Crazy – but in a good way!

It’s been a month since I last posted, but I have a good excuse.  Really.  I’ve been crazy busy.  Okay, so I’m always crazy busy, but this has been an even crazier month than normal.  That’s saying a lot.

Since I last posted, I’ve finished the first draft of Better Left Unsaid, decided to scrap the last 2/3 of the Bound by Grace draft and begin rewriting it, and have been working with my editor on my upcoming contemporary romance releases, A Lovely Dream  and A Lovely Reality.  The covers for both books are now ready.  I’ve been working with my graphic designer a.k.a. my son, Joe, to redo all of my covers with a new brand and to create a display that I’ll order to take with me to events/signings.  Tomorrow, I will be hosting a takeover from 6-10 p.m. EST of the Fandoms and Books Save Lives. Authors Take Them page on Facebook.  I will be holding the first of several holiday giveaways on my Facebook author page.  My guilty pleasure has been indulging in a reading spree of Jeaniene Frost’s books.  I usually like to vary what I read, but I can’t stop myself although I am alternating series.

I’m preparing to begin my final read-through of A Lovely Dream and will then give it to my formatter, who just so happens to be my husband.  Once I do that and we have blog tour dates selected, then I’ll be making announcements regarding release dates for both books.  Since the two novels are basically a set, A Lovely Dream will be released only a couple of months before A Lovely Reality.  I want both of them out before the RT Convention in Dallas this May.

As I prepare to write the blurbs for both upcoming releases, pull out teaser lines, and begin to make graphics, I’m already looking ahead to my next fiction release, which will be Mercy:  Book 3 of The Real World Series, in summer of 2015.  A romance release will follow in the fall, but I haven’t made my selection, yet.  Perhaps as I review my drafts with my editor, then I’ll come to a final decision.  I’m blessed to have several drafts completed since it allows me choices.  With everything being so hectic, my writing time is extremely limited at the moment!

Speaking of RT, I’ve scheduled my author appearance for 11:30 on May 14th and will be donating a gift basket again this year.  I’ll have a spot on Promo Lane as well.  I’m hoping to sign at the book fair, but space is limited and I’m on a waiting list.  They’ve already changed rooms but still don’t have enough space.  Hopefully, that will change before May!

Things will be picking up even more as 2015 approaches.  Not only will I have at least four releases in the next year, but I’ll be at RT, will be attending and signing at Indie BookFest 2015 in Orlando, and…well, who knows what else might come up.  It’s still 2014, and my schedule is insane!

Happy holidays to all!

Barbara

Against the Wind

True story: A man was wrongly convicted of a crime and spent nine years in prison before things were reviewed and he was granted clemency. When he got out of prison, he threw himself into “playing catch-up” and doing all of the things he’d missed for almost a decade. Unfortunately, the consequences were that he died as a result of how hard he pushed himself. That leaning-into-the-wind feeling is exactly how I’ve felt in the past two years because of my need to work outside the home and my family tragedies. I know it’s not good for me or others I love.

My last blog was about my decision to regain balance in my life. I did – and had one great week. Then, I started to backslide. I allowed the same stressors to come into play that were causing me so much tension and frustration. Lack of time is the biggest one, and I really have no idea how to solve that issue without quitting my day job, which I can’t do at the moment. I know I need to be a full-time author, and my inability to do that is killing me. I need more time to write, promote, network, and do things like hang with my family, read even more, and enjoy the other things that give me pleasure like cooking, exploring, and being with friends. I’m caught in a net of necessary obligations.

With six books released and two slated for release in the next six months, I’m certainly moving forward. Thank God I have several drafts waiting for review and editing. I can continue releasing novels for a while without having to worry about producing a new book ASAP. Yet, I do want to keep producing new material and try to write every day like I always have. It brings me joy. All of the stress has been sucking my creative juices dry. That is the worst.

