Freshwater Kisses: a billionaire love story

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A tropical beach with a loving couple kissing to the left. The words " I love you too, Robbie," I whispered. His fingers dropped to my chin, guiding my mouth to his. I could taste the candy on his tongue. My heart sang in my chest because Robbie loved me. And I loved him."
Freshwater Kisses: A billionaire love story
A redeemed bad boy billionaire is inside!

This book is the story of Jack's (from Saltwater Kisses) troublesome little brother, Robbie. Robbie is enjoying all the perks of a billionaire lifestyle, but none of the work.

That's until Samantha Conners comes back into his life. Sam is a long lost childhood friend, giving this book a fun friends to lovers and a second chance at love story line.

There's also a ton of really fun sailing things. I had a lot of help from a fellow author making sure I used all the terms and made the sailing realistic.

The other part that I love about this book is that it ties into Champagne Kisses. The two books have scenes that occur in both books. You don't have to read Champagne Kisses to enjoy this book, but just in case you want more of these characters!

Man and woman kissing on a boat. Text reads: This kiss is sweeter than candy. Happiness flows like honey between us, thick and wonderful. For now until the end of my days, I will remember kissing this boy, a bucket rolling at his feet, and the taste of Freshwater Kisses.
Freshwater Kisses: a billionaire love story with a fun childhood friends to lovers plot line!

His love was the wind in my sails…

Everything in Samantha Conners' life seemed to be in a holding pattern. Her sailboat racing season had fallen through, and she was stuck in a dead end job that barely covered the bills. If it wasn't for the fact that her sister and niece were depending on her, she would have never been out on the water the day the billionaire's boat ran her over.

Robbie Saunders is convinced that he is the screw-up younger brother of billionaire Jack Saunders. One of his biggest rules was to never go out drunk on the water, but with the impending death of his father, he took the boat out after drinking to try and gain some clarity. Instead, he ran over Sam and barely managed to save her from drowning.

While the two had been childhood sweethearts, time and distance had made them into different people. When fate crashed them back together, Robbie finds the fiery young woman to be the person he needs to give him motivation and direction. For Sam, Robbie is growing into the man she always knew he could be. A love blossoms and grows.

But what fate can give, it can also take away. A storm during the biggest freshwater sailing race of Sam's career changes everything. Will Sam and Robbie find a way to overcome the storm, or will the two only have memories of freshwater kisses?



Rainwater Kisses: a billionaire love story

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“I love you, Kaylee.”
-Rainwater Kisses

Rainwater Kisses is the sequel to Saltwater Kisses, however, you do not need to read them in order! They are each they're own standalone story! (All of the Kisses series are standalones that can be read in any order!)

When I first sat down to write this book, I thought I was writing a sequel to Saltwater Kisses. I was torn though. I didn't want to take away Emma and Jack's happy ending. However, I could write about Emma's older sister, Kaylee. She still needed a happy ending. And so did Jack's VP, Owen.

Sometimes a fish and a bird fall in love…
(Yes. I'm totally referencing “Ever After.”)

The older sister of Emma LaRue wasn't looking for love. In fact, the last thing Kaylee LaRue thought as she attended her sister's Caribbean wedding was that she would meet a man as confident as Owen Parker. The suave businessman oozed charm, and when that charm was directed at Kaylee, it gave her pause. She couldn't be sure if the man was actually interested in her or just interested in a good time.

In reality, Owen Parker had never met anyone like Kaylee LaRue. The quiet girl from Iowa made him forget to breathe the first time he saw her. When he tried to work his magic, her wit proved to be a match for his, and his charms had no effect. He knew what it looked like- she probably thought that he wanted to have a vacation tryst with her just as Jack Saunders had with Emma. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Kaylee tried hard not to yield to his advances, but their last night in the Caribbean was simply magical. After a passionate night spent in the arms of Owen, Kaylee ruefully observed that there was no fake wedding to keep the two of them together. As she flew home, she thought it'd be back to the same old life for her. She never expected Owen to show up at her door.

