You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
While I agree with it in fact, I don’t feel it is truly factual, or wholly factual? I should say. I have broken this rule myself, and let’s face it, an up and coming writer has to bank on it being broken.
While I agree this saying holds true for say, a 32 year old interviewing for the CFO of a muti-billion dollar company, I think (and pray) there are cases where this is, well, not the case.
As much as I agree with the once-a-dick-always-a-dick kind of thing, there are circumstances where I think; no, not really.
Like the dick I dated at 17 with a black Trans Am, Member’s Only jacket, and bad boy attitude in full bloom. He was a HUGE DICK back then, and if you would’ve ask me at 17, or even at 25, I would’ve said he was a pox riddled dick that needed to masturbate with a chainsaw. However, he turned out to be a really great guy later in life. Faithful husband (as far as I know), devoted dad and not the party favor prison bitch I killed a chicken and danced naked in the moonlight, while praying to unseen forces he’d become.
Same with actors, writers and other artists. I hated some of their early work. There were times I wanted to jump through the movie screen and strangle the fuck out of an overacting, wooden bastard, whom I now go all gooey eyed and wet Victorias over. No, I will not mention specifics, but I said more than once that they would never become anyone and I would never spend a dime on their work. WRONGO – Same with some of my absolute FAVORITE authors, again, I will not name names. I will say that one book was so bad, (IN MY OPINION), some passages are still a running joke in my house, but I read every word they’ve written since then faithfully, and stalk them creepily on social media.
Because like Trans Am dick, they grew. And as they did, they changed. In the case of artists, got better in their craft. So while that first impression is there, and it’s true that it will never go away, I do not believe that is always all she wrote, fat lady singing, and curtain closing type final.
When it’s an arena where you can grow, whether literally or metaphorically, I think this saying shouldn’t apply.
While I like to think I am the greatest author in the world, the truth of the matter is, I’m not even close. BUT, what I am, is growing. Growing with every sentence and I hope I never stop doing so. Just reading the 2 books I’ve published, I see tremendous growth. And that’s saying something considering I think I’m the Muhammad Ali of authors. LOL (actually I don’t, I’m very insecure in that arena)
The problem I face as a just starting out, independent author, is getting people to know when to apply the first impression thing and when to fucking throw it out the window.
I’ve heard that many authors (even some big ones) go back and entirely re-write their first books because they personally think they are awful. Now, if authors themselves find them horrid, then why should little ole me expect all the readers in the world to find my first book brilliant?
The truth is I never did. I was so blown away by the people who enjoyed it, I cried, yes, me who only cries over fictional characters and my kids, cried over real people. While the bad reviews stung, still do. (I’m being nice by saying sting, they fucking burn like a bitch.) I expected them, prepared for them, the best I could anyway, but I never prepared for people to say nice things, so when they did, my soul ate that shit up like warm Krispy Kremes at 3am. And in doing so, it made the bad so much worse. I got a taste of something sweet that I never anticipated, making the expected more bitter.
But even worse than the taste in my mouth, is the fact that some people will never know that I can do better, am doing better.
So, I have a proposal for anyone with who (whom? I never know which) I made a bad first impression.
Well, I’m off to work on book 3 (which by the way will be better than 1 & 2) and maybe save the citizens of Solstheim from the evil Miraak.
Where to start, where to start. I guess somewhere in the middle, that’s logical.
NOTE: People said similar, yet story appropriate things about Indelible You, but since no one but me knew it was intentional, and there was only one book out, I didn’t even address it. Now that I have 2 of the 4 books out and more people are reading and reviewing and sharing their thoughts, I decided it is a good time to share some things running through my head while writing this series, and maybe give you a bit of an insight into the people of Imagine Ink.
I hate that I may lose readers because of my approach, but I am still committed to the continuity of this series. (Not all my work will follow this track.) I am learning from my readers though, and the things being mentioned that were not intentional on my part, are noted and will make the next book better. So please, keep commenting and reviewing, it matter so much, especially to me, as I am learning as I go, so to speak.
I wrote/am writing this series to be 4 books that you can read in any order or just 1 and still be able to enjoy it and not feel completely lost in a story that makes little sense without the previous one. However, I am also writing it to have a richer texture if you chose to read them in order. Rather than make them dependent on each other, or on the other side, treat the main characters of previous books as simply window dressing for the rest of the series, I took a different route.
