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2015 in Review



Around this time I find myself in awe of the fact that another year is over. Weren’t we just starting 2015 and greeting each other an enthusiastic Happy New Year? Hadn’t we just finished writing our New Year’s resolutions? And then here we are, a few days away from the beginning of 2016.

As I look back on 2015, the word that comes to mind is transformative. Like a Camaro turning into a giant Bumblebee.

First of all, I completely lost the ability to write at the beginning of 2015. No one knew about this. Not even my critique partners. I actually managed to keep it to myself. Not even the Momager knew. I didn’t speak to anyone about it. No matter how many times I wanted to. I guess I was afraid that if I told someone about it would become true and I would never write again.

In my journey as a writer, I never knew I would go through a publishing experience so traumatizing that it came to a point where I thought I would never write a single word ever again. I compare this event in my life to a violation so personal, it messed with my psyche. And here I thought my experience with my first critique partner—who made it a point to murder my manuscripts—was the worst in my career.

I completely lost the will to write. It was frightening. Debilitating. I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself. To this day I still get ugly flashbacks that render me anxious and unable to think straight. I get headaches. My stomach hurts. I can’t breathe. If there is such a thing as PTSD for writers, I would say I’m going through it now. Not as bad as before, but it’s still there.

In many ways, looking at what happened (which I will not write in detail here because it would be unfair to the parties involved) from the perspective of having pulled myself out of that mire, I’m glad for the experience. It made me the writer I am today. And hopefully, moving forward I will continue to grow because of it.

Of course, I still have my wobbly days. I still have moments when all I want is to curl up into a ball so small maybe I will disappear. But I made a deal with myself. Instead of writing a chapter a day, like I used to, I would write one scene. No more of the two thousand word requirement I’d placed on myself previously. Just one scene. From start to finish. No matter the word count. And I can honestly say that it’s been working very well for me. I’m slowly getting my groove and confidence back.

Another source of strength is the amazing people at Swoon Reads. My editor doesn’t know this, (maybe she will after this post goes live) but she pulled me out of a very deep despair caused by the trauma I suffered. She is so amazing that I slowly learned to trust in editors again. To trust that someone has the best interest of my work in mind. Someone who brings out the best in me as a writer. Who challenges and encourages me. And who isn’t afraid to tell me the truth. Someone who answers emails within a day or two after it’s sent no matter how busy life gets. That means so much to me.

So to say that being a writer for Swoon Reads saved my life is an understatement is actually an understatement. I don’t know where I would have ended up if No Love Allowed hadn’t been chosen as part of the third list. I’m proud to be a Swoon Reads author, and would continue to be as long as they would have me.

Another major change in my life was letting go of all my critique partners and beta readers. Like I mentioned above, I was in a very bad headspace creatively. I couldn’t stand reading someone else’s work when I couldn’t summon what used to come so naturally to me. Plus, I began to see that I couldn’t handle the pressure of having someone else read my work other than my editor. The trust issues I developed because of the trauma I suffered didn’t allow me to look at critiques objectively. So, as hard as it was to sever those connections, I did.

More than six months into 2015 I found myself adulting in a major way. I moved in to my own apartment. I became responsible for six cats. Sweetie came into my life at the right time. To say she saved me, made me a better person, is also an understatement. Really, I cannot express into proper words how dark a hole I was in.

Life started to get better in September. I was writing again. Editing my heart out. I started remembering once again why I love what I do. And I reaffirmed my commitment to bettering myself as a writer and as a person.

Currently, I’m finishing a new novel, which I’m super excited to start telling all of you about. I’m enjoying the simple things like cat kisses and catching up with my favorite TV shows. And I’ve finally embraced my body and my sense of worth.

With confidence I can report that I’m ending 2015 right and will definitely take 2016 by storm. I plan on hitting the ground running with two books coming out, the first of which will be in April. So no looking back. Forward and onward, my friends.

Thank you for your continued support. Not only of my work. Your presence in my life is a great comfort. Here’s to an amazing year to come!

