Thursday, October 27, 2016

The stigma that follows self-publishing...

It's time for us to talk about the giant pink elephant in the room.


You see, we all tap dance around it. I just got back from a conference in the USA where traditionally published authors mingled with self published authors and hybrid authors and indie authors, etc etc etc...and it was a giant, convoluted mess that nobody has a clear definition for, and nobody can really put their thumb on, and everybody is hyper sensitive about it, and some are super snooty about it, and nobody knows what to call themselves, and HOLY MOTHER OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, I'm sick of it.

Here's my definition of the aforementioned titles (whether they coincide with yours, I don't know, and I respectfully don't care, because I'm cool...you should be, too.) But here they are:

1.) Traditionally Published Authors: these are the authors who wrote books, and then queried said books, which led them to acquiring a publishing contract with a publishing house. 

(Please note: I couldn't give a rip what "house" your publishing contract is with. Whether it's Random House, MacMillion, Avon, Entangled, Ella's Cave, Wild Rose Press, or Bob's Books <I made that last one up> It doesn't matter. If you contracted your book with a company that you yourself don't own, then personally, I consider you to be "traditionally published.")



2.) Self Published Authors: these are the authors that have forgone traditional publishing contracts, and have chosen to complete all aspects of the publishing process themselves, and not through or with the aid of a publishing company, thus putting their books out completely themselves. 

(Please note: It makes no difference to me what your motivation behind your choice to self publish is, because I am not God, nor am I the closest thing we have to a "God" in the romantic fiction genre, which is Nora Roberts. I have no bearing on anyones relevance, and so if you self published because you were struggling to get a traditional contract, then kudos to you--don't let someone else's opinion of your work drag you down and keep you from publishing. If you self published because you wanted to retain total control of your work--then high fives all around, because that was my motivation, too. It's difficult to see sub-par work being released under your name, and keeping all control is the best way to keep that from happening again. Or maybe you self published because you have awesome forethought, and you were able to see that that was the direction the industry was headed in anyway, and you wanted to be a part of the future of publishing. Props to you, smart one, because you've likely got us all beat, and for that you deserve the most success.)

3.) Hybrid Authors: This is the category I happen to fall into, and it is best defined as an author who is both traditionally published and self published.

(Please note: some authors started out as self published, but later became traditionally published. This is a difficult feat, but not at all impossible, and I consider it to be a major accomplishment. To take a book that may or may not have been ignored by agents, editors, and publishers, and sell so many copies that publishers come after you in the future? Well, that's amazing. And my hat is tipped to all who have accomplished this. Other authors start out traditionally published, but because of negative experiences with publishers, or because of the lack of income that happens with most traditional publishing contracts<major myth alert: unless you're Stephenie Meyer or JK Rowling, you won't make a lot of money in publishing until you're 15 books deep in a back list, and consistently cranking out NYT Bestselling books...there isn't much money to be made in writing. I'm talking pennies on the dollar, friends> they decide to try their hand at self publishing, because in doing so, they not only retain control of their work, but all funds that book is bringing in, big or small, are going directly to them, and not to a publisher, editor, agent, copy editor, cover artist, and publicist.



4.) Indie Authors: Yeah, this is a category I'm not especially fond of, though I know a lot of authors who bear the indie badge proudly. I just happen to not be one of them. This title is when authors are traditionally published, but not by what is known as a "Big Five" publisher. Rather, by a small press. For instance, instead of being published by Kensington or Harlequin...they're published by InkSpell or Wild Rose. 

(Please note: In my opinion, authors who have been traditionally published by one of the Big Five, but look down on authors who have been published by smaller presses are authors who have lost sight of themselves, and where they came from. In my experience, some of the most life altering works of fiction I have read have come from either a small press, or self publishing, and to judge an author for not having a Big Five publishing contract is both adolescent and damaging. I'm of the belief that there is a readership, a platform, and an audience for every type of book, from every type of publishing background. There are enough of us to go around, and further dividing us by adding the term "Indie" versus "Traditional" is like making nectarines and oranges battle it out for who can make the best juice..) 

So now that we've got that all cleared up, can we stop the judging, maybe? Just a thought. Oh, not yet? Well, let me go on...

Why?

Why?