As with Walker and Erika’s story (Book 1), I tried to tell it in a unique way, as unique as one can be in romance anyway. But, just because six letters appeared on the last page of the book, their stories didn’t end. I promise I will not take anyone’s HEA away down the line, but I will shake it up a bit from time to time. Why? Because one person’s story doesn’t end just because they find their soul mate or simply because someone else’s story begins. Not to mention, we are a part of the story of those we are close to, so it seems natural to me.
With Book 1 the main characters weren’t together for the majority of the book. Some people hated it, some loved it. I took the risk. I didn’t address Walker’s past in detail, again, there was love and hate for that. I also included a touch of everyone’s point of view. This was a cardinal sin apparently. Some people have expressed how much they love it, but the majority were not impressed. (FYI – I am working on a different version of book 1 that eliminates the additional POVs, but I will add it as a point-something maybe, rather than replace the original. See, your reviews can impact a book.)
Book 1 took place over a 5 – 6 month span with the mains having a history. Book 2 is condensed to 3 – 4 months and overlaps Book 1, and the mains had not met prior. So I did tend to put them (Tori & Michael) into sexual situations a bit quickly, for more than one reason. Love me or hate me, I did that on purpose, and you will see some effects of that play out in the future. Some already have on my Scrivener document.
If you read Book 1 you will notice that there were things seemingly omitted from that book, like Walker’s history for example. I hate to tell you, but I did that intentionally too. I wanted to add to people we think we know as we go. Because, let’s face it, no one peels back their layers all at once and exposes themselves completely. It happens gradually. People do not grow in a one season like tomatoes or peas, but over time and continually. So while you do not need to read the rest of the series to enjoy any one book and understand the general bent of the characters, it will give you a few ah-ha moments if you do, and hopefully bond you with them a bit. Some of you were left wondering at the end of Indelible You how Tori would feel about her mom making the executive decision not to bring her home during the shit storm, why is Walker so black and white on marriage, etc., however, it didn’t detract from the Book 1 story line for every reader, or so I’ve been told. Hopefully though, it added to Book 2, and even down the line as people continue to work through their issues and grow as individuals.
Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, the thought that prompted this long winded blog post. It is one of those things, like Walker’s history, that had already been addressed in my head and Books 2, 3 & 4, just not that a reader would know yet. While some of these things, and others, are starting to be noticed by observant readers, if what they say is taken at face value, it isn’t a huge detractor from their enjoyment of the story, and that’s a good thing. But I do hope as the series moves along, readers will feel a bit more connected because of the way I did things along the way.
I knew the risk involved in doing some of the things I did. I know that some readers will give up after not finishing Book 1 or 2. But if I’m lucky, some readers out there will embrace the oddity and stick with Imagine Ink through it all. While some might not even notice what I’ve done, some may hate it. Others, like analytical readers, note it and either accept it at face value or wait with bated breath to see if it is addressed or not. And others still may feel a bit of a kinship with a character because that’s exactly what they would’ve done in that situation, even if it’s not typical. People deal with trauma in different ways. People deal with relationships in different ways. People deal with parents in different ways. People deal with death or near death in different ways. Not all of them healthy, mature, or socially acceptable. But, they all must live with the butterfly effect those choices create, just like us mere mortals. It is my hope that by the end of Book 4, every reader closes the covers (or powers down), holds it to his or her chest and just sits there for twenty minutes realizing all the little things that have come to light through out this journey, and enjoy the depth it added to their experience and relationship with the people in a little tattoo parlor on the Florida-Alabama line.
And of course if they think I’m fucking brilliant, that would be excellent.
NOTE TO READERS: MY BLOG HAS MOVED. You can now find it on my website at verlenelandon.com – I will slowly stop posting here.
Also, there is a GIVEAWAY on my site too. Check it out!
I have listened to the readers, and am working on a complete overhaul of Indelible You.
I am doing away with the extra POV’s and hopefully delving deeper into the H & h.
The bones of the story will be the same. (If that was your biggest yuck, well, it still will be unfortunately.)
But if you were one of the people that liked to story idea, but hated the constant POV switching, then I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.
Brand Me – Imagine Ink 2 is almost ready to hit the shelves, and it is much smoother with just the 2 POVs.
