Newness and Wonder

Hello Friends! I hope everyone is enjoying a lovely fall. We are just now getting cooler temperatures but the trees around my house are remaining stubbornly green. As much Newness and Wonder Cover LARGE EBOOKas I love life here in Middle Tennessee, it’s this time of year that makes me miss mountain living. A big part of my heart remains in Western North Carolina, where my family spent six wonderful years of lower humidity and gorgeous autumns as well as fun-filled holiday traditions.

Last week, I launched a new book along with a new brand. My first contemporary romance under the pen name Alexis Lynne, Newness and Wonder, is a heartwarming holiday romance set in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. This was my “just for fun” book, the one my husband insisted I write to get me out of my funk after Surrendering the Past. What a fantastic idea that was! I got to explore wonderful memories while building this future series –The Sylvan Hills Series– and I am once again excited about all the possibilities that publishing my work can bring.

Alexis Lynne will dominate my writing for at least the next year, but I will re-publish Surrendering the Past and release Redeeming the Past in 2020. I am currently, very slowly, working to combine all my social media accounts into one Pamela Lynne/Alexis Lynne body. I admire the authors out there who can keep everything separate without going bonkers. I’m not one of them. I need everything streamlined in my work as my family continues to grow and needs more of my time and focus.

For those who might be wondering, I have no plans to continue writing Jane Austen re-tellings. I am proud of the three I produced, but my muse has been drawn away from JAFF for quite a while now. Austen remains my favorite author and my primary influence, but as I grow as a reader my writing grows as well. I crave new characters and varied settings and ignoring the need to create something new is impossible. I wouldn’t even want to try.

Although writing as always given me a thrill, I have not been this excited about publishing in a long time. My heart nearly bursts when I see my also boughts on Amazon include contemporary authors who gave me such comfort during two long pregnancies. Nothing beats being included with people you respect and admire.

Newness and Wonder is available in all the usual places and I have a limited number of signed paperbacks available for purchase here on the website. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season filled with good cheer and great books. Happy reading!

Where did May Go?

I can’t believe it’s already June. It seems like I was just taking down Christmas decorations last week but in one more month the year will be half over! Time is never still and our family certainly won’t be in the coming weeks. Every week in June is filled with camps or trips and I’m already exhausted. We used to have months when we didn’t do much but as the kids get older those periods of inactivity seem to be dwindling. It makes putting aside time for reading and writing harder, but I was able to do both last month and am determined to keep some semblance of a schedule even during the incredibly busy month of June!

 
My reading in May was rather varied and included a re-read, a modern, and an historical. We have one television in our house and I rarely stake claim to it, leaving it instead to the sports and cartoon watchers. Since I knew it was unlikely that I would get to watch the new adaption of Little Women while it was airing, I re-read the book instead. It’s been a favorite of mine for a few decades and it’s always a pleasure to pick it back up. Of course, as it happens with favorites, I find myself identifying with different characters as I get older. I’m still more Meg at her most harried, but maybe in another decade or two I’ll be a Marmee with some strong Jo tendencies.

 
I also read The Good Luck Sister by Jill Shalvis and The Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb. I have started The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which we will discuss this month at our Vanity and Pride Press online book club. Here’s the link if you’d like to join us! Since starting this article, I have finished reading and want to gush over how much I loved it but will save it for book club.

 
The last time I posted, I offered up my take on #cockygate. Hopefully, this is going to die a painful death in the courts. In the meantime, however, more debates have sprung up. Well, they aren’t debates so much as warnings to the readers. Book stuffing (what I have always called book padding) is one of those. It is a pretty common scam in the world of Kindle Unlimited for authors to make their books appear longer than they really are, presumably because they get paid per page read. I understand that those readers who subscribe to KU are trying to get the most reads for their money, but when authors are putting in unnecessary spaces, graphics, larger margins, etc., what is the reader actually getting?

 
Unfortunately, this problem goes beyond KU. I never knew this before I read some threads on Facebook, but not all authors use the same publishing standards. I recently asked my book designer if there was an industry standard for font size. She said that it varies by genre, but 12 point font is the highest you should see, unless it is a large print book. I also contacted Amazon and asked if they have a limit on the size font authors can use in ebooks. They do not. So, two books with the same page count can vary greatly in the amount of story you actually get. The less scrupulous authors will not only disregard the industry standard for font, but also spacing and margin size. Since Amazon links print books to their ebook counterparts, those blanks pages some add to the end of their chapters will be counted in the total page numbers as well. Don’t forget that print books come in various sizes. A 200 page book measuring 5×8 will have much less story than one with the same page count at 6×9. I want to say I have no issue with physical books being different sizes. I’m just adding one more factor that can determine page count.

