A big part of my process

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Authors are unique, and no two writers will ever have the same method of achieving their desired result. Sure, there may be many similarities along their journeys, but they will never use the same string of words to describe how stories come to them, how they harness the power of their imaginations, or characterize the voices in their heads that tell them how to write their individual stories.

The beginning of my trek into the writing world began many years ago and was suddenly repressed by reality. What started as a promising adventure sat on a shelf until the facets of my existence shifted and allowed me to embrace the creative part of myself once again. Picking up my first novel, still swaddled in its infancy, was a daunting task, but one I was eager to embrace and nurture.

Along the road to writing books two and three, comfortable patterns began to form. I was encouraged by my newly found mentor to buy a few white boards and they have become my saving grace in my writing process. Having the space to quickly jot down new ideas is a revelation and having those ideas staring back at me every day keeps me engaged in the stories, and motivated to continue writing.

I have surpassed fifteen thousand words in book four, and my muse is extremely long-winded. That voice I have come to love is pushing me to add words, not only to my manuscript but, to the four boards that flank me as I sit in my comfortable position on my couch. This is the place where I harness my ideas and feed off the energy and the words that come from places I will never see.

Board number four is a blank slate, but it is waiting to be filled with messages for the next series of books that will be written under the umbrella name of Farmhouse. If you haven’t had a chance to read the books in my current series, and you enjoy a good thriller involving serial killers, the first three books in The Relative Series – The Waking Hours, One Eleven, and Darkroom are now available on Amazon.

Short legs can jump big hurdles

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It has been a long time since I have been in this space, this forum where I can talk about what I want, and when I want. Recently ‘when I want’ has been modified to be defined as when I can carve out a few minutes in this crazy time we call summer. The lodge has been abundantly busy, and I am now realizing I have not written here in almost a month!

The month of August has been fraught with long work weeks and not much time to write, but within the past twenty-seven days, I have managed to jump the hurdles Amazon had put in my path, and make it to the finish line, although it took a bit longer to reach that invisible line than anticipated.

Book number three in The Relative Series was meant to be available locally and online on August 21st, but Amazon required me to redesign my cover, so my publishing date was pushed back. Instead of conceding the race, I pumped my stunted legs and began the race again, vaulting myself over the freshly placed hurdles and I pushed myself, shoulders forward, to cross the altered, but hugely coveted, finish line.

Darkroom is now live on Amazon, and printed copies will soon be available in the local stores that have so graciously supported my race. I almost feel like creating a runner’s bib to wear when I deliver the paperbacks, signifying the tremendous effort that was required to re-enter the race, and finally claim my victory.

Soon enough, there will be more hours in the days ahead to rekindle the creative flow required to finish writing book four in the series called Root Cellar. The Beckett family secrets are bubbling in the cauldron of their twisted family concoction, and I cannot wait to see where this next segment of The Relative Series takes me. And throughout the moments I spend writing these books, I must remind myself, it’s not the destination I have to focus on. I must direct my attention to the journey on which my characters will take me to reach that final page.

This old dog is trying to learn new tricks

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I have a creative brain. I can make up stories with the best of them, but when I am tasked with complicated steps that will help market my books beyond my being annoying on my social media platforms, the creative part of my brain atrophies, and I am left with a vacant space in my head.

This post, for me, is a bit contradictory. In my early twenties, I was ready to live in the big city, and I was seeking a career in Marketing. Now, thirty-plus years later, I am stymied by the fact that my early career choice is lending no help whatsoever to my desperate need to find new and creative ways to make people aware of my book series, and the first two books that are currently available on Amazon. If there were ever a moment in my life I felt like a dog chasing its tail, this is it.

But this old dog is tenacious, and willing to lose a few precious hours of sleep while learning some new tricks. I’ve mastered sit, and stay, while I continually punch the letters on my keyboard to write the next book in the series but mastering the agility course required to properly market a book will take a few more trial runs before I am happy with my score.

My canine persona is currently attempting to make friends with the primate at Mailchimp, and, although we have acclimated, that monkey is not shy about touting its intelligence and reminding me that mine pales in comparison.

Over the next few weeks, I will beat that monkey into submission and begin sending monthly newsletters that will forward updates about my new book releases, my favorite lines from my books, and snippets of stories to come. Sign up through the contact page on my website www.susanmnairnauthor.ca to follow the journey of The RELATIVE Series, and the dog who is eager to master all its new tricks.

