The Sweetie Chronicles

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

Featured Post on Bargain Books for your Nook!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you had an amazing holiday with your family and continue to enjoy some vacation time or relaxing time as the new year approaches. I am on vacation, but wanted to mention that BEAUTIFUL DEMONS is being featured today on Bargain Books for your Nook! This is a great new site that features good bargains for Nook that are $4.99 or less. Perfect just in time for the holidays when I'm sure so many people received their first ereaders. Please hop over and check it out and if you haven't read the first book in my Peachville High Demons series yet, be sure to pick it up for just $0.99!!!

Rival Demons Release Date

Last week, I had a long talk with my critique group about the timeline for RIVAL DEMONS. We set up dates for when I need to get the completed book to them, and then when we are going to meet to go through the book with their comments. I'm so excited that there has finally been some movement on this book and that I can finally give you a release date!!!

January 20, 2012

Rival Demons will be published by January 20, 2012!! I know it's a lot later than I originally planned, but life happens and time slips away from you sometimes. I probably could have put out a lesser quality book a lot faster, but that wouldn't be right for me or for you. I owe it to everyone (even Harper!) to write the very best book I can write. And though there have been some bumps in the road (baby bumps, that is), I am really happy with the way this book is turning out.

I hope you'll all be excited that we finally have a target date to look forward to. I put a countdown here on the right side of the blog to keep me motivated and to let you all keep track of how long until the book comes out. Just barely over a month now! I'm very excited to have you all read this book. In some ways, it's very different from the previous books in that it takes place entirely in the Shadow World. You will meet a lot of new characters and find out some very interesting things about the people you already know and love. I won't give away anything more than that for now, but as we get closer, I might release a sneak peek of the beginning of the book here on my blog.

What do you think? Are you excited to read the fifth book in the Peachville High Demons series?

More Updates!

Hi everyone! I think I have finally hit a much better place in my pregnancy. My energy is coming back, and so is my motivation with writing. Whew, that was certainly a tough first few months! A lot of people told me that I would start to feel better in the second trimester, and now that I've hit the 13 week mark, I really am feeling so much better. I hate to think about the fact that I've left so many of my fans waiting for the next book. I never intended to take so long to get Book 5 out, and I'm so sorry if I've disappointed you guys.

On a happy note, though, for the past week I've been working on the book as if it were old times. 3,000-5,000 words a day of revisions and new scenes, which is super exciting. And I know the question on everyone's mind is: When is the book coming out??

I figured after all this waiting, you deserved to be kept in the loop about how things are progressing and when the book should be coming out. Also, I think it will help keep me motivated if I keep running updates going here on my blog. So here's what is next for Rival Demons:

  • First, I need to finish all of the revisions and rewrites. I already have an expected timeline on this, but am not quite ready to share yet.
  • Once the book is finished, I will pass it off to my critique group. Because of things going on in their lives, along with the holidays coming up and family time, I am expecting it to take them about 2 weeks to read through the entire book and write out their comments.
  • After the critique group goes through the book, we will schedule a long meeting to go through the book page-by-page, talking about any errors, any problems with the plot or things that don't make sense. My critique group is possibly the most amazing group in the world. They are very thorough and help me so much, so this is one of the most important steps.
  • As long as there are no major problems with the book, I usually just take about three or four days to go through everyone's comments and make all the changes I agree with. Then, I read through the book a few more times, putting the final touches in.
  • Once the book is completely done, then comes the formatting. This also takes a couple of days.
  • Finally, release day!!
While there are still a lot of steps left in the process before we get to release day, the biggest obstacle is really just finishing the book. Of course, that always sounds easier than it really is. :P But with my energy coming back, I think this will go quickly. The rough draft was completed several months ago, so it's the revisions and rewrites I am working on now, and I'm very happy with how the story is coming together. My truest hope is that when the book finally comes out, all of you will be happy with the results too! 

On Friday, I am planning to officially announce the release date for Rival Demons, so I hope you'll come back to the blog this week to check up on the progress and see when you can expect Rival Demons to (finally) be released!!

Cover Reveal!! RIVAL DEMONS

While I still don't know a final release date for the book, I did want to go ahead and give you a look at the cover for Book 5 of the Peachville High Demons series. I have to tell you, this is one of my favorite covers of the series because it's the first one where the girl is looking straight on to the camera. To me, it fits this book perfectly because as you'll see, in a lot of ways, Harper's eyes are being opened to the ways of the Order and to her own destiny.

I hope you like the cover as much as I do!! Thanks for all the messages over the past few days about your excitement for book 5 to come out. I really can't believe it's December already, but time is flying by as we get closer and closer to the holidays.

Have a great weekend everyone. More updates and blog posts to come next week.

Book Review: Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison

I know I already try to keep track of the books I'm reading through Goodreads, but I thought I would also put some thoughts on these books up on my blog. Especially when what I read is mostly Young Adult fiction anyway. Since I've been feeling a bit less than ideal lately, my husband suggested I spend more time reading. His goal, of course, is to try to get rid of some of the mountain of YA books I have stacked around the house, haha! Our rule is that when I finish a book, I have to give it away or sell it at the used bookstore unless it's one of my favorites, in which case I get to keep it. With that said, I'm hoping to be reading more in the upcoming months.

My latest pick from my shelves was "Once Dead, Twice Shy" by Kim Harrison. This is a relatively short YA and is Kim Harrison's debut YA book.

I originally picked up this book because I was really drawn to the cover. It's got a punk kind of look to it, so I thought the heroine might be kind of bad-ass. Plus, this is another example of a NYT bestselling author throwing her hat into the ring of YA, so I figured it would be worth checking out.

I will do my best to keep the spoilers out of this, but still let you know what I thought of the book. I did finish the book, which is saying something for me lately. It seems like I'm constantly in search of the type of book that will draw me in from the start and just not let go. For me, those types of books are few and far between, and unfortunately, Once Dead was not one of those grabber kind of books.

Here's the blurb from the inside cover jacket:

Madison's prom was killer - literally. For some reason, she's been targeted by a dark reaper - yeah, that kind of reaper - intent on getting rid of her, body and soul. But before the reaper could finish the job, Madison was able to snag his strange, glowing amulet and get away.

Now she's stuck on Earth - dead but not gone. Somehow the amulet gives her the illusion of a body, allowing her to toe the line between life and death. She still doesn't know why the dark reaper is after her, but she's not about to just sit around and let fate take its course.

With a little ingenuity, some light-bending, and the help of a light reaper (one of the good guys! Maybe...), her cute crush, and oh yeah, her guardian angel, Madison's ready to take control of her own destiny once and for all, before it takes control of her.

Well, if she believed in that stuff.

Great premise, right? I mean, angels, reapers, a hint of some kind of magic. Sounds great. Unfortunately, the beginning was super slow for me. It wasn't quite slow enough to make me put it down and stop reading, but then again, it was probably not until after page 100 of an only 232 page book that I started getting interested enough to want to stay up past my bedtime to read. Part of it for me was that the beginning was confusing. Wait, she's dead? And what exactly is Barnabas, this light-reaper, trying to teach her to do? I didn't get it at first and had to do a lot of re-reading to figure it out.

Also, I think sometimes the fact that Kim Harrison is used to writing adult novels showed itself pretty glaringly. The language these teens use in a lot of the dialogue (especially for a teen like Madison who is supposed to be kind of punk and off-beat) is very stilted. Other times, she uses teen-speak like freaking, which does sound punk, but then also phrases like 'puppy presents', which sounds more like it belongs on the mouth of a do-gooder Christian girl who couldn't bear to swear. I guess for me, it just seemed inconsistent at times. Sometimes, though, the writing was so beautiful. "Looking up, I was blinded by the sun reflecting upon a moving blade, and I gasped as it sliced cleanly through me with the sensation of dry feathers against my soul." (p. 17 in the hardcover) Beautiful writing, right? Yes, but since it's supposed to be Madison's voice here, why does she use the word 'upon'? That doesn't sound very naturally teen to me. It sounds like the author's voice instead. See what I mean?

Or am I being super picky? Lol. Probabaly too picky, I know, but sometimes that's the problem with adult authors writing YA - I'm not sure I believe the voice. And little words like 'upon' instead of just 'on' throw me out of the teen's head just a little bit.

