The Alpha’s Dream (10 Months After Publishing) & What’s Coming Next

The Alpha’s Dream

(10 Months After Publishing) & What’s Coming Next

On the tails of The Alpha’s Dream’s success I have high hopes for 2018.  Here’s a taste of the goodness to come…

The Alpha’s Dream was a lifesaver in so many ways. In part, because it renewed my hope in creating a career out of writing beyond freelancing. That isn’t to say that I haven’t made any mistakes. You can read all about the rookie errors I made to get a taste of what I would do differently. I’ll be re-releasing The Alpha’s Dream with edits later this year. I’ll update you with the final date once, I have a few more technicalities sorted out. All in all, I can still say that  Euphoria and Nathaniel’s story was a great debut. I’m still so very fond of them. I’m also very biased. #AuthorRights

My plan for 2017 was to immediately follow-up The Alpha’s Dream with others from the series. Some of you have  already picked up on the fact that their friends seem to be itching to tell their own stories. (Some of them more ready than others. I am bursting with ideas!) So for those of you who have been asking, yes there will be sequels with Nathaniel’s close friends/pack brothers and Euphoria’s friends. But, not yet.

Well, The Alpha’s Dream was my only release last year. It was the worst thing ever!!! (Kind of.) I was so disappointed in myself for not keeping the deadlines that I’d wanted. Knowing I would give birth, I worked hard to keep a sensible writing schedule, and timeline for publishing. I didn’t account for how exhausted I would feel running behind three littles ages three and under. It was chaos around here for months.

When I finally came up to breathe, I had no idea how to talk about anything except the diapers I was changing and the immense parent joy/stress my husband and I were feeling. Writing was a task I wasn’t up too. Not the greatest thing for my career, but I didn’t know how to change it at the time.

We’re eight months into our new normal now. Working around our beloveds has not gotten easier, but we’ve gotten better at it. I’ve figured out how to squeeze a hair more out of our day. The wobble is still real, there is just less of it. 2017 wasn’t what I expected it to be, but it made room for what I want now. While I was sulking about what I didn’t get done last year, I came up with a plan to keep myself writing and sticking to the deadlines in this one. No matter what, I’m determined to make 2018 an engaging and fulfilling publishing year for me.

To begin…2018 will see 6 releases from me.

Lofty goals should really be my middle name. I say that because the six releases aren’t a bad idea on their own. The additional things, the day to day of life, projects requiring my attention etc. make 6 releases ambitious. Very ambitious. I believe I made a similar claim last year. Only this time, I’ve planned better. I plan everything now. From snack times to reading breaks, I have to account for my time in order to get anything done.

I’ll be writing around the clock. Working hard to bring you great shifter romances,  and a few surprises. I made a ripple last year. This year, I’m making a splash. That isn’t just the New Year high talking. I’ve gotten a taste of publishing as myself and I never want to let it go. I’ll bring you all the stories my characters want to share with you.

I’m also updating my blog, again. You’ll still get all the fun details of my upcoming releases but, there will be even more. I’ve learned a lot as a freelancer. I’m learning even more as an Author. I’m going to share it with you. My blog will be an amalgamation of writing details, and writing tools. The plan is to give you the confidence to write your own masterpiece through the lessons I’ve learned. The information I share with you will be specific and contain  actionable tasks to help you along your writing journey. What book would you write if you had the tools? Let me know in the comments.

The Alpha's Dream Pinterest

And Then… A Writing Course you can sink your teeth into.

They say that I’m a dreamer. I’m not the only one. Comment below on the song title for a little fun.

I’m putting this out there. I’m creating a course on writing this year.  I keep repeating myself. I have a lot of information in me and I want to share all of it. I WANT TO READ YOUR BOOKS. I can’t do that if you don’t write them. So, I am going to help you.

All through the year, as I am filling my blog with useful, actionable information  I’ll also be creating a full course for your use. Everything at your fingertips and on your own time to create your great work. I’ve built the skeleton and now I’m filling in the details. I’ll keep you posted along the way.

To be clear, I am doing this because of how difficult it was for me to learn some of the things I know now. I ran into all sorts of obstacles. One of them being, peers who didn’t want to share the information they’d gain even when it was mutually beneficial. It does not benefits us as writers to hoard the lessons we learn as #authorprenuers.

Knowledge is power. Shared knowledge is shared power. I lose nothing by sharing information with you.  You’ve gone on this journey with me, and I will go on this journey with you.

By this time next year, I will have a complete course to jumpstart your writing career. This is exciting!!! Are completely insane of me to attempt, but I am going to do it none the less.

