Whoa! It’s been a while. Here’s an update.

I bought a house, finished a book that is releasing in May, and another novel is on sale right now on Kindle!

I have been stalling on updating this blog because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move it to my official author website or continue updating this already-established blog. I originally started working on it more for class purposes, and so I waffled back and forth for an entire year on what to do with it, even though I started using some techniques I learned during my eight-month long internship with Cupid’s Pulse. I have also gone back to work at Maximus Federal and have gotten a position as a dual Customer Service Representative. I’m obviously keeping this blog. I’m going to make a commitment to update once or twice a week. I’m in my planner today, making a schedule. There might not always be updates either—it depends on what I have going on in both my creative and personal life.

So, what have I been up to?

I bought a house. I’ve been a homeowner for an entire year now. It’s strange but wonderful at the same time. And I really enjoy not paying rent. It has amped up my creative flow since I now have less stress.

I graduated October 1,2020 from Southern New Hampshire University with my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Professional Writing certificate. Then I panicked because I would no longer be getting student aid refunds and went back to the one place which has always been reliable for me: Maximus. I will continue working as a dual CSR until I can find something better. What’s important right now is that I have financial security until I can find something closer to my field. And $500 bonuses for being a dual don’t hurt, either. I’m still pinching myself over getting promoted this time in about four months of going back to the company.

My thesis, and consequently my seventh book, will release on May 3rd. You can preorder Crumbled Bliss now.

Crumbled Bliss Cover

Also, this month Head Over Hoof is on sale for $0.99. You can click here if you want to order a copy. Also, I’m working on a tentative version of Cynthia Lesiker’s side of the novel—and consequently the first woman in Aidan’s life before he met Bri. I’m laughing so hard at myself because I never plotted this novel when I first wrote either it or Head Over Heart.

Head Over Hoof Cover

I’m challenging myself to finish the first draft of the next book in this series by the end of March. I haven’t actively started working on it yet this morning since I still need to read parts of the books and decide which direct scenes I will rewrite in Cyn’s point of view, but it is entirely from her point of view, since she has a relationship with several men in the novel. Cyn has a slow burn toward her happily ever after—so much so that she is going to have two books.

Just know that I am excited about my upcoming projects, I am doing well, and I may have spoilers for you from Crumbled Bliss and Cyn’s book in the coming months.

Ahh!!! Crumbled Bliss Release

I can’t believe it’s only a week until my seventh book baby comes out to the world! Check out the info below. 🙂

You can also order a signed copy of my books here.

Crumbled Bliss

Category: Romance, New Adult

FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Price: $2.99 

Publication Date: May 3rd, 2021

Publisher: Kingston Publishing Company

**Crumbled Bliss

Joey Slater broke Patience Daniel’s heart the night she found out he asked her sister to marry him at a party.

And then the crash happened. Joey made it. Sarah didn’t.

That night left Patience without two of the most important people in her life. Now, she’s in college and managing her Grandmother’s bakery, stronger than ever. Life’s mostly okay… until Joey walks back into her life, asking for cupcakes.

Joey only wants to be a part of Patience’s life again. After tragedy strikes her family once more, he knows he can’t walk away from her this time. All he seeks is redemption with this beautiful girl. He’s no longer that messed up, confused seventeen-year-old boy who couldn’t decide who he loved.

Patience must not only navigate her feelings for Joey, but she must also deal with her family. She can’t lose the bakery. It’s the one thing which always brought together her family, and somehow through it all, Joey has become her rock again.

Can Patience forgive Joey for breaking her heart?

#kingstonpublishing #kpdesigns #amreading  #romance   #newrelease #kindleunlimited

Buy Link- https://www.amazon.com/Crumbled-Bliss-Blissful-Bites-Book-ebook/dp/B08W96BJ8S/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Crumbled+Bliss+by+mara+miller&qid=1619375297&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

Just a Small Heads Up

I’m excited about this term. Not only because MFA 604: Finding and Reaching an Audience is one final stepping stone before I take my thesis courses (I’m thinking I’ll graduate in September 2020–woohoo!), but because I will actually be learning more about building my author platform. 🙂 I already know the basics, and it has worked to a degree, but I would love for more people to read my work. Though I will say the relaunch of Cheap Guitars is doing amazing. Oh, speaking of which, here’s the cover and Amazon Link!