Catch you on the flipside.

Happy New Year!  

Tattoos Are Permanent for a Reason

Tattoos are permanent, so you better think twice before inking your skin. Removal is a painful process and sometimes the outline of the image remains. But I’m not here to debate about the morality of getting ink. I have a tattoo and plan on getting another one soon.

            This blog post is about Blindspot, which features a main character found inside a duffle bag in the middle of Times Square. Yes, she was a live when they found her. The premise of the show dances around the fact that she doesn’t remember who she is and her entire body is full of tattoos that represent clues to events yet to happen. These are all connected to an FBI agent named Kurt Weller.

            Watched the first episode and about to watch the second after writing this post.

            If you know me, you will know that I love watching TV. There aren’t that many shows that feature tattoos as a major part of the plot. Why? Because these shows generally have a short shelf life. There are only so many things one can draw onto the human skin before you run out of space.  

            Case in point: Prison Break.

            You remember this show?

            Was the darling of the drama circuit that year. Everyone loved the first season, including me. Younger brother tattoos how to break out of prison on his body in order to save his brother who he believes was framed.

            I was hooked from episode one. It wasn’t bad staring at Wentworth Miller week after week either. But after a stellar first season the show went downhill because once they got out of prison there was hardly any use for the tattoos.

            It looks like that will be the case for Blindspot. Episode one and already one of the tatts has been used. Only so many to go. But the creator did mention in an interview that he’s aware of thefinite quality of this concept and that he knows where the story is going. But, with the show gaining popularity, who is to say there won’t be a renewal after season one?

            We’ll have to see.

            Right now, I say the show is definitely worth checking out. Join me in figuring out how long this one will last before it crashes and burns. 


No Love Allowed Review

So this happened today: 


I believe this is the first review for my upcoming novel with Swoon Reads, No Love Allowed. It's on the What's A Geek website, done by the fabulous Noey Pico. 

Feelings? Way too many to express in mere words. If you want to read the full review, which I suggest you do, click here

Swoonworthy Giveaway

Hi!

I'm giving away:


1. A Swoon Reads T-shirt
2. A Swoon Reads fan
3. A Love Always Sampler
4. A No Love Allowed Tote Bag
5. A No Love Allowed ARC

This is all over at my FB Page. Click here.

Come on over if you're interested. Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.

Sincerely,
Kate

Publishing is not… (This is a pep talk, I promise)

Publishing is an ever growing, ever evolving world. While traditional publishing is still a powerful force in the industry, many writers are taking matters into their own hands and releasing novels themselves. No matter how writers take steps in fulfilling their dreams, there are still a few things that haven’t changed.

Instead of spending your precious time explaining why I pursued publishing the stories of the characters in my head, I will illustrate five points that show what publishing is not. I hope they will help you decide if diving into an ever changing industry is the right choice for you. I promise; this is a pep talk.

First, publishing is not for incomplete novels.


Publishing is all about completion. If you do not have a complete novel then what is there to publish? You must write. And to do this you must banish all the reasons in your head that prevent you from sitting down in front of your laptop. “I’m too busy.” “Work is crazy.” “Life happens.” I’m not saying you need to come up with a novel in a day.

One sentence. One paragraph. One page. One chapter. These are doable lengths on a daily basis that will, when put together, eventually lead to a completed novel. And a great sense of accomplishment. Time is not the issue. Motivation is. Determination is. Because when there something you really want to do nothing short of the end of the world can stop you.

Second, publishing is not for those afraid of rejection.


Let’s face it, rejection sucks. It’s probably one of the worst things you will encounter as a writer. Believe it or not, writing and finishing your novel is actually the easiest part. If seeing your novel published is your dream, then be prepared for rejection. Quite a lot of it. Don’t compare yourself to writers who seemed to magically gain fame and fortune because at some point they were rejected too.

If writing and being published is really something you see yourself doing then you will eventually hold a print/ecopy of your work in your hands. Stick to the goals you have set for yourself, no matter the kind of opposition you face along the way. Don’t be afraid to take detours. As long as you know your destination, you will get to where you’ll need to be regardless of the road you took to get there.

