Starting a Newsletter Serial Novella

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For about a year, I’ve been wanting to write a serial novel for my newsletter where I release one or two chapters of a new story at a time. I had gone so far as polling my newsletter subscribers to see if they were interested (which the majority of the respondents said they were.)

I had two big barriers to doing this…

  1. Finding the time to write something extra with all the stories I already committed to and fitting this in with the work I do at my family zoo business.
  2. My Newsletter only goes out monthly — that’s a lot of time to wait between releases.

But this summer, I’m in need of sending out a weekly newsletter due to all the new material I have coming out and other commitments. I thought it would be a great time to try this serial newsletter idea.

So, starting today and running until the end of August (or mid-September, depending on how the story goes) I’ll be releasing a weekly newsletter filled with one or two chapters of my current work in progress, The Superhero’s Husband.

This story is not written yet. I’m writing it as we go with hopes of receiving feedback from readers. I did take a day or two and outlined it with quite a bit of detail — which is needed for clue planting as all my longer stories have elements of mystery.

I’ll update you in a few months… My fingers are crossed that this is successful!

To see how I introduced this concept in my newsletter, click HERE.

To subscribe to my newsletter to follow along, click HERE.

To read the first chapter of The Superhero’s Husband, click HERE.

Sneak Peek of “The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives”

I finished my first real draft of The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives and also came up with a new cover design. I wanted to share both with you. Next up is beta readers for this story, a round or two more of edits…then the editor…then it’ll be done! Woo Hoo! This one took me way to long, as it was my November NaNoWriMo Project.

(Just shows you that you can lose NaNoWriMo, and yet still finish your novel.)

Okay…new cover! 

LOW QUALITY SH WIVES

And here’s the first day of my story. It doesn’t have chapters, as I thought I’d try something different. (It takes place over a three week time span.) This story is lighter and…naughtier than anything I’ve written before. Nothing graphic, but there’s definitely tension. Maybe cozy mystery mixed with chick lit and superhero fiction? (I suck at writing to market.)

**Remember, this is a first draft and subject to beta readers and editing yet.**

YOU CAN FIND THIS ON AMAZON HERE.


Saturday, April 3rd

ARIANA 

‘Psst, Ariana. I’m gonna be late.’ Adam’s hushed voice whispered in Ariana’s mind, jolting her out of the present.

“Hold still,” her mother said.

Ariana stiffened and ignored her mom, focusing on her future husband instead. She wondered how long it’d take to get used to his telepathic superpower. She opened her mind to him and sent a reply, ‘Why?’

‘I’ve been…detained.’ Adam forced an image to flood her mind: his naked body with his manliness poorly covered by his hand. Her cheeks tingled and warmed as she looked at her mother’s smile. She focused on the image in her head instead, noticing the scorch marks on Adam’s skin. Black ash against his thighs and across the ripples of his abdomen. What had happened? She assessed his skin, unharmed as usual.

Her fiancé’s voice continued. ‘I may not make it in time.’

‘Like hell you won’t.’ She shifted her weight on the chair she stood on. Her hand jolted to her rump, swatting her aunt’s hand away. “Ouch!”

“Hey, you need to keep still.” Her aunt gripped her hips to keep her in place.

Ariana sprang off the chair, the bustle of her white gown half pinned, and half flowing behind her. “Um, I gotta go.”

Her mom’s jaw fell open. “You need to go? Now’s not the time for cold feet.”

Ariana found her mom’s purse, pulled out the minivan keys, and gave her mom a kiss on the cheek. “Trust me, if I don’t go now, there won’t be a wedding.”

Her mom’s jaw opened, and she appeared to search for words, but Ariana ignored her, focusing on Adam instead. ‘Where are you?’ She sent to Adam.

‘The alley behind Top Perks Coffee Shop.’

‘Do you know what time it is?’

Adam sent an image of his bare wrist. ‘I was going to look for my missing my watch, but I couldn’t find the time.’ He transmitted a chuckle.

‘Of course, you have a joke. You always have jokes. Come on! Our wedding starts in less than an hour.’

‘I know.’ Adam’s words enunciated in her mind. ‘That’s why I’m telling you I’ll be late.’

‘Stay there.’

Ariana flew out the door, her mother hot on her tail. “Where are you going?”

“No time to explain. Meet me at the church,” she panted.

Ariana stopped in the study of her parent’s house and snatched Adam’s Tux, flinging it over her shoulder. She wrapped yards of her gown’s white fabric around her arm and ran to her parent’s minivan.

