What lies ahead for 2016

2015 has been an amazing year for me. I’m actually a little sad that it’s almost over. 🙁 I’m hoping that 2016 is just as fantastic but for very different reasons. So, what’s happening in the coming year? Well, here are my plan…

I currently have 6 books that want to be written. 6!!! I know that I won’t be able to write all of them in the next 12 months but you bet your butt I’m going to try. Which books exactly, you ask. Here’s the rundown.

Books 2, 3 & 4 in the Kiss series. Felicity, James and Will will each be getting their own story.

A standalone novel for one of the characters from the Holding On series. Do you need to read the Holding On series to understand it? No, but it will help. It’ll be called Regaining Strength.

I WILL finish Saving Bliss this year, even if it kills me! Owen and Bliss’ story needs to be told. First I need to figure out how to get Bliss to cooperate. She’s a bit of a b***h.

A standalone contemporary romance. I have a title in mind but I’m not sold on it just yet. The tagline won’t change, though, cuz I’m in love with it. “Every choice creates a ripple.” I might start this one first since I’m the most excited about it.

There are a few other mentionable things coming in 2016. First and foremost, my wedding.  I will probably disappear at the beginning of August to finalize all my plans. I’m apologizing in advance. I’m a little OCD when it comes to planning events and I have a feeling that my wedding will make it even more apparent.

Before the wedding, though, Lucky 13 will release in July. If you missed the big announcement, I signed a contract with Anchor Group Publishing for this book. I’m really excited about it. As soon as I have an exact release date I’ll post it. The book is finished – all 84,000 words and my two rounds of personal edits. Before it reaches your hands it will go through professional editing, then formatting, then cover design. I am working with the AMAZING Marisa Shor of Cover Me, Darling on my cover again. I love her work and I’m so thankful that Anchor Group allowed me to work with her on this project.

On top of all that, I do have a few signings planned this year. I won’t be doing any before the wedding. This means that I’ll miss Utopia in Nashville in June, one of my personal favorites. For those of you that I normally connect with there, don’t worry. I will be back in 2017. Here’s what I have slated for 2016:

  • Carolina Bookfest (October 15) – Charlotte, NC
  • Rebels & Readers (November 5) – Huntington, WV

I may be able to add to that list if I find something that’s close to home. There is an expo in March that I attended last year that I’m considering but I haven’t made up my mind yet. To keep up with the most recent happenings, you should sign up for my newsletter. It goes out monthly – the January issues is being sent tomorrow morning. Click HERE to sign up.

Well, that’s my plan for 2016. I’m not making any personal resolutions this year. I want to get in shape, become more discipline in my social media activities and such, but nothing that requires me to commit to it. These are things I want, not challenges. I’ll make them happen. My only professional resolution this year is to better connect with all of you. I think a great way to do that is to find ways to show you my appreciation more often. I have a few ideas. Make sure you follow my Facebook page to see what I have in store.

Happy New Year!

12 days of reviews

It’s time to start the party!

Attention all Indie authors! Sell your book and win a review!

Attention all readers! Find great new authors and enter to win an
iPad mini!

Do I have your attention? Good! Continue reading.

One of the biggest issues facing Indie authors today is getting reviews for their self-published books.

Jo Michaels holds an event each year in December to remedy the lack of reviews and to give readers a chance to win great prizes while discovering new authors.

It’s a huge pitch fest!

Last year, authors from all over joined in to pitch their books and win sales and reviews. Not just from Jo, but from tons of readers and bloggers attending the event.

At the core of the event is a huge giveaway for an iPad mini! This benefits all readers because they have a great new way to take their books on the go with any e-reader app.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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If you want to get in on the pitch fest, head on over to Jo’s blog right now and read the rules on this page!

There are daily giveaways of gift cards, e-books, signed books, and tons of other goodies! Be sure and check out the books the authors are pitching, too!

rainbows covered in glitter

At the beginning on November, as I sat down and started to put words on paper for my 2015 #Nano project, I took a moment to think about what this book really meant to me. It’s book #10, written in the last three years. I’ve been published for 2 years as of November 23rd. To me, this is a big deal. I’m hitting double digits. I’m growing as an author, my writing is improving and I have somewhat of a fan base now.

The big question was… how am I going to make this book, this release, these characters special for all of you?

As I got farther into the project I fell more in love with the story line and the characters. After about a week it hit me. The answer had been in front of my face as I scrolled through Facebook, of course.

