Getting Selective

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I’ve gone back and forth and back and forth on this decision. And I finally came to a conclusion. I don’t really know what I’m doing. In daily¬†life, I’m okay (yes, Deborah, I’m being serious). But when it comes to this marketing thing for my books? No freakin’ way.

When I first published, all the way back in September of 2016, I had decided to go wide. That means I published everywhere (Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, etc.). But then I got tangled in the weeds. So many articles and data on how to promote this and you need to post here, but watch out because you can’t have more than one thread per book. What in the ever loving hell did that mean? I had to Google ‘thread’ and figure it out. That was after I got blocked by a moderator because, apparently, I’m a moron. Thank god I use a pen name.

So, to simplify my life for the next 90 days, I unpublished everywhere except Amazon. I enrolled in Select, and scheduled my first free book day (details will be below, Deborah–you need to calm down, we all know you’re cheap as hell). I posted something on KBoards, which I didn’t even know existed until three days ago. Yeah, yeah, I’m not 22. I don’t know shit. Thanks for reminding me.

But I gotta tell ya, I feel good about this. It’s the first time I could easily make my book free on Amazon. And I like that. I know I get $0.00 from ‘free’ sales. But I think it’s a great way to promote the fact that the second book in the series will come out 2/23/17. I’ll let you know how it goes. Or not. If you hear about a trail of fire and brimstone scattered across the Midwest in a week or so, you’ll know.

Now let’s get down and dirty, y’all:
1. Working On It (Book 1) will be FREE 2/18/17, then $0.99 through 2/23/17
2. Working For It (Book 2) releases 2/23/17 and is available for Pre-Order now ($2.99)
3. Both are free on KU
4. Both have paperback versions (not free!)

Much love and happy reading! If you have any thoughts on KDP Select (good, bad, ugy), I’m open to suggestions (that’s what she said). ūüėČ

Loving Love

It’s Valentine’s Day, y’all! And I’m sitting here, typing away on my computer, thinking about how in the hell I’m going to kill off this annoying character. It’s not easy writing fantasy romance, while worrying about¬†how to kill people, getting to the grocery, getting cards for my kids, getting them to soccer on time, figuring out which sexy outfit to wear (not for the kids, Deborah–for my husband! Sicko). I thought the day of love was supposed to be … lovely. But it’s really just stressing me the F¬†out. And the next person who asks, “What’s for dinner?” dies. I will seriously kill you, like the character in this book. Seriously.

No, Deborah, it’s not my grandmother getting murdered this time. It’s … well, I can’t tell you because I haven’t finished the damned book. It’s super-secret info. If I told you, I’d have to kill you. So, I guess you’re the character. Kidding! Can you tell I’ve had too much coffee? I kind of feel like I have ADD right now. I have a million things to do and I just want to write.

Why can’t I just do what I wanna do when I wanna do it? Oh, because I’m not 3? Okay. Yes, Copernicus, I know I’m not the center of the universe. But sometimes I really want to be, for like three hours in a row. Can I get three hours? All you humans out there juggling 50 balls in the air right now, you get it. It’s not that I don’t love the balls I’m juggling. I just want to focus on one of them without the other balls getting all pissy and whiney about it. Know what I mean?

And now I feel guilty about bitching on love-day. And that ticks me off. I seem to be an angry elf today. Wait, what day is it? Oh, yes, it’s PMS Day 1. Totally makes sense now. Thank god there’s chocolate in the house. Everyone is safe. Crisis averted.

Thanks for talking me down, Universe. That was a close one.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Last Chance for #Love

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It’s February. Time to get your love on, people! The comma placement was very important in that sentence, FYI. Otherwise, you’re getting your love on people. And that’s not socially acceptable, Deborah.

Today is the last day to get free and discounted books during the All 4 Love Indie Romance Event. Find out more here. Look for the #loveindiepromo on social media.

All 4 Love

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On September 23, 2016, I put myself out there for the world to judge. I published a book-a romance book, no less. Okay, okay, yes I used a pen name and not my real name. But I can assure you that Cass Alexander would be just as vulnerable as I am. But this post isn’t about me. It’s about falling in love with the authors I’ve met along the way.

