Sorry about the relative radio silence over the last several days. For those who didn’t know, I made the journey (through the grace of several friends, and Amazon paying out foreign royalties early) to the RWA conference down in Anaheim, CA. For a girl who can navigate the rough waters of self-publishing well enough, I was a real fish-out-of-water at the much more professional, traditional world of the conference. For example, I didn’t (don’t) have any business cards, never knew I was supposed to bring formal wear – I literally was meeting editors in jeans (and a nice top, yes, but JEANS people) and FLIPFLOPS (!!!). These ladies were dressed usually to the nines in power suits and matching pumps – but oh, they were wonderful. Everyone had such a passion for writing, for getting stories out to readers, and they were excited to talk to me. Little, introverted, bubbly-when-she’s-nervous me.
Folks, you’re going to have to forgive me for not taking pictures. What was one of the coolest experiences of my life also made me braindead and unable to remember, “Hey, I might need proof I went!” I was also surrounded by writers whose work I’d read all my life so, without further ado, I present my list of fangirl moments. Cuz I totally made a silly of myself on a number of occasions:
– Bella Andre. Guys, she’s even more full of awesome in person. We’re on Kindleboards together and when she saw me, she gave me a big hug.
– Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I’ve loved her stories since I was a kid, and when I heard she was at the conference I got bouncy. THEN, when I was at the Avon party (in jeans, surrounded by cocktail dresses – oh my, I was out of my element!), she sits down in the seat across from me and my new bestie Lauren Hawkeye (who I’m doing an anthology with later this year) told me who it was. I was literally bouncing in the seat for almost ten minutes, trying to get up the nerve to say SOMETHING that wasn’t a gushing omgIloveyourstoriesYOU’REMYHERO! Managed not to make a fool of myself, somehow – sounded fairly knowledgeable when I said even self-published writers don’t understand all things about the practice – but couldn’t help but gush a teensy bit. She was super gracious.
– In one of the most awesome, definitely-going-to-be-a-forever-memory kind of moment, I was recognized by one of my readers in the Starbucks line. SHE then proceeded to fangirl ME, and we talked about everything from Nathan Fillion to ComicCon to the dastardly nature of cliffhangers. Tameri Etherton, if you’re reading this, you’re awesome. We DEFINITELY need to hang out next RWA (or at ComicCon, so awesome to meet another Browncoat!!!).
– Another wonderful writer I met was Lauren Hawkeye, a future anthology buddy. OMG, she understood what it meant to be a newbie and helped me navigate the deep waters of RWA. She’s awesome, and also writes REALLY COOL BOOKS!!!! …just sayin’.
– Finally, I had my very own Close Encounter With Nora Roberts at the RITA awards ceremony. There was this familiar lady sitting at my table but I couldn’t place her face but had a sneaking suspicion. Google images never look like real life however, so I couldn’t be sure it was her until she stood up to accept the RITA for Best Romantic Suspense as JD Robb. Guys, I will admit this once to FINALLY remembering to take evidence photos, but unfortunately it was too dark for my surrepticious photog skills and, yeah, you gotta take my word for it. Woe and betide…
It was like all the stars aligned this weekend to make it PERFECT!! I released AHW4 on Wednesday, Tweeting the links as they went live (technically it was for a Thursday release but some came through early) and you guys flocked to the sale price! I couldn’t believe it: I was #1 on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list, plus AHW4 rose to the Amazon top 100 within the first 24 hours!!! I was also informed by eagle-eyed readers (YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!) that I’d landed at #85 on the USA Today Bestseller List (and haven’t moved off it yet). AND, I’m a Featured Book on AllRomanceeBook.
*pinches myself* Did I just die and go to heaven?
I have some writerly business to take care of for my agent (does saying that ever get old?) then I need to get to writing tonight. I have a deadline in my head of when I want to release AHW5 – don’t want to commit yet because I’d hate to disappoint you guys by missing my release, or worse yet release something that isn’t ready – but it means I’ll be working overtime on getting everything in my head committed to paper. Er, electronic paper at least. I’m playing around with Dragon Naturally Speaking, learning how to use dictation software – haven’t told myself stories since I was a kid!!
