The Sweetie Chronicles

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Guest Blog: Lucie J. Charles, author of LIFETHREAD

Today is a first on my blog! A guest blog post! Yippeee!!!

I welcome Lucie J. Charles, indie author of the YA paranormal, LIFETHREAD. Lucie J. is a member of my local RWA group, the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, and like me, she's braving the new world of self-publishing. Today, she's going to talk a little bit about why she wrote this book and what she has in store for us next.


Why I Wrote LIFETHREAD

I like teens. Spending time with them, listening to their discussions, and watching the twists and turns of how they explore life is fun. And anything paranormal and mystical fascinates me. Oh, and romance. Love is what makes us human. And I’m a writer. So, a Young Adult, paranormal romance? What could be better?

Choosing a mythological background for my characters slipped into place when I was loitering in the Young Adult section of the local bookstore. Although the Fates have long been a part of human existence, as I read back cover blurbs and flipped through pages, I found nothing that involved their mythology. In that moment, the background for LIFETHREAD was born.

The Fates provided the perfect setting for my young adult heroines to question and challenge established beliefs. The power and depth of ancient legend created a strong and multi-layered tapestry in which to weave the threads of my story, and the Fates’ responsibilities—creating life, determining destiny, and ending life—represent human transitions perfectly. The weight of their responsibilities also provided my characters with excellent opportunities to break the rules. Teenagers vs. the ancient and established tradition of the Fates. It worked for me. My heroines, McKenna, Shea, and Merritt, continually surprise me with their ingenuity and humor as the pages of their stories unfold.

I’m a complete pantser, so when I started writing I only knew my character’s names, which Fate they were apprenticed to, and that McKenna demanded I write her story first. Understandable since she’s responsible to Atropos and severs the lifethreads of demons. I wasn’t about to argue with her blade. McKenna’s story flowed from my imagination to the keyboard almost effortlessly. We had such fun getting her into, and out of, trouble that I barely realized it was work…until I started on the second draft. That’s when the complexity of her personality started to shine, and make me sweat. One of my more stubborn characters, McKenna.

Not to be outdone, Shea and Merritt have demanded their own stories. Currently, Shea and I are writing Lifethread: CREATION, and are discovering that of the three priestesses, she’s not really “the good one” after all. Merritt has been tapping her foot in the background of my mind, impatiently waiting for Shea to get out of way so that I can begin the more important task of writing about her in Lifethread: DESTINY.

Guess I better get back to it!

Lucie j.
___________________________________________________________________

Thanks so much for joining us today, Lucie J.! I love hearing about how other authors got their ideas. It always amazes me where some ideas come from and how they grow into these stories with a life of their own. Here is a short explanation of what LIFETHREAD is all about:


Stuck in her senior year of high school until she earns her humanity, McKenna Fin is responsible for cutting the lifethread of demons, and protecting teens from being possessed. To celebrate her fiftieth year of apprenticeship to the Fate Atropos, McKenna is given a new responsibility, and possibly a quick way to earn her humanity—severing the lifethread of deserving humans. Her first assignment: Nathan Quinn.

When Nathan becomes a primary demon target and gets sucked into Tartania, McKenna’s duty as a Fated priestess demands she follow. McKenna can rescue him, no problem, but then she’d have to cut his lifethread. And he’s the one and only guy she’s been attracted to since forever.

The demons consider Nathan one of their own and fight to keep him. The time limit on Nathan's life is about to run out, and McKenna has to make the decision: sever his lifethread, or battle demons, defy the Fates, and keep him for her own.

Doesn't that just sound awesome! I just picked up my copy of the book for my Kindle and plan to dig into it by this weekend. I hope to have a review posted next week!

Buy LIFETHREAD now at: Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Also, check out Lucie J. Charles' website for more information about her and her books.

*Not* A Golden Heart Finalist. Again.

This morning, I was so full of excitement and hope. I begged my phone to ring. But unfortunately, it never did. This afternoon, I'm full of sadness, to be honest.

On one hand, I know it's ridiculous to be upset about it. After all, I've already sold over 5,000 books this month alone! Since I entered the GH in November, I've sold well over 10,000 copies of my three books. There's no way I could have done that if I was spending my time looking for an agent or a traditional publishing deal. And after all, isn't that what the Golden Heart is all about? Finding an agent or a publisher?

