Plagiarism Happens

“Plagiarism is an academic crime.  It is punishable by academic death.” – Man of the House – Tommy Lee Jones

In school, we all know what happens if we get caught plagiarizing.  It truly is an academic crime, punishable by academic death.  Or it was when I went to school, I don’t know how it works these days… I’m guessing since they now have programs to check for plagiarism, it hasn’t gotten better and the penalties are still steep.

That’s all well and good, but what happens when an author plagiarizes another author?  We all sorta know about the Janet Dailey/Nora Roberts case.  Janet Dailey, a successful romance writer was sued by Roberts because she plagiarized several of Roberts’ novels and claimed them as her own.  Roberts won.  It was a huge scandal.  Eventually, Dailey was able to reclaim some of her reputation before she died.

For the vast majority of authors out there, self publishing/independent publishing has been a huge thing.  We are no longer bound into contracts we don’t like the terms of.  We can make as much money as a traditionally published author.  We are able to publish as fast as our brains and fingers will allow.  It’s been amazing.

However, there are always unscrupulous people out there.  These people are plagiarizers.  They steal our words and sell them as their own.  It happens to traditionals, it happens to indies.  They are simply trying to cash in on what they see as a get rich quick scheme.

The problem is, authors can’t read every book ever published in an attempt to check this stuff.  We have to rely on algorithms and readers to find it.  Once it’s found, we authors then have to appeal to the better nature of ebook retailers to get the offending book removed.  For the most part, retailers are willing to do it, but we have to prove the plagiarism to them.

And the bastards that did it?  They don’t care… Truth be told, they are screwing over the author and the reader.  The reader gets to pay for a book twice (that they’ve already read) and the author loses sales that should have gone to them.  That account gets banned and they just set up a new one with new information and start all over again.

As readers, we have to be aware of this problem.  We are the frontline of defense.  We are the ones who will say “Hey, wait a second, this book sounds awfully familiar to this other book.”  Then we will investigate and maybe tell the author, if the author is approachable or the retailer, whatever.  The trick to finding the real author, is the publication date.  You can’t plagiarize a book that hasn’t been published yet, unless you’re an editor or beta reader and that’s a whole new level of wrong…


It’s About More Than Just Writing

Being an indie author is about more than just writing.  As I said in yesterday’s post, my BFF and I had a long phone conversation about our jobs.  She jokingly told me I was slightly obsessive in my tracking of sales.

As per usual, she’s right.  I keep a very detailed spreadsheet that lists books by retailer and price changes to see how well they sell.  Months I advertise, get marked as well – where I advertised, what I advertised, the cost, and the downloads my book received.

However, that gives me a better understanding of how I’m selling books.  For example, I know that come April, I’ll be lucky to sell half my usual amount.  Advertising has no effect on it.  Releasing a book has no effect on it.  April just isn’t my month, year after year.  Now, I realize my advertising dollars along with my time would be better spent somewhere else – like writing and editing.

I also know that every October, my sales increase.  Not just of one book or series, but of all my books.  I get that they are all a little dark and as we head towards Halloween, my sales naturally increase as people are looking for darker stuff to read around that time.  I also know that I can spend less on advertising in late September and early October and have excellent returns for my money.  If I can release a book in October, that’s just a bonus.

Come November and the first two weeks of December, my paperback sales exponentially increase.  I will sell as many paperbacks in those five or six weeks as I will the entire rest of the year.  Print books still make excellent gifts as it turns out (I know I love them).

The big thing I’ve discovered though, is that being an indie requires you to do both jobs: writer and publisher.  And there’s a whole lot more to being a publisher than just having books edited, covers made, and setting up advertising.  We need to understand how advertising works for us and when.  We need to understand how offering freebies affects sales.

It is the tasks of the publisher that I find most indies don’t understand.  I have had dozens ask me why I track sales from year to year and month to month.  When I explain it to them, they just give me blank looks.  However, these numbers show me a lot of things that most people never would think of (me included).  For instance, I rarely advertise The Brenna Strachan Series.  It’s a waste for me to spend that money.  I will actually have more sales of the series if I advertise Elysium Dreams.  That sounds counter-intuitive, but it makes sense once you have the numbers in front of you.