I’ve already pulled back on blogging, Facebook, etc. a bit in order to focus on writing, and I’ve definitely been more productive recently. On that note, I can already tell you that I never plan to put out a book every month. Even if I quit my day job working with the visually-impaired, I have no desire to churn out books simply to make a buck. I write for myself and my readers and always strive for quality and not just quantity. Unless I decide to write a serial and choose to put out installments on a monthly basis, I intend to write and publish two to three novels a year. However, it will be because those works are ready and come from the depths of my mind, heart, and soul. My characters and their stories are dear to me, and I’m blessed to have readers who love them, too.

So, back to that balance thing. I’m still working on it and still trying not to “play catch-up” to those other authors who don’t have to work outside the home. I’m a work in progress and want to regain my sense of peace. I’ll strive to move forward confident that all will work out as it should. I’m human and don’t always believe that, although I used to and need to find my way back to that frame of mind. I won’t put any spin on it. How boring would it be to say that everything is fabulous all the time? Even the most famous of authors have their own personal struggles, health issues, and frustrations. Of course, I’d like to be one of them and have their readership, since that would eliminate my frustration about not being able to devote my working time to writing.

This past week, I’ve gotten back on track again. I’ve spent more time with the family, cooked, and walked on the treadmill while listening to books five days out of the last seven. I’ve also worked on my current draft and done research on changing my diet to make it better again and hopefully help with some of the health issues I have that can actually be controlled by what I eat. I continue to feel that constant niggling tension and am attempting to release it. I’m looking forward to my upcoming releases, attending the 2015 RT Convention in Dallas, Indie Bookfest 2015, and other events. I want to live my life to the fullest. As long as I can keep producing and tapping my creativity, then all will be good. Everything else will happen as it should.

Barbara

Balance and Success

It’s time for a new start.  With the September release of Prim & Proper, I decided it was time for my own new release.  Over the past two years, I’ve been pulled down by family tragedies and problems beyond my control.  I was juggling family, work, and everything physical and psychological that goes along with the terminal illness and death of a loved one, serious illness of loved ones, settling estates, personal illness, and handling the business relating to those things and moving my mother to live close to me in Florida.   Let’s just say I’ve been a little stressed doing all that and traveling back and forth between Florida and Louisiana.   Okay, so I was morphing into a whiny, tired, angry person, and that is so not the real me.

Last week, I decided it was time for a change.  In the midst of the chaos, I’ve released six books and love writing, my readers, and my career as an author.  My readers love my books, and I am loving that – and them, of course.  So, I decided to refocus.  Last weekend, I made up my mind to do what I’d been talking about for a long while, which was to return to thinking positively and returning my outlook to what it was two years ago.  And?  It’s been a great week, both personally and professionally.  The reviews for Prim & Proper have been great; I started writing a new book; I’m working on developing a reasonable schedule for the seemingly endless things I need to do in addition to my writing; and I’m just plain happier!  Little things have been happening all week that have reinforced my efforts, and I’m very grateful.  I’ve also made time to read some books, update my bio on every site I could think of that had the old one on it, and start working on redesigning old covers to include the new part of my brand.  The work on the covers isn’t done, yet.  Maybe next week.  I’ll have to talk with my cover designer on those and see how what I envision works.  The images/photos will not change, but the other elements like titles and my name will get a fresh look in the near future.

Thank you so much to my family, friends, and readers for all you do and all you are!  I’m going to add working on blog posts to my list of things to approach in a slightly different way.  It will be an experiment.  Blogs about things like releases and reveals may not change much, but I’d like to infuse more of a personal touch into my posts.  Finding a balance between sharing not enough and too much can be tricky for authors.

Have a fabulous week!  I hope you are enjoying Prim & Proper and plan to have some exciting news regarding my next two upcoming romance releases, A Lovely Dream and A Lovely Reality, in my next blog!

Barbara

Prim & Proper is LIVE!