Cheap Guitars - Website Ed.

That being said, for this course, we are required to build a WordPress website. I will not be doing that. I will be using my already-established page–my instructor seemed fine with it. There’s a chance I might have to change a few things around so my blog fits my course needs/rubric (I’m not anywhere near ready to let go of that 3.9 GPA I’ve prided myself in for so long).

I’m also gearing up for NaNoWriMo, which starts on Friday (eek!). I’m excited about this project. It’s different from my usual New Adult Romances–it still has a college setting, but I’m playing with my vampires again. As in, the vampires that come after Daemon. Remember Xylorcia’s Gift, my short story? That universe. Except it’s a little different now, but not? I’ve had this story in my head for over twenty years (yes, I realize that puts me in middle school–I probably was in middle school when I first started developing these characters since that’s when I started truly writing). I figure with all of my adult knowledge, this story will finally come out–and I can’t wait for everyone to see the final project. In a couple years, probably. Because, as is the reason for this entire post, grad school.

I’ll be posting updates weekly for NaNo, so be on the lookout for that! Also, are you participating too? Let me know! You can add me as a NaNo buddy as Angelic_Demon.

Project Update

I thought I’d post a quick update on my projects for anyone who is wondering. I’m working on three books right now. It’s hectic, trust me. It’s weird not having my other books on sale right now while I wait for Kingston.

And man–I’ve realized just how much I have happening with all of my books in this project update!

The books I just signed a contract for with Kingston Publishing: Cheap Guitars has undergone edits and I believe the release date is 10/7. I’m still waiting for my other books to be edited. I think they’re moving the release date up for them as well but I’m just kind of waiting to hear right now.

Cheaper Sunglasses: I haven’t worked on it a few days but I’m trying to figure out a schedule for how I want to do my writing schedule so I can continue to juggle multiple projects while I still have to work on my thesis. I’ll talk about my thesis in a few minutes, but I’m still determined to finish this by the end of the month. The project is currently sitting at 3,522 words.

Cheap Promises: Lord, this thing is driving me nuts, but I think I finally figured out the plot. The project is currently sitting at 47,254 words but I worry a lot of that is going to have to change. It won’t quite take me back to scratch but there are a few chapters I need to completely rewrite to make it work with the new plot. I’m still plotting the ending but I should be able to start working on it after I finish the novella.

Heart Be Still: I’m so proud of this book. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place with it, though. I have met the 15,000-word requirement for my first Thesis course so I think I could technically get away without working on it until January and finish my other projects first, but I don’t think that’s very practical. I took the double-spacing out of it and I’m rewriting about 20 pages today so I can put all of it into the past tense. Then I’m putting the plot in the back of my writing planner so I can keep track of scenes I need to write and on certain days. That’s the trick to juggling multiple projects, by the way–a strict writing schedule. Everyone always calls me so prolific, and I honestly think that’s how I keep myself busy…but I also just kind of want to focus on this book for now.

Anyway, happy writing! If you’re a writer, what are you working on right now? If you’re a reader, do you want a synopsis of all my books? Let me know in the comments!

Down the Rabbit Hole

Welcome to my attempt this month to start posting regularly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday! We’ll see how it goes.

I have a blog writing itch that is hard to scratch since I left Cupid’s Pulse last month. And as much as I didn’t want to leave, it has been a blessing, because my boyfriend is encouraging me to write like CRAZY. If you want to see any of the articles I wrote, some might still publish for a while. You can find them on Cupid Pulse’s website. Just type in “Mara Miller” since my name is a tag for the website as one of their editorial interns. If you are a student and need a good internship for college credit, I highly recommend Cupid’s Pulse, and I’ll gladly pass on the information to apply. I think they’re covered for this semester with interns but they’re always looking.

I’ve recently turned into more of a plotter than a plantser (a pantser who plots a little). I need to write an 80,000 word novel for my thesis as an MFA student at Southern New Hampshire University.

