My Journey to Becoming an Author

My daughter, who is three, has an amazing imagination. Her favorite form of play involves making up stories for whatever toys she’s playing with. My dad said that she sounds like a budding author, and maybe he’s right. But thinking back, oddly, I never played that way. I was more of an outdoor girl. My friend Laura had to drag me inside to play Barbies, and she was the source of all the best story lines, not I.

My love of writing started with a love of reading. I’ve always loved reading to, listening to, or watching a great story. There’s no single book that kicked off my love of reading – the Black Stallion novels maybe, I was a little horse crazy. I just remember, from a very young age, spending hours in my room devouring books. If I didn’t get a couple of books for Christmas I was disappointed.
I honestly don’t remember when I started writing my own stories. When I was eight I won second place in a writing contest – although it was more of an essay contest than creative writing. By junior high I was writing constantly. Mostly short stories along the horror or tragedy lines – which is funny to me now since those aren’t my favorite genres. I think my imagination is a little too vivid for horror. As a kid they gave me too many nightmares. As an adult the tragedies give me too many ideas to worry about.
My First Book

About the junior high time frame I attempted my first book. It was a World War II book about an American pilot who crashed in Austria. It started out as a drama, but swiftly moved to a romance. Even then I had to get the romance in there. About 150-some-odd handwritten pages into it I stopped writing. My first experience with writer’s block. I still have the book (pictured) as well as many of my short stories.

My writing slowed down a lot in high school when some girls teased me about it. I also put aside the short story idea. I was determined to write a book.  By my twenties, I was no longer handwriting anything, but that meant being tied to a computer (I know – it sounds crazy – but most people had desktops at that time). About once a year, I would make a new attempt to write a book. All of them romances. All of them only about half-finished. Something about page 100 and I would hit a wall.
Reading continued to be a first love. I still devour books. At least one a week. Sometimes more depending on how busy I am. This year – between raising a family, working full time, getting my MBA, and writing/publishing my books – my reading has sadly slowed down. But I still fit it in every spare second. I can’t sleep at night without reading first (and I don’t mean MBA books).
It wasn’t until Blue Violet – about four years ago – that I finally finished my first book. I discovered my own personal secret to getting past that writer’s block. Two secrets actually. With Blue Violet I learned that if I got stuck on one section, it was okay to go work on a different section and then come back later and finish out where I’d got stuck. I wrote the first draft of Blue Violet in about six weeks. The editing took a lot longer. With Hyacinth I learned my second secret. I am motivated when I have readers waiting for me. It gives me that extra incentive to keep going.

I do have to say that eBooks have also provided the outlet I needed. The fact that I didn’t have to wait to be discovered to get my book out there is huge. I’ve reached so many readers that I might not otherwise have reached. Now I can’t wait to write my third book, and my fourth, and so on. I love what I do!

To anyone who dreams of being an author my advice is this… First and foremost, never – never – never let someone else derail your dreams. Second, don’t stop doing what you love. Even if you have to write a hundred unfinished manuscripts before you finally finish a book. As Dory from Finding Nemo would say… just keep writing.

Hyacinth – 1st Week Out

One week has passed since I released Hyacinth – book #2 of the Svatura series – and I could not be more thrilled with the results and feedback so far!!! Not to toot my own horn… however, I am currently head of the marketing department as well as the author.

The differences between launching my second versus my first book have been very interesting to me. It makes total sense… This time I’m not just launching to family and friends, I’m launching to fans who enjoyed Blue Violet. I have a previous book that’s achieved a decent amount of success with positive feedback. My social media/web presence is much more established. And so on, and so forth.

Here are some of the differences I’ve noticed… The number of copies of Hyacinth I’ve already sold in one week took me almost two months to reach with Blue Violet. I can’t even begin to express how much fun I’ve had watching the sales come through. Reviews and comments on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, etc. have come through much faster as well. My website views and new Facebook likes have also increased.

In addition, reviewers previously unfamiliar with me are much more willing to review both books now. This also makes total sense to me. Reviewers get inundated by requests for reviews. Of course they will be more likely to review a book with good feedback over time – which Blue Violet has. I am so excited (and nervous) to hear what book blog reviewers (both new to me and those who already reviewed Blue Violet) have to say. I take the feedback I receive very seriously when I’m writing the next book.

So far the feedback on Hyacinth has been very positive which has been heartening. I’ll admit that I was worried what readers who liked Blue Violet would think. And so far they all say they like the latest installment, which makes me so, so, so, so happy to hear.

Now… on to book #3 in the series! No rest for the weary.

HYACINTH is Now Available!!!!

I am so excited to announce that Hyacinth – book #2 of the Svatura series – is now available on Amazon Kindle! Click here to get your copy today: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BK9TMCC!!!