On the other hand, I feel completely broken-hearted. I really felt that I had 2 good entries this year. To find out that there are only 7 finalists is pretty upsetting as well. That means there were only 70 entries in the YA category. 2 of which were mine. The odds were even better than I thought they would be and I still didn't get a call. I'll have to wait at least a month to get my scores back and see just how close / far away I was from the top.

I don't regret self-publishing. Quite the opposite. I think it's one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. It just seems there's no place right now in RWA for self-published / Indie authors. I'm not exactly feeling like I fit into a contest for "unpublished" authors. I am published. Maybe not by their standards, but RWA sets their qualifying bar at a mere $1000/year on a single book. I've blown that out of the water by now. And I STILL don't qualify simply because there's no publisher who has put their stamp of approval on my product. Their published author category, the RITA award, isn't for me either. Even if I sell a million books, I still won't be allowed to be called published by the RWA the way their current guidelines read. Right now, I simply don't fit in with the RWA idea of what it means to be an author.

But there was still a part of me that wanted this recognition. I wish there was an Indie Authors of America with a big conference and an award for self-published authors. Maybe someday I'll be up for one of those kind of awards.

Night Owl Reviews Top Pick!

Beautiful Demons was reviewed by Laurie-J at Night Owl Reviews. She gave it 4.5 stars, which makes it a TOP PICK!! Yipppee!!! I'm so extremely excited about this review from such a reputable site.

I have such an appreciation for people who spend their time on reviewing books. It means so much to me every time a book blogger or reviewer takes a chance on me and my books. I can't express my appreciation enough. Thanks to Laurie-J at Night Owl Reviews and to everyone who has taken the time to read Beautiful Demons and give it a review. It really means the world to me!

You can check out the Night Owl Review here.

Golden Heart Calls Tomorrow

In 2009, I attended my first RWA National Conference. Until that point, I had no idea just how important the Golden Heart contest was. Then, on the final night of the conference, everyone got dressed up to watch the awards ceremony. It was truly an eye-opening experience. In that moment, I realized just how prestigious and career-changing a Golden Heart could be. In my heart, I set a goal to work as hard as I could to become a Golden Heart finalist.

The scary part is that there's a whole lot of luck involved. Each entry gets five judges, and everything depends on them. Some judges might never give out perfect scores, no matter how good the entry is. Some judges might not like witches or paranormal stories. There's no way to know what my judges thought of my entries at this point. Somewhere, though, someone is holding that list of 2011 Golden Heart finalists. Someone knows. And tomorrow, everyone will know.

The calls start going out at 9 Eastern Time tomorrow morning, and I'm already super nervous. On one hand, I know that being a GH finalist isn't the most important thing in the world to me right now. I'm already self-published and have sold over 10,000 copies of my books. One of the best perks of being a GH finalist is getting first pick of editor and agent appointments. To be honest, that's not important for me this year. I'd still be interested in talking to an agent as long as they were willing to represent me for only foreign rights and audio and that sort of thing. I'm not actively looking for a print deal or a traditional publisher so there's not much an editor could do for me at this point. That's a great feeling!

But at the same time, I still want to final. I know I don't need it for validation or anything like that, but it would just be one more self-confidence boost on this journey. It would be one more goal accomplished.

Last year, I came really close to becoming a finalist in the contemporary series romance category. I had a low 40's score (can't remember it right now, but something like 42.7) that some people said in other years would have been high enough to final. But it's all about who the top 8 scores are, so last year was a tough year for that category. This year, I entered 2 manuscripts in the Young Adult category. I entered Beautiful Demons, which is obviously my first self-published book as well. I also entered Pandemic, my zombie apocalypse book. I honestly don't know which of the two will have higher scores, but I just really hope in my heart of hearts that one of them is a finalist this year.

Tomorrow, I plan to stock up on healthy snacks and spend the day by my computer writing. I want to work hard on the rough draft for Book 4 instead of just sitting here waiting for the call that might not come. That way, whether I final or not this year, I can know that I'm working toward my future. And it's a future of my own making. That really means something to me.

A New Series

I've started kicking around the idea of releasing the first book in a new series. I have this fear that if I put out the last two books in the Peachville High Demons series without starting something new first, people will write me off. Forget me. There won't be anything for my growing fan-base to look forward to and I'm worried I might lose momentum.

