Thursday, March 15, 2018
Finding Jenna has gotten three agent rejections and two publisher rejections. I know that's not a lot in the publishing industry, but I did get some inside information that the main concern from the publishing and agent side of things is that the book might not sell enough to be worth taking on because of the subject matter. So, I'm going to publish it myself. I'm actually going to publish both versions of the story. One version focuses on the intrigue, and one focuses on the relationship between the two main characters. I think a lot of readers will enjoy seeing both sides of the story, but we'll see what happens later this year when I release the stories.
Build Love is doing really well. Thank you, everyone, who has read the story! I appreciate you all so much, especially the readers who've taken a few minutes to give me a review. Sending out much love to you all.
I'm really fired up about writing this year and publishing some stories that I've written in the past so that you will see more from me this year than in the past few years. I hope you all will be as excited about reading my stories as I am about getting them out there to you
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Wow! This has been a very exciting 17 days since I released Building Love. It has done very well in the lesbian romance and lesbian fiction categories on Amazon and is selling like hot cakes. I am so thrilled. It had been a while since I'd released anything new so I was a bit worried about how it would be received, but so far everyone has said they have enjoyed the story.
I'm running a Goodreads Giveaway. It started today and will go on until March 12th. I'm giving away 20 digital copies of Building Love, so if you haven't read it yet and want to get a free copy, here's your chance.
So, what's next? A lot of things. I'm still trying to find an agent for Finding Jenna. I've set the time limit to a year. If I don't find an agent in a year, I'm going to self-publish the book myself. I really believe the story will have mainstream appeal and I just want to go through the experience of being traditionally published. But, if no one shows any interest before October 2018, I'm going to publish it myself.
The next thing on my agenda is wrapping up some stories I've already started and editing some stories that are finished. I have two stories that I posted on The Royal Academy of Bards site several years ago that I'm going to polish and publish this year. I also want to finish The Weddings, the final book of The Wrong Place at the Right Time series. On top of that, I've already started another young adult lesbian romance. Yes, that's a pretty full plate, but after a year and a half of mourning the loss of my sister and brother-in-law and being just really out of sorts, I finally feel fired up and ready to get some serious writing and publishing done.
I want to thank everyone who has followed me on this journey I started almost six years ago. Your support means so much to me and I look forward to hearing what you think of the stories I'm going to publish in the future.
Namaste, M. E.
Monday, February 19, 2018
This was a good story with a bit of everything except really spicy naughty stuff. I really did enjoy this one.
The two main characters shared an alternating narrative. Both of the protagonists are less privileged girls in smallish town Kentucky, so they're automatically the good people in the story.
I think that's the problematic part in that good and evil are kind of stereotyped. And when I say "kind of", I mean "really" stereotyped. Spoiled privileged white boy with enabling intolerant father and crazy religiously intolerant mom... Spoiled rich girl bullies. Yeah, I have seen that before a bunch of times already.
The best parts are in the margins, I guess. The girl who went through conversion "therapy", who was only there in a single scene. The mysterious brother and absent mom. The fact that the poor girl protagonist chose life rather than to abort her unfortunate fetus... Even if life was a plot point rather than any statement about politics (and thank goodness it wasn't). These little peculiarities are what makes this story shine.
There were opportunities to expand the story (like the identity of the father), but even if I could fill in the blanks, I'm glad it ended where it did because it wasn't necessary.
So, broadly speaking, I think there were missteps in sketching out stereotypical characters in the broader world. When the story plays in the path of the particular idiosyncrasies of the fictional world, it's much better.
It's made it all the way to #8 in Lesbian Romance on Amazon, which is the highest any of my books have gone in that category. Of course, I'm having to compete with the likes of J. A. Armstrong (on of my favorite authors), Harper Bliss, and H. E. Logan for a higher position.
If you haven't already checked out this new young adult lesbian romance, I hope you will and I hope you'll let me know if you liked it.
Monday, February 5, 2018
This is the new book cover for Building Love. I still need to work on the blurb for the back cover, but that's a work in-progress. I'm going to be loading the book content to Amazon this coming weekend so it will be ready by February 14th, the official release date.
