When a series ends.

I recently got a contract for the third and final book of my Handymen series, A Reluctant Attraction. Thank you to Totally Bound Publishing for helping me share that series with romance readers. The document is now with my editor. Edits will begin soon, cover art will be finalized, and eventually advance reading copies will make their way into reader hands.

It’s all very exciting. It’s also a little sad.

It took awhile for me to realize that I would soon be saying goodbye to Michael, Eli and Nick Zorn, the heroes of the Handymen series. I would also have to say goodbye to Emily, Bernie and Claire, their heroines. When that realization hit, it came with a wallop.

I first started writing book 1, A Good Man, several years ago. My journey with Michael and Emily began at that time, and in a way, it feels like I’ve been living with these characters forever. I’ve fallen in love with them, and it warms my hearts to know readers have felt the same way.

Of course, if you follow me regularly, you’ll know this book had quite a circuitous journey. Three publishers, two covers, two editions, two sets of editors and lots of ups and downs. But it’s all worked out in the end, and the reviews have been great.

And now, book 2, An Irresistible Force, is coming in September! I laboured over Eli and Bernie’s story, and getting it all down on paper sometimes felt like a challenge. It was an emotional  book to write, and I’m sure my readers will feel some emotions too. But it’s also full of snark and some fun times, and I can’t wait to share it.

Of course, even before  book 2 was contracted, I was working on book 3, A Reluctant Attraction. It was really important for me to give the final book in the series the same flavour as the others. It had to tug at the heartstrings, while also making the reader dream. I hope my readers will enjoy Nick and Claire’s story too.

I’m already working on what I hope will be my next series (no details yet- stay tuned!) But every so often as I go through my day, my Handymen brothers whisper in my ear. Sometimes, I think I see Michael out of the corner of my eye, painting a wall in my house. At other times, I’ll glance outside the window and spot Eli in my yard, tidying up my garden. And I can’t forget Nick. He hangs out on my back deck. These heroes had exhilarating romances, ones that were sometimes riddled with obstacles. Their stories still resonate with me. In fact, there are times when I wonder if I wrote the books at all, or whether I’m just witnessing the romances as they happen. That’s how real they feel to me at this point. I’ve even had conversations with these characters, and the dialogues continue.

I already miss this group of characters.

But it’s time to move on. Their stories have been told, and I can always go back and visit them. I suspect I will quite a bit.

Besides, another group of characters is moving in. I can’t make out every detail yet. It’s as if I’m seeing them through a fog. As they approach, they become clearer, and I like what I see. It’s a bit scary, not as comfortable as the world I created with my Handymen, but it’s good to be scared at times.

I don’t know exactly who’s coming, but I look forward to meeting them.

 

Re-releasing a book…or Stress 2.0.

Releasing a book into the world can be a dream come true. However, I don’t think I need to conduct a poll to determine that most authors also find it stressful. I don’t think I’ve met an author yet who has come to their release day without some level of stress. There’s a lot of pressure, no matter how you publish. People always ask me, “How do you celebrate those occasions?” Celebrate? I probably should celebrate, but I’m usually glued to the computer, making sure everything goes smoothly. That was the case when A Good Man, Handymen 1, released on June 9.

What I never anticipated was that re-releasing a book would be twice as stressful as the first time around. Now, I should make it clear, that stress has been self-induced. No one stood over me, hands on hips, making outrageous demands. In fact, everyone involved in my re-release of A Good Man has been encouraging and supportive.

But the stress still lives in my brain. It’s quite comfortable there, picking at my insides, and it’ll take some effort to force it out.

Why? Well, the book has a new publisher now, and if you follow me here, you’ll know there were times when I wasn’t sure I’d find a new publisher for the story.  When I saw my beloved book disappear from retail outlets, it broke my heart, so I came into this with a measure of fear and worry. I want to do well for my new publisher. I want them to be happy they took me on and I’d like for them to be pleased with my sales. So, yeah, it’s stressful.

Finding new readers can be a challenge for authors at the best of times, and in my case, there were some other concerns as well. After all, my book originally came out in 2017. People read it then. Would I be able to create enough interest that new readers would want to snag a copy? Yes, the book has been re-edited, rebranded and polished, and it’s my hope that new readers will want to take it home with them.

And then there’s the whole rollercoaster of promotion. Would I be able to craft promotions that were distinct from what I did back in 2017? Would I be shouting into the wilderness? I’m fortunate in that lots of good people in the romance community shared the news of my re-release, but I never took that for granted. A part of me always wondered if they’d look at my re-release and think, “Meh.”  Luckily, that didn’t happen, and I’m appreciative of every share, mention and review. (Really appreciative, I can’t even tell you how much.)

All in all, it’s going well, and the book is getting some wonderful new reviews. Has my stress disappeared? Not by a long shot. I try very hard to let it go and concentrate on writing the next book, but I check sales every day. I check my mentions every day. When I’m tagged in a review, I read it and I send blogger reviews to my publisher so they will appear on my author page on their site. (Okay, I also do it so they’ll like me, so they’ll really, really like me.) I don’t go looking for reviews, though. I learned not to indulge in that nonsense ages ago.

What has this blog post proven? Probably nothing more than the fact that I have the nerves of an injured squirrel. My hope is that anyone going through the process of republishing a book will experience a lot less pressure. Hopefully, I’m the only one living with a case of Stress 2.0. Have you ever re-released a book? What emotions did you experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts and any helpful tips for dealing with stress. Drop a comment here!

And if you haven’t picked up your copy of A Good Man, Handymen 1, you can do so here: https://books2read.com/u/m2Vzlj

This nervous squirrel appreciates every nut that comes her way.

Get Your Sh*t Together Challenge.

It’s the first of October (gasp!) and I’ve been feeling the need to regroup and organize. The “Get Your Sh*t Together Challenge” couldn’t have come at a better time!

What is the challenge? Well, we all have those things we want to do, but never seem to be able to tackle. Little things that pile up and that add to stress down the line. Anna from Herding Cats & Burning Soup has put together the challenge, inviting authors and bloggers to share our “to do” lists, and then cheer each other on as we complete them. As she says, it’s a cheerleading squad to encourage us in our adulting. 🙂 Gotta love that.

Day 1 of the challenge is all about planning. What are the things we’d like to achieve over the next while? Is there anything special we’re looking forward to? As for me, like most people, I’m heading into a busy season with seasonal activities with family, getting ready for the holidays, and lots of writing. So, in my case, organization is key.

I’ll be combing through my calendar, getting important dates and events listed. I hate when commitments creep up on me, so having everything noted in advance really helps. I’m one of those people who still likes to keep a written calendar. My sons have tried to get me to use an e-calendar, and I do for our immediate family, but I still like to have an old-fashioned daytimer to keep track of other birthdays, work events and get togethers with friends.

How do you organize your schedule? Do you plan far in advance, or do you prefer to wing it? Do you write it down, or do you trust the details to Google?

If you’d like to join the challenge, sign up at Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  And do visit all the blogs on the linky list at the bottom of the page to see how they’re getting their shit together!