Confessions of a Competitive Gal

Theodore Roosevelt was a smart guy. How do I know this? Because he’s the one who said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Image courtesy of flickr

Yup. And I should know. I may not appear like someone who keeps score (or maybe I do, haha), but I’m about as competitive as a quiet, non-threatening Asian girl can be. 😉

As you can imagine, this trait does not bode well for someone who works in sales. Yes, I spend a lot of time writing books, but the other part of my job is selling them. And boy, is that part hard.

Ever since hubby and I published the book we wrote together, he’s been asking me every day how many copies we’ve sold. When I showed him the latest results, all he could say was, “Wow, it’s not easy to sell books.” Haha. Amen to that!

There are so many methods that authors use to sell their books. Some spend hundreds of dollars on ads every month. Others release a new book every 4-6 weeks!  You can imagine how competitive this industry is.

For many authors, we write because we dislike numbers, but selling books is all about the numbers. The number of words you can crank out in a day, how many sales you make during any given week, your author ranking in your particular genre. It’s so, so easy to get caught up in the numbers.

I found myself getting caught up in this trap recently. I heard of some bestselling authors writing one to two thousand words a day, and wondered why I couldn’t do the same? Assuming I could keep it up, I’d be able to crank out a book every other month—at a minimum. Sure, it would mean some late nights, but I’m a night owl already, so why not?

Well, after attempting this kind of lifestyle for a few weeks, I realized why not. 😛 I realized the very reason that I had started writing—for the pure joy of it!—had all but disappeared from my heart. I had become a writing machine—cold and robotic. I no longer looked forward to creating characters and storylines. I had lost my passion for words. And it was sad!

After reevaluating my priorities, I took a step back—way back!—and decided to stop. To stop writing for the sake of selling. To stop staying up so late. To stop comparing myself to other authors who are able to write more and sell more than me.

And do you know what happened? I found joy in writing again. 🙂

The thing is, we are all on our own journey in life. No two people are the same. That’s the beauty and wonder of God’s handiwork, that we are unique beings created with our own set of abilities and passions and strengths. There’s no need to compare ourselves to another because how can you compare two completely different things? We are each meant to do what we’re good at and what we are able to handle. It’s as simple as that. (Kind of.) 😉

So, here’s to doing your own thing, wherever your passions lie, and to doing them for the pure joy of it.

What do you do for the pure joy of it?

Cover Reveal for Hubby’s 1st Book: The Time Rift

There were many things I looked forward to when I married my hubby nearly 17 years ago. I had hoped we’d have lots of fun together (check!), travel to warm destinations together (check!), start a family together (check!), and grow up through all of life’s ups and downs together (double check!). What I never expected us to do though was write a book—together. Yep, that’s a lot of togetherness in case you couldn’t tell. But that’s what marriage is all about, right? (Haha, gulp!)

So, the story goes (our story, not his story, which we’ll get to soon), hubby enjoys sci-fi movies, and about five years ago, he came up with his own idea for one. And since he doesn’t like to read or write (did I tell you we’re opposites?), he asked me to write it. Now, this is where I double checked the vows I made on our wedding day. Even though I hadn’t promised “to have and to hold and to write a book together”, I agreed to do so because I love my hubby.

Oh, how I must love him … because I had NO idea what I’d gotten myself into. LOL.

Writing this book together took five years to complete—that’s almost a third of our marriage. A lot of things happened during that time, including a big job change for him, a dozen books published for me, and the challenges both of us faced in raising our two munchkins. Whenever we could though, hubby would write a chapter here and there and I would edit (AKA rewrite) it. Thanks to the wonder of Google docs, lots of coffee shop visits (for hubby), some hair pulling (for me!), one title change, and some storyline revisions (thanks to the help of our awesome beta readers), we ended up with a grand total of 73,861 words.

Whoa baby. (Did I mention hubby tends to be on the wordy side? LOL.)

We are so relieved to be finished with this book. Now comes the exciting (and scary) part of putting it out into the world for all to see.