Clicking that Publish button was easy. And exhilarating. I could have written complete garbage, but still had it published. What I hadn’t realized was that by clicking that button, I had joined an incredible group known as Indie Authors.

Nobody told me that there was a automatic support group, ready to go, to welcome me on board the writing ship. I started researching what steps I needed to take in order to be a successful author. I made a Facebook page and joined Twitter. I learned about hashtags. And then I joined Goodreads.

I found myself in a thread (after having Googled what that was–yes, I know, I am not as smart as I thought I was) in a group for Romance Writers and Readers. I believe it was called, “Say Hello, Pretty Please.” So I did. And I received immediate welcome messages and pretend plates of cookies. Even a few glasses of wine and champagne–I can’t really remember since they gave me so much (hee-hee).

But what I really received was the gift of support and advice and knowing of what it was like to put yourself out there. It didn’t matter what I wrote. They were happy for me, that I had done something that so few do. And they cheered! This was especially important for me. Using a pen name limited my ability to share my excitement with people I know.

I feel like I’m a part of something special. I am blown away by how supportive independent authors are to one another, even ones¬†I have met outside my Goodreads threads. And I love it. Seriously. I fall in love with them more every day.

And now I get to try something new with them. The Romance Writers & Readers that I met on Goodreads have banded together to do something amazing for their readers. The group will offer their books for free or discounted prices on February 11 and 12 of 2017.

You can check out the event here. The website also has some Book Features and Spotlights that may interest readers, along with Resources for writers. It’s pretty damn impressive.

If you are considering publishing, do it! You will be welcomed to the community with open arms. You will have opportunities to share and ask questions and possibly even participate in future events such as the one next weekend. And I will be waiting for you with a glass of champagne in hand (not for you, Deborah! That’s my champagne. Geez, you act like you don’t even know me).

Working For It

girl-lying-down-working-for-it-cover-small      you-are-pregnant-joke

It’s over. I did it. The second book is finished. And I had to really work for it this time (that’s what she said). But seriously, I did. And yes, people, that was a totally obvious play on the title of the book. Geesh. Give me some cred.

To piggy back off of my post from two months ago, Second Verse, Harder Than the First, I hit wall after wall with this book. This character was awesome. She was smart and funny and I had to have her end up with the main dude. But I kind of wanted her to tell everyone to piss off and go live a life in Europe…or get kidnapped by some handsome sheikh and become his willing sex slave. But that’s probably best left for a different book and genre.

And then I had to tell myself that I am not in the book and that Jen Dixon is not Cass Alexander. Once I got over myself and put myself back into Jen’s shoes–and her giant-ass bra (which means a bra for big boobies, not a bra for your huge ass, Deborah)–I was able to get back on track. Kind of.

This was the second book set on the Persimmon College campus. The first book (Working On It) was over 83,000 words long. I spent some time explaining the setting and characters. It took up space. I also really liked the heroine, Rebecca, who is kinda sorta modeled after myself. And I love talking about myself (duh).

But then I moved onto Jen, and I didn’t want to re-explain the dynamic of Persimmon. I already did that once. Also, I realized that 83,000 words is a shit ton of words. Seriously. I mean, Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is only 46,000 words. And I don’t think¬†Of Mice and Men¬† is more than 30,000 words in length. And it was fantastic despite the fact that it messed with my head.

Now, don’t go thinking I am comparing my naughty little comedy to literature giants. Because this girl knows better. But I had to accept the fact that a romance novel, even one that may go into hard print (is that an expression? hard print?), does not have to be 80,000 words long. Sometimes succinct storytelling is better. So that’s what I did.

