Aug 24, 2016

More thanks!

The same wonderful bloggers who did such a fabulous job announcing the release of ...or something on the 16th are once again boosting their shoutouts about Battery and Bree's story today. If you see them posting, give them a LIKE. They are awesome!

Also, thank you to each reader who comments, shares, likes, reviews, and talks about the books they read. You all rock!

Special thanks to Kylie and everyone at Give Me Books Promotions for being absolutely perfect.

Aug 22, 2016

I can't wait!

While writing ...or something, I thought about books that had been "all consuming" to me as a reader. Books I couldn't stop reading and which ones had a storyline that seemed to cover the characters' whole lives and totally immersed me into the story.

The first book that came to mind is one I mention during interviews when I'm asked for my favorite book. The book is The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. I can't tell you how many times I read the book when I was young. Later that year, I believe, the mini-series came out (1983). It was no less spectacular to watch it on television. When I became an adult, I bought it on DVD.

I have a ragged copy of the book sitting on the corner of my desk. I plan on reading it this fall again. It's been years, probably a good 20 years, since I read it.

I hope Colleen  has a big seat up in heaven and knows how many readers she touched with that one book. That to me, it was THE book in my lifetime.

Looking back as an author, I can imagine her agent, her publisher, her readers reading it for the first time. It was scandalous for the times. Not only in the forbidden love affair she portrayed, but on a religious aspect. But, she nailed the intimate relationship that can't be stopped between two people. How rules, laws, ethics can't stop a love that has grown in the span of a lifetime. She bucked stereotypes and showed us the human side behind a priest. The dedication behind a young girl. Family dynamics that influence our whole lives.

I'm going to enjoy the wait to read it again. I know what it'll be like. And, good things should be savored.

Aug 21, 2016

Stopping stereotypes...everywhere

If you haven't caught on through my books, I have a pet peeve about stereotypes. Everyone, in all walks of life, battle against how other people perceive them. Whether it's walking in to get a job, shopping at your local store, or riding down the road on a Harley. The first thing that we all do is judge a person on their appearance and their actions.

As an example, let's look at bikers. You might not be aware that bikers all over the world are fighting to prohibit profiling done by law enforcement. In fact, Washington is the only state which has passed any kind of protection where law enforcement can't stop a biker because his only crime is riding a motorcycle. Because of the stigma or stereotype that anyone wearing a leather vest and riding a bike is dangerous or guilty of criminal activity, we've profiled them. Because that's what we see in movies, tv, books, people have unjustly changed people's lives. Remember that the next time you cross the road to get away from the group of bikers walking on the sidewalk or wrinkle your nose in the restaurant when bikers want to sit down and have lunch. Your reaction comes from a believed stereotype. You've profiled them. Is that fair to their wife, their kids, their friends?

Same thing happens for felons, prostitutes, trailer parks, knob hills, age difference, short, tall, fat, skinny, white, black, male, female…the list goes on. Nobody can escape stereotyping.

Even authors aren't safe from stereotypes. How many readers believe authors sit at a desk 24/7, drink alcohol to motivate their creative side, wake up and write out their dreams, cry over their characters, believe characters talk to them or need to write because a story is pushing them to put words on paper? Does no one give credit to the writer for creating a story? Each word in a book is something I type. Each character is fabricated from my imagination. I am in control of the story, characters, and direction of the story. It's a job. What others fail to realize is authors work damn hard to create. Authors. Not characters. Not dreams. Not some magical voice inside their head.

Rumors and stereotypes will never go away. They're fed by media and by people themselves.

In my books, I show you the person, not the stereotype. Everyone was afraid of my prostitute romance series. There are still readers who I hear say they will not try them and have no desire to read about some dirty prostitute having sex with other people while falling in love with someone else. And, I hear, readers don't want to read about a woman who only gains confidence by prostituting herself. That's a shame, really. Because none of my books are like that.

Stereotypes hurt many people in different ways.

With my last release, I dealt with the fallout of someone claiming on a public forum that "a lot" of the story in …or something (my book) was based on my real life story with my husband. Why did this happen? Because of stereotypes about authors who write motorcycle club romance. Granted, it is the only category I've been in where authors have created an "atmosphere" where readers can playact their part in a fictional MC as part of their reading experience. Where readers follow authors to hear about their life as an ol' lady or club member. Fiction has been pushed to the wayside and replaced by fanfiction and roleplaying. That makes it hard for authors who only claim to be creative writers and want to be seen for their hard-earned and genuine talent. Those rumors, those stereotypes, both by other authors and readers, are harming. Before you start a rumor or feed a stereotype, you need to think about if you're hurting the "real" family of the author or a group of people who never asked to be labeled. If you're profiling bikers. If you believe stereotypes. If you're judging before knowing, you're not helping anyone. What you're doing is pushing people away. You're pushing authors to stop friending readers and opening themselves up and showing you a glimpse of their real life. Remember, once something is said, you can't take it back. Not online.

