Happy Indie Pride Day!

IndieBooksBeSeen2016

Since 2014, July 1st is known as Indie Pride Day. It’s a day where Indie Authors shine a spotlight on the great books they’re producing and the entire community comes out to support each other. You can learn more about the movement and how it was started at their website, Indie Books Be Seen.

One of the things I love about the indie author community is how supportive and vibrant it is. The indie authors I’ve met are readers, writers, people who love the written word, interested in research and learning, full of imagination, wit and humor. It’s an incredible group, and I’m honored to count myself among them.

In fact, I got some very welcome and exciting news this morning that Secret Hunger was included on a list of recommended reads featured on the Huffington Post today! You can read the article, “Recommended Reading: #GoIndie with Jenny Bravo” and find my book listed as #10.

Obviously, that inspired me to put together a list of some of the books I’ve recently read featuring indie authors. Some of these authors are people I’ve gotten to know during my time as a writer, many others I have not actually had a chance to interact with. You’ll notice the books are a mix of science fiction, paranormal, dystopic, clean and steamy romance. There are zombies, spaceships, aliens, shifters, yearning, sexy moments, and more.

This is not a ranked list, I simply put the titles in alphabetical order. Most of the books included are a part of a larger series. These are the first book in that series. In some cases, there may be boxed sets available at a better price, so it pays to do a little digging on Amazon!

Ash

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloodfire

 

 

 

 

 

 

BrokenWorld

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elias

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fluency

 

 

 

 

 

 

IntoTheDarkness

 

 

 

 

 

 

TheKeepers

 

 

 

 

 

 

SomewhereInBetween

 

 

 

 

 

 

TacklingSummer

 

 

 

 

 

 

UntilTheEndofTheWorld

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully this will help you find a new, great author you can support. I can personally vouch for all of these and have enjoyed them thoroughly! Happy Reading!

Sophomore Slump

SecretNeedRoughDraft

It’s been just shy of a year since I’ve written a blog post and a lot has happened in that time. Honestly, it’s probably too much to re-cap fully. Instead, I’d like to talk about one of the reasons I stopped posting as much.

After publishing my first book back in  April 2015, I was on an emotional high. Being able to see Secret Hunger go live was the culmination of two years of concentrated, highly motivated work.

The first year of this grand life experiment was spent saving, paying off credit cards, participating in NaNoWriMo, and copious amounts of research. There was a lot on my plate, especially because I was still working my 9-5 job as a stockbroker. I was doing everything I possibly could to make sure I was prepared for my first year as a full-time writer.

The second year was simply spent writing. I made it a point to write daily for 2-5 hours, and I actively participated in two local writing groups, both WriNoShores and Newburyport Writers. I’ve also just started getting to know a third group out of Boston called Write Nite, and look forward learning more about them.

This entire two year journey has been amazing so far. I’ve had the opportunity to meet intelligent, interesting, creative people. I’ve participated in some fun events, including the New England Author Expo, and I’ve learned a ton!

Added to that, Secret Hunger has gotten some very positive feedback. I feel incredibly lucky with how well it’s been received. Granted, it’s my first work and I’m hoping to improve as I go, but it’s a piece that I am proud of and can stand behind.

All that being said, working on my second book has been a huge challenge for me.

I feel like I’ve slogged through every step. The plotting, the story line, the character development…it’s all been one big push. Because it’s been so difficult, it feels like pulling teeth every time I sit down to write. Nothing sounds good. It’s all tripe. What the hell am I doing?

Ugh. The self-doubt is strong with this one.

I’ve been feeling pressure to make this book better than the last one. I received some incredibly helpful critiques about Secret Hunger and I’m anxious not to make the same mistakes again.

This fear, of not improving as a writer, has manifested itself in relentless self-editing as I’ve written the rough draft. I’ve felt hyper-aware of the fact that others were going to read what I’m producing and it’s reflected in the words. Everything is second guessed. As you can imagine, this has greatly hampered the flow – which makes my fear a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Despite all of this, I’m happy to say, I’ve finally finished my rough draft of Secret Need!  While Liz’s story still needs a lot of work, I can finally see a light at the end of this second tunnel.

