the threats increase, Jackson shows Kristy that strength doesn’t mean facing her fears alone, and Kristy shows Jackson that forgiveness starts from within. Can they save each other before it’s too late? Or will the past come back to haunt them?
Jaded Love is proof positive that a romance novel doesn't need sex scenes to be a fantastic book. Great characters, a good story line, a little suspense, a little romance are enough.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
JODY QUESTIONS KARA
I had such a clear image of Dr. Parker and Alessa and the overall arc of their story. But more than that, I had a need, a burning desire if you will, to ensure the emotional impact of this story hit the mark. I knew how I felt when I started creating it, and I was desperate almost to make sure whomever I shared this with could see and feel the same emotional punch that I did. So, yes, for that reason, I was scared to share that. I mean, what if my co-author didn’t see the story the way I did?
When we (me and Anaiah) began to read through the entries, the very first thing I looked for was the emotionality of the sample. It had to move me in some way. If it did, then I began to look at other aspects -- grasp of grammar and the basic mechanics of storytelling, the author’s personality, and I even stalked you on social media. Ha! Bet you didn’t know that.
2. You wear many hats in this industry: editor, author, at one time, an agent. How does having a background in each of these, or a strong knowledge of the inner workings of the different aspects of publishing, help you in each of these roles, particularly the writing?
Yeah, I wear too many hats. Want one? ;-) I think knowing and seeing and working in all of these different areas of publishing certainly helps with my writing. I have a very firm grasp on what agents / editors are looking for, what the basic thought process is when reading submissions, and overall, I think it just keeps me grounded in reality. I have no delusions about how the entire process works.
3. What do you think the hardest part of being an author is and why?
Honestly, everything! lol. Writing that first draft takes time, dedication, perseverance, and skill. Then you have to revise, which can be, at times, as pleasant as a root canal. Then there’s the ridiculous amount of time spent waiting -- waiting for an offer of representation, waiting for a publishing contract, waiting for edits, waiting for release day. Oh, and let’s not forget all the anxiety that comes from actually putting all your hard work out there and hoping readers like it. What if they don’t?? *gasp* On the flip side, all of these things are also awesome and fun and scary in a good way because they all add up to one thing --- You’ve published a book!!!
But, for me, the absolute hardest part is ending a book or a series and having to say goodbye to characters you’ve fallen in love with.
4. How are Josh and Jackson similar and different?
I don’t know. You helped write them, you should know. LOL. Kidding. They are very similar in that they both go above and beyond for those they love, their friends, family. The women they love. They’re both strong, confident men but aren’t overbearing or controlling in anyway. Jackson is much more guarded than Josh, but deep down, they have huge hearts. Could you imagine what Jackson’s bedside manner would be like? Hahaha. Josh definitely has a much more open, softer side, which is ultimately what makes him such a great doctor.
5. Kristy is Alessa’s best friend. They matter so much to each other. Who is the friend you’d face a kidnapping madman for?
My friend Christina. We met in the 5th grade, and are still friends today. We’ve been through some major highs and lows together. College. Children. Marriage. Divorce. Deaths :-( It’s the type of friendship that can withstand long periods of time without talking, and when we do chat, it’s like we never lost a moment.
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The nicest people I've NEVER met...
When I started writing, I thought it would go like this:
1. Write a book
2. Sign with agent
3. Agent sells book immediately
4. Stay humble despite success
Yeah. That's not exactly how it goes. Well, not for me anyway. But I'm sure that works out for some people. For most of us, there are several more steps involved-- including a lot of rewriting, editing, handling rejection, trying again, etc. But the most surprising part for me is how often I have to reach out to others because in today's digital world, you are not just an author. Not if you want your books to be read. My original intention on Twitter and Facebook was to connect and get to know people. Fortunately, I've managed that part but it doesn't mean that I like what came next...realizing that I needed to ask for help.
Because, let's be honest, everyone is busy. Despite being on the computer OFTEN, a writer will tell you that it isn't just to write. It's to market, promote, research, edit, learn, read, make connections...there is so much more than writing involved when you work toward publishing a book.
So, my journey looked a little more like this:
1. Write a book
2. Get book rejected several times
3. Try again with a new book
4. Repeat step 2
5. Repeat step 3
6. Get an agent
7. Get a previous manuscript accepted by a publishing house
8. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit.
