Okay, you’re all just going to have to shut it!…or A Study in Writing the Sequel

Ha! Well, that was an abrasive start, wasn’t it? And I don’t mean it…exactly. I love it when people make contact with me – it verifies that this whole writing thing isn’t, in fact, a fantasy of my own making.

The “you” in “you’re” from my title, in actuality, refers to all the voices in my head.

Hmm, doesn’t sound much better. Allow me to explain.

In the midst of selling my new cozy mystery series, I have been endeavoring, the past several months, to write a sequel to SIDEKICK. Now, that I am a mere week away from sending it to my agent (just copy-editing stuff at this point), I’d like to sum up the experience in one sentence:

OH MY GOD THAT WAS HARD!

Okay, so writing in general is hard, but writing a sequel when your debut has just come out? Well, let’s just say I wasn’t prepared for that level of difficulty. Suddenly, I was trying to make everybody happy – reviewers, friends, family. It didn’t matter who – if she or he had an idea, I was trying to work it in. I knew it was getting out of control when I had this little conversation with an acquaintance:

Him: Have you ever thought about zombie superheroes?

Me: Um, only every day.

Him: Well, what about, Bremy?

Me: What about Bremy?

Him: What about killing her and making her a zombie?

Me: What about killing…what? No! I mean, well, maybe…”

Let me love you

(On a side note, I googled “hot zombie .gifs” to get this image before I really thought about what I was doing. I’m not sure I would recommend it unless you’re into that sort of thing.)

My head was swimming. Some readers wanted more romance, others less. Some wanted more Ryder. Others more Bart and Queenie. Some loved the funny tone. Others wanted Bremy to go dark. Eventually, I felt a little like this:

crazy

(On another side note, even as I post this .gif, I’m thinking – people are going to accuse me of being insensitive to people with mental illnesses. Sigh. They’re probably right. I have a psychology degree. You could make the argument that I am a horrible person for posting this .gif. But then again, ultimately I am just mocking myself, because, really, who thinks this much about a .gif? The type of person in that picture. That’s who.)

Anyhoo, eventually, I had to decide to just write. While I love, love, love hearing readers responses to my work, I can’t take a list of requests and fulfill everybody’s wishes – but, hopefully, I won’t disappoint too many either! Right now, I know some of you are probably saying, Wow, deep insight Ms. Psych. Major. To which I reply, Why you being so mean? Believe me, it seems obvious, but even if you know something to be true, that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to put it into practice.

Hopefully, I can remember all this next time I have a sequel to write!

Have a good one,

Auralee

Disclaimer: This entire post was written under the influence of cough medicine. In my mind, it has made me extra charming, even with my running nose.

A Study in Awkwardness…

I hate having my picture taken. I really, really do. As soon as that lens pops up, I instantly feel a jolt panic. I want to duck, weave, cover my face with my hair. It’s a funny quirk of mine. I’m not entirely sure where it comes from, and I’m a little ashamed of it. I’m a grown woman for goodness’ sake. I should be able to take a photo without having a panic attack. But the idea of someone looking directly at me – well, I just find the idea hideous. Take, for example, the new profile pic I have up on my website. I’m smiling, but if you look closely at my eyes, you can see the awkwardness I’m taking about. Luckily, my good friend was taking the photo and she had endless patience and wine to help ease the process. This got me to thinking that I often feel the same way about my writing. I am fine with complete strangers reading my work, but when it’s somebody I know? Well, that’s a different beast entirely. The moment when he or she expresses interest in buying my book, my palms start to sweat, and I often find myself saying things like, “Oh, you don’t have to do that” or “It’s really weird. My sense of humour is really weird.” I mean, WHAT? Of course, I want people to buy my book. I guess, I just don’t want them judging me. And let’s face it, reading someone’s writing is a little like peeking into his or her soul. I think I should add working on this problem to my growing list of New Year’s Resolution. I mean, one day I might actually have to go to a book signing…and, oh God, forget it. I can’t even finish the thought. Let’s just skip the moral of the story. The whole thing is just too horrible to even think about. Have a good one! Auralee

UPDATE: I’m changing my picture again. That was just too much of me, looking at me, every time I went to my page. Creepy.

