The Sweetie Chronicles

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

Official Update on Shadow Demons

Hey everyone! Hope you had a great weekend. I, for one, worked my little buns off trying to get SHADOW DEMONS ready to publish. As you know, book 4 of my Peachville High Demons series has been the toughest book I've ever written. For the longest time, it simply wasn't coming together. I wrote the entire first draft and still never felt that the real story was coming out. For the first month of revisions, I wanted to tear my hair out. Luckily (whew!), the novel finally revealed itself to me and I was able to rewrite the ending (and a lot of the middle, lol) to get it finished. Yippeee!


I never intended to delay the book this long, but I also didn't want to publish something that didn't feel right. Writing is not about money for me (or for most writers either, I would imagine). It's about the joy of story-telling. It's about discovering something within myself that (hopefully) speaks to hundreds, if not thousands, of other people. To date, over 10,000 people have downloaded BEAUTIFUL DEMONS and almost 7,000 of those people have continued the series all the way through to book 3. I can't even tell you how much it means to me that so many people have connected with Harper's story and enjoyed the books so far. I wanted to make sure Book 4 was every bit as good as the first 3 books. Unfortunately, that meant it took a little longer to get the job done.

But there's good news for those of you who have been waiting so patiently! SHADOW DEMONS is complete! I finished it yesterday and am feeling really good about the story. I uploaded it to my critique group and for now, it's in their capable hands. We'll get together to discuss the novel in detail on Thursday night. Right now, my plan is to work through the night on Thursday to fix any scenes and issues with the book. Hopefully (fingers crossed), the book will be polished, formatted, and ready to upload by late Friday night or early Saturday morning. For the buying public, that means it should go on sale in the Kindle and Nook stores sometime either Saturday afternoon or Sunday.

Now that we're getting to the end of the road with this one, I'll try to post updates toward the end of the week to let you know exactly when to expect the book to go live. Thanks to everyone so much for your patience and support! I will warn you that this book ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger (yikes!), but Book 5 is already in the works. I hope to get this book late summer/early fall. Book 5, DEMONS FOREVER, is the final book in the PHD series.

SHADOW DEMONS: Chapter 3 - A Pair That Looked Just Like This

I'm posting a little bit late today, but I have a good reason. I was up until 5 AM this morning finishing the second round of edits for Shadow Demons! It felt so incredible to finally hit that final moment in the book and know that it has finally all come together. As you know, this fourth book has been a struggle for me, but I feel like it's really close to being ready now. I am working tonight to go through with one last polish before I hand it over to my critique group for their opinions.

We have a group meeting planned for next Thursday night, and I am so nervous to hear what they have to say. As long as the book doesn't need major changes after they get through with it, I plan to spend most of next weekend working 24 hours a day if I have to in order to get Shadow Demons published before the 4th of July.

With that update, I leave you with Chapter 3. This is a super short chapter and is just more of Harper reflecting on what happened in the village and whose diamond earring she found in that secret library. Enjoy!

(*If you missed them, here are links to Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.)



A Pair That Looked Just Like This


The peroxide fizzed as it hit the tiny wound on my hand. I sucked a breath through my teeth as pain shot through my hand, then finally melted away. There was a good amount of blood for such a small hole.

I eyed the diamond earring in the soap dish. I wondered if the diamond was real. I wondered who it belonged to.

There was nothing special about the earring. It was the type of round diamond earring a hundred women in this town probably owned. Heck, Drake Ashworth had even tried to give me a pair that looked just like this on the night of my confirmation.

I paused.

What if he had given the earrings to his mom after I turned him down? It sounded like the kind of thing Drake might do. Forget her birthday or something and present the diamonds to her as if he were a thoughtful, loving son.

Maybe.

Or maybe these were cubic zirconia someone bought at the drug store down the road. I didn't exactly have a diamond tester in the house with me. Besides, the odds that this was the same diamond earring Drake had tried to give me were low. All I felt sure of in my gut was that whoever had taken those spell books had been wearing this earring. Mary Anne said no one in her family even had pierced ears or wore any kind of jewels or diamonds. No, whoever dropped that earring was there uninvited.

I wiped the peroxide off my hand with a towel and slapped on a band-aid. This wasn't a mystery I was going to solve at five in the morning. I had to be up for school in just a few hours, and tomorrow was going to be a long day.