Now, my next goals will be to finish editing this story and to post more often on the blog. If you’re reading this, thank you for being so patient.

 

Audio Interview with Aaron Hubble

SecretHungerAsh

Back at the beginning of May I participated in an online book fair hosted by Carol Davis called “Spring” into Reading. It was a lot of fun and I had a chance to meet many readers, as well as some fellow authors.

One of those authors was Aaron Hubble. As we talked online, we discovered that we both published our debut novels on the same day. We started to discuss some of the lessons we learned as new indie authors and various methods that we had come up with for producing, publishing, and marketing our books.

Aaron mentioned that he was wanting to do a series of audio interviews and asked if I would be interested. Which, of course, I was!

After a few scheduling missteps and technical difficulties, we managed to have a really great conversation. We talked a little about how I came to the decision to pursue my dream of becoming a writer and the importance of having goals. We also touched upon the topics of NaNoWriMo, my love of science fiction as a romance writer, social media and marketing, finding a community of local authors and how critical I think writing groups are, as well as what my current and future projects will be.

Well, I’m happy to say that interview has just been posted! I’d like to invite you all to go check it out on Aaron’s site and let him know what you think. If you leave a comment on his blog post, he’s going to enter you into a contest to win a free copy of my book, Secret Hunger.

Also, this is the start of what we’re hoping to turn into a new author talk series where we take some time to bounce ideas off each other, discuss what’s working (and what’s not,) and give a general idea of what it’s like to go through this process as a new author. Stay tuned!

Satin Russell – Author Interview

Book Launch Party Re-cap

IMG_1774As you probably know from previous posts, I threw my first book launch party for Secret Hunger over the weekend, and I’m happy to say I think it went very well!

I mentioned that I had two main fears going into the event. Either nobody showed up or too many people showed up and I planned poorly for the hor d’oeuvres. Thankfully, neither of those situations occurred. In fact, I planned for about thirty-five people to come by and that’s what happened – almost exactly!

Big thanks to Sean at Crave Bistro and Sara – the bartender extraordinaire. I thought it would be fun to hold the event in a venue other than a bookstore or library, and they really came through for me. The restaurant is beautiful, there was plenty of room to set up chairs, and it was large enough to encourage guests to get up and move around afterwards.

HUGE thanks to Lynne Favreau, my good friend and co-founder of the Wrinoshores writing group. She has not only helped me every step of the way for this party, but has been there since the first meeting of my very first NaNoWriMo.

I honestly don’t know what I would do without this fantastic woman. I had been to a recent book launch party the week before and loved the interview format that Edith Maxwell had done for her book, Farmed and Dangerous. So, one week before the party, I asked – well, kind of dumped the idea – into Lynne’s lap. She was gracious and agreed to step into the role of interviewer…and then came up with a set of really great questions!

There are a few things that I would do differently for next time. I read four excerpts and would probably cut it down to three, somewhat smaller ones. I got some valuable feedback that suggested I read a little slower next time (I was a bit nervous, especially for that first one.)

Also, I sent out a few press releases and submitted to local calendar events, but I don’t think it was enough. Next time, I’ll start my promoting earlier and try to create a bit more buzz. Even though the event wasn’t being held at a bookstore or library, I should have reached out to my local bookstores and seen if they could help spread the word for me.

At any rate, the most important thing is that I think people had a good time! Here’s some photos and a short video of a couple of questions from the interview. Lynne had just asked me if I would do anything differently while publishing my second book.

Book Launch Party and New England Author Expo

BookLaunchI know it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written a post and I wanted to take a moment to talk about a few events that are coming up.

First off, I’m holding a book launch party for Secret Hunger this weekend, Saturday June 13th from 12 – 3 PM. It’s going to be held at Crave Bistro in Amesbury, MA and is free and open to the public.

If you are reading this post and anywhere in the area, feel free to stop by! There will be hors d’oeurves, cocktails, door raffle prizes – including a $50 dinner gift certificate – and, of course signed books available for sale.