Why do people feel the need to pick apart an author's career, in order to validate it in their own minds? This happens all the time, to every author. At that conference, I heard some authors saying "She's not traditional, she published with a small press!" and "I'm not going to waste my time with her, she's self pubbed. What can she do for me?" and "I've got to get some face time in with her, she's with Kensington, and she was on the NYT bestseller list!"

You said it, Katy.


And in my personal life, I hear things like this: "Wait, so who did you publish with?" and "I've never heard of that publishing house, guess I'll have to look them up." and "Oh, you self publish? I see. Well, good for you!" and "Oh, you self published? Interesting. Well, no wonder I haven't heard of you, I usually only read what I find in actual book stores." (usually followed with a consolatory pat on the back.)

Wait.....what?

So an author's importance and relevance hinges on whether or not he/she has hit the NYT list, or whether or not she publishes with a Big Five? As a fellow author, you don't think you have anything to learn from someone who pubbed with a small press? And when you social network, you don't lower yourself to rub elbows with someone who self pubbed, because they don't have an in for you to finagle? Are you serious?

And in every day life...my relevancy as a publish author is dependent on my ability to get a contract with a publishing house you've actually heard of? So you, a non author, despite having never written or published a book, and having never worked within the publishing industry at all, are basing my capabilities on whether or not you can recall the name of my publisher, when you couldn't list the Big Five off the top of your head if I asked that of you right now? And you consider the fact that I'm self published as a step down, or a consolation, because I couldn't get, or remain, traditionally published?



So let me clarify a few things for the masses: some of the most important and poignant workshops I went to at this most recent conference were taught by self published authors. Most of the agents and editors at said conference spoke highly and respectfully of self published authors. Some of the authors I read the most often are self published and/or small press authors. Some of the authors that I admire and emulate the most often are self published/small press authors. Some of them have reached amazing heights: best sellers, awards, being pursued by agents and editors after having self published great works. These are the authors I have learned the most from. These are the authors I want to rub elbows with, and who you should be rubbing elbows with as well. THIS. This is the real deal, folks. Not the people who self publish because they can't be published elsewhere. 

***Sure, there are some of those. And you'll know them when you read their work. But for every piece of bunk, there's a priceless work of art, you just have to be willing to weed through them, and decide for yourself--and for the love of heaven, don't wait until freaking Oprah Winfrey tells you to read it. Yeesh.

As an author, you should never consider a fellow author beneath you, or unable to teach you something. Every author has something to teach, some connection to make, or some way to enlighten others. The minute we start thinking we've learned all there is to learn, or that someone isn't worth our time or attention, is the minute we need to close our laptops, stop writing books, and become a podiatrist. We don't deserve to be authors when we think that way.



Judging an author on their self-published title, or whether or not you recognize the name of their publishing house is elitist and self limiting. A person's job is their job, whether you deem them worthy of your respect or not. To insinuate that the work of a freelance photographer or a freelance journalist isn't as relevant as that of Annie Leibowitz or Cameron Crowe would be a douche move. So why do it to an author? For all you can tell, they could be a NYT best seller, but what would you know, because you can't connect their name to Oprah's Book Club or Reese Witherspoon's latest Instagram post. Hell, you could be speaking to an author who will one day reach Stephen King status, or will be walking the red carpet with Meryl Streep one day, because their self published book was finally noticed and made into a movie...but you were too busy trying to place the name of their small press in your "not-at-all-familiar-with-publishing" mind to notice the talented author you were talking to.

My journey as an author began with a four book contract with a traditional publishing house that was just opening. I was to be one of their debut novels, and my three book trilogy was scheduled to come out a year later, and to say I was over the moon would be an understatement. When the contract was first offered to me over the phone, I hung up and went into my bathroom to vomit. I couldn't believe it was happening. I'd been rejected--for four different books--over a hundred and thirty times. When my book debuted, I was ecstatic and proud. My next books with them were eventually (at my request) condensed into one book, and I signed a 1 book contract with a different small press during that process. The first publishing company that I signed with eventually grew much bigger, and are now rivaling Big Five houses, while the second one has remained small and tight knit. The third publishing company I signed with was a small, digital only press, that I believe is still going, though because my experience with them was so negative, I've retained my rights to the book I originally published with them, and re-published it as a self-pub. My first three books, and one short story, remain available through the first two houses I signed with, but my subsequent books have all been self published. Despite being occasionally approached by publishers, I've remained loyal to my decision to self publish, because I prefer having total control over my books, and because I like to make money off of my work. Some of my publishing experiences were negative, some were positive, but I've not once regretted my choice to become a hybrid author.