This is the second book young adult book that I've written where a child was in the story. I think it's an important issue that often gets looked over. Lots of lesbians want kids, and not all lesbians have kids via vitro fertilization. This story also talks about the consequences that can happen when partying with drugs, alcohol, and people you can't trust. Unlike Standing Her Ground, which revolved around Jodi Nelson fighting to keep her parents and their church from trying to take her son, Building Love revolves around the relationship between Patty McNeal, a pregnant teen getting ready to graduate from high school, and Theresa Garland, a young contractor, who went to the same high school as Patty.
Even though they had both noticed each other at the high school, they had never spoken. Theresa, who is two years older than Patty, had developed a small crush on Patty when they had been in school together, but had never attempted to talk to Patty, especially after Theresa and her classmate, Linda Dalton become lovers.
It's been two years since Theresa graduated from high school and fate has brought the two young women back into each other's lives. Patty is dealing with bad choices she had made the year before, after her father was tragically killed by a drunk driver, in the form of an unexpected pregnancy. Theresa has finished a two year technical college program and started working as a foreman for her father's construction company. The two young woman become friends as they both work to help Patty's mom, Mandy McNeal realize her dream of owning a bed and breakfast.
Theresa's attraction to Patty is growing but she's trying to keep her feelings on a friendship level because she doesn't know if Patty would ever want to be more than friends. Patty feels a growing attraction to Theresa, but is afraid its just hormones in overdrive. The two women have to decide if they can let go of their fear of getting hurt, or hurting each other, and become more than friends. Only time will tell if they can build a lasting love.
Sunday, January 14, 2018
I finished adding the new chapters to Building Love last night and officially wrote "The End." I'm so excited about finishing this story, and I'm going to be editing like a mad woman over the next month because my goal is to release this book on Amazon on Valentine's Day 2018. That is one month from today!
I've been blessed to have such awesome fans who have been patiently waiting for me to publish something new. The last new story I published was Taste Testing, a short erotic tale that I released on October 9, 2016. It has been more than two years since I released a full-length book and that was Standing Her Ground, which was released on October 15, 2015.
As some of you know, the past couple of years had a lot of ups and downs, including the sudden loss of my sister, Sheryl and her husband, Jim in a plane crash February 11, 2015. I was amazed I was able to finish Standing Her Ground during that first year of grief, but I believe it was my sister's wind under my wings pushing me forward.
I've been doing a lot of writing regardless of the fact that I haven't published anything. I have several projects started that have stalled in various stages for different reasons. But, I finished Finding Jenna That story is a drama about a female-to-male transgender man who finds his true self when he has to go into hiding from his very dangerous father. I'm trying to get that book traditionally publishes, partially because I want to have that experience and partly because I'm hoping a traditional publisher will be able to get the book to a new audience.
I'm still working on the synopsis for Building Love, but here's some general information about it. The story is about two young women, Patty McNeal and Theresa Garland. After Patty's father was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver, Patty started making very bad choices. She starts taking drugs and partying too much. The result is an unexpected pregnancy. When Patty finds out she's pregnant she changes her course and focuses on the new life growing within her, despite the fact that her loser ex-boyfriend, Caleb Dalton, refuses to admit the baby is his.
Theresa Garland is surprised when her father, Richard asks her to take on a complete remodel job for his friend, Mandy McNeal. Theresa has been working for her father since she was a teenager, but he has been giving her bigger jobs and responsibilities ever since she graduated from the technical college. This remodel will be a huge responsibility.
Patty and Theresa went to the same high school in western Kentucky. Theresa is a few years older than Patty and remembers thinking she was beautiful the first time she saw her when Patty was a freshman. Patty knew Theresa as a popular upperclassman who was always nice to her.
Theresa is immediately protective of Patty when she starts working on the house that Mandy wants to turn into a bed and breakfast. Patty is seven months pregnant but determined to help her mother in any way she can to make her dream of owning a successful bed and breakfast come true. As Patty and Theresa get to know each other as they work on the house together, they both start feeling the pull of attraction.
Theresa is openly gay, partially from being forced out of the closet by Patty's ex-boyfriend, Caleb Dalton's sister, Linda. She has had a little crush on Patty ever since she first saw her at the high school, but she doesn't think Patty is gay and she doesn't want to do anything to make Patty's mom mad and lose this job.
