What’s Next

For those asking what’s next for the Leftover Girl series, I wanted to write a quick post to respond. The series is done for now. I’m a believer that all things must come to an end… giving this break to the series will hopefully give those ready to finish the proper resolution.

If you’re anything like me, the story never really ends. There will be more, but there are other stories to tell first. One is Skip and Angel’s story. I’ve been wanting to tackle this for a while, mainly because it’s more of a paranormal story. While they do talk about their missing friends, this is not a continuation with the main characters from the series.

There will be more secrets to uncover and more powers… this book formally introduces a government agency that monitors humans with special powers. As Angel learns, her dad works for this agency. He has an enemy so dangerous that even the agency can’t protect them – Angel and Skip will only be safe if they disappear.

Good thing they’ve got a case with a hundred thousand dollars.

I mean, what can go wrong for two teens with stacks of hundreds, seventy-two hours to hide, and a government agency on their trail?

This book will serve as link between the Leftover Girl series and my next series which starts in the summer.

As always, I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

Leftover Girl Series is Complete!

2017 has been a busy year for me and I’m thrilled (and relieved) to say I’m finally done with the Leftover Girl series. Book # 5, Fate of War, recently released and I can finally take a break from writing. If only I could get my mind to stop thinking about the next story.

Yes, there’s always a next story. But that’s for the next post.

I’m happy with Fate of War and how it ended. This wasn’t words on a page for me; it was a real journey and all along I kept a clear picture of how it would end. Every person that reads these books is taking the journey with me. For me, there’s not much wishing I could go back and make changes. Maybe I made the story too convoluted at some points, but I can’t help myself when it comes to a complex story. Sorry, I’m an engineer. Designing programs is my safe zone. Oh, the beautiful logical equations. This is where I want to live, the happy place where I can construct my web of secrets and lies and work in hints throughout the series.

It’s been an interesting journey and I hate to admit I’ve learned many must-haves of self-publishing are not strengths of mine. Like self-promotion. I took several marketing classes in school, but book marketing is still a mystery to me in many ways. Unfortunately, no one seems to have that magic formula of what it takes to sell books.

So, now what? I’ve finished the series and now it’s time to get down to the business of selling books.

But what happens if the books don’t sell? (other than me biting my fingernails, wiping the sweat from my head, and having to at some point face my sales dashboard on amazon)

If I don’t sell books, what’s next? Well, when I started the process of self-publishing I didn’t think about what comes next. I didn’t even think about book # 2 beyond the fact I had an idea for a series and I knew how it would eventually end. The characters and their backstories were already fleshed out in my mind. I can hear these people talking. I know their fears and I feel their triumphs. That’s the beautiful thing about reading a great book. I never know if a book is going to be great until I read it. Sometimes I read a summary and think wow, that’s a great idea. But the pages always tell the story. Can I connect with the characters? Do I care about their motivations? Am I willing to spend half the night staring at the screen of my tablet, anxious to know which promises from the summary will come true?

In no way am I saying what I write is great. I’d be happy with 1/10 of great or even 1/100 of great. But it’s my outlet. Writing is the way I can take all the less than desirable parts of life and turn them around. Like a movie that didn’t go quite like I’d hoped. Everyone has a different vision, but in my vision I get to replay the story in all the glory I’d hoped for.

Now… now I wait. No, it’s more than waiting. Now I forget that I achieved one of my greatest personal goals and open the laptop. I don’t stare at the blank screen for long. I make my chapter outline for the next book. I start from page one with no fear because now I’m sure I can write a book. I’ve tasted the high of finishing a story and I’m ready to make the next one better.

Update on Fate of War

I just wanted to give everyone an update on Fate of War, the last book in the Leftover Girl series. Since January, my plan has been to release today, 10/31, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

When I wrote the second book, Secrets Return, I laid out a plan for myself: end of January 2017 release for Secrets Return, April 2017 release for Prison of Lies, July 2017 release for Illusion of Truth, and an October 2017 release for Fate of War. With a full-time job, this was an aggressive timeline, but I never planned to spend most of October ill.

