LizAnn Carson

Releasing the stories into the world


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Seducing Adam News

Hi, everyone. This is a quickie post with a couple of news flashes about Seducing Adam:

First, the book is on Goodreads Giveaway until April 20. If you haven’t already, hop over there and enter.

Second, if you’re more the e-book type, I’m pleased to say that Seducing Adam is now available on Kobo, iBooks, Nook, and a few others. I’m sorry it took so long to make this happen; blame it on the learning curve!

I’m exhausting myself with the preparations for a triple book launch this summer, plus trying to have a life. Stay tuned; I will have a preview page of Amanda, the first of the three books, up here sometime soon.

Nothing more for now, though. I have a sunny evening and a purring cat on my lap, and I intend to relax and enjoy every moment.

Wishing you lots of time to read,

LizAnn


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Free Book, plus Reflections on Book Marketing

First, the big news. Seducing Adam is free on Kindle this weekend, February 13-15. Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy reading! I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Now for some thoughts on a big boogieman for me: publicizing your book.

Writing is one thing. Publicizing what you write is something else entirely. And it’s fair to say, it’s tough.

Well, tough. That’s life, if you’re a writer in the modern world, and especially if you’re an indie published writer.

I’m playing around with various routes to publicizing a novel, and not having too much fun at it. Tools and advice keep coming at me, which I suppose is a good thing. It gives me options, anyway.

A lot of it circles around to social media. But the thing is, the whole social media thing is a mystery to me. I don’t mean how it works, I mean why I’d do it at all. Let’s face it, I’m the kind of person who’s never learned to text on her smart phone because I really don’t have anyone to text. (Besides, the thing’s usually dead when I need to use it. I can’t even remember to keep it charged.) This new world of interconnections feels very strange to me.

Seducing Adam, besides being my first published book, is my publicity guinea pig. My goal is to try things out, find publicity avenues that work, and that I’m comfortable with. For instance, there’ll be a book blog tour in early March (I’ll keep you posted), and some free days on Amazon. I’m also thinking about branching out onto other sales outlets, such as Apple and Kobo.

In the meantime, I’m so grateful when I hear from someone who has loved Seducing Adam. A friend said she spent all one afternoon reading it, and it was just what she needed. That’s the kind of positive reinforcement a writer hopes for. Because, when you tell people you’ve written a novel, their typical reaction is akin to an email I received from another friend: “Loved your book. I was afraid I wouldn’t, but I did.” Of course your friends are going to be scared to read what you wrote, because what if it’s a dog’s breakfast? What if they hate it? How are they ever going to look you in the eye again?

Don’t even ask me how I feel about putting my book on the line for a review. I’m thrilled (aren’t we all?) when a positive review turns up on the web spontaneously, but to actually submit my baby for a “professional” review? Scary times. Bite the bullet, I tell myself. Because I do believe in Seducing Adam, and I’m realistic enough to know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I shouldn’t be so nervous about it. But still …

Thanks for dropping by. Why not pick up a freebie of Seducing Adam for weekend reading? If you like it, why not leave a short review on Amazon? Trust me, my heart would be thrilled.


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Love of Collage

It’s odd, perhaps, that although I’m obsessed with words, I’ve never had any interest in keeping a journal.

Oh, I’ve made a stab at it from time to time. I have a couple of nicely bound journals filled with life highlights – mostly photos and hand written, short comments. It can take five to ten years for me to complete a journal, so you can imagine it’s not a very complete record of my life.

Some years ago, I did a wonderful goddess program called The Ninth Wave (http://www.thesilverbranch.org/ninthwave/journey.html) with Lunaea Weatherstone. And she introduced me to collage. I’m forever indebted to Lunaea for this revelation. A little later I discovered an intriguing book called Soul Collage: An Intuitive Collage Process for Individuals and Groups, by Seena B. Frost.