But like I said, somewhere after about page 100, I started really getting into the story. The conflict suddenly seemed real and I was rooting for Madison to figure it all out and learn to use the amulet she'd stolen from the dark reaper. The last few chapters were by far the best part of the book and kept me reading late into the night. Bottom line? If you can make it through the slower first part of the book, I think you'll really enjoy this read. This is also just the first book in a series. I recently purchased book 2, "Early to Death, Early to Rise", and plan to start it right away. There is third book also, titled "Something Deadly This Way Comes".

Have you read this book? Have you read any of Kim Harrison's adult novels? How do they compare? What did you think of  'Once Dead'?


I have seriously been slacking when it comes to blogging and social networking. I've barely been posting on twitter or facebook recently. Bad Sarra. I promise it hasn't been all happiness and roses here, though. I've been having some major morning sickness (something I have learned is grossly misnamed since it lasts 24/7), which is making it difficult to get a lot of work done. I have never been one to handle nausea well. I'm a wimp about it actually. And my life has been nausea city these days, haha.

Yes, I know, excuses excuses. Where's the next book? LOL. I know a lot of you are waiting for news on RIVAL DEMONS. I get messages every day asking about the book to see how it's coming. I can't tell you how much it means to me to get so many messages of support and so much interest about Book 5. And I know so many of you have been waiting patiently for more news, so here is the latest update:

Book 5 is so close to being done! I have been working as hard as I can to finish the book and get it out to my critique group. I get so hesitant to announce specific release dates, because I've had so many delays lately. The last thing I want to do is disappoint anyone. On the other hand, I feel confident enough that RIVAL DEMONS will be out in December. I'm hoping for a pre-Christmas release, but I will try my best to keep updating you here and on FB and twitter as we get closer to a release.

I know I also said I would show you guys the new book cover for RIVAL DEMONS! I promise I haven't forgotten. I will be revealing the cover art for Book 5 this Friday here on my blog, so stay tuned! I really hope you'll like it!  I'm excited to show it to you and excited to get RIVAL DEMONS up on the virtual bookshelves.

The Newest News from Amazon - Kindle Owner's Lending Library

I got an interesting email today from Amazon. They announced that Amazon Prime members, in addition to already receiving free shipping and getting some streaming media, will now also be able to borrow books for free from the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. There are limits, of course. You can only check out one book a month. There are no late fees or anything like that, but you do have to return your previous book in order to get a new book. Also, there are a limited number of books currently available in the lending library. From what I've heard, it's somewhere around 5000 books to choose from.

I think it's an exciting development. Actually, it kind of makes me want to sign up for Amazon Prime, haha. I used to have a membership several years back, but back then, all that the membership gave you was free shipping. I didn't order enough merchandise to make it worth it. Now, however, there are a lot of perks that come along with an Amazon Prime membership. Free two-day shipping. Unlimited streaming of TV shows, movies, etc, similar to Netflix. And now a free book a month. Considering that some of these NYT bestseller books are $10.00 or more each, it's really a good deal. The Amazon Prime Membership is only $79 a year.

I have a feeling this new announcement will actually spur some people who are already members of Prime to go ahead and spring for a new Kindle. I mean, with the low price point now of only $79 for a brand new Kindle, why not? Especially when you have access to so many free books?

It's interesting to me that some authors already have their defenses up about this lending library. They are worried that they will not get paid for books that are lent through this new library. But to me, that's really narrow thinking. Free books have always been available, whether through borrowing from friends or borrowing from a physical library or from stealing or whatever. Authors still have always been able to make a living writing books. Readers still buy books, even when there are free ones to be had. I personally think it's a great announcement. I don't think it will have a huge impact on books sales except that it will be another way to connect readers with books and authors they love.

My only question is how do I get Beautiful Demons into the lending library? So far, I don't think they are letting a lot of Indie authors into the lending library. All I know is that if given a chance, I would definitely put the Peachville High Demons books into the lending library. Any chance I have of introducing my series to more readers is a huge opportunity. I have a feeling that right now, Amazon is sort of hand-picking books and authors, which currently doesn't include that many Indie authors (if any), but I would be incredibly excited if my books were to be included in any way.

What do you think of the new Kindle Owner's Lending Library? Are you an Amazon Prime Member? Would this new perk make you want to sign up for Amazon Prime? I'm interested to hear what you think.

My BIG Personal News!

This is going to be another personal post, along with a brief update on RIVAL DEMONS. First of all, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who left comments and sent me messages when I opened up in this post about my personal journey with PCOS and infertility. As I said before, I have wanted to have a baby for a very long time and even though my husband and I had been trying for quite a while, we had not been successful. I told you that we were preparing for our first round of IVF (in vitro fertilization) in October. I know many of you have been checking up on me to see how everything was going, and I appreciate the support with all of my heart.

Today, I have some very happy news to share with you! My husband and I are expecting our first baby on June 16th, 2012!!!!!!!! No, there are not enough exclamation marks in the world to express how excited and happy I am about this baby. And part of the true miracle of it all is that we found out I was pregnant just two days before we were supposed to begin IVF. How amazing is that?? Our baby was conceived naturally, and I am so grateful to have been able to bypass all of the medicine and shots and emotions involved with such an intense procedure. Believe me, I completely know how incredibly lucky we are.

On Saturday, we were blessed to be able to see our little one on an ultrasound for the first time. The baby's heartbeat fluttering on the screen was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life! I am almost 8 weeks along, so it is still early, but I was never one for keeping secrets, haha. And since so many of you continue to send me encouraging messages, I wanted to share this amazing news with you all.

Now, for the RIVAL DEMONS update! Since it's NaNo WriMo, I am back on track working on Book 5. I know the technical rules are that you are supposed to write a brand new novel during NaNo, but I'm breaking the rules a bit to work on my revisions for this book that I know so many of you are patiently waiting to read. I won't lie to you - I'm struggling a lot with morning sickness and fatigue during this first trimester. It's been extremely difficult to focus when I'm not feeling well, but I'm doing the best I can! My hope at this point is to finish the revisions by the middle of November, then pass the book off to my critique group as soon as possible. What this means for you is another slight delay in the release. However, I can promise you this - RIVAL DEMONS will be out in December. I am going to make it happen no matter what! I'm pushing myself for a very early December release, but things are slightly unpredictable right now, so I don't have a date set yet.

IF (and that's a really BIG IF), everything goes well with the revisions, I am hoping to actually pass the book off to my critique group by the middle of the month and then start working on Book 6's rough draft right away. After such a long break between books 4 and 5, I think it would be awesome if I could get Books 5 and 6 out one right after the other in December and January. I'll keep you updated!! Meanwhile, I'm going to be making a brand new word count meter for the sidebar here on the right so you can follow my progress with the revisions. Hopefully, the count will fly!!

So that's my BIG news!! Thank you so much again to everyone for all the support and advice and encouragement throughout this process. It truly means the world to me.

Happy One Year Anniversary, Beautiful Demons!!

I'm a little late with this happy birthday celebration, but as of October 29th, it's been exactly one year since I first published BEAUTIFUL DEMONS!!! The decision to become an Indie author and self-publish my books in ebook format was a huge decision for me. Like most writers, I had always wanted the validation of seeing my book in a physical bookstore and having an agent or editor tell me they loved and believed in my work. It took a lot of time and hair-pulling to finally move beyond that false idea of validation and realize that my future was staring me right in the face.

When I first self-published Beautiful Demons, I was scared, but excited. I had no idea if anyone would want to read it. The idea of bad reviews made me insane, haha. Luckily, a year later, the results are way beyond what I ever expected. Since last year, I have published the first four novels in my Peachville High Demons series and have sold a total of 45,641 copies between them. Beautiful Demons leads the group with 16,404 copies sold so far, and I couldn't be happier or more grateful.

I honestly feel that my decision to become an Indie author and take my career into my own hands was one of the best decisions I could have made. I love the creative freedom I have. I love feeling closer to my readers. I love being able to make the final decisions about the plot and characters without someone in New York telling me what I have to cut. Now, I'm not saying my books are the most amazing in the world or that I couldn't benefit from an editor or agent in some way, but in the end, I know this was the best route for me. I'm loving every minute of being an Indie author, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who has supported the Peachville High Demons series, either by writing reviews, buying the books, or telling a friend about the series. I appreciate you all so much. It's been an amazing year, and I'm looking forward to hopefully many more years of success!