If you haven’t had a chance to read Blue Violet – book #1 of the series – it is now FREE in digital format on Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Smashwords

The print version of Hyacinth will be available within the next week as well! Also, as part of my “Month of Hyacinth,” it’s not too late to earn points for the Win a Kindle Drawing. Click here for more details, or check out my Facebook page. 

I very much hope you enjoy Hyacinth as much as you did Blue Violet! Happy reading!


 

Hyacinth Excerpt #5: Ramsey

Ramsey Pierce is the firestarter from Hyacinth. Tall and muscled, with dark red hair and bottle green eyes, he has an intense personality that is a hallmark of his volatile gift. In Blue Violet Ellie taught him control over his gift that probably saved his life. My Facebook followers voted almost unanimously that Ramsey is the character they would most like to see next after Hyacinth. So for the final excerpt from Hyacinth before it’s released on Feb. 28th I decided a scene with Ramsey would be a good choice…

“I’m just saying that my family comes first.” Ramsey paused a beat. “Did you know that I left my original family?”
Selene tapped her pencil on her notebook. “No. I’m still learning all your backgrounds. Except Ellie and Griffin, of course. I know all about them.” She tilted her head to him. “What happened?”
A small bitter grimace twisted his mouth. “You have to ask? I’m a firestarter.”
“But you have so much control over it,” she observed.
Ramsey leaned forward and placed his elbows on his knees, his green eyes serious. “That’s only recently. And with a lot of help from Ellie and Lila.”
“Who’d you inherit your gift from?”
“Through my mother’s side. But it skipped her generation. I think she assumed it would skip us as well. I was only six when things started happening.”
“Stuff would suddenly go up in flames when you were around?”
He nodded and leaned back in his chair. “Yeah. Luckily, we lived on the frontier. We were pretty isolated, so it was fairly easy to hide. When I was eight, my mother explained to me what was going on. Although she didn’t tell me everything at the time.”
“What happened?”
Ramsey’s mouth compressed and shadows filled his eyes. Selene reached forward to lay her hand over his. “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”
Ramsey cleared his throat. “Two things happened around the same time. First, when I was ten, my mom discovered she was going to have a baby. And then I discovered my grandfather’s diary. It was through him that I’d inherited my power. And it turned out that he killed my grandmother. By accident, of course. He just couldn’t control his power and it got away from him.”
“I’m so sorry,” Selene murmured.
Ramsey frowned and nodded. “Thanks. Anyways… I knew I had to protect my family from that, especially—my new baby brother or sister—I had to protect them from me. So I left.”
“When you were only ten?!”
Ramsey gave her a pointed look. “You were only ten when your brother turned your world upside down. And he was only ten when he became King of the Vyusher. I did okay.”
Selene pictured how Ramsey’s life must’ve been. At least she’d had food and a roof over her head. Ramsey not only had to fend for himself, but wrestle with a power that was usually a death sentence. It was a miracle he’d survived at all.

Ellie & Alex – Wedding Plans

In honor of Valentine’s Day I thought the most romantic thing I could share would be some of the plans for Ellie and Alex’s wedding. They are deep into wedding planning. Let’s just hope their plans don’t have to change at the last minute!

Ellie’s Dress
Ellie’s a huge fan of old movies. In true Ellie fashion, she’s selected one of her favorite dresses from the original movie Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn. The dress was designed by Givenchy for the movie. Lucy’s busy making a replica of this dress for Ellie.
(more pictures)

Colors/Bridesmaids Dresses
The main color is a vibrant violet-blue color that matches Ellie’s eyes. The bridesmaid’s dresses will be in this color as well as the flowers. The dresses will also match the style of the bride’s gown – only without the train. Lila and Adelaide are the bridesmaids of course!

Flowers
Ellie wants flowers everywhere. She’s still picking exactly which flowers although she knows she wants classic roses and some stephanotis in there. Something along these lines… click here.

Traditions
Alex and Ellie, being as old as they are, plan to incorporate some of the traditions from both of their backgrounds. Ellie has one or two Gypsy traditions to include. And Alex has a Cajun tradition called a “Wedding March” to include.

They’re still figuring out the when and where, although they’re planning on sooner rather than later. Hope you enjoyed this little trip down wedding-details lane!

***Picture from this website.

Hyacinth Book Blurb

Calling all fans of Blue Violet – help me pick the book blurb for Hyacinth!

The book blurb is the description on the back of the book, or on the Amazon website, that gives you an idea of what the book is about. This tiny amount of text is incredibly important because it can often mean the difference between a new reader giving the book a shot… or deciding to pass.

I’ll be honest. I struggle with writing the book blurb. It’s tricky in several ways. You have to ask yourself how much detail to put into it without giving away too much of the plot. How to ramp up the tension without going overboard. How to get your key storyline across. The book blurb is an art in and of itself. And I’m not a book blurb artist.