The disappointment of not finding the spell books weighed me down as I took one last look at the orphaned diamond earring. I shut off the light and crawled into my bed, exhausted.

MILESTONE: 25,000 Books Sold!!

I am so excited to post that I have officially sold 25,000 total copies of my ebooks since I first self-published BEAUTIFUL DEMONS back at the end of October, 2010. In less than 8 months, I have become an author with a small but growing and dedicated fanbase. It's truly a dream come true!


Back in March when I hit the 10K milestone, I made a prediction that if I was lucky, I would hit 25K sold in June or July. Here I am, right on time, and so excited I can't see straight.

This week, Amazon announced that self-published author John Locke was the eighth author ever to join the Kindle Million club. In order to get in, you have to have sold one million copies of your ebooks in the Kindle store. The names on the list were sales giants like Nora Roberts and James Patterson. Now, the list includes an Indie author (with, I might add, no intention of signing a contract with a legacy publisher). I would love to someday be a member of the Kindle million club. Hey, I figure I've only got 975,000 copies to go!

I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has bought the books and supported me throughout the past eight months. Your messages of support through my website, blog, twitter, goodreads, and facebook have kept me going even when I didn't feel like writing or when I doubted myself. Thank you to everyone who has read the books, then told a friend about them. A very special thank you also goes out to reviewers and book bloggers who have taken time out of their busy schedules to read a book by an unknown Indie author like me. Your reviews have helped me get where I am today, and it means the world to me.

There is still a long way to go to get to that Million sales mark, but the path there is paved with one sale at a time. As for the future, SHADOW DEMONS, Book 4 of the Peachville High Demons series, is very close to being ready for publication. I am turning in my edited manuscript to my critique group tonight and we will discuss it and critique the entire thing next week. As soon as I have those final edits complete, I'll upload right away. I'm guessing an estimated upload date of July 1st, then give it at least 24 hours to actually go on sale in stores. After that, DEMONS FOREVER, the fifth and final book in the series, will be released sometime this fall. But I promise that won't be the last of me! My second series, PANDEMIC, should also begin in the fall (I'm shooting for an October release date right now).

As long as you keep reading my books, I'll keep writing them. I have never been so happy or felt so blessed as I do right now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

SHADOW DEMONS, Chapter Two: Then Who?

It's Friday again, and I have another teaser chapter of SHADOW DEMONS to give to you! Like I mentioned last week, this isn't by any means the final edit of the chapter, but it's very close to what you'll find in the book once it is published. I am already more than halfway through this round of edits and feeling good about the direction of this book. I'm definitely getting closer and closer to a release date, so stay tuned for more news!

If you haven't read chapter one, you can find it here.


Then Who?

Mary Anne led us to the center of the small village. We stepped into the pavilion and walked straight up to the smooth stone altar. “It's here,” she said.

I looked around, unsure of what she meant. There were no books here. Only stone benches arranged in perfect rows before the altar.

She placed her tiny pale hands on the smooth stone and pulled up. The altar opened like a child's toybox.

I peered inside, expecting to find a small compartment inside filled with books or daggers or potions. Instead, there was a set of narrow stone stairs that led down into a deep dark hole below. I gasped.

Hope welled up in me for the first time since we'd seen the damaged village. It was definitely possible that the witches of the Order had completely overlooked this secret room. I know I never would have guessed there was a library hidden beneath the shrine.

"Do you think the Order might have missed this spot?" I asked.

“It's possible,” Mary Anne said. “Our family was very secretive about its rituals, and this room in particular was always heavily guarded.”

Jackson came around behind me and peered down into the darkness. “Is it safe to go down there?” he asked. “Or are there spells to protect this place?"

“There are a few traps,” she said. “But as long as I go first, they shouldn't trigger.”

Jackson's mouth thinned out into a straight line. "Maybe Harper should stay here."

I leaned into him, pressing my leg against his. Ever since I'd almost died in that ritual, he'd been so protective of me. So worried.

“It's going to be okay,” I said. “Just this one last thing, and we'll get out of here.”

He ran a hand through his hair and grunted. “Fine, but this is it,” he said. “We grab any spell books that look important and get the hell out of here.”

“Deal,” I said. I nodded to Mary Anne. “You ready?”