 

Why do people do this? That is a good question. Though despicable, it is easy to see why people pad their KU books. I couldn’t tell you why they do it outside KU. The first explanation that comes to mind is they are looking to justify charging more for shorter books. That doesn’t make sense when so many will go out of their way to defend shorter books, claiming they are the industry standard length or that they aren’t using unnecessary words. If all this is confusing to me, who has some experience with the whole writing/publishing thing, I can only imagine how it must make readers’ heads spin.

 
I suppose these paragraphs are my attempt to add to the warnings going around the web. Reader beware. Not everything is as it appears. My only advice is to keep buying books by the authors you trust and enjoy and if you see someone applying less than honest practices, don’t reward them with reads or buys. The easiest solution to all this would be if Amazon, who has the biggest market for ebooks, would apply some stricter standards that apply across the board. Hopefully this new push to end scams will lead to that.

 
Now, to end this post on a positive note, I want to hear from you. I told you that I have read Little Women many times over the years. What are the books you read over and over again? What about these books appeal to you? Let me hear from you and, as always, happy reading!

 

An Author’s Best Defense

 

All this week I have been paying (a little too close) attention to the whole #cockygate business. If you are not an author, particularly of romance, you might not have heard about the situation. A contemporary romance author has trademarked the word cocky and sent out cease and desist letters to other authors who have used that word in their titles. It is a bit more complicated than that, but I will let you peruse the various articles and blog posts that have been written this week that cover the scheme better that I could. The purpose of my post is not to rehash the drama nor give more attention to that author, and, yes, I do believe attention was the whole point behind her efforts.

While this author is an extreme example (google narcissistic personality disorder), I believe all of us who are pursuing a writing career are susceptible to these same pitfalls. We pay too much attention to what others are doing and we let it negatively affect our own efforts. We get angry, nervous, and downright afraid when we see others doing something similar to what we are working on or have already put out into the world. Our egos can get so out of control that we cannot acknowledge someone else’s success. The list goes on and on because, as creatives, we are all a bit neurotic. It just comes with the territory.

What do we do when we start to slip over the line? What we are supposed to do—write. When the work is the focus, all this other stuff fades from your vision, and becomes less and less important. I realized that over the last two days. I have made progress on my “just for fun” piece and while doing so, I have given very little thought to the negative feelings (mostly about other authors and the publishing world in general) that plagued me over the last weeks when I wasn’t working as much. The words are the important part. All the other stuff just keeps the words from forming in our minds and on the page. And that, my friends, is giving the negativity a victory it does not deserve.

That’s the lesson I took away from #cockygate. Again, this person took it to crazy levels, but we can all learn from her actions. Nothing good comes from putting your fears, frustrations, and ego before the work. In the end the words are what matter most.

Regrets, I have a few…

writer memeI recently read an article by author Heather Webb about learning from failure. It was a timely read for me as I have been dealing with my own commercial failure of my first non-Austenesque work, Surrendering the Past. Months have gone by and despite all my marketing attempts, as well as selling my soul to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, the book has just never gotten traction. I’ve reassured myself over and over that it will take time. This may be my fourth book, but I am a new author in this genre. The audience does not yet know me. That’s all well and good and does ring true, but after months of almost non-existent sales, it was time to step back and try to figure out what I did wrong. As it turns out, there was quite a lot.

First of all, I should not have used the same pen name. I had contemplated using a different name for my non-Austenesque writing quite a lot but in the end decided that since I was still writing Regency, continuing to use Pamela Lynne would be a good thing. The Janeites among us know how many true gems exist in the world of Jane Austen Fan Fiction, particularly from the years before the market became so flooded. The average reader, however, will see the words fan fiction and cringe. My also boughts (the line of books that show what customers who bought your book also bought) is full of fan fiction. Of course, it is. That’s what my first three books are. It’s what readers know Pamela Lynne for. Pamela Lynne is so much more than that but it’s basically the same as an actor being typecast. Once that is in a reader’s head, it’s hard to shake.