Catching Up

Wow, I'm so sorry I've been annoyingly absent from the interwebs for a few weeks. If you read my earlier post, Pouring My Heart Out, you know I've been taking some time to deal with a very personal issue. After some self-reflection, I feel that I am ready to rejoin the writing world and start blogging again! For anyone who is interested, I will hopefully have an update about my personal life and my journey toward having a baby sometime in early November.

In the meantime, I thought I would post a few updates about what's been going on with my books. I'll make it in bullet points, because hey, bullet points are fun.

  • First of all, I'm working on RIVAL DEMONS again. I had a flash of a new idea and I think I've figured out something that was missing from the rough draft that will pull this whole thing together. I've been feeling much more creative lately and excited about the series. Even though the book was slightly delayed, I am still hoping to have it out by mid-November!!! So only about 1 month left!
  • I have book covers for both RIVAL DEMONS and DEMONS FOREVER!!!! Robin Ludwig did an amazing job on the covers and I can't wait to show them to you. You'll have to wait until December for the reveal of Demons Forever, but I am planning to reveal the cover for Rival Demons next Friday. I might do a fun giveaway in honor of the new cover. I have to say, it's one of my favorite so far, and I hope you'll like it!
  • Today, BEAUTIFUL DEMONS hit its highest ever sales rank for the Amazon UK store. It jumped all the way up to 626. Even though my sales have sadly been slipping in the US store lately, it's exciting to see my books taking off in the UK.
  • I am currently working on a complete revamp of my main website. Right now, my site is completely designed by my husband from scratch, using HTML 5. I like it, but to me, it does look a little bit homemade. I am working with my cover designer to put together a cool banner that will match my PHD series. I'm going to be converting both my site and my blog to wordpress, but it's taking me some time to learn how to do it. Hoping to have a new site up and running by the time Rival Demons is released!
That's most of the news I have right now. Oh, wait! An excerpt of Beautiful Demons is in the back of J.L. Bryan's newest book, Fairy Metal Thunder. I was so excited that he wanted to include me in his book!! In return, there will also be an excerpt of Fairy Metal Thunder in the back of Rival Demons if you're interested in checking it out for a free preview! The book is really well done and a lot of fun. I think most of my readers would really enjoy it, and at only $0.99, it's hard to resist!!! I highly recommend it.

In other news, I know I am late in posting my sales for September. Believe me when I say they are nothing to get excited about. For some reason, I've seen a terrible slump in my sales all the way across the board both in September and October. I know that it's just part of the process of publishing, so I'm not worried about it, just anxious to get Rival Demons out. For anyone interested, I will hopefully post Sept. sales sometime later this week.

Amazon's Big News!

If any of you have been on the fence about whether to buy an ereader or a new tablet, now is the best time ever to jump into the ebook revolution. Amazon announced a while back that they were going to do a press conference this morning and everyone was anticipating their unveiling of a new tablet, but Amazon actually announced 3 new offerings today.

  1. An ad-supported Kindle at only $79. What?! Yes, I'm serious about this. For less than eighty bucks, you can have a Kindle. And don't worry, the ads aren't scrolling while you read your books or anything. The ads are just the screensavers when your Kindle goes to sleep. Trust me when I say the cheesy pictures of dead authors they use for the regular Kindle screensavers aren't all that exciting, haha. I might actually prefer the ads! 
  2. New Kindle Touch! This touch-screen ereader is only going to be $99, with a 3G version at just $149. (Just to compare, the Barnes & Noble touch is $139 just for the wi-fi version, so that's a huge $40 price difference.) The Kindle Touch is going to be much slimmer and will have no external controls - only touch screen controls.
  3. Kindle Fire Tablet - Cnet calls it a "color ereader on steroids". Lol. It looks similar to the Nook Color and will retail at only $199! (Again the nook color is currently $249, which is showing how much Amazon wants to be on top of the ereader market.) You can play games on it, watch movies, read books, nearly everything you can do on an ipad. The tablet also comes with a 30 day Amazon Prime membership, and with Prime adding tons of streaming video this fall, I think this will be a huge advantage to the Fire Tablet. Exciting news! Now I want one!
So if you've been thinking of asking for an ereader or a tablet for Christmas, or thinking of getting one for yourself or someone special, the time has never been better. I think it's going to be a very exciting time for those of us who love to read and love to buy ebooks. I'm thinking the Fire Tablet just jumped to my new #1 must-have for Christmas!

Pick Your Purse!

Sorry for the delay in blogging. I've been taking some time off to focus on my family and getting ready for IVF. First off, I want to just say thank you to everyone who read my previous post and has supported me. I got such an outpouring of love and hugs from comments, email, twitter, facebook, everywhere. Thank you so much everyone, you have no idea how much that means to me!

I have been taking the time I need to just relax and de-stress, so I've been staying away from my blog and from my novel for a bit. However, I just couldn't resist talking about the G105 Pick Your Purse! I feel like I have been waiting for them to do this again forever! This is definitely something that makes me very happy, so it's awesome that they are doing it starting October 3rd. I've blogged about this before, but the way the contest works is that they have 20 designer purses up for grabs. Every day at 7:50 am and 5:40 pm, they will announce that it's time to call. The 105th caller gets to pick any purse from the list that hasn't already been taken. The contest lasts M-F for 2 weeks.

I have lived here in the Raleigh area for four years now, and every single time G105 does Pick Your Purse, I am like a calling-in maniac. I want one of those purses so bad! We're talking Prada, Gucci, Chloe, Jimmy Choo, Valentino, all the most beautiful bags. And I'm such a purse person. I have never had a designer purse, but I love them. I love to look at them and drool over them. When we were Vegas earlier this summer, I think I spent more than three or four hours perusing the designer stores looking for the perfect bag. Unfortunately, most of the ones I fell in love with cost over $1000, lol. So no bag for Sarra.

Anyway, it feels like forever since the radio station did this contest, so I couldn't be happier that they are running this during one of these very tough times in my life when I'm super stressed and emotional. It would be AMAZING if I got to pick a purse!

Here's the grid of 20 purses from the G105 website:

If you follow the link above, they have a printable PDF version if you live in the Raleigh area and want to call in. My top 5 choices, in order, are:
  • #2 - Chloe - I love this bag! It's big and beautiful and very me. I like to carry bigger bags because I've always got a ton of stuff with me. This is definitely my first choice.
  • #8 - Valentino - Their patent bags with the bows are so beautiful. Valentino has this same bag in red, but I actually like the black even better. I looked at this bag when we were in Vegas and it's to die for!
  • #6 - Jimmy Choo - Even though I love big bags, this small Jimmy Choo clutch would be perfect for a night out. 
  • #12 - Rebecca Minkoff - I'm actually not familiar with this designer, but I love this blue leather bag. I like the tassle and the chain and the zippers. It's modern and perfect for fall.
  • #11 - Diane Von Furstenberg - This bag is called the Harper. How could it not be on my list?
Truthfully, I would gladly choose ANY of the bags on their list. I always get so excited when they do Pick Your Purse, but so sad as the bags disappear. Maybe this time will be different! 

Thanks for letting me indulge by talking a bit about G105's Pick Your Purse. I think this is by far the single best radio station giveaway in the history of radio. :P. Now, if I could just figure out a way to get past the busy signals...

Pouring My Heart Out

Ah, faithful blog readers, I have been keeping things from you. I have been trying to act like things are normal and that I am one hundred percent focused on writing. I have been trying to pretend that even though I'm going through some tough personal things, I can still be superwoman when it comes to churning books out. Unfortunately, it all caught up with me this week at the beach.

The week I thought would be a huge breakthrough week for me, one where I would write 40,000 words and get ahead on my book deadline, actually turned out to be one of the most emotional weeks I've had in a very long time. (and trust me when I say, that's really saying something). Since technically this is my 'writing' blog, I haven't spent much time lately talking about my personal life. I used to do that more here before I had self-published. You know, back when no one was really reading, hehe. But I have been feeling like maybe it's not right to dump my personal issues on my readers and fans. After all, you come here to learn about my books, right? Not to hear about my problems...

On the other hand, I feel like my fans are my friends. You guys are always there to support me and hear me out. You celebrate with me and you understand when I'm upset about something. So why would this be any different? So, I have decided to share something with you. I promise I won't be talking about it a lot or whining about it on here on a regular basis. I just feel that since I went out there saying I would have a huge writing week - and have so obviously failed - maybe you deserved an explanation.

