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Those are the reasons I haven’t posted anything or gotten any writing done for more than a week now.  My father-in-law passed away last Thursday–RIP Dad, we all miss you–I had a new book come out–Storm Shadows, Book 2 of Eternal Shadows is finally up on Amazon, B&N, and other on-line book sellers!–and what little time I’ve been able to spend on the computer, I’ve spent on promotions–blech!  So…sad, happy, and blah. 

I am not enjoying the promotions but unfortunately, that’s part of being an author so I’m doing it.  What I am enjoying is seeing the results of some of the promos I’m doing.  And a funny thing, since Storm Shadows came out, sales on Snow Shadows seem to be picking up again.  Hmm…guess it’s true what they say, the best promo an author can do is to write the next book and get it out there.

Anyway, I’m working on a post that’ll let everybody know what I’ve been doing and also what I’m planning in the way of contests.  Stay tuned for your chance to win a free book or two…

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My 52 weeks of Writing Adventure task for this week was to clean up my blog–specifically my sidebar.  I hated that my book covers were all different sizes so I made myself play with the widgets and finally (!) figured it out.  Sidenote: can anybody tell me why I can’t get more than one “Image” widget to load in my sidebar?  Is it the theme I’m using?  Or is it that WordPress won’t allow more than one?  I almost drove myself crazy with that one and finally decided just to make the pictures of the covers all one size on my computer then load them in one “Text” widget.  It worked and they’re all the same size now–yippee and congratulations to me!

But the real congratulations go out to Linda Houle and Lisa Rene Smith of L&L Dreamspell.  Lisa and Linda are celebrating their third anniversary as a publisher and the release of their 100th book.  Yay for them!

Having experienced the demise of two publishers, one a little over a year old and the other less than a year, three years sounds like an eternity to me.  I love hearing news like that–not only for myself but for all the talented L&L Dreamspell authors, both fiction and non-fiction, that Linda and Lisa have taken under their wing.

Back when I was only published in e-books and there seemed to be publishers failing at least weekly, I remember reading on some of the blogs about the publishing red-flags that all authors should look out for when submitting their work.  One of the them was a publisher that claims they and their authors are all “one big happy family.”  I learned that one the hard way but I have to say L&L Dreamspell is the exception to that rule.  They’re a joy to work with, professional yet caring at the same time, and they do everything they can to make their authors feel as if each of us are a part of their “happy family.”

So, congratulations Linda and Lisa–here’s to many more years and many more books!

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First, I apologize in advance for any typos or mistakes in this post, as well as any tangents I may go off on, but I’m tremendously excited because yesterday after waiting for eternity–or what seemed like it!–my book, Snow Shadows showed up on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble.  Woo-hoo!  At long last!  I spent a good hour just staring at the cover on B&N and probably would’ve spent another hour on Amazon, but the cover hasn’t shown up there yet.  Still, the book is there and I’ve already gotten one 5-star review–okay, the review is by my sister, who was the first person to read the book and I admit, she might be just a tad biased, but hey, a good review is always appreciated!  And since I value her opinion more than anyone else’s, especially when it comes to my writing, this one means more than I can say.

During my hour-long staring contest with the screen of my laptop, I got this…feeling.  I didn’t know what it was at first, but it kept growing stronger.  Then while I was still trying to figure it out, I received two more reviews from a couple of the review sites I had sent the book to.  Every review I’ve gotten so far on this book, from the one on ParaNormal Romance to the one from my sister on Amazon has been really great, but these two, well, they blew me away.

From Amelia at eCataRomance:

With her thorough historical research evident all through the book, Caitlyn Hunter has crafted a touchingly spellbinding love story with convincing paranormal elements.

Caitlyn Hunter has a poetic writing voice, and her talent for expressing scenes in a romantic way is exceedingly evident in SNOW SHADOWS. 

With graphic images, engaging characters and the perfect blending of humor and suspense, SNOW SHADOWS is a memorable story of fated love.

And from Long and Short of It Reviews:

Snow Shadows has a heady mix of romance, the paranormal, Native American folklore and a wonderful cast of characters which drew me in and kept me.

Snow Shadows is the start of the Eternal Shadows series and is one worth keeping a space on your bookshelf for. 

Click on the links if you want to read the full reviews–that is if they still work, I think I’ve just about worn them both out!

