All posts by Heather Dowell

ARCs Are Here!

It’s been a week since my last post. Where went the consistancy!? Well, ladies and gents and unicorns, the past week has been crazy and wonderful. Please note anytime I say crazy or insane it’s an intense version of whatever I’m talking about and is not in reference to people.

Anyway, my co-writer and I spent the first few days pumping out the remainder of our upcoming book Unwrap My Heart. Then we revised the whole thing in a week. I had 14,000 word days. Insanity! Thank you ADD for giving me hyperfocus.

We sent the clean draft to our editor today, and it feels surreal. Like it’s almost done, and we only birthed the idea at the end of September and started writing in October (with breaks).

Our intention was to hopefully write 20,000 words, but the final count came to a little over 53,000 words. There are no fluff chapters. Every scene has a point. Lots of twists and emotional turmoil is what you’ll get if you read Unwrap My Heart.

It’s a young adult Christmas romance that shows a girl figuring out what to do after she gets pregnant by the wrong guy, and a boy regaining the trust of his parents after underage drinking incidents.

She has a secret, and he may be the only person she can trust. Telling the wrong person could affect everyone around her. But not telling will leave her homeless and brokenhearted.

The books will help you see the effects choices have on your future and how no matter how bad life seems, someone is always looking out for you.

Be ready to swoon and throw punches when Unwrap My Heart releases on December 2nd. In the meantime, you can read the unedited first two chapters and add the book to your tbr on Goodreads. We can’t wait to hear what you think.

Check out this book on Goodreads: Unwrap My Heart http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48342480-unwrap-my-heart

First Two Chapters

We are seeking readers for an advanced reader copy of Unwrap My Heart. Seeking reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub. ARCs will be available mid-November. Release date is December 2nd.

You can sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScJxiySfiMbj0VZe5c8GV1k8aRZkclkcmTnFoKV1_iUc5GGEg/viewform?usp=sf_link

Thanks do much for reading until the end, comment a Christmas emoji by December 1st to be entered to win an ebook copy!

🌲🎄🎁⛄☃️❄

My Life as Kelsey Sale

I’m just a poor girl
who’s never been kissed
and can’t even date.

Thanks to my mother
who can barely look at me and
keeps secrets about my unknown father.
Her demands are good grades
and absolutely no boys.

My life is everything but exciting.

But then Stone Maverick Avery walks in
with his designer sunglasses, rock star attitude,
and bad boy past.

And meeting him changes everything.

His presence starts a chain reaction
that leaves me lost and confused.
Tragedy is replaced by a father
who shows me what life is all about.

And for the first time in my life,
I feel loved and hopeful.

But will I trade in my second hand life for new one?

My name is Kelsey. And this is my life.

***

A roller coaster ride of discovery about love:
letting it in, handing it out, and releasing it to the wind.

My Life as Kelsey is book one in the My Life Series, stand-alone novels with interconnecting characters full of roller coaster rides, snark with a touch of humor, and heart-pounding moments.

If you love moments of teenage angst and swoon-worthy romance, then take a ride with this book and others in the My Life Series by Victoria Anders. My Life as Noah and My Life as Marlee are also available. More books to come in the My Life Series in 2020.


I’ll have a full review at some point, but I’m 24% through, and absolutely love it. I was very difficult to put down because the pacing is so great. No dull moments. Full of surprises. Lots of emotional shifts. I really how you give it a try and love it as much as I do.

*Amazon Affiliate Links were used in this post.

Sabrina & the Secret Santa Review

This was so stinking good. You’ve got this snobby, selfish girl who gets community service for driving with a permit who thinks she can pay her way out of it. Then you have a high school senior who forgot to do his service hours to graduate because he’s busy with wrestling and helping him mom raise an autistic teen.

I love when I read a story where I love to make fun of the rich person and their “problems” because I know they will go through a change. This was almost a reversal of the manic pixie dream girl, but the guy learns that it’s okay to take time for himself by the end of the book.

They have to help the community center with all of its holiday programs. Lots of festive customs and plenty of angst. It may be a short read, but it feels like a fully developed novel. This is the first I’ve read in the series and had no issue keeping up. However, it includes characters from earlier books, so I want to read those at some point.

If you want a holiday romance, that’ll make you shed a tear but mostly laugh and swoon, this will be great.

*Links are affiliate links.

Can Men Write Romance?

We’re a week away from the release of Jeffery Star and Shane Dawson’s Conspiracy pallet. I’ve been following Shane’s docu-series for a year now, and I must say I’m pumped.

When they started naming shades cheeto dust and rootbeer, I was a little worried I might not like the pallet. Last week, they tested the shades, and I was gasping. So much color. So much pigment.