Here's where the tough part of the decision comes in. I don't want to postpone my last two books in the PHD series just to get another book out. Pushing back the release dates would only make me go crazy and would possibly upset some fans who are looking forward to the next books in the series. Of course, the only option that leaves is for me to work harder. And to be honest, I'm already working extremely hard to get these books out every couple of months as it is.

If I did start a new series, it would be my PANDEMIC series. That's the zombie/witch book I wrote last year. It's currently somewhere around 90,000 words long and parts of it are more polished than others. The good news is that the rough draft is already finished. I wouldn't have to start from scratch or anything. The bad news is that it still needs work to make it shine. I was thinking I could possibly cut the book in half and then expand the first part to make it longer - right around 60,000 words, which is about how long BITTER DEMONS turned out to be. If I could release the first book in the PANDEMIC series before I released the last book in the DEMONS series, maybe I could bring in new readers and also give my current readers something to look forward to with Book 2.

It's definitely a lot to think about. I have some very personal reasons for wanting to take the month of August off. I doubt I'll stop writing completely, but I am going to take it super easy and not stress about any deadlines. That means if I want to start a new series, I would have to get three books published before August. Yikes! Part of me says go for it! It would mean more hours and working a lot harder for a few months, but it might pay off in a big way. Plus, it would be a lot of fun to start working on PANDEMIC again. I loved writing that book and still find myself thinking about that story all of the time. I need a new name for it, but other than that, it's actually in pretty good shape as far as rough drafts go.

Any thoughts about whether starting a new series is a good idea? Do you like for writers to have a new series already started before they end the other series? Or would you rather see them wrap things up before starting something new? I'd love to hear any ideas you guys might have about this.

Speaking of Numbers...

As of this moment, I have officially sold over 1,000 copies of each of my 3 ebooks on Amazon! I just remember Joe Konrath putting a list of people on his blog earlier this year (or maybe last year) who had sold at least 1,000 ebooks. I remember there being a star * beside the names of people who had sold over 1,000 copies of more than one book. Ever since I read that, I have had this idea that when I could sell at least 1,000 copies of each of my books in a month, I would definitely be on the road to success. And today, I finally reached that goal! 3 books. At least 1,000 copies sold of each one in the Kindle store alone, and it's only the 18th of the month! Very exciting!

Lucky Numbers

My hubby and I have been talking about taking a trip back to Las Vegas. As you know, that's where we got married in December 2009, and it was one of the most fun trips we've ever had. We are hoping to go back for a number of reasons. Number 1, G's bday is in July and we could go during that week to celebrate. Number 2, My Peachville High Demons series will either be complete or close to it by the beginning of July. At that point, I'm thinking I will at least have the rough draft of Book 5 completed. A trip to Vegas could be a huge blowout celebration of my very first series being published and complete. Number 3 is a bit too personal to share on the blog, but let's just say we have reasons to want to relax and unwind and be happy in July.

Since we live in North Carolina, and since Las Vegas is on the entire other side of the country, it's a pretty serious trip to get out there. It's somewhat expensive, so it's always good to plan pretty far in advance. Plus, I really like planning trips like this and looking for the best deals. Last night, just for fun, I decided to take a look at Travelocity hotel + flight packages for the week of my husband's birthday.

Choosing the right hotel is important. First of all, staying on the main strip is a MUST. We don't want to bother with trams or taxis just to get to the main casinos. Which brings me to my second point, which is that we actually enjoy the casino atmosphere, so we'd prefer to stay in a hotel that is also a casino. Last time, we stayed at the Mirage. It was beautiful and the rooms were super nice. We loved everything about the Mirage and wouldn't mind staying there again. But on the other hand, there are so many fabulous hotels in Vegas, we kind of want to mix it up. Plus, the strip is really long, so we're thinking maybe we'll concentrate our search on hotels that are on the other side of the strip - like around where the MGM Grand and the Luxor are.

We saw a show last time at the Luxor - the Criss Angel Believe show - and we liked the looks of the pyramid hotel, so out of curiosity, I looked up the price for the Luxor. 6 nights with airfare in July would cost exactly $1272. Here's where the lucky number comes in. At the same time I was looking up the trip on one monitor, I had the second monitor open to my daily sales for ebooks. I had just figured out that as of midnight last night, my daily average income for the month of March is $212 a day.

On an impulse, I thought, "I wonder how much I would need to make every day to pay for a six night trip to Vegas?"

$1272 divided by 6 nights = Exactly $212.