However, this small town girl wasn't sure she was ready to change for this city boy. When Kaylee tried to fit into Owen's world, everything came crashing down. In the blink of an eye, what seemed like a strong foundation suddenly found itself built on a pillar of sand. Would their relationship blossom like Jack and Emma's, or would the two of them forever be haunted by the memories of rainwater kisses?

A best selling romance novel



Saltwater Kisses: a billionaire love story

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You have a magic about you, Emma. I believe every word you say, and I rarely believe anyone.
You have a magic about you Emma. I believe every word you say, and I rarely believe anyone.

This was my second novel. The first, Burned (retitled from Fire Always Burns) was not a commercial success. Saltwater Kisses, however, was. This book hit the Amazon Top 100 for a couple of weeks!

This book changed my life. This book is what changed me into a real romance writer. The Kisses series has fed my family for seven years now. I don't know what I'd do if I hadn't written this book. We even named our second son Jack.

I've never been in love before. He makes me feel things that I have never felt my entire life. Things that make my head dizzy with excitement and my heart pound with fear. When I see him, I feel like everything is going to work out in the end; like the world isn't as horrible or dark as it was before I saw him.
I've never been in love before.

When small-town girl Emma LaRue won a vacation to an exclusive tropical island, a last minute cancellation meant she would be going by herself. Shy and studious, she never had time to fall in love, and often wondered if she was just meant to be alone. However, that all changed when a handsome stranger literally walked into her life while on the beach and sparks began to fly.

New York's most eligible billionaire bachelor Jack Saunders thought this vacation would be the perfect escape, one last hurrah, before taking full control of his father's company. When an innocent Emma didn't recognize him, he figured that he might get a chance to have a vacation from being rich. He didn't tell her about the cars, the yacht, or the penthouse. All he did was let her fall in love with him.

Soon, Jack found that he was the one falling in love with Emma. When they enjoy a fantasy marriage ceremony on the beach, they thought it was a bit of harmless fun before returning to their normal lives. A bittersweet goodbye was supposed to be the end of their perfect vacation romance, but when photos of the ceremony were leaked to the press, everything changed.

Feeling lied to and thrust into a world of wealth and privilege, Emma must choose between following her dreams or following her heart. Will she be content at being nothing more than the billionaire's wife, or will she return to her normal life with only memories of saltwater kisses?

A Billionaire Love Story
Come fall in love with your secret billionaire.

Write More

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The best author advice is: WRITE MORE
The best writing advice ever given

Want to know the secret to becoming a best selling author? How to become a faster, better, stronger writer? Want to make millions selling your books to adoring fans?

I know the secret. I'll share it with you.

Ready?

Write more.

That's it. It's deceptively easy. You want to be a better writer? Write more. You want to make more money writing? Write more. You want to become the next JK Rowling? Write more (and have an incredible amount of luck).

Your first book will not be an international bestseller.* It will probably just sell to your friends and family, and maybe a few others. Why? Because no one succeeds at something hard on their first try.

So, write more. Don't stop and agonize over one book. Get it as good as you can and write another. And then another. And another. Practice makes perfect.

People are often surprised when I say I have 29 books published. I wish it were more. (I need to take my own advice) But I go back and read my first few books, and they suck. They're good books and I love them, but I see so many things that I can do better. I see ways to make the story tighter, the characters more vibrant, the problems bigger. I've become a better writer because I've written more.

So, WRITE MORE. Don't stop.

Just write.

*probably. There are always those lucky few that hit it big right out of the park. Good luck to you!


Writing With Tropes

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Writing with Tropes (words on red background)
Tropes are your friend. Use them!

You want to make money? Write tropes.

What is a trope?

A trope is an expected story line. In romance, it's usually how the couple meets/falls in love and is the type of relationship explored. It is possible (and encouraged) to combine tropes to create a unique take on the familiar.

Romance readers love tropes. They have their favorites and will search them out. As a writer, you can use this. If you give them what they are looking for in your story, your readers will love you. If you can hit the beats of the trope, the parts that make the story resonate, then you'll find success with your readers.

Can you be successful not writing these beloved story lines? Sure. It happens. It just doesn't happen very often. Take a look at the best selling books and I can guarantee you'll see some form of at least one of these tropes. Human beings like the familiar. We like knowing what our stories are going to be, especially the ones we're reading for fun and relaxation.