So everything in my life is behind right now, but the book is with the editor and I’m hoping to have it ready in the next couple of weeks. I’ll send out an email to everyone on the subscriber list when the book is live on Amazon.

I’ll write another post soon since I’ve planned my next series to start after the first of the year. I also have a spin-off novella from the Leftover Girl series that should be ready sometime in December. It won’t be a continuation, but instead will feature some of the human characters from the books.

Lessons Learned from Pre-Order

So, I’ve been working on Book #5 in my Leftover Girl series, Fate of War, and struggling with the decision to offer this last book for pre-order. Books 2 and 4 were both listed for pre-order and this is what I’ve learned:

Book #2 was listed for pre-order and went smoothly. A week before, I loaded the final text and everyone who pre-ordered got what I wanted them to have on release day.

Book #3 wasn’t listed for pre-order. The day before release day, I loaded everything on Amazon and hit publish. Not much problem there either. As usual, there are always a few small aggravating typos I don’t catch until I download a copy for myself and read it on Kindle. Even with professional editing and having others read the text, something always slips through. Guess what I’m always doing at 6 a.m. on release day?

Book #4 was listed for pre-order. I loaded updated drafts as I went. However, I got really sick at the three day mark and missed the cutoff for the very last revised version. There were a few outstanding issues and by afternoon on release day, the final version was live. However, those who pre-ordered already had their copy.

Now, I will say updates to books are common for me. Anytime I find an issue I update (like the dreaded typo), but never to the overall story or plot. If you’ve downloaded any of my books, there’s probably a newer version out there. For some reason, Amazon has never forced out a revision – maybe because they don’t consider any issues I’ve corrected as major. If it’s been awhile since you downloaded and you want the latest copy, just contact them. It’s what I’ve had to do when I want to check my own stories.

Disadvantages of Pre-Order?

Like I said above – miss the cutoff and potentially disappoint those who have been waiting for the story.

Advantages of Pre-Order?

Setting up a pre-order gave me time to get the book and description tweaked on Amazon. It also gave me time to talk with Amazon about connecting the book with others in the series. (Yes, I have to ask for this and yes, it can take several days.) Having a set release date also brings a certain motivation to keep driving toward that finished product on time.

Pre-Order Again?

I’m thinking probably not. I started writing as a way to relieve stress from my day job. My last experience with pre-order created a new form of stress – 3 days of it. For this fifth book, I think I’ll list it on Amazon within a few days of my planned release date. I won’t promote to anyone until I’ve downloaded a copy myself and read the entire text. UPDATE: There is one benefit to pre-order that might overcome the downsides: VISIBILITY. By placing a book for pre-order, it will remain as a new release longer and improve the chance someone will see it.

If you’ve read any of my books, thanks. I’m doing this writing thing on my own and I’m doing it for fun. When it stops becoming fun and starts drowning me in stress like everything else in life, what’s the point?

Illusion of Truth – Coming Soon

Whew, I’ve just sent Illusion of Truth off to my editor. Writing this fourth book has been tougher than any of the others. I think it’s because #3 and #4 were originally meant to be one book.

As the story progressed, I realized no way could I keep both viewpoints together and make the stories flow. Sometimes change must happen, and in this case I believe change was for the better.

I’m happy allowing Pade’s story to progress on his terms, although there is one glaring piece of information about Jes that he doesn’t know. He’s seventeen and in love. He doesn’t realize that all around him lines are being drawn for a war. His destiny means he must pick a side.

I’m so excited about Illusion of Truth. I absolutely love this story, even though I had my doubts about Pade in the beginning. I admit I didn’t start to like him until Secrets Return.

So, for the past two months, I’ve worked late into the night, crafting this text until it became the story I wanted to share. The series is almost complete.

Now it’s all about Fate of War!

Update on Prison of Lies

First, I want to apologize for waiting so long to give this update. I’ve been overloaded lately at work, plus I’ve spent nights and weekends hammering out book # 3, Prison of Lies.