Third, publishing is not for the impatient.


No matter the path you choose, whether it’s traditional publishing or self-publishing, these things still take time. Traditional publishing takes about a year to two from submission, acceptance, editing, and the finished product. Sometimes even longer. Self-publishing is faster, but if you don’t take the time to find an editor who will help you polish your work, someone to format your manuscript so it follows standard digital and print platforms, and a cover artist, you will end up releasing an inferior product that might turn off readers. Once you lose reader trust it’s difficult to gain back.

Taking the traditional road means you won’t have to obsess over type-setting, page dimensions, purchasing ISBNs, and cover art. That is all provided by your publisher. All you need to do is focus on the most important part: the writing. So patience is key.

If you’re more inclined to take charge, you still need patience to make sure your novel is indeed ready for the real world. You want to make your baby look as presentable as possible, right? The last thing you want is a one star review all because of typos or bad formatting.

Just remember, things might get overwhelming along the way, but everything is doable. Just be patient and take things a step at a time. Less mistakes means more chances of success and readers following you onto your next book.

Fourth, publishing is not for quitters.


There will be moments when you will ask yourself, “Is this worth it?” There will even be moments when all you want to do is stop and walk away. Your darkest hour as a writer will be the truest test of your determination to get published. The urge to quit is powerful, even within the most successful of us.

Sometimes a character is being stubborn. Or a story isn’t working. Or reviewers hated your last book. On and on the reasons to quit will come. Sadly, there is no hard and fast rule that I can give you to keep you on the path you have begun.

If you’ve ever played a sport, this is where your coach will tell you to play through the pain. This is when you have to suck it up and keep going. Quitting is like that stitch on your side that you must learn to breathe through until it goes away. Quitting what separates the success stories from the horror stories. And believe me, there are a lot of them out there. You are the only one with the will to continue. If writing and getting published is really what you want then there’s no such thing as quitting in your vocabulary.

Lastly, publishing is not for those chasing trends.


One of the most important things to remember as a writer is originality. But, you may ask, “What is original in this world?” It’s definitely not chasing a trend. Remember, the reason why there is a trend is because someone was original enough to start it in the first place and everyone just copied what was already there.

Do you want to copy someone or do you want to carve your own niche in this world? As a writer you have your own ideas. These ideas are original to you. Sure, you want to write a boy meets girl story. What’s original about that? It’s the scenes you will put your characters in that will bring originality to your work. The conflict. The twists. Your creativity. All experiences are different. Falling in love is different to every person. Write what you know, not what someone tells you is popular at the moment.

Because here is the secret of a trend: it’s no longer relevant the moment it is discovered. So chasing it is like a cat running in circles after a red dot. She will never catch the dot. You write because you have a story in your head that you are dying to tell. Stick with that mindset and chasing trends won’t be an issue at all.

As a published author, I have experienced each and every point I have discussed in this post. I’ve had to convince myself to keep writing countless times. There were moments when reading another rejection letter made me want to pull my hair out. I’ve had to physically stop myself from writing an email asking what would happen next. I wanted to quit so many times it’s not even funny. And I’ve been a trend chaser too.

Every time I ran into a wall what kept me going was the thought that I love what I am doing. That I cannot see myself doing anything else. Being a writer is a calling. You can’t just say I want to write. You have to actually do it. Just like wanting to be a doctor. You have to actually study.

If after reading this post that passion for the written word is still burning bright inside of you then I can personally guarantee that you will get published. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not next week. But all the steps it took to get there will be worth it once you have the finished product in your hands and you begin receiving emails from readers letting you know how much they enjoyed reading your work.

So this happened.