After several rounds of writing my blurb for Hyacinth (I think I’ve rewritten it now about twenty times) and getting feedback from my editor, I’ve narrowed it down to 3 options. The first is from Selene’s point of view. Tiny spoiler alert – the book is mainly seen through her eyes. The second option is from Griffin’s point of view. The third is a combo of the two. And we do see things from Griffin’s eyes frequently in the story.

Please read the below and vote on which you like best. And if you have any suggestions, bring ’em on!

Option 1 – Selene’s POV
Selene sacrificed everything when she took her brother’s place as ruler of the Vyusher, including her secret love for her one-time adversary Griffin Aubrey. But try as she might, she can’t get Griffin’s scorching golden eyes out of her mind.  Nightmares that are just a little too real start, and Selene fears she’s turned into a cold-blooded killer…the monster that Griffin thinks she is. But she has no choice but to turn to him and his family for help. But the threat of the danger stalking Selene in her dreams might be too much even for this powerful group. And Griffin doesn’t want to easily forgive the woman he blames for killing his family…
 
Option 2 – Griffin’s POV
Griffin and Ellie Aubrey are finally safe. Gideon – the insidious leader of the Vyusher, the clan who massacred their entire family – has been destroyed. Griffin won’t allow himself to think about what might have been with the enchanting woman he was certain fate had meant to be his. But when a series of nightmares that are just a little too real drive Selene away from her people and back into his life, Griffin must decide.  Can he move past his hatred of everything she is to help her? Or will the bond that could bring them both the greatest joy now be the source of their deepest despair?
 
Option 3 – Combo POV
Selene sacrificed everything when she took her brother’s place as ruler of the Vyusher, including her secret love for her one-time adversary Griffin Aubrey. When nightmares that are just a little too real start, Selene fears she’s turned into a cold-blooded killer…the monster that Griffin thinks she is.
Griffin and Ellie Aubrey are finally safe for the first time in over a hundred years. But when an unknown menace drives Selene to leave her family and ask for help, Griffin must decide.  Can he move past his hatred of everything she is? Or will the bond that could bring them both the greatest joy now be the source of their deepest despair?
The threat of the danger stalking Selene in her dreams might be too much even for this powerful group. And Griffin doesn’t want to easily forgive the woman he blames for killing his family…

Hyacinth Excerpt #4 – Girl’s Night Out

Selene had never felt so self-conscious in her life. Lila had managed to talk her into wearing a tiny white skirt with a striking purple top, which looked modest enough from the front, but the back was nearly non-existent, only staying put because of a few well-placed strands that crisscrossed her shoulders. Thank goodness she had long hair.
She followed her friends into the club, barely able to hear over the booming of the music. They managed to commandeer a table large enough for all of them. Once they sat down, Selene glanced around, noticing several appreciative stares.  Alex, Ramsey, and Nate left to get drinks while she and the girls got settled.
“What do you think?” Adelaide yelled over the music.
“I don’t know yet. It’s too loud to think,” Selene shouted back.
“Well, let’s get you on the dance floor, girl.” Lila grabbed her hand and pulled her up.
Once on the dance floor, Selene carefully imitated what the other girls were doing. Apparently the goal was to either join with a group of girls, dancing as provocatively as you could, or you danced with a guy and there was a lot more provocative movement going on, but directed at that particular guy. Selene found dancing to be incredibly liberating. The beat got into her blood and after a while she was throwing aside her own ingrained inhibitions and wiggling her hips along with all the other girls on the floor.
Eventually, the song changed, but she and the girls stayed out on the floor. Random guys came up to them, trying to get in close, but they’d just laugh them off and turn back to the girls each time. Sweat started to curl the hair at her temples making Selene glad she wore so little, or she’d be very hot.
Selene was sitting at the table taking a break when a shiver of apprehension shimmied down her spine, soon replaced with a sense of dread.
 Someone was watching her …
She casually turned her head to gaze around the club, pretending to be taking in the scene. But as far as she could tell, there was no one there who shouldn’t be. Just throngs of club-goers lost in their own worlds, not paying attention to her at all. Selene mentally scolded herself for her paranoia, but it was understandable. It was almost second nature after Gideon’s long reign, and the years spent watching every single thing she said and did.
She was just forcing her muscles to relax, when a large male hand landed in front of her on the table “Wanna dance?” Griffin’s asked. 

Blue Violet: Who’s the Hottest Hero?

