Tag Archive | Romance Novels

Debut Author: Devika Fernando

From Christina: Today I’d like to welcome a debut author whose first novel was recently released. Devika shares her story of the step-by-step process of becoming a self-published author.

STEP BY STEP

My dear friend Christina has asked me to share a little about my journey towards becoming a self-published author. I thought long and hard about how to condense everything that comes to mind into something that makes sense, and here’s what I have come up with.

Left FootTHE FIRST STEP

In the broader sense, I have always been a writer. Almost as soon as I could spell and knew enough words, I put them together to write stories. Actually, my parents swear that when I was a tiny toddler, I didn’t use my crayons to draw stick figures and flowers and clouds, but to scribble illegible writing in rather neat lines. During my schooldays, I used to write poems and the occasional short story. When others said they wanted to become doctors and teachers and lawyers, I firmly insisted that I’d become a writer. To publish my own book one day has featured in my dreams for years and years.

Without boring you with more ramblings, what I mean to convey by this is: I believe that people who are writers just know. It’s inside their blood. Whether they have wanted to write since childhood or it just hits them in their late 40s, ultimately they have this strong bond with the writing side of their personality. If writing doesn’t come naturally to you and you don’t really WANT to write, it’s not your vocation. If it does and you do, then don’t repress it, because writing can be a wonderful way to deal with your life and can have a cathartic effect, whether as a hobby or a profession.

Right FootTHE SECOND STEP

Some years ago, it became clearer and clearer to me that more than a ‘real’ job, I would be successful with freelance work. While struggling first in Sri Lanka and then in Germany and then again in Sri Lanka to get a grip on life, I searched the internet far and wide for work-from-home opportunities and learned three things:

  • There are a million offers;
  • Almost all of them are fake, especially if they claim record income;
  • It’s best to really do your own thing.

Luck came my way when I found an agency that was looking for web content writers. I made a pittance with them for a year or so, but I stuck to it because I loved writing, because I learnt a wealth of useful things that I had never even known about – especially SEO and writing techniques – and because I now had a plan: to start my own writing business. In 2011, I quit my writing job for them and started on my own. It took some time and lots of effort, but ever since, writing articles for German customers has been my job. While I’m very glad about how well things go, I realized one thing: Writing like this – for others, without being given credit, without much flexibility and with internet marketing directing your steps – had somehow robbed me of my creativity. Gone were time and muse for writing poems or thinking up stories.

The lesson I learnt is that writing and writing are not the same. What I mean is that professional writing like articles for online shops are a totally different matter. I still love what I do and I’ll never give up on it, but I also need an outlet for the creative writer in me. Which is why I finally told myself to make my dream come true and focus on becoming an author of fiction.

Left FootTHE THIRD STEP

I didn’t just plunge ahead and risk drowning or being carried away by the currents. Instead, I read and read and read some more. I absorbed lots of writing tips, I followed other writers and I familiarized myself with all the important guidelines on story writing. All those ideas I had and the drive to just write-write-write got channeled productively by the new knowledge and experiences. Which is why I always reply with two things when somebody asks me for advice on how to become a successful writer:

  • Read as much as you can and write as much as you can.
  • Never stop learning and improving.

When I decided to self-publish, it seemed kind of terrifying. Again, there were lessons to be learnt and shadows to be jumped over.

I believe it’s important that on the one hand, you don’t lose your joy for writing and your own style as well as the focus on what you like – and that on the other hand, you are not afraid to ask for advice, to learn and to follow certain rules.

Right FootTHE FOURTH STEP

I don’t want to forget mentioning one part of my journey to becoming an author: crawling out of my shell. I am what you could call a loner, although I make friends easily and am blessed with some truly wonderful friends and a very supportive husband. Especially when it comes to my writing, I prefer to keep it to myself, to do things my way, and to view every single word as a piece of me. However, I soon realized that this wouldn’t lead me anywhere.

I need criticism. I need to share my work and discuss it with like-minded people. I need to interact with other authors and with potential readers. And once I had gotten over cringing when receiving feedback, sleepless nights wondering what others might think and the urge to let the perfectionist in me have the last say and change everything a hundred times, it actually proved to be fun. I’ve met some amazing people along the way.

So here’s what I think: Even if you don’t choose to self-publish, networking is going to play an important role. Get yourself and your work out there. So what if you earn a negative review or the only ones who buy your book at first are your friends and family? If it’s good enough for you and you have faith in yourself and you are open to what the writing world has to offer, carry on.