The D&R novels are, for the most part, my gateway books.  People read them and if they like them, they then try my other series.  This isn’t always true, I have plenty of readers that started with either The Dysfunctional Chronicles or The Brenna Strachan Series and moved to the Dreams & Reality novels from there, but they are in fact the minority.

And readers who have read all the D&R series will see an advert come through for Tortured Dreams or Elysium Dreams and go look at my books.  A lot of times, they are looking to make sure they haven’t somehow missed a new D&R release, but if they find they haven’t, they will download another of my freebies.  Meaning when I advertise any D&R novels, my downloads of my other freebie books also increases.

Which leads to the question, do freebie ebooks sell books?  Um, yeah, they do.  For me, the increase is very noticeable.  For instance, several weeks of March, I have had Mercurial Dreams set as a freebie.  That means the first 3 books of the D&R novels are free.  I have had phenomenal downloads of Mercurial Dreams.  That’s awesome, but freebies don’t pay the bills… However, as more and more readers grab the first 3 D&R novels for free, they are buying the rest of the series and they are pre-ordering Triggered Reality.  Essentially right now, for every 4 books they buy, they get 1 free.  Even if they aren’t in love with the novels by the end of Mercurial Dreams, they are buying Explosive Dreams to see if book 4 is the one that they fall in love with.

That brings us nicely to how the D&R novels impact my other books.  Readers that are on the fence with the D&R novels will try my other freebies.  I have gotten several this month that said things like “I tried the three D&R and then saw you wrote fantasy and tried it too and love the Brenna Strachan books.  Are there more in this series?”  Although, my favorite has been “I tried D&R because it was listed as horror and had some problems getting through Elysium Dreams.  Then I tried The Brenna Strachan series and love it!  I read all four in just a week.  I don’t know why those aren’t listed as horror.”

Writing good books is only part of being an indie.  The other part requires us to understand everything a publishing house understands.  Advertisements and books sell books, but you can’t underestimate the power of knowing when and where to advertise, which books help sell your other books, how readers perceive your books (are the Strachan books horror?  I don’t think I write any horror, but I find I’m in the minority), and when a $30 advertisement will do just as much good as a $300 advertisement.  All of that helps us make better informed decisions as writers to continue writing and for me, hanging around my house in my pajamas all day.

Indies Aren’t Perfect, But They Try

Sometimes I get really annoyed when I read reviews of indie books.  The biggest complaint is spelling and grammar errors.  Recently, I read a book that had a slew of these reviews.  I ignored them and read it anyway because I thought it sounded good.

Three… I found three errors.  Now, I’m not a proofreader, but I am an avid reader and three errors really doesn’t seem that bad to me.  Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have noticed them at all because I was so into the story if I hadn’t been looking for them.

No indie author has a perfect book.  As a matter of fact, the perfect book is somewhat of a myth.  Even traditional authors have issues when they go to print.  Don’t believe me?  Get your hands on some first print runs of some major books.

I believe it is book three of the Anita Blake series when Anita’s car changes color, not once, but twice in a single page.  In the Lincoln Rhymes series, they have a “predestined meeting place”, which doesn’t actually make sense.  I think it should have been “predetermined,” but I read the book and enjoyed it just fine.