February 2013 is the Month of Hyacinth! Here’s another fun little game as part of the festivities leading up to the release of book #2 of the Svatura series – Hyacinth…

Game: Vote on the Hottest Hero in Blue Violet
Prize: Signed paperback copy of Hyacinth! (to be mailed within 10 days of Hyacinth release)
How to win:
Comment on this post or on my Facebook page to weigh in on which hero from Blue Violet is hotter. Reminder that participation also automatically enters you in the ‘Win a Kindle Contest’!
Comments must be in by 11:59pm PST today (Feb 5th). After a random drawing, the winner will be announced tomorrow!
Choices:

 

  • Alex
  • Nate
  • Griffin
  • Ramsey

 

 

 
I’ll be really curious to see what readers think!

****
Update 2/6


And the drawing winner is… Facebook fan Cindy Webster! Congrats!!!

Sounds like fans are split pretty evenly between Alex and Griffin. Good thing since Griffin just might feature in Hyacinth!

Tune in tomorrow for another fun drawing.



Name That Blue Violet Character Contest #1

Comment on this post or go vote on my Facebook page to name the character in the following quote from Blue Violet. Get it right and get entered in a drawing to win a signed paperback copy of Blue Violet. Don’t  know? Vote anyway and automatically get entered in the ‘Win a Kindle Contest’!

Votes must be in by 11:59pm PST today (Feb 3). The winner will be announced tomorrow!

Quote:
“Get a grip, girl, she scolded herself silently. She’d read tons of books with female heroines who swooned at the sight of their true love and had thought them to be incredibly wimpy. And now here she stood, barely able to keep herself upright. Not that she was in love… far from it. But a girl could appreciate a bona fide hottie when she saw one, right?”
Choices:
  • Lila Jenner
  • Ellie Aubrey
  • Charlotte Pierce
  • Adelaide Jenner
Prize: Signed paperback copy of Blue Violet!
Good luck!
****
Update 2/4

And the winner is… Facebook fan Beth Legate! Congrats!!!

The quote is from the heroine of Blue Violet – Ellie Aubrey.

Tune in tomorrow for another fun contest.

 

Month of Hyacinth: Win a Kindle Contest

Update 2/24 – I managed to wrap up early and HYACINTH is now available on Amazon Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BK9TMCC)!!! I am adjusting my games and giveaways a little bit. The 10 Kindle copies of Hyacinth will go to the top point earners as of noon 2/25. You can continue to earn points toward the Kindle Paperwhite drawing which will still happen the 28th!

Happy reading!!!

***
I posted yesterday that I have declared February as the “Month of Hyacinth” leading up to the release of HYACINTH – the second book in the Svatura series.

The grand prize up for grabs is an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite!!!

Entering to win is so easy! All it takes is participation. You can earn points throughout February by participating in the various fun games and contests leading up to the release of Hyacinth on February 28th! I’ll even keep track of your points for you. In addition to the grand prize, each individual game and contest has its own fun prizes, and participation automatically enters you in the drawings for those.

There will be a drawing at the end of the month for the Kindle. Your name will be entered for every point you earn. The more the points you have the better your chances of winning! In addition, the top 10 people with the most points each win a free digital copy of Hyacinth to be delivered once Hyacinth is available on Amazon Kindle.

Contest Details: 
1. You are entered to win every time you do one of the activities listed below. Last chance to enter is 11:59pm PST on February 27th, 2013

2. Collect points each time you: 

 

  • Like my Facebook page: 1 point (yes it counts if you’ve already liked me) (https://www.facebook.com/Abigail.Owen.Books)
  • Like or comment on my Facebook posts: 1 point each
  • Participate in a game or contest on my Facebook page or my website: 1 point each
  • Share my Facebook posts on your Facebook page: 1 point each
  • Post about my books on your Facebook page: 1 point each
  • Follow me on Twitter: 1 point (yes it counts if you’re already a follower) (twitter.com/AOwenBooks)
  • Favorite or retweet my posts on Twitter: 1 point each
  • Post about my books or this contest on your Twitter account: 1 point each
  • Post a comment about my books or this contest on my website: 1 point each (http://www.abigailowen.com)
  • Post a blog about my books or this contest: 5 points each
  • Purchase Blue Violet: 5 points (simply email me with the first word from chapter 15)
  • Gift Blue Violet to someone else: 10 points per book gifted (simply email me with the date you gifted the book)

 

 

The more points you have, the better your chances of winning!
 
3. I’ll keep track of your points for you. But feel free to email me with a tally of your final points and how you got them by 12pm PST February 28th, 2013. 
Example: Hi Abigail, I have a total of 20 points for purchasing four of your books. Here is the first word of ch 15…
My email address is: abigail [dot] owen [dot] books [at] gmail [dot] com
 
4. Grand prize winner will be notified by 8pm PST February 28th, 2013!
 
Good luck folks and have fun!!!
 
***Please note that while I’m happy to keep track of your points for you, if you don’t email me your own tally you are automatically accepting the points I tallied for you.