So this just happened! #NoLoveAllowed @swoonreads *dies*

A photo posted by Kate Eangelista (@kateva11) on

World Building

            This phrase is never more important than to the Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-fi writer and here’s the reason why: For these genres you build a world from scratch. This is probably the most you will ever play God during the writing process.
            Don’t get me wrong, contemporary writers also build worlds, but they take from what we already know—the world we live in. We must be authentic to reality when we’re writing contemporary. Deviations will definitely put you into a whole different genre. No flying cars in contemporary. No supernatural creatures—i.e. vampires, werewolves, etc. Ghosts are debatable because the concept depends on what you believe. But, for this post, let’s stick with the idea that in contemporary we already have a world to work with, we build upon it or improve it to suit our story.
            For our purposes we’ll concentrate on paranormal world building. Why? Because it’s what the class calls for, but also because we all know fantasy and sci-fi are leopards with stripes. You’re building a world from scratch. Like, seriously, from scratch.
            With paranormal you don’t necessarily have to build a world out of nothing, but there are certain elements of the world you’re building that you must keep in mind. This is where you begin to recall all the paranormal novels you’ve read that blew you away. I will be using examples as we go along. If you haven’t read any of the books I mention, I say check them out after reading this.  
            Now, let’s assume you’re writing a paranormal novel (romance or otherwise) that is contemporary because that’s the easiest to start with. You may ask, what about historical paranormal? That’s fine. You just need to remember that you really need to research the era you’re writing in. Is it Victorian? Is it Ancient Greece/Rome? Is it World War II? In short, unless you’re already well-versed with historical, let’s keep our timeframe in the present. This rule also applies for futuristic, bordering on sci-fi. Again, this is world building from the ground up.
            So, we’re sticking with a contemporary paranormal novel. Baby steps, people.
Tip: to keep from dating your novel, try not to over-reference pop culture. Example, Candy Crush, like Angry Birds, is a popular game, but it won’t always be. In fact, at the writing of this post, people would have moved on to something new. Mentioning the game in your story will definitely date it. A way around this, if you have a character who likes playing these games, is to generalize. Mention the smart phone games but don’t specify. A loophole is to make up your own game, but only if it will serve to develop your character. If it doesn’t, I suggest delete because it will bog down your story with unnecessary details. Save the word count for the information that does count.
            Okay, I’ve digress. Let’s get back on topic.
            First, know your setting.
            Is your novel set in a small town like in Twilight? Is your novel set in the city like in the Guild Hunters series by Nalini Singh? What kind of city is it? What kind of small town? Or is it a small village?
            Twilight uses Forks effectively because the town is under a constant cover of clouds, it rains often since it is located in Washington State, and there’s a lot of woodland surrounding the area. Stephenie Meyer did her research. Do yours as well, unless you’re going for a generic setting. Meaning, generic small town or generic urban setting. The pitfall when you take this route is the world might not ring true to your readers. So, you must know your setting. Add personal touches that only your characters know about the setting. Remember, if your characters believe in what they are describing, most likely your readers will too.
            Second, and this is the most important part, know your supernatural creature.
If you’re writing about vampires, what makes yours stand out from all the other vampires that populate Fiction Land? We all know Edward sparkles. But my favorite vampires have to be the Daimons from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters series. They don’t go for blood. They go for human souls. Another favorite of mine comes from Nalini Singh. Her vampires are created by Archangels. Totally unexpected and cool. In other words, set your supernatural creature apart.
This is where reading a lot helps. If you know what is already out there it is most likely that you won’t copy what has already been done. Or at the very least improve upon it and add your special twist. To do that, you must know them.
Even before you start writing your story, create a word file that describes your creatures. What are they? What makes them special? What are their origins? Are they immortal? Are they made? Are they born? What can kill them? How do they kill? What is their primary form of sustenance?
            Take note that all this information you will put together about your supernatural creature may never make it into the book, but knowing these beings inside and out will definitely add a level of authenticity and believability to your work. Because how can you write about something you know nothing about? Even if it’s fiction.
            Third, know your restrictions.
What I mean by this is: in your story are your creatures out in the open or living a secret life? This may seem like an easy question to answer, but in reality it’s not. If they are out in the open, how is the world treating these creatures? Are they still outcasts? Has the world accepted them into the fold? If so, how and why?
In Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series her supernatural creatures start out living in secret. As the series progresses the werewolves come out into the open and begin negotiating with humans for the right to be a part of society. The Fae also come out but insist on being apart from society by living in special compounds. Vampires remain a secret, but I believe as the story moves forward they’ll reveal themselves too. 
If you’re creatures live a secret life, why must they keep their existence a secret? Are they trying to live a “normal life” and trying to blend in? Why? Or are they living their supernatural lives but are still keeping a low profile? Again, why?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help build your plot. Add conflict to the story. I’m sure you’ve read paranormal novels were the creatures just don’t work or the concept has promise but fails to deliver. Most of the time it’s because the world building wasn’t solid enough. A writer says: I will write about vampires. Sure, seems easy enough. But we all know that Anne Rice has done it. Stephenie Meyer has done it. Countless other authors have done it. Same goes for werewolves, fairies, mermaids, you name it. What will set yours apart?
Start with the world building.

