Monday Minute: Announcements and Invitations

This entire year has been a whirlwind of change for my writing. I revamped my entire persona as a writer, changing my branding imagery, my tagline, and even the content and visual appearance of this blog. I grew and expanded the content on my Patreon account too - but more importantly, I had an amazing time with all the growth, making this not only my fifth year as a published author but also my favorite year as a published author.

With just one little snafu: I didn't actually write any new books this year. I didn't finish even one. I mean sure, most of the year was spent writing my fingertips off, and I am currently working on EIGHT different novels on Patreon (which my patrons get to control by voting on!), but ... new novels on the market? Nope, not yet.

I had planned to finally finish my ninth book this quarter (and the quarter before that, and the quarter before that, too), but the way it worked out, this quarter (just like the others, obviously) was spent on other things - and to tell you the truth, I'm not even sorry because I stumbled upon blessing after blessing this year, ending with one no sane author with any kind of desire to succeed could pass up.

You see, one of my favorite authors is Lauren Dawes, and that's not only because she's a fabulous storyteller with a dark style and a penchant for the paranormal. Over the course of the last few years, Lauren and I have gotten to know each other fairly well outside of stories, and I've learned that when she's not busy being a spectacular writer, she's also a talented graphic designer - among other things. Currently, she's building a side business as a book cover artist, and you guys, the girl is talented. Like I'm not even kidding, look at what she's done:
In the beginning of October these new Selkie covers went live, giving me the chance to fall in love with my books all over again thanks to Lauren's creative genius and her eye for design. I love how much better these covers fit the soft, romantic side of the Selkie story, but I also love the way, once you've read the books, you can't look at these covers without seeing the deeper struggles of the characters I hoped to bring to life.

Selkie: Annie Jacobs's marriage fell apart, leaving her heart and her trust broken. Even her friends couldn't ease the pain of betrayal and eventually, Annie packed up her life and moved on. In peaceful Bar Harbor, Maine, Annie is finally able to find solace. She makes new friends, she finds a new routine, and she begins to pick up the shattered pieces of her confidence. Just when Annie thinks she's found contentment once again, a series of chance disasters threatens her new life -- and nearly ends her life entirely. When the man who saves her turns out to be something more than Annie ever would have expected, her life is thrust once again into turmoil. A near-death experience takes Annie into an entirely new world, one she would never have believed existed. It seems like death has its sights set on Annie for sure this time, and a war is closing in. Even immortality may not be enough to save her now. (Purchase for KindleiBooksNookKobo, or Inktera/Page Foundry.)

Selkie II: The prophecy begins to work itself out as the war draws near. The world at large is searching for Annie Jacobs, a woman who disappeared unexpectedly – her disappearance the first in a series of crimes set in motion by a chance encounter that changed her life in unimaginable ways. The man she loves is now on the run, the main suspect in her disappearance, as well as countless other crimes. Enemy clans are closing in, increasingly determined and shockingly violent. They want Annie – they want the baby spoken of in the prophecy, the innocent life growing even now in the shelter of her womb. One clan wants the baby dead, one clan wants control of her and everyone connected to her. The clan Killian wants only to protect her as a member of their family. More clans are coming – but whatever they want, they all share one common thread: they’ll stop at nothing to accomplish their goals. The only thing Annie and Malik want is to raise their child together, in love and in peace. Follow them as they struggle to protect themselves, their baby, and each other, in a time filled with fear, danger, and the sheer power of the only magic that can save them … the love of one soul for another. (Purchase for KindleiBooksNookKobo, or Inktera/Page Foundry.)
November saw the release of this new cover, which brings out so much more of the harsh reality illustrated in Fighting For Freedom. This story is so close to my heart, not only because it hurts me to know how many people aren't aware of how horrifying domestic abuse is ... but because I have survived it on nearly every possible level, and can personally testify to how real this problem is, even here in beautiful America.

In Fighting For Freedom: "He'd finally done it. He'd beaten me to death. For years, I'd been taking it, accepting the beatings, silently believing the worthlessness he saw in me. I'd obeyed his rules, I'd catered to his whims. I finally woke up in a hospital bed. Bruised, broken, in shock. That was the moment. In that moment, I knew that I had to get out. I loved my husband. I missed him. But I needed more than he would ever offer. I deserved more than I'd been given, more than flying fists and fragile tempers. I deserved to wear what I chose. I deserved to go where I wanted. I deserved goodnight kisses. I deserved gentle touches. I deserved to feel loved, and not possessed." WARNING: Although it is meant to be a story of hope and physical empowerment, this book is focused on the topic of domestic violence and abuse, and it does contain scenes of extreme violence as well as some very strong language. It is NOT suitable for young readers. (Purchase for KindleiBooksNookKobo, or Inktera/Page Foundry.)
But now it's December and as my fifth author-versary approaches, I thought it best to save my most deeply personal series for last. The Kingsley Series is focused on a family rebuilding after one of their members survives an incredibly terrifying betrayal. This series picks up around a decade afterward, but every member of the family is still left with psychological shadows of the past haunting their present lives, and for many of them, each new day brings its own new demons. Finding love is hard when you're living with trust issues, fear of the future, flashbacks to the past, and a host of insecurities ... but sometimes, it's finding the right person to hold your hand in the darkness that finally allows the light to shine through.