This is my first book launch party and I’m happy and nervous in equal measure. I keep thinking up worst case scenarios. What if no one comes? What if way too many people come and I haven’t planned enough food? What on earth am I going to say? Should I read excerpts from my book? Oh geez, what passages should I read?

Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes. I’m also planning on writing a future post about how I planned my book launch party, different elements I was aiming for,  photos from the event, as well as any tips and tricks I learned along the way for next time.

2015 New England Authors Expo

I’m also excited to announce that I will be attending the 2015 New England Author Expo at the Danversport Yacht Club on Wednesday, July 29th. This event highlights authors, illustrators, and publishers from the New England region. It’s free to the public from 4 – 9 PM and the location is absolutely beautiful.

I’m really looking forward to this! It will be the first event I’ll be participating in as an author. It should be a great chance to network with fellow writers, as well as a way to connect with new readers.

Before signing up, I had an opportunity to talk with the founder and coordinator of the event, Christopher Obert. Not only did I find him warm and supportive, but he took the time to answer all my questions and allay some of my new author fears.

He also gave me a little bit of history of the author expo.  It all started very organically and is truly a “grassroots” affair. That’s not to imply it’s insubstantial, however. Their first book event was in 2006, and they’ve been hosting something annually ever since! They began using the name “Author Expo” back in 2012. Last year they actually sold out space with over a hundred authors represented!

ASHI’m also going to be doing an interview with science fiction author Aaron Hubble this Wednesday. I met Aaron while participating in a Facebook online book fair called “Spring” into Reading a couple of weeks ago. Through our conversations, we discovered that we had both published our debut novels on the same day. As we were comparing notes, he told me that he wanted to start a series of interviews featuring new authors and talking about various lessons they’d learned. It sounded like a great opportunity to review this past year and share perspectives with someone else who had been going through a similar process. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s posted. In the meantime, if you are a fan of science fiction like me, you should go check out his new book, Ash: Farpointe Initiative Book One.

Lastly, I’ve also been planning a series of blog posts focusing on some of the lessons I’ve learned this past year as I’ve fumbled my way through my first book. My plan is to have them all written, and publish them once a week starting sometime mid-July. Some of the topics I plan on discussing are plotting vs. pantsing, how to craft a query e-mail to book bloggers, and what I would do differently for my second book. The series will be called BookBound: Lessons Learned While Writing My First Novel.

My plan going into this stage was to focus on promotion and marketing for the first month after my book was published, and then turning back to writing and focusing on my second book. I’ve read a lot of advice that cautions new authors not to spend so much time promoting that they lose sight of the fact that they’re an writer first and foremost. Now that it’s July, I’ve taken those words to heart and am once again spending hours at my local cafe plotting out Liz Harper’s story. Hopefully, the process will be a little smoother this next go-around. Or, barring that, hopefully I’ll find a whole bunch of new mistakes to make!

 

Secret Hunger Proof Copy!

I will probably write an actual post sometime later this week. But, for now – check it out! Okay, I’ll admit, I got a little shiver when I opened the box and saw the physical copy of my book for the first time. Hopefully, no matter how many books I end up writing, I’ll always get those goosebumps.

Secret Hunger’s First Week

AmazonScreenshotWow. Can you believe it’s already been a week since I published Secret Hunger?

This first week out of the gate I concentrated on uploading my print files to CreateSpace, reserved a place for my book launch party on June 13th, and wrote a few dozen book bloggers asking if they would consider reviewing my book.

I also participated in a Facebook online book fair and met a number of avid book lovers, as well as talented authors.

Incidentally, Hugh Howey just recently wrote a blog post in response to a fan asking him what the best way to support a favorite author was. If you’re a reader, it’s definitely worth taking a look.

Hugh helps illuminate the various factors that affect self-published authors. (Well, technically all authors, but I think the effects are most keenly felt by self-published authors.)

He says, “If you really want to support your favorite authors, my advice is simple: Read their books. Spread word-of-mouth. Write reviews. Email them and express your delight.”

I’ve been a voracious reader all my life but never fully understood just how much reviews meant to authors, and how leaving one impacts visibility for potential readers.

Now, having just published my own debut novel a week ago, I can absolutely attest to this. Reviews, word of mouth, and feedback are GOLD to an author.