If you want to make money with your writing, write tropes and write them well. Here's some of my favorites, but you can find many, many more!

-Enemies to Lovers: start out as enemies (business rivals, family feud) until their hate is actually just disguised love. (Example: Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy's Kiss)

-Childhood Friends: couple starts as friends that mature into lovers. I include “best friend's sibling” in this, as the sibling was a friend that couldn't be a lover until now. (Example: Beautiful Disaster)

-Second Chance Romance: a long lost love returns and they have a second chance at love. (Example: Champagne Kisses)

-Forced Proximity: something forces our couple to spend time together. This can be weather (blizzard traps them) or social (must go to wedding together). The couple has no option but to be around one another and thus fall in love. Works well with enemies to lovers. (Example: Hurricane Kisses)

-Fake relationship: Couple pretends to be together but ends up falling in real love. (Example: Pretend You're Mine and The Wedding Date)

-Accidental pregnancy: There's a baby and the couple has to deal with it. Can be the result of a one-night stand or a longer relationship. Can easily tie with Secret Baby. (Example: The Tycoon's Revenge)

-Secret Baby: there is a baby, but no one can no about it (not even the father of the baby!) (Example: Forever Kind of Love)

-Arranged Marriage: Usually found in historical romances. It forces the hero and heroine to deal with each other. (Example: Highland Surrender)

Marriage of Convenience: the couple gets married for a reason (medical benefits, green card, political advantage, inheritance issues) and they end up falling in love. (Example: The Billionaire's Baby Arrangement)

-Billionaires: Modern day “princes” that can sweep women off their feet. Their money makes it difficult for them to find love. They can buy anything but love. (Example: The Kisses Series)

Mafia: bad boys who are dangerous and the innocent women that love them. This is basically beauty and the beast tropes. (Example: Crime Boss Baby)

-Forbidden love: For whatever reason (political, racial, class, societal, or species) the two characters cannot be together. (Example: Romeo and Juliet and Stepbrother Hero)


Plotting Vs Pantsing

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Do you plot or pants your novel?

There are two schools of thought on how to write a novel.

Plotters: outline their novel. They plan it out.

Pantsers: Fly by the seat of their pants. They write the novel as it comes to them.

There are pros and cons to both.

Pantsers: the author is basically telling themselves the story as they write it. It's more exciting to write the story this way because you don't know what's going to happen next!

Plotters: They know where the story is going. There are no surprises.

I have a writer friend that is a dedicated pantser. She absolutely hates outlining a story because then she looses all interest in it because she knows what is going to happen.

However, she also stares at blank pages a lot because she doesn't know what's going to happen. She also has to rewrite a fair amount because she needs to clarify things that happened earlier and set up plot points that she made up on the fly.

I am personally a plotter. I LOVE having an outline. Sometimes, I'll basically make a first draft out of an outline. (I've written 20 page outlines…)

An example of a very detailed outline
An example of a very detailed outline

However, I also use the chapter by chapter outline as well. I write down the 30ish chapter points so I know where my story is going.

An example of a chapter by chapter outline
A chapter by chapter outline.

I like this method because I don't get lost. I always know what is going to happen next and I can write in the details needed to make it happen. My editing time is a lot less because I don't have to backtrack and fix things. I also don't stare at blank pages as much. (I still stare at them, but at least it's not because I don't know what I'm supposed to be writing about)

I also know someone that uses the “note-card” method. She writes down each big important scene on a note-card. Then she sticks them to her wall for a rough guideline of where she needs to go. It's not 20 pages of detailed outline, or even a chapter by chapter outline, but just a broad path of what needs to happen next.

As with all writing, find what works best for you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a pantser– as long as it is working. If you are spending all your time staring at a blank page, make a note-card outline. Make it work for you.


Create Drama With Conflict!

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Create better drama with conflict!

We love stories because they tell us what could be. They are the what-if that our brains are addicted to. As such, we crave drama in our stories. We want to know how to survive the worst possible outcome and stories give us that knowledge.

There are two ways to add conflict and drama to a story.