“Ariana, you can’t do—” Her mother’s voice drowned by the purring V-6 of the sensible gold party machine.

The tires squealed as she flew down the driveway, leaving her mother yelling at her in the front yard. “Sorry, Ma, but there’s no way I’m being stood up on my wedding day.”

More than one neighbors’ necks turned to rubber as they watched the scene of the runaway bride. Ariana waved and blew them a kiss before she further pressed the accelerator and clenched the steering wheel.

The van lurched one way and then the other as she rounded the corners through the back streets of the city, running a few red lights and ignoring the speed limits. Who had time for that crap, anyway?

Leaving a track of rubber on the pavement, she screeched to a halt in front of a rusted dumpster at the end of the alley, perfectly matching the image Adam had sent. She clicked the button to open the side door, yelling into the empty ally, “This better be good.”

With caution, Adam emerged from behind the dumpster with one hand covering his frontside and another covering his backside. The hair was singed off his chest. Hmm…was all his hair below his neck burned off? She looked down at his legs. Yup, that’ll be interesting.

He crawled into the van.

Not waiting for the door to close, Ariana threw the vehicle in reverse and spun the tires out of the alley, heading for the church.

“Here,” she huffed, handing her naked fiancé a small foil-wrapped package.

In the rearview mirror, Adam twirled the package in his hand. “Fingernail polish removing wipes?”

“If I were you, I wouldn’t be complaining right now. Get the soot off and throw your tux on. Honestly, today, I don’t care what you look like. I wouldn’t even care if the hair on the top of your head would have been burned off. You have a wedding to be at in thirty minutes.”

Adam ran a hand through his short, light brown locks, appearing to ensure it was still there. “Don’t you want to know what happened?”

“That’s not important right now. Focus.” Ariana pointed at the tux then to Adam.

Adam laughed. “Well, he got away.”

“I said, get ready.” She hid any amusement from her voice.

“Isn’t it bad luck to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony?”

Ariana looked up at the ceiling and held up a finger. “One day. All I ask is that you show up ON TIME this one day.” Ariana’s arm was shaking. She returned her hand to the wheel and tightened her grip. Note to self: don’t let Adam out of your sight on days with important events.

Adam was laughing now. “Don’t you ever worry about me?”

Ariana’s her heart raced and her palms were wet from sweat. “You’re invincible. You’ll always be fine. Now put that tux on!”

Pulling the van up to the church steps, she turned to her future husband. His lip curled up, and all her anger melted away. She took a deep breath as he leaned forward and placed a kiss on her forehead, giving one of her blond ringlets a little tug. He whispered, “I love you, but, I think, you’ll be late.” In a flash, Adam was out of the van and disappeared into the church.

Out came Ariana’s mother, her wavy gray hair wild in the wind. Ari stepped out of the van, took a deep breath, and smiled, letting it all sink in. She was going to marry the man of her dreams today. This was truly the beginning of the rest of her life. A fabulous life with an amazing partner at her side.

Her mom took her hand and helped her out. “We have ten minutes to finish getting you ready.”

Her dad stepped beside them. “You look beautiful, Dear.”

Ariana smiled. This was everything she ever wanted. Loving parents and marrying a man, everyone drooled about—even if they only drooled when he was in costume, saving the world.

 VICTORIA

Victoria swirled her straw in her Diet Coke. She hated Diet Coke, but being in a newer relationship, she needed to keep her figure in better shape than a marshmallow Peep. The duck kind, not the bunny ones. The thought was making her hungry. She enjoyed being “full bodied” and wanted to keep her curves. It was a fine line to not be too skinny, nor too heavy. The Diet Coke was her balance, but it reminded her how much it sucked to be thirty and no longer married.

Today, her mind was on everything except the man in front of her. Work, the book she was reading, and her grocery list.

“Vicky?”

Victoria shook her head and looked up at Mike. “Sorry, I was distracted. I have a lot going on. What did you say?”

“I had asked if you wanted to get away this week. You said you took a few days off of work. We could go to my cousin’s lake cottage. It would be romantic.” He winked at her.

Should she tell him she hated winking? It was creepy and something a sleaze-bag would do. She bit her tongue and focused on his question. “This week? Um… I’ll have Chew-Barka. Can I bring him?”

The smile on Mike’s face dissolved as he rubbed his temple. “I can ask, but can’t your ex take him?”