Live and learn. It took me a bit to swallow my pride and realize that my baby wasn’t as pretty as it could be in this self publishing pageant.
I hope to have that completed before April.
If you left a review of Indelible You, (retailer or Goodreads) and would be willing to give me another chance, I would love to get a revamped copy to you when it’s available. Email me at Verlene.Landon@gmail.com – add your email address (the one you use for Kindle books) and point me to your review.
Readers can, and in this case, did, make a difference.
When you review a book, you change things.
Reviews can be powerful. They not only let other readers know what to expect, but help authors improve. I am new to this and what I like may not be what you like. Without a review how am I to know if there are changes that could make my book better for you – the reader?
So, if you like a book, let the author know what you liked about it. If you didn’t, let them know that too. But please always remember, just as every reader is a person, so is every author. We may kill characters you love, put some through some heavy shit and even make you cry, but as hard as it may be to believe, we do have feelings.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Appx. Release Date: March 16, 2016
Ink is indelible.
So is love, at least in theory.
Love shouldn’t just make you happy, it should brand you.
Tori Reid thinks she has her life in order: a great job, her own business in the works, fantastic friends and family, and a boyfriend, Richard, who she thinks is the one (despite the fact he is technically married).
When he invites her on a three-month vacation to his family’s isolated cabin, she assumes it means he finally got a divorce and she is well on her way to everything she ever wanted, including a husband, kids, and a huge yard for her dogs, Sixx and Mars. But when she meets Michael, her expectations for the trip, and her future, quickly change.
Everything about Michael Brande screams quintessential playboy-personal trainer by day and lead singer by night. He seems to be relishing his newly-single status by jumping from bed to bed across the Florida Panhandle.
However, appearances can be deceiving. Reality doesn’t entertain the bored denizens of a one-horse town nearly as much as a tantalizing rumor traveling at the speed of light and changing with the wind. The mandatory six-month trip to Indiana couldn’t have come at a better timneeded to get away-now. Away from his cheating ex-fiancée trying to worm her way back into his life, the increasing tales of his “many exploits,” gym bunny bimbos and groupie wannabes, but mostly from his secret shame and taunting dreams. His life couldn’t possibly get worse.
Both are about to learn that some truths are painful, but sometimes, pain is necessary for salvation.
I’m not that interesting, but the people in my head are. I’ve had fantastical ideas floating around my brain for as long as I can remember, I just finally got brave enough to share them. I was born and raised in the south, if the name Verlene didn’t give that away already. Thanks to the military (myself & spouse), I’ve been all over the US. I now call the west coast home with my husband, my (as of OCT) adult son, my high school daughter, an obnoxiously obese cat, 2 spoiled bunnies, a hyper chocolate lab and a Great Dane puppy that cries like baby when left alone. I like to think of it as living the BAMAFORNIA life.
FUN FACTS: I possess an impressive yet accidental dust bunny collection. I have a serious wine, Bama football & book addiction. My grammar skills are atrocious & no, the irony isn’t lost on me. I’ve made up more words than a certain President. I’ve worked in fast-food, not so fast food, a lab, a print shop, a club dj booth, dental assistant, a muffler shop, an aviator store, the military, quilting, and just about everything in between. Plus, I’ve thrown live grenades & survived the tear gas chamber. (Have to add that because it makes me sound badass.)
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Let me start off by stating, I am 45 years old. At this age, I tend to learn things at a slower rate. (insert joke about slowing with age here)
Not because I can’t learn things quickly, but rather, there are fewer things I encounter that I do not already have at least a cursory knowledge of, or aware of its existence. No, I’m not a know it all by any means. And yes, there are millions upon millions of things I know nothing about, but I don’t have the opportunity to run into them in my everyday routine.
So, with that in mind, what is the best way to learn new things? Why, try something new of course, break the routine.
I did just that a few weeks ago when I published my debut novel. (Which is available NOW at most online retailers. Links at the bottom.) And let me tell you, I probably learned more in the last two weeks than in the last decade. Here’s a short list, just so I don’t forget before my aged mind slows to turtle crossing a country road through the kudzu speed. LOL
ADD TO YOUR GOODREADS http://bit.ly/1kaVEEE
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Ink is indelible.
So is love, at least in theory.