Internal conflict: This is all the conflict that happens inside a character. This is their thoughts, feelings, past experiences, and inner turmoil.

This is ANGST.

Edward Cullen from “Twilight” has lots of Internal Drama.

In Twilight, this is why Edward can't be with Bella. He has INTERNAL CONFLICT about not eating/eating her. His emotions get in the way and create tension between the characters.

As a romance writer, this is gold. Readers need this because it's usually the best reason why the hero and heroine can't be together. This is also where love stems from (as it can be a point of drama!). Internal drama is vital for romance.

External Conflict: This is what happens to the characters. These are the situations that they can't control. This is the asteroid coming to impact earth, the fire that destroys the hero's home, the dragon that is burning up the village.

The Rogue Vampires create a lot of External Drama.

In Twilight, this is the rogue vampires. Bella and Edward don't really have any control over them and what they're doing. They have to react and respond, but the conflict comes from outside of their emotions. It's also good for keeping Bella and Edward from drowning in their romantic angst. It moves the story forward.

For romance writing, external conflict is awesome for getting the plot moving. It makes the characters stop wallowing in angst and do something.

A good story will have a little bit of both. The internal conflict connects us to our characters. The reader with empathize and become emotionally attached to the story because of emotion. External conflict will keep them from getting bored.


Traditional vs. Self-publishing

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Traditional vs Self Publishing
Traditional vs Self-publishing

Traditional publishing: send your manuscript off to a publisher or agent. They decide if they like it. They do all the work. They get a percentage of the profits.

Self-publishing: You do all the work. You make all the profit.

It's a tough decision. Traditional publishers have a lot of skill and knowledge. They have cover artists, editors, proofreaders, marketing teams, and bookstore contacts. They have decades of experience publishing books and marketing them to readers.

If your book gets selected, then it has a good chance of being successful. You don't have to learn how to pick a good cover or run Facebook ads.

You can focus on just writing.

However, you will have to deal with rejection letters when they don't want your book and you will get less money when they do want it.

On the other hand, as a self-publisher you get to pick your cover. You get to hire an editor that you like and not one that someone picks for you. If the books succeeds, it's all because of what you did. And, you'll get all the profits. It's a lot more risk, but a lot more reward.

I love self publishing. From the couple of books I've pitched, it's very possible that I wouldn't be published at all if not for self-publishing. (Here's a link on how to get started!) However, my books sell well enough that this is my full time job.

It's a lot of work. I would love to get a publishing contract (it's actually one of my goals this year) because I want to write more and do the publishing side less. I'll still self-publish because I love the freedom and choices. I love not getting rejection letters, too.

The best of both: pitch your book to a publisher. If they don't want it, self-publish it.


Impostor Syndrome

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How to Manage Impostor Syndrome
How to Manage Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome: Feeling like a fraud. That you don't deserve anything you've worked for and that everyone will see you for what you are.

I feel like this all the time.

I didn't go to school for writing. (I wanted to be a doctor.) I don't have a fancy publisher that picked me (and even if I did, I would worry that it was a mistake.) I know that a lot of luck went into my success as an author.

How do you deal with this feeling?

  1. Acknowledge it and put it into perspective. I feel like an impostor because I don't have fancy credentials. But, that doesn't mean that I'm not good at things. A person doesn't need fancy credentials to be successful.
  2. Reframe how you talk to yourself. The only difference between someone who experiences impostor syndrome and someone who does not is how they respond to what's happening to them. You are as good as you tell yourself you are.
  3. Talk to friends and coworkers. Odds are, they feel the same. It helps to know you aren't alone in this feeling. Plus, they will tell you the truth of if you are an impostor or not.

This is something that a lot of people struggle with. I see other authors doing better or posting on social media about their latest release and I feel like I'm not doing enough. Like I'm not earning my position as an author.

Even writing this blog, I question my own credentials. I've been writing and publishing romance novels for seven years. I've made enough money doing it to support my family, yet somehow, I feel like I'm just getting by on luck.

It doesn't help when I have a book that fails. If anything, that just solidifies how much I don't know what I'm doing. That I got here purely on luck.