But with signing on with Kingston Publishing and working on books outside of a book I can’t even think about publishing until I graduate around December of 2020, I still need to produce other novels for my series since I am dying to finish the Cheap Series. I also have a few secret projects I have been plotting but I’m not quite ready to announce yet even though I plan on diving into them after Cheaper Sunglasses and Cheap Promises are finished.

The crazy thing to me is how plotting the thesis has made it come out much easier than with any of the books I ever wrote in the Cheap series. Nevermind how seven chapters in, I decided the entire book needed to be written in the third person. One of the requirements for my thesis program is that we must have 15,000 words before we take the first thesis course and have already fulfilled that requirement. I’m looking at my writing planner right now. I’m wondering if my goal if hitting 20k before the glass begins is feasible because I want to get my novella and other novels out of the way before my course begins in a few months.

So, for one, if you’re a pantser like I was and you’re on a pretty serious deadline like I am, I suggest Take off Your Pants: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker. She broke down how to plot a book. You’ll get down the main key events in the novel, and this has actually helped me narrow down what a few of my plot holes were with Cheap Promises. I’m still working on it to a degree and Mae and Dan decided they needed another story before that novel so more things would make sense (and I could finally close up their story) so now I’m plotting that one completely half-assed, but I’m still outlining because if I don’t, I know I’ll write myself into a corner. Have you ever done that if you’re a pantser? You’ll start off super strong. You’ll know where the story is going…until you don’t and you hit a major writer’s block until the next New Shiny Idea draws your attention away from your current WIP.

I don’t have time for this anymore!

So, I’m mentioning everything I use to plot. I’m writing this in hopes that it will help someone else… and maybe to confirm to myself that I’m mostly just organized and I’m not a complete nut.

Neon colored index cards: I have neon green and neon pink for points of views I’m writing in a scene. Pink is obviously for my main female protagonist and green for my male. I use white to indicate which act my scenes need to go under or some other essential notes. With the school season currently, I got over 200 index cards from Walmart for decent prices. I’m set for a while.

Jami Gold’s Beat Sheets: Seriously. They’re amazing. You can find them here. I also like her scene list because I can check off everything I need in a scene.

Scrapple: Made by the people who created Scrivener, Scrapple is a brainstorming tool. It’s a great place for me to dump all of my ideas so I can get a big-picture vision of whatever I’m planning on writing, whether it be a stand-alone or a series. And the best part? I can import whatever I create into Scrivener so I have it right there to look at when I’m working.

Happy Planner: I LOVE Happy Planner’s Products. I have the Rong Rong productivity pages planner where I keep track of things like writing goals for the month, what I want to post in my blog, top priorities, and words counts. I also keep track of Instagram or Twitter challenges for the #amwriting community I want to participate in for the month. I have my Erin Condren that I use for everyday life stuff, but Happy Planner is great because I added pink expander discs to the planner and now I can keep any plotting notes I need in the back of it, as well as know exactly what projects I need to work on. It’s fabulous. I’m also planning on getting the social media expansion eventually so I can keep better track of Twitter and Instagram and figure out what I want to post during the month. Being organized like this helps me see how much time I actually have to write outside of life stuff (and it’s quite a bit now, which I love). I’m actually about to handwrite all of my thesis plot points and put them into this planner.

Speaking of planners: Why Planners Should be Crucial to Your Writing Process

An A, B, C format: It looks like this (I’m using a watered-down version of my thesis):

A. Joey moves home. His uncle guilts him into picking up a surprise for his aunt even though he doesn’t want to see Patience.

B. Patience goes to work. Her sister is causing trouble.

C. Something happens to Martha, Patience’s grandma, after Brenna gets into a fight with Joey.

I don’t want to go into what happens to Grandma Martha, but you get the general gist of how that kind of thing works. I didn’t like this aspect of plotting for the class. I would have much-rathered index cards or my beat sheets from Jami Gold, but it forced me to look at everything from flashbacks to when my romantic couple kisses for the first time. I struggled with this format during my Romance Writing II course, but my professor wouldn’t let me give up and made me stick to this story, and I will be forever grateful to her for it.