Oh yeah, and today I handed in my notice of resignation to commit fully to writing. *blink-blink* By the end of the month, I’ll be a full-time writer, and it’s all your guys’ doing. I’d blame you, but really all I want to do is hug and THANK YOU PROFUSELY for this opportunity!!
“Anything He Wants 4: Collateral Damage” is now live on the interwebz!!! …mostly. Well okay, halfly. (is that even a word?)
Kobo and B&N are being brats about loading the file (come on guys, hurry up it’s been long enough!) but the story is available on Amazon (Kindle) and AllRomanceeBooks (all different formats including PDF and ePub). If you keep track on Twitter, I was posting links in real time when they came available; a lot of people are telling me AHW4 isn’t showing up in Amazon’s search yet so here are direct links.
Keep an eye on this post as I’ll update when more links are available. Now excuse me while I email Mark Lefevre from Kobo and the B&N support team asking them, hello, we need some help here! Remember the price is a promo for my fans, the sale ends on Sunday!! (probably later for Kobo-ites and Nookerians)
The last couple days have been hectic at Casa de Fawkes for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is gearing up for the release of AHW4. Editing, formatting and tweaking bits until they shine in the sun. I enjoy the writing process, letting my creative side run free, but there’s pleasure to be had in editing too, adding that extra bit of polish to a story.
That said, I have a few small-to-medium sized announcements, some of which might explain the recent radio silence:
– I’ve signed with a literary agent, Steven Axelrod of the Axelrod Agency. It’s hard to tell you how HAPPY JOYFUL ECSTATIC this makes me as he was a dream agent before I decided to self-publish. Omg I’m still over the freaking moon just thinking about it!! I normally wouldn’t have gone this route but I’ve been approached by a few editors of big name houses, and I knew immediately I was WAY out of my league. Still, it boggles my mind – ill have to do a post someday of my journey but for now I’m content to see it through.
– The RWA conference is happening this week only three hours away, and I’ve been scrambling to figure out how I might attend. Nothing is set in stone yet but I’ve been wanting to attend for years, and right now seems like the perfect time.
– As I said before, I have the best fans in the world. You guys have stood beside me, tweet and promoted and recommended these stories to friends and family… *sniff* I’m so humbled and thankful for your help!! So as a gift I’ve decided, for this week only, to make “Anything He Wants 4: Collateral Damage” $.99 at all outlets. Believe me, if it was possible to make it free across the board I’d do it, but most distribution outlets frown on that (I guess it doesn’t make them any money. Imagine that!) so I’m making it as cheap as I can make it. The sale is only for a limited time as a thank-you to everyone who’s supported me, but is obviously open to the public. Tell your friends, family, pen pals, everyone you can to get it quick as the sale goes through Sunday.
The day job awaits but, gah, you guys are so incredible. Thank you, THANK YOU for the support and praises and comments, it means the freaking world to me!!!
This weekend has been busy between writing, life, angsting over what to do about some opportunities I’ve been given and gearing up for AHW4′s release this week, but I thought I’d address a few topics I’ve seen in comments. I DO read all the comments, although I’m horrid lately about replying, and I’ve seen a pattern so hopefully I can answer questions in this post:
– regarding “Back In The Groove”: Yes, it was meant to be a series and is definitely meant to go on. I decided to focus my energy on the “Anything He Wants” series however due to its insane popularity; for those BITG fans out there believe me, I’ve got much more to tell about James and Alice (like what he did in the Army, he’s not just a surfer dude!) but the story’s been put on hold for the moment until at least AHW5 is released.
– the AHW mirrors I promised: I’ve given priority, again, to finishing the original series first, THEN I definitely will be releasing the mirrors. So far I have AHW1 from Jeremiah’s POV and to finish Loki’s story/POV from AHW3, with more planned (at least in my mind; it’s crazy the amount of stuff going on in the background of this series, and I figure you guys would love to see what’s happening).