UPD

An open thank you letter to my readers and reviewers…and a minor Christmas miracle!

Well, this has been one kick ass year. Just over a year ago this was me: I'm just done Ha! Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it was close. I thought SIDEKICK was dead in the water, and I was working on a cozy mystery, hoping against hope that maybe this manuscript would be the one that finally got me published…but I really was just expecting another year of artistic disappointment. Oh yes, another year where I stumbled over the answer to the dreaded question, “So what do you?” Ex-college professor/ current failing author seemed like more of a conversation ender than starter. Elijah-Wood-Im-awkward-GIF Then, all of the sudden, the ebook publishers started calling and I fell in love with Escape. With my book to be published in just a few short months, I decided to send out my cozy mystery to agents, not really expecting much, because let’s face it, querying is almost always a soul-tearing exercise in agony. Then – knock me over with a feather – agents started a calling. And before I could say What’s the matter with these people? Did they actually read the craziness I write? I had an agent! The lovely Natalie Lakosil. (Okay, it wasn’t all the sudden, but it sure felt that way.) Then she did what good agents tend to do and sold my mystery series – three-book deal to St. Martin’s! My reaction to such overwhelming good news looked something like this: overwhelmed But you know what makes me look like this? Happy-Will-Ferrell-GIF

Alright, that’s my last .gif. Are people still using .gifs? I’m feeling awkward again.

Readers. Do I read the reviews of my book? Hell yes. When SIDEKICK came out, scouring the internet for reviews became a bit of an obsession and probably not a healthy one. The idea that people were reading my work was crazy. The fact that they were taking time to review was mind-blowing. Here’s the rub. For awhile there, I was focusing more on the negative reviews than the positive. Now, I wasn’t expecting all the reviews to be positive. I had entered SIDEKICK into a number of contests before it was published, and while it finalled (finaled? I’m making up words again) in three, it was blasted by a number of judges. I get it. I write humour. Humour, probably more than anything else, is subjective, but those first couple of nasty reviews still stung a wee bit. Next, on to the miracle part (put the soft filter on and cue the Hallmark Christmas movie style music). As I mentioned, for awhile there, I was letting the bad reviews get to me, and it was impeding my progress on the sequel to SIDEKICK. I really was second guessing a lot of my choices. Originally when I wrote SIDEKICK, I attacked it with a Here’s goes nothing! attitude. While, I was writing the sequel, two unwanted messages kept repeating in my head: Oh Auralee, too far! and You are a weird, weird, weirdo. Then one winter’s day I woke up, and, for whatever reason, I went onto Goodreads and reread the reviews. Something then occurred to me: there were a good number of people out there who liked SIDEKICK, some who really, really liked SIDEKICK, and they took the time to write about it. Well, suddenly I felt like Chevy Chase was yelling, “Auralee, you ignorant slut.” (It’s SNL reference for you youngins.) I have had a truly fabulous year, and I realized that maybe it was time to practice a little gratitude. I just peeked out my back window to make sure Oprah wasn’t popping out from behind a shrub in my backyard. Now, I know there still will be criticism in the future, but I think I’m getting better at appreciating and keeping at least some focus on those readers who have been so very, very supportive. Most importantly, I will give those voices equal (if not slightly preferred) billing. This is not to say I don’t see the value in criticism. I do. I’ve learned from the negative reviews. But, at the end of the day, while I can tweak plot points, work on my style/description, add character depth, I can only be me (I’m channeling Kermit the Frog now), and my sense of humour is what it is! And yes, I will go too far. So a big thank you to everyone who took the time to read my book (whether you liked it or not). It has been an amazing year! And I am truly grateful. (Do I sound like I have been drinking? Because I haven’t…at least, not yet. There is this Christmas party later…never mind, refer to Elijah above) Auralee

I made Romance Buzz’s Kat Mayo’s Best of 2014 list!

This has been an awesome year!

http://newsletters.booktopia.com.au/2014/12-december-romance-buzz.html

Click here to browse our Romance Titles

The December Romance Buzz wouldn’t be complete with a list of my favourite books for the year. (I haven’t included the December titles because, well, you can find them above!) These are some of the best that romance fiction has to offer, so whether you’re looking for yourself or for someone else, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these!