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1.  My sister and I finished the manuscript for Whistling Woman, the book we’ve been working on for two years about our great aunt’s life growing up in the small town of Hot Springs, NC.  We took a few days, rented a cabin in Hot Springs, and worked on the first edit.  Now we’re in the process of editing it again–this time by email–and are hoping we’ll have it polished by the end of the year.  After that, beta readers!

2.  Although I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo–or whatever it’s called–I’ve been working on the third book in my Eternal Shadows series, Sun Shadows.  Last Monday, I set a goal of writing a thousand words a day and so far, so good.  A little over 9,000 words and counting!

3.  Edits, edits, and more edits on Whistling Woman.

4.  Working on getting the blog for the Writers’ Guild of Western North Carolina up and running.  Had a minor problem with WordPress–for some reason it wouldn’t let me add widgets to the blog–but that was solved by going to the forum and posting a question which was answered fairly quickly.

5.  The contract with Red Rose Publishing for my novella, Unwilling Angel, expires on the 18th of this month and I’ve been trying to decide what to do with the book when I have the rights back.  Numerous people have advised putting it on Kindle and thanks to one of the members of the Writers’ Guild, who is currently working to get his books on Kindle, I have a pretty good idea of what that entails.  It won’t be easy but I think I’ll probably try. 

Of course, first I have to get the rights back.  As per the contract, I sent two certified letters to Red Rose Publishing 60 days before the expiration date telling them I did not want to renew the contract, but haven’t heard a word back yet.  Which isn’t really a surprise given the problems other authors are having with this publisher.  I’m doing my best to keep an open mind until the 18th then I’m going to send an email to the owner and inform her that per the contract, the rights have reverted back to me and she needs to quit selling my book.  We’ll see what happens…

6.  After a blast of cold weather to start the month, we’ve had a string of perfect fall days here in the mountains.  I’ve been working to get my gardens put to bed while it lasts.   I wanted to plant bulbs but haven’t been able to find the time and I know I’ll be kicking myself next spring.  Oh well…

7.  Still more edits!

8.  Updating my website and this blog with the 2011 EPIC eBook Awards finalist button.  Yep, that’s right, Storm Shadows made it to the finals.  Yippee!  EPICon is in Williamsburg, VA next year and since my sister, Christy Tillery French, also has a book in the finals we’re seriously considering making the drive up there and attending.  I don’t have much hope that Storm will win, it’s in one of the categories that has the most finalists, but who knows what will happen.

9.  Edits, edits, and more edits with a little research thrown in on the side!

10.  More great news on Storm–The Long and the Short of It gave it a fabulous review last week which means it’s up for Book of the Week.  Woo-hoo!  If you’re so inclined, you can vote by clicking here.  That page also gives you access to Xeranthemum’s excellent review, if you’d like to read it.   Here’s a little taste of what the she had to say:

Storm Shadows is a well written and beautiful romance filled with charm, humor, vivid and lively descriptions and a well earned happily ever after sure to make a reader sigh in satisfaction. Despite the conflict, Ms. Hunter wrote a story that is uplifting and optimistic and just plain fun to read.

So, there you have it, the top ten reasons I haven’t posted anything here for almost a month.  As you can see, Whistling Woman is taking up the majority of my time with the Eternal Shadows series running a close second.  Next week it’s going to be all about Storm since I have an interview and a chat scheduled with LASR.  Which reminds me, I need to come up with a contest for the chat.  Better get busy…

I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t had time to do much of anything except revisions on the book I’m writing with my sister, Whistling Woman, about our great aunt Bessie’s life growing up in Hot Springs, NC, at the turn of the 20th century.  It’s finished.  Yay!  But now comes the hard part; editing and revising.  I usually don’t like that part but with this one, I’m really looking forward to doing the final edits because Christy and I are planning on meeting in Hot Springs when we get to that point.  Another yay!

At the same time, I’m still polishing my older woman/younger man contemporary romance novella, Strict Policies.  And when all that editing gets to be too much, I’m working on the next book in my Eternal Shadows series, Sun Shadows.  Really hope I get this one finished quicker than I did the second one!

