Tag Archives: Self-publishing

Finding My Joy

Norton Nominated PrincessI finished a new novel yesterday.

I didn’t write the words “THE END” because I was running late for a dinner party. I sent the last chapter to my mom (she reads chapter by chapter) and the whole thing to my editor and went off to watch the sunset at Cocoa Beach (technically, the Banana River).

I don’t think I was much fun at the dinner party. Which was okay–it meant I got to sit around and soak up other people’s stories for a while. And it allowed me to process some things.

Because I had just finished the first book I’m ever going to self publish.

I know what you must be thinking right now: “I get it. She got dumped by her publisher because she’s a terrible writer. Ugh. I don’t have to listen to this.” I know this is going through some people’s minds because it’s what went through my mind many, many times in those first days.

Yes, I did get dumped by my publisher last year. I also got dumped by my boyfriend. Turns out, sometimes in a failing relationship you accidentally find a door marked EXIT. Sometimes even in the same 24 hours.

I’m here to tell you to take it.

Here’s what I heard happened with the publisher: Somebody new came in. Somebody higher up. For whatever reason, everyone I knew and loved at my publisher started leaving. The head of Digital. The head of Marketing. My own beloved editor. Turns out, my publishing contract was just one of the first casualties of this event. You know, no hard feelings.

I had spent years forming these relationships. If they hadn’t dropped me like a hot potato, I would have been forced to start fresh with all new people…even if I didn’t like them. As it was, I was going to have to work with all of these new people for my last book there. They pushed back the release date, sent it through several more rounds of copyedits even after the final pages were done, and declined the change we had decided to make on the cover. One of the new people, I fell in love with. One of the new people I didn’t care for at all.

And yet, like that terrible boyfriend, if they had asked me back in those first few months I probably would have said yes.

There have been other times like this in the past when the Universe has saved me from myself. This is why, when I look up at the stars at night and don’t have a wish on the tip of my tongue, I say, “Thank you.”

I finished a book last night. My editor will look at it today, because her only client is me. I have full approval on the cover art. And the title. Barnes and Noble will not be swooping in to change anything at the last minute. My author photo will be on the back (or jacket flap). I have a copyeditor lined up, and proofreaders, and I have to get back to the layout people.

This book could be out in a month.

Beyond that: New York would never have let me write this book in the first place. There are already two parallel novels in the Woodcutter Sisters Series — this is a third. It’s a spinoff series, like starting Angel in the middle of Buffy. If Dearest is Book 3 of the Woodcutter Series, this is Book 2.5. Also, the entire novel’s worth of adventure bumps right up against 40,000 words. New York pretty much has no idea what to do with that.

But you know what? My fans know what to do with it. Mom read the last chapter this morning over her coffee, gave it two thumbs up, and yelled, “ENCORE!”

I am thankful that the romance writing community has embraced self-publishing in such a vigorous way, when other genres still look down their noses at it. You know what? I think every published author should try self-publishing a novel, in the same way I think everyone in America should have to work a retail job through the Christmas season. Short stories don’t count. I’ve self-pubbed those too. It’s not the same. You have to spend months–YEARS–invested in a title and then realize that, if your ducks are in a row, it will be in the hands of fans around the world in one month. Not a year, not two years, but ONE MONTH.

That is where the joy is. JOY. That is the strange feeling I contemplated in silence as I watched the dolphins frolic in the twilight.

Would I like to continue publishing with traditional New York publishers? Yes. Specifically, I would like to work with my beloved editor again at her new publisher. But I will be finishing the Woodcutter Series on my own, with no fear.

The paperback of Dearest will hit stores next February. My goal now is to see how many books I can get out into the world before then.

What are your goals for 2015? It’s not too late. It’s never too late!

Xio Axelrod Swims with the Mermaids

Roll out the red carpet. We have a special guest in the Mermaid Lagoon today and I’m so excited about it! *Glitter toss* Not only is her self-pubbed novella, The Calum, releasing tomorrow, but she’s funny, smart, and some would say, quite “tasty.” Curious? Read on…

In her debut Waterworld Mermaid appearance, please welcome, Mermaid for a Day, Xio Axelrod.

Congratulations! Your novella, The Calum, is releasing tomorrow. Care to tell us a little about it?The Calum

Thank you! It’s so exciting. The Calum is really about fantasy versus reality. Imagine, if you will, that you had a chance to meet your ultimate book boyfriend in the flesh. My heroine’s roommate is obsessed with Calum MacKenzie, a character from her favorite novel. The girls travel to Scotland in search of “the Calum”. Do they find him? You’ll have to read to find out.

The idea came about while watching Outlander fans collectively swoon over Jamie Fraser. Everyone I know is in love with him. And no, I’m not immune. JAMMF all the way, baby.

You decided to self-publish this novella. Can you tell us why you decided to go that route and a little bit about the process of self-publishing?

There’s a fantastic quote from Leonardo da Vinci. “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” I’m fairly new to the romance world and to publishing in general. After attending a few conferences and chatting with a lot of lovely friends who are authors, I realized how long the publishing process can be. Essentially, you submit your work and wait. And wait. And wait some more. Newsflash: I am not a patient person.

In my life as an independent musician, DIY is de rigueur. I am most comfortable having complete control over my career, so this should have been a no-brainer. It wasn’t. I went back and forth for months before I finally pulled the trigger. Once the decision was made, I realized I had all of the pieces in place to make a run at it. I am a social media maven by nature, I have an amazing network of talented, supportive authors willing to offer advice, and I’m handy with PhotoShop. It was just a matter of finding the right company to distribute my work. So here we are. My fingers and toes are crossed. I do still plan to submit to agents and publishers, but I have others works set aside for that.

I hear you’re part of this thing on Facebook called #TastyTuesday. What is it and how did it start?

You heard about that, did you? Well, being a newbie, I wanted to establish the tone for my brand as an author. What better way to do that than with photos of hot guys? Ha! Of course, there’s much more to Tasty Tuesday than that. When you, Denny S. Bryce and Kim Golden came aboard, it became a celebration of all of the things we love. We all share what inspires us as authors, and that is an excellent behind-the-scenes look at what makes us tick. I especially like the fact that we change themes every week and continually find new ones to explore. Plus, hot guys!

Plotter or Pantser?

Hybrid. That’s a cop out answer, I know, but it’s true. I plot in my head, sometimes for weeks, before I ever type a single word in Scrivener. I learned long ago when I wrote fan fiction that if I outlined a story on paper (or on the screen), I could never finish it. Once I knew the ending, the story was done for me. I’ve figured out a way to work around that by never writing down the ending until I get there in the manuscript. It’s working so far but talk to me in a year or so.

Let’s take a quick break from writing, what TV shows are you currently watching and what’s your favorite show of all time?

You’ve opened up a can of gummy worms there. I am a TV junkie, particularly genre television. My current fave is Outlander, of course. It was so thrilling to watch a beloved favorite come to life on screen. They’ve done a fantastic job so far and I can’t wait until the series returns in April. *sigh* April! Did I mention I wasn’t a patient person?

Other shows I love include Hannibal, Arrow, The Flash, American Horror Story, Doctor Who, Sleepy Hollow, The Walking Dead…do you see a theme yet? Favorite show of all time? I honestly can’t say that I have one. X-Files? Star Trek: the Next Generation? Farscape? I could never pick one. Junkie, here.

I love Inside the Actor’s Studio, especially the 10 questions James Lipton asks at the end of the show. Without further ado:

  1. What is your favorite word? Saudades. It’s Portuguese and untranslatable, but it is the feeling of missing something or someone.
  2. What is your least favorite word? No.
  3. What turns you on? Intelligence.
  4. What turns you off? Arrogance.
  5. What sound or noise do you love? Laughter.
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? Cutlery clashing against plates/bowls. (Don’t laugh.)
  7. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck.
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I think I’d make a pretty good television writer/director.
  9. What profession would you not like to do? POTUS
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? I told you so.

LastlyXio Axelrod, what are you working on now?

I’m plotting (in my head, of course) book two of the Calum series and book one of the next in my “book boyfriend” series. I’m also editing my web serial, Starstruck, into a series of books. I hope to publish the first one, Falling Stars, next spring. And, if that wasn’t enough, I am finishing book one of an erotic romance series for agent submissions. Other than that, I’m working on my new album. Busy? Me? Nah. Thanks for letting me be a mermaid for a day!

Let’s clap our fins together for Xio! Wasn’t she a fabulous Mermaid for a day! Check out all of her book and author info below.

The Calum

Twenty-six is too old to believe in fairytales, but tell that to Lovie’s roommate. Convinced she’ll find a real life version of her ultimate book boyfriend, Calum MacKenzie, Jo drags Lovie to the Scottish Highlands. Lovie’s no cynic *ahem* but she knows The Calum is a myth. A construct. A freaking unicorn! And there are warmer places to spend Christmas vacation.

If Duff had his way, he’d never step foot in Inverness again. Only his best friend’s wedding, and his ailing grandmother, could bring him home. Duff’s plan is keep his head down and stay out of trouble. Hard to do when the groom targets a pretty blond tourist for one last conquest.

When Duff and Lovie meet, stones, sparks and insults fly. He’s instantly attracted to the sexy, sharp-tongued American. She’s just glad to have someone to hang out with, especially the bad boy with a mysterious past. Lovie is determined to learn his secrets, but as they grow closer, Duff is forced to choose between his best friend and his heart.

I can’t wait to order The Calum tomorrow! Here are the Buy Links.





Link to Follow Tour

Goodreads Link

I MUST know more about this Xio! You’re in luck. Here are her Author Links.