Logically, I know that isn't true. When I talk to other authors and we share knowledge, I know that isn't true. I know a lot about what I'm doing. That doesn't mean that I don't have a ton to learn, but I'm not a newbie either.

Impostor syndrome is hard. It never goes away. It's always whispering in the corners of the room, hinting that there is a fraud.

The only way to get through it is to keep going. Keep learning. Keep trying. Keep talking.


How to Self-Publish a Book

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The basics of how to self-publish a book

Welcome to the amazing world of self publishing!

These are the basic steps for self-publishing a book. It's an overview, not a guide. Entire books are written about this subject, so this is very bare bones but should give you a good place to start and give you a basic idea of what to expect.

CREATING

1. Write stuff. (You've done this part! Good job) Now figure out what genre you fit in (contemporary romance, urban fantasy, paranormal, ect). Look at Amazon and figure out similar works. Look at their covers, blurbs, excerpts, and categorization. You will want to mimic successful books.

  1. A note for e-readers: anything more than about 3-4 sentences looks like a giant wall of text on small screens. Thus, try and make lots of small paragraphs to make it easier to read.
  2. Do not use tabs to indent a paragraph. As your book will be read on a multitude of electronic devices, the tab is too much for most of them. Instead, in your word doc go to tools>paragraph>first line and set it to 0.3

2. Get a cover. A good cover is critical. People won't click on your book to even read the description if the cover doesn't catch your eye. This needs to be professional looking or no one will pick up your book. I don't recommend making your own unless you have a lot of practice making book covers. However, if you can't afford a premium cover there are plenty of premade covers available for reasonable prices.
(www.goonwrite.com andSteveRicherBooks.com/covers/ are great options)

3. Write your blurb. To write a good blurb, it should sound like a movie announcer is reading it. Keep it short and sweet. This is harder than it sounds, so keep in mind that this is what is supposed to entice a reader to click buy. Read the best seller blurbs in your genre to get good examples of the tone and wording your readers are looking for.

PUBLISHING

The big player is Amazon, especially with their Kindle Unlimited (KU) program. (Read about choosing between KU and being wide!)

*If you want to make going wide easy, you can distribute through draft2digital.com (D2D) or https://publishdrive.com. You upload your stuff and they will format it and send it out to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Apple. They just take a portion of your sales as payment for the service./

  1. Decide on a price. On Amazon, you will get 70% royalty if you price $2.99-9.99. If you price under/above that, you only qualify for 35%. Some countries are only 35% royalty rates, but they aren't the big ones.
  2. Format your book. There are services (like D2D) that will do this for free or you can pay someone to make it super fancy.
  3. Follow the directions on the screen and publish! It will take a few hours for it to go live, but you will get an email when it does.
  4. Be sure to use your keywords! This is how people will find you!
  5. KDP Select/KU: This is an OPTIONAL program for KDP authors, where you can choose to make your book exclusive to Amazon for a 90-day period.
  6. Please note that returns are common on Amazon. Their return process is crazy simple so a lot of people use Amazon as their own personal free library. If it feels like you are getting a lot though, check your formatting to make sure they are actually just being cheap and that there isn't something actually wrong.
  7. Rank: the more you sell the lower your rank. It is based on how all books in the store are selling compared to your book. The lower the number, the better you are selling.
  8. Physical copies: Kindle Publishing and IngramSpark are venues to use Print-on-Demand publishing. You will need to format and make a print cover for your book.

PAYMENT

  1. Retailers pay out 60 days after the end of the month, so you won't see any money for the first two months.
  2. Please note, you will need to pay taxes on this income at the end of the year. Taxes are not withheld like at a normal job.
  3. Don't get discouraged if you don't sell very much. It is a tough market to get into (especially with the first book). Get on some blogs, goodreads, send out to reviewers, tweet, facebook and promote.

My first book barely made back my costs (cover, physical copies, and some small promotional stuff). I took it as a learning experience and wrote something a little more mainstream (a billionaire novel).
Sometimes stuff just doesn't sell and then other times it will take off. The best advice is just to write more. If something doesn't sell, leave it. You can either spend your time trying to fix it (which might work) or you can write something new (which probably will work, and if nothing else brings in more readers).

Good Luck!