My second baby is home

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It’s one thing to write a book. The sense of accomplishment when two magic words appear on the last page is overwhelming. I enjoy following writing groups on social media and share the euphoria of other writers when they post their photos of their computer screen with the words ‘the end’ typed in capital letters. That photo usually contains their celebratory drink of choice.

But it is something else entirely when you first hold a published copy of your book. I’ve likened writing a book to birthing a child. After many months of creating something amazing, holding that baby in your arms for the first time is extremely emotional.

I had a rough start to my day yesterday, but that feeling of discontent was washed away by the flood of pride I felt when my second book was delivered, and was in my hands for the first time. The joy I felt increased exponentially as my readers began to excitedly post pictures on social media of their copies of my book. The support I have received has been truly amazing. I’m looking forward to experiencing this rush of emotion again when book baby number three is brought into the world in August!

One Eleven

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Hooray, hooray, the 2nd of May, my second book is on Amazon today!

If I am being honest, One Eleven went live on Amazon yesterday, but I wanted to officially announce the publishing date I had in mind that was much more significant. Having my second book come out on the second day of the month is one thing but having One Eleven come out one hundred and eleven days after my first book is special.

Self-publishing through KDP and having a specific launch date is tough. When you are brave enough to press the upload button to deliver your manuscript to Amazon for approval, they advise the process could take up to seventy-two hours. Not wanting to miss the window of my preferred date, I uploaded the over ninety thousand words I had written and was notified twenty-four hours later that my second book was available for purchase.

As much as I love to describe things with a plethora of words and phrases, I can not find one word or phrase that accurately describes what it is like to take a whisper of an idea and craft it into a full novel. I can only hope the writing gods will continue to look favorably upon me as I follow my journey publishing book three later this year and writing books four, five, and six in The RELATIVE Series.

One week to go!!

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I should be finishing the final edit of One Eleven, but I am too excited about the fact it will be available for sale on Amazon one week from today!! This will be my second book in The RELATIVE Series, and after getting such great reviews on The Waking Hours, I am excited to put my second book out into the world.

There were a few snags along the way, however. Writer’s block is always a given, but I certainly did not have ‘Find another artist to design a new cover two weeks before launch’ on my 2021 bingo card. Thankfully, I am not prone to panic, and I found twin brothers who are graphic designers, and they rose to the challenge. Now the only thing standing between uploading the manuscript and pressing the publish button is my arrant unwillingness to put on my editing cap. The afternoon ahead looks ugly, but I will prevail.

I will soon be setting up a contact form on my author website, www.susanmnairnauthor.ca so you can subscribe there for any updates on the following four books in the series. You can also sign up to this blog to keep up on my progress in the series, as well as reading about things outside of the world of my writing. For those following my blog, there will be a draw to win a signed copy of The Waking Hours and One Eleven.

Mark your calendars, and head to Amazon on May 2nd!! Hope to see you there.

Did someone say free books?

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Although it’s been said many times, many ways, marketing is hard work. I am blessed to live in a small town and have received overwhelming support from my community. In keeping with the holiday theme of the first line of this paragraph, I must admit my heart has grown three sizes thinking about the encouragement I have received. But when it comes to attracting the attention of readers in a much wider market, that has its challenges.

I have watched several webinars, and I follow many writing communities on the internet, reaping the rewards of their knowledge. Learning from their successes and failures, I have had some of my own success branching out into the world and trying to create a buzz about The Waking Hours.

By far, the best way (albeit not a profitable way) for a new author to do that is to do a giveaway. Goodreads is an excellent way to engage with people who love to read, and a fantastic platform to offer something they love – free books. My first giveaway offered a chance to win one of ten signed copies of my first novel, and 1,734 people entered to win!

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So, I decided to double the fun. From 12:00 am to 11:59 pm on March 31st, the Kindle version of The Waking Hours will be available on Amazon for FREE. Immediately following that from 12:00 am April 1st to 11:59 am April 25th, I am doing another giveaway on Goodreads for a chance to win one of ten signed copies of my second novel in The RELATIVE Series, One Eleven, due to be published on May 2nd.

If you are reading this post on your social media, please share on your Facebook pages and retweet the crap out of it. Word of mouth promotion goes a long way for a little fish in a very big pond. And don’t forget to pick up your free Kindle copy of The Waking Hours tomorrow, and then head over to Goodreads on Thursday and enter for a chance to win a copy of One Eleven!