So, with all that being said, here is where I pour my heart out. For a long while now, my husband and I have been trying to have a baby. There aren't even words to express how very much I would love to be a mother. Unfortunately, I have a condition called PCOS that has caused infertility and made it a very difficult journey. For the past year, I have been going through various fertility treatments, doctor appointments, medications, acupuncture, you name it. After many failed cycles, we are now preparing to start IVF (in vitro fertilization). I won't go into all the fun details there, but I'll just say that if you aren't already familiar with what this entails, it isn't the most glamorous and fun thing a woman can go through. There have been a lot of tests and appointments leading up to this and now we are just 3 short weeks away from starting injections.

For me, this will mean 3 shots a day in my upper arms, which my nurse is saying may make it difficult to type for long periods of time. Almost daily appointments. Lots of hormones and other fun stuff. I'm ready for all of this, but if you know me at all, you know I'm an extremely emotional person. I wear my heart on my sleeve pretty much all the time. For me, infertility has been one of the most devastating and emotionally draining experiences of my life. And my writing is, of course, very closely tied to my emotions. Lately, because I'm having so much anxiety and worry and spending so much emotional energy on IVF, I haven't had as much to dedicate to my writing.

This is where the beach trip was supposed to come in. I had planned to leave my worries at home and come to a beautiful place to just write, write, write! I've used beach trips before with great success, so I expected this to be the same. Unfortunately, this emotional rollercoaster I'm on just wasn't something I could turn off and leave behind. I would love to say that I'm superwoman and can write through anything, but it's just not the case. This is a time where I really need to be nice to myself and do my best to take my time and write when I can. I hope you, dearest readers, will understand this.

So where does this leave Rival Demons? Hopefully, nothing will change as far as my schedule. I hope to still have the book out by the end of October if I can. The rough draft is really solid and I'm truly loving this story. And believe me, I can't WAIT for you to learn some big things about Harper in this next book. I promise that I will do my best to stay on schedule and to keep writing. At the same time, though, I'm going to ask for your prayers and your support as I go through this very difficult and emotional time in my life. I wish I could keep my writing and my personal life separate, but I honestly think that if I could do that, it wouldn't make me a very good writer. I have to feel whatever it is I feel. I have to live through it and deal with it in order to come out on the other side. This isn't something everyone understands, but I'm sharing it with you, hoping that you will.

Thanks for listening to me today. I'm actually leaving the beach early. My husband is currently on his way to come get me so we can be together. He is my rock and my heart and he just gets it and grounds me and makes me better. So, the beach trip ended with just under 8,000 words. A far cry from my goal of 40,000 words, but I'm going to pat myself on the back anyway and just keep chugging along over the next few weeks until the book is finished. In a way, my books and my characters are almost like my children, hehe, and during this time, I'm so grateful to know that no matter what, I'll always have them.

Wednesday Update from the Beach

I spent the day today reading back through Book 4 and living in Harper's head for a while, trying desperately to get out of my own. I finally sat down this evening to start some word sprints with my friends and quickly got to just under 3,000 words, which is definitely an improvement. At this point, however, with only 3 days left in the trip (one of them being only a half-day), I'm pretty much certain I won't be able to reach my initial goal of 40,000 words. Still, I am hoping the rest of the week is all about words, words, words. I'm going to leave my word meter goal at 40,000, but in my mind, I'm now shooting for more like 25,000. That's the crazy thing about writing - you can plan all you want, but the book seems to take as much time as it's going to take. All I can do is try my best to be available when the muse is ready for me.

It's definitely beautiful here. I've never been to the beach in September, but I think I'm in love. There are no huge crowds or screaming children on the beach. It's quiet and serene. It isn't cold yet, but it's not nearly as hot as it would have been a month ago. The water is still warm and nice to swim in and there are lots of shells here on this beach, which I always love. It's supposed to rain some tomorrow and Friday, so my beach time might be coming to an end, but I love the sound of the ocean, so I might sit on the porch and write even if the rain comes. 

To be honest, it's been a struggle to get into the groove so far this week, but I feel a change coming from deep inside. I have a feeling the next few days are going to be exactly what I was looking for.

Beach Update

Anyone who has been checking back to view my progress has probably been sorely disappointed by the lack of movement on my word meter, ha! I promise, I am working! Just right now, I'm still in the whole looking-over-my-rough-draft-and-trying-to-decide-what-sucks-most stage. I'm working through the plot, doing some soul searching - both mine and Harper's - and organizing my thoughts so I can write the best possible book I can write. There are some pretty huge answers coming in this book (at least I think they're huge), so I want to make sure I write them into the story in the most organic, natural way. And, of course, I always want to make sure to stay true to Harper's character, even if she is in another world at the moment. She's still the same Harper.

So, that's my update. No words yet in the 40,000 goal, which is scaring me just a tad, but I'm working hard! Words WILL be updated tonight. I feel like I'm close to finishing this first stage of the revision process and am hopefully about to move on to the next part.

And, on another note, here's the view from my front porch.

Beach Week Progress

I thought it would be fun to keep everyone updated on my progress at the beach this upcoming week! I created a word meter where I can update how many words I've written on the revised version of Rival Demons. I've set a humongous goal for myself this next week! 40,000 words! It's not going to be easy, but I know I can do it if I work really hard. Please check back throughout the week to see my progress. I'll be updating it a few times per day. Feel free to leave encouraging messages for me, as I know this is going to be a tough week of writing. My hope is to get so much done that I can push up the release of RIVAL DEMONS to early October!

(Oh, and just as a side note, I created this free word meter on my own website at My amazing husband designed this word meter for me so that I could keep my fans up to date on my progress. The word meter is free for anyone to use. You can go to my website, create and design your own word meter, then stick the image onto your blog or website. Then, instead of having to re-create the word meter each time, you can simply visit the website and update your word count. The word meter will automatically update on any websites where you have it posted.)

Rival Demons News and The Beach

Woohoo! I'm doing a dance over here, because I just finished my rough draft for RIVAL DEMONS! Yay!!! I can't believe it's finished! It feels so amazing to have the rough draft of my fifth book completed just shy of one year since I started the first book in the series! Wow, it's amazing how much things have changed for me in this past year.

So what's next? Ah, the rewrites begin! For me, a rough draft is more of an exploration of where the story wants to go. I rarely use very much of it in the final book, which I know sounds weird, but it's true. Now begins the true version of the book now that I've (hopefully) gotten most of the kinks out and am ready to write. For now, I'm heading to the gym with my plot cards and I'm going to jump on the treadmill for about an hour listening to music and thinking about what I want to change in the next draft. I love this part! It's where the story really starts to come together for me!

Then, on Monday, I am lucky enough to have the entire week at Kure Beach with two of my good friends. We are all three writers and are planning to get so much done! We'll be there until Saturday with nothing to do but walk on the beach and WRITE!!! I have set some huge goals for myself, so in order to keep myself motivated, I am going to keep posting my progress here on the blog. I hope to lose myself in Harper's world - or actually more like Jackson's world, come to think of it!

My goal for the beach week: 40,000 words. That would mean about 8,000 words a day on average, so a very lofty goal. It might not be possible, but I'm going to give it 100%. I always feel so inspired by the ocean, so when I feel burned out, I can just go for a long walk on the beach and get rejuvenated! I'm excited about the trip and excited to be done with the rough draft for Book 5. It's definitely looking more and more like an October release date for RIVAL DEMONS!

August Sales Numbers

Wow, so they weren't kidding about a summer slump. My sales definitely slowed down in the month of August, and it was scary! Overall, I had a good monthly total simply because I now have four books out instead of 3. On the other hand, each book's individual sales were the lowest they've been since February, which is disappointing. That's one of the hardest parts about self-publishing. It's a lot of ups and downs and you never truly know what to expect from month to month. The only true way to guarantee growth is to keep writing books.