It's nice to be able to say to the skeptics that I was at one time a traditionally published author, and I think for my family it's a source of pride. I've got relatives who have unsuccessfully tried to get traditionally published, so for me, being able to say been there, done that feeds my tenacious nature. I remember being told by someone that "getting published is really hard" and that "a lot of people think they can do it, when they really aren't meant to".....and my saying back to them:



You. Just. Watch. Me.

For me, getting traditionally published was my way of flipping off the naysayers. The quitters. The wusses who didn't think I could handle rejection. The folks who teased me about being another mormon housewife trying to write the next Twilight. The people who assumed that because I'd not finished college, and wasn't the most well-versed woman in the world, I was destined to spent the rest of my life a "wannabe." The jerks who poo-poo at the romance genre. The literary snobs.

Go ahead. Doubt me. I dare you.

But once the newness of being traditionally published wore off, and the dust from my first release settled, and the checks came rolling in........I learned very quickly that putting a thousand hours into a work of literature does not equal a decent paycheck. My first royalty check, which covered a quarter was for less than $200. (I wasn't exaggerating: you make pennies on the dollar. It became clear to me that if I was going to continue this career, I needed to find a way to make some money, otherwise I was just wasting my time...and my husband's hard earned money trying to pursue a career that was more like a glorified hobby.

That. That was what drove me to self publish. It wasn't being rejected by publishing houses--I'd already been accepted by three, and I'm confident enough in my romance writing skills that I could easily be signed for more if I tried again! But...to be judged wrongfully for being a self published author is insulting to my credibility and validity, and I strongly resent that. If anything, it proves that I am a strong, smart woman, a woman with children to raise and inspire, and one who has a family to help support. By self publishing, I am declaring to the world that my income and having control over my own product is infinitely more important than my social status as a traditionally published author.

Because yeah, being able to say I was traditionally published first is a stroke to my ego...

But stroking my ego won't pay the bills. And stroking my ego won't insure decent cover art or good content. And stroking my ego won't teach my children that when you put 1000+ hours into a job, getting paid pennies on the dollar is unacceptable. 

Most of the traditionally published authors I know are pretty awesome. They're smart and savvy and give credit where it is due, even if that means giving kudos to an up and coming self published author. Most traditionally published authors know that there are enough readers to go around, and that there is a place for each of us. The ones I associate with are good people. Talented people. Savvy people. That doesn't mean they're more talented or savvy than I am, it just means they're talented and savvy in a slightly different playing field than I. And that's okay.

There are the occasional bad apples, though...and they can make it tough to hold your head up and be proud. They're the ones who make you feel like being a self pub or hybrid author is something to look down on. The ones who treat you like you're super special, but not special enough to to speak to you like you're their equal like you deserve. It's important to remember that they're in the minority, and that they count for very little in a field that's so incredibly vast. Most authors I know aren't butt-heads. Most authors I know are good people, just trying to make it in a crazy, ever-changing, competitive field--just like me.

Remember: the butt-heads will get theirs someday. Bad karma begats bad karma, you know?



And as far as the non-author folks who are confused by, or turned off by certain titles, like Indie, hybrid, self pub....just let it all go. Walk away from those folks, until they learn to stop trying to define the authors they meet. Until they realize that they're missing out on an entire WORLD of amazing fiction out there to read, all because they're too busy waiting to read the next big thing, or whatever Big Five book is being made into a movie for the summer of 2018. Encourage those elitists to buy your freaking books.There's no better way to judge whether or not an author is any good, than to drop a buck or two, and freaking read their work. 

I can almost promise you that you'll be blown away by at least 75% of what you read. Stop depending on Oprah to tell you who to read next. Read an unknown. Read a hybrid. Read a self published author's first book. Throw someone a bone! You might surprise yourself once you let pretension go, and actually lose yourself in a random cheap book! Like I said, some of the most moving stuff I've read, and most meaningful teaching I've received has come from self published authors... 

Titles (traditional, indie, self, hybrid) mean very little anymore. Especially in the publishing world. Stop focusing on the labels. Just read.

This. THIS is what matters.


xoxo
Brooke






Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Reading my books.

