New Release! In the Wind #AussieNA

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Learning to Listen. Learning to take Pride.

It’s that time again. It’s the last day of yet another year, and we can’t help but look back and take stock of all we’ve done…and all we haven’t done. Did we accomplish everything we wanted? Was it a hard year? Was it a good year? Was it a year to look back on and be proud?

Each of us have our own answers to those questions, but for me, 2015, was a year of finding my feet yet again in an ever changing industry, while dealing personally with the chaos loss creates within one’s family. If I had to sum it up with one word, I’d call 2015 ‘Complicated’.

In saying that, I have learnt some wonderful lessons, and I think as a result, I’ve become a kinder and more caring person in both my personal and professional life by taking the time to pay attention to those around me. Some people, I saw more clearly, and others I realised that I hadn’t really been seeing at all. I also took stock of what was important to me as a woman, as a mother, as a wife and as a friend, and I took steps to find contentment in all that I was and take back control of the things that weren’t working.

I let go of a lot in 2015. And while doing so, I felt lighter, and lighter in my heart. And in my heart, I found that girl who dreamed of love and happy endings, the girl who was ballsy enough to take risks and follow her heart – the girl who convinced me to start writing professionally in the first place.

Oh, how I welcomed her back into my life!

Somewhere along the way, I’d stopped listening to her – I don’t know why – I suppose I got caught up in numbers and business decisions and marketing plans and everything else that goes along with this job of mine. But, when I started listening to her again, she convinced me to write THAT book. You all know the one – the one that made you all cry. I’d been so scared to write it. I was worried that you’d all hate me for it. I was worried that it would ruin my career. But that little voice inside me convinced me to take a risk, so I did, and it was totally worth it. Did I lose some readers? Yes. I did. Did I gain some readers? Most definitely. But more importantly, I gained a sense of pride in myself. I was proud because I finally stood up and took a big risk; I finally did something that really scared me.

In my career, I have written four books that were truly contained the loudest and most intense characters in my mind – A Beautiful Struggle, Drawn, 47 Things, and now, In the Wind. There were the books were I could close my eyes and see everything so clearly that the words just poured from my fingertips. It was truly as though I was there, witnessing everything that was happening first hand. They are the books that I, as a writer, love most. Those are the books I want to write – they’re the books I’m in love with.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve loved every book I’ve ever written, and I loved all the characters each time I let them take over my mind. But sometimes, I’ve had to mix my writing choices with my business decisions, and at times, that has taken some of the fun out of it.

At any one time, there are numerous characters from numerous books living in a writer’s mind, and sometimes, because this is a business, writers have to tell those voices to be quiet because they need to write a story about XYZ because of commitment ABC. Maybe that isn’t where their heart is in that moment. But it doesn’t mean they don’t love the characters they have to write about, it just makes things a little more difficult when characters from other stories are being pushy and yelling while you sleep.

Anyone feeling as though we’re in Wonderland yet?

 

So, in 2015 I made a promise to myself to write the stories that are the loudest in my mind. I did that with 47 Things, and I’ve done it again with In the Wind. And I have to tell you, I love both of those stories. They are my best work, and there isn’t a negative review in the world that will change my feelings about those characters or about my ability as a writer to tell their stories. because like I said, I found a sense of pride and I learned how to listen to that driving force inside me, showing me my path and pushing me take those risks by telling love stories that may not be what people are expecting, but are relevant to the world we live in. My goal as a writer, is to stay true to my characters, and to make readers feel, and to do that successfully, I need to feel it to my very core whenever I sit down to tell a story. I need to laugh. I need to cry, I need to fall in love, I need to feel that pain of fear in my chest when I think something isn’t going to turn out so well. I need to hand out pieces of my soul within my work if I expect you all to take it in and live amongst my words. That’s my job. And that’s what I promise you as a reader, and myself as the writer that I’m going to do moving forward.

In 2015, I grew up. In 2015, I learned to stop being scared. In 2015, I learned to listen to the loudest voices. In 2015, I learned to take pride. In 2015, I fell in love with writing again.

In 2016, I hope you’ll stay with me, it’s going to be quite a ride.

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Happy Holidays!

This is a super quick post to wish you all the happiest of holidays, whichever one it is you celebrate. I’ve been crazy busy this December with my children’s end of year concerts and plays, as well as working on In the Wind to get it ready for release on January 5th. We had a wonderful Xmas at my mother in law’s apartment by the water and spent part of the scorching Australian day in the beautiful waters of Hampton Beach.

Next, we’re preparing for the New Year in our own family style by having a Star Wars marathon with our kids. Shockingly, we haven’t introduced them to the movies before now, so they’re in for a treat. Hope your holidays are wonderful, and I’ll see you all with a brand new book in the New Year!

Take care,

Lilli xoxox

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#SALE!! 8 Amazing Novels by 8 Amazing Authors. All 99 cents. Limited Time Only.

99cent sale

For one week only, I’ve teamed up with 7 other amazing authors to offer you 8 fantastic reads these holidays.

The following books have all been discounted to only 99cents – I’m offering my Drawn to Fight bundle, which includes Zac & Evie PLUS Hugo & Meg. Bargain.

