Author: ccbolick

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.

Taking on the Block

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

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!!!

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.

 

Reviews? Who Cares What I Think?

Reviews? Who Cares What I Think?

This post is for anyone out there like me, who hates writing reviews. Who cares what I think about a book?

As I’ve learned from this publishing adventure of mine, reviews aren’t for the author. As much as I’d love to say I’ve written a review for every book I’ve read, that would be a lie. Now, I’ve written reviews for many of the books I’ve read since publishing and realizing the true power of a review. Reviews help customers understand why they might enjoy a book, or if they should run in the other direction.

Reviews are tough to get, probably because most readers are like me. Or they’re like I was before I understood why one teeny tiny review can mean so much.

I promise you that I do pay attention to feedback, either from reviews or feedback through the website. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. Like it or hate it, I want to hear your thoughts. When I published Leftover Girl, I had no expectations of a bestseller. My only hope is to not give up before reaching the people who enjoy this story. Unless you’re out there navigating the waters of self-publishing, you might not understand why people go to the trouble or even the fact that publishing is a whole lot of work.

I’m sure everyone has their own reason, but I can only own up to mine. I’ve had stories in my head for years, many stories with a variety of characters bouncing around that just won’t shut up. I’m not the best writer, never will be, but I’m learning. And like the majority of writers, I’ll probably never make back what I put into my books in the form of professional editing, cover design, advertising, etc.

But not making money is okay. (Did I really just say that???)

I consider myself a lucky girl, to have a job I enjoy when some people in this country would be grateful for any job. I joke sometimes about the day job, but I’m truly thankful it pays the bills. If I never make money writing, I probably won’t stop. Writing is an outlet for stress from my job. As I’ve said before, I work in a technical field – this just happens to be in the world of manufacturing. A digital multi-meter and a 2.5mm slotted screwdriver are my trusted tools. One day I’d love to write books about fixing machines and programming robots.

Maybe one day…sigh.

Don’t be scared of writing a review. A great review is not one with more stars attached, but instead tells a potential customer if a book is for them. Books are subjective. Most are for less than 1% of 1% of 1% of the population. A great review cuts through the clutter and sends a clear picture of what a books is about. It helps us discover that wonderful, jittery, can’t believe I read this for the 10th time and still enjoyed it feeling that only comes from a book we connect with.

I’ve got a library of those and I try to discover a new one whenever possible.

Life is good until a book makes it great.

 

 

 

 

Kirkus Review!

Kirkus Review!

Last night I sat down at the computer (dishes done, kids in bed, etc.) and opened my email…and spotted a message that caused my heart to race. My Kirkus review was ready.

I wasn’t sure if I should open the email or delete. Of course I would open it, but still. Unless you’re actually from another planet, most of us fear criticism. Or maybe it’s not simply criticism, since I’ve faced and survived plenty in my life. As a woman in a technical field, I’ve worked hard to be a useful member of the team and teach others what I’ve learned along the way. I don’t always get the answer right. Sometimes a guess is the best I can give, and a bad review has nothing on making the wrong choice for people who depend on me.

I think the real fear is of the unknown. In that moment, I could imagine quite a few unsavory words hiding behind that mouse click. Three clicks later (shaking hands), I got to read the words I’d waited for. Good or bad, they were mine.

As it turns out, Kirkus didn’t say my book sucked (at least I don’t think they did). It felt good to see them call it an “enjoyable page-turner” and “a surprisingly fresh paranormal romance.”

And for the “unanswered questions”, I like to think in life there’s always a reason.

Click to See Review

So Far, So Good

So Far, So Good

It’s been a long journey for me. At some point, I thought just writing my first book and maybe getting it published would put the finish line in sight.

Are you laughing yet?

When I decided that self-publishing would be the best way to meet my personal goals, while working a full-time job, I didn’t factor in the time it takes for editing, cover design (not that I personally completed either of those tasks), and marketing – this is the big one, not to mention the time it would take me to scour the Internet to determine what the heck to do next.

Not that it’s been all bad. It’s been a rush of rocky mountains and deep, deep ravines. I’ve learned to respect the ‘Indie’ authors who have succeeded in the abyss of cyberspace that is drowning in books. I know now they didn’t just get lucky. They kept their heads above water through hard work. It astounds me, while giving hope, since I realize the dozen or so books I plan to write are simply waiting for me.

On a personal note, I discovered Goodreads and renewed my own love of reading. If nothing else, this journey has reconnected me with a high only achieved through reading a great book. I’ve decided to make Goodreads my first choice for social media. I hope to see you there.

Thanks!

Thanks!

Just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has read Leftover Girl. More will be added to this website over the next few weeks, but that's what I wanted to say first.