– Yesterday I received the gorgeous final cover from A.D. Cooper for AHW4 and, HEE, it’s pretteh!!!
I thought it catches the mood of the story perfectly, although perhaps not as shmexy as the first covers. What do you think, thoughts?
Any other pressing questions? If I promise to answer any and every comment on this post, will you guys go easy on me? (and yes, that’s a promise not merely a rhetorical question )
Well, that took longer than originally planned, but WOOHOO we’re live!! AHW 1-3 is now available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and AllRomance, with iTunes hopefully being added to the mix in the near-ish future. Barnes and Noble is for all those who use the Nook to read their stories, Kobo is much more international (I remember seeing the reader in Borders Bookstores before they shut their doors forever) and AllRomance allows their customers to download all sorts of formats including PDF to read on a computer and ePub which can be transferred to several different types of ereaders.
I’d also like to announce that the release date for “Anything He Wants 4″ is now set for July 26, which is next Thursday. I had a heck of a time last month getting the book live on the right date – Amazon sometimes takes it sweet old time letting new books through, and other sites can be similarly annoying – so I’ll be a bit more proactive with getting the book out early. If you see the book earlier than Thursday by all means, buy and enjoy!!
Look for a cover reveal this weekend. The lady who does my covers has chosen one heck of a picture for part four and I think it’s perfect! Can’t wait to show it to you guys!!
Many people have asked me online why I only have the first “Anything He Wants” story on Amazon. When I first published the story I signed an exclusivity agreement with Amazon through their KDP Select program which enabled me to use the Kindle Online Lending Library and also have the story free for five scheduled free days. Was it the right choice? I’m not sure, but I do know that Amazon has been VERY good to me and allowed me to reach the top 20 (!!) on the Kindle Store Bestseller lists, as well as the top 10 in Romance.
That contract, fortunately, was only for a short while, and as of today I’m free to post elsewhere. What does this mean for the series?
We’re about to find out!! Right now I’m gearing up for a HUGE launch tomorrow on Kobo, AllRomanceeBooks, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords, and would appreciate your help in getting the word out. This could mean THE WORLD for the series…or it could mean little. I’ve felt so trapped with the limited distribution that I’m fairly bursting at the seams now to get these stories out to the world! It has been you, you, and YOU who has gotten us this far and I’m asking you to help me one last time! Tell your friends with the Kobo or Nook readers, the ones who like reading on their computers, those who read off their phones – “Anything He Wants” will be available for the masses starting tomorrow!
There’s nothing like going out to your car one morning to find the passenger door ajar and your paperwork piled neatly in both front seats and the passenger floorboards. Apparently our naive habit of only locking the car doors when we remembered caught up with us, and allowed somebody to rummage through the vehicle. There wasn’t much for them to take but all the change from my cup holders is gone. We haven’t identified anything else out of the ordinary.
To add insult to injury, the thieves left the door ajar all night so the battery was toast. We managed to get that jumped by my old Maverick; I thought we were okay but the Dude wanted to check it out first so we drove around a bit, parked it in the driveway, turned off the car then tried again.
$130 battery later I’m left shaking a futile fist at the neighborhood thieves as they did manage to get us for some funds. I was just relieved both garage door openers were gone – both the Dude and myself have taken motorcycles lately so the remotes were in our jackets. If they’d gotten into the garage now THAT would have been a disaster.
Interesting side note: apparently the old car battery was leaking badly and had already eaten through part of the metal bit holding it down:
Considering that battery is right over the passenger leg compartment, that coulda been one mean accident waiting to happen!! *EEK*
Many moons ago, before I was actually a published author, I was an aspiring writer. Back in those days, I poured over blogs and websites about the publishing world, read articles on how to write/plot/etc, and had a few go-to favorite sites for news on What Was Happening In Publishing. Dear Author was one blog/website that, while I didn’t always agree with their stance on some issues, I regarded as a good industry source.