On top of offering amazing reads for the change you find in your couch, we’re also giving away Amazon gift vouchers. So, get your oneclick finger clicking and scroll to the end of this post for the link to the rafflecopter.

Remember, you have only ONE WEEK to get these

PASSIONATE ADDICTION by Eden SummersSPARK by Jennifer RyderHOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Lauren K. McKellarCOLLISION by K.A. SterrittDRAWN TO FIGHT – BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY by Lilliana Anderson (US & UK only)CADENCE by Lisa SwallowNOW LEAVING SUGARTOWN by Carmen JennerTHIRTY-EIGHT DAYS by Len Webster

Enter to win one of eight $20 Amazon Gift vouchers!

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New Adult Romance. No, it isn’t just ‘sexed up’ YA. #AussieNA

There seems to be quite a misconception out there as to what the New Adult genre really is, and therefore, it’s developed a bit of a stigma. Many readers and reviewers have previously shown a knee jerk reaction to the genre by shaking their head and saying ‘Oh, I don’t read NA’. It’s led me to wonder why? So many of our industry’s favourite authors actually got their start in self publishing by writing New Adult Romance – what happened in the space of only a few years to change people’s minds?

Wikipedia describes the genre as –

New Adult (NA) fiction is a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18–30 age bracket.[1]St. Martin’s Press first coined the term in 2009, when they held a special call for “…fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult—a sort of an ‘older YA’ or ‘new adult’.”[2] New Adult fiction tends to focus on issues such as leaving home, developing sexuality, and negotiating education and career choices.[3] The genre has gained popularity rapidly over the last few years, particularly through books by self-published bestselling authors like Jennifer L. Armentrout, Cora Carmack, Colleen Hoover, and Jamie McGuire.[4][5]

The genre was originally met with some criticism, as some viewed it as a marketing scheme,[6] while others claimed the readership was not there to publish the material.[7] In contrast, others claimed that the term was necessary; a publicist for HarperCollins described it as “a convenient label because it allows parents and bookstores and interested readers to know what is inside”.[8]

Examples of books in the new-adult genre include Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Wait For You, Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster,[9] Colleen Hoover’s Slammed,[10] and Cora Carmack’s Losing It.[11]

My thoughts are that the genre has been misunderstood. By many, it’s seen as the sexed up version of Young Adult, and when it gained popularity and became an actual category in 2013, it seemed that every author with a protagonist within the 18-25 (which is the industry gauge of a NA character) age range selected NA as a category to help with their visibility on Amazon. That has created a genre that is filled with so many sub-genres that it makes your head spin. And, like any popular category, it attracted a slew of ‘get rich quick’ authors who very quickly filled up the market. Eventually, it turned readers away when their expectations weren’t being met by poorly thought out story lines that were too dramatic or too ‘porny’ for their liking. As a result, the New Adult genre was given a bad wrap and became widely dismissed by those who had a bad experience with it at the height of its popularity.

However, in recent months, I’m seeing that things are changing. Reviewers are starting to say ‘I didn’t think I liked New Adult, but this book changed my mind…’. And that’s not just on my books, I’m seeing that comment on books by my peers as well. I’m seeing that comment in blog posts by people who had previously turned away from the genre. I’m seeing that comment within articles in magazines. I’m seeing that comment in Facebook posts.

Every time I see that comment, it makes me smile. Because finally, readers are starting to see that New Adult Romance isn’t just ‘sexed up YA’. At the base of its existence, the New Adult genre focuses on finding one’s path in life.

Do you remember that period in your life? Are you going through that period right now?

It’s that time of life when you are literally a ‘New Adult’. When you first get the chance to spread your wings and fly out into the big bad world, following your own path. For the first time, your decisions are your own, and if you want to eat pizza for breakfast, you can. If you want to have a sordid relationship with the bad boy down the hall, you can. If you want to drink until you’re sick, you can. But at the same time, you also have your first real taste of responsibility, and are in complete control of your successes and your failures. Sometimes, you have to make really hard decisions. Sometimes, you have to let something go that you wanted so much. Sometimes, you have to face something that has been stopping you from living your life. Sometimes, you simply have to pay for what you did, and learn to live with regret…

There are a million different scenarios, but essentially, New Adult focuses on finding one’s own identity within the freedom of living your own life. You’re away from your parents, and the great path of life is laid out in front of you. It’s such an exciting but difficult time in almost all of our lives, and I find that many of my readers are women (and sometimes, men) who have already lived that part of their life and enjoy looking back on it fondly. And for those readers who are at the age, reading in the genre helps them feel as though they aren’t alone in feeling a little lost.

New Adult romance has angst, comedy, passion, all laid out in a journey of discovery that, if done well, will give you ‘the feels’ and leave you feeling hopeful and happy. It isn’t a genre that is widely popular in Australia, and it has been difficult for me to find other New Adult authors who write within an Australian setting as I do. So far, I’ve only come across CJ Duggan (Summer Series, Paradise City, Paradise Road) and Lauren K McKellar (The Problem with Crazy, How to Save a Life), and really, I’d love to find more. I’d love to champion this wonderfully personal and nostalgic genre with them and make it something great within our sun kissed shores. So, if you know of any other Aussie stories that fit under the NA banner, I’d love to know about them. I’d also love to know what New Adult romance means to you – do you agree with the above, or do you see it as simply an age classification? Comment below to discuss.