Also, I may or may not have wrapped that shit up because I had an idea for a fantasy novel that I really wanted to start. So I did. Boom.

p.s. I’ll be dropping it like it’s hot on 2/23/17 (the book, Deborah–get your act together). You can find Pre-Order links for Working For It on the My Works Page link below
https://cassalexanderblog.wordpress.com/my-works/

Pen Names Are Like Condoms

Using a pen name is like wearing a “life” condom. It protects you from the unwanted consequences of your actions. It’s a barrier that lessons the anxiety of putting it out there–‘it’ being your work, of course (get your mind out of the gutter, Deborah). I didn’t realize how much I would appreciate mine until last week.

My last post was also about my pen name; but in it I was wondering if I should alter it. Never did I question if I needed one. I do. I seriously need one. I need it like a prostitute needs a condom. Is that a saying? If not, can we make it one? I mean, nobody really talks about whores in church nowadays, who, by the way, also would need condoms. But I digress.

Last week, a lovely friend of mine, who happens to be a sorority sister from college, put a post on Facebook about my book. She said some positive¬†things and posted the Amazon link to Working On It. Within minutes, several people were adding to the post and asking some questions, as well as *gasp* buying it. It was awesome. I probably owe this friend a beer–if you’re reading this, thank you!

My¬†sorority sister knows I wrote the book. But the others don’t (or, didn’t, I should say). I had a moment of hesitation of revealing myself. That pen name on the cover would protect me from any negative comments. It can’t magically prevent them, but if these people that I went to college with had terrible things to say about my writing, it’s okay because I’ve got some protection…a barrier…a figurative female condom.¬†They aren’t talking about me, they’re talking about Cass. And how flippin’ delusional of me. I am Cass. Obviously.

I wasn’t prepared for that nervous ball of energy in my gut that started growing the second people expressed interest in reading what I wrote. I mean, my god, what if they hated it? I pride myself on being a bit of a badass. But being a writer and publishing the shit inside my head? It’s difficult. It’s not easy putting yourself out there, especially if you know that your humor might be a little twisted or that others might not share your affinity for the urban dictionary. Side note, I will continue to use the word ‘twatwaffle’ for the rest of my life.

And maybe I haven’t really put myself out there yet because I hide behind my pen name. But since I’m not ready to take on total¬†responsibility or deal with any sort of fall out, I think I need to continue to practice safe writing.

Condoms save lives, y’all!

What’s in a Name?

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Before I published my first book (yeah, yeah, and only book to date), my husband and I went round and round over the author name that should appear on the cover. We debated¬†the merits of using a¬†pen name vs. my real name. In the end, we decided this first go at romance writing would require a pen name. We didn’t want our kids’ friends or their parents making any sort of comment to our kids about it. Also, I’ve been in public education for a decade. Can you imagine what would happen if it was well-known that I write naughty things in books?

With great care–okay, with some brief Google research–I set out to find the perfect pen name. I quickly found it doesn’t exist. So I went with something I found pleasing to the ear, slapped it on my book, and published it. And now I think I have to alter it.

I have set up this blog, my Twitter, email, and a Facebook account with this pen name. Without really knowing what I was doing, I quickly earned 400 followers on Twitter. I think that’s pretty good considering that I had never used it before and relied solely on Twitter interactions and Amazon for helping me find followers. I didn’t even know how to utilize hashtags to get my Tweets in front of people. I can hear some of you laughing at that number, but don’t feel bad, I can take it. I can handle any ridicule because my real name Twitter account has 14 followers. 14! I blame the people I know¬†for the low number because so few of them are on Twitter. I could get more if I wanted. I could. My family thinks this is hilarious, by the way.

Anyway, back to fake me. I was doing some publishing research and I came across an author with a name very similar to my pen name. She has multiple books with an actual publisher. So she wins. I doubt I have it in my heart to destroy the Cass Alexander I’ve come to know and love (she is me, after all). I suppose I could leave my Twitter handle as @cassalexan as long as my printed name is some form of that. I was thinking C. Alexander. Or C.C. Alexander. I don’t want to do this, but I’m pretty sure if I want to be successful, I can’t be mistaken for someone else. Or I could sell 1 million copies, tell the world to fuck off, and use my real name. Hmm. I like that option better. Let’s make it happen, people! Bwahahaaa! <—Evil laugh

Oh, Sweet Revenge! Kind of…

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Oops, I did it again.