Her blue eyes were clear and confident. “I'm ready.”

Mary Anne set her doll on the ground, then pulled herself up over the edge of the altar. She hesitated at the top of the stairs. “No light,” she warned. “It will set off another trap. Wait until we've gotten safely to the bottom of the stairs and I'll light a candle.”

She took the stairs slowly and after just a few steps, she was cloaked in darkness.

“You go next,” Jackson said, helping me up over the edge of the altar. "But be careful."

I followed Mary Anne down into the shadows. A light breeze floated down from above. It was a cold Georgia night, but it seemed even colder the deeper we went into the ground. Of course, this wasn't really ground was it? I shook my head. I still didn't understand how all this magic worked. Even if this was just an illusion, it seemed awfully real. If we weren't underground, where were we? Still above the trees? It didn't seem possible.

I heard Jackson's footsteps behind me, then soon after, a grinding of stone as the top of the altar sealed shut, leaving us in a darkness so complete, I couldn't see my own hand in front of my face.

I wanted to scream, but I somehow stopped myself, remembering that any small thing might set off a trap down here. It felt as though we had been locked inside a tomb. I suddenly wondered if we'd been wrong to trust Mary Anne. Had I done something completely stupid by coming here?

Fear gripped my heart and squeezed. I couldn't breathe. What if she'd only brought us here as a sacrifice to get back in good graces with her family? I couldn't face those witches again. I was lucky to have survived it the first time.

“Mary Anne?” I croaked out. I couldn't see her in the darkness. Was she still in front of me? Were we alone down here?

“It's okay,” she said. “I should have warned you about the door closing. It will reopen when we're ready to leave.”

Her voice was so calm. I wanted to trust her, but how many times in my life had I really been able to trust anyone? After all, this was a girl who had spied on me and led her family to me. Maybe Jackson had been right and this was a stupid idea. I wanted to turn around and go straight home.

“Any news on that light?” I asked, trying to laugh it off.

Jackson's hand touched my shoulder. I reached out and gave his hand a squeeze, feeling instantly better and so very glad that I wasn't here alone. “She's very close to the candle," he said.

"And just how do you know that?" I whispered.

He paused, his mouth coming close to my ear as he said, "I can see in the dark."

If there had been more room on the narrow stairway, I would have twirled around and given him the evil-eye. “You don't think you could have told me about this super power before I almost peed my pants?”

He laughed and the sound echoed through the dark room.

"Shhh." A chill ran up my spine. Laughter felt all wrong in this place.

“I'm here,” Mary Anne said. She struck a match and a cool red glow lit up the dark space.

The room was smaller than I expected. Barely the size of my bedroom at Shadowford. Several wooden bookcases lined the walls. My heart rose up. Whoever wrecked the village hadn't touched this room after all. Maybe there was a still a chance we could find a way out of this mess. A way to be free.

"Are we safe to come down and take a look?" Jackson asked.

"Yes," Mary Anne said, running her fingertip along the carved picture of a bird on the side of the table. "By lighting the candle, I've disabled the traps."

"Do you know what all these books are?" I asked. I came down into the depths of the room and walked along the rows of ancient tomes. "Like which ones hold the really old or forbidden magic?"

Mary Anne frowned. I followed her gaze toward a black, shiny bookcase along the far wall. This bookcase was different from all the others. A glass door covered the front, strange carvings etched into it.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Someone's been in here," she said. She walked to the case and with a trembling hand, opened the door wide. "This is usually sealed, and look. No books inside."

I crossed the room, not wanting to believe her. But she was right. There were no books in the cabinet at all. "Please tell me this isn't the cabinet where all the really important books were kept," I said, but I already knew the answer.

Mary Anne's shoulders slumped. "I don't understand," she said. "Why burn everything above, then come in here and only take those nine books. Why not take everything? Or burn it all? Why leave this room intact?"

"I think the Order would have taken all of these books for their library. Some of them are rare," Jackson said. He pulled a book off the shelf nearest to him. "Like this book on shape-shifting. It's very valuable. I can't imagine they would have just left it here."

"So what are you saying?" I asked.

"I'm saying that maybe it wasn't the Order who was down here," Jackson said. He turned to question Mary Anne. "Maybe your family took the books with them before they left town?"