A coincidence? I don't think so. I took it as a sign. Sometimes in life, things just line up in an eerie way. I've always taken those kinds of signs to mean that I'm on the right path. That I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. The fact that right now, in six days I have made exactly the amount I'd need to pay for a six day trip to Vegas means that baby - we're going to Vegas this summer!

Interviewed Today on Heather Howland's Blog

Heather Howland invited me to do an interview on her blog today. Thanks so much, Heather, for letting me talk about my self-publishing journey!

If you'd like to check it out, you can find the interview here.

Milestone: 10,000 Ebooks sold!


Tonight, I hit another huge milestone in my career as an Indie author. As of midnight tonight, I have sold a total of 10,154 ebooks!!!!!!! It took me about four and half months to reach this milestone, which to be honest, was a lot faster than I ever dreamed it would happen. This is the total sales for all three of my Peachville High Demons series books.

I haven't separated them out to see how the sales break down in terms of x amount sold of book 1, etc. but I know they go in order. I've sold more of Book 1 than anything else so far, and then Book 2, with Book 3 in the rear, but so far in March, I've actually sold more of Book 3 than Book 2, which is a little strange, but I'll take it.

I feel so incredibly grateful to have this opportunity to write what I want and publish it on my own. Becoming a self-published author was a HUGE decision for me, and one that I am proud of every single day. I want to send out a big THANK YOU to everyone who has been so supportive of me. Thanks to everyone who purchased a book. Everyone who left a review or blogged about my books. Thank you to my critique partners who have gone through all three books with a fine-toothed comb to make them better. And thank you especially to my amazing husband who convinced me that I was good enough to make it on my own and who challenged me to take a chance.

I sound like a freaking oscar winner here, but I do feel like I've somehow won the lottery or something. Being an author was a lifetime dream of mine, and to see the success that has come so far makes me truly grateful. 10,000 books in less than 5 months! I can't believe it. So far, 3400 have come from this month alone. I hope that sales continue to grow and that there is no end in sight to this new career and the joy and excitement that comes along with it.

My next big milestone? Selling 500 ebooks in one day will be another huge milestone for me. So far, my best day was just after Book 3 was released and I sold 410 books in a day. Another sales number milestone I want to set for myself is selling 25,000 ebooks total. My prediction on when I might hit these goals? I am hoping to hit the 500 ebooks in a day mark by May when Book 4 comes out. I think that I might hit the 25,000 books sold total by June or July, if I'm lucky!

Good Start To Shadow Demons

Tonight, I finally sat down and got started on Book 4, Shadow Demons. Getting started is usually one of the hardest parts. I always struggle with finding the right place to start a novel, but in the end, I always end up rewriting the beginning. Every single time. So this time I've decided to stop stressing about the beginning and just enjoy writing. Enjoy getting back into Harper's world.

My plan is to write at least 1800 words a day. I know this book is going to be a little bit longer than the others since the story continues to get more detailed. I am thinking the rough draft will be about 60,000 words. After a few hours at Panera with writer friends, I ended up with 2622 words, which is an awesome start.

Today made me realize just how much I love to write. It felt so amazing to get back into the story. Tomorrow night, I plan to write with my best friend and critique partner, E. I can't wait to get back into the story. Writing is definitely addictive.

On another note, I made it to 9920 books sold so far since I started self-publishing. That's a combination of all three books. By tomorrow night, I should have reached the 10,000 mark! That will truly be a huge milestone.

How I Plot My Novels

Since I'm at the very beginning of plotting Book 4 of the Peachville High Demons series, I thought I would do a post about the way I plot a novel. In writer's circles, there is a lot of talk about whether you are a "plotter" or a "pantster". Basically, a plotter is someone who plots their novels out ahead of time. Often, these plots are detailed and exact down to each scene and character motivation. A pantster is someone who writes 'by the seat of their pants'. No plot. Maybe a general idea of the central story action, but nothing specific and always open to whatever the writing brings.

So which one am I? Neither. Or both. When I first started writing, I thought for sure I was a plotter. I plotted to death. Literally, I took the life and spontaneity of my stories out by over-plotting. When I finally decided to let go and trust my instincts and trust the process, I realized that I don't need to plot and control every detail of the novel.