If you know your world, even if you’re writing a simple girl-meets-supernatural story, you’ll be successful at it because readers will want to step into the pages of the story you have built. 

For the Love of Editing

Release Date: April 19, 2016
In college I got it in my head that everything I wrote was absolute. Meaning my stories didn’t need any editing beyond the grammar. That in my mind the story was intentionally written that way and no one had the right to tell me how to change or fix it. Today, I chalk up this mental state to the hubris of youth.

            More than a decade later, I can proudly write this blog post you are reading and state that I love editing. Actually, you may even refer to me as an editing junkie. Dare I say I might even enjoy it more than the writing process at this point? I hear the audible gasps around the world. Before you hyperventilate into a paperback, which I have been known to do, bear with me and read on.

            Writing is exhilarating. The feeling of creating something out of nothing is as close as we can get to flying without our arms turning into wings. When I’m deep into a project, when my characters are speaking to me nonstop, I’m in the thralls of the creative and it’s unbeatable. And that feeling of relief once you type the two words every write longs to see, “The End,” is unbeatable.

            But there’s a giddiness that comes with editing that I would like to share with all of you. For me, editorial letters are like love letters from your editor filled to bursting with ideas on how to improve your work. That is certainly how I felt when Holly and I began our editing journey for No Love Allowed. She is the best. It’s actually an honor to rise to the occasion for her.

            Editing a story is actually the true test of a writer. It forces you to explore avenues into your work that you might not have seen or were too afraid to take in the creative stage. For the case of Didi’s and Caleb’s story, the examples given to me were nothing short of brilliant. You know your editor is awesome when what is being asked is specific. Generalizations are the hardest to manifest into paper, so when you’re given an editorial letter with ways to polish your storyline, why not jump at the chance? They certainly make your job as writer so much easier.

            Each editorial process is different. At least for me it is. With each new editor I work with I learn something new about myself as a writer that I take with me into future projects. What Holly showed me is I have the tendency to bury the story. It always puts a smile on my face when I see a comment bubble from her saying, “Let’s get to the good stuff.” This is usually followed by copious amounts of deleted paragraphs. *laughs*

            I had so much fun editing No Love Allowed that it will show in the final product. The generous part of me wants all the writers in the world to find an editor as awesome as Holly. The selfish part wants to keep her all to myself like “my precious” from Lord of the Rings.


            What I know for sure is learn to love editing. Because when you receive that editorial letter in your inbox realize that you are going to be a published author. That your book will be read by countless people. That it will all be worth it once the finished product is finally in your hands. 


Version One or Version Two

Hello, Lovely Readers!

I'm asking for your help today. You see, I have written two versions of After Death and I just can't decide which one I want to finish. Will you help me?

Below are both versions. Please take a moment to read them and vote which one you'd like to see published. Your opinions matter to me, which is why I've put together an INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY as a simple thanks for your help.

I'm excited to see which version wins.

Disclaimer: Grammar Nazis please forgive my errors. These are RAW chapters you're about to read with very little editing. With that said, I still hope you still enjoy yourselves.