Other than that, I’ve been canning quite a bit–my pantry is overflowing!–and putting the garden to bed for the winter–just in time, we had our first frost last night.  Des and I are still walking every day and we’re really enjoying it…for the most part.  Had an encounter with the wicked witch of the neighborhood yesterday but more on that later.  That little event deserves an entire blog post all its own!

I got a great review for Storm Shadows the other day from Amelia Richard at Cata Romance.  4.5 stars!  Yippee!  Here’s Amelia’s teaser:  STORM SHADOWS makes the supernatural seem genuinely real with clever writing and an innovative premise.

Finally, I have an interview up on Susan Whitfield’s blog today.  Lots of fun to do–and believe me I didn’t think I’d ever say that about an interview!  Hope you’ll drop by and check it out!

Back to the edits…

Cover Image

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!

Cover Image

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

The ARC of my book will soon be in the hands of the reviewers and I’ve had what you might call an emotional week.  Beyond the initial manic laughter when I found out the ARC was ready, followed closely by a flood of happy tears when I saw the PDF file, I’ve cringed in self-doubt, cowered in fear, suffered more than one paralyzing panic attack, been overcome with hope that readers will like my book, and on the flip-side of that, dread that they’ll hate it.

As you can see, reviews have pretty much taken over my life at this point.  Added to that, I’m still following a couple of threads on Amazon about the DAM review debacle. and all this has me wondering how I’m going to handle it when I get that first negative review.  And believe me, I don’t kid myself that it won’t come, because I know it’s bound to…at some point. 

Heck, it even occurred to me that DAM and her vicious posse might come after me when my book is released and write scathing reviews wherever they find it.  Paranoid much?  Yep, I admit it, I told you it’s been an emotional week, and I willingly concede the fact that I am (a wee bit) paranoid when it comes to my writing.  I think it’s a direct result of being a baseball fan.  Paranoia and superstition are both delusions and walk hand-in-hand in my book.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself!

Anyway, a couple of days ago, when my emotions were on the down-swing and I was immersed in feelings of self-doubt, DW posted the following on the “Help!  My negative reviews are being deleted.” Amazon thread:

Authors really shouldn’t be afraid of the one-star ratings. Here is an excerpt from an Amazon review study:

“But the most telling variable is the one star rating. Professor Gronas found that books high on what he called the “controversiality index” are given almost as many one-star as five-star ratings, creating a horseshoe-shaped curve. As it turns out, these books also tend to have high sales.”

I have to tell you, the point of DW’s post sailed right over the top of my head like a high fastball hurled by a major league pitcher.  Perhaps, if I’d taken the time to think about it, I would’ve gotten it, but…well, self-absorption doesn’t lend itself to rational thought,  Then, yesterday afternoon, another post, this one by Tams, made me sit up and take notice and shook me right out of my self-pity mode:

Finally, the review is not for the author it is for the fellow reader! If an author deletes a review, no matter what the rating, they may have just lost a customer, because that review just may have been the one to convince someone else to give that book a try! — Tams

And everything finally clicked.  I’m telling you, it was one of those moments where I could almost see the light bulb hanging over my head, flickering weakly at first then exploding into brilliant, blinding light–or maybe that high fastball connected with my head this time, instead of passing harmlessly over it!

As a result, I realized bad reviews, no matter how much an author hates them, can be a good thing!  And maybe, just maybe, those are the ones an author should really listen to.  If someone doesn’t like your writing and offers a valid reason why they don’t, it’s just possible if you listen to them, you may learn something and become a better writer.  I’m pretty sure I’ll get bad reviews, but now, I think I’ll be able to deal with them in a rational, adult manner.  I will do my best to remember the words of wisdom from Tams and DW when that one-star review pops up on Amazon, and look at it in a positive light.  Most important, I’ll try to resist the lure of getting the review taken down, or if I learn how to do it, deleting it myself, because as Tams points out, that review could very well result in future sales.

And on Amazon, if I’m not mistaken, you have to purchase the book in order to review it.  So, bad review on Amazon means at least one sale…and the possibility of more in the future.  That equals hope to me!

 

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams