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Indiegogo Is A Go For Launch

TSOTS COVER ADIn May of 2013 I published my debut novel The Secret of the Storm. As a new author, I am excited at the response from my readers and that it has been so positive. I will admit that I was very surprised when I kept hearing the same feedback from readers; when is the sequel coming out?

Truth is, I hadn’t planned to make a return trip to Slauson Cove. When I finished The Secret of the Storm, I didn’t exactly think that people would want to hear more about Elora and the Walsingham family. I even moved on to new projects including a major series. How wrong I was though. Nearly everyone who has read the book has been calling me out for another book about Elora and the Walsingham family. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I wouldn’t mind going back to the sleepy little seaside town and telling more about what happens after the prophecy seems to be fulfilled.

People want to hear more about Elora and her family and friends. This is great for me. It means that I did something right in crafting that story. Producing another book is definitely on the to do list but, as I said previously, I did move on to other large scale projects that are eating a great deal of my time. One of those is nearly ready to hit the press. Taking the time to write another impromptu book is going to take resources that I don’t have.

old file case Family Secrets#2I’ve started an Indiegogo project to fund what I need to get another Slauson Cove book in the works. There are so many things that go into producing a book. I want to do this right and I want to be able to pay other indie-artists and freelancers to help me make it the best it can be. That means I need funds to work with. Not only will I need those to pay the people helping but, I’ll need money to help me promote it once it does come out.

I’m trying to raise $4,000.00 through Indiegogo. The campaign will last 60 days starting August 1st. I’ve chosen to go with the flexible funding option so that if we don’t reach the total goal I can still keep working on a more limited budget for those who do want to see the book come out.

Donating is simple and can be done via the campaign site using your Paypal account or a major credit card. Simply choose your level of support. Many of the levels include a tangible copy of the book sent to you when it is completed. The details of each level are there for you to see. Donors will be featured in a post here on the blog and will also have a special place on the main header as soon as the campaign ends and I receive the list of donors. This will likely be in early to mid October.

Work will be starting on the book in September. But books won’t be mailed until all is finished sometime in April or May of 2014. Writing a book takes time and I’m wearing a lot of hats. I’m a mom, a teacher, a writer, a publicist, a homemaker, and I am trying to market with social media and promotion tours here in East Texas.

For the next few weeks, you’ll see posts here about the upcoming release and the perks that I’m offering and why I’ve chosen them at various levels. If you can support the cause, please know that you’re not just helping me take some luxury vacation or buy some sort of trinket. You’re helping me get my career and life on track. You’re helping put a little girl in dance classes, paying for education costs, and helping enable me to stay home so I can focus on the two things I love most my family and my stories.

So please, at least read the campaign here. I know that times are tough and everyone else is struggling just as we are here. But there are other ways that you can help. Boost the signal and send it out to your social media. Tell people why you’d support it if you could. You never know, it may inspire someone else to contribute where you couldn’t. I will also be posting a flyer for you print off. You can post it wherever businesses will allow you to do so. Public bulletin boards are great places for this. You can also ask your local librarian, post it in your dorm, pass it around your reading and writing circles. There are any number of ways to get people to notice the project. The more people do, the more likely I am to reach my goal. And I can’t do that without all your support.

Thanks in advance for all the support you’re showing me. As a special celebration to get things kicked off, I’ve been able to lower the price on my Kindle Edition of The Secret of the Storm to $2.99. That will last through August 10th. So, it is a chance to get the original story at nearly half price. If you haven’t already read it. I suggest picking it up and getting to know Elora Castain and the Walsinghams.

The Secret of the Storm: An Excerpt

I am adding a treat for you this weekend. As I’m prepping for some pretty big changes, I’m hoping that you’ll enjoy an excerpt from my debut novel The Secret of the Storm. Remember that it is available for purchase on Kindle and in print through Createspace and Amazon.com.