I can’t say I’ve had a huge influx of sales, but so far they have maintained a steady drip. In total, I’ve sold 23 copies, and had 11 borrows through KU. I’m sure those numbers are modest compared to many other authors, but as it stands, I’m pretty happy with how my first week has gone.

Of course, there’s always room for improvement. For that reason, I’m also actively looking for book bloggers interested in reviewing my book. I’m happy to provide a free copy, and only ask for an honest review in return.

If you (or someone you know) are interested, please contact me. You can either leave a comment in this post, or email me at satinrussell [at] hotmail [dot] com. I’ll probably only keep this offer open until I reach an arbitrary number of reviews posted, so don’t wait!

Secret Hunger is Now Available!

Secret Hunger Cover - OFFICIALAaahhh! Can you believe it? Secret Hunger went live late yesterday afternoon and is now available for sale on Amazon. Which means I’m officially a published author! Holy cow, that’s cool. I feel like shouting it from the rooftops.

In a way, it’s hard for me to believe the culmination of this two year journey has arrived. I was such a huge ball of stress yesterday as I was trying to get the final files uploaded. I’ll have to talk about some of my mishaps in a later post. But for now, let’s just bask in the fact that Secret Hunger is published!

It’s AVAILABLE HERE if you’re interested. (There’s also a pretty substantial sample for anyone perusing.)

This is what a published author looks like.

This is what a published author looks like.

 

Secret Hunger digital ARC Contest *Expanded*

Secret Hunger Cover - OFFICIALThank you to everybody who has shared with me their love and support this past year as I’ve worked on Secret Hunger. I’ve heard from people from every aspect and chapter of my life. I’m truly touched and humbled.

Of course, this means I want to give more!

Just a reminder, the contest to win an ARC copy ends on Wednesday 4/22 at noon. It will be an electronic copy of the book in .mobi format. (Able to be read on your kindle or through a kindle app.)

You can enter by signing up to my newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bgzjPj. So far, I’ve had ten additional people join which brings my count up to 51. So here’s a STRETCH GOAL – if I get 60 people signed up to my newsletter by the drawing on Wednesday, I’ll send out two ARC copies. (Don’t forget, if you RE-BLOG the original post, your name gets put into the hat a second time. Liking doesn’t count, so spread the word!)

Wondering what Secret Hunger is about? Here’s the blurb:

“Olivia, a café owner and cook, never regretted forsaking her dreams to finish raising her sisters after the death of their parents. Now grown, they’ve moved out of the house, leaving Olivia free to pick up where she left off – if she can find the courage to start over.

Mason is a Boston police detective, recuperating from a tragic incident that left his partner dead. All he wants is to heal and get back to the job of hunting the killer down. The last thing on his mind is romance.

Despite their mutual attraction, finding love wasn’t in either of their plans. But as their relationship heats up, events begin to happen that make Olivia realize she’s drawn a far more sinister kind of attention. Suddenly, she finds herself fighting not only for her dreams, but for her very life.”

Still not satisfied? Well, lucky you, here’s an excerpt:

Detective Mason Clark looked up from the file in his lap and watched the scenery pass by his window. Multi-family homes with peeling paint and sagging porches slumped alongside cracked sidewalks. Even the sky looked gray and dingy, as if it, too, suffered from the same socio-economic forces as the neighborhood it watched over.

Amidst the monochromatic backdrop, colored strands of lights were haphazardly draped in windows and interwoven between the slats in some of the fences. Mason turned to his partner of five years and grumbled, “It’s not even Halloween or Thanksgiving yet, and people already have their Christmas lights up. When did everybody start rushing through the holidays?”

Detective Ryan Miller shrugged and laughed at his best friend. “I don’t know, man. You’d think people would want to savor one holiday before rushing to the next. It’s not as if post-holiday winter holds some great prize. Late January and February are the worst, all the bad weather and none of the good stuff.”

He thought about that and nodded. “Speaking of which, you and Shauna getting along any better? She gonna let you see your kid for the holidays?”

Mason knew they’d been having some problems and had recently separated. He also knew Ryan was still hoping to work things out. He looked over at his friend, who now had a pained look on his face.