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Happy Halloween! from David & Katrina…

Hi all! It’s late night in Australia and as per usual, Halloween was pretty uneventful for most of us – it hasn’t really caught on yet – but I believe that one day it will. Although, some of us do have Halloween parties, and a couple of years ago, I wrote this Halloween short story featuring David and Katrina from the Beautiful Series for a blog called ‘Reading Between the Wines’. I thought it might be fun to dust it off and post it for Halloween this year. Enjoy…

A Beautiful Halloween – David & Katrina. 
By Lilliana Anderson

“Seriously Trina – a Halloween party? They know we’re in Australia. Right? – Who here, celebrates Halloween?”

“Fun people. That’s who,” I point out, as I drag David through the door of the costume shop.

“Please tell me that we aren’t going as a lame couple dress up. I don’t think I could take that if we did,” he groans.

“Yes we are David. But relax. We are going to look amazing. You are going to look amazing. So amazing in fact that when we get home I’m going to…” I lean close to his ear and whisper about all the delicious things I’d like to do to him, just envisioning him dressed up the way I want him.

“Whoa Trina,” he breathes, his voice sounding a little thicker than it did before. “That’s so not fair.”

“Well, sometimes a girl has to use all of her feminine charms to get her man to do what she wants,” I tell him with a wink.

The costume shop is surprisingly busy. David is right about people not really celebrating Halloween in Australia. It’s never been a big day on our holiday calendar, but I have noticed that over the last few years the stores are pushing it a lot more. I’m not sure that it will ever catch on, but at least kids can now go Trick or Treating without getting the door slammed in their face these days.

I link my arm with David’s as we join the queue in front of the register. I ordered our costumes online the moment I knew we were going to this party. I spent my lunch time at work scouring couple costumes. I didn’t want to do anything too lame – like go as sailors or something. I wanted to do something fun. So I did a google search and ended up finding the perfect outfits.

His outfit isn’t really that risqué, but mine is – and I know he’s going to love it. Just wait and see.

Once we make it to the front of the line, I give the teenage boy my name and he goes and gets our costumes. Thankfully, they’re in black garment bags because I would hate for the suspense to be over already.

“Show me what it is,” David presses, as I walk ahead of him to the car. “Come on Trina. I should get to know what I’m going as.”

I keep my mouth shut until we get home and I hand him his costume bag. “Han Solo,” I tell him as I press the bag to his chest.

He takes it and laughs. “That’s hilarious. You find old Harrison Ford sexy huh?”

“David, every girl finds Han Solo sexy. It’s just the way it is,” I smile, giving him a wink as I head to the bathroom to start getting ready.

“So you’re going to be Princess Leia? Are you going to have those side buns just like she does?” he calls after me, I can hear the smile in his voice as he does.

“If you’re lucky,” I call over my shoulder, before shutting and locking the door.

As soon as I’m in there, it’s go time. I hang the bag on the back of the door and unzip it, sliding the material out of the bag and letting it hang in front of me. I can’t help but grin to myself, as I know that David’s eyes are going to pop out of his head the moment he sees me in this.

I didn’t get your typical Princess Leia costume, I got the slave bikini. You know that metal bikini, with the split skirt she’s wearing when Jaba the Hut has her as a prisoner? Yeah. That one. I’ll actually be lucky if we manage to leave the house – that man can be insatiable sometimes.

It takes a while for me to apply the bronzer over my body, get the hair piece in and put on the costume. I can hear David out in the living area, asking if I’m done yet. I can just imagine the grin on his face as he’s imagining me coming out in the big white dress and a side bun headband.

I look at myself in the mirror, and I have to admit that I’m looking pretty amazing as an enslaved Leia. Moving over to the door, I open it a fraction and call out to David.

“Close your eyes.”

“Come on Trina. Just come out. I already know what you’re going to look like,” he laughs, and I can tell he’s enjoying this whole charade.

“Just close them,” I repeat.

“Alright, alright. They’re closed.”

“Ok, I’m coming,” I announce, walking out of the bathroom to stand in front of him.

I have to admit, that he is looking mighty fine in his Han Solo costume. He’s wearing a white shirt, with a black vest, dark blue pants and a gun belt with a fake blaster in it. All topped off with a pair of boots. In my eyes – he looks even better than the real thing.

“Oh baby. You look amazing,” I tell him. “Are you ready to see me?”

“Only if you say that ‘help me Obiwan’ bit that she does,” he laughs.

“Wrong scene,” I say in a slight whisper.

“What do you mea–” he starts to say as he opens his eyes. He stops speaking however, as his mouth drops open and his eyes do exactly what I was hoping for – they practically bug out of his head.

“Do you like it?” I ask, as he slowly circles around me.

“Oh Trina. This… this is not what I expected at all,” he breathes, shaking his head slightly from side to side.

“Good though?”

“Amazing,” he whispers, now moving toward me with a predatory glint in his eye.

“Whoa, whoa David Taylor! What do you think you’re doing?” I laugh, holding my hands out in front of me and moving back as he approaches.

“I don’t think we can go to the party,” he murmurs. “You just too…”

“Too what?” I whisper, as I back up into the wall.