"I don't think so," Mary Anne said. "They wouldn't have had time to come back here. I felt them leave the area as soon as the fighting was over. I would have known if they'd been back."

"Then who?" I said. "If not the Order?"

My shoulders tensed. In the wrong hands, those books could be extremely dangerous. We already knew they contained spells about black roses and instructions on how to kill the Prima and transfer the line to a new family. Who knew what other terrible magic there was inside? If anyone had them, I hoped it was the Order. At least then, the books might be safe. After all, the Order had rules about dark magic like that. Right?

"I don't know," he said. "But we're not going to figure it out by standing here talking about it. We should get home before someone finds out we're here."

I turned around in the small room. "Is there anything here we should take with us?"

"What do you mean?" Mary Anne asked.

"Any chance some of these other books might have a secret ritual that could break the spell that makes me the Prima?" I asked. "Without killing me, I mean."

Jackson crouched down by a row of books. He shook his head. "I know these books," he said. "Mostly standard magic books. Potions. Basic spells. Most of these books are in the library at Shadowford."

"Library?" Mary Anne asked.

I threw Jackson a look and he shrugged. "There's a secret library," I said. "I'll show you some other time, but for now, let's finish looking through these books and get the hell out of this village."

"Good idea," Jackson said.

After a brief run through all the shelves, we had a stack of six books to take home with us. The book on shape-shifting. A book on powerful potions. And a few others written in a foreign language. None of the books held dark magic and none of them would free me from this curse of being Prima. Whatever important and dangerous magic had been housed here, it wasn't here now. All I could hope was that it was now in the hands of people who would never use magic to hurt me. If there was one good thing about the Order of Shadows, it was that they wanted both me and Jackson alive.

"Let's go," Jackson said. "We're not going to find anything else here tonight."

"Stay behind me," Mary Anne said. She blew out the candle and I followed the sound of her footsteps. My boot hit the bottom stair and I stumbled, throwing my hands out in the darkness to try to regain my balance.

I scraped my palm against the rough stone of the stairs and cried out. A warm trickle of blood ran down the side of my hand. "Crap."

"You okay?" Jackson said, his hand on my back.

"Fine." I gritted my teeth against the pain. A small rock had gotten pushed into my skin, but when I tried to brush it away, it wouldn't budge. Great. It was really jammed in there and hurt like hell.

I cradled my injured hand close to my chest and made my way up the stairs. Once outside in the light of the moon, I held my palm up to my face and gasped. It wasn't a rock stuck in my palm. It was a diamond earring.

21 Days to Vegas

My husband and I are going to Las Vegas in exactly 21 days! I am so excited I can barely see straight. The only other time I have been to Vegas was for our wedding in December of 2009. We had been hoping to go back for our 1 year anniversary, but between family obligations and my new career getting started, we weren't able to make it. Instead, we decided to go for G's bday.

Right now, I am working hours and hours a day to make sure SHADOW DEMONS comes out before we leave. I have no doubt that I'll make that goal. Once Book 4 is officially released, that will just give us another great reason to celebrate while we are there. And when we do Vegas, we don't go for just a weekend trip. No, we do it right, haha. We're staying 7 nights at the Aria Resort and Casino in City Center. It's one of the newest resorts on the strip, so it should be very nice. I read online that the first time you enter the room, the room "greets" you by turning on the lights and opening the drapes. How cool is that? And you can set preferences on how you want to wake up in the morning. For example, you can program the lights to slowly come on, the windows to open, the temperature to change slowly or certain music to play when you want to gradually wake up. See why I'm so excited?? Haha. My husband thinks I'm nuts for being so impressed by stuff like that, but I can't help it. It's freakin' cool!

We are still trying to decide which shows to go see while we are there. And I'm already thinking about which outfits to take. It's going to be extremely hot, I'm sure! Anyway, the countdown is ON. The number one item on my list of things to-do before we go? Finish SHADOW DEMONS!

Self-Publishing Resources

On Saturday, I gave a talk on self-publishing at my local Romance Writers of America meeting. Our local chapter is the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, and I have been a member of the group since 2007. If you are a writer in the Raleigh/Durham area, I highly recommend joining or at least coming for a visit. I had such a great time talking about my experiences so far as an Indie author.