9. Get ready to promote
10. Try not to be annoying
This is where I'm at. I have three books coming out in the next two months. Two in February and one in March. One is co-authored, a follow up to the Christian romantic suspense I wrote with Kara Leigh Miller. It's called Jaded Love and will be out February 23rd.
Falling for Home is a story I wrote a while back, that I was particularly fond of. It was requested by agents but it wasn't the one that landed me an agent. Still, I found a home for it with Penner Publishing. This releases February 9th.
The March release is called Damaged and also found it's home at Penner Publishing.
With three books coming out so close together, I'd really like to not have people dread seeing or hearing my name. I'd rather have people think things like, "Wow, her book is really good. I should read another" than "$%##, if she tweets/posts/says one more thing about her books I'm going to virtually slap her." I'm sure you can see why I'd favor one over the other.
It was important that I not inundate people with requests and favors but to some extent, I had to. If I don't tell you about my books and you don't tell others...they're just going to be stories my mom and best friend have read. But I cannot have three back to back Facebook parties as promotion. On top of being just too much, I think it would lessen the impact; become redundant or tedious.
But one is alright. If I could plan one successfully and get some other (cooler) authors to pitch in. And therein lies one of the hardest things: asking people you "know" and are "friends" with to help you. Think how hard it is (for some people) to ask for help in real life. A friend of mine recently broke her elbow. I found out almost two weeks later and felt horrible. I asked why she didn't call? Why didn't she ask for help? Because she knew we were busy and didn't want to ask. SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO ASK. Though I hope helping me promote my books and get readers isn't as bad as a broken elbow, it's still hard to put yourself out there. Even if you'd do the same for them, it's hard to make that request on someone's time (more if you're asking them to giveaway one of their books).
One little instant message or email after another, I started to ask writers I engage with on Twitter and Facebook if they'd help. My nerves didn't lessen each time I asked. It didn't get easier and my response every single time was something along the lines of "OH MY GOODNESS? SERIOUSLY? YOU'LL HELP ME?" I stopped short of saying WHY would you help me because I didn't want them to rethink it.
But here's what I think. They're helping me in some sense because it will promote their own books-- they'll touch base with readers, tell us about their releases, and maybe do a giveaway which ups their own fan base. I really don't think it's the biggest part though. I think that these people are just kick-ass, over the top awesome. They're nice and they're kind and they're giving because THEY'VE BEEN HERE. I have received countless messages from other authors, answering my questions, helping me, and guiding me. I have laughed with, chatted with, and commiserated with some truly incredible people. People I've never met. Might never get to meet. But these people have had a huge impact on my writing life because they are or were there when I needed them. I can't tell you how much this matters and not just because I don't want to have a Facebook party where I'm all by myself, but because it's a lifeline.
It's not easy to keep going some days (with writing I mean). The waiting involved in this industry is HARD. It makes me think of the book by Dr. Seuss, "Oh the Places you will go". Publishing can feel like The Waiting Place. And it's always nicer to have someone by your side who knows how hard the waiting and wondering can be. Someone who, when you need them to, steps up and says, sure I'll help you. Someone who knows what a celebration it should be that you wrote a book and SOMEONE IS GOING TO PUBLISH IT.
I asked several authors if they'd be willing to join in on the party. MANY said yes or that they'd try. I don't even know why, but instead of questioning why they're willing to take time out of their busy schedules, I'm going to just be extremely grateful. I think the best way to show that is to give back what's meant so much to me. Time. Acceptance. Kind words. Support. It's really hard to put yourself out there, but you don't have to do it alone. Every step of this journey requires bravery. Writing the book. Looking for agents or publishers. Revising. Getting critique partners. Interacting. Asking for help. All of it. But like so many other things in life, it can surprise you and be even more than you hoped for.
If you're around on February 9th, 2016 between 6 pm and 9 pm, come by my release party for Falling for Home on Facebook. You don't even have to dress up and you won't be able to see that I'm in my pajamas. Best kind of party. I am extremely thrilled to say I'll be joined by Amanda Heger, Kara Leigh Miller, Jennifer Blackwood, Shannyn Schroeder, Dawn Ius, Kelly Siskind, Harper St. George, A.J. Pine, Joanne Macgregor, and possibly Carly Phillips and Karma Brown. There'll be some great giveaways and lots of chatting about books, romance, and writing.