The official release date for Prim & Proper is September 16th, but I just couldn’t stand to wait any longer.  So, the book went live Sunday night.  I gave my street team, Barbara’s Book Babes, the news first.  The next day, I shared my “secret” with the On My Way Up with Barbara newsletter subscribers.  Now, I’m sharing with everyone!  I got a 5-star review before I’d announced that it was live, which was a wonderful surprise.  I can’t wait for more reviews and more satisfied readers!

http://www.amazon.com/Prim-Proper-Barbara-Cutrera/dp/0991364228/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410481189&sr=1-2&keywords=prim+and+proper

I’m thrilled to have this novel, the first of many contemporary romances of mine, avaialbe to all.  Enjoy!

Barbara

Prim & Proper Adult Trailer

That got your attention, right?  I’ve blogged about the trailer for Prim & Proper: The Early Years on YouTube.  Everyone raved over it, which was fabulous to hear.  However, there is also an “adult” trailer for my book that is simply entitled Prim and Proper on YouTube.  Those who have seen it have loved it, so I’m putting it out there for all to see!  Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-VNqOKsIk0 .  It was created combining John Legend’s “All of Me” and the steamy teaser photos for my contemporary romance, which goes live in one week! 

P&P Final Cover

Barbara

Prim and Proper: The Early Years Trailer

So many fans who have previewed this trailer have told me I have to release it now.  Here is a glimpse of Sean and Prim in their childhood years.  Prim and Proper officially goes LIVE September 16th!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VB6Z3Shfelo

P&P Final Cover

Barbara

Prim & Proper Cover Reveal!

Prim and Proper goes LIVE in ebook and paperback formats on September 16th!  This contemporary romance is sweet and spicy – just like the cover!

P&P Final Cover

Barbara

The Adventures of Indie BookFest 2014

This past weekend was hectic, but fabulous! Friday, after a great Keynote Address by Tiffany King, we were offered the opportunity to attend various panels. The schedule was as follows:

Panel 1A- Got Flexibility? (Tiffany King, Elise Marion, Courtney Cole, Casse Narome)

Panel 1B- Got Reach? (Kobo Writing Life Presentation)

Panel 2A- Got Serials? (Rebecca Ethington, Sarra Cannon, Rene Folsom, Tricia Zoeller)

Serial2

Panel 2B- Got Gore? (Rick Chiantaretto, Melanie Karsak, Adam Kunz, Jennifer Martinez)

Panel 3A- Got Character? (Maria V. Snyder, Claudia Gray, Ben Hale, Adam Kunz)

Panel 3B- Got Grit? (Kristie Cook, Amy Miles, K. S. Thomas, Carol Kunz)

Panel 4A- Got Diversity? (Elise Marion, Casse Narome, Kristina Circelli, Nadege Richards)

Panel 4B- Got Game? (Kristie Cook, Rick Miles, Tawdra Kandle, Mandie Stevens)

Panel 5- Got Mad Author Love? (All authors attending Indie Bookfest!) – This was an interactive event where authors were seated at round tables and readers rotated from table to table every five minutes to learn about the authors and ask questions.  (See photo below)

Author Table 11

Panel 6- Got Fantasy? (Maria V. Snyder, Claudia Gray, GP Ching, Chanda Hahn)

Panel 7- Got Romance? (Tabatha Vargo, Wendy Owens, Sawyer Bennett, Ceci Giltenan)

Budge and I had lunch with Tricia Zoeller, Christin Lovell, and Rene Folsom but went to Wolfgang Puck’s at Downtown Disney by ourselves that night. The garden vegetable pizza was awesome!

Saturday was the Book Signing Event from 1-4 p.m.  