BookCoverPreview1Parkside Brew House, the local coffeehouse, seemed to be a vintage favorite; with its café tables, large windows, and counters full of petit-fours and pastries. It was  picturesque. Richard Wheadon was oblivious to this part of his surroundings. He saw it daily. He was lost to a momentary obsession. In the quiet corner beyond the pastry case, a table played host to a woman who was reading a brown paper-covered book. She sat alone; with curly auburn hair that was twisted over her shoulder, thick eyelashes, and a seeming perfectly shaped mouth. Her eyes rarely left the print. A silver necklace held a charm that centered on her chest and her glasses rested on her nose. A long jacket  was draped over a chair beside her. A notebook and pen accompanied her ceramic coffee cup bearing the logo of the place on the dark wood table in front of her.

Richard had been sitting at the opposite end of the lounge watching her for the past few minutes. He watched her making notes in the notebook. He drank in her careful consideration of the text she was reading. He had been intrigued at her expressions and the way her brow furled as she read from time to time. He’d spent the past ten minutes talking himself up for rejection and arguing that he quite likely, stood no chance with such a beautiful creature. After all, he wasn’t the epitome of masculinity. Being such a bookish person, he wasn’t prone to long hours at the gym. Nor was he the athletic sort to take up jogging or biking. He walked a college campus on a daily basis out of sheer necessity, not to impress women. In truth if he had been able to afford one of those Segway devices, he would have been thrilled to use it to get about the campus.

Rick, as he was known to his friends and colleagues, had always had to rely on his knowledge of poetry, literature, films, and the arts to get women. Dating was something, unlike his career as an English professor, that he had never been a success at. Granted he was not without companions, but dating was not nearly as exciting, in his opinion, as people made it out to be. He preferred to get to know someone. Not spend a thousand dollars on a meal trying to overcompensate for his lack of fashion sense and physique. He liked to think that this was a conscious choice, but the fact was, he was an English professor. Along with that lack of fashion sense and physique, came the English professor’s salary; that had little chance of impressing anyone.

He didn’t think he was bad-looking. He wasn’t lean precisely, but he wasn’t stocky or well-built. Rick was just not a typical guy. When he looked in the mirror in the mornings he saw a bumbling schmuck just trying to make it through the day. And every morning he considered what would happen if he just stopped shaving and grew a beard. He thought that it might make him seem more mature to some women. But, the reality was that he would sink into the job and forget about the idea of women until moments like this – when he saw one who simply captivated him.

Having gathered his courage, he gathered up his books and his own paper cup and started over to her table. He paused just a moment when he reached what he thought of as her personal space. Thankfully, she didn’t seem to notice his hesitation. “Hi,” he said.

“Hello,” she replied, as she looked up at him with captivating hazel eyes. She offered him a warm smile.

“Is this seat taken?” He indicated the opposite seat with a nod and smile. For a moment, it crossed his mind that she may have thought that he wanted to take the chair for another table. This had happened to him before. But then, she told him to have a seat.

He extended his hand. “Rick Wheadon, and you are?”

“Elora, Elora Castain, nice to meet you Mr. Wheadon.”

“Call me Rick,” he said, pausing again as he sat down. Rick suddenly felt at a loss for conversation. He could start rattling off poetry, but that seemed too forward. It likely didn’t matter to Ms. Castain that he could recite a number of romantic poems by Shakespeare or Mr. Poe. In fact, it crossed his mind that the exhibition of his literary knowledge would only serve to put her off. No, Rick thought it best to stick to small talk and so opted for a clichéd remark. “So, I haven’t seen you in here before.”

Her smile broadened and when she spoke, there was a chuckle beneath her words. Her amusement was something Rick found instantly soothing. That small laugh was like music to his ears and he couldn’t help but let his own match hers. At least, it seemed to help lessen his fear of being completely inadequate.

“I’m new in town. I’ve only just arrived actually.”