Yesterday they did an article on serial fiction and, holy crap, they mentioned me!! Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably saw my squeefest (it was pretty epic), and a day later I’m still absolutely tickled. Their mention wasn’t really a shout-out or recommendation but, well, it was no less awesome:
One author who is burning up the charts is self published author Sara Fawkes whose series “Anything He Wants” sells on Amazon for .99, $2.99, and $2.99 for the published versions so far for a total of 111 pages of fiction. Serials can build anticipation and lead to increased word of mouth.
I’m still grinning about it.
My editor is going to kill me. I think you guys deserve this though.
Blame @andriiisantiii, she convinced me to do this. It’s still fairly rough draft but… Ah heck, you guys just want to read the story don’t you?
I was eight years old the first time I got the flu. It was bad, enough so that I had to be rushed to the hospital. While I couldn’t remember much, I did remember vividly the aches and pains as my body struggled to rid itself of every last vestige of the foul disease.
Waking up in that hospital room felt similar, like waking from a painful dream. Eyes still closed, I turned my head to the side, the simple movement making me dizzy and nauseous. At my moan there was a commotion next to me then a strangely familiar man’s voice said, “Get the doctor.”
Why was that voice familiar? Who… Thinking made my head hurt so I gave up for a while, trying to keep as still as possible. After a moment the nausea subsided and I cracked open one eye, then the other.
I was in a well-lit room, the bright fluorescent lights above like knives in my skull. Figuring for the time being it would be better to keep my eyes closed, I listened as several people filed into the room.
“Ms. Delacourt, my name is Doctor Montague. I’m going to need you to open your eyes.”
“Hurts,” I mumbled, my tongue stinking to the roof of a dry mouth. I tried opening my eyes again and it was a little better this time. The room and its occupants were fuzzy; the tall figure beside my bed leaned in close and shined a light in my eyes. I flinched but the pain from before was already subsiding and he only did a few sweeps before pulling the pin light away.
“How do you feel?”
“Like I’ve been hit by a bus.” The doctor spoke very good English but I could hear the slight French accent in his words. “Am I still in Paris?”
“Oui, you were brought here soon after your little incident.”
“Where’s Jeremiah?” I struggled to pull myself upright, ignoring the explosion in my head and the doctor’s restraining hand. “Is he okay?”
“He’s been coordinating with French officials on investigating what happened. Discreetly.”
It took me a moment to recognize the familiar from beside the bed. I barely made out Ethan’s bald head through bleary vision. “So he wasn’t…?”
“No, he wasn’t poisoned,” he replied, correctly guessing my unspoken question, and I let out the breath I was holding. “He’s been going through various channels to try and find the culprit. I sent word that your awake, he should be here any moment.”
Hearing that Jeremiah was on his way eased a burden inside my chest. The doctor handed me a glass of water as I glanced toward the clock, then the dark window. “How long was I out?”
“Three days,” Ethan replied and I coughed on the water I’d just swallowed. The big man shifted. “We didn’t know how it would end up. Lucky for you, Jeremiah has some medic training.”
“I almost died?” My words were a whisper and I found it difficult to come to grips with the idea.
“Officially, you did. Twice.” The doctor took my cup and set it on the table beside me I finally saw clearly. “If not for the, hm, insistence of Mr. Hamilton we may not be having this conversation.”
I stared at my hands for a long moment, emotions all jumbled together in my head. “I’m tired,” I murmured, sliding back down the bed.
“Before you sleep,” Ethan said, stepping toward me, “I’d really like to ask you a few questions about the man who brought the bottle to your room.”
Everything in me went cold. “You think he was the one who…?”
“That’s what we’re trying to find out.”
The familiar deep voice made my heart leap. Jeremiah walked into the room and stood at the foot of the bed before looking at the doctor. “How is she?”
“Awake, and that is a good sign. I’d like to keep her at least another day for observation.”