Right now… My first release of the year is in four weeks.

Woot, Woot! I’m currently wrapping up my first release of the year. I’m tingling as I think of all the fun facts I’ll  give to you as we get closer and closer to the release date. My newest characters are not part of The Alpha’s Dream series. It’s still a curvy woman romance and a sexy werewolf shifter. My heroine is at a cross roads with a life changing decision to make. Aren’t they all?

Over the next  few weeks, I’ll give you even more information about them. So what would you like first? A character interview? A synopsis of the story to come? Drop me a line in the comments section and let me know what you think.

The Alpha’s Dream continues to be an amazing experience for me. More and more lessons pour from it and I’m anxious to build on its legacy. I’m working very hard to prove to those who loved it, that it wasn’t a fluke. Hold on tight dears, we’re in this for the long haul.

Joy.

 

 

 

#LeaveaBookReview

The Alpha’s Dream has officially been live for several days now. I’m not freaking out anymore. Maybe I should be, but I’m just so proud.

The truth is that I could write for myself and allow no one to read it for the rest of my life. I would be mostly content. My mother has done it for years. On the other hand, I don’t want to be a closest author. I believe in this writing that i do, and enjoy it. However, it is more than just a labor of love. It is how I contribute to the support of my littles. I didn’t publish The Alpha’d Dream so it could die on Amazon’s buy lists. I published it so it would flourish. I wanted more than myself to enjoy it.

So, you have the book.. How do you like it?

Yup. This is one of those post. I’m asking if you like the work I’ve done. You’ve watched me fight with it for me. You’ve read about my anxieties, my aims, and my reasons for writing it. You’ve been there through every high and low of it. Now, I want to know hat you think of it.

Keep in mind here that your honesty is most important.

Also, keep in mind I’m sensitive about my work. As much as I want that to have a barring on your opinion, the truth is that a gentle lie won’t help me get better. It also won’t fool anyone who reads the reviews. Readers see through all of the cowardice of saying something is good when it is not. Say you like it. Say you didn’t like it, but don’t sugar coat it for me.

I’ve said it before that reviews are important to authors. They are particularly important to those of us who are small publishers or self-publishers. Every review whether good, bad, or mediocre has a direct result on the work we’ve published. With the great rise in self-publishing, most of us are writing to the same or similar audiences.

I believe readers are generally discerning. Everyone wants a book worth the time and money. When an authors work is heavily reviewed, it allows readers the opportunity to gain unbiased insight about the work they are looking to purchase.

The Alpha’s Dream is in a competitive market. Shifter romances have quickly gained a reputation for being great reads and fun books. It comes without saying that it is difficult to stand above the crowd as an unknown author. Which is why reviews and readers like you who leave them are such an intricate part of the publishing process.

So, I’m coming to you with a genuine plea. Once you’ve completed The Alpha’s Dream, take a few minutes to post on GoodReads and Amazon a review of the work you’ve finished. It is important to my career, to the quality of my work and to other authors who would come after me. It is important to any breakout authors you come across.

Your simple admittance about what you think of the work is one of the factors that will encourage other readers to read The Alpha’s Dream. It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to include exclusive details, and it I would prefer no spoilers. It does however need to be honest.

If you don’t like the book, then I can take that. If you love it, then I can take that too. I’m not going to hunt you down for a detailed explanation. I’m not going to insist you take down a negative review. I only want your subtle influence. Tell me what you think of my work. Tell all authors what you think of their work, because it matters.

I cannot thank you enough for being on this journey with me. Your presence has been a driving force and continues to validate why I work so hard at my writing. Don’t take for granted that your three word review or your four sentences won’t make a difference, because it will. I read every review. I aim to be your new favorite author. Don’t doubt that for a moment.

So, when you are down falling in love with Nathaniel Blanchard and Euphoria Atkins drop me a line. Tell me how The Alpha’s dream was everything you’d hoped.

Joy.

 

#ShamelessPlug

The Alpha’s Dream is officially released and if you haven’t gotten it already, then what are you waiting for?!?

I’m still not over the excitement of my first official release. It has truly been a crazy ride and I’m still learning the ins and outs of publishing as I work on my second project.  That doesn’t mean I’m not watching closely even the slightest movement on the Alpha’s Dream! I loved writing the book and I wanted to give you reasons to love it too. So, here are my completely biased and utterly self-serving, top five reasons you should purchase The Alpha’s Dream.

1.The Alpha’s Dream is a sexy and tension filled love story of how our past haunts us.