He presses himself against me, gazing directly into my eyes, his eyes dropping to my lips as his breathing quickens. “You’re just too fucking sexy,” he growls, taking my mouth in his.

As his hands start to roam, my insides come alive, and my body revels in his touch. I couldn’t say no to this man if I wanted to – my body wouldn’t let me. As I find myself melting against him, I know we aren’t leaving our apartment any time soon.

It’s still fashionable to be a little late to parties… isn’t it?

Did you know that the first few books of the Beautiful Series are coming out in audio on December 1st? They’ll feature Australian narrators so you can actually hear David and Katrina talk in Too Close,  A Beautiful Struggle, and Commitment. Keep your eye out for more information.

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Hugo & Meg is LIVE!!! Student-Teacher, Fighter-Lover. This one has it all at 99cents for one day only!

 

The lovely ladies at Give Me Books have been awesome and put this amazing post together for Hugo & Meg’s release. But, before I let you get into all the teasers and excerpts, I want to let you know how much I loved writing about these two. It was hard at first because of Meg’s age and the fact her story runs alongside Zac’s, but in the end, I’m so incredibly happy with how it turned out, and I hope you will be too!
As a thank you to all of my loyal readers who preorder and buy on release day, Hugo & Meg is 99cents. The price will go back up on the 27th, so if you’re umming and ahhhing about grabbing it, now is the time.
Thanks for hanging in there with me, and happy reading!

 

 

Title: Drawn to Fight: Hugo & Meg
Series: Drawn to Fight #2
Author: Lilliana Anderson
Genre: New Adult/Fighter Romance
 Release Date: October 26, 2015
Blurb

 

Sometimes, it’s inappropriate to fall in love with a certain someone. I should know. When I met Hugo Sparks, I didn’t know he was my art teacher. But, by the time we found out, it was too late – we’d already fallen. But, we did the right thing, we tried to fight it. Eventually though, we gave in. That was when my brother Zac caught us. He said it would tear our family apart – we were already hanging on by a thread. I said I was in love. He didn’t believe me and did everything he could to keep us apart.

Including breaking my heart.

In return, I broke his.

My name is Meg Reid – Zac Rivers’ half sister. This is a tale of hurting the ones you love, and thinking it’s for the best.

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / AU
Also Available
AMAZON US / UK / AU

B&N / KOBO / iBOOKS
Excerpt
“Heads up!” I snapped my head up and saw the football just in time to lift my hands and catch it. “Thanks, sir!” A kid in year nine said as he ran toward me and took the burgundy ball from my hands. He stopped for a moment and squinted up at me, his freckled nose wrinkling as he seemed to consider something.“Something you need?” I asked.

“You see those girls over there?” He pointed behind me toward the English building where a group of year eleven seniors were sitting and talking while looking at their mobile phones. My stomach flipped. Meg was with them, sitting close to a boy I’d come to know as Blake Ryan. He spent an enormous amount of his free time glued to Meg’s side. I needed to suppress the growl before it reached my throat each time I looked at him.

“What about them?” I asked the boy, my restraint quiet, my nerves on edge.

“They have an Instagram account called ‘The Spark’. It’s full of pictures of you.”

My eyebrows lifted and I took a calming breath. “Is that right?”

“Yes, sir. Don’t tell them I told you though. My sister will shave my eyebrows if she finds out I blabbed.”

I try not to smile at the threat his sister gave him as I pat him on the shoulder. “You did the right thing,” I said, watching him leave while I considered my options.

I could ignore it, or I could report it to the principal and let him deal with it. Or, I could confront them myself and find out exactly what they’re playing at.

Did Meg know about it? Was she involved?

Aggravation boiled below the surface of my skin and I struggled to keep my temper in control. I couldn’t lose it at school, and in hindsight, I should have walked straight past them and reported it to the principal. I shouldn’t have done what I did. But I couldn’t stop myself. It had been six months since I’d spoken to her and I was losing control. I just wanted to be near her.

“Hi Mr Sparks,” a girl called Melinda said as I approached. She assumed a stance that she obviously felt was sexy as she smiled up at me and fluttered her eyelashes. I glanced at Meg, my heart beating a mile a minute being this close to her. She looked the other way. I had to force my eyes back to the matter at hand.

“I want your phone,” I said to Melinda, holding my hand out.

“Excuse me?” The girls who stood around her shifted uneasily and exchanged glances. I couldn’t help but notice the difference between the way they behaved compared to Meg. She was so different to them in the every way…

“Give me your phone,” I repeated and slowly she placed the iPhone in my hand. It had a pink sparkly case and when I hit the home button it asked for a passcode. “What is it?”

The heat was rising in her face and I could tell that she knew exactly why I was here and she hesitated for a moment.

“The code.”

“Eight one two six,” she said, her voice small as she wrung her hands together in front of her.

I keyed in the code and opened the Instagram app on screen. Sure enough, there I was. They’d taken a shot of me catching the ball and posted it with the caption ‘Oh my god! Look at those arms!’

Glaring at her, I could see her cowering as I scrolled through the many photos of me. Some weren’t even at school. Some were taken while I was out running. There were even a couple taken out at Londonderry while I was fighting with my shirt off. Shit.