“Sort of, I get the day after Thanksgiving with her and will be stopping by for Christmas Eve. They’re heading over to Shauna’s parents’ house on Christmas Day.” Stopped at a traffic light, they stared out of the windshield as a wrinkled, drunk, old man stumbled past them on the crosswalk.

He chuckled, ruefully. “She told me she wants a MacBook.”

Ryan pulled the car to the curb. They paused a moment, taking in the details of the run-down, faded house sitting before them. At one point, Mason thought, it might have been blue, but the building had slowly become a faded gray over time. The color fled long ago, abandoning the inhabitants much like hope and prosperity had done before it.

Mason set the papers on the dash and removed his seatbelt. “So, this is where the bastard lives, huh? You want to take point on this, or should I?”

“I’ve got it. Something about this guy stinks. I think about scum like this stalking and hurting women and it makes me physically ill. All I can think is, what if someone like this got close to my Jenny? If he’s our guy, I’m hoping we can throw him away for good.”

“Alright, you get point, but don’t get overeager. Remember, we don’t have any solid evidence on him yet. They tried to get him for stalking over in Ohio, but couldn’t get anything to stick.”

Ryan sighed with exasperation. “It doesn’t help that stalking is so hard to prosecute. A woman practically has to be assaulted or kidnapped just to get any attention. By then, it’s usually too late.”

Mason agreed, “Well, hopefully, it’s not too late for this woman.”

They both swung out of the car and scanned their surroundings. The sun was just beginning to break through the clouds, but Mason could still see his breath coming out in little puffs. Gray patches of snow cowered in shadows, remnants of the last snowstorm.

Leading the way, Ryan walked up the steps in front of the door and rang the bell. “Mr. Mendez? Are you home? We need to ask you a few questions.”

Robert Mendez barely cracked the door open. He stood between it and the frame, his body blocking any view of the gloom behind him. He wasn’t very tall—only about 5’10” or so—but his shoulders were broad and it was obvious he kept himself in good shape. Mason noticed he was dressed completely in black: black cargo pants, combat boots and a black shirt buttoned all the way up to his neck.

“Officers,” Robert looked at the two men standing before him and scowled. “What do you want?”

In his most official tone, Ryan inquired, “Robert Mendez? We’re in the process of canvassing the area and have reason to believe you may know something about the disappearance of a young woman from this neighborhood. May we come in and ask you a few questions?”

Just then, they heard a thump, like something, or someone, falling and a soft, muffled cry from one of the back rooms. Mason watched Robert’s shoulders tense and his eyes give a quick flick before immediately smoothing his face back to an inscrutable expression.

“Sir, are you alone in the house? Who do you have back there with you?” Raising his voice, Ryan took a small step forward, lifting his hand to push the door further open…

Shock and surprise registered on Ryan’s face as his chest exploded in a sea of red. His expression seared itself into Mason’s memory just as a bullet slammed into his own body, slightly off-center since his partner shielded most of him.

The weight of the other detective stumbling back threw Mason off balance, sending both of them tumbling down the stoop. Mason struggled to see past the black spots beginning to form in his eyes and managed to whip his gun from its holster.

Desperately, he pulled the trigger, aiming towards the man now dashing out the front door towards them. The doorframe splintered as he took his only shot.

A second slug created a fiery trail of pain along his arm, grazing his shoulder. Gasping, he began to hear screams from across the street.

With adrenaline rushing through him, he attempted to get up, but his left arm didn’t seem to be working very well and he couldn’t get enough oxygen into his lungs. Each breath speared him with searing pain. For a moment, the entire world centered on his next inhalation.

With a feeling of detachment, almost as if he were watching a movie, Mason crumbled to the ground and lay there while the suspect bounded over him and Ryan, rushing towards his car. A woman with large, haunted eyes and a nest of stringy brown hair peered out from the shadows within the house.

Her mouth formed a hollow oval, reminding him of an Edward Munch painting. Her scream echoed throughout his soul, mirroring the one in his own head. As he succumbed to the blackness dragging him under, his last thought was of Ryan.

Hope you enjoyed it!