So, without further ado, here’s the cover reveal for The Time Rift!

Renowned physicist Lance Everett has two great passions: donuts and time travel. The only thing that rivals them is Juliet Bradley, the redheaded beauty who captured his heart at a college football game. After reconnecting with her a decade later, Lance can’t imagine his life being more complete. Even without a time machine, he foresees a happy marriage and a breakthrough in his scientific pursuits.

 

Until the unthinkable happens.

 

Now Lance is left searching for answers and questioning what he values the most. A chance encounter with a mysterious man offers him some unexpected solace, as well as the opportunity of a lifetime. But the stakes are higher than he ever imagined. Will he risk it all to gain back what he lost, even if the consequences can never be reversed?

You can pre-order The Time Rift now for only 99 cents*! If you enjoy sci-fi, especially time travel stories, we hope you’ll check it out!

*Release day will be March 21st, and the print version will be ready a week later.

Cover Reveal: Romantically Ever After

I’ve had romance on the brain for a few weeks now because I’ve been writing a Valentine’s themed story. This doesn’t mean I don’t always think warm-fuzzy thoughts, but reality and fiction are very different, in case you haven’t noticed. 😉 During the day, I do a lot of “mom-ing”, but at night after the family is in bed, I get to relive falling in love again along with my characters. Writing a Valentine’s Day story seems even more romantic than usual because I get to mention the colors red and pink (I love pink!), heart-shaped everything, stuffed bears, engagement rings, and more—all in one story. (That was a major spoiler alert if you didn’t notice. LOL). I also included my favorite romantic trope—friends to something more—to make the falling in love part of this story as sweet and organic as possible. I’m quite happy with how it turned out, and hope you’ll love it, too!

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Gracie Sutton and Brady Hansen of Romantically Ever After!

If you read Chasing Romance, you’ll remember Izzy’s daughter, Gracie. Well, it’s now her turn to find her happy ending (but not without a few bumps along the way first).

Two best friends find romance in the most unexpected place: each other.

Despite her parents’ broken relationship, Gracie Sutton still believes in love. Even though her first year at college hasn’t turned up any romantic prospects, an unexpected message gives her a chance to reunite with a loved one. With her best friend, Brady, by her side, Gracie returns to her hometown to meet her estranged father.

Spending Valentine’s Day weekend in Romance, Oregon should be a wonderful occasion, but the tension between her parents and her mom’s new boyfriend makes her heart weary. Gracie questions whether or not happy endings exist anymore … until Brady helps her discover her own romantically ever after.

Romantically Ever After is now available for pre-order HERE! Release date will be February 1, 2018. There are also 2 other books from the Welcome To Romance series releasing with mine for Valentine’s Day. Find out more about the series HERE!

I’ll close with one of the songs I listened to on repeat while I wrote this story, Kenny Holland’s “This Dance”. It’s such a sweet song about young love, which is what Gracie and Brady experience.

The (Not-So) Glamorous Life of an Entrepreneur (+ How to Add a TOC Page to Your eBook)

It occurred to me today that entrepreneurism runs in my family. Both of my parents were self-employed before they retired; my dad had his own insurance business and my mom did home loans and real estate. It kind of makes sense now that I also embraced the all-so glamorous life of an entrepreneur.

I’m so kidding about the glamorous part, if you can’t tell. 😉

If there’s anything I’ve learned about having your own business, it’s that you—and only you—end up doing everything to keep the business going. (That is until you make it big and can afford to pay people to do things for you.) I’m talking about a lot of manual labor and blood, sweat, and tears (especially the last bit!). As an indie author, this means learning how to do everything from making your own book cover, editing your story, formatting your manuscript for publishing, and marketing your book once it’s published.