When I first start a new project, I set out my story grid. You can see it here in this picture. Usually, I use little sticky tabs in different colors and separate a piece of paper into a 4 act structure. (Yes, I know most people call it a 3-act structure, and it really is 3 acts, but it makes more sense to me sometimes as 4 parts instead of just 3. A big part of writing is figuring out your own personal process, so this is part of mine.) I got the story grid idea from Alexandra Sokoloff. She is kind of my personal hero, and I owe a lot of my organizational skills to her. If you are a writer and want to know more about story structure, please check out her blog or her book, Screenwriting Tricks for Authors.

Anyway, this is how I start, but I don't usually fill out all the scenes before I start writing. I figure out the basic climaxes, the central story action, and how I want the novel to start. The notecards in the bottom right corner are another tool I use in plotting. I put colored stars at the top left corner of the notecard. The color of the star matches the sticky tab on the story grid and each fifth card has a red star to indicate a mini-climax or climax in the story. Some kind of twist or reveal of important information. I fill out the story grid and the notecards as I write, always allowing myself permission to make changes, throw out scenes, move things around or whatever I need to do to make the story better. And yes, I use my hello kitty ruler to create the story grid :).

My personal process is all about exploration and trust. In my first draft, I let myself be free enough to just get the story on to paper. But also to explore possible story avenues. If I thought a scene would go one way, and it starts to go in a totally different direction, I have to trust that my instincts are right. I go with it and let the new scenes take on a life of their own. Characters sometimes surprise me. They don't always turn out to be the people I thought they were. Take Brooke for instance. I never realized how jealous she could be. In Bitter Demons, she sort of took on a life of her own. I don't know exactly where that comes from. Either someplace deep inside of me OR some stream of ideas in the universe I just happened to tap into. But no matter where it comes from, I have to trust that whatever comes out when I'm writing is the right thing.

My first draft is exploratory, but I'm not sailing completely blind. I have an idea of where the story begins, what's generally going to happen in the story, and who the main characters are going to be. After that, I just write, write, and write some more. I let the story consume me and take me over for a while. I live inside Harper's mind for a while, experiencing her world along with her. By the time the first draft is complete, I usually know exactly what needs to happen in the novel. Unfortunately, that usually also means scrapping most of the first draft and completely rewriting the whole novel. It's just part of the process.

I'll try to post another picture later in the week (or month) with more filled in tabs and notecards so you can see what it all looks like when it's finished. My timeline for Shadow Demons is to finish the rough draft by April 15th and to complete the final draft by May 13th. Hopefully, the book will be formatted and uploaded by May 17th.

Movie Thoughts: Battle L.A.


G and I just got back from watching Battle: L.A. I really enjoyed it. It was a pretty typical war type movie, but with aliens, which is always fun. In some ways, it reminded me of Cloverfield with the shaky camera and running through the war-torn streets to try to find safety. I guess you could say it was like a combination between something like Black Hawk Down and Cloverfield.

The story follows Staff Sergeant Nantz, a rugged military man who has put in his twenty years, seen combat overseas, and is ready to retire after losing several men on his last mission. He's definitely a "wounded hero" type. Of course, instead of being able to retire, he's called into active duty as meteors rain down from the sky. I won't go into any further detail than that.

Resident bad-ass chick, Michelle Rodriguez, is always nice to watch in action. She's got that tough as nails side to her, and I always like her attitude. I've loved her ever since Resident Evil back in the day. Plus, she was awesome as Ana Lucia on Lost. She's always got that same 'don't fuck with me' attitude. I enjoyed her in Battle: L.A. because it was nice to see a military chick who can kick ass with the boys and not get herself killed along the way.

Overall, there was nothing truly groundbreaking here. Just a good war/alien flick with a decent emotional pull. If you like action movies and don't get headaches from the whole shaky cam thing, I recommend this one in the theaters.

Ready to Start Book 4

I think I'm addicted to writing. I mean, I always loved it, yes, but now that I'm actually out there publishing and getting feedback and reaching out to actual readers? I'm addicted. I want to write more and push the boundaries of my own imagination and creativity to try to write something better than anything I've written before. Now that Book 3 of the Peachville High Demons series is out, I haven't been able to stop thinking about Book 4. Even though I've given myself a week off, I still am thinking of the characters all the time.

This weekend, I'm heading down to Georgia to visit with my family. I'm hoping the drive down there (about 8 hours each way) will provide some good time to think about the upcoming book. (I'm also planning to listen to the audio book "The Girl Who Played With Fire". I listened to the first book in that trilogy last time I went home, so I'm looking forward to the next installment. It's three parts that are about 7 hours each, so I won't finish it by the time I get back, but I should be two parts through by then.) I also have a feeling I'll stay up late most nights after my parents have gone to bed so that I can work through the plot.