Last, think before you judge or speak. Open your mind a little to someone who is different than you. Don't assume if the book is about a felon, biker, prostitute, businessman, or construction worker that it will be based on a stereotype. Don't lump all authors into the same mold. A good author will show you inside of their characters and inside the author. There are no stereotypes living inside of us. We're all different.

As I said at the beginning of this post, stereotyping is my pet peeve. It might not be yours. But, I think everyone would agree that stereotyping does no good. For any of us.

Aug 18, 2016

How I celebrated my 40th book release by Debra Kayn

A week before the release of ...or something, I had the brilliant idea to document what it was like for me personally to go through releasing a book. I wanted to show how completely different it was from when I'd published my first book, my tenth thirtieth book.

Why? ...or something was my 40th book published.

A 40th book is an accomplishment. A milestone. It is huge for authors. No, scratch that. It was huge for me. Most readers have no idea I had a bestselling cowboy series in my past, two bestselling athletes' books, or even a biker series from ten years ago. They have no idea that I have a series at Grand Central Publishing, a series at Harlequin, and I've had over 10 different publishers, or I have an agent. Most readers, right now, today, think I only write about bikers, felons, prostitutes, and have no idea I've got books with PI's, a lawyer, athletes, a princess, undercover cops, forest ranger, Native Americans, rodeo pros, veterinarians, single dad, and I can't even remember all the books.

Readers only care about books from when they find an author to their next book they release.

So, yeah, I wanted to take the time and think back, smile, and feel that personal accomplishment of having forty-freaking-books out in the world. That I've worked hard, accomplished lots, and sweated over ten years. I wanted to remember every editor who has helped me along the way and had a part in creating DK. That every publisher added something to my journey. That fads, themes, and practices come and go. That I've met thousands upon thousands of readers over the years. That I am continuing to climb a big ladder that is neverending. That I am a published author.

Unfortunately, my fortieth book release was anything but what I had hoped or expected. Which pretty much sums up publishing today. It's unpredictable, unfair, and often stressful. It's also freeing, wonderful, and honorable.

My book actually came out on the 15th, around 1:00 pm. The official release date was the 16th. This was planned. I needed my book live at all retailers, because I had hired a promotional company to announce the book all over the internet.

At 10:00 am on the 15th, as I watched the status of my book go through review at retailers, I lost internet connection. It happens. We live in the mountains. It usually pops back on. It didn't pop back on.

I missed out on seeing it go live and making a big announcement to my readers. Instead, I received private messages, posts on my page, and watched other people announce my release. I read emails and tried to answer as readers questioned why I wasn't providing buy links.

Deep down, I was disappointed. Okay, I was angry. This is my 40th book. I wasn't there to celebrate with my readers. Personally, I knew ...or something was my best book and with that knowledge came a build up of excitement and hope. I don't say that for every new book. I can look back and claim Cam from the Moroad MC series was my most complex character I created. That Jacko's story had that special something that writer's dream about. That Trace from Healing Trace has the most real and personal journey one character can have that heals hearts all over the world. What does my 40th book have? A well-rounded story with fleshed out characters, but mostly a story that readers can not guess about or predict. That everything that happens in the book will be a surprise for the readers. That readers will feel everything at the exact moments the characters live their story. It's not a retelling. It's not a formula. It's not the same old story told with different words. It's a story about Battery, Bree, and the reader.

With all that in mind, I sat in my house with my cell phone in my hand. Something I rarely do. I hate phones. I'm old school. I write and interact online at my desk on a computer. I use a phone for emergencies when I'm out, to call my family and friends, to text. I don't use it for social media. Most of the time, my phone is in my purse. On release day, I quickly learned how to check Facebook. I didn't even know how to copy/paste on my phone, but I learned thanks to Shauna listening to me scream in my messages to her.

Then, the unexpected (yet, not surprising) happened on what should've been a monumental day. I got a message that a reviewer's review was removed from my book page on Amazon. This is an ongoing problem in the current atmosphere in publishing that I'm working with Amazon on to stop. All my information and contacts were on my computer. I decided it was going to have to wait until my internet came back on. Instead, I made a painstaking post that took forever to tap out with my thumbs and posted on my Facebook page in hopes that the people attacking my reviews would know I'm aware of what they are doing, and I would report them. Then, two more reviewers said the same thing happened to their reviews. My heart sank.

I was done.

It's much easier being a mom and wife, so I went and made dinner. I forgot about my book release. For an hour. Okay, I lied. I never forgot. Instead, I ate. I ate a lot. That made me feel better.