For the talk, I decided to put together a series of handouts and walk-throughs people could refer to if they were interested in learning more about self-publishing. Since I took the time to create those resources for the RWA group, I figured I might as well put them up on my website for everyone to use.

If you are interested in learning more about self-publishing or you have been considering publishing a book of your own, please feel free to check out some of the free resources I put up on my website. You can find them here. So far, there are step-by-step walk-throughs about how to publish your novel on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Also, there's a list of the different pages you need in the front and back of your eBook, answers to frequently asked questions, and an explanation of everything you need to have prepared before you're ready to publish. In the future, I hope to add more resources, such as info on how to create a book cover, and a cheat sheet for how to format your novel according to the Smashwords style guide.

I certainly don't know everything, but I've been working hard to learn as much about self-publishing as I can so far. I am hoping my small success so far can help others to create their own career as an Indie author. Check out the resources there if you're interested and continue to check back for more pages soon.

SHADOW DEMONS, Chapter One: Vengeance

As I announced earlier this week, I have decided to release one chapter a week until the release of SHADOW DEMONS, Book 4 of the Peachville High Demons series. Most of you who read my books already know that my chapters are pretty short, but hopefully this little teaser about the start of the book will give you some insight into the path this story is going to take. I'm excited to release Chapter One: Vengeance today on my blog!

NOTE: This isn't the absolute, final edited version of the chapter. It's just what I have right now as I'm still working on the book. If there are any errors or some parts aren't as smooth as they could be, don't fear! It's still a work in progress. I just wanted to get some content out there for all of my fans who have been patiently waiting for SHADOW DEMONS to come out. In all likelihood, some of the content posted on my blog throughout the next few Fridays will change slightly before the book is actually released.

Vengeance

Windows stared out at us like dead eyes.

The houses in the small village were burned and blackened, their roofs collapsing.

Beside me, Mary Anne sank to the ground, her silent sobs making my heart ache. I kneeled next to her.

“I'm so sorry,” I whispered, putting my arm around her shoulders.

I couldn't completely understand how she was feeling. I'd never had a home I felt particularly attached to in any real way. I'd moved around so much, it had been pointless to get emotionally invested in a house or even a neighborhood. But Mary Anne had spent her childhood here in this secret village.

In the past week, she'd become an outcast and a traitor in the eyes of everyone she'd ever loved. Now this. I held her tighter.

Glass crunched under Jackson's boots as he walked to the nearest house. The sound echoed through the silence.

"What happened here?" I asked.

"The Order of Shadows happened," he said. He kicked at a broken fence.

“How can you be sure it was the Order?”

“I've seen this before,” he said. A darkness spread across his features. It was such a painful expression, it twisted my insides.

“Where?” I almost didn't ask. I almost didn't want to know.

“It doesn't matter,” he said. “All that matters is that they've been here. They probably took anything of value they could find and then torched the place. I doubt we'll be able to find any of the old spell books.”

“Why would they do this?” I asked. “What's the point?”

Jackson turned around, surveying the area. “Vengeance," he said, his voice calm for such a passionate word. "And to make sure the crows can never come back."

Mary Anne's sobs turned to deep breaths. She lifted her head and wiped the tears from her pale face. “I'm going to look around.” Her voice was soft. Injured.

“Okay,” I said. "Do you want me to come with you?"

She turned to me, her blue eyes glassy with tears. "No thanks," she said.

I watched her walk up through the middle of the village, her steps slow and deliberate. She glanced at the houses on either side of her, then stopped in front of the next-to-last house on the left side. After a moment, she walked up the stairs of the ruined house and disappeared inside. My heart ached for her. She would have been the Prima Futura right now if she hadn't stood up to her family. She saved my life. I hated to see her hurting.

"I don't know if this was such a good idea," Jackson said to me. "What if the Order placed traps around the village to keep the crows out?"

I touched his arm. “It's her childhood home, Jackson," I said. "Give her a few minutes to deal with all this."

He sighed and placed his hand over mine. "I know," he said. "But something doesn't feel right. It feels like we're being watched. It's not safe here."

“I'm still not entirely sure I know where 'here' is,” I said. “I mean, one second we're levitating above the trees, and then boom, we're in this town? I don't get it. Where are we really? Did we go through some kind of portal?”

