Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Guest Post by Connie L. Smith

About the book:

Preston and Nick endured the breakup of all breakups when Nick accused her of cheating on him. He insisted, and she denied while the rain pounded against her driveway and thunder roared in the distance. Then they both ran – Preston to a life of Rock and Roll, and Nick to a career in the Army. 

Over four years later, they’re damaged and broken almost beyond repair. He’s carrying baggage from his military days, and she bears the scars of living a lifestyle she’s grown to hate. 

When Preston’s label forces her to take time away from music, their paths cross in a parking lot not twenty-four hours after her hometown return, anger and sparks flying in a confusing blend. But regardless of the feelings neither has been able to shake, too many lies and secrets stand in the way of the one thing they need in order to recover. 

Each other.

Guest Post by Connie L. Smith

Sometimes people get so caught up on their dreams that they don’t take the time to figure out all the steps that are involved in seeing that dream come to fruition. That overall concept has been a piece of my life since I first published Essenced back in July 2013. There was a lot I didn’t know about publishing, and many more things that I’ll probably learn along the way. One thing I’ve learned is that building a career in this field can be a long, drawn out process. If you want to see good book sales, you might have to do more than just write a book. It’s okay to want your book to be a hit immediately. . . But don’t be too surprised if it takes more time and effort to reach your goals in this business.

As important as that lesson has been for me, that’s not the point of this guest post. Instead, I’m writing this to comment on something that I noticed very vividly while going through CreateSpace to prepare a paperback version of Enscrolled, this last book in my Division Chronicles trilogy. What is that something?

Nervousness has yet to go away.

With my first book, I was anxious and excited, wanting to see my book do well but also experiencing a vulnerability that I hadn’t dealt with before. When you construct an entire story with characters you’ve made and a plot you had enough confidence in to create the novel, you’re really offering readers a view into your mind by putting the book for sale. It’s from your head, and it’s ideally been polished to the point that you’re willing to put your name on it and let people know it’s your product.

When the final product is something like 90,000 words of you, there’s room for a whole lot of you to end up on the pages.

So I was concerned that maybe I hadn’t built a story worth reading, that maybe people would just hate my writing style. Did I rush things, or was the pace so slow that people would lose interest? What if it was an idea that few people would even care about?

Then came a novella, In Your Wings. This was the first time that I’d written something that was primarily romance, and I was concerned that I’d completely botch the attempt. There’s something particularly revealing in writing romance, because you’re dealing with deep emotions and toeing the line of cheesy, and it was an odd moment when I finally published it for the first time in December of last year.

Then Emblazed, the second book of The Division Chronicles. This time, I worried about sophomore slump for my trilogy. Sure, some people seemed to like Essenced, but what if I ruined everything with the second book? The plot, the approach… What if it didn’t do justice to the book that came before it?

Then, with the end of the trilogy, I still worried. Would the ending be fulfilling to readers? Would the characters’ plights and actions flow with the previous books? Did it conclude the trilogy with quality and satisfaction?

And now, Tail Lights – my first attempt at publishing contemporary romance. And New Adult. Did I do the story justice? Is it compelling? Can you actually fall in love with these two characters in a way that would make an author proud?

I leaped away from the fantasy world I’d been involved with. Was it worth the risk? Did I create a good final product?

With another work waiting for its turn at publishing, I can tell you that the feeling of nervousness isn’t going anywhere. And, maybe, it shouldn’t. Maybe that would mean that I’m not pushing myself as an author, or that I’m not putting decent effort into what I’m penning.

There are plenty of lessons I’ve learned about writing and publishing, and this is one that really sticks. Every book might very well be a different piece of me, and publishing it for the very first time might always be nerve-wracking experience.

But… it’s so worth it :)

Excerpt from Tail Lights

Surprisingly, he was leaving his apartment when I reached his floor, and he smiled at me like no animosity existed between us. “Hey, Preston.”

“Hey, Preston,” I mocked, then held up the figurine and fastened a glare on him. “Take it back.”

He had the nerve to smirk. “How do you know I gave that to you?”

“Who else would leave a dolphin on my doorstep besides the guy who knows I love dolphins and wants to suddenly fix four years’ worth of betrayal?” His smirk disappeared, and I shoved the object closer to him. “Take it back.”

He shook his head. “I don’t want it back.”

“Well, I don’t want it ether.” When he arched a brow, I rolled my eyes. “Okay, it’s cute. It’s absolutely adorable, and it would look fantastic on my end table, but I can’t take this.”

“Why not?”

“Because I know what it means! You made a mistake, and you’re trying to make up for it. But it’s too late, Nick. And if I take this, it’s like saying that you have a chance to make things right, and you don’t.”

His brow again lifted. “You sure about that?”

I frowned. “Which part?”

With a grin, he shrugged in an almost casual manner, far too comfortable in a conversation that made me anxious. Evidently he’d meant what he said about mending things between us, and he wasn’t about to let my reservations ruin his determination. “You’re absolutely right about what the dolphin means, but are you sure I can’t make things right?”

“I’m so far beyond sure that sure isn’t even in my line of sight anymore.” I held the dolphin farther out, hoping that he’d take it. “I can’t keep clinging to things that weren’t good for me in the first place if I want my next four years to be any better than the last four years.”

Then he scowled. “And you think I wasn’t good for you in the first place?”

“I know you weren’t. If you were, you wouldn’t have believed Dad and dumped me, and. . . " Sighing, I waved the figurine in his direction. “Take it.”

“Your sentence trailed off,” he pointed out, a small smile forming on his lips. “That’s a good sign for me.” Eyes on me, he stepped closer, completely invading my personal space and causing the hand holding the dolphin to fall back against my stomach. After a moment of silently looking at me, so intense and needing, he pointed a finger at my face.

“That’s exactly why I can’t take it back,” he whispered. His finger moved to brush my hair behind my ear, trailing along my jaw before tracing my lips. I knew I should move, slap his hand away, something. But I couldn’t. I just stared, my mouth gaping in shock, my mind consumed with Nick and his caresses. “That was the biggest mistake of my life. And you are my life.”

His index finger exchanged for his thumb, outlining my bottom lip over and over. “I should’ve fought for this, and I’m not making the same mistake twice. I’m getting my life back.” Then he stepped away, gesturing at the dolphin. “That’s only the first step.”
Turning, he walked to the stairway entrance at the other end of the hall, leaving me standing – still gawking where he’d been and suddenly holding the dolphin figure much tighter.

About the author:

Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and might forever be sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. Her music of choice is severely outdated, and as an adult she’s kind of obsessed with Power Rangers. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either), and is currently working on her MA.

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