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.

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. 🙂

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. 

For Uncle Mark

I have decided I’m a strange writer. Either that or I’m on the verge of breaking a terrible writers block—well, technically, I have, but more on that in a little bit. Either way, April is upon us once more, and it isn’t the prospect of warmer weather that excites me. Or that I can now walk Hank in flip flops without layers and layers of clothing (although the Kentucky weather has been acting strange again)…or even that I now have an apartment with my boyfriend that is ours.

No, I’m freaking excited about Camp NaNoWriMo. I went through a bad writing stump in January, wrote bits and pieces in February, and nothing again in March (for the most part—nothing substantial, anyway). Granted, I did have a lot going on. I moved twice (yes, twice), have had limited internet access, and my MFA class has kept me busy but petrified because we have to use videos to submit our work. I also was focused on editing a novel for a new author. So, I feel like those were legitimate reasons for not beating myself up for being lazy whenever I started getting angry over not writing. I forgave myself; not an easy task.

With that said, I’m officially working on a stand-alone novel, Ivy Wild. I love my series writing, but I’m starting to wonder I can’t write a stand-alone, so I need this challenge to prove to myself that I can tie everything up nicely.

I’m also pantsing.

I know! I was doing so well with the plotting. Cheap Tricks turned out to be fantastic because I plotted it and used a beat sheet. But, I need a change of pace. I want to write more and publish faster. I write faster when I pants. Granted, I may need to edit more later, but I’ll still write quickly.

Usually, I don’t do this…but pray for me, y’all. I’ve not pantsed in a while. I wrote 2,633 words yesterday, and we’ll see how it goes today. I’m also writing longhand. I’m dying to get this story written since it’s been in my head for so long. It’s special, since I’m basing it in Philadelphia and plan on dedicating it to my Uncle Mark, who passed away in 2016. I’ve been all kinds of emotional—but it’s good to let yourself get emotional when you write.

All right! I’m pumped to go write now. Good luck to anyone else who is participating this month!