I’m always disappointed with makeup because it never goes on my face the way it looks in the pallet. Makeup is art, and I want the medium I chose to be bright and easy-to-use.

I’m bored by the nude colors that make up the majority of pallets, and here comes two guys, one of which had never been into makeup, coming out with the pallet of my dreams.

Overcome with joy, despite that I only wear makeup a few times a year, I had myself thinking why guys don’t involve themselves in other woman-dominated fields.

There is a huge stigma against men writing romance. Honestly, I kinda get it, especially if the dude is unattractive and writing erotica, but why do we set this boundary? Plus, men limit themselves because they’ll get crap from other men.

Some of you might be screaming, men need to stay away from our romance. They dominate too much as it is. And woman are basically invisible in scifi and fantasy.

I’m not going to argue that men have it harder than women. But they still have challenging stigmas to overcome. I think in order to have real equality, we can’t be all man vs woman. We’ve got to work together.

And if you don’t think there is a stigma against male romance authors (and even male readers)…

I read a lot, but sometimes it feels like there is something missing. Maybe I think more along the lines of a sterotypical male. Because of that, I might jive better with a book written from that prospective.

All I’m saying is that there is no one way of thinking for men or women, though marketing studies do show similaries between the majority of each sex. I’ve never been on either edge of the gender spectrum, so I think it’s time we start embracing all authors of all genders to write all genres, because one of them will write your perfect book.

And here’s the thing, reading a romance where the male author shows how guys actually feel about women…swoony. Bring on the man tears and vulnerability. Honestly, before reading romance written by men, I saw a lot of male vulnerability as the woman writer’s wish fulfillment with a cheesy delivery. Getting to experience romance by and for different genders broadens understanding and shows romance in a variety of ways that sticking to a single gender of author may not have achieved.

This isn’t to say that sex matters; that’s something biological. But gender, a social construct, can play a role in the thought patterns of the person, and I want to read more of what lies in the middle. That means letting everyone write romance.

As for my romances, you’re not going to see the stupid girl who jumps to a conclusion and spins 20% of the book angry before contacting the love interest and making up. I also hate writing girls who think they can change the guy. Also, don’t have girls dating douches, that just makes them look stupid. And there is nothing more annoying than a stupid girl.

Oh my, can we stop these tired tropes? Or at least, if there is a misunderstanding, you make it to where even the reader believes what the protagioniat does because all signs point to it being true (that’s what I do)?

I can deal with these tired tropes reversed because there’s not a real world stigma of these against the male species, but a full dismissal is preferable.

Any character can be anyway, just make sure if you’re the writer, you’re writing them that way because that is how they are and not because that’s how you think “boys” or “girls” do or should act.

Well, it seems I’ve hit some sort of soap box record. Let me know in the comments if you like reading books by the minority gender for that genre. Do male author or female author books tend to jive with you more? (For me, it’s more the individual though I tend to see myself more in the male characters since they tend to think more pragmatically.) Is there’s a genre of books you wouldn’t read by a certain gender?

You’ve heard my thougths, now sound off with yours. I’ll see you on Tuesday.

20 Questions Book Tag

1. HOW MANY BOOKS ARE TOO MANY FOR A SERIES?

The longest I have read and enjoyed was 12 books, but it was told in 4 povs and covered 7 years. If the series is made of companion novels, I don’t really have a max, but I think 1500 pages is the most I’d want to read of a series because I need to feel accomplished sooner. Honestly, I prefer trilogies around 350 pages each.

2. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CLIFFHANGERS?

Without them, I probably wouldn’t read the next book. However, if it’s an open-ended standalone and it’s not a horror, or if the character doesn’t get a hea or resolution, I’m never reading from that author again.

3. HARDCOVER OR PAPERBACK?

I like to own hardbacks but I love to read fat paperbacks or a series of small ones. I just like to squeeze them.

4. FAVOURITE BOOK?

I like too many books to try answering this.

5. LEAST FAVOURITE BOOK?

“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens.

6. LOVE TRIANGLES, YES OR NO?

If I want both guys, but not if one is clearly friend zoned. That’s just sad.

7. THE MOST RECENT BOOK YOU COULDN’T FINISH?

I’ve temporarily put down books, but I don’t know the last one I dnf’d because I didn’t like it.

8. A BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING?

“My Life as Kelsey” by Victoria Anders

9. LAST BOOK YOU RECOMMENDED TO SOMEONE?

#AllIWantForChristmas” by Yesenia Vargas

10. OLDEST BOOK YOU’VE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?

I have no idea. The Bible?