My first thought was, what if this is the wrong decision? I talked to the bestie (shout out to Casey Bond) and she helped me weigh the pros and cons because of course, there are going to be both. Then, I took the first step. I sent a personal message to someone I respect and look up to in the Indie community. She’s someone who is fierce about her work and helping others to succeed. She is none other than… Stacey Rourke.

I probed her with questions, asked about the process and how things are done. She was kind enough to answer all my questions honestly so I could make an informed decision.

Have I lost you yet?

No? Good. I’m just getting to the best part.

So, after thinking it over, I made the decision to put it together and submit. Yes, I said submit. Along with my very first query letter, I submitted the prologue and chapter 1 of Lucky 13 (my 2015 Nano project) to Anchor Group Publishing, Stacey Rourke’s publishing company.

Wait!

Before you start to throw things at me through the computer screen because I said I would never traditionally publish again… I take it back. I know what I said and the reason’s I said it still remain. After talking with Stacey and doing a little research, I found that I may have been judgemental about the traditional publishing world as a whole. I had a very bad experience, this is true, but it doesn’t mean that every experience with a publishing company will be like mine was.

I trust Stacey therefore I trust her with my book. If you know her you know why. You can’t put that much passion in such a small package without is radiating out like rainbow covered in glitter. Yep. I just went there.

I know… get on with the big announcement.

Well, I made Stacey cry. No, that’s not the announcement. I’m afraid after she reads the rest of the book she may cry again, and again, and… you get the picture. It’s a bit of a tear-jerker at times.

After a lot of thought and going back and forth with myself for a day or two while attempting to win Nano and finish Lucky 13, I decided that I wanted to take this chance. I want to give traditional publishing another shot. So she drew up a contract and I signed it.

Coming July 2016…

Lucky 13

Written by Rachael Brownell

Published by Anchor Group Publishing

Cover Design by Cover Me, Darling

On top of that…

I finished Lucky 13 on November 27th after writing over 80K words in 27 days. I’ll be hiding in my personal editing hell for the next two weeks if you need me.

 

Happy Holidays!!!!!!!!!!

 

EXCITING NEWS!!!

bigstock-Grunge-breaking-news-rubber-st-60436100.jpg

 

Keep your eyes peeled. December 1st I’m going to be making a HUGE announcement. If you happen to be a newsletter subscriber you will find out on November 30th. Watch your email!

If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter and be one of the first to know everything that’s happening, click HERE.

 

Two for $2

I’ve been in my office, hiding, for the past week. Doing what? Cleaning, organizing and prepping for NaNoWriMo. If you have no idea what that is… National Novel Writing Month. The goal? To write 50K in the month of November.

This is my first year participating and to say that I’m nervous is an understatement. I love the challenge. I love that this is going to push me to write more and often. I may hit the goal I may not. For me it’s not about that. November and NaNo are going to be about finding the right place to write, the right time of day to write and pushing past the writer’s block that’s been plaguing me since I finished Next.

It seems that I encounter it every year. Writer’s block, that is. In some way, shape or form it rears its ugly head and beats my confidence to the ground. No worries, though. I plan to hit back and harder this year. NaNo is going to be the perfect way to do it in my mind.

I’m getting off track though… sorry.

The reason for this post is to apologize for my absence this past month and to apologize for my upcoming absence next month. I know that I will be off-line A TON as I try to conquer my writers block and aim for 50K. To prove to you that I still care and value your patience, I will be running giveaways and sales the entire month of November. Keep your eyes peeled.

The first one starts TODAY!

99 Cents Each

A Secret Life, book one in the Secrets Duet, is on sale for only 99 PENNIES 10/26-11/1.  (FREE for KU subscribers.)  CLICK HERE

Secrets & Lies, book two in the Secrets Duet, is ALWAYS only 99 PENNIES. (FREE for KU subscribers.)  CLICK HERE

Get both for less than $2!!!

A Seret Life Cover  Secrets_&_Lies_Cover_for_Kindle

More deals and giveaways will be coming as the month goes along. Don’t forget that my monthly newsletter comes out in a few weeks too. There’s always something special for subscribers in there. If you haven’t signed up and want to receive it, click HERE.

Measuring Success

It was a long 15 months of planning and preparing but the 4 days I spent actually at Great Lakes Book Bash, hosting the con and making sure that things were running smooth, was worth every second. Don’t misunderstand, there were bumps in the road from beginning to end, even hours before the con started. It wasn’t perfect by any means. Perfection wasn’t the goal, though.

What was our goal then?