“Who else was involved?” I asked, my jaw set tight as I continued to scroll.

“I…I don’t know everyone’s names. People just send photos…” Melinda stammered.

Meg had turned to pay attention to what was going on and I turned to her, my words escaping my mouth before I had the chance to think about the fact that singling her out could cause a problem. “Did you know about this?” She shook her head. And I narrowed my eyes at her. “I don’t believe you. You sit with these girls every day and you had no idea what was going on – didn’t even think to tell me that my privacy was being invaded?”

Meg opened her mouth to speak but it was that boy Blake who’s voice I heard. “She said she didn’t know, sir. I’ll kindly ask you to back off now.” He stood up and took Meg by the hand. “Come on, Meg, you don’t need this shit.” Then he led her away from the group. I stood there glaring after her, and she flashed an angry look in my direction.

“Um…sir?” Melinda’s voice broke through the desperate emotion in my mind. “Mr Sparks?”

I turned back to her and she was frowning, looking between me and Meg quizzically.

Shit. I’d just singled her out for no reason. I’m a fucking idiot.

Letting out my breath, I handed the phone back to Melinda. “Delete the account. If I find anything about it again, I’ll have you and everyone involved suspended. Is that understood?”

“Ye…yes, sir.” Melinda took her phone and I abruptly turned and walked away, hearing the quiet murmurs of the girls behind me as I headed back to oval where I was the teacher on yard duty.

When I stopped, I turned around and spotted Meg with that Blake kid. He had his arm around her and she was shaking her head with her arms out as if she was denying something. I was too far away to hear anything they said or even see their lips move. And I tried to watch without being obvious, but then he hugged her. And I stopping pretending and openly stared.

Then he kissed her on the top of her head, and I wanted to punch his face in. I didn’t want him touching her.

I didn’t want anyone touching her…

 

Author Bio

 

Bestselling Author of the Drawn Series, the Beautiful Series, and 47 Things, Lilliana has always loved to read and write, considering it the best form of escapism that the world has to offer.Australian born and bred, she writes New Adult Romance revolving around her authentically Aussie characters.

Lilliana feels that the world should see Australia for more than just it’s outback and tries to show characters in more of a city setting.

When she isn’t writing, she wears the hat of ‘wife and mother’ to her husband and four children.

Before Lilliana turned to writing, she worked in a variety of industries and studied humanities and communications before transferring to commerce/law at university.

Originally from Sydney’s Western suburbs, she currently lives a fairly quiet life in suburban Melbourne.

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Hugo & Meg – 99cent Preorder + a look inside their heads

 

Hugo & Meg is on it’s way! It’s the second book in the Drawn to Fight series, but don’t worry if you haven’t read Zac & Evie as they’re both standalones that exist in a similar timeframe – they are two sides of a story revolving around a brother and sister (Zac and Meg) left to fend for themselves and their younger siblings. You can read one or both, and it doesn’t matter which order you read them in either. But those of you who have already read Zac & Evie are finally going to find out what Meg was thinking when she did what she did! As we know in our own lives, both sides of the story are rarely the same…

BIG bonus – the preorder is only 99cents! It’s releasing October 26th, and as I said, it’s a standalone story in the Drawn to Fight series. Full HEA. No cliffhanger. Just awesome angst and drama.

Let’s get into the fun part —>

BLURB

Sometimes, it’s inappropriate to fall in love with a certain someone. I should know. When I met Hugo Sparks, I didn’t know he was an art teacher at my school. But, by the time we found out, it was too late – we’d already fallen. But, we did the right thing, we tried to fight it. Eventually though, we gave in. That was when my brother Zac caught us. He said it would tear our family apart – we were already hanging on by a thread. I said I was in love. He didn’t believe me and did everything he could to keep us apart.

Including breaking my heart.

In return, I broke his.

My name is Meg Reid – Zac Rivers’ half sister. You may already know his story, and you may hate me for what I’ve done. But, that’s because you don’t understand. You only have one side.

This story is mine. It’s a tale of hurting the ones you love, and thinking it’s for the best. I wish things could have been different…

PREORDER LINKS 
AMAZON – http://mybook.to/HugoMeg

iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/drawn-to-fight-hugo-meg/id958226357?mt=11

Nook – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drawn-to-fight-lilliana-anderson/1121082687?ean=2940046516234

Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/drawn-to-fight-hugo-meg

ZAC & EVIE
If you’d like to find out Zac’s side of the story before you read Meg’s, you can get your copy via the links below

Amazon – http://mybook.to/zacevie

iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/drawn-to-fight-zac-evie/id948766946?mt=11

SNEAK PEEK TIME!
(excuse any errors. This is unedited and could possibly change before release) —–>

Prologue

 

Meg

 

“Talk to me,” Hugo implored, his chest heaving as he stood in front of me, his emotions high, tension buzzing in the air as I stared into his ice blue eyes.

“I hate you,” I replied. “I love you.” My eyes stung, and when I licked my lips, all I could taste was salt from the torrents of tears I’d already shed.

“I have to do this, Meg. I can’t forfeit. That’s not the deal.”

“And I can’t stop what’s coming.” Folding my arms across my chest, I walked away from him. I didn’t want to talk about it.