We strive for perfection, but it isn’t always obtainable.  Here are some things editors have done to my books:

  • Changed all the names of the characters in the D&R books to make them sound more “American.” This is why Eric Clachan, Aislinn’s brother, seems to be Alex Clachan in Tortured Dreams (no, you didn’t imagine that if you caught it).  It’s in audiobook form and I can’t change it, so it just exists.
  • Changed Gabriel Henders last name to Hendricks, because “Henders isn’t a real last name.”  It is and it’s what I wanted.  However, it was recently pointed out to me that I missed one of the Hendricks references in Elysium Dreams.
  • Notice the double Fionas?  Fiona Gentry dies in Elysium Dreams.  Fiona Stewart goes to work for the SCTU.  Except, there was only one Fiona in my head.  An editor changed Lana Gentry to Fiona Gentry because “it sounded better.”  When I rejected the change, she refused to finish the project.  Since I had already paid her, I eventually gave in and changed it to Fiona because I didn’t want to start all over with a different editor. (I had already done that twice with the book… we’ll get there)
  • A different editor “skimmed” through all the killer chapters in Elysium Dreams as well as the violent scenes with Ace or the rest of the SCTU because she couldn’t handle the gore.  She didn’t tell me this until she started editing Explosive Dreams.  When she got to the fairground scene with Xavier and Ace, she gave up.  She’d edited three of the D&R books at that point.  Which is why I hired the editor that hated all the names because they weren’t American enough and that led me to hire the editor that refused to continue if I used Lana Gentry as a name for a character.
  • I hired a man after the Explosive Dreams debacle.  He said he could handle the gore.  He edited part of Cannibal Dreams and decided he hated Aislinn Cain and Patterson Clachan so much that he couldn’t continue.  He did refund me part of my money, but he’s the only one.
  • So, back to a woman to finish Cannibal Dreams.  Which she did and then I hired her for Butchered Dreams.  Except she was too busy to actually edit either of them and gave them to her friend to edit instead.  Her notes were weird because she kept asking me where the romance was.  When I finally sent her a note explaining there was no romance, she gave up on editing the book.  I could actually see where she lost interest.  I had to ask about it because the editor told me this wouldn’t be a problem for her, she like serial killer horror, so why was she now squawking about the lack of romance and the brutality?  Eventually, she admitted that she had overbooked and hadn’t gotten to them herself, but had given them to a qualified friend… who only read romance novels.
  • The first editor of The Dysfunctional Affair kept putting in “Insert Sex Scene Here.”  When I rejected all of those comments, she said I was too difficult to work with.  She finished the job, somewhat, and told me she would never work with me again.
  • The first time I hired a proof reader was for Elysium Dreams… It had been in the hands of three editors and needed a lot of work.  I found a man who said he would love to do it.  It contained 102,098 changes.  It’s only 75,000 words…  Nineteen hours of going through his proofreading changes convinced me that he didn’t really understand the genre I wrote, he kept wanting to remove words like “blood,” “brains,” “hell,” “shit,” “torture,” “skinning,” and anything else violent in nature.  He actually suggested that instead of having Ace get jabbed with a hypodermic needle in the neck and it breaking off, that I have her get slapped in the face with an open hand and have that knock her out, but without bleeding.
  • The proof reader I hired for Explosive Dreams had some issues too.  She demanded I remove the explosion scene at the beginning because it gave the wrong impression.
  • The proofer I hired for Dark Cotillion informed me that I didn’t know my mythology well enough to write a book with such characters.  She even sent me a long email explaining that Anubis was a Greek god, Fenrir was Sumerian, and Kagutsuchi was Celt.  I Googled them all and sent her the links, explaining their origins, their physical traits, their emotional traits, and their powers.  She sent me a dismissive response telling me she had a history degree, she was the expert, not Google.  She also swore I was the most difficult author she had ever worked with.  She also completely ignored the fact that I also have a history degree and might know what I’m talking about.
  • But the one that takes the cake, is the husband and wife team that I hired in a desperate attempt to fix Elysium Dreams.  They just randomly inserted comments.  It’s like they read a paragraph and made a comment about it without reading any of the paragraphs around it.  I had no “changes”, but I did have nearly 50,000 comments on how I could improve specific paragraphs that actually wouldn’t have improved them because a paragraph by itself doesn’t tell a whole story.  I realized they were failing miserably when they commented that a paragraph would be better if it explained why Aislinn was injured.  It had been explained in the two paragraphs immediately above it.