Happy Reading!

~Version One~


~Version Two~



Which version did you like best?

Make sure to use the Rafflecopter for a chance to win 1 of 5 special gifts.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for your help!

Totally Made My Day!


Will Read For Feels picked Xavier from Romancing the Bookworm for their "3 Favorite Lines From Your Book Boyfriend to His Heroine" post.

I'm so happy!

Check out the post here.

For copies of Romancing the Bookworm, go here:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository
Omnific Publishing

Announcement about TASTE, SAVOR, and RELISH

Dear Beloved Readers,

I’ve been thinking about how to announce this for a while. I’ve been thinking about how best to share the news. Then I realized there’s no better way than just to come out and say it.

As of March 31, 2015 Crescent Moon Press has closed its doors. What does this mean?

Taste, Savor, and Relish are officially out of print.

If you’ve visited any of the online retailers like Amazon, you will notice that electronic copies of the books are no longer available. Paperbacks are still purchasable, but only until supplies last.

It’s a bittersweet moment for me since CMP gave me my first shot. I’m grateful to Steph and Marlene for publishing my debut novel, which has sold well and allowed me to meet countless readers who have enjoyed reading about Luka, Demitri, and Phoenix. I believe I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for CMP.

To those who have paperbacks and ecopies of all three books, they are now officially collector’s items. Thank you so much for your support. It means more to me than you can ever know.

For those who ordered the set of three paperbacks, you will receive them this April. They are part of the last shipment I ordered. I still have two sets available in case anyone wants to purchase them. Just send me a private message.

To the readers from the Philippines who own signed copies, thank you for making these books a part of your collection! You are a member of a select club that now no one else can be a part of. I consider myself blessed to know each and every one of you.

This is normal in the publishing world. Even big publishers can close if what happened with Egmont is any indication. But the great part is we can continue to look to the future. Publishing is always evolving and we must grow with it. So stay tuned for more exciting news. I have so much to share with all of you soon.

And if you haven’t yet, please make sure to add No Love Allowed to your To Be Read list on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23288804-no-love-allowed

Once again, my deepest appreciation for your support.

Sincerely,
Kate

Giveaway


It’s Friday! So let’s giveaway!
This weekend’s theme is: Relish the beauty.
Up for grabs is a signed paperback of Relish, a Cotton On wild daisy tote and a change bracelet (both are in support of the Empowering Youth Foundation).
This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.
The winner will be announced Monday.

And the winner is...

Hi, Fellow Swooners! 

For my first blog post here at the awesome Swoon Reads blog, I’m happy to announce the winner of the No Love Allowed cover concept voting. It was such an exciting week seeing the votes and comments come in. Thank you so much for helping us give No Love Allowed a pretty face to go with Caleb’s and Didi’s swoonworthy story. 

Drumroll please...


So without further ado, the winner is…the Picnic Cover!!! 




When the five cover concepts were sent to me, I couldn’t stop staring at each one of them. I must have sat in front of my laptop for half an hour just grinning. They were all so beautiful. And then the thought hit me, “I’m so glad I don’t have to be the one to choose.” Because really? How could I? Which is why we asked you for help.


The picnic cover captures the fun and parties vibe of No Love Allowed. At its heart Caleb’s and Didi’s story is as much about having fun as it is about the two of them getting to know each other. There is also a youthful feel to this cover that just speaks of summer. Hot days. Hot parties. And, of course, hot guys!


I’d like to give a special shout out to Liz D. for putting together five amazing cover concepts. Each and every one of them captures the essence of the book. I could never have imagined what she had come up with. And I’m totally looking forward to the finished product.


If you think the picnic cover looks awesome now, just wait. More surprises to come!

Caleb Parker Peg


Based on feedback I've been getting from the ladies who have swooned over No Love Allowed (AKA Warning! You Might Fall In Love With Me), their peg for Caleb Parker is Chace Crawford.