He followed me and placed a strong hand on my slight shoulder. He was so gentle with me. No matter how he was feeling, he was always so gentle with me. It hurt my heart even more.

“If I don’t fight your brother, everything I’ve done – everything I’ve been working toward – fighting for – it’ll all be gone.”

“And if you do fight my brother, you’ll lose me for good.” I turned around and glared at him, showing him how much I understood. He gave me a pained look then ran his hand down the length of my hair.

“Now do you understand why we needed to wait?” he whispered, shaking slightly as he withdrew his hand and dropped it by his side. It’s then that I noticed the ring that was tied around his neck, attached by a leather cord.

Blinking back my tears, I reached and took it between my fingers, holding it between us, my breath unsteady as I squeezed my eyes shut tight. “What was the point of all this, Hugo? What were we even fighting for if you were just going to throw it all away?”

He looked down at the ring in my fingers and closed his hands over mine. “We were fighting for a chance.”

“And now we’re just fighting each other. What happened to us?”

He shook his head, his hand moving up to grip the back of his neck in frustration – a movement I’d come to know well in our time together. “I guess our timing was just wrong. Fate made us meet too soon.”

Pressing my lips into a straight line, I nodded. “I thought you didn’t believe in fate.”

Curving his lips in a sad smile, he reached behind his neck and untied the cord, letting it fall so that the ring was still in my hand. “With you in this world, I think I can believe in anything.”

I looked from the ring to him as he lowered his hand and pressed a kiss to my forehead before he stepped away.

“Take it,” he said. “It’s yours.”

The squeaking of brakes in the driveway caused me to lift my head, the crunch of gravel under tires let me know it was time to go. “That’s my ride,” I said, my voice almost a whisper as I reached down to pick up my bags.

“I wish you hadn’t done this.”

“I wish for a lot of things. But that was when I was a girl, and I still believed in magic. I’m not a little girl anymore, Hugo.”

“I know, Meg. I never thought you were.”

A buzzer sounded and I needed to go downstairs. He looked at me, his eyes flickering with a restrained panic.

“I have to go.”

“Meg…”

I paused and waited.

“The promise in your hand – it will always be true.”

Tears stung my eyes again and rising on my toes, I pressed my lips to his softly. “I never wanted a promise, Hugo. I only wanted you.”

Then I pressed the ring back into his hand and walked to the door. I placed my hand on the handle before turning back to him and giving his apartment one last look over. This was the place all my best memories were. I didn’t want to leave, but I had to.

I sniffed back a tear and forced a smile. “Hey. Maybe I’ll see you in school. You can get your job back now that I’m gone. You can teach again.” I knew it wasn’t possible, but pretending was what we did. It fit so well with all the secrets and the lies…

He nodded his head, his mouth open. He wanted to say something that could change what was happening, but he couldn’t. It was too late. We were already through. Fate was wrong to bring us together.

“Goodbye Hugo.”

“Goodbye Meg.”

When I left his apartment, I was driven away to an entirely new life. It wasn’t what I wanted, but someone had to put a stop to all the fighting and the secrets that were governing our lives and our decisions. Someone had to be the adult, even if it was a seventeen-year-old girl who took charge – going against the wishes of everyone else involved.

I didn’t do it for revenge.

You need to understand that. Everything was falling apart. I had to take a stand. Someone had to stand up and say that we were suffering. Someone had to save us from each other.

And, being that someone, it cost me everything…everything.

 

PART ONE

 

‘It is difficult to know at what moment love begins;

it is less difficult to know that it has begun.’

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

One

 

Meg

 

Falling for him wasn’t something I planned. In fact, it was entirely an accident that we were brought together – a literal accident. You see, shopping trolleys and car park aren’t exactly made for each other. Especially when said car park had a slight tilt to it, and the girl pushing the trolley was rail thin and not built for wrestling four uncooperative wheels over the tiny stones in the asphalt.

“Fucking, Zac.” I cursed my older half-brother under my breath as the one of the wheels jarred against a bump on the road. He was supposed to be doing the groceries. I was supposed to be at a friend’s house, swimming in their pool and enjoying just a moment of summer. But he’d gotten so badly beaten the Friday night before that his eye was swollen shut, and he couldn’t see to drive. That left me, a sixteen-year-old girl, to do the grocery shopping for our family of five kids abandoned by their parents. Well, there was almost one adult. Zac would soon be eighteen – not that it made much of a difference. If social services found out we didn’t have parental supervision, they’d put us all into foster care faster that you could list our short names. And that was our worst fear. We didn’t want to be separated. Zac insisted that no one would take on three primary school kids along with their sixteen-year-old sister. I’d be put in a group home. My three younger siblings would be split up and sent to whatever family could accommodate them, and Zac would be left alone, hating himself for not being able to keep us together. And Zac had suffered enough.

With a resounding sigh, I looked over the trolley full of food that we wouldn’t have been able to afford if Zac hadn’t fought as hard as he did. He did whatever he could to provide for us all and keep me in school. I felt guilty for being annoyed with him. He was trying his hardest – we all were.

I gave the trolley a shove with my hip to get it moving again.

“Holy shit!”

I shoved too hard, and it rolled out of my grasp then went hurtling toward the entry lane, bumping and bouncing along and picking up speed as though it was laughing at me for being unable to control it.

