I told you it was coming and now it is here the new look Jewel Sisters series.
The first book in the series, Something of a Spark, came out in 2017 – or as it feels to me – a lifetime ago. I loved writing that book for a few reasons.
It’s set on the South Coast of NSW here in Australia so I could picture the town of Caudal Bay where the sisters live very clearly. The town isn’t real. It’s an amalgam of a few of my favorite beach towns. I hadn’t written a story set in Australia for a while at that point, so it was fun to do that.
I also loved the idea of writing a family series and the sisters’ relationships, in particular, were interesting to me. I only have one sister but when I was an exchange student my host family had three sisters, plus me, so four. The characters aren’t in any way base don any of us but I could draw a little on that experience.
Finally, although I never included them in the book I wrote a series of song lyrics for the book. Saffy is a lyricist in the novel and co writes country songs with her old friend Ryan. I had a lot of fun writing songs for them.
It was always one of my dreams to be a lyricist. The whole idea fascinates me. Not to mention I can make anything rhyme and some days used to talk in rhyme all day to my daughter. (I’ve never said I wasn’t annoying!)
Maybe I’ll share them here or in my newsletter one day!
Anyway, there’s a whole page dedicated to the series here on the website, so click over to see the new covers and read more about the series. (It’s in Kindle Unlimited if you’re a subscriber).
It’s a while since I’ve done anything to update any of my book covers and I thought maybe it was time to give the Jewel Sisters series a fresh new look.
New covers and new blurbs are something I struggle with, mainly because I ‘m usually attached to the original covers.
In this case, I just couldn’t decide what direction to go. I even ran a poll in m newsletter this time last year between two looks and the results were exactly 50/50 so that didn’t help at all!
Anyway, I finally made a decision and I’m super happy with how they came out. Everyone I’ve shown them to has been as excited as I am so I hope that means an uptick in sales when the covers and new blurbs go live on Amazon next week.
This is such a fun series set here in Australia and as the series title suggests is about four sisters and their relationship and struggles to find love and happiness. But it is fun and happy and I wanted covers that reflected that, so fingers crossed I’ve got it right.
Stay tuned and I’ll let you know when the new look version is live. As always if you’ve read them and haven’t yet reviewed the books you know I’d love you to.
Today I thought I’d ask myself the Top 5 questions I get asked about my writing life.
1. How’s your writing going?
This is the question people who know I write but don’t really know about the details ask. It’s the most common question I get.
It’s going fine. I have another book out next month and my last release was okay although I didn’t promote it properly. It was a novella and I don’t think people really want novellas from me. My January release No Time For Temptation went well and readers are giving it great reviews which makes me happy.
2. When is the next book out?
This is the question from my friends who read and love my books.
Girlfriend, I’m doing my best here. It takes a lot longer to write a book than read a book you know. I’m working really hard here and but you’ll have books in April, May, June so don’t panic. There will be lots to read. I do really appreciate that you love my books and your support makes me cry all the happy tears.
3. Can I get it in paperback?
Asked by lots of non e-reading friends.
You know I used to do paperbacks and they just don’t sell unless you have a book launch or a signing but I have No Time For Temptation in paperback and it will be live on Amazon soon. I’m also ordering duets of the Upper Crust series soon, I promise.
Here’s an example!
4. How do you write so fast?
This is usually asked by other authors who don’t write as quickly as I do.
Firstly, I have had years of practice at being quick at turning work around in my day job where I’ve basically written all day for a living. Secondly, I’m not bad at time management in general so I’m really good at using 15 minute increments to get stuff done – a Facebook post, some emails, or some behind the scenes activity. Thirdly, I know my best times of day for creativity and it’s good to work these out for yourself. (Mine are 10am -12noon , 2-4pm, and 5-6.30pm) If I can get two one hour blocks in these times I can get 2-3,000 words of a draft done. I try and do a minimum of 1,000 words a day. That adds up. Fourthly, by writing every day I can dive straight back in where I left off which saves time and backtracking. Finally, i enjoy writing (editing and promoting not so much) but I do it because I like it and that makes it easier.
There is no correct pace to write at. It depends on a lot of things. I like to release regularly because as an indie romance author that helps me with sales, visibility and the pesky Amazon algorithms. Also I read quickly so I understand that kind of reader who wants to read a series back-to-back. That means I need to write quickly and it’s important to me so I make time for it.