Patty has never really thought about her sexuality. She had never really been interested in the guys at her school and dating Caleb had just been a part of being strung out on drugs. Most of her friends at school are queer, except for her very straight best friend, Daria. The more Patty is around Theresa, the more she likes her and the more she feels this unusual attraction. When Patty kisses Theresa the first time it's to throw the accusations Caleb and his girlfriend, Destiny has been making in their faces. This rush of electricity between Patty and Theresa surprises both of them. Even though they both are being cautious with their hearts, the love between them builds as they work on the bed and breakfast and become close friends, and then lovers.
Sunday, January 7, 2018
I'll probably put the story away for a week or two and then edit it again. I was hoping to release the book around Valentine's day, but that's looking like it may be too soon. But, for my fans who have been patiently waiting for this book to come out, I am going to post the first two chapters. That way you all can get a start of the story before it officially comes out. I hope you'll take a minute to comment or email me about the story and let me know what you think about how it starts. I'm always happy to hear from you guys so drop me a line at email@example.com
Now, here's the first two chapters of Building Love:
“Have you lost your mind?” That was all I could think of to say when Mom took me to look at the house she had just bought. It looked like the left behind set of a really bad horror movie.
“No, Patricia,I have not lost my mind,” Mom said indignantly. “I got this place cheap.” She walked into what I assumed had been the living room and turned in a circle. “It just needs some tender loving care and elbow grease.”
I raised both eyebrows and looked down at my protruding stomach. “Well, I hope you realize that it will be at least two months before I will be lending much elbow grease.”
Mom came over and put her arm around my shoulders. “Yes, I know you will be limited at what you can help with, but there is still a lot you can do. You can sweep stuff into a pile and I’ll pick it up.” She grabbed a piece of the peeling wallpaper and pulled it off the wall. “You can help strip the wallpaper.”
I’m not afraid of hard work. There were many weekends, summers, and school breaks that I’d spent working alongside my parents on one job site or another. My father had been a painter and drywall finisher by trade. My mother had worked with him for as long as I could remember, so she was totally capable of doing a lot of the drywall finishing and painting that this place was going to need. I looked around the room. This was going to take a lot more than stripping wallpaper and painting to make it livable.
“Are you sure it’s safe to walk around in here?” I asked looking at the scuffed wood floors.
“Yes,” Mom said. “I had a building inspector go over every nook and cranny. He said the house was solid, it just needed some cosmetic work.
I looked at her. “Cosmetic work? I think a wrecking crew might be more useful.”
She scowled at me. “It’s not that bad.” She looked up at the place where a light fixture had been hanging that was just loose wires now. “Anyway, I’ve got a contractor friend who’s going to take a look at it for me. He promised to give me a good deal based on us doing a lot of the work.”
Shaking my head, I followed behind Mom as she took me on a tour of the whole house. I listened as she told me about her plans for each room.
Mom had been talking about owning a bed and breakfast forever. It was something Dad and she had talked about doing together. When he was killed by a drunk driver a little over a year ago, all of Mom’s plans were destroyed, or at least they had seemed to be at the time.
This year had been really hard on both of us. We lost the home Mom and Dad had just purchased less than six months before his accident because his life insurance company and the drunk driver’s insurance company were stalling on giving Mom the money she was due. Mom hired a really good lawyer who finally got her all the money she was supposed get, and a little more for pain and suffering. The money had just finally come in and the was how Mom had bought this monstrosity.
We have been living in a tiny two bedroom low income apartment while we waited for the settlement. Now that the money had finally come in, we had just a few weeks to get a new place.
When Mom told me she was going to look at a house or two the other day, I never expected her to buy something so quickly. However, when she told me what she paid for this house I wasn’t surprised she’d jumped on the opportunity. It really was cheap, but now I know why.
After we’d finished the tour of the upstairs, we returned to the living room. “So what do you think?”
Slipping my arm around her narrow waist, I looked around the room again. I couldn’t see the potential, but apparently Mom could. If she wanted to turn this house into a bed and breakfast, I would help her as much as possible. “When you said you bought a house to turn into a bed and breakfast, I pictured something a little more ready to be moved into.”