I ran after it. “Come back!” I yelled. I don’t know why I did that; it couldn’t hear me. But at the time, it seemed fitting, as it wouldn’t be long before it hit the street and then, well, it would all be ruined and Zac’s black eye would have been for nothing.

“No, no, no.” A blue sedan had turned into the drive, and I could see what was about to happen. In that moment I could actually peer into the future, and there was no way I was going to be able to stop it. Zac was going to kill me.

A screech of brakes. A crunch of metal. Shocked murmurs coming from people around me. I’d covered my eyes, not wanting to see, and when I peeked through my fingers the first thing I saw was a dark haired man standing at the slightly bent trolley while surveying the dent in his car. His hand was on the back of his neck, his arm muscular as it strained against the cotton of his dusty blue shirt. Milk dripped on the ground, leaving a massive white puddle that ran down to the gutter and took off toward the closest drain.

He turned to the side, looking around for the trolley’s owner. I lowered my hands and stepped forward, my heart thudding against my chest as I took in his features and prepared to meet my doom. He was beautiful. Ice blue eyes. Pitch black hair. A slight tan to his skin and a strong stubbled jaw. Pink lips… I noticed all this in seconds as his eyes met mine.

“Is this…yours?” He pointed to the trolley, and I saw that some of my groceries were on the hood of his car. I swallowed hard and nodded.

“I’m sorry. It slipped from my hands and…” I let the words trail off. “I’m sorry. I’ll fix it. I’ll…I’ll…” I shrugged my shoulders and bit my bottom lip. I didn’t know what to do. We couldn’t afford this. “I’m sorry,” I said again.

He stared at me for a long moment. Just enough for me to feel uncomfortable. I wondered if he would start yelling at me for being a ‘stupid girl’…

“I’m sorry.”

His eyes moved from my face, scanning the car park for a moment before he turned back to me. “Don’t worry about it,” he said with a sigh, surprising me with how calm he was being.

I stepped forward. “I should pay for the damage.” Don’t make me pay for the damage.

Reaching out, he picked up some of the loose groceries and returned them to the trolley. I moved quickly to help him. “There’s no serious damage. Just a few scratches,” he said softly as he pulled the trolley away from the side of his car and checked if it still worked.

My eyebrows shot up. “That’s not a scratch.” I pointed to the dent in the body of his car, just above the front wheel. A lot of the paint had been scratched off. He’d need to visit a panel beater to get it fixed.

“It’s entirely possible that was already there,” he said with a smile as he took hold of the trolley then looked around the car park again. “Which one is yours?”

“Excuse me?”

“Car. Which one is yours?”

Unsure of why he wanted to know, I pointed to the large family van that Zac had spent all of his savings on when our stepfather had taken off – mum had left long before for many selfish reasons…

He nodded and began to push the trolley toward it with great speed. Oh god, I thought. He’s going to dent the van to get back at me.

“What are you doing?” I demanded, rushing up beside him, a slight edge of panic in my voice.

Glancing at me, he smiled and I noticed that one tooth was the tiniest bit crooked. A tiny blip in his perfection. I suppose that’s when it happened – when I started to like him. I liked faults. I could understand faults. When you’re a sixteen, your faults are all you see – all you can focus on. Sometimes they were the only things that seemed real.

“I’m helping you,” he said, pushing the bowed trolley with ease until we reached the back of the van and stopped.

I looked over to where his car was still sitting near the entrance of the car park. There were cars swerving around it, their drivers yelling out mouthfuls of expletives – ‘fucking idiot’ being the most common of them. “Don’t you think you should move your car?”

With a non-committal shrug of his shoulders, he held out his hand to me and without thinking, I handed him the keys. Then he opened the boot and began to load the bags into the van.

“You work at a florist?” he asked as he slid the bags in place. I helped, working beside him while checking the damage our accident had done to the food. Most of it was all right.

“I um…” I started to respond with the truth. I started to tell him that I was still at school, that I was only a kid. But, there was something in the way he treated me, something in the way he looked at me. He thought I was older. He thought I was like him – a grown-up – one who could actually drive legally. I was still six months off turning seventeen and getting my license.

I glanced in the back of the van. There were large white buckets and blue crates, along with the distinct scent of mixed pollens and still water, a scent synonymous with florists everywhere. Zac worked for the florist. I was about to become a high school senior.

When I looked back at him, he was still smiling, tilting his head curiously as he waited for my answer.

I didn’t want to lie to him, so I settled for a slightly different version of the truth. “This is my housemate’s van.”

“Housemate? What’s that like?”

“It’s all right.”

“All right? What are you, still at Uni or something?”

I nodded. Now I was lying. Now the sun felt incredibly hot and I was starting to sweat. “I’d better get back inside. I need to buy milk again,” I said, trying to change the subject.

Reaching for the last bag, he looked inside then closed it again. “And eggs. These are destroyed.” He placed the bag back in the trolley then reached up and shut the back of the van.

“I really am very sorry about your car.”

He shook his head and leaned against the back of the van, his eyes squinting in the bright sun as he looked over to his sedan. “Don’t be. It’s a bomb.”

“I still wrecked it.”