Yes, we try to be perfect, but it’s hard.  Editors and proofers are human, even the best ones miss things.  However, finding real editors and proofers is like jumping down a slide with a blindfold on in a river full of saltwater crocodiles.  Because for every good editor or proofer, there’s at least one that is in it purely for the money and since the industry is booming, it’s easy for them to make a few thousand a week without doing much work.

And like me, you have to be in this business for a while or know people to get a good editor or proofer.  We trust these people because we pay them.  I have trouble reading my own books, let alone editing them (it embarrasses me, which is weird as hell and I know that).  I had my fair share of scammers and people who were just plain lazy.  And they have made good money off of me.  Nothing I can do about that, except move on and try someone new.

I now have a good editor and a good proofer.  But they are human and they do miss things in every book.  I figure if I’m at only four or five errors per book, I’m doing really good.  I’ve read some books by indies that have had editors and proofers and still had books that looked like a fifth grader wrote them because the punctuation and grammar was atrocious and we won’t even talk about the spelling errors.

Editing is the only disadvantage an indie actually has… We do not have ten or eleven or twelve editors going through our books line by line because we cannot afford to pay that many editors and proofers.

It Isn’t All Bad

So, I’ve spent most of the last two months apologizing for missing deadlines and whining about my pain.  However, it hasn’t all been bad.  As a matter of fact, some amazing things have happened:

  • I officially started Hadena James Publishing, LLC.  All the final paperwork is in the mail and the bank account gets started next week.  I finally got there. – And for a writer, I realize that wasn’t terribly creative naming.  🙂
  • I was invited to join the Horror Writers’ Association.  This is really cool.  I didn’t go looking to join the HWA, one of their active members is a reader of mine and sent me the invite.  Meaning some writer that is more important than me in horror writing circles reads my books!  Feeling a little star-struck by that.
  • I have been asked by a couple of teachers/professors to come talk to their creative writing classes. Most of the requests came because they found my blog and started reading what I had to say about writing, traditional v. indie publishing, and understanding the commitments required to be a writer, regardless of how you publish.  I’m really excited to talk to young people who want to write about one of my favorite things!
  • Flashpoint Designs began creating my custom dart shirt.  It seems like such a small thing, but I wanted something that reflected my love of darts as well as my love of writing and since I like to write things that are a little dark…we went with cutesy creepy.  I can’t wait to show it off!
  • I got asked if I would be willing to give a talk to a group of women interested in history!  This is a huge deal for me.  I don’t get a lot of recognition for things (books or degrees… especially degrees), so for someone to consider my knowledge worth sharing just blows me away.  It’s even more amazing that it’s history stuff because I’m pretty sure there are like 100 people that know I have a history degree and most of them are my readers!  And history is one of the few things I’m as passionate about as writing.
  • The first 3 Dreams & Reality novels have new covers that fit more with the rest of the series.  Covered Creatively is working on The Dysfunctional Wedding cover, Flawless Dreams wrap, and Triggered Reality full wrap cover.
  • I made nearly as much in June, July, and August of 2016 as I did the entire year of 2015.  I have nearly doubled sales every year; this year, I might do more than double which is great!  Thanks everyone for reading and bearing with me this year as I have sorta fallen apart and not written as much as normal.  Next year will be back on track, I promise.
  • But I’m not done for this year.  I still have plans to publish in October, November, and December – no hard dates for any of it yet, but they will be coming soon.  Getting my pain under control is going to help a great deal with my ability to stay focused long enough to figure out a plot.

So, despite the problems, I’m still having some great things happen and I need to remind myself once in awhile about it.  🙂

The Bestie & Me

I’ve mentioned my best friend on multiple occasions simply because she’s my best friend and has been for most of my life.  Our relationship is complicated in many ways, but today is her birthday and I’m going to pay homage to the woman that helped me be me.

For starters, my best friend is 11 years, 10 months, and 21 days older than me.  And while most people would find this age difference to be a hinderance, it’s actually why we started hanging out.  Also, she’s my first cousin on my mother’s side.