August Sales Numbers:

BEAUTIFUL DEMONS (Book 1 of the PHD series. 10/31/10)
  • Amazon Kindle Store: 855 US + 234 UK + 2 DE = 1091
  • Barnes & Noble: 296
  • Smashwords: 2
  • Total: 1389
INNER DEMONS (Book 2 of the PHD series. 12/22/10)
  • Amazon Kindle Store: 702 US + 157 UK + 1 DE = 860
  • Barnes & Noble: 244
  • Smashwords: 2
  • Total: 1106
BITTER DEMONS (Book 3 of the PHD series. 2/24/11)
  • Amazon Kindle Store: 671 US + 118 UK + 1 DE = 790
  • Barnes & Noble: 219
  • Smashwords: 1
  • Total: 1010
SHADOW DEMONS (Book 4 of the PHD series. 7/3/11)
  • Amazon Kindle Store: 1146 US + 111 UK + 1 DE = 1258
  • Barnes & Noble: 284
  • Smashwords: 3
  • Total: 1545
Total August Sales: 5050

Overall Sales To Date: 40698

There are two very exciting things about my August sales, despite the slowing numbers. 1. My UK sales got a huge boost this month. It's the first time I've sold over 600 books in the UK, so that was super exciting. 2. I passed the 40,000 books sold mark! I never dreamed I would be able to sell that many books in less than a year! And I still have until the last day of October to try my best to hit 50K in a year. Of course, with the huge slow down, that's definitely not a guarantee. Already in September, the numbers have continued to seriously drop. For example, Beautiful Demons hovered between 1000 and 1500 sales rank for months, but lately has been seen closer to 4000 and 5000 in the kindle store. I ended last month with an average of 162 books sold per day. Yesterday, I only sold 84 books. To be honest, it's scaring me. And since I started this sales number report in order to be honest and give a true picture of what an Indie author's sales look like, I have to tell you how I feel.

I have thoughts that go through my head about what if I've reached the maximum numbers for this series? What if it's all downhill from here? There are a million scary thoughts in my head. Still, I do understand logically that if I continue to put out new books, there will be spikes and then things will begin to drop again. It's a pattern. It's natural. It happens to everyone. I think it's scary because it makes me feel a little bit out of control. I'm not sure what to do to boost my sales back up - other than writing more books. I plan to release the 5th book in my series, RIVAL DEMONS, in October. Then, if all goes well, the 6th book, DEMONS FOREVER, will come out just before Christmas. Perfect timing to end the series just before the biggest boost of ebook sales, right? I hope so. For me, that's the only marketing strategy I can come up with, and I think it's a good one. I'm a writer. So I'll write. As for sales, we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Have you seen a lag in your summer sales? What have you done to boost them? How do you get over the fear of seeing sales drop? If you're an Indie author, please let me know how you handle these lags if you've seen them.

Exciting News!

There are several things I wanted to announce today.First of all, I am almost finished with the rough draft of Book 5! This is, actually, why I've come to a very big decision about the series that I sincerely hope you will be excited about.

When I first started writing the Peachville High Demons series, I thought it would be a trilogy. Possibly four books at most. Then, in the middle of writing the rough draft for Book 3, I realized the story was much bigger than I ever imagined. The series grew to 5 books. Now that I'm almost finished with the rough draft of Book 5, however, I have realized that Harper's story isn't over just yet. There's still more to tell.

Book 5 is NOT going to be the final book in the Peachville High Demons series. In fact, most of the book takes place in the shadow world and there is still at least one more book needed to finish Harper and Jackson's story.  Book 5 is also getting a new name. I really feel that the LAST book in the series needs to be DEMONS FOREVER, so I'm saving that title for when I'm completely sure the book I'm writing really is the last book. I know everyone has been waiting for DEMONS FOREVER and thinking that was the next book, but as a self-published author, my main goal is to be true to the story and let it unfold that way it needs to. If that means another book, I'm going to go with it. That's one of the biggest advantages to being an Indie author, actually. I don't have an editor telling me the series has to end with Book 5 or telling me what the title of the book has to be. I can let my imagination take over. And I have the power to let the story go where it wants to go.

About halfway through this rough draft, I realized there was so much more story to tell. There is a HUGE surprise in this new book and it sent the story in a direction even I wasn't expecting. Because of that, I started to realize I would need for this to either be a very long book (ha!) or it would have to be broken into two separate books. In the interest of getting the book published quickly and not making fans of the series wait several more months to get the story, I decided on the second option. I'm going to just write more books!

Book 5's new name is RIVAL DEMONS and it is going to be the story of Harper and Jackson's time in the shadow world. What they learn there will change them both forever.

I'm still not ready to give an exact release date for the book yet, but I can tell you that I plan to have it published before the end of October at the latest. I will post an official release date as soon as I have one for you! And for fans of the series, I'm going to need your help in spreading the word about the new title and the new direction of the series! As far as I see it now, DEMONS FOREVER will now become Book 6 and will be the end of the story, but I'm somewhat at the mercy of the story, to be honest. I'm willing to write what I feel is true to the story and let it go where it wants to go. Still, I'm sure there will be some confusion because people will be looking for DEMONS FOREVER to come out in October, not a book called RIVAL DEMONS, so help spread the word about the new title and the extra book now in the series!

I sincerely hope you are as excited as I am about the addition of another book to the series. I have to admit, I've been a little nervous about announcing it! I'm hoping fans of the series will be happy there is another book in the works and they won't have to say goodbye to Harper and Jackson just yet.

Back of the Book Reviews September Extravaganza

Today starts the month-long read-a-thon and September Extravaganza over at Back of the Book Reviews!! This month will be full of exciting author interviews and amazing giveaways! They are having daily giveaways as well as one big grand prize giveaway at the end of the month that will include one of the very first free signed print copies of my book, BEAUTIFUL DEMONS. They also have put together an amazing September Extravaganza Programme that has all kinds of awesome discounts, coupons and free book download codes. The programme is 49 pages long and includes exclusive interviews, featured authors, a full list of featured books, lots of discount coupons, and an exclusive offer from Dorchester Books. Go to the Back of the Book Reviews website and look for the programme 'buy now' button on the right side.

Inside the program, there is a coupon for a FREE smashwords download of the first book in my Peachville High Demons series, BEAUTIFUL DEMONS. If you've been wanting to check out my writing or the Peachville series, this is a great way to try it while also getting lots of other great information and discounts!! The programme is only $2.99 so I highly encourage you to check it out!

I'm excited to be a part of the September Extravaganza and I hope everyone will stop by their website and participate this month! It should be lots of fun!

The Word Count Issue

In the traditional publishing world, word count for young adult novels is all over the place. The Twilight Saga books are each over 100,000 words. Books like Kate Brian's Private series are more around the 65,000-75,000 word count. Most websites and agents place a typical YA manuscript between 45,000-80,000 words. Here is what Agent Colleen Lindsay says about YA:

YA fiction = For mainstream YA, anywhere from about 45k to 80k; paranormal YA or YA fantasy can occasionally run as high as 120k but editors would prefer to see them stay below 100k. The second or third in a particularly bestselling series can go even higher. But it shouldn't be word count for the sake of word count.
According to wikipedia, a novelette is between 7,500 and 17,499 words. A novella is generally anything between 17,500 and 40,000 words. Anything over 40,000 words is technically a novel. However, it seems like internet opinions on the different types of novels is all over the place. Some people think that anything below 70,000 words is not a novel. The first book in my Peachville High Demons series, Beautiful Demons, comes in just under 47,000 words, so technically, it should be considered a novel, just on the low end of a typical YA novel. Each subsequent novel in the PHD series is slightly longer with Book 2 just over 50,000, Book 3 just over 54,000, and Book 4 around 60,000 words.

In my opinion, none of my PHD books are novelettes or novellas. Most sites and organizations out there consider anything over 40,000 a novel and my books all qualify. On the other hand, since there's really no standard out there that's accepted and understood for everyone, it's not always my opinion that gets voiced. Especially when it comes to reviews. For the most part, a reviewer calling my book a novelette doesn't bother me too much. I understand that some people have longer expectations for novels and that's fine.

Where it begins to get complicated is that without standard accepted definitions among readers, sometimes reader expectations are compromised. For example, I got a 3-star review on Amazon recently that knocked my books for being novelettes instead of full-length novels and that they should have been one book instead of a series. To be honest, I found this review frustrating. I know as authors we are not supposed to complain about reviews or respond to them. I want to make it clear that I'm not dogging this reader for their opinion. What frustrates me is that I had a reader who was disappointed in the product because in their opinion, it wasn't a novel.