I’m starting to see a disturbing trend¬†in my writing: I might be a terrible person. I sometimes¬†pull people from my subconscious (a.k.a. long list of people on my naughty list) and put collective pieces of their personalities into a single character. Not my main characters, of course. But the side-show characters that help me add comedic relief–at their expense. And it’s not just my grandmother (see Punching Grandma post).

Someone tell me this is¬†normal. Do it. Now. Or I’ll write about you. See! I can’t stop. And I’m not sure I want to. My, God. It’s an addiction. Look, Mom, my first real addiction!

Thankfully, I do use a pen name; though I’m not sure how great of one it is. (Thinking of changing it. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments.). A few people know my real name and are probably wondering if they’re on my list. No, they are not. I know better. Well, except for the whole ‘Punching Grandma’ thing. But that was a one-off. Probably.

I’m not sure what my point is, because, frankly, I’m not going to stop doing it. I can’t. It’s not done consciously. And none of my characters are “real” people. My writing is 100% fictional. None of the situations actually happened. But if I see a character on television, or remember a jerk from my past, and sprinkle a little of how he/she made me feel into my writing, is that so wrong? Is it a little piece of revenge? Or is it simply a representation of feelings I buried that need to get out in a constructive way? Yes, let’s choose the last option. It makes me sound like less of a revenge-seeking lunatic. Continue reading

So I Went To a Party Last Night…

Last night was a rare night out for the hubs and I. Our kids were at a friend’s overnight and we were out on the town. Okay, not really, but we did use an Uber to go to a holiday party at the home of some¬†friends from college. And shit got awkward. Real fast. You’ll have to forgive me if this post sounds disjointed–but Momma’s nursing a hangover and the brain-to-typing-fingers router may be broken.

We only knew a handful of people at the party, but that’s okay because we’re good socializers. Just ask our Uber drivers. The problem was that, since I knew I had a sober ride home, I decided to embrace this one night of freedom. And by embrace, I mean inhale a half-liter¬†of wine and move on to the vodka and cranberry. Momma doesn’t get out much; and when she does, she tends to talk in the third person.

A couple of hours in, our host¬†says, “So, I heard you wrote a book.” Commence opening can of worms. You see, I wrote a naughty romance under a pen name called, Working On It. And not only did I use a pen name, but the characters from the story share many traits with the handful of college friends at this party. The story is entirely fictional, but inspiration often comes from the familiar. Like accidentally making the villain-mommy in my second book a loose interpretation of my grandmother. It happens.

In all my drunken glory, I decided to tell them. And, oh yes, did I tell them. In front of the other guests. Who were not really “friends” of the hosts, but the parents of their children’s private school friends.¬†Things like, “Oh, and my Virgin Slayer character totally reminds me of you because…” And, “Do you want to be a character in my next book? I can make sure you’re in a band and have a huge…” And let’s not forget, “So, I could kill you, but after you screw your best friend’s girlfriend. Sound good?”

Just wait, it gets worse.

My husband, who is so proud of me for publishing a book, and who is also drinking a lot, starts bragging on my urban dictionary research. I took it as a personal challenge to put some of these fun words in my novel. He decides¬†to throw out my favorite new use of unique vocabulary, like twatwaffle, dickweed, and Adolf Titler. Oh my. Someone asked me what a twatwaffle was. “It’s…well, let’s just say it’s a literal visual.” Room fell silent. But the funny part is they were all imagining the visual.

Okay, okay, that’s what drunk brain told me. Reality? I’m guessing not. I’m not really sure what happened. All I know for sure is that I woke up naked in my bed with a case of anxiety mixed with a pounding headache. That usually means I did or said something I shouldn’t have the night before. Sometimes, I get diarrhea of the mouth when I drink. And, sometimes, I teach a room full of strangers about twatwaffles. Successful night out? I think yes. (Obviously,¬†I have problems. I should write about them).