Even when my mother was married to my father, she was essentially a single parent.  On top of that, my sister who is ten years older than me, had some issues during her teen years.  This meant that my mom didn’t always have the time or money to dedicate to entertaining me.  However, my cousin is a huge Disney fan and it just seemed better to take a little girl with her when she went to see the latest Disney cartoon movie at the theater and since she worked, she always offered to pay, which was a relief to my mother.

As we both aged and matured, we began to find things we had in common.  She took me to my first Nine Inch Nails concert after getting permission to introduce me to the music.  She had a touch of a wild streak that she included in me, nothing illegal, just different.  She was helping me dye my hair wild colors in junior high.  She kept reminding me that I was allowed to be different.  I didn’t have to fit in.  It was okay to be unique.  For that, I am eternally grateful.  It sustained me all through my high school years.

She’s read a ton of crappy books and short stories over the years, helping me improve my writing.  She’s bought me books, told me about classes I could take, and even signed me up for Writer’s Digest one year as a birthday present.  She’s also the one that convinced me to look into indie publishing.

We’ve reached that point where verbal communication isn’t always necessary.  We can walk and give directions with eye contact and head nods.  Sometimes she leads.  Sometimes I lead.  It always works out.

We can giggle uncontrollably about things that I’m not sure are actually funny.  They are just funny to us for some unknown reason.

And we have a knack for making people uncomfortable around us.  I’m not sure why, but people have commented on it to both of us.  It doesn’t happen every time, but it does often enough.  I once had one of her friends comment to me that they found me peculiar and that I made her peculiar.  They said her personality became more intense and fiery when I was around.  They also said that she seemed to let go of her alpha tendencies and follow me.  I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but I find it strange that other people think she changes when I’m around.

Of course, I change around her too.  I become funny.  She brings out my wicked sense of humor and love of irony.  She can also make me happy even when I’m miserable.  It’s why I almost need her involved when I write a Dysfunctional Chronicle novella.

For several years, when I was just starting writing and had no extra money to spare, I put off seeing her.  Mainly because it hurt my pride.  I knew I could go to lunch or dinner with her and she’d pay, but I really hate that.  Now that I’m making money, she lives in a different city three hours away… It’s a little hard to meet for lunch and a quick chat.  I miss her terribly though.  I think of her every day.

I feel no fear when she’s around.  If anyone else had told me to self publish, I would have balked and found excuses, but it wasn’t someone else, it was her.  So I did it, because she makes me brave.  I have been in some shady neighborhoods after dark leaving concerts or shopping at the best leather store in Chicago.  These are high crime areas and times, but I would be far more concerned about the person who attempted to mug us than us when we’re together.

Growing up, people always thought it was weird that I said I didn’t want kids.  Or that I wasn’t sure about getting married.  I didn’t have a wedding planned with fancy flowers and food I couldn’t pronounce.  It just never interested me.  Her and my mother were the only people that didn’t think it was a phase that I’d grow out of.  And since she was childless and didn’t want children and not really interested in marriage anymore than buying salted slug earrings, she was someone I could talk to about it that understood.

The most important thing though, no matter how much of an asshole I am (and I can be a narcissistic asshat without realizing it), she still loves me.  She just points out that I’m being a narcissistic asshat.  And despite any and all disagreements we’ve ever had, I have never been able to stay mad at her for more than an hour.  I have tried a few times, but I just couldn’t hold onto it.  I always realized that it was never that important in the grand scheme of things, because I valued our friendship more than I valued being mad at her.

So Happy Birthday Bestie!  It began with childhood adulation and turned into the most amazing journey I’ve ever had.  All my greatest stories start with “B and I…”.

A Publishing House

About once a month, someone asks me to publish their book for them.  Usually the people are just not quite sure how publish a book or what they need to do to publish a book.  In January 2016, I created a how-to guide.  In April, I updated it to give contact info on the editors, proofers, cover artists, and formatters that I use.  So, I just hand these out now.

However, once in a while, it’s tempting to say Yeah, I’ll publish your book.  It’ll cost you $300 up front, then 30% of your royalties every month.  Which is in fact a better deal than what most publishing companies offer.