I already have a pretty good idea about the general story arc of this next book and how it feeds into the final book of the series. On the other hand, in my experience, these books never end up actually being about what I thought they were going to be about. Bitter Demons, for example, was going to be about a series of cheerleading competitions and future primas getting kidnapped all over the country. That was all in my rough draft. Did it make it into the final book? NO! The only scene I copied over from my rough draft is the scene where Harper falls off the top of the pyramid and hurts her shoulder. How crazy is that? But in the end, I feel like the book is exactly what it needed to be. Even though I ended up cutting so much of what I originally thought. That's part of the magic of writing and storytelling. It's all about digging in and finding the real story.

I love that part of writing. The rough draft - the discovery - is torture sometimes. I doubt myself every step of the way. But I'm slowly learning to trust that by the time I finish the rough draft and get around to revisions, the story just sort of comes to me. It is, in a big way, like magic. And the best part? Once one book is finished, I get to experience the magic all over again with another book. I'm very much looking forward to writing the last two books of this series. I think there are going to be some very special moments as the relationships become even deeper. I'm also looking forward to the next series. And the next. And the next...

February Sales Numbers

February was my best month yet! The numbers continue to grow, and I couldn't be more excited. I was honestly shocked at how many books I sold, especially in the last week of the month. And to top it off, February is a short month. I can't wait to see what will happen in March since there are 31 days.

One exciting thing to mention for the month of February is that my third book, Bitter Demons, came out on February 24th!!! It went live in the B&N store on the 25th and in the Kindle store on the 26th. I know that is a big part of what boosted my sales here at the end.

Here are my sales numbers for the month of February - my fourth full month. As usual, I will list the book, the date the book was first released and how many copies sold in each store. Since I now have books at two different price points, I will also list the price of each book:

BEAUTIFUL DEMONS - Book one of the Peachville High Demons series - $0.99 (10/30/10)

  • Amazon's Kindle Store - 1637 US sales + 12 UK sales = 1649
  • Barnes & Noble - 254
  • Smashwords - 3
  • Total: 1906
INNER DEMONS - Book two of the Peachville High Demons series - $0.99 (12/22/10)
  • Amazon's Kindle Store - 1200 US sales + 9 UK sales = 1209
  • Barnes & Noble - 245
  • Smashwords - 1
  • Total: 1455
BITTER DEMONS - Book three of the Peachville High Demons series - $2.99 (2/24/11)
  • Amazon's Kindle Store - 192 US sales (no UK sales this month)
  • Barnes & Noble - 147
  • Smashwords - 11
  • Total: 350
February's Total Sales: 3711

That is more than double what my sales were last month! In other news, Beautiful Demons made it all the way up to #354 in the Kindle store. Inner Demons reached a high of #611. Bitter Demons made it all the way up to #845, cracking the Top 1000 only 24 hours after release. It was so exciting to see all three of my books in the Top 1000!!!

As you can see, my Barnes & Noble sales dropped considerably from last month. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. One, I think that somehow I just lucked out with good store placement over the holidays. I was on the front page of the YA and Teen fiction sections. Now, I'm not on those first pages, and I think it's made a huge difference. Two, I think the B&N market just isn't as big as the Kindle market for ebooks. I'm hoping to see growth next month.

On the flip side, my Kindle sales went crazy this month! I sold something like 8 times as many books in the Kindle store this month compared to last month. With the millions of Kindle users out there, I am hoping there is still a lot of room for growth in the Kindle store.

As usual, Smashwords doesn't really bring in many sales. My books are in the Kobo store and have not sold any copies there so far. Smashwords is mainly just useful for giving out coupons to bloggers and for giveaways.

One thing that I think made a difference this month is bloggers reviewing my book. A Tale of Many Reviews, Black Rose Reviews, The Caffeinated Diva, and All Consuming Books all reviewed Beautiful Demons this past month. (All great reviews! I was so excited!) I think it has really made a difference, and I can't thank them enough for reading the book and posting reviews.