I went through phases full of doubt and sometimes I’m too busy to properly focus on my creative writing, but I have never and will never give up. Ultimately, that is probably the one thing I like most about myself, that I’m a fighter. In my eyes, almost every writer is. We fight against prejudice and unfair payments and social norms, and above all we fight with our own insecurities holding us back. But it’s a fight that can be won.

DevikaAbout Devika Fernando

 Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a German web content writer and as a translator. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

Her first romance novel, When I See Your Face, is now available at Amazon.com. For more information, visit Devika at her website:

DEVIKA FERNANDO

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Debut Author: V L Edwards

From Christina: Today, I’d like to introduce you to two of my favorite people — Vikki Vaught and her “alter ego”, V L Edwards.  Like Vikki, I fell in love with historical romances when I was young, and it’s become a lifelong love affair. For Vikki, her love of reading led to her love for writing. Here’s her story.

My Journey

by V L Edwards

I want to talk about my experience with self-publishing today and my journey that led me to publication with Secret Cravings Publishing. For most of my life, I never had a burning desire to write. Of course, in college I wrote school papers and in my thirties, I kept a journal, writing in it every day, but never thought about writing a novel until a story popped into my head and just would not leave. I kept saying to myself, “Someone needs to write that story,” for six months, but never really thought about doing it myself.

In June of 2010, I had an opportunity to take some time off from my day job. I made up my mind that I would spend at least two hours a day working on this idea that had so preyed upon my mind for so long. The story just poured out of me faster than I could type. Some days, I would be at my desk from early in the morning until late at night. Three weeks later, I had an 80,000 word manuscript and a complete story on “paper”. Of course, that’s when the real work started. I didn’t have a clue about writing, but I knew I had written an engaging story with great characters.

I found out that there was no easy way to get it published. I bought a Writer’s Market 2011. Using a suggested format from that book, I put together a query letter and started sending it out to agents listed in the book. I received lots of rejection letters. I did have one agent request the first 50 pages of my novel, but I received a “Liked it, but just didn’t love it” rejection letter. Of course, I was devastated, but refused to give up. I found some publishers on line that would take a look at three chapters of my manuscript and sent them to those publishers. Again, I received more rejection letters. While on this journey, I also stumbled across writing techniques that I knew nothing about.

I went through my manuscript and applied those techniques. Again I sent out more queries and received more rejection letters. By this time, I’d had a few friends read my manuscript and received a lot of encouragement from them. So I kept trying to find a publisher. Then one day my husband came in and told me about a company that published manuscripts for a fee. I went to the website and found out that for a fairly reasonable price, they would publish my manuscript. At last, here was a way to get my book out. I immediately signed up and went through a process to publish my novel. It was a great learning experience, but I found out later, there were less expensive ways to publish a book.

By this time, I had written two more books that were related to the first one. These books were also sensual historical romances set in Regency England and the continuation of some of the characters from my first novel. I wanted to publish them also. Even though, I hadn’t had a great deal of success with my first book, I was willing to try again. Since self-publishing that first book, I had joined Romance Writers of America and had also joined a local chapter. Through this group, I learned a lot more about writing and publishing. I found out about Amazon and Barnes & Noble publishing services. I stumbled across a free-lance editor, and for an excellent price, she would line-edit and format my additional books. Once my manuscripts were ready, I published them with Amazon first. I entered one of them with the KDP Select program and experienced some success. Using their free promotion days, I had thousands of downloads over the five days. These downloads created interest in my other books, and I actually made some money.

RWA

This has been an incredible journey and very rewarding. I’ve learned so much through this process, and I highly recommend this to other struggling authors. While I haven’t made a ton of money, I have gained confidence in my writing from the many wonderful comments I’ve received from my readers. Of course, there have been some who didn’t enjoy my books, but that’s okay. It’s all a learning process and with each comment, I’ve learned more about writing.

My first novel with Secret Cravings Publishing was released on January 3, 2014. Since it is an erotic historical romance, I chose the pen name V.L. Edwards for it.

I want to thank Christina Cole for asking me to participate on her blog today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse at my journey to publication. Good luck and happy reading and writing!

 *****

Vikki, here’s wishing you much success with To Live Again!

*****

Vikki  lives in the beautiful foothills of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with her beloved husband, Jim, who is the most tolerant man in the world to put up with her when she’s in a writing frenzy. When she’s not writing or working her day job, you’ll find her curled up in a comfortable chair with her Kindle in hand, lost in a good book.