It works great unless the author is a complete flop, but that’s what the $300 is for, cover some of my initial costs. Also, it’s proof that the author is serious about publishing a book.


I could agree to publish for no upfront costs and charge 50% of their monthly royalties.  But again, that only works if the book isn’t a flop.

And therein lies the real problem.  Most of the authors I’ve read that I liked are not the ones asking me to publish them.  I’m sure some of them would sell, but not all of them that I’ve read are going to make money.

On the flip side, I know it’s hard to indie publish.  There’s all sorts of things that have to be done and paid for.  It’s not cheap.  Most authors are begging for reviews until they get to a point where they are selling 100 books a day and reviews not only help sell books, but they are required for some advertisements.

But I worry about investing in some of my own books sometimes.  Investing in other people’s books is even more problematic.  I think I’ll just continue to hand out my guide to publishing.

When an Asus Decides to Die…

My last Asus laptop died slowly.  First one thing went, then another, and another, until that moment I realized I was on the brink of disaster.  I didn’t know that an Asus began to slowly die instead of going out in a burst of flames or a Blue Screen of Death, but I do now.

A week or so ago, the battery went kaputt.  Within 24 hours, my USB 3.0 port also died.  Wednesday, I went to open a program and it told me it couldn’t do it, because the program had become corrupted.  I reinstalled it.  Waited a few minutes, opened it, closed it, and when I went to open it again, it told me it had become corrupted.  I scanned my machine for malware, found none.  Tried a different program (this time a game), it worked for about an hour and then it shut down unexpectedly and when I went to open it, I got that error message telling me that it couldn’t open because the files were missing.

I spent a great deal of Thursday night backing up my entire digital life; emails, story files, photos, and anything else of importance.

Saturday evening, I opened Chrome to order pizza and Chrome crashed.  Then it crashed the machine and the machine randomly rebooted itself.  Needless to say, I used my phone to order pizza.

Then last night happened… I opened WriteItNow – the software I use to write everything from short story collections to Dreams novels.  I got two sentences written when a critical error occurred and my machine once again randomly rebooted itself.  If stress affects sciatic inflammation, this damn machine might be the source of some of the problem.  Thankfully, I only lost two sentences and the file didn’t become corrupted.

So, what’s a writer to do when their machine becomes their enemy?  Mostly, I decided to play video games tonight.  If it’s going to corrupt something, I prefer it corrupt those than my novel files or my writing software.  However, the new laptop won’t arrive for at least 14 days.  I’m now a full month behind my writing schedule because of stupid unhealed injuries and computer problems.  Once the laptop arrives, I will spend a few days trying to sort it out – installing important software, putting files back on it, etc.

And as I wrote this post, the network card freaked the fuck out and disconnected me from my home network because it decided… well, I don’t know what it decided.  I just know that I had internet on everything but my laptop.  I had to hook up my hotspot from my phone to get this completed.  For the record, it says I’m connected, but that the network is not reachable… as I stream from Amazon on the same network to my Blu-Ray player without so much as a glitch in the video.   I also had to plug my phone into the computer to get it to accept the connection.

Oh Asus how you irritate me… So, I’m going back to a Dell, that I purchased from their webstore with a great warranty.  I will provide an update on when books will release as soon as I have a better understanding of when and how my writing capabilities are going to go…


A Month of Firsts

The other reason for my trip down memory lane and thanking those that supported me is because July has been a month of firsts and some achievements.  I’m going to give a list and send out a huge thank you to my readers who allow me to continue to follow my passion.

  • My third highest sales month ever with an average of 146 ebook sales a day.
  • Gave away an average of 250 ebooks a day.
  • Sold more ebooks on iBooks than in a month.
  • Sold more ebooks in Canada than I sold there in all of 2015.
  • Sold more ebooks in Australia than I sold there in all of 2014 and 2015 combined.
  • Sold more than 500 copies of the Dysfunctional Chronicles novellas (I have never sold that many ebook copies of the Dysfunctional Chronicles in one month).
  • Sold or gave away ebooks in 36 countries.
  • My highest ebook sales ever on Google Play.
  • My highest ebook sales ever on Kobo.
  • My highest ebook sales ever on iBooks.
  • My highest ebook sales ever on Nook.
  • As of July 31st, I have sold more books in 2016 than I did in all of 2015.
  • And finally, as of July 31st, I have given away more books in 2016 than I did in all of 2015.