Mary Anne's family had taken great care to make sure they remained hidden for all these years. Hiding an entire town and a whole community of people couldn't have been easy.

“It's an illusion,” he said. “A very powerful illusion that probably took decades to perfect and grow."

“So you're saying we're still above the trees?”

“Exactly,” he said. “Did you feel that small electrical shock when we passed into the village?"

I nodded. When I thought about it, I realized it had been a slightly more powerful version of the shock I felt every time I passed through the wall in the girl's locker room at school. A magical force-field of sorts. The same way the Order kept the training room hidden, the crows were keeping this village hidden all this time.

“The old witch and her daughters must have spent years building this place with magic and concealing it from the rest of the town,” he said. “There is great power here. Can't you feel it?”

I shivered. I could feel it. There was a buzz running just under my feet. It was a particular sort of power. Evil. Definitely full of darkness and greed and jealousy.

Bitterness.

How had Mary Anne grown up here and still turned into the kind of person who cared enough to save my life?

“So why didn't the Order just destroy it?” I asked. “Instead of burning the houses?"

“I don't know,” he said. “Maybe they wanted to set it up as a warning if anyone ever came back. Or like I said, maybe they're watching this place very carefully. I don't think we should stick around much longer. It's already after two."

I had to admit, I kind of agreed with him. This place was getting creepier by the second.

“Let's see if Mary Anne knows where they kept their spell books and ritual items,” I said. “Then we can get the hell out of here.”

Jackson followed me into the center of the small town. The houses were set up in a circle. In the town center, there was an outdoor pavilion with several rows of stone benches and what might have been an altar in the front. I didn't even want to think about the kinds of things that went on in this town. It all felt very cult-ish. The witches had been so secluded up here, rarely ever coming in to town or having any kind of contact with the outside world. Mary Anne told us she'd never once left this place until the day they sent her to Shadowford. I couldn't even imagine how hard that must have been for her.

She was obviously having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that her old home was in ruins. When we found her, she was standing in the middle of a large open room, her eyes staring straight ahead and her shoulders slumped.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

She shook her head slowly, not speaking.

“Was this your house?”

She closed her eyes and a tear rolled down her cheek. In her hand, she gripped a small doll. It looked like a rag doll of sorts with black yarn for hair. Its blue dress was blackened and torn.

“Mary Anne, we need to find the room where they kept any important spell books or ritual items that might help us,” I said. I hated to bring it up when she was obviously hurting, but the books were the whole reason we'd come here. The crows had access to forgotten magic. Dark magic. Books and spells that no one in the Order had even known existed.

If there was any chance one of those old books might be able to help us break the spell between me and Aerden, we had to at least try to find them.

Mary Anne made no move to answer. She just kept staring straight ahead, her eyes dark and unfocused. Jackson and I exchanged worried glances. What if we'd made a huge mistake by bringing her here? What if she'd changed her mind about helping us?

"Please, Mary Anne," I said. Knots of fear coiled in my stomach.

Mary Anne looked down at the small doll in her hand, then hugged it close to her chest. With the back of her hand, she wiped away her tears. “Okay,” she said. “I'll show you.”

Best-seller Sandwich

This morning I was happily checking my Amazon page to see if I had any new reviews and to check my sales rank. It's part of my morning routine and it always makes me happy just to see my book online and realize that one of my greatest dreams in life has come true. I'm an author!

But this morning held a sweet little surprise of chance. When I checked the sales ranking for BEAUTIFUL DEMONS, I saw that I was back in the top 1000 ebooks on Kindle. Usually when that happens, my book goes into the Top 100 Children's book list, which is always fun to see. I clicked over to the Children's book list and found my book sitting at number 84 on the list. The best part though, was which books were just above and below me. Take a look.


It feels so incredible to see my book right there between The Hunger Games Trilogy and Breaking Dawn. Both of those books/series are astronomical bestsellers. Achieving that kind of success is something I can only dream about. Yet there I am. My humble little book. Sitting right between two major bestsellers. Is it a sign? Hehe. I certainly hope so!

Shadow Demons Update

I know there are a lot of people waiting for updates on Book 4 of the Peachville High Demons series. Last night, I met with my critique group. They critiqued the first half of the book and reassured me that the story is on the right track. I have some revisions to work on after talking to them last night, but more importantly, I am still working on edits for the second half of the book.