Whenever people find out I'm an author, or are reminded that I am an author (because I don't go around with a typewriter connected to the ends of my fingers at all times--though I'd like to,) they almost always very quickly remind me:

Oh, I'm going to read your book! Or I keep meaning to read your book! Or ohmigosh, I looked for your book the other day (in some obscure brick & mortar book store that only Big 6 pubbed authors get paper copies into,) but couldn't find it anywhere!

Translation: You haven't read my book yet, and aren't sure you want to.




Well, this post is here to tell you it's okay. It's okay that you haven't yet purchased my books. It's okay that you haven't yet read my books. It's okay that you have a billion other things going, and sitting down to read a novel isn't on your priority list. It's okay that you haven't read a book since college. It's okay that you aren't sure you want to, because we know each other in real life, and if you think my books sucks, you're afraid there will be weirdness between us.

I understand. I get it.

Here's what's not okay:

It's not okay to say you've read it, but clearly haven't--as proven when I ask you what your favorite part was, and you gulp, then mumble, "The whole thing." You didn't read it. It's not okay when you say you'll read it, but the truth is you think romance novels are the Walmart of the literary world, and you're too snobby to try one out--and you'd rather tote around that dog-eared copy of Steinbeck, because it looks cooler. You didn't read it. It's not okay when you tell me you won't read my books, because they're (mostly) only available in eBook form, and you're a "purist," so you only read paper books while drinking lattes in a locally owned, but super obscure coffee shop, while stroking your hipster beard, and/or adjusting your RayBan wayfarer glasses. You didn't read it. And it's not okay to brag to people that "My (insert relationship definition here) is an author, and I'm so proud of her! Isn't she amazing! I'm her biggest fan!" when in fact, you haven't read all, if any, of my actual books. You didn't read it. 

I'm just of the mindset that if you haven't read my books, just say so. Just own it. It's okay. I won't hate you. I might be disappointed, but I won't hate anyone for not reading my books. Books are subjective and what rocks one person's world, might just tick another person off, and that's okay. I like some books, and hate others. So do you. That's okay. What's not okay is pretending there's an interest, when there's clearly not.



I get this a lot with family members. Or, I used to. When I got my first publishing contract, everybody was super impressed and proud. But that quickly waned. Once The What If Guy came out, it became clear to everyone that I'd written something beneath their reading level, and they weren't particularly interested my genre. (Which is silly, as Romance is the #1 selling genre in America, but whatever, I digress...) So by book 2's debut, a lot fewer friends and family came to my book signings, and by books 3, 4, 5, and so on....each hit the market with little to no fan fare, except for that my online readership provided--thanks, guys! <3

It has become clear to me by book 10, that I'll never be considered a successful author by family, and that's okay. My books are mostly eBooks, and whether the world of hipster "purists" want to accept it or not, that's where the world is headed. There will always be paper book, but without opening yourself up to the world of eBooks, you'll literally miss out on thousands, if not millions, of incredible books! Not to mention college. Someday college textbooks will (mostly) be available in eBook form, and when that happens, those "purists" are going to be S.O.L. The bottom line is: much like microwave ovens and cell phones...eBooks are just they way the world is moving. Refusing to read books that are only available in eBook is self-limiting, and at some point, you'll have to give in and accept what's inevitable. I remember saying I'd never have a cell phone or iPod. I loathed them. But now I am an iPhone whore. This is fact. Denying the importance and value of an eBook is futile. Eventually we'll all read them, whether you like it or not. #sorrynotsorry

The same goes for those who haven't read a book since college, and just don't want to read my work because they don't enjoy reading fiction. Believe me, I get it. I'm married to one of those types. Sure, it's perfectly fine not to read my books, but you're missing out on such a beautiful world. Escapism at it's best can be found in books, mine included, why would anybody want to miss out on that??



Not only as an author, but as a voracious reader, I beg you all to grab a book and read it. Maybe not mine, but anyone's book....grab it and read it. And if you ARE a reader, but have limited yourself by your "purist" attitude and elitist dislike of all things romantic fiction, why not give it a try? See what all the hype is about, and stop limiting yourself. It isn't the country's most popular genre for nothing...

And so help me, just be honest. No more awkward moments where you promise me that you're going to read my books, when you have no intention or interest in doing so. It's okay. I won't be too hurt. Books are subjective, and my books aren't for everyone. Just don't lie and say you're on the verge of reading it, when we both know you're not. That's awkward. And for the love of Oprah Winfrey, do yourself a favor and pick up something, anything to read. You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't. Books are the bomb.