She sat back in her chair. “Ask him to do me a favor? I’d rather give up chocolate.”

Mike tilted his chin. “You know Thursday’s our anniversary.”

“Anniversary?”

“We’ve been dating for three months.”

Had it been that long already? “You’re counting months? I thought only teenagers did that.”

Mike’s lips tightened. “Are you not into this relationship?”

She swirled her straw, splashing soda over the edge of the glass. “Yeah, it’s fine… I mean good. It’s just—”

Mike looked up. “Speaking of the devil. How is it he always seems to interrupt us?”

She ground her teeth, not needing to spin around to know her ex-husband stood behind her. “Yes, Vance, how is it you always seem to know where I am?”

Her ex made his way to the side of their table. His voice was smooth, deep, and familiar. Victoria tried to forget how much it appealed to her. “Coincidence, I guess. I was on my way to the mayor’s campaign headquarters, but saw you here.”

“Come on. Campaign headquarters is across the city.” Victoria played with her straw.

“You’re a supporter?” Mike asked. “I thought nobody liked the Mayor. How he won, I’ll never know.”

“Obviously, more than half the city likes him, otherwise he wouldn’t have won. Besides, I always root for the underdog.”

Mike leaned forward. “I read that they are trying to have a recall election. Nobody believes he won.”

Victoria turned to Vance and didn’t hide the annoyance in her voice. “So, why are you here?”

Vance’s smile said I’m-hiding-something-I’m-not-going-to-tell-you. “I was simply getting extra steps in.” He turned to Mike. “So, how have ya been?” He gave Mike a small punch on his shoulder.

“Ow—” Mike jerked away, shielding his bicep with his hand. He straightened and recovered his manliness.

Vance didn’t seem phased. “Were you done here?”

Victoria ground her teeth together. “No. We hadn’t ordered yet.”

“Great!” Vance smiled. “I’m starving.” He grabbed a chair from the neighboring table, turned it backwards and straddled it.

“Join us,” Mike said to the already sitting down Vance. “I think Victoria has a question for you, anyway.”

Vance picked up the menu that laid in front of Mike. “Were you done with this?” He tipped down his sunglasses and stared at Mike’s hot coffee for a moment.

He better not use his power.

He tipped his sunglasses back in place and smiled again. A smile that made Victoria sweat. “A question for me? You were thinking about me?”

Victoria shook her head and sputtered out the lies. “I don’t have a question, and I never think about you.”

Mike interjected. “What she means is would you keep Chew-Barka until the weekend?”

“This weekend?”

“Yeah, I’d like to take Victoria away for our anniversary.” Mike picked up his coffee.

“Anniversary? What’s it been? A few months? I thought only kids counted months.” Vance shook his head and focused on the menu. “Nah. That won’t work. I’m busy.”

Victoria set her menu down and glared at her ex. “You’re busy? How is it that you always seem to find enough time to find me and torment me?”

“Well, I have plans now.” Vance turned away from Mike, towards Victoria, and curled the corner of his lip up into a sly smile. Of course he had plans. They involved keeping her and Mike apart. Now throw in a little irritating her and Vance’s week was full. Did he really hate her that much? She had broken his heart.

Victoria chocked down a sip of her Diet Coke. “That’s okay. I think it’s time I found a kennel for Chew-Barka.” She turned to Mike who lifted his coffee mug to his lips.

“No—” Victoria tried to stop him, but it was too late. He had tipped the coffee cup back and taken a sip. The icy cold liquid sprayed out of his mouth, all over the table.

Mike set the cup down. “What the hell! It’s freezing.”

Victoria wiped her face and glared at Vance.

Vance’s sly smile appeared again, then a little chuckle. “I don’t know why you’re looking at me.”

Victoria shook her head at him, trying to tell him, she was on to him. On to the fact he used his freeze vision.

Vance set the menu down and changed the subject. “No kennel for Chew-Barka. That’s like doggie jail. Let me see what I can do. I’ll get back to you.”

Mike frantically wiped the coffee off the table. “That would be great if you took him for the whole week.” He reached over to reciprocate the punch Vance gave him.

“No!” Victoria tried to warn him again, but it was too late. Mike shook out his fist after slugging Vance’s shoulder. Vance hadn’t budged. Like a rock as always.

Mike opened and closed his hand. “Wow, man, you must spend a lot of time at the gym.”

Victoria stood up. “I’ve lost my appetite. You two enjoy each other. Vance, I’ll see you tomorrow when you pick up Chewy.” Victoria left the men alone for their romantic lunch.