These two resources taught me that collage can document your life, from the day you taught your kids new words when a full carton of milk got spilled on the floor to the day you learned a new spiritual insight. Soul Collage also gave me a format: 5×8 inches, small enough that a collage doesn’t take forever, large enough to accommodate many images you find in magazines.

I’ve probably got a hundred and fifty collage cards now – plus a full tarot deck. This is a double card I made for my life as a romance writer.

Casting Spells

Collage can be anything you want it to be. You can cut pictures out of magazines in their original squares and stick them on a piece of paper. You can obsessively trim tiny antennae on the picture of a butterfly before sticking it onto another picture of a mountain range. You can add text. You can leave lots of blank space, or you can fill your page completely. You can take your time or finish it all in under an hour. (I tend to be the obsessive, trim-around-the-antennae type of collager.)

The point is that collage is a simple and inexpensive way to journal, if you don’t want to “journal”.

Lately I’ve been doing more electronic collage, using paint.net (which I’ve mentioned before). Once you master layers it’s an easy way to put images together from the web to make your own, personal collages. I took the photo near Victoria, BC, and added John O’Donohue’s perfect words.

Celebrate the day

Give it a try. Choose one magazine and find a piece of paper or card stock, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick, and you’re good to go.

For me, the good news is that 5×8 inches is one of the standard book cover sizes when you self-publish with Createspace.

So yes, for Seducing Adam I did my own cover. No hero, no heroine, just a house on a hill and some roses. And yes, this breaks the “rules” for romance fiction. But the thing is, when I troll the Amazon website under contemporary romance, it isn’t the hero-and-heroine covers that attract me. Nora Roberts’ Garden Trilogy comes to mind here.

I’d planned on going to a cover designer. I have several strong references from fellow writers. And undoubtedly I will take that route in the future. If you have a look at, for instance the Killion Group website (http://thekilliongroupinc.com/) you’ll see right off the bat that there are lots of effects I could never get with my rudimentary skills. But for now, well, Seducing Adam is a non-gritty, non-erotic romance, and it doesn’t cry out for the bells and whistles.

Collage is fun, anyone can do it, and you’re creating your own, personalized art. Give it a try!


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Book Launch

OMG, I did it. Seducing Adam is available on Kindle. I’m not a mere writer anymore; I’m an author!

Golly gee. It’s even selling!

Amazement and total exhaustion. Because this has been, and still is, a labor intensive process.

It’s my own fault. I’m a do-it-yourself kind of gal, working on a do-it-yourself kind of budget. I have friends who have had someone else produce their (admittedly gorgeous) book covers. Who have hired editors and copy editors. Who, being better organized (or more in the know) than I am, launched their baby with blog and Facebook fanfare. Who had someone else do all the technical stuff to get a book Kindle-ready and on the e-shelves.

Not me. Do-it-yourself all the way, although the only part of launching Seducing Adam that was even remotely fun was the book cover. I do a lot of collage work, including electronically, so at least I know how to work with layers in my graphics editing tool (Paint.net – and a big shout-out to them, it’s a wonderful product, and free). But that doesn’t mean I’m perfect at it. The book was barely out there when I spotted a big hole – How did that get there? How did I miss it? – in one of the roses on the cover. Recreate, resubmit. Pray.

Those are basically the steps to self-publishing an ebook – rework, submit, pray, rework, resubmit, pray, repeat.

And the editing. Part of the rework-resubmit sequence has to do with stumbling over just one more typo in there. I hate to admit it, but by the time you’re satisfied that it’s as good as you can make it, you may still love your baby, but you’re thoroughly sick of it at the same time. There’s a reason they say you shouldn’t proofread your own stuff. Even dragging your pace down to one sentence at a time, your eye glosses right over the word you know is in there, because it should be in there – but for some inexplicable reason, it isn’t.

Isn’t this fun?

I’m doing the same kind of process with Createspace now, and I hope to have the paperback released within the month. Not sure though, because it’s the holiday season, and that’s going to slow down cross-border traffic for ordering a proof copy. (I’m in Canada, Createspace headquarters isn’t.)