Eeks. It’s so not a glamorous life. 😉

The boy in the photo is pretty much what I look like when I’m trying to do one of the above tasks. But (here’s the silver lining, folks!), I’ve grown so much in my skillset over the years that I could actually provide these services to other authors and charge them for it. See what a savvy entrepreneur I am?! LOL. I’m totally kidding though because I’m not a fan of self-torture and I still want to have time to write books (oh, and take care of my family, too!). However, since I’ve gained so much support from other indie authors and know how important it is to have “a village” as an entrepreneur, I’m more than happy to share what I’ve learned with other authors.

One thing I can do fairly well now is create a Table of Contents page for an ebook, which I’ll share below. There are several steps to navigate through, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to do it without too much moaning and groaning. Trust me when I say if I can learn how to do this, anyone can. 🙂

How to Add a TOC (Table of Contents) Page to Your eBook (for Microsoft Word documents):

  1. Insert a blank page in your document where you would like the TOC to go.
  2. Type “Table of Contents” at the top of the page and list the chapters and additional back matter pages underneath it. (See the image for an example.) 
  3. Go to Chapter One in your story and select the words “Chapter One” (place your cursor at the first letter and drag the mouse to the right until you reach the last letter).
  4. Go to the “Insert” menu and choose “Bookmark”. Type in a name (an abbreviation such as “Ch1” is a good idea since you’ll be doing this multiple times) and click “Add”.
  5. Go to the TOC page in your document and select the words “Chapter One”.
  6. Go to the “Insert” menu and choose “Hyperlink”. Click on “This Document”, then click on “Bookmarks”. The bookmark name you added in step 4 will appear. Select the name and click “OK”.
  7. The words “Chapter One” on the TOC page should now be underlined. Check to see that the hyperlink is working by clicking on it (it should take you to Chapter One in your story).
  8. Repeat steps 3 through 7 for the remaining chapters and any additional back matter pages.

Easy peasy, right? 🙂 If you have any questions at all or if anything I wrote is unclear, please leave me a comment and let me know. I’ll try my best to help and share a virtual tub of ice cream with you if needed.

Here’s a song by Jason Chen called “Blank Check” to inspire you while you work.

Are you an entrepreneur or know of someone who is? What pros and cons do you see about having your own business?

Thoughts about Nutella (+ A Cover Reveal)

So, author confession time. When I started out 2017, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to join two boxed sets. Both releasing towards the end of the year. I had no idea, however, of the other things that would pile up on my platter this year, too—platter, because I need something bigger than a plate to fit all my responsibilities! 😉 Long story short, I’m helping with the PTA at the munchkins’ school; I’m blogging regularly at three book-related sites in addition to my own; I babysit my niece once a week, so my mom gets some time off—funny how the tables have turned!; I have a family to feed, clothe, drive around, and listen to; and I have books to write, edit, and market. I realized I was pretty stressed out when I had a dream the other night that I was buying groceries and I couldn’t pay for them, but when I finally got the money to pay for them, the groceries had vanished! It was crazy, folks, like heart-pounding crazy! 😉

I’m not complaining though (okay, maybe I am complaining about having to feed my family every day). 😉 The thing is, I’m a bit tired. Tired because there are a lot of things I want to do, but there’s so little time to do them. (I know I’m not the only one who feels this way!) But when you also add my perfectionistic mindset to the mix, you’ve got a recipe for … nutella!

Yup, you read that right. I have been trying to be nutella. You know that rich, creamy, nutty goodness that goes good with everything and makes everyone happy? Yup, that nutella.

The thing is, no one can be a jar of nutella. Because sooner or later, you’ll find yourself with chest pains and headaches and waking up thinking you left your groceries at the store!

Here’s the truth (and doesn’t it look good?!):

I’m striving to remind myself to breathe and to do my best, but not to demand the best. Because when I demand perfection from myself, I only end up stressed out and frustrated and not a fun person to be around.

The big lesson here for me is grace. We need to give ourselves permission to say no. To mess up. To take a day off for our mental health. To do something for fun, not work. To be nice and kind and gentle to ourselves. To extend grace to ourselves because we’re human, after all.