He’s an over-inked, reformed bad boy and she is the slightly older, seemingly out of reach woman who’s head over heels (actually knees over shoulders) in love with him. Almost as much as he is with her.
Somehow, they have remained oblivious to their mutual attraction for five years.
One night, they take the plunge. Love conquers all, right?
They expose hearts and bodies, expecting a happily ever after until a terrible secret is revealed—during climax.
Anything worth having is worth bleeding for—and boy will they bleed—but will it be enough to drain the taint of that secret, or will it be fatal for both of them?
Some things are more permanent than tattoos.
Super excited to say…
Erika & Walker are heading back to the editor for their final meeting with a professional red pen later today.
It won’t be long now before I can introduce them. I’ve ordered some gifts for their debut, and hope you will love them as much as I do. (Erika & Walker that is…but the gifts too.)
On the writer front in general, I have kickass web graphics (as seen at VerleneLandon.com and my header/profile on most social media) and a logo (above) that rocks. (Designed by Blue Sky if you’re interested.) Time to learn to self promote. It’s not my thing, but if I want to be a published author and continue to write and release books, I need to learn, and fast.
SONG OF THE WEEK
The song I can’t get out of my head this week.
Have a great day/week/month/year/decade/life.
Great things are happening on the “I wanna be a published writer!” front.
First, my editor hooked me up with some beta readers and their feedback was invaluable. (Thanks Jenn at Twitching Pen!) I was terrified to say the least. It was the first time I sent my work to strangers. Sure, my family and friends told me it was great, but heck, they like me and wouldn’t want to hurt my feeling. I knew that if I pursued my dream, I would have to let people read my work, knowing that didn’t make it any easier, but I did what I had to do. It was necesscary.
nec • es • scar • y
I took their (the betas) advice, reworked some stuff and finally sent it to my editor for round one. Boy, does she have her work cut out for her. You’d think English is my second language with how well I form sentences and paragraphs. I said this to a friend and he pointed out that English is in fact my second language as I was raised speaking southern. So yes, anyone who speaks southern with the conviction I do can make people believe it is an entire different language. (Thanks Mark! lol)
On top of that, I have also obtained exclusive book cover rights to an AMAZING image. It is so hot, I need a smoke after I look at it. Let me just say that the photographer has been AWESOME. He worked with me to get and afford the image, and answered all my ignorant questions about picture rights and book covers. He went above and beyond to help someone he didn’t know and it humbled me. (And he captures indescribable moments with a camera.) I don’t know which book it will appear on as of yet, but it will be soon. (Thanks Michael Meadows!)
I also bought another book cover from SelPubBookCovers for the second Imagine Ink book because I wanted the same feel as the first. (Same designer and time frame.) So FYI, I am already working on Tori’s story. Working title is Brand Me. Now, I just need ravenandblack to put up one for #3 soon, so they all have the same vibe.
Oh, and my editor hooked me up with someone for graphics. (I know right? I picked an editor that rocks. She has held my hand every step of the way.) Now, I should have a bitchin’ looking site in a few weeks.
Like I said great things are happening. I also want to point out that I have been so fortunate with the people I have meet on this journey. I was terrified at first and had zero connections in the writing world. I had joined a few Facebook groups and what not but had no real allies. I had heard some horrible things from and about independent authors and the self publishing world in general. Mostly about people that are so elitist and downright bitchy and catty that they get together and bash anyone outside of their click. They don’t like new authors and go out of their way to attack them. I was so afraid I would run into these types of people, and I may have brushed past them on my way to better things, but that’s it. The people that I have found have been ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY amazing. They have not pushed me down at all but built me up. They have helped me in ways that were beyond my expectations, truly wanting me to succeed. To those people, I want to say thank you. You have helped me get to this point, and I will never forget your kindness.
So, yeah, I think that’s it. Oh, wait, on the non writing front, I won tickets to see Three Dog Night from Palm Springs Live and it was AWESOME. It was a small intimate show and they hit it out of the park. My daughter started high school, and my son is registered for college classes. Crowley (yes, the king of hell), a freaking adorable merle great dane will be joining out brood toward the end of September when he is 8 weeks old. (No, we will not be getting his ears clipped or breeding him, he’ll just be a very large addition to our family.) And I finally got to chat with my sister after an extended period of life getting away with us.