“Well, I’m glad you decided to stop in our little port-side town. We certainly have a lot to offer here. Museums, fishing, sailing, arts, you name it we can get it within an hour’s drive or so.” Oh my God, he thought. Why would you ask this beautiful woman to go fishing you idiot? You don’t even like to fish. Maybe dad is right. Maybe I am gay. Hoping that she didn’t notice his internal chastising, he tried to steer the conversation toward her. “So where are you from?”

“Oh here and there,” she said. “I was born here actually. However, my family moved away when I was about five.”

“What brings you back here; work, love?” He wanted to wince as that last overly inquisitive word flew from his mouth like an unexpected bat from an old attic window. Somehow, he held it back.

“Neither, my grandmother passed away actually. I am seeing to her remains and taking possession of the house she left to me.” Her smile that had previously shadowed the light on her face, now fell into a line. Only the flimsiest curves at the edges of her mouth, provided any clue that it had been there at all.

“You’re Alice Walsingham’s heir then?” Rick asked in disbelief.

“I’m afraid I am,” she smiled her half smile.

“You’ve my sincerest condolences for your loss.” Rick could feel a mask of incredulity creeping up onto his face. He did his best to shake it off. “So, you are staying at Walsingham Manor?” he asked, perhaps more quickly and sharply than he had intended to.

“Yes.”

Rick sat back in his seat and cocked his head with the best smirk he could muster. “For as long as I can remember there have been stories about that house and your family. Especially about your grandmother,” he said.

“Stories? What sort of stories?” she leaned on the table with her elbows propping her chin up. A curious grin forming on her lips.

Rick was happy to see it – proud even. However, the cost of that pride had painted him into a corner. Now, he would have to speak, which might prove difficult with both feet in his mouth. “I don’t know that I’m the one whom you should hear them from. I mean I only know the stories, I didn’t personally know your grandmother. I don’t want you to think that I’m the type of person who bases an opinion of someone on the town gossip.”

“You don’t have to give me details. Honestly, I had only met the woman twice that I can recall. My parents kept me away from her for reasons unbeknownst to me. I’m quite sure my mother will go ballistic when I tell her I’ve decided to stay at the house.”

“Why are you staying if it will cause that big of a stir?” he asked, hoping that the awkwardness of the moment had passed. He watched her expression change to puzzlement as she considered the question. After a long pause, she drew in a deep breath and answered.

“In all honesty, I don’t know, it just feels like I’ve come home. I can’t explain it any other way. It feels like I belong there; if that makes any sense at all.”

Rick watched her shoulders rise and fall as she sat back. It did make sense, and he said so. Then he took another drink of his coffee and returned the cup to the table, watching it settle back into the ring he had spilled upon sitting down. He didn’t know what to tell her and what to keep his mouth shut about. He figured that it would do no harm to tell some of the things he had heard. As long as she understood that they were gossip as far as he knew. “I will tell you that many said she was an oddball. Very rarely was she ever seen in town. She was like the town’s hermit. Then, on stormy nights, if you were driving down the road you would see her on that balcony, her arms outstretched. It was an eerie sight. I saw her like that myself once.”

“So she was a bit eccentric. My whole family is like that. I’m sure I have a few eccentricities myself. So often people judge others before they get to really know them,” Elora said. “It’s a shame really. She was quite a generous soul, as I knew her. But then I’m sure I was family as well.”

“True, and I’m sure you were the apple of her eye,” Rick said with a wink. He thought that it may have been the smoothest thing he had done all afternoon.

There was that laugh again as she looked at her watch. Then she tipped her mug up one last time and smiled. “Rick, it’s been a pleasure, and I’d love to stay and chat but I’m due at an appointment.”

Rick stood with her and smiled as she gathered her things from the table. “I hope I’ll see you around town. Maybe we could have lunch?” he asked, knowing full well that the day-date had been the touch of death to similar situations in the past. But, somehow it rolled off his tongue like an old song he had been rehearsing it in the shower.

She said nothing; snatched his smooth, brown cardboard cup from his hand and her ink pen from her purse. She scribbled something on the side and handed it back to him. She smiled and backed away.