I’m not saying we need to slack off (that would probably be torture, haha), but it’d be good to take it easy once in a while. Doing so may be hard at first, but everything (including being an anti-perfectionist) requires practice. And remember, practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes better. 🙂

And oh, before I forget, here’s the cover reveal for my story that’s coming out November 7th in Winter’s Kiss, a new Christian romance boxed set.

Tropical Kiss and Tell

Micah Chan has loved Lucy Choi ever since they were kids, but life—and some regretful decisions—stopped him from pursuing her. Now he has a choice to make: Let her marry another man or break up her engagement to make this Christmas the most memorable one of their lives.

You may recognize Micah and Lucy’s names from two of my other books, Tropical Kiss or Miss and Drawn to You. They were kids in those stories, but now they’re all grown up and getting their own happily-ever-after. 🙂

Pre-order your copy of Winter’s Kiss today for only 99 cents!

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0767LWGCL/

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/winters-kiss/id1293778445

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/winters-kiss-elaine-stock/1127196238

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/winter-s-kiss-10

Google Play: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/winter-s-kiss-10

7 Fun Facts about Chasing Romance

Fall Into Romance, a boxed set of ten sweet romances, has been a project in the making for about half a year now. It’s been a fun journey and I can’t wait for its launch so you all can experience romance in the fictional town of Romance, Oregon. With only one week to go before release day (squeal!), I thought I’d share 7 fun facts about my story from the set.

7 Fun Facts about Chasing Romance

  1. I got the idea to make the main characters songwriters because I used to write songs waaaay back in the day (aka. college). I wrote the lyrics and my best friend created the melodies. It was something fun we did that took our minds off studying. Along with a couple of other friends, we came up with a song for our college fellowship group called, At the Crossroads. I believe they were still singing the song a few years after we graduated!
  2. I returned to my songwriting roots and wrote the lyrics for two songs in this story. Unfortunately, the words don’t have music to go with them, but that means you get to make them up as you read. 🙂
  3. The teenaged girl in me might have a slight crush on singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes, which is why Chase Lockhart is based off him. I also might’ve listened to his songs non-stop while I was writing this story.
  4. Izzy Sutton was inspired by Rachel McAdams and the strong and sassy characters she usually plays. While I was researching for this book, I found out that Rachel McAdams is actually Shawn Mendes’s real-life crush! Talk about art imitating life. 🙂
  5. Thor, the black lab/pit bull mix, that Izzy adopted in the story is based off my sweet fur-nephew of the same name. He went through some rough times (the injuries I wrote about in the story are real), but is now so happy in his forever home with my sister, bro-in-law, and niece.
  6. I’ve never been to Oregon before, which meant I had to do a lot of research to make it seem like I knew the area well. Thankfully, one of my beta readers who had lived in Oregon for a few years said I managed to fool her. 😉
  7. Why did I write an older woman/younger man story? Um … I don’t have a good reason, other than wanting to try something different. LOL. I personally don’t think I’d fall for a man eleven years younger than me, but it was fun to toy with the idea as I wrote this story. I made sure though to keep the romance believable and grounded in more than physical attraction. There is some of that, but ultimately, the characters’ shared passion for music keeps them together.

If you haven’t picked up your copy of Fall Into Romance, make sure to do so before the price goes up! This set of ten stories will for sure get you in the mood for pumpkins, apple pie, hay rides, and more! And if you love animals of all types—dogs, cats, pigs, horses, and even roosters—you’ll enjoy the ones featured in these books.

Welcome to Romance! Pies are baking and leaves are falling. This fictional Oregon town has plenty of love in the air. Fall Into Romance, a box set of 10 heartwarming romance novellas by USA Today and National Bestselling authors, will bring you the best of the autumn season. It releases October 5th. Order it today for just 99¢.

Kindle:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0749T1Z89

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fall-into-romance-stacy-claflin/1127045367

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/fall-into-romance

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fall-into-romance/id1264676338

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=6mouDwAAQBAJ

You’re Never Too Young or Too Old to Become an Author

I’ve mentioned before that I would not be the author I am without my (virtual) village of fellow authors. I owe a lot of my growth to one Facebook group in particular: Clean Indie Reads. Recently, I polled the members of CIR to ask them an important question: At what age did you publish your first book? Below is a snapshot of the results, which really surprised me!