My main focus was on my exhibitors. I wanted them to have a good time. I wanted them to be successful. I wanted them to want to do it all over again.

Thankfully, they do. So, we’re going to. In 2017. Great Lakes Book Bash will invade Kalamazoo again and I can only imagine how epic version 2.0 will be.

What about this year? Well, here’s some of the highlights…

Our keynote speaker (at the last-minute), the fabulous Stacey Rourke, rocked my socks off with an inspirational speech to start our day. “Hoist your Colors!”

SR

After that, we all got ready to meet and greet with readers. Being the first event, I was pleasantly surprised at our ticket sales even before the event began. Then, almost all of those that bought tickets actually showed up. I was even more surprised by that. We had a goal. We wanted at least 150 people to come. It was pretty ambitious in my opinon but we found a way to make it happen.

Before the event kicked off we had just over 300 badges made up for those that would be attending – readers, exhibitors and assistants. Over 250 of those people joined us for fun on Saturday, only 75 were exhibitors. We hit our goal!

The signing went smooth. There was a good flow of people coming through the room. The venue did a great job of setting the tables spaciously enough where no one felt crowded. I rarely spent time at my table but it looked pretty…

me

After the signing was the party. Good food. Dancing. Drinks. FUN! I’m not posting any pics of that. Why? Because I have one on my phone and that’s about it. I was too busy hanging out with people I’d met and grown to love. I was relaxing with a beverage and making sure everyone was having a good time. And… as far as I could tell, they were.

Success. How do you measure the success of an event like this? Well, I’m thinking that since everyone is asking for another GLBB, it was a success. Readers came. Authors sold books. New friendships and bonds were made.

My heart is so full of love right now it’s crazy. I hoped and prayed that everything would go well and thankfully it did. We had an amazing group of exhibitors this year and hopefully you will see some of them again in 2017.

group    group 2

Thank you to all those that attended. I can’t wait to get together again and see what kind of magic happens. (Information coming soon!)

Who wants a FREE book?

Hey!

I’ve been super busy finalizing details for Great Lakes Book Bash that’s happening in only 16 days and haven’t been on social media much. I feel disconnected in a way. It’s amazing how much I miss people I’ve never met in person when I log off for a while.

Well, to apologize for my absence I’m going to give away some free ebooks. You choice of any of mine. All you have to do is comment below with which book you would like and, so you don’t have to post your email for the world to see, click here to send me your email address.

I hope this post brightens your day a little. Everyone loves a free book, right?

Who doesn’t love a FREE book?

The answer is nobody.

I’m no exception to this. I love to read and when I see that an author has a book that’s free, I immediately get my one-click on. In fact, I have three or four books on my Kindle right now that are waiting for me to read and if I remember right, two of them were freebies.

So why do authors give away their hard work for free? It’s simple. We love our readers and it’s a small token of our appreciation. At some point in time you took a chance on me. You had probably never heard of me before. My book may have been recommended to you by someone or you may have stumbled on it by chance. Either way, you took a chance on me and my work. I appreciate that more than you will ever know.

That’s the biggest reason why authors run sales, hold giveaways and from time to time, make their books free, either permanently or for a period of time. Me? I have two that are prema-free and four others that are free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Why am I talking about free books? Well, the last time I posted about my free books there was only one and now there are SIX! Plus, we have some new faces that follow the blog and I thought they might want the deets on the freebies. So, here’s my small token of appreciation to all of you for taking a chance on little ‘ol me.

Print  Holding On, book 1 in the Holding On series

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/holding-on-14

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id879255847

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/holding-on-rachael-brownell/1117229555

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KDKOGSE

 

part 1 pawn  Dark Bishop Part 1: Pawn, Dark Bishop Serial Series

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T17UU6M

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-bishop-part-one-casey-l-bond/1121151054

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id963803640

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/dark-bishop-part-one-pawn

Gamble cover  Take A Gamble, stand-alone Novel

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KEPVAMI

*** FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers ***

A Seret Life Cover  A Secret Life, Secrets Duet book 1

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H3HIBEU

*** FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers ***

Secrets_&_Lies_Cover_for_Kindle   Secrets & Lies, Secrets Duet book 2

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MRGVYS2

*** FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers ***

5.5x8.5Template  Next, A Kiss Series Novel

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013AB1HPM

*** FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers ***

Embracing my fears

Today is release day. My normal routine would include a copious amount of coffee, a few standard posts about the release on social media, and then a small panic attack immediately after I disconnect my laptop from the wi-fi. After that I would normally force myself to write. Those sentences and chapter normally get deleted later on for lack of structure and poor content. My brain basically shuts down and I hide from the outside world.