What you don’t see is the stiff neck and sore shoulder muscles. The neglected housework. The nerves. Oh dear goddess, the nerves. Rather like watching your firstborn get on the bus to kindergarten for the first time. It seems simple, but you’re well advised to plan to devote your life to it for a while. Or be very patient.

I’m just about ready now to move on. I have two more books written, the first volumes of a trilogy. (You’ll find the first chapter of Calder Creek 1: Amanda at the back of Seducing Adam.) These need work – but revising is more fun than writing, for me. First drafts are killers.

Sick of it or not, I’ll miss Adam and Stacie. They’ve been such a part of my life for the last many months. I know them. I love them. I like that my chosen genre is romance, so I can give them their happy ending.

Please check the Seducing Adam tab on the website to see Chapter 1. I’d be so happy if you bought a copy, doubly happy if you left a good review. Whatever, I wish you happy reading.


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One Week to Launch – Give or Take

What happens when you’re within, say, a week of seeing your first book published?

Nothing. As far as ordinary living is concerned, you cease to exist.

Because there’s no time; you have a gazillion things to do. There’s no space in your brain box; your neural pathways are basically fried. You are, in a word, obsessed.

So anything approaching normal life is out the window. Back-burnered. Non-existent.

Furthermore, you risk nervous wreck-hood. The house doesn’t get cleaned. The meals get made, provided that making them involves taking them out of the freezer and heating them. You’re up an hour earlier than usual, because you know – you know – that there are typos in there you haven’t found, or that the last cut-and-paste left half a paragraph missing.

You know that the whole thing should be rewritten. Because it isn’t good enough, is it? Is it? Maybe it is. Never mind, you can always tack on another hour at the end of the day.

And then there’s everything that goes with the launch date. Formatting and learning how to submit to – in this case – Kindle. Write the blog, get the new page up there. And then there’s the dreaded publicity thing. Sad but very true to say, social media and I seem to live on different planets. I write this blog, and I’ve made a stab at Google + (since I seem to have ended up on it by default anyway), but somehow I can’t get into it.

Did I mention that I picked this moment in my life (thank you, Black Friday) to buy my first Windows 8 computer? Truth to tell, I’m afraid to turn it on. Maybe next week.

Okay. Calm. Focus. Here’s the deal. I’m working  toward a launch of Seducing Adam next week, on Kindle, a little later in paperback. I can do this. I. Can. Do. This. There seems to be a combination of excitement and terror and too-much-to-do-at-once that rolls over all the good intentions. And naturally I’m convinced about those typos and missing chunks of paragraphs, so in the re-read of course I’m finding things to re-word, to clean up, to enhance, to … to … oh heck.

Did I mention my thumbs? Woke up this morning with aches in both thumbs. Who knew that being a romance novelist was dangerous to your health? Typing is a challenge this morning, which may mean it’s time to stop for coffee and a scone, give the poor thumbs a rest.

Do you have time for coffee and a scone? Really? Can you edit while you eat? Don’t stop. Don’t stop!

Okay, time for some balance. I could revise Seducing Adam until the proverbial cows come home. My deadlines are self-imposed. Sometimes it’s a better plan to remember to take a breath. Enjoy the scone. Go to yoga. Or at least, get up from the computer and go see if the sun is shining. (I call my dark little office space “The Cave”.)

I hope that next week I’ll be announcing a book launch. Today, I’m showing off a book cover and a blurb. Look for the new page – and fingers crossed, everyone. Here comes the plunge.


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But When Is It Done?

I wish I knew.

You learn a lot of unexpected things when you sit down to write a book – including how much you don’t know, and how blind you can be.

I’ve had a career in which I did a lot of writing and reviewing documents. I’m a good proofreader.  Or so I believed. I’ve been through Seducing Adam, my first book, so many times I recite it in my sleep. There can’t be anything left to improve, can there?

Can’t there?