IBF Table with ATT

(Photo above of me at my table with promo material for Prim and Proper that was given out as a bonus to attendees along with a signed copy of True:  3 Short Stories)

I got a chance to talk with a few other authors and to visit more with that sweetheart named Danielle Linhart of Danielle’s Dazzling Designs before it started, but then I was pretty much tied to my table. I’m not complaining. I sold and signed books, had a gift basket raffle that included signed copies of my current releases, magnets, jewelry, swag, and merchandise for Prim and Proper, even though the cover reveal isn’t until August 27th. Those who attended Indie BookFest 2014 got a sneak peek at the cover, and everyone remarked on how HOT it was. Since that was the goal, I was pleased. Congratulations to Sam of Virginia, my gift basket winner!

Me and Sam Raffle Winner

I do wish I’d had more time to visit the tables I didn’t get to check out before the signings started. At least at the after party that nightI did get to hang out with some of the authors I wasn’t able to interact with earlier in the day. Then, Budge and I went to Ghirardelli in Downtown Disney across the street for shakes to end our day. Yummy!

We headed back home Sunday, and I’ve been doing the sort-and-scramble thing ever since! It was a full but worthwhile weekend, and I’m so glad I was able to participate and interact with my fellow authors and with readers during the panels and Q&A on Friday and the book signing on Saturday.

I love my time spent at conferences and the connections I make with other authors and readers. We’re all readers and share a love of books. Being a part of this community is an amazing and wonderful thing, and I’m thrilled every time I hear the words, “Oh, my God! I loved this book you wrote! It changed my life/gave me such pleasure/made me cry/made me laugh!” Reaching others through words brings me joy, no matter whether I hear it through an e-mail, post, or in person. However, meeting those people face-to-face is a special treat, and I relish it every time. Indie BookFest 2014 was yet another fantastic way to bring everyone together. 

For a pictorial recap of Indie BookFest 2014 and a chance to win a signed ARC of Prim and Proper, sign up for my newsletter by going to onmywayuponline.com.  I’ll be sending it out this weekend.  The winner’s name will be embedded in the newsletter.  🙂

Barbara

Ready! Aim! Fire! Right? Write!

When I’m writing about any topic, I always try to be accurate and provide realistic descriptions of events or items.  This past weekend, I decided to go outside my comfort zone and do some real hands-on research.  I wanted to see what it was like to shoot a gun. 

Those who know me are aware that I don’t like guns.  I personally could never hunt and kill something unless I was literally starving.  I have had characters use guns in books I’ve written, some of which have been released and some of which are in queue for publication.  However, the gun use has been sporadic.  Enter the ROYAL series I started a few months ago and had to temporarily suspend due to the upcoming release of Prim and Proper and my overwhelming need to revise most of the story of Bound by Grace:  Book 3 in The Gift Series.  I hope to be finished with the revisions in August and want to start working again on Relentless:  Book 1 of the ROYAL Series after that. 

Blayne, the kick-ass ROYAL operative in Relentless knows exactly what he’s doing when it comes to guns, knives, and hand-to-hand combat.  Tess, the strong-willed corporate owner who survived a brutal attack when she was a teen and then the cover-up by her parents, knows nothing about self-defense other than what she learned in the course she took after the attack.  So, I wanted to know what would an expert know and what would a novice do when dealing with guns. 

Thus, my son and I made a trip to Shooters World, the largest gun store in Florida.  It happens to be located in Tampa, which is about 45 minutes from where I live.  We were impressed by the polished look of the place and the variety of items available.  The employees were extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful.  I explained the purpose of my visit and got a lesson regarding guns I knew something about from research (Sigs, Glocks, etc.) and custom guns like NIghthawk, Ed Brown, and Wilson, of which I knew very little.  I learned a lot and decided I wanted to shoot a custom gun, since I now think that’s what Blayne would use.  So, after a tour of the rifle section, Joe and I went to the indoor firing range. 

IMG_1550

I didn’t even know if they’d let me shoot, since I’d never fired a gun and am visually-impaired.  However, I was informed that as long as Joe and one of their employees was with me in the lane, then I could do it.  Joe has fired guns, but he’d never previously fired a pistol.  He was excited.  I was excited, but I was also nervous.  I really had no idea what to expect. 