I’m a hopeless romantic. A sweet romance will always make me swoon, but real relationships don’t just fall into place. Case in point, Euphoria and Nathaniel. While you escape into an eventual happily ever after, the journey the two must go to be with each other is the ultimate focus. My hero and heroine aren’t expected to simply fall in love with each other. They are forced to address quiet insecurities and very noisy resentments just as they would in “real life”.

2. New Orleans is the perfect location for a little shifter magic.

I should have said Louisiana here. I’m a LA native, born and raised here. It means I have a special connection to all things paranormal. New Orleans, with its flurry of activity and torrid history offers one of the perfect locations to bring in a little more of the extraordinary. Of course there would be werewolves in New Orleans. Just like there would be witches, vampires, changelings, and strong women like Euphoria who bravely carve out their lives.

3. The sister love bond between Euphoria Atkins and her best friend Charlotte is enviable.

In a world that loves a good catfight, I find it most important to show women of color with strong bonds. Euphoria and Charlotte are the type of sister girlfriends who tell each other hard truths, fight for each other without reservation, and will not once let the other sit back on their greatness. They are the epitome of strong, loving support systems. All of us should have best friends like these!

4. Nathaniel’s eventual self-awareness.

Nathaniel doesn’t have a lot of time for introspection. He takes things as he sees them, is not easily persuaded otherwise, and ultimately only changes kicking and screaming. It was tough to get him to a point where he wanted to be someone different. He wanted to be a man free enough of his resentments that he could love Euphoria from a whole place. There is nothing more powerful than his resolution to make peace with his past and his love for Euphoria as the catalyst.

5. Diversity in all things romance!

It is a small thing that the characters of my shifter romance are predominantly black. That isn’t to say that it isn’t a very important thing. Often, in stories outside of the norm, almost stereotypical romance characters of color are excluded. On days when they are included, there is generally one primary character as a person of color. It is important to me as a reader to have characters like Euphoria and Nathaniel; strong people of color with rich lives, honest fears, and prosperous.

I love my book. You will too. Add The Alpha’s Dream to your shifter collection today.

 

Joy.

#freereads

Writing is a tedious love affair. Just when you’re finished, you have to take a second look at it to figure out you are wrong.

I love my job. I love taking a premise and fleshing it to a plot, then taking names and turning them into people. It is a passion. It is my life’s dream. I used to write for the sake of writing. Now, I don’t.

My release date is three weeks away, April 23rd. On that faithful Sunday,  months of hard work will spill out for your consumption. I will be at your mercy. That’s a lot of pressure, right? WRONG! It’s actually no pressure at all. The great thing about books is that you have the right to choose what you read. That isn’t pressure, it’s power.

So, let’s share power.

One of the fascinating things about books is discovering new authors. Some of you have quietly followed along with me. You’ve seen the highs, the lows, and read the concerns. You’ve been there when I’ve struggled to determine if it was worth it. Now, I’m asking you to take things a little further.

I want you to read my book…and review it.

That might be a little pressure.

It is no small task, breaking into the world of being a published author. There are a lot of hours, doubts, fears, and so on. What makes it worth it for most of us is the finished product and your response. We know as authors what we love, but we want to know what you love too. Like I said, I use to do this for the love of it, and now I don’t.

I write for a living. It is my career. I spent long hours for years writing for others. Now, as I write for myself I need your voice in my head. I’m asking for your curiousity, and offering a chance to read my book(s) for free. Here’s is how it works.

You the curious reader, sign up to receive an Advanced Reader copy of my book. This copy will have all the plot and basic editing for your consumption. It’ll ask you to determine whether or not you like it and why. Once finished, you would leave an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. The end.

It really is that easy. It feels like a small thing, but ask any author, it’s not. Those few sentences and star ratings make a huge difference in whether the work lives or dies. I’m pretty partial to The Alpha’s Dream living.

So do me a solid and just sign-up. I’ll send you a free ARC copy and on April 23rd, you’ll review it. We’ll both be ecstatically happy. Don’t believe me? Try it and see. 😁

 

Joy.

 

#HeroIntroductions

I love my characters and I want you to love them too. So here is the first of a series of introductions to my loves. Shifters lovers meet our hero Nathaniel.

Nathaniel Blanchard is a 27-year-old, chocolate-brown werewolf with savior intentions. He’s a former Pro-Football player and aspiring business owner. He’s made a good living for himself and now he is reaching back to help anyone who might need a little guidance. He’s plagued by feeling disconnected from his werewolf, so he compensates by being the best “man” he can. This of course often puts him at odds with his beast.

Anyone who is anyone knows that denial of self is the easiest way to lose sight of everything in your life. It will take his willingness to delve deeper into why he feels split into two before he can have all that he’s dreamed.