I went to bed that first night with hopes that the internet would show up while I slept. Okay, I didn't sleep. There might've been a couple of hours where I closed my eyes. A couple of hours where Wheels held me a little tighter and shushed me. I was worried about the blitz the next day. The missing reviews. The wasted time of having an arc sign-up. The trouble the reviewers go through on my account. When I tried to distract myself, I checked my sales on my phone. I checked my inbox for any emails. Most of all, I read rumors about me and cussed a lot about my lack of fixing all the problems.

On the 16th, I held out hope. Any minute the internet would return. I had found out that methheads stole wire out of a main tower and set the pole on fire. I don't know if the story was true, but I held out hope that rewiring and pole erecting (wow, yeah, it's hard to type that word while I'm feeling all angsty and knowing I write romance books) wouldn't take forever. I spent a lot of time hating how fast my phone battery weakened with all the use and at times I had to plug it in to use it and my charging cord is 2 feet long and I ended up sitting on the floor, my back to the wall, with the phone on my knee, tapping away. Did I get gypped on charger cords or does everyone get a short one? Why do I have an Android when other people have iPhones that are as big as a Kindle? Why does it take so long to load Google on a phone? Is 3g the equivalent of dial-up internet? Oh, God, I'm the last person to get anything. I had dialup as close as 3 years ago when my agent and editors made fun of me, and it took me over 3 hours to download a manuscript. I'm supposed to be living in the real world now with high-speed cable. Instead, I'm hugging a wall, talking to myself, and staring at a 4 1/2" by 2 1/2" inch screen.

I'd like to take this moment to thank everyone who listened to me in private messages and texts during this time. Without you all, I would've been rocking in a chair in the Institution of Life. Sh...I know. But, I wasn't wearing a straight jacket.

It wasn't all bad. On the 16th, I asked a couple of people privately if they could see others talking about my book. If they could see book bloggers sharing the blitz. They assured me they could see announcements going up all over the place. THANK YOU, GIVE ME BOOKS PROMOTIONS. I can't even explain the relief in my stressed out head. I munched on popcorn that a reader sent me for release. That was my proof that readers still loved my books and cared about me. I ate a lot of popcorn.

No more reviews disappeared. Readers were actually reading the book and posting their reviews. That's huge in my world. Readers gave me hope.

Instead of noise on the official release day, it got very quiet on my end of the phone. I resorted to stalking the locals on Facebook to see what they were saying about the internet because the whole Silver Valley was out. I learned I wasn't the only frustrated person in the world.

Finally, afternoon came. I sat down at my desk upstairs in my office. My computer had been on since we lost internet. My Word program was still open to a manuscript of a book you'll probably see after 4 more releases that I hadn't put any new words down on in 2 days. I put my phone down, tipped my chair back, put my feet on the corner of my desk, and out of the corner of my eye, a message popped up in the corner of my screen. My feet hit the floor, and I yelled, "Internet is back." And, the first thing I did was pull up my contact list for Amazon and connected with customer service to deal with the removed reviews. I found out the woman who knows about the attacks is on vacation this week. I'll have to wait.

Then, I posted on Facebook to my readers. I did a giveaway. I scrolled through notifications on Facebook, thousands of tweets about my release on Twitter, and I checked sales. I checked Goodreads. I read reviews. I answered emails, messages, and stomped out rumors. This...this is what releasing a book felt like. The excitement. The smiles. The proud feeling of my chest swelling with putting another DK book out into the world.

I'd released my 40th book. Internet or no internet, nobody was taking my sense of accomplishment from me.

It was the same feeling I had when my 1st book released and I noticed it had at least 1 sale. It was the same feeling as my 10th book when I watched my book climb to the top 100 overall on Amazon. It was the same as my 14th and 21st book hit #2 and #4 overall on Amazon. I had a history and experience of 40 book releases under my name.

Books come and go. Readers come and go. A lot of readers stay. Some books succeed, while others thrive. But, that adrenaline rush, that feeling of accomplishment is always there. I'm going to bottle the rush for the next time my internet goes out on release day.
Now, when stuff like this happens, when plans are made and dashed, there is always a lesson to be learned. The day before the book released, I told someone that this release would be "easy". I'm never, never-never, saying easy again.
Happy 40th book release to me.

Aug 17, 2016

Thank you, playlist song, linky goodness...

I just finished getting caught up on emails while watching a momma elk bring her baby down off the mountain to get a drink out of the water. Perfect start to a Wednesday. (That, and I have internet!)

Thank you so much for all the kind messages and comments. They mean so much to me. I missed hearing/reading the excitement and readers' thoughts as they read ...or something the most while I was offline. 

Main song off the playlist for ...or something. If you haven't picked up the book yet, here's the link.

Barnes and Noble:;jsessionid=332F24C63DBD6F7D124249FFC332DCED