I have mixed feelings about this, so I need to know what you think. I love him, don't get me wrong, but I've always seen him as the resident man-hoe of Gossip Girl. *laughs*

The first draft of the story is still available on the Swoon Reads website. Take a read/see and tell me if Chace is your peg too: http://bit.ly/1wLtvcC

Then help us decide on the cover by voting for one of the five options featured here: http://bit.ly/1zBKnNr

Happy Reading!

Vote!


Join the process! 
Vote for your favorite #NoLoveAllowed by @KateEvangelista cover over on the @SwoonReads blog: http://bit.ly/1zBKnNr

What I Learned From Failure

Writing. I’ve been at it for seven years now. Five as a published author and two trying to become a published author.

            During this wonderful and often eye-opening journey, I have learned that there are many painful things an author must go through along the way.

  There is the pain of rejection. From agents. From publishers. From readers who didn’t like what you’ve written. From fellow authors. So much rejection. It’s almost like a curse word you’re not supposed to say.

            Then there is the pain of self-doubt. Am I doing the right thing? Am I making the right decision? Is my writing good enough? So many crippling and debilitation questions. Fill in the blank and add a question mark at the end.

            Through the years, I thought getting bad reviews was painful, so I stopped reading reviews all together until I was secure enough that reading a bad one hurts less. Then I thought parting ways with my agent was painful, but I soon learned that I needed to be more patient. Smarter with my words. Stronger with my convictions.

            There is also the pain that comes from losing a home. For a book that is. I will get into this more in another post because I believe it deserves one. But not right now. This post is for something else entirely.

            Most recently, I have come to realize that the most painful thing of all is failure. When you’ve spent close to three years working on a book and it falls flat. So many copies are returned that you don’t even get any royalties for it anymore. That was the most painful thing. I had never experienced anything like it before.

            With that one book I had failed.

            It bothered me so much that I couldn’t even bring myself to write the sequel. I thought to myself, what was the point? The first book didn’t sell, and continues not to sell. Who would be crazy enough to spend money on the next one? I got it stuck in my head that writing the next book would be a waste of time. Precious time I could use writing something else. Something that might stand a chance.

            To make matters worse, because I’m a masochist that way, I kept comparing myself to others. Worst mistake. Instead of being happy about the success of others, I found myself resenting them, which is so bad, I can’t even tell you. Might as well punch myself in the face.

            So…

I had failed.

            That sentence kept replaying in my head over and over again like a broken record. Like a bad song on repeat. I found myself at a loss. Unable to trust myself. Unable to see the story anymore. It was so traumatic, I couldn’t even look at a blank piece of paper.

            Then one day I woke up and realized: I failed but I’m still alive.

            It hurt like hell, but I’m still breathing.

            Good lord, I made it through to the other side.

            And then I remembered J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech. You should watch the entire thing, but my favorite part is when she starts talking about the benefits of failure. Here is that specific part. It’s only about two minutes, but it makes so much life changing sense:


            I finally realized: so what?

            So what if that book didn’t sell?

            So what if I am not getting any royalties for it?

            So what if editing it was one of the worst experiences in my life that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy?

            So what?

            It doesn’t diminish me as a writer. In fact, it makes me stronger. I have experienced the most painful thing and I survived. There are more people who have gone through worse and walked out through the other side better than ever.

            After I had finished wallowing in self-pity, I had dusted myself off, wiped away the tears, breathed away the hurt, and picked myself up. I’m almost done writing the second book. I’ve actually rekindled my love for the story again. And I’ve returned to my roots. I love to write. Period. Exclamation mark! Failing did not take that away from me.

            I may have lost my perspective along the way. Thought about things the wrong way. Blamed others when I should really have been looking inward instead of lashing outward. From here on out, there’s no other way but up. Each new book is a brand new chance, and damn if I wouldn’t take each and every single one of them. 

Warning! Gets A New Title

You might remember my Swoon Reads submission from a while back called Warning! You Might Fall In Love With Me. If you were one of the readers who left a comment after reading it, THANK YOU!

Now, I’m happy to finally be able to reveal that Warning! has a new title. It is now called: No Love Allowed.