I have been trying to figure out what I should maybe add to my description of the book in order to let people know exactly what to expect. I certainly don't want to call it a novella or a novelette because there are a lot of people who know that those delineations mean less than 40,000 words or short story length. I could simply just list the total word count. On the other hand, I wonder if most readers understand word count? Or if that is just sort of an out-there description for a book's length? Any opinions on this from either readers or authors would be greatly appreciated and welcomed in the comments!

Traditionally, it's been the publishers acting as gate-keepers. They have their own standards on word count. Also, they publish more print books that readers can walk into a store and physically see the pages and the thickness of the book. My books only exist online. Even if I had print copies for sale, readers still couldn't tell the thickness since they can only order them online. It's more difficult as an indie ebook author to set the proper expectations for my readers as far as length. But what's the best way to do that? Should I list a word count on my book description? Or should we work together to try to come up with a different standard?

Video games have an "hours of play time" standard. Sometimes video games, especially RPG's, will say "over 100 hours of play time". For gamers, this makes sense and it is generally understood that everyone plays at different rates, so it might not literally take everyone 100 hours to play through the game. On the other hand, some people are slower and might take 200 hours to play. But it's still a numerical indication of how much content is available. I sometimes wonder if it would be valuable to do the same thing for books? For example, I could say Beautiful Demons has three hours of straight reading time. The questions would be how to determine how fast the average reader reads and whether or not this would make sense to readers.

My purpose in writing shorter novels is that I can write them faster and price them cheaper. If I was writing 90,000 word books, I would only be able to release a book every 4 or 5 months at best. Then, since I invested so much more time and would have less books on my virtual shelves, I would have a hard time listing that book at $0.99. With a 50,000-60,000 word book, I can come out with a new book every 2-3 months and give my readers more content more quickly and can price the books low and still make money. For me, it's a win-win. I just don't like the thought of some people buying the book and being disappointed to find it shorter than they expected.

So writers and readers, what is the best way for an Indie author to set up the right expectations for their readers so that readers aren't disappointed and can find the right length content for their needs? With self-publishing becoming more and more popular, you can find downloads that are anywhere from 10,000 word short stories all the way up to 200,000 word epic dramas. The question is how to properly tell the reader where my book falls. Page count seems a bit archaic since there are not technically pages in an ebook. So what would you suggest? I would love to hear any comments and opinions on this matter so please let me know!

My Write-a-palooza Rewards!

I had a fun shopping day today at the Sanrio store in the Crabtree Valley Mall here in Raleigh! I spent almost exactly $84, lol, so there will be no HK collectipaks for me, but that's okay. I'm super excited about what I bought!! Here's a pic of my swag:

I bought one of the new Hello Kitty canvas tote bags. It's big enough to put my netbook in and some folders and pens, but it also fits over my shoulder, which is nice. I also got that cute HK t-shirt, three buttons (that I'll probably put on my shoulder straps on the new bag), a mini-notepad collection and a large spiral-bound notebook. Oh, and the little hello kitty head there in the middle next to the notepad is a glitter ring, haha. So cute! It's funny how much a little HK gear can put a smile on my face!!

I have to give a shout-out to my amazing husband. You always support me and push me to keep writing. I don't know how I got so lucky.

Meanwhile, more writing tonight with J.D. Robinson and Alexandria Jade! Can't wait! Can I make it another 5,000 words tonight??

I did it!!

It's just shy of 2:00 AM and I'm calling it. Write-a-palooza is officially over! Originally, I stared with a word count yesterday afternoon of 10,593 words. I was feeling down about how far behind I was on my rough draft, but now, I can say that I'm right back on track.

Yesterday, I ended with a total word count of 15,644, meaning I wrote just over 5,000 words yesterday.

Today, I ended with a grand total of 25,658 words!!! That means I wrote a total of 10,013 words today, with a 2 day total of 15,065 words. Wow! I don't think I've ever written so much so fast, but the words were just flowing out of me. It was the best feeling in the world! I would say that I'm officially just under halfway through the rough draft and well on my way toward getting the story-line hammered out. I'm exhausted, but I feel great.

Overall, that means I just earned 28 Hello Kitty packets (or $84 to spend in the Hello Kitty store). I'm definitely going to be taking him shopping this weekend, haha. It's the little things sometimes that can motivate me toward success, but in the end, the real excitement comes from knowing that I'm doing a good job with the novel and I'm back on track for a Fall release.

Now, I'm going to go pass out.


My pre-write-a-palooza is officially over since I'm heading to bed. I wrote exactly 5021 words tonight! That's actually quite impressive since I also took time to work out. I'm definitely happy with that number!

So, according to my husband's rules for write-a-palooza, that gives me an

added 5 packs to the 5,000 word reward tomorrow, bringing it up to 8 packs of the HK trading cards (or $24). The 10K reward now goes up an additional 10 packs for a whopping total of 20 packs (or $60) plus the 5k reward since I win both if I make it to 10,000 words. I really hope I can do it. Not only would it put me back on track for the rough draft deadline, but it would also be a huge boost to my motivation right now.

There are some personal things going on for us right now that I don't really want to share with the general public, but which are definitely affecting my writing focus. It's great to be able to immerse myself in Harper and Jackson's story for a couple of days and forget about an
y other worries or things coming up. Writing is a life saver, really. So my one person write-a-paloo
za is off to a great start with a 5k bonus.

As an extra special reward, my husband told me tonight that if I can break 20,000 words written by the time I go to bed tomorrow night (today + tomorrow's words), he'll give me $200

even. I'm already mentally spending that money, haha. Still, writing 15,000 words in on

e day is something I have never done before, so I'm not sure it's possible for me. All I can do is my best. I'll keep you updated!

Oh, and like I mentioned earlier, there were some balloons purchased in honor of the event. G bought them for me, as if I needed further proof that he's the perfect man for me.


I am now officially embarking on a me only write-a-palooza. I'm way behind on my rough draft work for DEMONS FOREVER. Don't get me wrong, I've been thinking about it ALL the time, but the thinking has only translated so far into about 11,000 words. My self-imposed deadline now to finish the rough draft is September 5th, which is only 13 days away. I've got to get crackin!

So over lunch today, my husband suggested a fun challenge for me. Since he is, after all, my muse, he likes to find ways to encourage and motivate me

. And since he knows me as well as he does, he decided to bribe me with Hello Kitty. Thus, write-a-palooza 2011 was formed. I'm the only participant and word count is my only goal. Here are the official rules as stated by my husband:
  • Tomorrow is the official event.
  • Goal #1: 5,000 words. Prize: 3 Hello Kitty World adventures Collictipaks (or the equivalent monetary value for the pack, currently $3.00). I LOVE these packs! They have these super cute little tiny hello kitties dressed up in different country-specific attire. Also, they have stickers and lots of trading cards with pictures of her dressed in the outfits. I have all the kitties except India. So basically either 3 packs or $9.00 for 5,000 words.

  • Goal Level #2: 10,000 words. Prize: 10 HK Collectipaks (or $30 to spend at the sanrio store in Crabtree Valley Mall)
Now, to make things more exciting, we are also doing a pre-palooza event today. The word count I manage to get to today before I go to bed will directly affect the prizes tomorrow. Here are the pre-event rules:
  • For every 1,000 words written today, I get +1 pack added to my 5k reward tomorrow or +2 packs added to my 10k reward. So, if I get 2,000 words written today, my rewards tomorrow go up to 5 packs for the 5k reward and 14 for the 10k reward. Get it? (or monetary value still, of course)
  • If I get 10,000 words, I get BOTH the 10k reward AND the 5k reward. For example, if I get 5,000 words today at pre-palooza, that's +5 packs to the 5k reward for a total of 8 packs (or $24). THat's +10 packs to the 10k reward for a total of 20 packs (or $60). Add both of those rewards together, so I get either 28 packs or $84 or some combination of the two.
Yes, it's a bit mathematical, lol. Especially for something so silly as a me only writing event! But I need creative ways to get myself to produce a lot of words and to work hard for the next two days! This is one of the reasons I love my husband so much! Of course, in the end, the real reward is that I would have possibly 15,000 words or more written by the time I go to bed tomorrow night, which would mean my rough draft would be halfway finished! I like the sound of that!!!

Oh, and also - there may be hats. And balloons.

Guest Interview at Cabinet of Curiosities

Hi everyone! I'm coming out of deep writing mode to say hello and let you know that I have was interviewed by the fabulous writers at Cabinet of Curiosities today. My guest interview is up, so please stop by, ask questions, say hello and learn more about me! Their questions were really fun and I got to say a lot about myself and my writing, so I hope you'll join us on their blog today!