Her erotic historical, To Live Again, is now the #2 best-seller in the “Historical” category at Secret Cravings Publishing. It is available at the publisher’s website, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other on-line book-sellers.

Readers can visit Vikki at her website: Vikki Vaught

25 Words or Less – December 2013

This is the first appearance of a fun new feature I’ll be running here at Time for Love. On the first Saturday of each month, check in for a quick look at what’s available in the romance genre.

Authors will be posting cover art and a short blurb about one of their romance novels. And I do mean short. 25 words or less!

Take a look at what’s out there waiting to be read:

Summertime

Summertime by Christina Cole

A summer of hopes, a summer of dreams. Could it also be a summer of forgiveness?

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CHECK OUT THESE TITLES TOO!

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Escaping West Morgan Wyatt

Escaping West by Morgan K. Wyatt

Ministers’ daughters don’t normally flee from the law dressed as men straight into the arms of a dangerous gambler, but Kitty does.

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Mayhem MS Spencer

Mai Tais and Mayhem by M. S. Spencer

So many romances, so many crooks. Can Tessa Diamond, turtle defender and amateur sleuth, keep them straight and still find true love?

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Misadventures Manda WardThe Misadventures of Pann Haggerty by Amanda Ward

Widow Pann Haggerty, an Englishwoman, decides to leave her life in England behind for a trip around America in an RV in search of love.

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Dont Cross the Countess Lindsay Downs

Don’t Cross the Countess by Lindsay Downs

Lady Sophia Gardner believes her husband was murdered to keep a treacherous act against the Crown a secret but she can’t prove it until….

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Guardian of the Deep Flossie Benton Rogers

Guardian of the Deep by Flossie Benton Rogers

A red hot Succubus in trouble. A captivated undersea Guardian. He spirits her away for a remote lovers’ retreat. Fire + water = STEAMY.

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SevenLittleWords_MED (2)Seven Little Words by Margaret Sutherland

Two writers, two dogs, two ailing parents in need of care. Attraction is overwhelming but Cathy and David face heartbreaking conflict. How can love triumph?

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The Hostage Carolyn DeRidderThe Hostage by Carolyn Wren

Imprisoned, chained, without hope. Rescued by a brave unknown woman. How can North track down a covert operative so secretive, she’s known only as Omega.

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Vampire Karen McCullough

 A Vampire’s Christmas Carol by Karen McCullough

On Christmas Eve, Carol Prescott’s car slides into a ditch in a deserted area The only available shelter is already occupied…by a vampire.

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Keir Keir by Pippa Jay

Tortured and outcast, can Keir find redemption, and save the woman he loves from the darkness that seeks to possess her?

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BecausethisisForever Lena Hart Because this is Forever by Lena Hart

A call for help, a secret baby, and a compromise leads to a chance at rediscovery and becoming a family.

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Gift from Stars

 A  Gift from the Stars by Linda Banche

A stone from the stars brings health and happiness to a wounded Regency hero and his lady.

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13 Nights

 Thirteen Nights by  Sabrina Garie

An Amazon warrior falls for the half-human warrior she is paired with for the Thirteen Nights Breeding Rite. But Amazons are forbidden to marry.

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My Fair Groom

My  Fair Groom by Linda Rae Sande

If people only see what they expect to see … then why doesn’t she?

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Grave Desire by Tara Rose

 Grave Desire by Tara Rose

Can true love be found and nurtured in WWII? Heather finds herself prisoner in Germany’s evil concentration camp, can she live much less find love?

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ForgivingPatience_MED Forgiving Patience by Jennifer Simpkins

In hopes of reminding Anna of what she ran away from eleven years ago Jake makes her an offer she can’t refuse—three dates.

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ErasingErasing Shadows by K. D. Rose

What if to save the ones you love, you had to unlock the key to a different reality?

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Cold SweatCold Sweat by J. S. Marlo

Can they conquer the mountains and the past in time to save Hope?

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SheltonMerry Christmas, Shelton by  Dianne Hartsock

Can Shelton and Nevil overcome the obstacles of a blizzard, a baby, and one hot redhead and find their way to a merry Christmas?

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Please check out these great romances, and if you find one you like, please let the author know. Better yet, let everyone know with a review on your blog, your Facebook page, at Goodreads, or at the site where your purchased your copy.

Be watching, too, for contests and blog hops featuring your favorite authors. You might get lucky and win a copy of a title you’re eager to read.

Until next month…HAPPY READING!