Just my two cents.

xoxo
Brooke




Sunday, October 23, 2016

I recently discovered...

...That I am not very productive after lunch.



At ECWC 2016, I took a workshop all about learning how to write 10K words a day. The author giving the workshop was fantastic and very wise and also a librarian (have I ever mentioned how much I adore librarians?) and I loved every word of it.

But 10K words a day? No freaking way.

Lately, and it hasn't always been this bad, but...I've been averaging about 1500 to 2000 words. I know, I know, that's just sad. But after listening to this author speak, I was able to look at my activity levels, examine my behaviors, and study my patterns. I was able to discover that I am the queen of self-sabotage....at least in reference to my writing.

(In real life, I'm a pretty straight forward, no nonsense, no fooling around sort of chick. But with my characters? I'm a pushover. A total sap.)

I write on my bed, with the TV on. This is a bad idea (for me) because I can't focus. I snack while I write, which is both bad for my weight, but also distracting. I also don't set time limits...which means time means nothing, and I just write (or don't write) all day long, airy-fairy style, only to realize that school lets out in 4 minutes and holy crap, I'm late!!!

You get the picture.



So anyway, after the conference, I decided to create a schedule for myself. Five "sprints," (setting a timer, and writing without self editing for the allotted amount of time, then taking a break in between sprints) followed by 15 minute breaks, and an hour and a half break for lunch. After following the schedule last week, I discovered that I am extremely productive in the mornings. But not very productive at all in the afternoons. So that's when I do my social media, cover design, editing, marketing, etc.

On Friday, I hit 4K words. I'm aiming for 5K per day by the time I finish this book. Because I rock.

And this discovery is all thanks to that workshop. You see? Conferences are the bomb!

xoxo
Brooke

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Personal branding.

So.....after a conference weekend, I always focus really hard on personal branding for a while, and then I lose interest. I don't mean to. I just do. It can't be helped. It's the same thing with shiny-plot syndrome. I'm pecking away on my laptop, writing a future bestseller, and then WHAMMO.

I've got an idea for a new story....and I lose focus.



The same thing happens with personal branding. I decide (again) what my "brand" will be, and I charge full speed ahead. Only to lose interest a few months down the road. When I got my first publishing contract, I really played up the housewife thing. Added a vintage feel, had fun with the whole "drinking on the job" housewife/mother scenario (which is odd, because I don't drink, but whatever...random detail.)

Then for a while I got really carried away with the whole whimsical, cutesy thing. Lots of sparkles and pink and "aren't I the cutest" sorts of author photos. I'm not sure what happened to that look, except that I am really not terribly girly--though I wouldn't categorize myself as a tomboy, either. I'm just this in-between sort of girl. So that brand didn't last long....

Most recently, I've been playing up the romance thing. For a spell, I was really focused on my YA and NA books, so I was presenting myself with a very young brand, which I eventually outgrew, because I am, in fact, forty years old. I've got four children, I've experienced loss and pain and sadness and, well, life, and presenting myself like a carefree twenty-something just wasn't happening anymore.

And then some other things happened. For instance, I lost my daughter. And then 100 pounds. And then my hair. And then I moved to Asia.



This last weekend, at ECWC, I saw an author (who is extremely young and talented, has a successful career writing historical romance, and could pretty much wipe up the floor with me, even though she's skinnier than me, but I digress...) with a shaved head. Now, I'm not sure why it's shaved. It's entirely possible that she, like me, woke up one day and discovered that her hair was falling out in clumps. Or, it's possible that she has been going through Lupus or Cancer treatments, and lost her hair because of that. But, beings it's Seattle, and well, Seattle people are very "cool" and "anti-establishment," my guess was that she'd shaved her head as more of an "I'm over the societal beauty demands on women" and "this is so much easier to care for than hair" statement. But I could be wrong. I have no way of knowing, because I was too chicken to ask her. (Because of the aforementioned awesomeness that is her career.)

Getting back to my original point, I know that presenting myself in an author headshot is key to presenting my "brand." The previously discussed authors "brand" is that of strong, independent heroines, which she epitomizes with her bald head and cool exterior.