July Sales Numbers

Hi everyone! Sorry I've been slack on posting. I also still haven't managed to separate my self-publishing blog from my regular writing blog, so I apologize to fans who don't really care about this stuff, haha. Hopefully there are some of you writers out there still finding value in seeing what my numbers have done each step of the way. I feel like as self-published authors we should stick together and help each other however we can. This is just one small way I hope to help.

That being said, July was one of those amazingly, almost-can't-believe-it, omg-I-might-faint kind of months for me. I still look back at the sales numbers and want to cry! The biggest news for July was that my fourth book in the Peachville High Demons series finally came out. It was sort of a strangely staggered release because B&N got the book up really quickly but Amazon dragged for almost a week. My book didn't show up properly in Amazon searches for almost a week after it got listed, which was somewhat frustrating, and in the end, I think hurt my sales rank to some degree because it split my initial burst of sales up too much to give me the boost I was hoping for. Still, Shadow Demons did make it all the way up to #413 in the Kindle store and that's very close to my best rank ever (Beautiful Demons was 365 in February, which is my all-time best ever.) Not too shabby.

Anyone who has been following my sales numbers knows that last month I hit a huge milestone by selling my 25,000th book. In July, I made it all the way up back 35,000 books sold, so this was a HUGE month for me. It's so exciting to see the sales continue to grow. Of course, any month with a brand new release is going to be bigger than previous months, but I'm still amazed at the success so far of the series, so thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has purchased the PHD books and loved them. I heart you.

July Sales Numbers:

BEAUTIFUL DEMONS (Book 1 of the PHD series. 10/31/10)
  • Amazon Kindle Store: 1698 US + 134 UK = 1832
  • Barnes & Noble: 398
  • Smashwords: 1
  • Total: 2231
INNER DEMONS (Book 2 of the PHD series. 12/22/10)
  • Amazon Kindle Store: 1373 US + 92 UK + 1 DE = 1466
  • Barnes & Noble: 333
  • Smashwords: 3
  • Total: 1802
BITTER DEMONS (Book 3 of the PHD series. 2/24/11)
  • Amazon Kindle Store: 1243 US + 72 UK = 1315
  • Barnes & Noble: 278
  • Smashwords: 3
  • Total: 1596
SHADOW DEMONS (Book 4 of the PHD series. 7/3/11)
  • Amazon Kindle Store: 2824 US + 87 UK = 2911
  • Barnes & Noble: 600
  • Smashwords: 10
  • Total: 3521
Total July Sales: 9150

Overall Sales To Date: 35,688

I am still blown away and so humbled by the numbers. I know it's nothing compared to the Amanda Hockings and John Lockes of the Kindle world, but to me, it's really something. I still get scared that one day all my books will just stop selling and this wild will be over, but the fear gets less and less with each book that comes out. I am truly loving writing and loving this career. Self-publishing was definitely the right choice for me.

So now I am fast at work writing Book 5, DEMONS FOREVER. This will, sadly, be the last book in the Peachville High Demons series. I'm so scared to move on to another series, but at the same time, I'm really excited about the next series coming up. It's the series I've been working on for a really long time and I'm anxious to see what it turns into now that I'm not worried about what an agent or editor will think and I can just write it the way I want to write it. The first book in the series is already finished, but I know it will take some rewriting. I sincerely hope this next series strikes as much of a chord as PHD did, if not more.

But for now, DEMONS FOREVER is on my mind 24/7. I'm hoping to have it completed and published faster than Book 4. It will be out sometime this fall, but I'm not ready to give an exact date yet. Anyway, there's the rundown on my July sales numbers. And thanks to all the writers who sent me encouraging messages last month about me posting sales. It means a lot to me to know I'm helping other indie writers, even if it's just in some small way. Thanks for the support!!

Inner Ear Fiasco

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't updated the blog much this week, but on Monday I had to go in to the doctor because I'd been having dizzy spells and feeling super tired. Turns out there was fluid on my inner ear causing some equilibrium issues. Yuck! I'm still feeling a little bit off today, and this week has been mostly about resting and trying to get healthy. I also found out today that the reason I'm so tired is that I'm severely deficient in Vitamin D. Fun! No, no, not fun. At least I know there's a reason behind it, which means it's fixable. I already take Vitamin D supplements, but now I'll be taking a prescription strength Vitamin D for a while to increase my levels more quickly.

Hopefully, this will mean that I will have renewed and amazing energy to spend on writing DEMONS FOREVER and the book will be extra awesome. Haha. I can dream, right?

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend. I plan to rest a lot and work on the final details of my plot/organizing before Monday, when I start the writing process. It's been slightly delayed after not feeling well this week, but I don't think it will make any difference in the actual release of the book, which is still set for sometime this Fall. (early fall preferably!)

Getting Excited!

My work on DEMONS FOREVER has really just begun. I haven't actually written a word of it yet, to be honest, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working on it. Mostly, I've been going over my notes and working on the story-line. I think of all the books I've written so far, this one makes me the most nervous. Knowing the series is coming to an end is difficult. I want to make sure to wrap up all the loose ends. I want to answer all the questions that need to be answered. And I want to give all of the fans of the series an ending they can love. It's extremely important to me that this be one of the best (if not THE best) books in the whole series. That's a lot of pressure to put on myself!

But at the same time, I'm getting crazy excited about this book. So much of the story is finally coming together in a way that will hopefully surprise and delight you, hehe. I've been spending a lot of time in the Shadow World lately. At least in my mind I have. I think about it all the time, really. This is my first time ever writing a fantasy world. I've written several stories that are based in our world, but with a paranormal twist. Ghosts, zombies, witches, etc. But this is my first time actually writing another world all together. Granted, it's still connected to our world in a lot of ways, but it's still foreign and different and very exciting to create.

I had planned to start the actual writing of the rough draft last week, but art takes time, and I don't want to rush this book. I want to make sure I take the time I need with it to make it a fitting ending to the Peachville High Demons series. I will, however, be starting the rough draft this week. I'm definitely ready to start getting the story down in words. If you want to check my progress, you look at the word meter on the right side of this blog or on the right side of my website's home page at I try to update my word meter every day. I'm anticipating this last book to be a little bit longer than the rest. Book 4 was already close to 60,000 words, and I'm guessing Book 5 will close out at around 70,000. I never totally know until it's written, though.

Anyway, I hope you'll keep up with my progress as I go along. Once the rough draft is complete, I'll start revisions (which for me, usually means nearly completely rewriting the book), then critique, then formatting, and then finally publishing! Getting excited about DEMONS FOREVER!

Fictional Friends

You know those characters you can't get enough of? I'm talking about fictional characters. People in movies and books that you get into so much, you feel like you actually know them. I blogged about Harry Potter earlier this week, and I would definitely include Hermione, Ron and Harry in my list of "fictional friends". These are people I wish I could know in real life. They are so well written, you feel that they must actually exist somewhere.
My favorite TV show of all time is Sex & The City. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda became my friends over the course of the six years they were on TV. Carrie and Charlotte especially for me. I signed up for HBO and scrimped and saved just to afford it through the hard times simply because I wanted to see my friends on Sunday night. And every week w
hen I would sit down to a new episode, I would just sigh and relish the joy of spending more time with them and catching up on what they were up to these days. When the series ended, it was like losing a friendship. It was like suddenly being cut off from people I had come to consider a part of my life.

Of course, I still had a life outside of the show. I didn't sit around and obsess over it during the week when it wasn't on, but even to this day, when I'm flipping channels and I see an episode, I have to stop and watch it. These women are fictional, but they resonated with me. Harry Potter was the same. Katniss Everdeen, too. I rooted for her in the Hunger Games. Cried for her. Wanted desperately to help her find a way out. Dagny Taggert in Atlas Shrugged was my friend for months as I read that book during a very dark time in my life. Stu Redman and Frances Goldsmith from The Stand are another two characters I rooted for so hard, I loved them. I felt what they felt and experienced the loss and hope of the end of the world through their eyes.

The sad thing about fictional friends is that once their story is over, it's over. Once the author or creator has said what they wanted to say, that character's story has been told. We don't get to see their life past a certain point. We miss them. We saw the world through them for a while and possibly had a piece of their perspective rub off on us. I know Dagny's perspective rubbed off on me big time. It changed my entire world view. I wish I had more of her story. I wish I could sit and talk to her from time to time. But she's already said all she can ever say.