11. NEWEST BOOK YOU’VE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?

Three Misfortunes” by Raven Blakewood & B.L. Koller

It’s my book, but it’s the truth. PS. We’re redoing the cover, and I am so excited. At first we went for a more literal cover, and the books is dual pov with one adult and one teen. But all the marketing is teen and the cover doesn’t match, so I’m having a cover designer friend of mine use a different image. Here’s a sneak peak. Lmk what you think in the comments.

PS. There is a teen witch in the book, plus a werewolf and a vampire.

12. FAVOURITE AUTHOR?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxJPJ6JY0Pk

Amanda Hocking, Melody Carlson, Aprilynn Pike

13. BUYING BOOKS OR BORROWING BOOKS?

Both

14. A BOOK YOU DISLIKE THAT EVERYONE SEEMS TO LOVE?

15. BOOKMARKS OR DOG EARS?

Bookmarks. I only dog-eared library books when I was little and the pages were already yellowed.

16. A BOOK YOU CAN ALWAYS RE-READ?

17. CAN YOU READ WHILE LISTENING TO MUSIC?

Yep!

18. ONE POV OR MULTIPLE?

One or two. When it goes to four, the author can rarely make them different enough to not make the book suffer.

19. DO YOU READ A BOOK IN ONE SITTING OR OVER MULTIPLE DAYS?

I like long reading seasons. I want to read at least 50 to 100 pages a pop.

20. WHO DO YOU TAG?

Functionally Fictional and Electively Paige. Those are the only two I know, so if you blog, let me know in the comments.

This tag was created by Heather & Lilian.

I’ll be back on Thursday with another post. Until then, happy reading!

How I Picked a Publishing Name

Do you need a business name?

If your only publishing as yourself, just use your name. It’s free.

But…

A business name can make you seem more legitimate. Like you had a gatekeeper give you a stamp of approval.

It’s up to you, but as an individual writing under one name, unless you’re making enough to need a tax break or legal protection, you don’t need one.

Is it a good idea for authors with pen names?

I’ve done a lot of debating about using multiple pen names, but I finally made the decision to go for it. I could write a whole post on why, but that’s not the point here.

Managing several author names is difficult. It can be tough staying relevant on all the platforms as one person. Four would be far too much. Though I like the seperation of content that pen names allow, I wanted one unifying brand for all of them. Way less work for me!

I’m being transparent with the pen names because I’m an open person in general. However, I might sign posts with a particular pen name if the post is geared toward their readers. Hopefully that won’t be too confusing. They are all me.

Anyway, I needed a name for this intity that was unique and personal.

How did I pick my business name?

First, I picked some words I thought best represent who I am as a person.

Unicorns are my spirit animal. They’re magical and I associate them with creativity. They also tend to be colorful. That’s me. I love rainbows and sparkles though most days I’m stuck wearing gray and black. Boring!

Night is because I am a night owl. Eventhough I’m done with college, I still stay up until at least 2am. Most nights, I fall asleep in my reading room watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Porium is short for emporium which is a type of store that sells a variety of goods. I write in almost every genre and books are technically products, so, whalla.

Second, I searched my starter ideas.

I tried hard to fit rainbow in the name, but when I’d search them, a bunch of LGBT groups came up. There’s a ton!

After a while, I stuffed rainbow, night, and unicorn into a generator and it added some extra words. This can be a great option if you’re looking for one of your own.

Here were a few of my favorites:

Nightporium

Rainbowsquad

Rainbow Ridge

Unicorn Planet

Nightly Unicorn

Unicorn Squad

Third, I narrowed down my options.

Tips:

  • Google it to make sure nothing else comes up
  • Search the trademark registry
  • Search on Amazon
  • See if the name is avialable as a domain and on social media

Fourth, I claimed it.

Once you pick the name, secure it quick. If there’s a chance someone might try to steal it, trademark the sucker or get an DBA, LLC, or some other form of legal registration as a business.

Summary

Book Blog Newbie Tag

Created by Love and other Bookish Things

1 – Why did you start this blog?

I want to have a place to talk about the books I’m writing and the media I’m enjoying.

2- What are some fun and unique things you can bring to book blogging?

I’ll be talking about my own books as well as books on writing and indie books.

3 – What are you most excited for about this new blog?

Finding readers with similar interests and helping authors reach their goals.

4 – Why do you love reading?

Fictional people are better than real ones. They are so predictable, yet it’s fun seeing their internal thoughts and what motivates them to reach their goals.

5 – What book or series got you into reading? 

Junie B. Jones, The Left Behind Series for kids, and Lois Duncan books

6 – What questions would you ask your favorite authors?

Will you tell me how you came up with each and every twist?

7 – What challenges do you think starting a blog will be the hardest to overcome?

Consistency and keeping content fresh and engaging.

8 – When did you start reading?

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9 – Where do you read?

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10 – What kind of books do you like to read?

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And that’s pretty much it! Thank you so much for reading.