Sometimes when I write, I literally have to turn the world off. Does anyone else feel this way?

Prison of Lies is finished – it’s currently with my editor and I’m awaiting her thoughts. I’m excited about this book since it digs deep into the reasons why Jes is so important. She’ll be forced to make decisions she’s never imagined.

Cutting it close on time, you say? Maybe. I really want to release this book on April 30th, but only if it’s ready. My guess is there will be no pre-orders on this one. I’ve set a tight schedule for myself and that includes releasing books # 4 and 5 by the end of September.

The short timeline is my fault. Originally, I planned for 4 books in this series. When I say planned, I mean I knew how each book would start and end. What I didn’t know at the time was book # 3 would become 3 and 4.

Okay, the anxiety is kicking in. Let me stop and take a deep breath.

I’d planned to write book # 3 as a split POV between Jes and Pade, but there was too much to cover and it didn’t flow well. So, book # 3 is all Jes and book # 4 tells Pade’s side of the story.

The biggest issues I’ve had are 1) time management (bet you never guessed this one between the job and the family) and 2) finding the right person to make the covers.

The cover issue is a tough one for me.


Why? Because details in writing and details in pictures are not the same for me. Hard to explain, but I want those who pick my books over millions of others to have the best cover possible.

Anyone reading this knows I’ll never make money off my books. What I want is something different. I want to wake up proud that I spent my time creating a book someone out there enjoys. Even if it’s only one someone.

So, back to the cover issue. I’ve had to find another artist, but I believe she will do an outstanding job. At book #3, making a cover got tough. I decided to go ahead and get the last 3 covers made now so they will fit together. Hopefully, someone out there can appreciate how hard this is.

Definitely not a feat for stock pictures.

Update on Leftover Girl Series

I thought this would be a good day to update everyone on how book # 3 in the Leftover Girl Series is coming along.

The ideas have been flowing across the screen, no problem there. The only issue I’ve had is squeezing all of the necessary details into one book. If you’ve read Secrets Return, you know that the end leaves the characters in vastly different locations.

My original plan was for book 3 to alternate point-of-view between Jes and Pade. I realize now it makes for a confusing read. So, I’ve decided to separate their stories into two books, which will bring the total count for the series up to 5.

I’m trying my best to stay true to this story. When I started the series, I planned for 4 books, but sometimes change is necessary. If you’re on the subscriber list at, I’ll let you know when these books release and about any special promotions. Also, I’ll post several short stories over the next few weeks about other characters from the Leftover Girl Series.

The first is live now!

Book 3 will be titled PRISON OF LIES and should be available around April 30th, not May as I originally suggested. Book 4 is planned for June and book 5 should be ready for an August/September release.

Taking on the Block

As if typing and arranging 50k+ words isn’t challenging enough, writers must learn to face a variety of fears. Did I publish my best work? When will someone read it? What if readers feel inclined to write a review and they didn’t connect? For me, one fear rises above the rest:
Writer’s Block.

I can’t imagine any writer hammering out a book without experiencing this feeling in the pit of her stomach. Life should be a balance between family, work, and finding that promise of fulfillment every living being searches for. For some of us, writing is an integral part of this fulfillment. Maybe not the most important part, but as long as a writer breathes, writing is part of her soul.

Some days it’s easy to crank out two thousand words. Some days I’m lucky to get one hundred. I’ve found a few key factors that help me meet my goals:

  • Outline – When I write a book, I always have a basic outline. I know the main characters, many of their struggles, and most importantly, how it’s all going to end. Currently I’m writing a series. My first step was to write the ending of the last book. Many plotlines will change between now and then, but I take comfort in the fact I have a destination.
  • Write from the Inside Out – So, I have the finish and I’ve likely got the start. What about the middle? Have patience. Write scenes one at a time. Don’t stress over ordering the scenes until later.
  • Focus on What You Like – We’ve all heard the saying ‘write what you like.’ This is probably the best advice I’ve ever heard. I tend to focus on confrontations and juicy drama between the characters. When I get bored writing a scene, you can bet someone will get bored reading it. Change scenes. Write something else.
  • Be Prepared to Deviate – We’ve all heard about the road less traveled. Having an outline provides a framework and a certain comfort to writing. Creativity brings success in the long term, but focus speeds up the process. Have a plan, but don’t be afraid to leave the pavement.
  • Watch People – Listen when people speak. Watch how they act in uncomfortable situations. Do your characters react in a reasonable way?
  • Make a Goal and Reward Structure – Set goals that are both attainable and measurable. If a goal doesn’t meet both, you’re spinning wheels. When you reach a goal, reward yourself. Start small. When you reach the stars, there will be no better feeling.
  • Have a Support Network – Network with other writers. Fear together. Struggle together. Celebrate together.

I’ve found that my best ideas don’t magically appear in front of a computer screen. I keep a notebook with me at all times. During the day, I have a thought and write it down – this way I’m not stressed about remembering.

Like most other writers, I have a family and a full-time job. I’ve got a certain amount of time carved out each day to write. Having notes ready before sessions makes for an effective use of this time.

I keep playlists of music named after every mood. If I’m writing a dark scene, I choose a slow, melancholy tune. For a happy scene, it’s got to make me feel like dancing.

The biggest secret I’ve found is to help others, not just in writing but all aspects of life. Listen. Offer solutions. If the waitress drops your food and you must wait twenty extra minutes, take a moment to consider we’ve all had bad days. I once dropped an entire tray of food after the customers had waited almost an hour. I gave a heartfelt apology, they patiently waited, and I still received a tip. After fifteen years, I’ve never forgotten their understanding or generosity.

Good deeds won’t always come back to you, but it’s a great feeling when one comes back tenfold.






Release Day for Secrets Return

Wow, has this been a crazy day. Since Secrets Return was the first book I set up for pre-order, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Looks like everything worked out okay. (I hope!!!)

The release of this book was an experiment for me. As of last night, only a handful of people had read this book. Only one blogger received a copy, and who knows if she’ll feel inclined to write a review. I hope so, but I’d never expect that of someone.

For weeks, I shaped and reshaped the words until I felt they painted the picture I saw in my mind. The way this book makes me feel – I can only hope other people feel the same way. Again, I’d never expect. Only hope. Don’t know if I was successful, but I decided to follow that old saying ‘write what you like.’

Secrets Return is definitely my favorite of the two.

What was different about this release was the lack of advertising. I did some ads last week when Leftover Girl was listed as a free download for three days, ending in thousands of downloads. Yeah, it surprised me too. The real question is – did anyone out there (other than me) like this story enough to read a second book? Turns out, there was at least one person.

Don’t take this the wrong way, because I think advertising is vital to selling books. Problem is, at this point I’m more interested in finishing books 3 and 4 than I am promoting the first two. Bad move? Maybe. My heart is really in finishing this series and later this year I’ll boost those promo efforts. Right now I’m going to sit back and write. And keep writing.

Maybe you’ll like the first two books and tell a friend. Maybe you won’t. The main take-away here is I plan to do this writing thing for many years to come. I’ve got so many stories to tell. Hopefully at least one will be for you.

Secrets Return – Almost Ready!!!

I’m happy to say I finished formatting Secrets Return for print today, so it looks as if the paperback edition will be ready for release on 1/24 with the Kindle edition. For anyone who’s tried to write a book and format using Microsoft Word – it’s an interesting challenge. Rewarding when it’s done, but whoa getting there…

Secrets Return is a book I’m really looking forward to publishing. Not just because I really like the story, but also because the second time around everything from writing to the dreaded formatting seemed easier, more enjoyable. I’d venture to say I can’t wait until I get there with book # 3. I’ve got a title in mind, but we won’t go there quite yet!

Be on the lookout for two more Leftover Girl books in 2017 and a stand-alone romance.