Anyway, after numerous Snoopy dances and shouts of glee, the feeling was still there.  I admit, it did fade a bit when I realized now comes the nail-biting, hair-tearing, and for me, the totally squicky part of being a writer–promotions, sales, and waiting for the reviews from the people who really matter, the readers. 

The thing is…I’m bound to get a few bad reviews, but I can handle that.  I know that it’s an impossibility to please all of the readers and though I may feel like biting back at some of them, I won’t.  Let’s just say I’ve seen a few authors do some pretty horrible things over bad reviews recently and I’ve learned from their mistakes.  At least I hope I have!

Anyway–I warned you about tangents, didn’t I?–even with the threat of bad reviews or if the sales of my book don’t live up to what I’d like, I’ll hold on to that feeling I first felt yesterday.  I’ll keep doing Snoopy dances and shouting for glee because while Snow Shadows isn’t my first book, it is my first print book, and the feeling I have is that I am not just a writer now, I am an author…

At long last!

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Sorry, I love that cover and couldn’t resist posting it again!

So, I topped 35,000 words on Storm Shadows yesterday and was anxious to get back to it this morning.  The words were right there at the front of my mind and when I sat down at the computer, I could just imagine them flowing in an effortless stream from my brain to the keyboard.  I was happy, content, eager to work.  As I waited for the file to open, I sent up a prayer to the Romance gods that the dreaded “Midway Hump” would bypass me on this book.  Then I shoved up my sleeves, flexed my fingers and got busy. 

Less than a minute later it happened.  My muse popped up and shattered my world by uttering three little words.

Her (smirking):  You’re an idiot!

Me (eyes wide, mouth dropping open):  What?  What?  WTF are you talking about?

Her:  Watch your language, who do you think you are, one of your heroes?  I said, you’re an idiot.

Me (blinking owlishly, trying to hold on to my temper):  And just why am I an idiot?

Her (gesturing to the computer screen):  Pay attention to where you’re going with this story.  You can’t do that, it’s inconsistent with Snow.

Me:  I’m not working on Snow Shadows, that’s finished.  I’m working on the second book in the series, Storm Shadows.  Now, go away!

Her (rolling eyes):  That’s my point, Snow’s finished, its in the hands of the publisher, the ARCs have gone out, it’s ready to be printed.  You might even go so far as to say it’s etched in stone.  You can’t change…

Me (jumping up to dance and wave my hands over my head):  Only a couple of more months.  High five!

Her (crossing her arms over her chest):  Do you have any idea how stupid you look?  Sit down, shut up, and most important, listen up!  Your prologue on this one is inconsistent with Snow.  Hell, the whole thing is inconsistent.  Marc is always going on about his fear of death and about dying, you even have one part where he says he’s died before and he’ll do it again.  The curse, you mental genius, the curse, do you even remember the curse?  He’s immortal, he can’t die! 

Me (sitting down and sighing):  I know, but he doesn’t actually die and the legend I’m using for Marc is different.  I can–

Her (shaking a finger):  No, no, no, a thousand times no.  You can’t, and as long as I’m participating in this book, you damn well won’t!  Go back to the beginning and fix it.  Don’t make me get mean, you won’t like me when I’m mean.

Me (sulking):  You’re always mean.

Her:  No, I’m not.  What I am is consistent.  You’re writing a series, constistency is extremely important.  That (pointing at computer) is not consistent.

Me (sneering):  What was it Thoreau said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”?

Her (throwing her hands up in the air):  OMG, you are an idiot.  First, it was Emerson who said that, not Thoreau.  Second, when it comes to books in a series, a foolish INconsistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.  And the minds of your readers aren’t little.  You don’t think someone will catch it and call you on it?  Quit stalling and change it!

Me:  No!  Look, I know what I’m doing here.  I’m the writer, for God’s sake!  What I’ve done so far will be resolved later in the book.

Her (left eyebrow arched):  And how, pray tell, are you going to do that?

Me (mirroring her move, arching my right eyebrow):  I have some ideas.  You’re not the only one with an imagination, you know.

Her (snarling):  Your imagination is useless without me.  Now, how are you going to fix it?

Me (hunching shoulders):  I don’t know yet, but it’ll come to me.  Maybe I can…no, that won’t work.  How about…no, that won’t do it either.  I know, I know, I’ll…shit!