Recently, my brand has become once again focused more on my romance novels. Hence the roses, and then newly revised Brooke Moss tagline: Romantic fiction...with a side of chick-lit, & some laughs to go. Funny, witty, but direct and clearly stating what I write, which is, romantic fiction. I like it. But...with that new tagline and website look (ooooh, so romantic!) I need a new author headshot. I've been using a picture that one of my kids took a few months ago, mostly because when I changed it to black and white, it made my wig look good. But I know that I need to get nicer, more updated pictures on the site. I just.....I just.....

I'm not sure how to express my brand through a picture, when my hair changes so often.

I've been told many times that having a certain consistency in my "look" will be good for branding. Kristan Higgins' author photo changes from time to time, but overall, her look remains the same. Big smile, crinkly eyes, cute brown hair. The same for Jane Porter. Full lips, very pretty, Long sandy brownish hair with bangs. They both change their photos on occasion, but in general, they're recognizable and their audience can tell that it's them.

Enter: one author with alopecia.



So....unless I take an author photo with no wig on (I have a shaved head with a small handful of round, bald spots, very patchy eyebrows, and almost no upper lashes left) or I take a new author photo every month and a half when my wig changes. And yes, my wigs change often.

I was recently told by a non-friend that she wished I would pick a "look" and then stick with it, because her children get confused by my ever changing hair. My response to her wasn't especially polite, but my overall take away from that brief conversation was that (again) I need to be considerate of how my changing wigs make other people feel. And now, because I am finally writing again, and will be releasing book 4 in the This & That Series soon...I need to consider whether or not my readers will be able to recognize me, or better yet, recognize my brand, when my outward appearance changes so often.

Hmmmmmm.

You see, my baldness isn't a political statement, or a middle finger up to the world of unattainable standards. My lack of hair was brought on by bad genes. If I could have long, beautiful hair, I would. If I could look as pretty and predictable for my readers as some of the authors I admire, I would. But since I can't, I won't. I refuse to buy wigs that all look the same, just for the benefit of other people, because they don't have to exist in my skin. And since I have to exist in this skin, then so help me, I am going to have as much fun with it as humanly possible. And for me, that means changing my look. Often, and sometimes without notice. My kids may go to school at 8 with mom as a brunette, only to come home to her with short platinum curls. I used to make apologies for it. Now I don't. This is my consolation prize from the universe.

It gave me alopecia. So I get to be a different woman whenever I please. I consider the universe and me even.



So anyway...I'm grappling. I know I need a new author photo, and I'll likely have one taken soon. But honestly, I'll look completely different by the time someone stumbles onto my website a second time. That's just the way it goes with me. I can be Svetlana, the Russian spy one moment, and Daisy, the cute, blond farmers daughter the next. My books remain the same. There is continuity there. But with my hair....no continuity. And for that I'm sorry! (not really.)

Because if it were any other woman losing her hair, she'd probably do the same thing. You never really know how you'd respond to a situation until you're put in it for yourself. Much like parenthood, careers, marriage...the "experts" usually have no clue what they're talking about, and then they get the thing they've been bragging about (a kid, a spouse, etc) and they freak out like the rest of us. It's called poetic justice.

I call wigs my silver linings, people. That's what they are. They're God's way of saying "Hey, sorry I made your hair crappy. My bad. Here, take these. You can look any way you want to." Maybe I should just take a picture of myself with no hair and a cup of cocoa. God knows that's what I look like 90% of the time. Maybe that will become my new brand. The bald lady who drinks entirely too much cocoa and loves to write stories that make people giggle.

The truth is...I'm not sure why my look has to remain consistent, so long as my books remain so? Just because I go from blonde to red to brunette, doesn't mean that my plots go from fantasy to steampunk to erotica. My plots and characters all remain the same. Relatable, contemporary, funny, sexy. My continuity is in my work, and my prayer is that each of my awesome, gorgeous readers will come to know me for that rather than my crazy head and it's ever changing hair. I had a friend who works in photography and graphic art offer to make me some Brooke Moss paper dolls that can have changeable hairstyles. And my knee jerk reaction was to take offense. "How dare she suggest something so embarrassing! This is legitimately happening to me? Why would she mock me like that?"