Do you have any plotting must haves? Let me know! I’m always trying to figure out ways to plot better. 

Big Changes Coming

I thought this day would never come.

I am no longer self-published.

I thought this day would never come.

I am no longer self-published. I signed a publishing contract on the 7th with Kingston Publishing. I’m beyond thrilled to work with them. I want to give a shout out to Stephanie Nicole and B.M. Griffin–I might not have taken this big leap without your encouragement.

They have picked up all of my romance novels: Head Over Hoof, Head Over Heart, Cheap Lies, Cheap Guitars, Cheap Sunglasses, Cheap Tricks and I will be submitting Cheap Promises to them when it is finished. Expect the newly covered and freshly edited versions of books, of which I have poured my heart and soul into the past six years (whoa, time flies!) in January.

The goal is to finish Cheap Promises and work on my thesis as a break before I dive into a seven-book series sometime next year. Before that, I may be working on a rom-com trilogy. If you aren’t a member of Mara’s Marsbars on Facebook, please feel free to join. I may add a few short stories in there later. 🙂

Why Planners Should be Crucial to Your Writing Process

Want to manage your time better as a writer? Follow this writing advice for tips with using a paper planner!

My internship course, MFA 607, is coming to a close soon and I’ve been on a huge YouTube binge. Erin Condren just released her 2019-2020 line of planners, my personal favorite planner brand. I can’t help but die over the Kaleidoscope pattern every time I see it. I’m taking a glance over of what’s in my cart right now, and good god, when did I get so excited about planners that I have decided I need one for business planning and personal planning? This has eaten into some writing time, but I don’t mind it a bit. I’m buying two planners for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020.

I didn’t use to be a “planner girl”.

I remember when I started writing in middle school and they would try to force us to use a planner to keep up with all of our assignments in school. I hated it. I would write the bare minimum for my teachers to accept it. I would toss it in my locker and refused to look at it for the rest of the week. I remember getting frustrated with the planner because it was too small, and my pen ink ghosted on the paper. Pen ghosting is the worst. It not only messes with my dyslexia and confuses me if it’s bad enough, but it also looks horrible on the page. As someone who likes to handwrite her chapters occasionally, that has always been a problem. I didn’t even bother in high school. I played a little with a planner in college, but it still didn’t serve much of a purpose.

YouTube is to blame for my obsession with finding something that could keep me organized as an independent romance author when I found a video from JaaackJack (I love her make up reviews and her dog, Zoey!) about her back to school giveaway a couple of years ago. I don’t think I could juggle as much as I do–writing, growing my author network on social media, school, or my internship–without my Lifeplanner and Monthly Deluxe Planners. And if I still don’t have you convinced, I’ve come up with a list of reasons why you should use a paper planner:

Before you read this list: You don’t need to buy something from Erin Condren in order to help yourself organize as a writer (although you can go here if you want $10 off one of those pretty new planners–or notebooks–and I’ll get $10 to feed my addiction). Plum Paper Planner is completely customizable (I’m eyeing their notebooks because you can add an extra 100 pages) or Happy Planner (a disc-bound system that is completely customizable).

1. It will help you write faster: I know this is a strange concept. How in the world can a paper planner help you write faster? It helps me to see how fast I’m writing at the end of the week when I have jotted down my word counts for the day. It also helps me keep track of the scenes I’ve written for the day, so I know what to tackle the next.

2. Time management: I could write a freaking book on time management. I have an hourly Lifeplanner I’ve been using since January. Trust me, when you look at your planner and see how much time you have to write, going down the rabbit hole of researching the Jacobite family line on YouTube because you’ve been on a Reign and Outlander binge will seem less worthy of your time than working on your novel, you’ll thank me.

3. Word tracker: Obviously, you can count how much you wrote at the end of the day and which scenes you worked on. I find this important especially because I have been bouncing around while I’m working on my thesis. This is the one novel I have not written in chronological order and it’s been throwing me for a loop. It also helps me feel better to see how much progress I have made on my work every day. I’m checking my Lifeplanner right now, and my biggest writing day was last month on April 11th when I hit 5,000 words.