 
Another thing I did wrong was target the wrong audience. Surrendering the Past is a romance set in the Regency era, so my audience is Regency romance readers, right? WRONG. If you do an Amazon search for Regency romance, you will see what I mean. In the last year or so, it has pretty much all become seducing dukes and succumbing to earls. That’s great, I love seducing and succumbing as much as anybody, but that’s not what this series is. My conclusion is that these books need to be more #histfic than Regency romance, which leads me to my third mistake.

 
Stephen King advises writers to put their first draft away for a while before going back for revisions. I am starting to see the great merit in this way of thinking. If I had done that, I believe this shift into historical fiction would have occurred before publication. Against everything that is in my author’s blood, I bought into the less is more craze in romance and JAFF. My justification was that it was a series, so everything would develop over time. That still applies, but I can see now that there are things that need to be developed more in this first book. The first Outlander book is over six hundred pages, the first Poldark book is four hundred pages. If I am going to reach the level of artistic success that I crave as well as give the characters the story the deserve, I must delve back into Surrendering the Past and do what I should have done to begin with—give it all the time it needs.

 
For those who have read StP, the plot and ending will not change. I will be going deeper into the characters and their stories as well as adding more historical elements, but you will still be in a good place for book two. I have pulled the ebook and paperback from the market (the audiobook has to remain, but it will also be revised) and will re-release it when both it and Redeeming the Past are ready. That might take a while, but my desire for these books to be the best they can be will push me toward the finish line.

 
I want to thank all of you who have supported me in this transition to a new genre. It means a lot to have readers follow my work, no matter what the character names are. My husband recently suggested I take some time to write something just for fun. I have taken his advice and hope to turn this bit of a distraction into a fun treat for those who have given me encouragement while writing this series with their warm wishes, reads, and reviews. If you haven’t subscribed to my site, please do. I will be paying more attention to the blog and posting more about my writing process and progress over the next months. Also, check out our Vanity and Pride Press website for all the latest news from both me and Cat. Take care all and happy reading!

Redeeming the Past

Greetings dear readers! I am afraid I come before you with bad news. My plans for a January pre-sale of Redeeming the Past did not come to fruition. I cannot tell you why, but Amazon will not currently allow me to list my sale date after the middle of May. Since I do not plan to release until June, that poses a problem. I am at the keyboard everyday and am typing as fast as the characters, and my darling four-month-old little man, will allow. Check my social media sites often for updates and teasers. I promise you, my dear friends, that this one will be worth the wait.

 

~~Pam

Sophia’s Sofa Chat Giveaway!

Hello dear friends! I recently had the great privilege of sitting down with blogger, reviewer and author Sophia Rose in her Goodreads living room. We had such a lovely time that I wanted to celebrate by giving away a Surrendering the Past ebook to two readers who comment on Sophia’s post. If you haven’t already, head on over to Sophia’s and see what all we chatted about. I’ll announce the winners on September 12th!

Big Giveaway Winners

The big launch giveaway ended yesterday and the winners have been randomly chosen. Thanks to everyone who entered, signed up at the blogs, commented on posts, and tweeted. Be on the look out for more blog visits in the coming months. Congratulations to all the winners. I’ll email you in the next day or two to get your information.

Kindle Fire + Amazon Gift Card: Gina Marie

Pretty as a Peacock Prize Pack: Kasia Burlakoff

Ebooks: Pricilla T and Lynn Bischoff

Happy reading, everyone. See you soon!

 

 

Surrendering The Past

Surrendering the Past Cover LARGE EBOOK

In a world of honor and obligation, falling in love can be a dangerous game. Captain Richard Granville has returned to London after serving the Crown in perilous missions fighting Napoleon’s army. Bone weary and distrustful of all around him, the captivating Jane Dawson awakens his long dormant desire for more than a solitary existence. When he learns she is betrothed to his father, the conniving and dangerous Earl of Litchfield, shadows of the past descend upon Richard, bringing along memories of a tortuous childhood and his failure to protect the person he had loved most.

 
Jane Dawson would pay any price to renew her family’s happiness, but is the cost of marrying Lord Litchfield too high? A woman of virtue and honor, she cannot break a promise once given, especially when doing so would ruin those she seeks to protect. But can she ignore the connection she feels to the wild soldier who understands both her duty and her heart?

 
Follow the men of the Granville family in this suspenseful Regency romance series as they discover that their family legacy is much darker than they realized and that the future holds treasures they can only grasp by surrendering the past.