So far, in just four months, I have sold a total of 6675 ebooks. I am more than halfway to hitting 10,000 sold. I really hope I can hit that mark by the end of March! There's no way to predict if my sales will continue to grow or if they will start to drop off. All I can do is keep talking about my books and keep writing more! Shadow Demons, Book 4 in the Peachville High Demons series, is scheduled for release in mid-May.

A Perfect Weekend

This past weekend in Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach was unbelievable. After working so hard to get three novels written and published in only six months, I needed a vacation. G and I decided to take just a short two-hour trip to the NC coast. We got a cheap room at the Hilton through Priceline and arrived late Friday evening. It was a great first night going to a pub for dinner and a drink, then relaxing at the hotel, but Saturday was one of the most perfect days of my life.

Zero stress. Only happiness. We got to sleep in and if you know me, this is the perfect start to a day :P. We got up around 11:00 and headed to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. This is another thing you should know about me - I LOVE aquariums and zoo's. I don't know why. I just love looking at animals and learning about them. AND I love hanging out with my husband at places like this. I've had relationships before where the guy wouldn't even take me to a zoo or aquarium, much less enjoy it with me. But G is the perfect companion for me. We hold hands the whole way through, have great conversations about the animals, and laugh and smile together. He never complains or makes me feel bad about anything. He's just perfect. Here are some pictures of our great time at the aquarium:

This is the rare albino alligator they have at Fort Fisher. There was a plaque that explained about a place in Louisiana where for a number of years, 25% of the baby alligators born there were albinos. After Hurricane Katrina, the nest was wiped out completely and no albino alligators have been found since. Very sad :(.
I can't remember the exact kind of catfish this is, but he was definitely looking at me funny. I couldn't believe how BIG he was!

Look at this cool seahorse. Isn't it cool? They have such long tails that wrap around the live rock and coral. They are such weird looking creatures and it always amazes me the kind of things that live in the sea.
The moon jellyfish were one of my favorite parts of the whole aquarium. They pretty much glow in the dark. There was a light up above that changed colors and it made it look like the jellyfish were changing colors. They kept changing from purple to green to blue to pink to red and so on. It was truly beautiful.

Here's me sitting inside a little window looking at the HUGE saltwater tank. There were sharks, grouper, porcupine fish, stingrays, yellowtails, eels and like 20 different other kinds of fish in this tank. I think they said it was something like 4500 bathtubs worth of water. We were able to watch a neat dive-show where a guy went scuba diving in the tank and told us about the fish. I think I would have enjoyed it more if we had been able to see them feed the sharks, though, hehe.
And here's a picture we took as we were leaving the aquarium. All smiles. After the aquarium, we walked along the beach. It was an overcast day, but it was still gorgeous out there. I took a picture of this black bird that was sitting on the rocks near us. I think it was looking at me. If you've read Bitter Demons, you'll understand why this bird kind of freaked me out:
Next, we drove around until we found a nice little seafood place. I had a glass of wine and we shared some fried shrimp that was very good. We went back to the hotel and actually worked out in the gym. I was on the elliptical and G used the treadmill. It was fun, believe it or not! Then, when we went back to the room, we checked my sales. I couldn't believe it! I'd sold nearly 400 books in one day. My book was on the Movers & Shakers list in the Kindle store for raising in sales rank from 765 to 349! I couldn't believe I made it that high in the store! Bitter Demons, my most recent release, was also selling really well and cracked into the top 1000 in just 2 days! I had this little thought in my head that I would be thrilled if my book could sell 100 copies over its first weekend. Can you imagine how excited I was when I realized that by Saturday night, I had already sold nearly 200 copies?? I was so happy!

We took showers, got dressed, and went out to the Fox & Hound at midnight for a celebration. I got a glass of champagne and G had rum and coke and we just sat and talked and dreamed about the possibilities of the future. It was such a wonderful time. I love my husband so much, and I feel so lucky to have him in my life.

Sunday, we spent time at the beach in the most gorgeous weather, bought a bonsai tree that we named Reggie, and drove home to find that I had sold another 400 books in a single day. I feel so completely blessed to have found so many people who want to read my books and who are enjoying them. This was one of the most perfect weekends of my life!

Sarra Cannon

Young Adult Indie Author

I always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, I write about both. The first five novels in my Peachville High Demons Young Adult Paranormal series are available now in ebook!

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Sarra's bookshelf: sarra-s-favorites

Beautiful DemonsThe Time Traveler's WifeLoveroot: PoemsFear of FlyingWe the LivingAnthem

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