As I suspected, the majority of the members published for the first time in their 30s; I did as well when I was 38. But I was blown away to discover many people were in their 50s and 60s when they first published! Whoa baby. 😀 How cool is that?

The results of this poll prove it’s never too late to pursue your dream of becoming an author.

Hubby and I were just talking about this the other day. He remarked,” Writing is one job where your age doesn’t matter.” There are plenty of other professions where youth is a desired trait and what usually accompanies it—beauty, strength and energy—are requirements of the job. Being a writer, however, only requires that you have a mind to think and imagine and some way to get your thoughts down on paper. Readers don’t mind how old an author is, as long as their stories touch them.

One is also never too young to become an author. One of my munchkins’ teachers is an awesome out-of-the-box thinker and he calls his class the 4th Grade Dreamers. He assigns “dreamwork” to the kids every week, homework that encourages them to think about their dreams and find tangible ways to pursue them. The dream of one of my munchkins (the one who has requested to never be mentioned on social media again, ahem) is to become an author. The mom part of me hopes he’ll also find a day job, but the author part of me is pleased to see him follow in my footsteps. 😉 It was really neat to see him working on his dreamwork this week, creating a story to share with his classmates. He enjoyed the process so much, he even laughed out loud as he wrote … which made me laugh. It was such a joy for me to see him take pleasure in something that took me almost four decades to embrace. I wish I had someone who encouraged me to pursue my dream of being an author when I was ten. Fortunately, I was still able to start—and continue—dreaming as an adult. Because age doesn’t matter. You’re never too young or too old to become an author.

So, whether you’ve always wanted to write a book or you have a manuscript hidden away somewhere that you want to publish, here’s my tip for you: Just do it! 🙂

If you don’t know where to start and have a million questions, feel free to ask me! Or you can join Clean Indie Reads, the most awesome authors group on Facebook and learn from the best.

Clean Indie Reads’ Facebook group

Clean Indie Reads’ Website

What dreams do you want to pursue?

Release Day for Puppy Dog Tales (+ Our Quest to Find a Pet)

Okay, so guess what happens when you write a book titled Puppy Dog Tales? You end up being reminded of how sweet and adorable animals are and you talk your family into getting a pet! Well, kind of. As with any major commitment in life, there’s a lot to take into consideration. One, were we ready for a pet, and two, what kind of pet did we want? The first question was easy to answer. We had a dog for ten years who sadly passed away four years ago (here’s my “in memory” post about Sparkle), so we do have experience as pet owners and miss having a furry friend to love. When I say we however, I mean hubby and me because the munchkins sadly don’t remember too much about Sparkle, except for C’s traumatic memory of him snatching a waffle right out of her hand. And because of that memory, we thought we should get a pet for C’s sake, to help her get over her fear that all dogs are waffle snatchers. 😛 But we thought we’d go with an animal that would be less intimidating for her, which answered our second question; we decided to get a cat!

Fast forward to last weekend when we ventured into a cat cafe, a local hangout I found online where you can play with cats for an hour at a time. If you found one you got along with (and vice versa), you could apply to adopt him/her. Sounds great, doesn’t it? And it was … until we got home and E’s eyes were swollen and his nose was itchy and he started sneezing. And I realized how much easier I could breathe in the absence of felines. So, yup, we scratched* that idea. 🙁

The next day we decided to check out a dog adoption event at a local pet store. (You could say we had to settle for Plan B, but in reality, hubby and I were both happy Plan A didn’t work out because we’re both more dog people). 😉 I had looked through the profiles of the dogs that would be at the event and made sure there were some small dogs that C would like because if it were up to her, she’d get one like this:

Image courtesy of flickr.