His eyes stayed fixed on hers, only losing their grasp as she turned and walked away. He watched as her shape fell from sight. He looked down at the cup, and smiled. It was a telephone number. And below, a simple, one-word note that made his heart nearly burst. It read, “Dinner!!!”

Of Series & Sequels

TSOTS COVER ADThe official release of The Secret of the Storm is quickly approaching. You can already purchase the Kindle ebook through Amazon.com and you can purchase the print version in pre-release through the Createspace store here. I’m excited about the release, of course. I am even more psyched that the early reviews have been so positive and encouraging. It certainly makes all the work that went into producing it worth the effort and makes me want to keep going with the next book I am working on.

I keep getting the same question from early readers though.

Will there be a sequel to The Secret of the Storm?

In answering that, I can’t really give a definitive yes or no. I haven’t ruled out another trip to Slauson Cove and another chapter to the Walsingham legacy. In fact, I’ve toyed with ideas on how to continue that story. New characters would be introduced if I did go ahead with it. But, I’m not going to lie. It hasn’t been a high point on my priority list.

Even before the work on The Secret of the Storm was complete another story grabbed my attention and simply wouldn’t let go of me. So, I put my focus into that instead of a sequel. That story went from one book to a series of at least five.

AR PROMO1Armageddon Rising is a series that will be full of danger, intrigue, and even biblical prophecy. I don’t know why it was stuck in my head to tackle such heavy concepts. I suppose it is a calling of sorts because the story, research, and character development consistently cost me hours of sleep. And now that I’m in the middle of the editing phase of the project, it is costing me even more.

As with all my work, this is fiction. I don’t claim to be a biblical scholar or an expert on end times prophecy. My purpose in writing this is to tell a story that people will make people think and that they can enjoy. I’m not even going to claim that this is Christian fiction. I don’t feel that it meets the criteria to fit into that genre. But I can tell you that it is a page-turner.

I am notorious for working on multiple projects simultaneously. So, I wouldn’t quite rule out another Slauson Cove book if I continue to be asked about it by readers. There are things that I would like to explore with Elora that were, for me, unfinished in the first one. Don’t ask me when it will be out. The ideas are still merely a stack of notes in a folder with my character sketches.

If you haven’t gotten your ebook of The Secret of the Storm yes, it is available for the Kindle. The print release has been delayed but, I will keep all of you informed as to when the print version is available and events that will be coming up. I am planning to do a good number of book signings, readings, and even virtual touring with the help of Google+ and YouTube. So, if you want a chance to meet the woman behind the blog and the books, you’ll certainly get your chance.

If you have questions for me, I’d love to answer them here on the blog or in videos. (Yes, I’m thinking of branching out a bit.) So you can comment on any post or you can always email me your questions to annebellewrites@gmail.com. I always look forward to hearing from readers and other authors. I do try to respond to all my correspondence. Just have patience. Sometimes it takes a while for me to get through it all.

Happy Friday everyone. I hope that you enjoy your weekend.

Om : The Current State of the Writer

So, in honor of Memorial Day, I kept my post to the day and what it was about. Now that we’re all through the barbecues and swimming and ushering in the summer, it is time to get back to the regular posts.

Last week was full of stress factors for me. I work for a temp agency at the moment doing clerical work for a clinic. All in all, it isn’t a bad gig. Fact is, I enjoy what I am doing and the people I am working with. I wouldn’t be opposed to the job going full time however, that isn’t likely to happen because the position that I’m in is supposed to be bilingual. Such is the story of my life, it is always something it seems.

Anyway, I opted to work a day in an outlying clinic over an hour away last week. The normal receptionist was taking a day off and they needed someone to cover. I didn’t mind going. In fact, my day was nice and quiet at the office.

The fact is, my fiance has been working on getting my truck tuned up to try and save on fuel costs. On the way to the clinic, my truck lost acceleration on the hills and my gas tank was draining unbelievably fast. Then when I was coming home in the middle of a major thunderstorm with tornado warnings (something I’m a little phobic about) the truck decided to stop working all together. It just died.