Mom grinned. “Im sure you did, but I couldn’t pass up this deal. The owner was the great grandson of the original owner and he was tired of dealing with it. I offered him a bid on it and he took it.” She turned to me. “I know I probably should have talked to you about it before I bought it, because some of that money is yours. But, once we get this up and running, you won’t have to worry about getting a babysitter for Mattie because you can help me run the bed and breakfast. You think you would want to do that?”
She had a point about the babysitter. I have been worried about having to get a job and leaving the baby with a stranger. This way I could be home with the baby. “Yes, I want to do that. When do we start?”
Mom leaned over kissed me on my cheek and patted my large belly. “This weekend.”
I rubbed the spot Mom had patted and felt the tiny foot of the little girl I was carrying kick my hand. It made me smile.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I had been completely devastated. Having a baby this early in my life had not been part of my plans, but now I couldn't wait for her to get here. Partially because I’m totally sick of feeling like a beached whale, but mostly because I couldn’t wait to hold my little girl in my arms.
“Okay,” I said and followed Mom outside.
“What does Mattie feel like having for dinner?” Mom asked.
I ran my hands over my stomach and leaned down as if to really talk to the baby. “What do you think Matilda, Chinese, or Italian? One kick for Chinese. Two for Italian.” The baby’s answer was a solid single kick to my ribs.
I rubbed the spot she’d planned her foot and said, “Chinese it is.”
Mom leaned down and kissed my belly. “Good choice, Mattie. That’s what Grandma wanted too.”
I shook my head. My mother is an amazing person. We had been a close family unit before my dad died. After he died, I lost my mind for a little while and started being an idiot out partying and trying to bury my pain in drugs and alcohol. I had been terrified to tell Mom about my pregnancy after I first found out. She had lost her husband and best friend just six months earlier, and then her only daughter became an out of control freak.
Mom had not been as upset as I thought she would be. Granted, she had not been happy with me, but I wasn’t very happy with me either. Selfish is the nicest word I can think of to describe myself for those first six months. I was so wrapped up in my own pain that I had not considered how hard things were for Mom. It took me becoming pregnant and realizing the depth of that responsibility before I could see what I was doing to her. Now, I’m determined to make up for my bad choices by helping Mom as much as I can.
I looked around again as we closed the front door. This was going to be a huge project. I wonder if Mom really understood what she was getting into, but I was here for the ride with her no matter what.
I looked up from the pictures I was studying when my father walked in the office we share.
“What’s new?” he asked.
“Just looking at the pictures of Mrs. Doan’s yard,” I said. “She wants a path to the percula made with stepping stones and she gave me a list of the new flowers and bushes she’d like to have, so I’m trying to figure out how to best organize the flower beds.”
He nodded and moved to look over my shoulder at the pictures. “About how long do you think that will take?”
“A week, maybe a week and a half,” I answered. “The hardest part is going to be digging the new gardens, but John and Jesus will make quick work of it. Why?”
“I might have a remodel job for you,” Dad said. “It’s going to be a pretty big job and will probably take at least a couple months. You interested?”
“You sure you trust me with that big a job?” I asked, surprised.
Dad shrugged and walked away, going to his desk and sitting down in his oversized leather chair. “It’s for an old friend. She’s on a tight budget. I figure you can do it for less than I can. There will be a lot of work you can do yourself and not bring a crew in, so more of the money will go in your pocket. Plus there are some things she wants to do herself to save money, and it will let me see how you do with a project like this. Not all my clients can afford to pay top dollar for a big and fast crew to come through and be done in a couple weeks.”
“Okay, sure, I’d love to take on a remodel. What’s it entail?”
“Before you say yes for certain, how about we go out to the house this afternoon so you can see what you’re getting into,” Dad suggested.
I nodded. “Okay.”
A couple hours later, Dad and I got in his maroon crew cab diesel and headed toward the downtown area. Riverton is a small city that has become known for its arts and crafts festivals. The downtown area has been being rejuvenated. Lots of small shops have started up since the city has started promoting tourism of the town’s historic district.
Many people were buying the old, dilapidated homes and making them into beautiful show pieces while still keeping its historic value. That’s why I wasn’t surprised that the house I was going to be working on was in the historic district.