Her (laughing as she fades):  That’s what I thought.  Tell you what, when you figure it out, give me a call.  

Me:  Wait!  Wait!  Come back!  I need you to help me fix this, I need your input, your creativity, your thoughts.  I can’t–

Her (looking smug, hovering near the ceiling):  Go on, say it.

Me (sighing):  I can’t do this without you.

Her (shaking her head):  Somehow, I don’t think you really mean that.

Me:  I do!  I swear I do!

Her (pointing at the floor):  Not good enough.  Come on, you know the drill.

Me (getting down on my knees):  I’m sorry I doubted you.  Please, I need your help.  If you desert me, I’ll never finish this book.  I’m begging you, don’t go away and leave me here to do this alone.

Her (shoving up the sleeves of her bright yellow sweatshirt with a glowing lightbulb and the words “Muses do it in your head” emblazoned on the front):  Much better.  Now, get up and let’s see if we can fix this mess you’ve made.  Here’s what I’m thinking…

 

The ladies over at Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books and Dear Author offer up a special treat for me today; the DA BWAHA Tournament, a March Madness bracket-type contest for the romance lover/sports fan in all of us.  Details can be found at either of the sites.

Basketball isn’t my sport, baseball is what does it for me–with a little football thrown in during the off-season–but while I wait for the official start of baseball season and agonize over the fact that my team will be winging their way to Japan today–I’m one of those who believes if God had meant for us to fly, he would’ve given us wings–I can entertain myself and keep my mind off of plane crashes, thanks to the creativeness of the Smart Bitches and Dear Author.

Wow!  That was some run-on sentence, wasn’t it?  Deep breath…

The thing is…who knew there were so many sports fans out there in Romance Land?  I mean, I’ve caught mention of sports–mainly football or soccer–several times on the romance blogs I frequent, but, this just blew me away!  If you look at the bracket set-up, it’s obvious SB and DA put a lot of thought into this thing.  It’s awesome and should be loads of fun as we wait not so patiently for baseball season to start.

Check it out–before seven pm, EST today.  Sorry for the short notice, I’ve been AWOL for the last couple of days working on the blurb for the back cover of Snow Shadows–less than five months till the release!–and excerpts from a couple of my upcoming books which Lisa and Linda at L&L Dreamspell generously offered to add to the back pages–woo-hoo!

To the Red Sox–safe trip!

Update:  Deadline for bracket entries has been extended to midnight EST!  Details and everything you ever needed to know about DB BWAHA here.  Go on, click on it!   

My husband’s out of town on a business trip and when he calls tonight, I hate to have to do it, but I’m going to have to break his heart.  You see, I’ve fallen in love with another man.

And not just any man, the man of my dreams.  A tall, dark, gorgeous hunk of perfection who stepped out of the shadowy  world of my fantasies and into my life.  He’s been with me for a while now, though I’d never met him, never so much as glimpsed his face.  But as winter melts into spring, he emerged from the Snow Shadows, held out his hand, and…well, I just couldn’t help myself.

Don’t judge me until you get a look at him and then we’ll see who’s drooling!  Here he is for your viewing pleasure, but I warn you, I’m very territorial, so hands off ladies!

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His name’s Mathias Tassel and yes, he does have a brother.  Three of them, in fact, and they’re all as delicious as he is!  But their stories are living in my head for the time being.  Right now, I only have eyes for Matt!

Thanks to Linda and Lisa of L&L Dreamspell who gave me the chance to make my dreams reality!

Well okay, not so much here in the mountains where it’s another rainy cold day, but in Florida, with less than a week to go until the first game, baseball is definitely getting warmer because…Manny’s in the house!  For the first time since 2005, Manny arrived on time for Spring training, and from his statements to the press he’s ready to play and looking forward to this season.

Could it be his last as a Boston Red Sox?  I have a hard time believing that and hope it won’t happen.  But then, as everyone knows, I’m a Manny Fan Girl.  I just can’t imagine the Red Sox without him, can’t imagine watching a game where there isn’t the Big Papi/Manny threat hovering over the opposing pitcher’s head, can’t imagine a time when another player will take on the job of taming Fenway’s Green Monster.

The Red Sox without Manny?  Say it ain’t so–ever!