Of course, the flip side to that is that those fictional characters are, in a way, immortal. Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged more than fifty years ago, but Dagny herself is timeless. She'll be changing people's views and affecting the world until the end of time. She'll never grow old. And anytime I want to be inspired by her again, she'll be there on the pages of that book, exactly the same as she always was. Our fictional friends are forever. We can always count on them. It's part of the magic of fiction and imagination and creation. It's part of the amazing miracle of stories.

What characters in fiction do you consider your friends? Have there been people in books or movies or TV that have shaped your world view? I would love to hear your stories and know that I am not alone!

Harry Potter - Is it Really Over?

I've been so excited about the final movie in the Harry Potter series, but as I was sitting in the theater last Friday night about to actually watch the movie, it suddenly hit me. It's over. I was honestly upset when the final book came out, but with the movies, it was as if the story lived on. There was still this unique way to see the characters and the story come to life visually. But now, what's left?

The ebooks are going to be released on J.K. Rowling's recently announced Pottermore, but the ebooks are just the books in digital format. Don't get me wrong, I fully intend to buy them and devour them again, but it makes me sad that the newness of it is over now that the final movie is out.

The funny thing about the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book in 2007 is that even though I preordered the book and picked it up the day it came out, I didn't actually read the book until October. I just didn't want it to be over. The Harry Potter series is seriously the very best series I have ever read in my life. It's genius. The characters became my friends. I wanted to live in that world (minus Voldemorte, of course) and know those people. I wanted to learn magic and go to Hogwarts. Yes, I was an adult even when it was starting, but it made me want to be a kid again. And just as a funny story, the whole reason I started reading the HP series was because one of my old teachers told me I needed to read them because the girl (Hermione) in the story was just like me, haha.

Anyway, I didn't read the final book for several months because I didn't want to let go. I didn't want to accept that there would be no more new adventures for Harry, Ron and Hermione. Yes, I wanted Voldemorte to die, but I still wanted to know what was happening in their world. When I finally sat down to read the book, I didn't come up for air until it was over. It took me about two days to read the whole thing and when it was over, my eyes were so red from crying, my husband thought someone died. And I guess someone did. Some of my good friends died in that final battle, and I felt their loss deep in my heart. I felt the loss of the series, too. The movies gave me a chance to relive some of that experience.

When I sat down in the movie last Friday night, I wanted that same emotional impact. I wanted to grieve for the final movie and for the end of one of the best series of all time. Unfortunately, even though the cinematics were gorgeous and the story was basically the same as the book, I just didn't get to that same place of emotional depth that I got to with the books. It makes sense when you think about it. The book took me days to read and the characters lived in my mind and my imagination. The movie was just over two hours long and there wasn't time for the same development you get in the book. That's one of the reasons I love books so much. You get so much more into the stories and you get to know the characters and their motivations and their souls so much better. It's part of the magic of reading that just can't be translated to the big screen.

Anyway, all this rambling is basically just me saying that I'm sad the series is officially over with the final movie. I can't wait for the ebooks to come out so I can start the series over and read it all again on my ereader.

What did you think about the movie? Have you had a chance to see it yet? Did you read the books? Did you love them the way I did? Have you ever had a series that touched your life that way?

June Sales Numbers

Life has been so busy with the release of Shadow Demons that I haven't had time yet to post my June Sales Numbers. I had a fan ask me why I was posting my sales numbers, and I wanted to just talk about that for a minute. When I was first thinking about self-publishing, I spent a lot of time reading the blogs of other self-published writers. I was so grateful when they would post their sales numbers so that I could see what was possible. I decided to share my own sales numbers for that specific reason and also as a public record of one self-published author's journey to success.

If posting my sales numbers has helped give you hope or helped you make the decision to self-publish, please let me know so I can know that I'm doing the right thing. I'm working on the idea of splitting my blog into two separate wordpress blogs - one more for fans and readers and one for other authors. For now, though, I guess this blog has to serve as both!

So, June sales! I was expecting my numbers to go way down since I hadn't had a new release since February. However, I think the amazing new book covers Robin Ludwig designed for me really made a huge impact. My sales for June were just over 1500 more than May. I couldn't be happier. As most of you know, my fourth book, Shadow Demons, came out July 3rd, so there aren't any of those sales marked on the June sales report. Here are the sales for June:

BEAUTIFUL DEMONS (Book 1 of the PHD series. 10/31/10)
  • Amazon Kindle Store: 1704 US sales + 93 UK sales + 1 DE sales = 1798
  • Barnes & Noble: 518
  • Smashwords: 4
  • Total: 2320
INNER DEMONS (Book 2 of the PHD series. 12/22/10)
  • Amazon Kindle Store: 1323 US Sales + 54 UK Sales + 0 DE sales = 1377
  • Barnes & Noble: 363
  • Smashwords: 2
  • Total: 1742
BITTER DEMONS (Book 3 of the PHD series. 2/24/11)
  • Amazon Kindle Store: 1180 US sales + 37 UK sales + 0 DE sales = 1217
  • Barnes & Noble: 291
  • Smashwords: 1
  • Total: 1509
Total June Sales: 5571

Overall Sales To Date: 26,538

I am super excited to have had a great month of sales. Thank you so much to everyone who has purchased a Peachville High Demons book and to everyone who supports the series. It really means the world to me. I never thought I would reach 25,000 books sold so quickly. I can also say that with the July release of Shadow Demons, I have already passed 30,000 books sold as well. It feels like a dream. I hope that the growth continues so that I can write books for a living for the rest of my life.

STOP: An Amazing Short Film by Mikel J. Wisler

I have a friend who was telling me about her brother's short film, called STOP. I kept meaning to watch it, but just finally got around to it today, and WOW. I should NOT have put it off, because it totally blew my mind. OMG, this short film is amazing! I wanted to share it here today, because I think it's the type of things fans of the paranormal will like to see. It's only a few minutes long, but it still manages to tell a great story.

When it was over, I so badly wanted there to be more! It seriously gave me chills. I am a huge fan of the horror genre and this is definitely on the edge of horror. I loved it and had to share it here.

I could spend hours trying to think about what exactly is happening in this film. Is he somehow caught in a time-loop? Why is he so beat up at the end? Has he been doing that to himself? The ghost-type image at the beginning is obviously him, but how? I'd love to hear any ideas you guys have about what might be going on in this short film. I have a feeling it's going to be on my mind for days! Well done Mikel J. Wisler!

I'm Back!

Yippee! I'm back from our Vegas vacation and ready to get to work. It was so nice to be able to take a real break with (almost) no work. G and I relaxed, partied, had a great time walking around Vegas and just spending time together. It was our first time back to the city since we got married there in 2009, so it was a fun trip for us. I even got to hang out with my buddy Cameron Diaz (well, okay, the wax statue of her from Madame Tussaud's wax museum)!

Now, I'm back and getting into writing mode again. I thought I would give a quick update on everything that's going on. First of all, SHADOW DEMONS is on Fire!!! It's been holding steady between 400-500 in the Kindle store for the past week, reaching a top so far of 413! I couldn't be more excited! I'm sending out a huge thank you to everyone who supports the Peachville High Demons series and has bought the book. I've gotten such great reviews that several of them have actually brought tears to my eyes. I feel so incredibly grateful for all the support and love and messages from fans.

DEMONS FOREVER, the 5th and final book in the Peachville High Demons series, is now officially underway. I want so much for this book to be an amazing ending to a great series. The thought of saying goodbye to Harper and Jackson and all these amazing characters in my head makes me sad and scared. I want to do the series justice with the right ending. That being said, I am going to dedicate so much of my life over the next couple of months to making sure this book is the best possible ending to the series. I'm not going to give a specific month or date for the release at this point, but I can say that I plan on getting it out at some point this Fall.

For you Indie authors out there who have been following my monthly sales posts, I apologize for not posting June's sales yet. I am in the process of figuring out a way to split my blog into two separate blogs - one for my fellow writers and one for fans of my books. That way, I don't bore readers with sales numbers and bore writers with details of my mundane life, haha. I will post my June sales numbers sometime this weekend, so stay tuned.

For the readers out there who have read Shadow Demons and given such high reviews, I just want to say another thank you! Seriously, you mean the world to me.

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

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