So, I want to thank all my readers for their support and I can’t wait to continue our adventures together!!

The Other Supporter

Yesterday, I talked about my best friend being a big supporter of me and my desire to write.  Today, I’m giving credit to the other person that never told me I couldn’t do it – my mom.

Most girls will tell you that their mothers had a huge impact on their lives and I’m no different.  My wicked, sarcastic, slightly dark, and somewhat warped sense of humor comes from my mother.  Honestly, a great deal of my personality comes from my mother.  And I have always hated disappointing her because she has always told me if I make the effort, I can accomplish it.

Not once since I started writing has my mother ever told me to stop.  She’s always tried not to interrupt me when I was putting words on paper and that was long before I was publishing books.  Even during my childhood and teen years, she could tell writing was the among the most important things in my life and she allowed it room to grow.

On occasion, she even braved reading something I had written.  However, that was much harder for her when I was young, because she was still raising a child and that child was writing murder mysteries and stories that involved sex.  I imagine she had some moments when she wondered if she was doing something wrong.

Since I started publishing, my mother has been my biggest fan.  She’s read every book I’ve written, even the ones that bored her (she is not a fan of Tales to Read Before the End of the World).  Her continued support makes publishing possible and she keeps Lola from requiring all my time during the day, which gives me more time to write.

How The Journey Began

My best friend is some kind of internet security guru.  I don’t know her exact title and I’d be hard pressed to explain her job… It’s important and involves things like honeypots and black holes.  Anyway, not entirely the point.

Between my mother and my best friend, I’ve always had two people standing behind me, encouraging me to follow my passion and write.  So, I have.  Even when I have lost my mind and deleted things that should not have been deleted, they stood by me.

My bestie (who is in fact also my cousin) would buy me books on writing, honing my craft, plot arcs, etc., when she came across one she thought I might find useful.  She read all my crappy stuff before I really learned to how to write an ending.  And that was big, because it took me years to figure out how to end a novel.  The very first Aislinn Cain novel was well over 150,000 words because I just couldn’t figure out how to get to the end of the book.

While she and my mother were telling me my stuff was good and that I should read contracts very closely and I was turning writing offers down because I’m that way, she never once batted an eyelash.  She didn’t think I was weird for not taking them.  She was willing to talk about them with me and weigh the pros and cons.  It was very helpful and I wouldn’t be here today if I had taken one of them.

Yesterday, I was cleaning out my emails and found a note from her.  She wanted to talk about a project she was working on that related to my writing.  It was dated four years ago.  She had done something and was working on tracking plagiarized ebooks or something along those lines.  Then came the big question: Have I considered self publishing?

Of course I had… Years ago… When it was still mostly vanity press publishing.  I hadn’t considered it since ebooks had become popular.  I didn’t know how the industry had changed or how easy self publishing had become.  She sent me some articles.  I read them and thought about it.  Then I thought about it some more.  I had some books sitting around waiting for me to do something with them… I talked it out with her, talked it out with my mother, probably mentioned it in passing to my SO, but she was the one that really convinced me to take the plunge.

And I did.  As of 30 August 2016, I will have been an indie author for four years.  During those four years I’ve had nine editors, four proofreaders, five cover artists, and published twenty-one books and novellas.  It’s been amazing.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I have her to thank for it.  She’s been telling me to keep writing or start publishing for 28 years now… And that is the secret to all my female relationships in my books – the reason Aislinn and Nadine are both besties with their cousins is because my two closest female friends are both cousins and one of them has done everything she can to make sure I never gave up on writing, even when it meant reading crappy stuff.


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