And. I. LOVE. It.

Please take a moment to read Jean’s blog post about the title change over at the Swoon Reads blog.

To celebrate, I'm giving away a Find Your Inner Inspiration themed prize over at my FB Page. Enter today!

Character Peg: Nathan Parker

Martin Conte -- My peg for Nathan Parker. Who you will soon read about in No More Secrets (tentative title).

The old title is Disclaimer: I Like Boys, which you can read for free over at the Swoon Reads website. Just click on the title to bring you to the site.

Be warned, it's steamy. ;-)

Happy Reading!

Sad No More

            It’s unusual for this time of year considering what February means to me, but I’m actually happy. Like very happy. Content with my life and the way I’m living it despite what others might think.

            I’m happily writing.

            Currently, I’m elbow deep in After Death, which is the long awaited sequel to Til Death. I’m writing every day and developing the story the way it wants to be developed, allowing the plot to go where it may. There is a sense of freedom in this process.

            In recent years, I have been writing after lunch. For 2015, I’ve come to realize that I do my best writing in the morning, before lunch. Then I spend the rest of the day thinking about the next chapter I’m supposed to write. It’s working for me, so why change the pattern? At the same time, it frees me up to hang out with friends or do other things without sacrificing any writing time. That’s a win-win in my book.

            Another discovery?

Taking writing breaks—not good.

I do better when writing on a daily basis than finishing a novel, taking about a week off, and then starting a new novel. I find that it is during the breaks where doubts set in. And, as we all know, doubt isn’t conducive to the writing process.


            So, February, which is usually a sad month for me where I find myself in a writing slump and I end up moping around, is actually different this year. It’s a month for awesome news. Where I’m not worried about anything. Where I am happy. I consider this a good sign of better, more wonderful things to come.  

5 Tips to Following Your Dream


Thinking of following your dream? Living your bliss? 
Well, I have 5 Tips that might help. 

Modern Filipina Interview


I have been out editing all day, 
but check out this interview on Modern Filipina
It may be about me and a giveaway. Click here.

Release Day!

It's Relish Release Day!

Finally, after a year of waiting. If you own a Kindle, grab your copy here.

To celebrate, I've put together a giveaway on my Facebook Page.

Here are pictures of the prizes:


A signed copy of Savor, a tote bag, lip gloss, eye shadow, and a cute bangle


A signed copy of Taste, a vintage leather wallet, an Apostrophe key chain, and uber cute gift tags

The giveaway is International and runs until Sunday, January 18, 2015.

For those who've already grab their copies of Relish: Happy Reading!

For those who haven't, what are you waiting for? Discover what happens to Luka and Dakota in this stunning conclusion to the Vicious Feast Series.

Countdown: 1 Day Left


Can you smell it? His sweet spicy scent? Just one more day! 

Please share this post.

And make sure to pre-order for .99c on Amazon

6 More Days


Six Days Left! 
Have you Pre-Ordered your copy yet? 
Luka is waiting for you.

7 Days to Luka!


Countdown to Relish: 7 Days to Luka!

Kindle owners, pre-order your copy for $0.99 here before the price goes up on release day: http://www.amazon.com/Relish-Vicious-Feast-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00Q8OTIQY

Want to play catch up? Well, Savor is also at $0.99 so read it today before Relish comes out: http://www.amazon.com/Savor-Vicious-Feast-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00H2VSQ0Q/

8 Days Left



Nine Days to Relish


To celebrate the countdown to the release of Relish (final book in the Vicious Feast series), I'm giving away a signed copy of Taste and a DKNY tumbler with 2 sleeves over at my FB Page. Enter today for a chance to win.


10 Days Left


Take Me


Countdown


Countdown to Relish: 01/12/15

11 More Days. Hang in there.

For Kindle owners, have you pre-ordered your copy already? Right now it's $0.99. Once release day comes the price goes up. So make sure to grab your copy: http://www.amazon.com/Relish-Vicious-Feast-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00Q8OTIQY
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