We got a tutorial from the employee who was going to go with us to our lane.  I could barely pull back the top and told Joe he would have to load the mag.  We entered the range, and it was LOUD, even with the protective ear covering.  Once we were ready, I was told to go first.  The silhouette target was about 25 yards away.  I have no central vision, but I’m adept at adapting and was able to see the silhouette and aim with the grip and stance I’d been taught.  I pulled the trigger and BOOM!  I knew from reading that there would be a kick-back.  However, I thought of it more as a literal kick-back.  Instead, it was more like a blow to the chest.  I did hit the target and let Joe shoot next.  We began to alternate every few shots.  The employee told me to try firing rapidly, and I found that more comfortable.  Out of twenty-five bullets, we hit the target 21 times, once when it was at 25 yards and once when it was farther back.  Most of the bullets hit the silhouette, and I did shoot the guy in the 10 area(kill shot to the head).   At one point, Joe put three rounds into the same exact spot in the guy’s stomach.  He was definitely not walking away from this barrage. 

We decided to switch guns.  I wanted to try one with a suppressor, since every good operative uses a suppressor now and then, right? 

I knew the weight distribution would be different because of the suppressor, and the employee verified this when I asked before we started.  I found that gun, an FNH-FNX 45 Tactical easier to fire but worse to aim.  I did hit the target but not nearly as accurately.  Joe said I also shot the floor under the target twice.  He didn’t do as well either but had the advantage of being fully-sighted and did much better than I did.  He even executed (pun intended) a traditional kill shot of two bullets in the stomach and one in the head.  It was interesting to hear the difference between the sound of the shots with and without the suppressor.  The entire experience was interesting.

Joe wants to go back with Budge and do more shooting.  I’m probably done with the actual shooting for now, although I may go back for more research.  The employees were intrigued and wanted to know when the books would be out.  I told them I’m working on a first draft of Book 1, so it will be a while.  I don’t just pop out books like bullets.  If you’ve been following my blog long, you know I like to let the books “percolate” for a while before going back to them for editing, beta readers, and the like.  I did give out some business cards and told them when they see a book called Relentless they’d know the first in the series was out. 

It was a worthwhile trip that allowed me to hold all sorts of guns, feel their weight and grip, learn more about the different features, and to feel what it was like to fire.  I’m not going to get into miniscule detail about guns in these books, but I can now describe with greater accuracy what it feels like to shoot and how difficult it would be for a novice to successfully load and fire a gun without instruction.  Also, hearing the sound helped me to understand how the children in the book might react to the loud BANG they’ll hear when a gun is fired.  The research was worth it. 

IMG_1549

So, the visually-impaired author who isn’t into guns has now experienced what it’s like!  My writing has certainly led me in some interesting directions, but this is one scenario I never envisioned for myself.  It was time and money well-spent and will assist me in future novels where guns are involved.  Thanks so much to those at Shooters World and to my wonderful son for making my hands-on research possible!

Barbara

The On My Way Up with Barbara Newsletter Is Coming!

Subscribe to my  On My Way Up with Barbara Newsletter by going to onmywayuponline.com.  Type your e-mail address in the box on the right side of the Home page, then hit the Subscribe button.  I promise I will NOT spam you.  This will be a fun newsletter that will come out no more than once a month unless a book release is imminent.  Even then, I’m not going to be putting out one a day or anything, so never fear!  I want this to be a way for me to connect with fans on a more interactive level, to give them updates and sneak peeks before those not on the subscription list, and to give them the chance to win things like signed books, ebooks, merchandise, and promo SWAG in giveaways open only to newsletter subscribers.  I plan to release the first newsletter this weekend, and the format may morph as I get feedback from subscribers.  So, subscribe today and head On My Way Up with Barbara!
 
Barbara    
http://www.onmywayuponline.com