Yes, it’s cute, but there’s just something not quite right about a dog that can fit inside your teacup. 😉 Anyhow, there were all kinds of dogs there waiting to be adopted. Big, calm German Shepherds, yappy lap dogs, and one tiny, trembling 4 month old puppy. And because there were SO many dogs together in one place, there were a lot of strong odors wafting in the air. I won’t describe them for you, but let’s just say that E and his sensitive nose couldn’t wait to hightail* it out of there! After literally five minutes, we rushed back to the car and drove home. And that, folks, was the end of Plan B. 🙁

I’m sorry to say we haven’t found the right pet for us yet, but I’m hopeful we will in the new year. But for now, I am super excited to announce that it’s release day for the book that started us on this quest: Puppy Dog Tales!

This story was one of the fastest ones I’ve written and it came together so well because it was just plain fun. It is a romantic comedy, by the way, and in case you need some convincing that it’s funny, let me assure you that hubby has said I’m much funnier in print than in person. LOL 😉 If you want a quick pick-me-up story with an opposites attract trope and some furry friends, you’re in for a treat* with Puppy Dog Tales! Get it today (click HERE) for only $1.99 or read it for free with Kindle Unlimited!

An animal hater and an animal lover’s paths collide the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.

Melvin Lai inherited the last thing he ever wanted from his favorite uncle: a cocker spaniel. Now he’s on the verge of losing his home to the unruly puppy and, much to his surprise, his heart when he meets Dr. Chu, Sparkle’s vet.

Vivian Chu loves caring for her furry friends, so she can’t fathom how anyone could think poorly of her new patient, especially his owner. To her, first impressions are everything, and the one Melvin left has her feeling disheartened and bruised–quite literally.

With a pair of matchmaking mothers and unexpected animal escapades, they encounter more trouble than they can handle. He longs to make her his valentine; she can’t wait to escape him. Can Melvin and Vivian pull together to find common ground?

And here’s the playlist I put together for the story! Enjoy! 🙂

*I couldn’t help using some punny, animal-related words in this post. 😉

What NFL Players & Authors Have in Common

The family and I took a weekend getaway recently for hubby’s and my birthdays (which happen to be three days apart). On one of the mornings, we were in line for the breakfast buffet (yum!) when my eyes zeroed in on the shirt of a man walking past me. In big, bold letters, I saw the words NFL Alumni. Three thoughts immediately crossed my mind: the first being, Wow, cool!, then, Yeah, he looks like he could be a football player, and lastly, Oh … that’s kinda sad. 🙁

Why the sadness, you ask? Well, if you have to wear a shirt to tell people you were in the NFL, that probably means you aren’t well-known enough to be recognized as an NFL player.

Aww. 🙁 I almost wanted to go over and say, I know how you feel, buddy.

But I didn’t because I’m an introvert and even if I weren’t, it would’ve been a very strange thing to do. 😉 Instead, I told hubby about the shirt and how it struck a chord with me. It also made me wonder if there are any “I’m a published author” T-shirts out there in the world. In case you were wondering, the answer is yup! (They have them in pink, too—see below!)

Image courtesy of zazzle.co.nz/https://www.zazzle.co.nz/i_am_a_published_author_t_shirt-235621872671373455

The fact of the matter is that while there are 1,696 football players in the NFL (thank you, Google!), most of them won’t be as popular as Joe Montana or Tim Tebow. Likewise, most published authors won’t ever become a household name like J.K. Rowling or J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis. (Hmm, maybe the key to success is to have initials in your name, haha?)

But that’s okay. Because most of the time writers write for the pure joy of writing. And writers publish for the pure joy of being able to see their name in print, hold their book in their hands, and to smell its pages—okay, maybe not everyone likes the smell of books*, but you get the idea. 😉 The bottom line is: Authors don’t write and publish books to become famous. We do so because we’re creators and we love to create and share our creations.

