Author: ccbolick

Update on Fight Don’t Fear

Update on Fight Don’t Fear

So there I sat back in August, eyes glued to my laptop and happily pounding the keyboard to the tune of book # 3 in The Agency Series. A small voice cut through the steady beat of music (special playlist just for writing) and I ripped off my headphones. My daughter asked me why I liked to write more than spend time with her.

Naturally, I was horrified. “What did you say?” I asked, as if hearing her words again might change the fact I’d made my own child feel less than the special person she is. Both of my daughters will always be number one in my life, but somehow I’d let her down.

That night I cried.

Working a full-time job is hard. Following my dream of writing is super-hard, especially when I know I’ll most likely never be able to live the life of a writer full-time. Most people can’t. I came into this without illusion. My goal wasn’t to sell lots of books, but instead to reach a handful of readers who liked the same types of emotional stories as I do.

Late nights at the computer? No problem. Never having a day off? That’s been the price of following my dream. But my children will always come first.

In short, I put the book on the shelf and spent two months not writing. I enjoyed the extra time with my girls and found my way back to life.

I developed ways to balance what I loved to do, what I had to do, and what I lived for.

Originally, I planned to release Fight Don’t Fear at the end of November. Instead it will be January. The Agency Series will consist of three books and this will be the finale.

If you’re one of the three people in the world who read books 1 & 2 and have been eagerly anticipating this book, please email me at ccbolickbooks@gmail.com. Tell me your favorite part of Love Don’t Wait and send me your address. When the new book is ready, I’ll make sure you get a signed copy.

I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read any of my books. I’ve got more planned, with a new series starting next year.

I’ll have some teasers for the new book coming soon, but if you’ve read the Leftover Girl books, don’t be surprised if you see some familiar faces.

New Release – Love Don’t Wait

New Release – Love Don’t Wait

The last few months have been crazy busy for me, but I’ve finally released Love Don’t Wait, which is the second book in The Agency Series. Yes, this release is a few weeks later than I originally planned. To those who have been asking, I apologize for the wait.

If you’ve been following my books, The Agency Series is a spin-off of the Leftover Girl books. After finishing Fate of War, I wanted to write a different story. Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy with how the first series ended. I just wanted the next series to have a slightly different feel.

So I went back to the characters left behind. I always planned for more stories, but I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take first. Angel was chosen to head up this series mainly because I didn’t like her in the other books. I wanted to give her the opportunity to grow into the person I knew she could be.

While Run Don’t Think starts her story, Love Don’t Wait pushes the limits of what she can handle as a teen and as a person with powers that others both covet and fear.

If you haven’t guessed this already, I love books in a series. I planned for several books where the characters could cross over, but I didn’t want to write one never-ending series. If you’ve read Fate of War, you probably have a good idea of how the agency came into play.

The first series included five books. The last book brought a conclusion which I hope readers can feel good about. At that point, if they want to take a breather and read something else, I’m just thankful they took the time to read the entire series. If they want to continue, the next series starts with a different group of central characters, but still within the same universe.

There will be one more book in The Agency Series, which is Fight Don’t Fear. I’m shooting for November on this one. It will bring back more characters from the first series, but I won’t give spoilers here. After finishing Love Don’t Wait, you should be able to guess who.

To everyone who has read my books and especially to those who continue to pick up a copy of each new release, thanks for the support. I truly appreciate each and every purchase, download on KU, review, follow, and contact that lets me know what people think of my stories.

Run Don’t Think

Run Don’t Think

April has been a busy month for me and I’m excited to say my next book, Run Don’t Think, will release on 4/26/18.

When I started this story, I had the intention of writing a novella as a spin-off from the Leftover Girl series. Angel and Skip were two characters from the series that I wanted to explore further and maybe provide a bonus story to the 2 or 3 folks who have read the entire series.

Why did the series need more? Well, the truth is I needed more. Time to write that is. By the time the series ended, I’d already outlined Angel’s story and I was itching to get started.

When I started writing many years ago, I chose to put the stories from my head down on paper for one reason only: my own enjoyment. Yes, I’d like others to enjoy my stories, maybe even you, but my biggest reason is my own. If I finish a story on paper, I can finally move to the next.

Since I write for my own enjoyment and I enjoy books that are connected in a series, it’s no surprise that’s my chosen path. I have other books planned with characters that will have crossover stories, but they will all exist in the same universe.

So, like I said at the start, I wanted to write a novella. As I dug into the story, I realized Angel and Skip deserved more. Next thing I knew, a full novel stared back from my computer screen.

I think I’ve enjoyed writing Run Don’t Think more than any other story.

If you’ve read book 4 in the Leftover Girl Series (Illusion of Truth), you know Angel and Skip end up with a case that holds one hundred thousand dollars. This is where Run Don’t Think starts, but after a few pages, you’ll realize this is a different story than the Leftover Girl books.

This new story has a faster pace and a paranormal spin instead of sci-fi. My greatest struggle with this book was how to make a new story that anyone can pick up and enjoy without reading the original series. I hope I accomplished this.

When I reached the last page, I realized there’s still more story to tell. So, turns out Run Don’t Think will actually kick off The Agency Series, which will be three books.

If you get the chance to drop me some feedback on this new book, please do. I’d love to hear what you think.

What’s Next

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!

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

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

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

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

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.

I DO NOT WANT TO MAKE MY COVERS!

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

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 www.ccbolick.com, 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.