Jeremiah nodded at the doctor, who stood and silently left the room. I blindly reached for Jeremiah’s hand when he took the empty spot beside me, not caring who saw or thought what. Fear settled over me like an oppressive blanket. Someone tried to kill me.
“What do you remember about the man who delivered the champagne?” Ethan asked as I clung to Jeremiah’s hand.
“He was ordinary,” I said, then winced at the phrase. Way to be unhelpful. “He was dressed like a hotel employee, white with medium brown hair and brown eyes I think.”
“Hair and eye color can be changed,” Jeremiah interjected. “What about facial features? Any scars or moles?”
Thinking made my head ache and I closed my eyes, trying to picture the brief glimpse I’d had of his face. “He had kind of deep set eyes, thin lips and was a couple inches taller than me. Um, I think he had a mole on his left temple and a scar on his chin, but I don’t know how much of that was makeup.”
Jeremiah and Ethan’s gazes met briefly and my heart sank. I probably just described half the country.
“What did he sound like?” Ethan asked finally after scribbling notes on a small notepad.
“He spoke English really well, I thought he sounded American.” I thumped my hand on the bed in frustration. “I don’t know. He seemed like a normal hotel employee and I didn’t think to look that hard.” A thought occurred to me. “What about the security cameras? There has to be something on them.”
Both men shook their heads. “We already checked. Whoever it was knew exactly where even hidden cameras pointed; we never got a face shot.”
I slumped in the bed. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
Jeremiah’s phone went off, and he pulled it out to check the screen. “I need to take this,” he said, pulling his hand free from my grasp. “Ethan, see if you can find an artist to draw what she remembers. I’ll be back.”
Tears pricked my eyes as I watched him leave the room. Silly girl, I chided myself, blinking hard, he still has to do his job. It still hurt to have him gone however, there was security in his presence that I didn’t feel with a simple bodyguard.
“You know, this whole deal hit him pretty hard.”
I looked over at Ethan, wiping at my leaking eyes. The bald man wasn’t looking at me, too busy typing into his phone, but I could still sense his attention. “What do you mean?”
He didn’t answer for a moment, intent on his phone, then clipped it to his belt and looked at me. “How long have you two known one another again?”
The question felt like an interrogation and I frowned. “A few days, why?”
Ethan grunted. “He’s pulled out all the stops trying to find out who did this. I haven’t seen him this driven in a long time; even the last time someone tried to kill him he wasn’t this motivated.”
My mouth dropped open. “What?” I said, voice barely a whisper.
Ethan shrugged one shoulder like it was nothing. “A man like Jeremiah, given the cutthroat business he does, gets threatened a lot. It was not long after he agreed to sponsor my company that someone tried to shoot him outside his building.” Ethan snorted. “Jeremiah had already broken the man’s wrist and taken the gun by the time I got close. Turns out the gunman wasn’t even the person with a beef, he’d been hired to do the dirty work.”
“What happened next?” I asked when Ethan lapsed off, looking at his phone again.
“Nothing. The boss told me to find out who was behind it and let him know, then got on a plane for Dubai. Didn’t seem worried in the slightest.” Ethan peered at me. “Maybe it’s because you got hurt on his behalf. Either way, Celeste has taken over business operations while he focuses on this manhunt and tries to keep the press from getting wind.”
“So, the person on the phone…?”
“Was probably one of his contacts. If he didn’t want us to listen in, it was probably one that I don’t approve of. Either way, he’s gone to extremes on this one.”
Jeremiah chose then to come back inside, stowing his phone in his pocket. I got my first glimpse outside the door and saw two men dressed in black standing on either side of the entryway before the door closed again. “I have the boys looking for an artist now,” Ethan said. “Hopefully we can get someone up here within the next few hours.”
“Good.” Jeremiah moved to my bed then frowned down at me. “You should be resting.”
“Who was that on the phone?” I asked bluntly. When his eyes narrowed, clearly annoyed with the question, I persisted. “If it has something to do with me then I should know. Who tried to kill us?”