I hate to announce another delay. I don't want anyone to think that I am flaking out or not reliable in any way. On the other hand, the book isn't ready. I don't want to publish something that's not up to the same quality as the first three books. Art is such a funny thing. It can't really be rushed, so if it's not coming together as fast as I hoped, all I can do is keep plugging away and keep focusing on the story.

This is something that highlights a difference between Indie authors and traditionally published authors. In the traditional print world, a book is finished and turned in to an editor months and months before it is actually scheduled to come out. Sometimes an author will turn in a book up to a year before the publication date. With self-publishing, most authors finish a book and publish it as soon as possible. That's what I've been doing ever since October. As soon as my critique group and my husband have read the book, I work furiously on edits and revisions, then post the book within a week. The process has been working for me so far, but for some reason, Book 4 has been the most difficult book I've ever written.

The challenge is that there are only five books scheduled in this series. I know that everything in Book 4 has to begin pulling all these threads together so that Book 5 can have the huge impact that I want it to have. The end of Harper's story is very powerful, and I want to make sure I set it up just right. I think that's why this next-to-last book has been such a challenge.

Basically what I'm saying is that even though the book is progressing and is going well, it's still not finished. I am not confident enough to give an expected release date at this point except to say that it will be out this summer. I've been so nervous to announce this because I really don't want any fans of the series to be disappointed in me. All I can do at this point is be honest and keep working hard to get the book ready. As an apology for the book being released late, I have decided to post one chapter every Friday from Shadow Demons, starting with Chapter 1. This will be a free read and sort of like short teaser chapters while you are waiting for the book to come out. Chapter 1 will go up this Friday on my blog, so stay tuned!

May Sales Numbers

May was a rough month for me. Don't get me wrong - it was still a great month. Every month that goes by since I first decided to self-publish has been like a dream come true. I love the freedom that self-publishing gives to me. I love creating the stories I want to write and never having to worry that an agent or editor won't like them. I only have to think about the reader. It's awesome.

On the other hand, writing books this fast isn't easy. I fully intended to get Book 4 out before the end of May, but here it is June 6 and the book still isn't finished. More about that later. Today is about sales numbers. A few very exciting things happened in May. First of all, I got new book covers!! The new covers definitely invigorated my sales numbers. What was looking like a rough month turned around in the last week to be a decent month without a lot of drop in sales despite the fact that I didn't get a new book out yet. The covers were designed by Robin Ludwig Design, Inc. She did an amazing job, and I think the new look has had a great impact on the way people view the series.

The second exciting thing that happened is that I passed 20,000 books sold! That's spread between all three books, but it's still super exciting. I am hoping once Book 4 comes out, I will pass 25,000 books total pretty quickly. So, here are my sales numbers for the month of May:

BEAUTIFUL DEMONS - Book 1 of the PHD series - $0.99 (10/31/10)

  • Amazon's Kindle Store: 1306 US sales + 35 UK + 0 DE = 1341
  • Barnes & Noble: 254
  • Smashwords: 3
  • Total: 1598
INNER DEMONS - Book 2 of the PHD series - $0.99 (12/22/10)
  • Amazon's Kindle Store: 1071 US sales + 24 UK + 1 DE = 1096
  • Barnes & Noble: 128
  • Smashwords: 5
  • Total: 1229
BITTER DEMONS - Book 3 of the PHD series - $2.99 (2/24/11)
  • Amazon's Kindle Store: 986 US sales + 17 UK sales + 1 DE = 1004
  • Barnes & Noble: 108
  • Smashwords: 5
  • Total: 1117
Total May Sales: 3944

Total Self-Publishing Sales Over 7 months: 20,967

The month ended up being only a couple hundred less than April, which I think is great since I haven't had a new release since February. Book 4 in my series will definitely be out in June, so hopefully I should see a burst of sales from that book's release. Then, I am still hoping to release Book 5 by the end of August. I am so anxious to get started with my next series as well. I love writing and the more I write, the more I love what I do. Creating stories is so much fun when you have freedom.

Side Note: I'll be speaking on self-publishing at the local RWA chapter meeting, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, this upcoming Saturday. For more information, visit the HCRW website. If you are local to the Raleigh, NC area, anyone is welcome to attend!

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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