In Fat Chance, you'll meet Cass Keaton, who struggles with the concepts of confidence and self-love. She's had a rough life, and her ability to see her own worth is damaged by the tests of time, the trials of being orphaned, and her harsh memories of bullying and rejection. Finally on the brink of doing the unthinkable, Cass seeks the help of a therapist, and this one choice changes her life in ways she wouldn't even have dared to dream. (Now FREE on AmazoniBooksNookKobo, and Inktera/Page Foundry.)

In Prescription For Love, you'll have the chance to attend the very first Kingsley wedding. You'll also meet Cameron Kingsley, a jaded but very successful wedding planner who doesn't believe in forever. She has experienced the very worst of the dating world, and she's seen more marriages fall apart than she'd care to admit. But with a little encouragement from her family, the right kind of pressure from a certain sexy therapist, and the courage of an unbreakable spirit, Cameron just might be willing to try one more time ... (Purchase for KindleiBooksNook, or Kobo. Also available on Inktera/Page Foundry.)

In Wrestling Harmony, you'll get to know the youngest girl in the Kingsley family. Harmony's biggest dream is now behind her, unaccomplished and out of reach. There's no going back though, and she has no choice but to move on. Some choice encounters with a prickly local athlete get her all hot and bothered, but she's not ready to risk her heart. But on her quest for a new career, she finds a connection she hadn't had the courage to wish for, and a new path that she can walk confidently. Armed with a fresh new perspective, Harmony begins to plan an entirely new future she never even knew was possible. (Purchase for KindleiBooksNook, or Kobo. Also available on Inktera/Page Foundry.)

In More Than Friends, Michael Kingsley is nursing a still-broken heart. He's the first and only member of his family to ever be divorced, and the failure of his marriage has caused significant damage to his confidence as a man. Still, life goes on. He goes to work, he pays his bills, and he sometimes spends his nights with women he doesn't love. He drinks more than he ought to, and he turns to his best friend for support. But when his mother is hospitalized with an illness-related injury, it's that same best friend who steps up in a whole new way. Now Michael's seeing Renee in a different light. Will she be the one who can finally heal his heart and help him move on? (Purchase for KindleiBooksNook, or Kobo. Also available on Inktera/Page Foundry.)

There's only one more book to re-cover, and the conversation as the design comes together has been amazing - I'm so proud of Lauren for pulling her talents together and using them in the way that she is, and I am as always totally in awe of her incredible skill. I'm betting Sly Fox Designs becomes a favorite design source in days to come, and I'm so thrilled to have been able to share so much of my writing journey with such an amazing person.

But enough of the gushing, right? I mean really, this post might be about my book cover makeovers, but the undertone is totally #womancrushwednesday on a Monday. If she reads this, Lauren will surely end up all blushing and adorable, so ...

Mission accomplished.

But seriously though, all that to tell you guys this: December 18th is my five year anniversary as an independently published romance author, and I'm celebrating the day by having a really fun blowout event on Facebook. The event is called Blind Date December, and I'm looking forward to meeting new readers, interacting with loyal old readers, playing games, giving away book swag, and hanging out for my first (possibly annual) blind date book event! So come on over, mark yourself as attending, and invite your friends - that's the best way to find out how I'm translating blind date books to a digital format, and I'm always happy to get to know more readers!

If you liked this post, drop a comment below to let me know which of my new covers you like best - and it would also be great if you shared this link with your friends to invite them to check out my books (or join us at my FB party)! It's always exciting when new people discover my stories, and even more so when the right reader matches up with just the right set of characters. And if you do decide to pick up one of my books (or if you've read any of them already), please make sure to leave a review - I love the feedback!

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Not only is Patreon a great way to help me manage the costs of running this blog (and life in general because hey, a girl's gotta keep the coffee pot percolating!), but this is also where my readers find a whole new way to read my novels - while I write them. My patrons directly sponsor my various writing endeavors by choosing their favorite reward tier (starting at as little as $1 a month), and that sponsorship gives them access to all sorts of content: the $1 tier gets access to one new romance chapter a month, two brand new poems from my upcoming poetry collection, the weekly L.A.F.F.S., and occasional content polls!

The best part of Patreon is that as my patronage grows, so do the benefits for every patron! Our goal right now is 25 patrons, and when we hit that goal, I'll start dedicating each of my blog posts to one special patron - which means YOU could be getting public shoutouts right here on the blog, just for being one of my Patreon subscribers!! Even better ... when we get to 50 patrons, I'll double my monthly fiction chapters, which means twice the writing from me in exchange for the same monthly contribution from you. (PhLogs are public too, so make sure you go check 'em out!)

But however we stay connected, whether it's through my books, this blog, my social media profiles, or even Patreon, you can always rest assured that my brand is built on the concept of what I write and who I'm writing it for. "Love Stories and Lifestyle for the Undaunted Woman" isn't just a slogan or a tagline - it's a purpose and a goal. Click here to find out more about what it means to be an undaunted woman - maybe you'll find that you already know the perfect nominee for our next Undaunted Interview!

And as always, whether you're a first time reader or a long-time loyal follower ... from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being here.