Not anymore.

Today, I’m going to embrace what I love about release days. I’m going to celebrate my release. I’m going to scream and shout that it’s LIVE on every social media outlet. I’m going to read the reviews – the good and the bad. I’ll embrace the good and learn from the bad.

I will stalk my GoodReads and Amazon pages for new reviews hourly (at minimum). I will stalk my author rank and sales rank and everything that I’m normally too afraid to look at for fear of failure.

Why?

Because failure is in the eye of the beholder. I love my book. Not everyone will but it matters that I do because I put my name on it. I put my stamp, my seal of approval on it. I wrote the damn thing. It took me hours and weeks to make it the way I wanted it. It took time to figure out how I wanted it to end.

This book may sell one copy of a million copies. Either way, I’m happy with it. I love my characters. I love their story. Those simple facts alone make this book a success.

I’m embracing release day.

So… here’s a little sneak peek into Next for all of you.

Once I finish, we both sit back in our seats and digest what I just said out loud for the first time ever. It felt good to get it off my chest, but I’m now waiting for Elliot to blow. He’s going to have an opinion I’m sure. I’ve kept this from him for so long that hearing it now makes the situation ten times worse.

“Say something. Please. I need to know what you’re thinking right now. I need to know if you hate me.” I beg him to speak to me. He’s staring at me, studying me. You can see the wheels inside his head turning, going over everything again and again.

“He’s not coming home, Reagan. He signed up for another four years. I don’t know what you want me to say. I love you. You’re my best friend and you always will be. I’m not angry, maybe a little disappointed that you didn’t tell me sooner, but I’m not angry. If anything, I’m sad. I’m sad for you because he’s probably never coming home. He doesn’t want to even come home to visit.”

My heart drops and shatters in my chest. All my dreams of being reunited with Luke when he was out of the Marines… gone. He’s not coming home. I have no idea when I’ll see him again or if I’ll see him again.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Cue not-so-Adorable freakout!

NINE

In five days that’s the number of books that I’ll have out there. The number of pieces of my heart that I’ve shared with the world at this point. I never imagined that I would actually have the opportunity to share one piece let alone NINE.

To me, NINE is a lot. It’s almost double digits!

The scary part is that I have plans for three more AND that doesn’t include the one I’m working on right now.  That makes THIRTEEN for those of you that didn’t feel like doing the math but right now I’m focused on the NINE. Why?

My first book was published in November 2013… less than two years ago. So… NINE books in two years. (Maybe ten if I ever get my current WIP finished.)

At this point you mgiht think that release day gets easier. The fact of the matter is that it gets harder and scarier for me each time. Mind you, none of this happens for five more days yet I’m already starting to freak out. I’m making my release day post today because I’m already planning on hiding in my office with the lights off and the computer disconnected from the internet.

What’s so scary about release day? Hmmm… For ever author I’m sure it’s different. Here are my top two things…

  1. I don’t sell a single book – yes this sounds horrible but all I ask for is ONE. One person to take a chance on my work.
  2. The reviews. This could be my #1 but I try to learn from my reviews if they are bad so I take all reviews in stride. The bad ones still sting, though. I sent out a TON of ARC’s this time (over 100 at least) so when the reviews start popping up on Amazon… cue another freak out! I can’t look on release day or I’ll be overwhelmed.

There are many other things that will add to the chaos inside my head on release day but to list them all would make me sounds cray cray AND it would take all day. We’ll just stick with the top two for now.

 

The moral of this story…

Next, a Kiss series novel, releases Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Available only on AMAZON and FREE on KU

 

What if one kiss could change everything?

It did, for Reagan Brooks. Her fascination with Luke Evans went from a school-girl crush to heart-wrenching love in an instant. Then he left town, leaving a starry-eyed Reagan in his wake. No one will ever be good enough. No kiss will ever compare to his. Reagan’s standards are high. When someone doesn’t meet them, she moves on.

“Next in line, please.”

Moving through life with unrealistic expectations can be damaging. Letting those expectations go… It’s in that moment we find out who we are and what we really want.

 

So… I’m gonna go freak out a little in my office, try and mentally prepare for Tuesday and then find a way to distract myself for a few hours so I can get some much needed writing done. Thanks for listening to me rant. I’m sure this post make little to no sense.

Have a great weekend all!