Books! (Plural!)

A friend of mine posted this photo on Facebook this week–my two books, newly purchased, together side by side.

books together

I admit, it’s been a bit of a low key book release. I moved just weeks before release day and was a little overwhelmed getting kids settled into new schools and finding the routine and rhythm of our new home. Then, all of a sudden, there was a box of books in my kitchen and release day came and went and my second book was officially born–sent out into the world to be read and (hopefully) enjoyed by others. But it didn’t really hit home, I think, until I saw this photo. This is the one that made me all sappy and happy.

I’m not sure I could ever actually quantify all the heart and energy and love that goes into the writing of a book. It’s an emotional experience, a taxing experience, an experience that often makes you want to bang your head against the wall or scream from the rooftops or worst of all, chuck your laptop off the side of a mountain. That’s not to say it’s always cupcakes and roses after publication. Marketing is hard, and bad reviews are hard, and the sheer vulnerability that comes with knowing your words are out there for anyone and their cousin to read? It can be hard too. If I think about it too much, it still freaks me out a little.

You know what though? It only takes one person saying “Hey, I really loved this” for it to all feel worth it. I know I can’t speak for all authors. I’m only me, and I may feel differently than many. But you want to know why I do this? Mostly because it just feels really good to write things that make other people happy. Even if it’s a temporary happiness that only lasts for the four or so hours it takes to read the book. If I can do that? Give someone four hours of happiness? I’m totally willing to endure the trials that accompany getting there. (Also, writing is the only thing that tames the voices in my head. Sometimes they talk like I’m not even in the room. Rude, right? They won’t shut up till their stories are written, so, you know, what’s a girl gonna do? I don’t know though. This might be a conversation we should save for another blog post. You think? Yes? Okay, me too.)

And here is where I say THANK YOU, because really truly, I feel so fortunate that I get to do something that I love so much and share it with others. It is an honor and a privilege and it makes me happy and I so hope it makes you happy too. That’s all.

Coming Soon: Mountains Between Us

mountains

Have I told you anything about my next book?

It’s probably time to do so. We’re still a ways out from my release date, but I’m feeling excited about this book today, so let’s talk about it, shall we?

Mountains Between Us

Okay, so I really love this book. It’s another Rose Creek novel in that it’s set in the same town and has a few overlapping characters as The House at Rose Creek, but it’s a still a stand alone novel with all new protagonists. The backdrop for the story is a Rehabilitative Boarding School called Rockbridge Academy nestled deep in the Appalachian Mountains. (those pictured right  up there. Beautiful, right? I love living here. If you’ve never visited Western North Carolina, you should make it your next vacation destination. Trust me. You won’t be disappointed. If you come, call me. We’ll have lunch.)

We were talking about the book, yes?

Here’s the cast of important characters:

Henry: A recently divorced father and English teacher struggling to find his place at a school that challenges his abilities as a teacher and forces him far outside his comfort zone.

Eliza: A licensed clinical counselor that joins the Rockbridge Staff and changes everything for more than one person. (Hint? Henry’s totally one of them.)

Flip: The handsome, outdoorsy wilderness team leader at Rockbridge that falls in love with Eliza and saves the day more than once. (His name is actually Frederick, but everyone calls him Flip.) And did I mention? He was born in Ireland so listening to him talk is a lovely, lovely thing.

There are others… students and directors, fellow counselors and teachers, estranged parents, siblings, and ex-in-laws. There is misunderstanding and fear and forgiveness and love. This book is a romance–more than The House at Rose Creek, for sure. But it’s also a book about finding peace when it’s been missing for a really long time. It’s about family. It’s about overcoming personal challenges. But there IS kissing. So, you know, romance. That scares some people. So consider yourself WARNED.

I’m so very excited to share this book with all of you. The next few months will be fun. Release date is early September so before too long I’ll have a cover to show you. Fun, right?

Thanks for coming along on this journey, guys. I don’t say that often enough. It’s a dream come true to be writing these kinds of bookish posts. And it’s only possible because of lovely friends, fans and readers that, well, READ.

Know what I think?  I think you should go buy a book today. (I bought six this morning. Heh. That will be fun to work into the budget. Interested in what I bought? If you ask in the comments, I’ll totally tell you!)

Frequently Asked Questions: Do you have an Agent? Do I Need One?

pexels-photo-356079I do not, presently, have an agent.

My first four novels are LDS Fiction, published through Covenant Communications, an independent niche market publisher based in Utah. They publish LDS Fiction, I write LDS Fiction, and they accept direct queries/submissions from authors. For me, it wasn’t necessary to get an agent in order to send them my work.

I am, however, working on a Young Adult novel that isn’t LDS specific, and will be better suited (I hope!) for a more general audience. When it’s finished, I’ll start looking for an agent that will represent me in the national market.

Do you need an agent? If you want to take a book to the national market and find a traditional publisher (which means you don’t want to self-publish) then YES, you need to find an agent.

A good literary agent can be your very best friend when navigating the waters of publishing. They understand contracts and know how to look out for your best interests. They understand the industry, they understand good writing. You need one.

The end.

Okay, not really the end because clearly, I’ve already published four books without an agent. But the LDS Fiction market is very different than mainstream publishing. And in many ways, that’s a wonderful thing. Even if I manage to snag an agent and get this third book into the national market, I still want to write LDS Fiction. I love working with the lovely people at Covenant, and I like writing books that are clean and good and true. It makes me happy, and there’s a good market for it.

But I will say this. If you decide to publish without an agent, whether within the LDS Publishing market, or without, be smart. Don’t be guilty of “I’m going to be published” euphoria and sign any contract that’s placed in front of you. Ask the right questions. Have an attorney that understands intellectual property law read over your contract and explain to you what you’re signing. Be honest (but realistic) about what your expectations are. Be kind, but forthright. If you don’t have an agent to ask about terms and negotiate deals that are mutually beneficial to you and your publisher, you have to be tough and do those things for yourself. It’s absolutely possible. Just be smart, ask the right questions, and arm yourself with knowledge.

Now really, The end.