And, yup, there are a lot of us out there in the world, way more than the number of NFL players. Since you may not recognize a published author if you happen to pass by one at say, a breakfast buffet, it’d probably be a good idea if we made it easy for you. We could wear a shirt that tells you so. Hopefully if you see it, you’ll think to yourself, Wow, cool! She does look like she could write a book. I wonder what it’s about?  How did she get her inspiration?  Where can I get a copy?

If you do wonder about what it is that authors do, we would be more than thrilled to answer your questions. We’d love to hand you a business card. We could point you to our Amazon author page and show off our babies (the paper ones, not the human or furry ones). If you’d like to get technical, we could even talk about genres, story arcs, characters, and settings. And quite honestly, we wouldn’t mind at all if you wanted to ask for our autograph. (Kidding, not kidding!) 😉

After breakfast that day, I felt an odd sense of camaraderie with that NFL player. 🙂 Weird, I know, considering I didn’t talk to the guy, but I understood his passion for doing something he loved and was good at. Mostly, I admired his confidence and courage to share that part of him with the world—or at least, anyone who happened to see his shirt. Does that make me want to go order my own shirt? Sure … if it didn’t cost $43.50! 😛 Someone needs to let that company know that not every author has sold as many books as L.M. Montgomery. (Hmm, seriously though, I think I need to change my name to initials!) 😀

Take a listen to this cute song, “I Won’t Say I’m in Love”, from the Hercules soundtrack. I haven’t seen the movie, but I came across it on YouTube and it’s the perfect song for my next book’s playlist. 🙂

What would you want to share with the world about yourself on your T-shirt?

*Check out this nifty graphic for the chemical explanation behind the aroma of books.

 

 

Release Day! (+ The “Woe is Me” Tale Behind this Story)

It’s release day for A Spoonful Of Spice! I may get tired of writing sometimes, but I never get tired of hitting the “publish” button on a story. 😀 So yay, please celebrate this momentous occasion with me! Here’s a pumpkin spice latte for you and one for me, too. Cheers!

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In case you haven’t figured it out by now, A Spoonful of Spice is the autumn story in my “Seasons of Love” series. When I was brainstorming for this book, the first thing that popped into my head was the word “pumpkin”. Then the words “chai latte” because I love putting those two together when I go to my favorite cafe, Peet’s (sorry, Starbucks lovers!). But since pumpkin spice lattes are more popular drinks, I decided to include them in this story. Oh, and also an IT guy and an IT girl because it’s a love story between the guy and the girl (and possibly, the girl and her pumpkin spice latte). 😉

So that’s how this office romance started … but the finished product is actually a major revision of my original story. Like a total rewrite of half of it (something I’ve never done before!). Yes, that’s when I had a “woe is me” moment as a writer. 😉 Looking back, however, I’m more than grateful that one of my early beta readers (a trusted author friend) gave me some honest and insightful feedback on the story. After picking myself up off the ground, I took a good look at it and tried my hardest to make it better. And to my delight, I like the story a lot more now after rewriting half of it. I think I keep repeating that I rewrote half of it because I still can’t believe I rewrote half of it! Oh, but rewriting half of it was only the first part of my “woe is me” story with this book. I also had to redo the cover after I already did the cover reveal (you can read about that in this post here).

Oh, I almost forgot—there’s a part 3, too. 😉 This was the first book I formatted myself (aka. turning a MS Word file into a .mobi file for Kindle) and that in itself was an adventure. It took 8+ hours to figure it all out, but I did save $80, and hopefully next time it’ll be a lot easier and faster.

So, yes, for a 10,000-word story, there was a lot of work involved. Let me repeat that—A LOT of work. 😉 But it’s all good. All the rewriting and redoing made me appreciate how stubborn I am (haha!) and how any good thing involves perseverance.

Anyhow, you can buy A Spoonful Of Spice for $0.99 or read it for free with Kindle Unlimited on Amazon.com here. I hope you’ll enjoy it, especially with a cup of pumpkin spice latte! 🙂

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And here’s my favorite song from the YouTube playlist I made for this book, Voctave’s cover of “Someone Like You”, featuring Jody McBrayer.