Amazon Author Page


What’s the Point?

Our actions should have points to them. Characters in books generally have a point—an arc that shows where they’ve been and where they’re going. But sometimes I feel like nothing has a real point, or we’ve covered the real thing with glitter to hide the underlying problem.
Here are things that I can’t quite understand. What’s the point?

Giving free t-shirts to participants in walks for the homeless. Ummm. Not sure I get this one. I have five kids who have participated for years at their school. They get free shirts and walk around the school to help the homeless. First of all let me say quite clearly that our family volunteers and gives plenty to our local community action center. I’m not being insensitive here. I’m just wondering if we couldn’t serve the homeless a little better by actually giving them plain t-shirts or the money that it costs the companies to make them. Wouldn’t that serve the homeless a little better? I get that it’s publicity, but do the people who actually care about the homeless need the visual reminder?

Putting flyers under the windshield of cars. First of all, I WILL NEVER BUY ANYTHING THAT IRRITATES ME. And pulling random pieces of paper out from under my windshield irritates me. I’m wondering what the point of this is? I think that should be illegal. Generally the outcome is hundreds of pointless flyers littering the parking lot and lots of irritated people driving and trying to get the annoying flyer off their windshields.

Breast cancer awareness walks. I know I’m going to get people screaming in outrage for this one, but just hear me out. I’m not a great lover of breast cancer. Almost everyone has been affected by breast cancer in some way or another. We are either a survivor, know a survivor or have attended a funeral of one who didn’t survive. I just don’t understand the solidarity thing of the walk. Where are the pancreatic or prostrate walkers? Where are the walks for brain tumors? And just because someone is walking for a cure for breast cancer doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to be excited to give you money. I can give my own money in my own way for whatever charity or research I want. I don’t really care how many miles you walk for whatever reason. Just go out walk, and I’ll donate where I think best.

Bumper stickers. Who cares where your kid goes to school or if they’re on the freaking honor roll? Who cares if you’re pro-life or pro-choice? Who cares if you’re a vegetarian or a marathon runner or whatever else you think is important? Are you going to have a long-term relationship with the person behind you at a stoplight? No! And don’t get me started with the stick-figure families on the back of minivans. I have a family. That’s not what they look like at all.

Wrapping paper fundraisers. I hate you! I hate the package that comes home from school. I hate the order form and the little prizes the kids can win from making our friends and loved ones buy crappy wrapping paper. Who thought this was EVER a good fundraiser? It’s a waste of paper all around. The amount of trees that this stupid fundraiser kills is just plain awful. Trees for the order sheets and magazines showcasing overpriced wrapping paper. Then the wrapping paper itself. Then the boxes that transport the overpriced products. And then the kids get their fabulous plastic lead-filled toys from China. Woo hoo!  A winning situation all the way around!

Which brings me to my last rant of the day. Writing and publication. Why do people write stories? If we’re in the business as a business and plan to make an easy six-figure deal and glide through the whole process stress-free, then my hats go off to you if you succeed. I always said I couldn’t understand self-publishing. Why do people self-publish if they aren’t good enough for a traditional publisher? Well, I’ve changed my tune on that. It gets back to the point. What’s the point of writing? If it’s so that you can share your stories with others and make them love your characters like you love them, then what’s wrong with getting those books out there so others can enjoy them?

There should be a point to what we do. We shouldn’t get caught up in the glittery wrapping paper of life. Uncover the real points. If you want to get involved with helping the homeless, organize a food drive. If you want to help those with breast cancer, make some meals for the family or offer to help on a personal level in some other way. If you want to support your kids in school, support them with a monetary donation or give your time instead of clogging up landfills with crappy, overpriced and glittery wrapping paper. And if you want your stories to be read and appreciated by others, maybe you shouldn’t wait for that to happen.

What’s the point? Ask yourself.

Is there anything that bothers you or you think is pointless?  Here’s your chance to rant!


J.T. Bock Rocks Our Socks, er, Fins

You’ll never believe this! A scary, ugly sea monster jumped into our lagoon while we were all away having a festive Mermaid party and STOLE our words! Sigh. Well, that happens sometimes. But never fear, I, Kerri-Mermaid, grabbed my cloak of awesomeness and fought the dreaded beast until he gave me this interview with J.T. Bock back. So, without further ado, please welcome (or re-welcome) J.T. Bock to the Mermaid Lagoon.

I am thrilled beyond belief to have recently published author J.T. Bock join us in the lagoon. In fact, I’m so excited that I’m throwing the typical bio out the window. So here goes…

This lady rocks my socks! Not only is her debut novel, A Surefire Way, AMAZING, but she is a fellow Joss Whedon fan, she’s been to Comic-Con, she self-published her book and she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met! Okay, I won’t make you wait any longer.

In her debut Waterworld Mermaid appearance, please welcome J.T. Bock. Continue reading