What I love about Nathaniel is the very thing that threatens to bring him down-his stubborn pride. Nathaniel is not a werewolf who would ever be easily convinced of anything. He is hell bent on thinking for himself and coming up with his own answers. The hard truth about only trusting his own voice is not having room for other visions. He doesn’t want to be proven wrong and he holds on to his “wrongness” as long as possible.

It will not be easy for him to get passed this major flaw in order to fall for Euphoria. She is busy battling her own flaws. It is a struggle from start to finish as they work through their private matters to find their way to each other.

It is a battle that Nathaniel never expected to fight. Though he never stays single long he doesn’t actually believe in finding true love. The idea that his wolf heritage would mean one day finding his life mate is an even further stretch for him. Throughout his life, there is only one woman he ever believed loved him completely. His mother. Yet, it is her secret that could be the key allowing him to unlock his carefully guarded heart.

You should know that Nathaniel is just as loyal as he is stubborn. He will always stand by those who are close to him. Once he is sure of his love for Euphoria, he will fall on his sword to let her know he’s serious. Then, he will make peace with all the things that have kept him from revealing himself to her.

Nathaniel’s story comes full circle, but not without some intense private scrutiny. There  is so much he has to learn, but men like him never give up. And the women they love need only have faith.

Sounds like someone you could fall in love with. Leave a comment and let me know.

Joy.

 

Brown Women … Shifter Romance

 

I have a mild obsession with Shifter Romances. I can’t say that enough in part because it still surprises me. My love with Romance writings were largely limited to African-American Romance for most of my life. It wasn’t that I hadn’t read other authors. I am surrounded by romance readers, or really readers period with favorite authors of all persuasions. African-American Romance  appealed to me, because I could always find characters who mirrored the people in my life.

There is a beauty in representation. I enjoyed seeing women who looked, moved, and walked through their lives like the women I knew. I felt indulge when a great romantic writer would invite me in to watch these women wrestling with sometimes complex and other times sweet relationships. I was content to have a life long love affair with African-American Romance  and go on with my Happily Ever After. It was perfect.

It would have stayed that way had I never began freelancing. The thing about being a ghostwriter in a fiction romance capacity is that it opens up various subgenres. At this point in my career, I have read and written everything from Historical Romances to Contemporary Romances. Clean Romances with sweet stories and dirty Erotica’s with steamy finishes. I’ve had  and enjoyed them all, but not like this.

What began for research purposes  so that I could learn the nuance and special details of  Shifter Romances soon became something bigger. I found myself scouring the top 100 on Amazon for names I recognized and titles that jumped out to me.

I loved it. From the cheesy and utterly impossible romances to the smooth, and complexly written layered romances. Everything I loved about Happily Ever After’s was there.  Almost everything I loved was there.

I was missing some representation. Surely, I wasn’t the only woman of color who would swoon over the hero’s and root for the heroines as they navigated their love stories. I was convinced there were authors out there writing Shifter Romances with people of color heroes and heroines, but after countless hours of digging I came up short. There are quite a few authors who write Black Women White Men (BWWM) Shifter Romances, and most couplings followed the trend of a women of color lead and white shifter. Beautiful stories, but not what I was looking to find.

I was falling deeper and deeper in love with Shifter Romances and all I wanted was one couple who looked like my husband and I. I wanted our stories between those pages too. I knew I couldn’t be alone. So, when it came time for me to decide what my focus would be it seemed natural to combine my two greatest romance loves.

Currently, I have several plots that aren’t just A. A. characters. There is a blend  of multi-cultural characters in there with a few combinations. What remains the same is that at least one primary character is A.A. at all times. It’s important to me. I’ve been questioned about whether or not  it is a smart idea to focus on minority characters in my writing. Statistically, books with people of color as their primary leads struggle to reach the heights of their Caucasian counterparts. I’ve written with primary characters in just about every race, and I’ve seen the difference first hand.

However, that little piece of information has done nothing to dampen my mood. I love stories of love triumphing. I love stories of werewolves and were-bears and dragons  fighting the same human battles of love and lust with the added detail of their mixed heritage. I love what it feels like when their wolves surface and it is clear they have chosen a mate. I love writing these stories with people of color as the driving characters.

I am not afraid to thrive in a “niche” market. I’ll be writing what I love and offering up something special from me to people who love it too. My aim is just to do it justice.  Romance is for everyone – even those genres built around “imaginary people.” After all, the Romance genre in all of its glory is about the perfect blend of fantasy and reality. We could all use more of that.

Joy.