Also I don’t watch TV hardly at all (except the odd cooking show). I haven’t seen a movie since January 2018 and I don’t play sports or have a time consuming hobby. As does meal preparation (we don’t eat take-away) and planning on the home front. Oh yes, and my house isn’t company ready 95% of the time. You’d be amazed how much time that frees up.
5. How do you come up with your ideas?
Lots of people ask this.
Ideas are not an issue for me. I have books planned out and so many things I’d love to write that I’ll never get to. The characters appear before me and then I want to tell their stories. Picking the right stories in the right order is the challenge for me as is deciding what people would like to read. I’ll have a plan and then get distracted by shiny new things. Staying focused is the challenge.
If you have any question please feel free to ask me in the comments below.
I tried to think of a song to sum up the year and it’s hard to go beyond Seasons of Love from RENT. (Also when is RENT coming back to the stage in Australia it was awesome?) After all, kind of like me the song measures the year in love and cups of coffee.
This year has been a really mixed one for me in terms of both life and writing. It hasn’t been catastrophic, and I am well aware I lead a very fortunate life, but just like everyone some years are harder than others and this one has been a bit of a slog.
Let’s start with the not so great writing-wise. I had some plans for some collaborative projects that I was excited by this time last year that fell through – one was a multi-author book and the other was a box set that got cancelled. I was excited by the prospect of not working alone so much, because being an indie author can be pretty lonely. In the end those projects falling through taught me a valuable lesson that I’m often better off on my own working at my own pace.
I had a target to release a certain number of books in 2018 and I didn’t reach it. In fact I only released three books in 2018 under my name and two under a pen name. That was disappointing and the result of a tough day job that left me no time for anything creative at the end of the day. To be honest i felt out of sorts and like I was swimming through mud from about February onwards.
So when I think about my writing goals for 2019 I think of this song.
So moving on what went well? No one wants to dwell on the negative.
I released the Something to Sing About, from the Jewel Sisters Series just before New Year last year and yesterday I finished the third book in that series Something to Savor so it will be out in February and the final book Something Worth Saving will be out in March.
I released two books in the new Courtside Romance Series in July and November with two more to come in early 2019.
The highlight of the year was definitely the release of Any Way You Like It, the final Book in the Upper Crust series. I had a great time with the unicorn themed promotions and the book was really well received. Let’s be honest completing an 8 book series is no mean feat. I did a whole playlist for the book which was fun but this Ed Sheeran song most encapsulates Dave and Tasha’s story and the whole experience of writing the book for me.
So 2018 was also a fantastic year for me in terms of new opportunities and professional development
I was chosen to write a book for the No Brides Club Series for Sweet Promise Press which I’m super excited about. It did give me a collaborative experience which I had been looking for. I also joined a group of authors and we established the Coffee Talk on the Boardwalk Facebook group. We’re releasing a series in 2019 and we’ve had a lot of fun with readers naming elements of the town Cinnamon Bay where the stories will be set.
In July I was in Washington DC for my day job and I hopped over to Denver to visit a friend and meet up with fellow authors attending the RWA (Romance Writers of America). I was able to meet up with the awesome authors who were present from the ChickLItChat Facebook Group for dinner and the next night I met with Melissa Storm the Publisher from Sweet Promise Press and some awesome sweet romance authors.
In November I was in LAs Vegas for the 20Booksto50k writers conference and I met lots of amazing and inspiring indie authors there. I made some great connections with people I plan to work with and collaborate with moving forward as well as gaining lots of knowledge on how to better market my books – now I just need to implement it all. Finally in December Laura Chapman, a fellow chicklit author was in town and we spent a glorious day talking all things books.
And I just worked out I read in excess of 200 books in 2018 – okay even I’m blown away by that!
So what lies ahead for 2019?
You may not know this about me but I do love a plan. I don’t always stick to my plan but I do like to start out with one. My plan for 2019 is to release a book a month between now and September. The books include for starters a Valentine Novella, No Time For Temptation for the No Brides Club – out January 25th! The last two Jewel Sisters and Courtside Romance novels will be next and then my Cinnamon Bay novel for the Coffee Talk on the Boardwalk series.
I’m really excited about the year ahead. I’ve quite my day job and will be looking at new things work wise in 2019. Hopefully I’ll have a little more balance and creative energy.
I’m keen to explore dictating my books so that I can walk and write – You can’t write a book a month, work, run a family and exercise any other way – or I can’t anyway.
I’m looking to aim high in 2019. What are your plans? Goals? Aspirations?
We started with a show tune so I figured we’d go out with one. Happy New Year. Thanks for reading and best wishes for a fabulous 2019.