Jeremiah glared at Ethan but the big security expert had his eyes back on his phone, deliberately ignoring our conversation. “I’m not sure yet,” Jeremiah finally said. “I gave them the description you provided and they’re hopeful. Now, rest.”
My body demanded I follow the order – I’d been fighting against sleep anyway, but I still struggled to keep awake for one last question. “You won’t leave?” I asked, pushing myself deeper under the sheets.
His eyes softened a bit. “I’ll be nearby,” he promised, and at his words I finally closed my eyes, letting my exhaustion overwhelm me.
I stayed in the hospital for three more days under observation. The doctor seemed optimistic about my recovery, but I felt weaker than a baby. Needing help to do simple things like walk proved frustrating and I was determined to do it on my own. After I slipped and nearly fell trying to get myself to the attached bathroom however, Jeremiah ordered that I have constant help available, whether by nurses or bodyguards.
Most of my days were spent sleeping, but it quickly grew boring staying in the hospital bed. When I mentioned this to Ethan, an ever-present fixture in my room, a brand new tablet, still in the box, appeared beside my bed soon afterward. The device gave me something to do with my spare time, and I spent most of it researching my new boss.
I’d joked before that I knew the Wikipedia version of his life, and as it turned out so did the rest of the world. There were articles on him that mentioned he was an Army Ranger, talked about his charity work, and went into detail on his business ventures, but I knew all this already. The media threw out words like “mysterious” and “enigmatic” when they described him, and the words seemed appropriate given the lack of any in-depth information through nearly all channels. Articles on the corporate changeover after his father’s death were similarly shallow, mainly analyst predictions where the company would go under new management, if a man who had minimal business education could really take over for the tycoon Rufus Hamilton, and so on.
By day four of my stay I was walking on my own again, just in time to leave the hospital. Our exit felt like an espionage movie: I was shuffled to the basement garage by the bodyguards and carefully packed into a waiting limo that I assumed would take us to the airport. Jeremiah watched over everything, never leaving my side, even maintaining a possessive grip around my shoulders as we drove out of the parking garage.
I dozed through most of the trip, using Jeremiah’s shoulder as a pillow. I awoke once an indeterminate amount of time later to see we were no longer in the city but didn’t think anything of it, nodding back to sleep until the car finally stopped. Jeremiah shifted under me and I lifted my head, gazing blearily out the window. This definitely isn’t the airport, I thought, rubbing my eyes. “Where are we?”
Jeremiah didn’t answer the question, merely edged toward the door as it was opened from the outside. “Come find out,” he said, taking my arm to help me out of the car. I didn’t immediately recognize the structure. Nearby was the faint sound of water and a monument that looked vaguely familiar.
Several men in dark suits were scattered around the area and one black man came jogging up to us. “The place is secure, sir,” he said, and as Jeremiah nodded I finally realized where I was.
“You brought me to Utah Beach,” I whispered in stunned surprise. I’d only mentioned the location once to Jeremiah, so this was proof he was really listening to me. The wind off the water was chilly, cooling the already cold winter air; the sky was overcast and looked like it might spit snow at any moment. Looking around at a place I’d only seen in pictures online, I found myself inexplicably tearing up.
Jeremiah took off his jacket and slipped it around my shoulders when I shivered. “You mentioned this was someplace you wanted to visit.” He looked uncomfortable and edgy, and I wondered if it was my tears. “They have a Visitor’s Center with artifacts from the beach itself, but we can go down to the water if you’re up for it.”
His voice was gruff and his demeanor short, but I didn’t care. Happiness suffused me at the sight of a place I’d always dreamed of visiting, and I slipped my hand through his. Jeremiah stiffened and I saw him swallow, then his fingers relaxed into mine. “Help me inside?” I asked, burrowing myself deep inside his coat.
His gaze softened as he peered down at me, then he lifted my hand to his lips. “I’d be honored.”