We turned onto Fourth Street and Dad stopped in front of a two-story brick house in serious need of repair.
“Is this it?” I asked, getting out of the truck.
“Yep. My friend, Mandy wants to turn it into a bed and breakfast,” Dad said as he came around the truck and stood beside me.
Crossing my arms over my chest, I looked at the overgrown yard and rundown house. “This is going to take a lot of work.”
“Yeah? What until you see the inside?” Dad said and took a key out of his pocket. “Come on, let's have a look inside.”
I followed him up the broken sidewalk to the front door. The inside of the house had a heavy musk smell from years of being closed up. The wallpaper was peeling off the walls showing the old and cracking drywall underneath. Spider webs were everywhere. I hate spiders.
“Is this place liveable?” I asked as I walked across the hardwood floor leading into a large room with a fireplace.
“Mandy had a building inspector to come out and look at it before she bought it. The structure is sound,” Dad said, looking around. “It’s just going to need a lot of work.”
“Yeah,” I agreed.
We walked through the downstairs rooms. The kitchen looked like it hadn’t been renovated since the 1950s. There was one bathroom downstairs and it had been stripped of everything but the pipes. The linoleum floor looked like it would have to be replaced.
I followed Dad upstairs where there were four more rooms, all of which had most likely been bedrooms.
“No bathroom up here?” I asked.
“No,” Dad said. “The house was build in the early 1900’s and had been used as a single family rental since the 80s. It has sat empty for the most of the last 5 years. The guy who sold it to Mandy was the great grandson of the original owner. I don’t think he’s done anything to it since he inherited it. His father had at least sent someone to mow and keep an eye on the house. I think the great grandson recently inherited it and decided to get rid of it rather they fix it up.”
“Wow,” I said. “So what kind of budget are we talking about?”
“Maybe fifty thousand,” he said.
I looked at him incredulously. “You expect me to turn this into a bed and breakfast for under fifty thousand dollars?”
“It can be done,” Dad said. “And I have faith that you can pull it off. Mandy and her daughter will do some of the non skilled work, cleaning place up and stuff like that, so that will cut down on what you have to pay out for labor.”
I stood looking around the room with my hands on my hips. I wasn’t sure I could do it for that little money, but when Dad asked me if I accepted the challenge, I said, “Yes.
The owner and I would definitely have to go over what she wanted specifically. This was not going to be an easy project to keep within the budget, but I would sure try.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
I'm about halfway through Building Love in my first round of edits and working very hard to get it ready for a Valentine's Day release. As we get closer to February I'll update you on all the progress I'm making.
I know many of you are waiting for the next installment of Suddenly and The Wrong Place at the Right Time. Unfortunately, both of my follow up stories for those books have stalled. Maybe after I finish Building Love and get it out there, I'll be able to get back to the installments, but for right now, they are just not coming together.
I've been toying with taking a few of my stories out of the Kindle Unlimited program and making them available through other venues, but I'm having a hard time with it. I make more money per book in the KU program than I do through direct sales. Yes, if I were to put a higher price tag on the books I would make more money per sale, but I'm afraid I would lose sales overall.
There are a few other reasons I'm not going to jack up my prices. The number one reason is that there will be a lot of my fans who won't be able to afford to buy my books if I make the price too high. It's more important to me that my fans be able to read my books than it is for me to make a lot of money per book.
Another reason is that it would make me less competitive with other lesbian authors. There are a lot of excellent authors, who write similar stories, who are also using Kindle Unlimited and keeping their prices reasonable. The reward is a lot of loyal fans, including me. One of those authors is J. A. Armstrong. I love her short, quirky stories, and because I can read them on Kindle Unlimited, I can afford to read two or three of hers a month (I'm behind actually too busy writing to read).
Sadly, there are only a few authors I will pay more than a few dollars for their books, partially because I just simply cannot afford to spend a lot for books. Gerri Hill is one of those authors whose books I buy every time she puts out a new one. I've been reading her books ever since she first came out with One Summer Night. That was back in 2004, and I've been following her ever since. I have to admit though, I have gotten her newest book, The Secret Pond because I just haven't had the money.
So what do you think about the Kindle Unlimited program? Do you use it? How much is your limit for a book these days? Leave me a comment here, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you.