EMMA   

When Becky opened the door to Emma, the first thing she saw was her bright white smile. “Hey, Sis! I’m so glad you could come over at the last minute. I hope I’m not pulling quality time away from you and your hubby.”

Emma bit her lip, holding back a smile of her own. Quality time? Ha. She purposefully didn’t leave out his costume when she left. Would Estavon be able to find his black leather super suit without her? “It’s really no problem. Besides, I want to hear your news.”

A little curly-haired, pig-tailed girl, wearing a black sweat suit and black mask, pranced across the room like a gazelle, finally stopping in front of Emma. Swooping her niece up in her arms, Emma kissed her chubby cheek. “How’s the little princess today?”

Samantha lisped out. “I’m not a princess. I’m a superhero.”

“Oh, well I’m mistaken. What are your secret powers?”

“I’m just like Capitán Rápido. I can move super-duper fast and can see into the future… a whole day into the future.”

“Instead of only ten seconds? You’ll be unstoppable!”

Samantha slid from Emma’s arms and ran as fast as she could around the living room.

Emma laughed, “She’s so cute!”

Becky took her purse from the shelf beside the door. “I’ll be home in about two hours. Do you want to hear the news now, or later?”

“Well… Now, of course.”

A big smile grew across Becky’s face, swallowing all her other features. “I’m pregnant!”

“Really?” Emma heaved her sister into her arms. “That’s fantastic!”

“Hopefully, you’ll have success soon, too.”

Emma shook her head, pushing the thought away. “This isn’t about me right now. I can’t wait for another niece…or maybe a nephew this time.”

Becky looked down at her watch. “I gotta go. Josh is meeting me at the doctor’s office. I have my first ultrasound today, three months along already.” Becky gave Emma another hug before heading out the door.

“Watch this, Auntie Ems!” Samantha crawled up on the couch and jumped off the back with her arms outstretched. “Did you see that? I can fly!”

“Wow, you’re even better than Capitán Rápido. He can’t fly. Not like The Kite.”

“Mommy says I’m going to have a brother or a sister, but I need to be patient.”

“Your mommy’s wise. You’ll need to be very patient.”

Samantha ran around the sofa again, crawled back up and jumped off, one more time. Emma smiled. Oh, how did she want a child of her own.

Was that even possible in her life?

Someday, I hope.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek. 🙂 Have a great day.

–Joy

Copy of Book Spotlight

I Wrote ‘THE END’ Twice Today!

update_

It amazing how productive you can be, if your mind is focused on your task. (AND you have a day off of work.)

Today, I wrote “THE END” not once, but twice!

Yup, twice. I always wish I’d only work on one project at a time, but sometimes, I lose motivation for one project and need to jump to another–for sanity sake.

For Camp NaNo, my “announced” project was to write a 15K short story, titled “Hidden” for a multi-author collection I’m participating in. I outlined this story in March and set off writing April 1st. Disconnecting my computer’s WiFi and setting the timer nearly every day, I committed to write for 30 minutes. Once my scene was laid out, I discovered that I could write about 1200 words in only 30 minutes. Pretty amazing! I wrote “The End” on this story before lunch today — clocking in at 18K words total.

Then, for a break, I’ve been working on fixing and finishing my November NaNoWriMo project, “Secret Lives of Superheroes’ Wives”. Not an official project, but something I wanted (needed) to complete.

Well, today, I could actually see the finish line…and I pushed forward. Here I am…8PM…and I just wrote “The End” on Superhero Wives.

It feels fantastic!

Next up: A round of edits and then off to beta readers.

(Okay, a little secret: My first drafts are TERRIBLE! I wouldn’t show them to anyone! I’m writing this here as a reminder to myself…when I get down and think I can’t write…hang in there and it gets better. For me, the magic happens during editing. Taking an endless ocean of raw words and ideas, polishing them, and turning out something you’d let someone else read.)

How’s your Camp NaNoWriMo project going? I’d love to hear.

I lost NaNoWriMo, but I published a book!

nano-statsOkay. I may have *technically* lost NaNoWriMo, but I did manage to write 41,500 words towards THE SECRET LIVES OF SUPERHERO WIVES. I’d consider it “Draft Zero” as I have the whole thing done. It just needs a little more outside conflict. Do I sense an April Camp NaNoWriMo project?

Ready?

Brace yourself.

Drum Roll.

amazon-listing2I FINALLY have LOVE, LIES & CLONES up on Amazon for Kindle pre-order.