Well, on the verge of finalizing the cover and sending it off to Kindle for publication, I decided to take one last step. I’d already read it (over and over) on my computer screen, with various levels of magnification. I’d converted it to an ebook and read it on my tablet. I’d had two advance readers read it. I thought I’d covered the bases. But, just to be sure, I decided to take absolutely everybody’s advice and print it out.

Now, printing a document over two hundred pages long is a challenge for me. All that paper, all that ink … I must have a miser in my heritage somewhere. Maybe it’s that these pages will end up in the shredder? But when you get right down to it, writing is a relatively inexpensive thing to do, once you have the computer (or the pen and pad – but I’m too impatient for that). You just sit down and do it.

I’m not always a miser. It’s sort of embarrassing, how much I’ve spent on beads to make jewelry (which I almost never wear, but that’s another story). But with the thought of my cabinets of beads tickling my brain, I recognized the utter absurdity of worrying about printing a stack of pages. I piled a the cheapest printer paper the office supply store had in stock into my printer – and ended up with a blue binder full of more changes than I could have imagined possible.

Yes, there were a few typos, weird grammar tenses, and wonky punctuations, but not all that many. Mostly, the changes had to do with improving the wording, sorting out logical inconsistencies (scenes out of order, characters knowing something they logically couldn’t know, etc.), adding to the background descriptions … sigh. Not done after all.

So Seducing Adam isn’t going to be out as soon as I’d hoped it would, and I’m working to convince myself that it’s a journey, right? Not the destination. That I’m having fun with all this.

One thing’s for sure. You have to love your book. You have to believe in it, believe that someone out there will be as crazy for it as you will. You have to believe that the work you do will enrich someone’ s life, bring a little happiness or enlightenment into it. Otherwise, why do it? Because it’s a joy, but it’s work, too.

Well, most of the changes are done now, but I’m not entirely out of tweaking mode yet. In the meantime, I’ve added a board for Seducing Adam to Pinterest, so you can get a feel for the Pacific Northwest island environment. Have a look! It’s at http://pinterest.com/lizanncarson .


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My Books

Okay, I’m putting myself out there as a writer of contemporary romances, so I suppose I should at least let you, the world, know what I’m up to.

I also write poetry. I write essays. But the romance tops the list; I don’t remember when I’ve had so much fun with writing. (My husband says I live vicariously, but that’s another story.)

So here’s a summary of what I’m working on and what I expect to do with it all.

  • There’s Seducing Adam, set on a small island in the Pacific, between Victoria (where I now live) and Vancouver.
  • There’s the Calder Creek Trilogy: three women finding their men in a small town in central Ohio (where I grew up).
  • There’s a shorter one in the planning stage, which will make it to first draft in November’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), assuming I gird the old loins and go for it.

None of these exists “out there” yet. But they will. They are coming ….

My target is to have Seducing Adam and the first two books of the trilogy ready for publication around next February. Seems like a long time, but self-publishing turns out to be not simple; the writing’s the easy part. If I can get it all sorted out sooner, I will; I suffer from the writer’s lust to hold the finished book in my hands and say, “Whee-hoo! My baby!” In the meantime I have to somehow stay sane while I wade through the legalities and formatting and book covers and ISBN’s and publicity and all the rest. Agghh!

~

In the sanity department, I’m actually in a good place: lots of support and love, a wonderful place to live, and my favorite time of year. (Not my sinuses’ favorite time of year, perhaps, but I try to ignore that.) The long, glorious summer we’ve had in the coastal Pacific Northwest – glorious except for the forest fires – is almost over; today was the last day for the pots of mesclun and basil. I like the clearing-the-decks feeling of autumn, new paper and pens and rulers and protractors (remember those?). There’s an anticipation about autumn, as well as a dying off. Maybe that’s the point: making space for whatever’s next. But then I was always one of those kids who really wanted to get back to school. Geeky, I guess. And what’s next, these days, is exciting.

Good fortune to you all as we wander into autumn.