And then there’s Jacoby Ellsbury.  I caught an informative and interesting article about him in Men’s Vogue the other day.  Did you know he’s the first Navajo to play in the Major Leagues?  Just another reason for me to appreciate him.  I’m not an official FG of his yet, but the more I learn about him the more I like him and I can see myself becoming one, especially after reading the article.  Here it is if you’d like to read it:

http://www.mensvogue.com/health/feature/articles/2008/03/jacoby?currentPage=1

Like I said, very interesting.  Put longer hair on him and he could be the cover model for the book I have coming out later this year, Snow Shadows.  Yep, he could be my Cherokee shape-shifter, Matt, especially since he spent his time in the off-season beefing up.

Hmmm, I wonder if he’d be open to posing for a pic of a paranormal romance hero who, in my editor’s words is “SO HOT!”  (hee-hee, I’ve been giggling over that little tidbit for days!)

The thing is…I’m about 50 pages into the next book, Storm Shadows (working title), and now I’m starting to worry about making the hero of this one, Matt’s brother Marc, “HOT!”  Can I do it?  Well, the only thing to do is write the story.  And now that I have a picture in my head of Jacoby Ellsbury, I think that will help immensely because the brothers in each of the four books in this series look very much alike, about the only difference being the color of their eyes and the length of their hair.  Jacoby’s is still shorter than Marc’s, but not by much.

So thanks, Jacoby, for the inspiration!

Yesterday, my editor sent me a PDF file of my upcoming book, Snow Shadows.  It’s not the finished product, we still have a lot of work to do, but the end is coming closer.  I’ve been reading through it this morning and making a few changes, all the while trying to figure out exactly how to describe this feeling running through me…

And failing miserably.  I’m a writer, I should be able to come up with the words to describe it…but I just can’t.  Not that the words aren’t there, they are, in fact they’re tumbling through my mind.  Words like ecstatic, overjoyed, euphoric, gleeful, thrilled, over the moon, and on and on and on.  But none of them expresses how I really feel.

How do you describe the feeling that comes with attaining your wildest dream?  I don’t know, but I know I’ll keep searching, because that’s what I do.  I play with words, shuffle them around in my head, write them down, and try to arrange them in the perfect sequence to express my feelings or the feelings of my characters.

But this time, I’m, well, speechless.

The thing is…this isn’t my first book and I shouldn’t be so utterly dumbfounded.  I’ve had two e-books published and yes, I was delighted when I was offered the contracts for them, and even more thrilled when I downloaded them and saw my words in cyber-print for the first time.  But this book…this book will not only be released as an e-book, this book will also be in print, a first for me.  Which is, I expect, why I’m so overwhelmed. 

And I’m sure the first time I hold this book, this child of my imagination, in my hands, there’s going to be a whole truckload of other feelings for me to try to describe.

The thing that keeps running through my head today is a line from one of my favorite songs by John Mellencamp, Just Like You:

I’m living in my head
Too much life in my veins
Forgetting all of the time
We’re always in motion with angels…

Indeed.  That pretty much describes my life right now.  So, maybe I need to take a break from editing and trying to describe my feelings and move on to thanking some of those earth-bound angels who are always with me.

Like those emotions running rampant through me, my life is overflowing with angels at the moment.

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That’s what it says on the home page of my publisher, L&L Dreamspell.   Followed by the question; “What are you doing today to make your own dreams come true?”

Well, as it turns out, I’m not doing anything today to make my dreams come true.  I don’t have to, because L&L Dreamspell is doing it for me!

I received an email from them this morning saying they’re celebrating their one year anniversary–congrats LLD!–and letting their authors know that the website had been updated and the latest edition of the newsletter was out.

So, I checked the site and–woo-hoo!–my name and book are now listed on their author page!  Snow Shadows by Caitlyn Hunter!–I added the exclamation mark.  Hee-hee!  Then I clicked over to the newsletter and there it was again:

Snow Shadows – a red-hot romance by Caitlyn Hunter

Red hot!  Romance!  By ME!

That would have been enough to make my day, but then I opened another letter from them and um, shall we say, did a wild Snoopy dance?  Yep, I did, and that’s not all, I belted out a few choruses of “Happy Days!” at the top of my lungs!

The thing is…I’ve been with three publishers so far and LLD is without a doubt, the publisher of my dreams.  Not only are they releasing my first print book, but Lisa and Linda are…well, a dream to work with, if you’ll pardon the pun.  And, judging by that second letter, they’re willing to share the benefits of their hard work with their authors.  Wildest dream, indeed!   