4. Plan ahead: How many novels do you want to write in a year if you’re planning to go the Indie route? Two? Three? Six? It helps to know what days you won’t be able to write in advance, so you won’t set yourself up for disappointment later. My goal is two this year: My thesis and Cheap Promises. I’m in a graduate program, no way will I manage more than that right now. Being realistic with yourself and your writing progress will stop a nasty block later!

5. Budget Ads: Again, if you’re self-publishing, you’ll want to have space where you can figure out your budget when it comes to releasing your books. A lot of planners have a dashboard or notes page at the beginning of the month that are perfect for this (or if you use the Happy Planner or another planner that has a binder or disc system, you can add an extra page yourself).

6. Author Platform: I’ve been tracking my Twitter follower count since last year, and man, has it grown. I’m so thankful to the great #WritingCommunity who have been supportive since I found them a couple years ago. I find that it’s important to track social media so you can see how large your platform is when you start to think it might not grow at all. Networking with other writers is a great way to not only get support when you do publish your book, but to find the next great read or group of friends that you may not have come across before by isolating yourself from the world (shout out to K.N., M.R., Gloria, Paula, Jayne, Jenn, Dan, Lonormi, Mason, and Anne!).

Have I convinced you to get a planner yet?

I’m notoriously evil amongst my writing tribe for showing them all of the pretty paper and pen things. Let me know if you’re a planner user!

The End of an Era: Should My Thesis be the Start of a New Series?

I keep telling everyone that Cheap Promises is the last book in my first series. I need to move on. Focusing on my thesis, Heart Be Still, must take precedence over letting characters who I love and know well sway me into another book because the ideas will not stop coming, no matter how many times I try to ignore them. I worry that by continuing the Cheap series, and only the Cheap series, I’m stunting my growth as a writer.

Since the Cheap series was my first, I worry a second will be riddled with errors. But to be honest…if I add more books after I finish my thesis, it will be the fourth series I’ve officially started writing (and I must finish this book because I’ll have wasted a lot of money if I don’t receive my Master of Fine Arts degree from Southern New Hampshire University…and I won’t have a chance in hell of teaching creative writing classes in a university).

That paralyzing, teeth-grinding fear of worrying I’m a not good enough writer if I can’t get away from my first book’s characters is what propelled me to add another story to my Over series. It is ultimately also why I have not written Cyn’s story yet.

I’ve found that one of your strongest tools as a self-published author is a series. A standalone has its own merits—it’s a full story that allows you to wrap up all plot points with little question of what has happened to the characters, especially if it’s a love story and they have gotten their Happily Ever After and you want to query agents. The problem with a standalone is that you might not get buy-throughs from readers. I know this for a fact as a reader myself—I am DYING to finish Jasinda Wilder’s Badd Brothers series but decided to be a responsible-ish adult and pay three months ahead of rent instead. Buy-through in a series keep readers coming back for more. They become as invested in your characters as you did when you created them.

So, am I going to write a standalone with my series or turn it into a standalone novel? Honestly, I think it’s slowly turning into a series. I’m not promising it will because I also might query agents and try to get it traditionally published (GASP). I also have a four-book mini-series that I’m planning to write in alongside my thesis after I publish Cheap Promises because I want to produce work while I’m still working on my degree. I figure if I finish the first book—the thesis—and then start the next right after then I might have a decent start to a longer series like the Cheap series.

And say what? Am I’m working on a four-book mini-series? Maybe. As well as a longer seven-book series that I’ve been plotting in Scrivener.

That’s another benefit of pre-planning a series—you have everything you need to write the books fast. I’m going to try writing all four of them before I ever release the first one so I can see how my sales do when I finish them. Honestly, I think I’m a series-writing girl. Everyone jokes with me that Cheap Promises really ISN’T my last book in that series. I have a title and a storyline for Amy that I’m not sure about writing yet. I have at least four titles to books that I don’t plan on publishing.

With that being said, my books are all on sale this weekend from May 11th-May 12th. You can purchase them on Amazon here. Every single one is .99 cents! It’s a good chance to catch up on the Cheap series before Cheap Promises releases.