Thank God my Dad was just coming through there on his way to work when it happened. He turned around and came to me and got me home. But here I was car-less for three days until Dad got a fuel filter and changed it out. I had to go to Walmart when it was done and I stopped at the fiance’s house. He immediately went to tweaking things and ended up tweaking more over the holiday weekend to where, now, its running like a champ.

So thankful that the men in my life now are good with cars. I know nothing about them really. I can check the fluids, tell when something isn’t quite right, or explain the noises and make a guess on what is happening but, to get under the hood and know what I am looking at, yeah… no.

I didn’t do terrible over the holiday weekend. We kept things fairly light. Though Saturday, we ate way too much pizza when we took the munchkin on her first trip to Chuck E Cheese. We all had fun though. Her dad and I played as many games as she did. And I loved every minute of it. I love the fact that we can cut loose and just have fun even if we do look like a couple of dorks in the process.

As for the currents of the day. Here’s my list:

Currently Drinking : Dr. Pepper & Coffee today Writing fuel since I get one more day with the manuscript.

Currently Eating: I have no idea yet. Likely just sandwiches or something like that.

Currently Reading: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman I picked it up this weekend after doing bridal registry at Bed Bath & Beyond. Had to go to Books-A-Million because my fiance decided he didn’t want to “girl shop” as he called it. So, I found him in the bookstore browsing in science fiction. Yes, I laugh at this because I love this man. He’s the type of man I should have married in the first place. He’s a reader. I should be married to someone who has a healthy respect for what I do.

Currently Watching: Nothing really. We didn’t watch Season 2 like planned this weekend. Maybe tomorrow night. Writing this the night before it posts I’m about to turn on some Tom & Jerry cartoons and crash though.

Currently wearing: Jogging shorts and a sleeveless ribbed shirt. Kept it simple. All black. Needed something cool today.

Currently Looking Forward To: Getting word about the print edition of my book so that I can get on with marketing.

Currently Working On: The series that I will be releasing this summer. Book One is nearing completion at this point. Will be giving some sneak peeks in the weeks to come and will likely post about it at length in this week’s writing post.

Currently Listening To: Some vacation tunes. I’ve always had a soft spot for Jimmy Buffett and that island sound. So I’ll leave you with one of my favorites.

Life Events & The Writer…

It’s no secret that writers keep journals. We have them everywhere; online, in our purse, in our car, in our backpacks, our desk drawers, and you can even bet that there is likely one hiding in the bathroom. Yes, we’re odd like that, keeping pen and paper within arms reach at all times. But, this little habit serves us well. It allows us to capture our thoughts, put down ideas for characters or plots, and it even allows us to record life events that we don’t want to forget. I had such an event happen to me this past weekend and I was so excited that I had my handy-dandy planner with me so that I could write the details down while it was fresh in my mind.

The month of May is turning out to be pretty eventful for me. Not only will I be releasing my first novel under my pen name (Anne Belle) but I also got engaged this past weekend on Mother’s Day. All these changes in my life are one of the main reasons that I decided to write under a pen name to begin with. I think that readers need consistency so, a fictional name is ideal given the fact that I don’t want to put my career on hold. In fact, I am very motivated to forge ahead with my plans to build up a readership and get this show on the proverbial road.

just-engaged-bridgette-bartlett-op-ed-on-black-bridal-bliss-1I took the time to write down my account of the proposal. It really was memorable and the roses that my ring was tied around are still beautiful in a vase where I can see them. And while I don’t think I’ll ever forget it, I still wanted it on paper so I could read it all over again and smile. And now, I’m signed up on http://www.theknot.com and thinking about planning a wedding and getting things organized while trying to start promoting the new book being released this weekend.

The truth is, I don’t know where to start. I’ve set up all these accounts and am feeling overwhelmed that there are so many things for me to update. I came upon Hootsuite once and then I promptly forgot about it during all the craziness that was the end of last year for me. Now that I’m back to trying to build my writing career and organize my life in general, I find that Hootsuite might just be the marketer’s best friend. I certainly intend to make good use of it. I am starting to live by my planner again. That’s very likely a habit I should have never gotten out of in the first place.