It’s here (if you’re DYING to get a copy): Love, Lies & Clones on Amazon

Pricing is SO difficult!

I decided to price the pre-order at the cheapest I could, $0.99, so that all my friends, family, and supporters could obtain a copy at a reasonable price. When it’s released (December 16th), I’ll be increasing it to $2.99. Hopefully, I sell a few copies to at least make back editing costs. 😉 I completely went with pricing listed on this website: ebook Pricing.  There are so many pricing strategies, I had no idea what to do — this is completely a shot in the dark.

I should have the paperback copy up this week. Yay! My parents are looking forward to selling it in their Zoo’s gift shop.

Then onto marketing and self promotion (see my sad face? I don’t like “selling.” Ugh!)

What’s next?

bhw-kindleI need to finish editing/rewriting BLOOD & HOLY WATER and get that one published too. It’s so close. I anticipate 1st half of 2017.

And I have the itch to write some flash fiction again. I have two stories outlined and just need to bite the bullet and write them. I’ll share on this blog when they’re done.

Maybe outline some sequels?

 

What projects are on your agenda for 2017?

 

 

Kidnapped by Imaginary Characters!

Help! I’ve been kidnapped and am being held hostage by my characters. They won’t let me go. They’ve invaded my mind and silently watch, waiting for their opportunity to remind me they have strong voices that demand to be heard. Strong wills and desires they can no longer hide. Just when I think I’m in control, they pounce like a feline. They grab hold of my situation and twist it to their personal agenda. They massage my thoughts and intertwine them with their own insecurities.

Happy November to all the NaNoWriMo participants – and to everyone else as well. I’ve been feverishly cranking out words towards my new novel, ‘The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives’. We’re 12 days in, and I’m 22K words into my 50K goal. All of a sudden, I’ve felt on edge: anxious, insecure, stubborn, depressed, lonely, and a whole slew of other emotions I can’t put my finger on. I can’t figure out if I’m overtired, putting too much pressure on myself, or if my life is just going down the toilet.

Alas, this morning, I solved my problem:  My characters have taken over my life!!!

Yeah. My life is good and there is no reason my perception is being twisted by these emotions. Each thought I’m experiencing is what I’ve been writing about. THEY ARE NOT MY THOUGHTS. THEY ARE WHAT MY CHARACTERS WOULD THINK. The problem: my lines between the written word and reality began to blur. But the first step in a cure is recognition of the problem.

I’ve always been way too empathetic, now, I’m doing it with imaginary people!

My new novel has three different story lines, following three women and the superhero in their life. (And yes, we’re talking literal superheroes… with superpowers) The balance of three main character’s personalities is exhausting. Plus you add in their (ex)husbands personalities, and you end up with a tornado of emotions… no, a hurricane.

Novel premise: The superhero always gets the girl, right? Ever wonder what happens next?

  • Ariana is recently married. She struggles with the challenges of adjusting to married life.
  • Victoria is divorced, but her ex-husband won’t leave her alone.
  • Emma’s been married six years and struggling with a husband whos duty seems to come before her.

I have two hopes.

  1. That I don’t have this backwards and my emotions are actually taking over my characters or that seeing the characters display their flaws gives me permission to do it too.
  2. That all this turmoil  will make the characters come to life on the page for whoever ends up reading this novel.

So… The moral of this story? My next novel will need to have an intelligent, witty, caring, and… CHARMING protagonist. I give that one permission to take over my life. Maybe I should give up on NaNoWriMo today and start that story instead!

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Who’s in charge? You or your imaginary people?

Happy NaNo-ing.

–Joy

hostage

shw-cover

Love, Lies, & Clones to Kindle Scout

I’m trying something new with my novel, Love, Lies, & Clones. I submitted it to Kindle Scout.  I’m really interested to see if the novel pulls any interest.  I’m not hoping for a contract, though I wouldn’t turn it down, but I’m really excited for the number of viewers that will see my story. (A great way to advertise for free.)

I’m participating in November’s NaNoWriMo with a new novel tentatively titled, The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives. I thought having Love, Lies, & Clones out of my hands would be great — I need to stop micromanaging it.  I don’t think I can make it much better.

Here’s my Kindle Scout Page… It’s looking like a real book!

llc-ks

Here’s my rough draft cover for my next novel.

shw-cover

I can’t wait to see you all in NaNo Land.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this November?

Have you done anything with Kindle Scout?