And then I thought about it. Paper dolls might be fun. In fact, as an author of romantic comedy, they'd probably be super cute and...wait for it..."on brand." And honestly, she was being sweet. There isn't much that people can say to me that will make it all better, and she tried. That's something to take note of. Maybe my new author photo should be of a bald paper doll with different hairstyles scattered all around. Now that would be fun.



Plus, I really like paper dolls.

xoxo
Brooke

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I'm home. And stoked!

I love, love, love that feeling you get right after attending a writer's conference. I always come home pumped and ready to write the epic romance of the ages! In fact, some of my biggest successes (The What If Guy, Baby & Bump) have come to fruition after a conference. So I have high hopes for my productivity over the next few months.

I also came home with a renewed sense of spirit and friendship. I spent most of the weekend with my writer friend, Jess, who always inspires me. And makes me laugh. She's a gem, and I'm lucky to have her. Truly. I also got to spend a couple days with my close friend, Amelia, who drove all the way to Seattle to hang with me before I made the long journey home. She, too, is a treasure. Sweet, and calm, and kind...and crazy funny. We always have a ball together.

I will write more about ECWC 2016 in the coming days. Right now I am very jet lagged and my head is bursting with information that I need to put into action. I'll likely spend the next few days creating a work space in our Korean apartment (no easy feat...we've got six people stuffed in here!) and a work schedule to increase productivity. I'll keep you posted on how that goes. :)

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of my adventure....

This is my author friend, Jess. She's fantastic. And hilarious. (Clearly.)

I was trying to be more professional in this shot. Snort.

Witch shoes for the win!

My outfit for my presentation was the bomb. My kids say that expression is "out." I say talk to the hand.

It's me!

Downtown Seattle...deliciously rainy and cool and perfect.


I'm kind of bummed it's over! 


Making my presentation. I was glad to sit down. My knees were knocking together the whole time!

More to come, friends!

xoxo
Brooke

Friday, October 14, 2016

When you read this blog post......

.....I will be in the air above the Pacific Ocean! On my way to Seattle for the Emerald City Writer's Conference 2016! I'm presenting a workshop on writing romantic comedy...and scared out of my mind.



The good news is, I am rooming with a most excellent friend, Jess, who makes things like this extra, super awesome, and on top of that, my bestie, Amelia, is meeting me in Seattle at the end of the conference. We are going to stay downtown for the remainder of Sunday and all of Monday to hang out, shop, eat good food, talk, and (of course) laugh.



I am stoked. Like...super stoked. I can't wait to share pictures with you all!

Wish me luck. I'm praying I'll actually sleep on the plane, since this will be my first time traveling to the USA sans kids. My poor husband will be home with all four children alone. I pity him. A little. Not much. :)



xoxo
Brooke

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Going old school.

I recently decided to read some books by the author who turned me on to romance novels a million years ago, when I was a teenager.



I love Lavyrle Spencer. Her books are romance gold. I never get sick of them. I'm currently reading this one:



It's wonderful....I knew it would be. She's so talented. The characters are so likable and lovely. I'm having a fun time going back to my old school romance roots.

What was the first romance novel you ever read?

xoxo
Brooke Moss

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pokemon is the new cock-fighting.

My son's are really into Pokemon right now. And it's driving me insane.



The cards, the shows, the app...all of it gives me a stomachache. I'm not sure why they're into it right now. Maybe because we're in Asia, and Korean kids are really into those peculiar Anime characters and phenomenons. Plus, the cards are all dirt cheap here, so of course they want me buy them all the time.

As I write this blog post, they're sitting next to me on the couch watching this old, lame Pokemon cartoon. The theme song is very 1980's cartoon theme song. Very heavy on the guitar riffs and emphatic singing. My youngest son tries to sing along, but doesn't know the words. It becomes very loud.



I wish I understood why this show appeals to kids. From what I've seen over the last hour, it's these large eyed one-dimensional characters that have weird adventures while traveling, and they challenge other Pokemon owners to "battles." But the battles aren't between the characters. It's between the Pokemon animals. (Are they even animals? I don't know.) Then the "animals" battle it out and get the crap kicked out of them. Then the weird people characters high five a battle well won, and Pikachu whimpers as they close the episode.

Poor Pikachu. That thing has been beaten at least twelve times already.



Reminds me of cock-fighting. Or dog-fighting. And isn't that illegal? If so, why is it acceptable to make the little cartoon "animals" battle?

I'm confused by it all.

My kids need new interests.

xoxo
Brooke