TSOTS COVER ADSo, in other news, the book is about to release in print and ebook format. So I am rushing about to finalize all the little details and create some sort of plan to market it. I’ll be doing a major post on the book in the next few days just to commemorate the release. But, I’m sort of just jumping in feet first to figure out the best way to reach potential readers.  I have read all sorts of things on platforms and marketing but the fact is that most of what is out there is information geared for non-fiction work.

It is easy to build a platform when you have a set subject. To write a book on a particular topic you have to be something of an expert in your field or have some unique perspective on it. I don’t claim to be an expert in anything. I have too many interests to really be an expert in any one thing. If I am well-versed in any one topic it would be the paranormal. That topic shows up quite often in my work but, every piece is different.  For example, this book is about a woman with a supernatural power and a mystery to uncover with a bit of romance thrown in. My next book/series deals with apocalyptic scenarios and angels. While another project is more steampunk. I’m sort of all over the map and I don’t want to hinder my creativity for the sake of putting myself in a marketing bubble. So, I’m going to have to start somewhere and just build on it and see where I end up.

I am excited though. There is so much happening all at once for me. There is a wedding to plan and an amazing man by my side to share the journey with me in all of this.  It seems like things are really taking off and I find myself wondering if I dare try to get back into singing on top of it. I think that might be a bit much on my time though except for the occasional karaoke night or singing at church. But, you never know with me. We’ll just see.

At any rate things are going super in my neck of the piney woods of East Texas. We’ll see what else comes my way in the weeks to come. So, stay tuned!

The Writer’s Life Update

Sometimes life just gets in the way of updating this blog. The last month or so has been filled with other things that have required much of my time. Mostly this has been a matter of looking for a day job so that I can get back on my feet but, people don’t realize that in this economy finding a decent job is much harder than it would seem on the surface. It has literally been a full-time job putting in applications, finding job postings, and sending out resumes. But that isn’t all that has kept me away from writing as much as I should be.

563290_349861381757492_48880649_nTruth is, after being cooped up and isolated for so long, I’ve been enjoying living again. I’ve been enjoying time with my family and the new friends in my life. I’ve been talking shop, attending writers group, spending time with the new man in my life, and having lots of quality time. There are pictures on my phone of us at the carnival that came to town. It was an impromptu afternoon of fun with his daughter and my stepdaughter who came to visit me during her spring break. We even went to the Renaissance Faire with all the family and had such a fantastic time that we’re already planning for another day out there before it ends. But having fun has been such a rarity in the last six years that, I have made a point of really enjoying myself when I have the opportunity. It just so happens that since I met Charles, there have been a lot more amazing days and opportunities to enjoy myself.

As much as I am loving my life now and the direction that it is taking, I know that I am going to have to start devoting more time to writing than I have. The articles that I’ve been working on and so forth have been great and they have offered a bit of a break from working on the details of the work in progress that were beginning to frustrate me. But, I am now getting back into the studio and working on the fiction with full attention.

The break was needed though. As I read back through some of the manuscript, I find that my mind is working on concepts again and my scenes are creating more clear images in my head to work with. And I’m so close to completing this draft that I think a few more good days of writing will put me into a good position to be on track for a summer release. Of course, I’ll make more announcements about that as I narrow down time-frames.

I do want to mention that a friend has a new book of poetry out. Deedra Mosley and I have been friends since we attended and graduated from the same high school. I was honored that she asked me to write the forward for her collection of anecdotal poems and limericks. So you can find her collection Kentucky Prose over on Blurb.com. I encourage everyone to support local artists. The ebook is only $1.99 and it is sure to make you laugh and give you a glimpse of life in rural Appalachia. Deedra definitely has more of a connection to those mountains and the cultural heritage there than I do but she is sure to give you a laugh as well.