So, thanks LLD, for making my dreams come true.  You really are the best and I’m convinced there’s a special place in Heaven for you! 

Oh, before I go, here’s the link for the newsletter:

http://www.lldreamspell.com/NLFebruary2008.html

Check it out!  And in case you want to learn more about them, their link is in my sidebar.  Really great books–including my sister, Christy Tillery French’s latest, The Bodyguard and the Rock Star!  And if you’re an author looking for that dream publisher, take a look at their submission guidelines.  You could be the next one to receive that special Dreamspell treatment!

That just about sums up how I feel right now…wasted and without a clue what to write about.  I think I may have done some serious damage to my muse with my latest writing binge–two novellas in two months!–and I don’t know whether to get down on my knees and beg her forgiveness or just leave her to sulk in a dark corner of my mind until she gets over it.  Probably better to leave her alone and let her cool off a bit, she’s liable to kick my ass if I don’t.

So, I’ve been writing, and like I said, I’ve completed two novellas, one a cougar story which needs some serious polishing before I do anything with it, the other a…I’m not sure what to call it.  I submitted it as a paranormal romantic suspense, but now that I’ve had time to think about it, I think it’s more of an urban fantasy, with elements of romantic suspense.  It’s not paranormal–I don’t think–and I hope the publisher doesn’t throw it in the trash because I sent it under the wrong genre.  Just another thing to chew on my fingernails about while I wait to hear from them.  Nineteen days and counting…

I do have something to keep me busy while I wait; the first round of edits on Snow Shadows, my paranormal romance that’s coming out later this year with L&L Dreamspell.  But since I haven’t written anything on this blog since shortly after Christmas, I decided I needed to get in at least one or two entries for January before I sink into the mire of rewrites and revisions.

Plus, a couple of things are weighing heavy on my mind right now.

First the owner of the now defunct e-publisher, Twilight Fantasies Publications, which shall not be named, did something I find truly despicable and repugnant, she’s self published a fifty page novella she once offered as a free read on her publishing site.  When I heard this, I had a true WTF moment?  Not the first this publisher’s given me and probably not the last.  Anyway, not only was the book once offered as a free read, it’s now up for sale for over sixteen dollars (hardback) and just under seven dollars (paperback).  I mean, come on, who’s going to pay that kind of money for a book that size, much less one that’s already been released for free?  It is offered in ebook format for under four dollars, but still…

The thing is…this author, who put this book out originally under her pen name, is now offering the same book under her real name.  I guess that’s a case of changing the names to protect the innocent, huh?  Not that she’s innocent in any way or form in my mind.  She’s slapped a new cover on it, listed the publisher as Twilight Fantasies (I assume to make it look like the book was good enough to get accepted by a real publisher), put the original editor’s name on it (who I understand was never paid for her work), and is asking an unbelievable amount of money for it.  Can we all say scam?

I have no idea what this particular vanity press charges to publish something, or if they even charge, could be they take it out in royalties, or something, but if they do, my question to this scurrilous woman is; did the money you owed your authors, editors, and cover artists pay for this?  And if so, when can we expect our percentage of the royalties?  Will you pay them or will you slink off into hiding like you did before, complaining all the way about people being mean to you?

Beyond that, I feel sorry for any reader who purchases your exhorbitantly priced book, they could’ve gotten your fifty pages of nothing (totally my opinion of course) for…well, nothing!  Kind of makes me wish I was vindictive enough to prove your point about how mean people are by posting a message to any readers out there who want to buy your book and offering to send it to them for free.  But alas, woe is me, one of the first things I did when I severed ties with you was delete my copy of the free download.  Oh well.  And, knowing you and your pompous jerk of a husband, you’d probably sue me for copyright violation or something.

Which brings me to the next thing on my mind–Cassie Edwards and her “alleged” plagiarism of various authors.  This one really pisses me off, for a number of reasons, all of which I’ll comment on tomorrow–I hope!

Right now, I’ve got to see if I can coax my muse out of hiding.  I may need her when I work on  those edits!  Hmm…maybe an imaginary trail of white chocolate macadamia nut cookie crumbs will do the trick. 

Oh, and before I forget, Go Pats!  And, sorry Peyton!  You didn’t make it this year, but I’ll be rooting for your brother in the play-offs.  Eli’s coming…

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams

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