“Nah. It’s not your fault. They need to fix the parking lot.”

“Move your fucking car!” A man hit his horn, the loud burst of noise causing me to jump and turn sharply toward the sound.

“I guess I’d better go. It was nice to meet you…?” He held out his hand for me to take.

“Meg,” I said, placing my small hand into his large palm. He closed his hand around mine. I didn’t want him to let go.

“Meg,” he repeated, his eyes travelling over my face as he completely ignored the continued yelling of the man in the four-wheel drive stuck behind his sedan. “I’m Hugo.”

We shook once. I smiled at him. He smiled at me. Then he let go and jogged back to his car. I wanted to go with him and tell him to drive away and never look back. The idea seemed so perfect to me at the time.

***

“That will be eight dollars and sixty cents,” the cashier told me after she’d scanned the milk and eggs. I counted out the cash and thanked her, and as I took my receipt and went to pick up my bag, I realised it wasn’t there anymore.

“Thought I should make sure these make it to your car safely this time,” Hugo said, that smile of his calling to me like a siren at sea. My heart soared. He was back. All at once, I wanted this man to see me as a woman. I wanted to be his equal. I wanted to feel like more than I was. I wanted to be different – someone else.

He seemed like the perfect escape. But, I wasn’t supposed to let anyone get too close…

“You don’t have to do that. I can manage.”

“I want to. Besides…” He reached into his pocket. “I still have these.” He handed me back my keys.

“Jesus. Thanks. I don’t know how I would have gotten home without them.”

“Your housemates would have gotten hungry and come looking for you,” he said. It was meant to reassure me, but instead I looked at him sharply, worried that perhaps I’d already been caught in this lie.

“I suppose.”

We walked along quietly until we were once again at the van.

“Listen, I feel really bad about your car.”

“I’m sure we can find a way for you to make it up to me,” he started before his face went bright red and he shook his head. “That came out completely wrong and sounded creepy. I don’t normally do this by the way.”

I smiled up at him; it was kind of interesting to watch a man becoming nervous in front of me. I only knew boys, and while I knew I should have just gotten into the van and left, I couldn’t help but stay standing in front of him, wanting more of this moment.

“What is it you’re doing?” I asked after a while.

“It probably doesn’t seem like it, but I’m trying to ask you if you want to go to dinner sometime.”

“OK.”

“OK?”

I nodded. “Ask me.”

A nervous laugh escaped his lips and his tongue snaked out to wet them. “Would you like to have dinner with me?”

“No,” I said immediately.

“No? Wha– Oh wow, that was embarrassing. Do you…do you have a boyfriend, or…Jesus, I should just shut up. I’m sorry.”

“Give me your phone,” I told him, holding out my hand as I watched him flounder, his face almost bright red. It was endearing to say the least.

He frowned. “Seriously?”

“I don’t have a boyfriend.” With a dubious expression, he handed me his phone and watched while I entered my number and saved it. “But maybe, if you call me at the right time, I might answer.”

“OK.” He said the word slowly and grinned as he took his phone when I handed it back to him. “Wait,” he said when I went to get in the van. I stopped and turned to face him with my head tilted in question. He aimed the camera at me and took a shot. “Now I won’t forget which one you are.”

Laughing, I took a step away from him. “I thought you said you didn’t do this all the time?”

“I don’t. That was just a shitty joke.”

I smiled and moved to the driver’s side of the car. “I’ll see you around, Hugo.”

“I hope so.”

Grinning, I shut the door and started the engine. He was leaning against the car parked beside me as I reversed out, and I waved to him as I left, struggling to wipe the cheesy grin from my face the whole way back home.

I knew I’d never be able to date him. For one, he was older, and two, we weren’t allowed to let anyone get close. But, I still liked him. I liked him a lot.

 

Two

 

Hugo

 

The sound of the rubber mallet hitting against metal echoed with a crack in the distance, momentarily obscuring the noisy chirp of the cicadas in the eucalyptus trees overhead.

Pete paused for a moment, wiping the back of his forearm across his sweaty forehead before he picked up his beer, kept cold in the heat with a stubby holder depicting the Australian flag, and took a thirsty swig. “Jesus, mate. I hope you at least got this girl’s number. She did a good job fucking up the side of your car.” He took another mouthful of beer then set it back on the sandstone rock beside him.

“Yeah, I got her number.” Although, I’m not going to tell him I already called her and didn’t get an answer. Twice. That was over a week ago. “Want me to take over?” It was thirty-eight in the shade. I was sweating buckets just standing still.

He shook his head. “Just keep the cold ones flowing and we’re good. I’ll be finished soon.”

Pete was a panel beater by trade. He did jobs for those he knew in exchange for a slab of beer. He was my older brother’s best mate, and because my brother and I were so close in age that we were enrolled in the same school year, Pete was my mate too. Although, I hadn’t seen a lot of him socially in the last six months, things had been awkward for everybody since then. But, we preferred not to talk about it. It was easier that way.

“Looks good to me,” he stated, turning the panel over and running his hand along the chipped paint. “I can put something on here to seal it, but we’ll have to paint it another day when I have the right colour.”

Helping him carry the panel back to my car, I held it while he fixed it in place. “Still looking after your mum?”

“I am, and she’s still consistently drunk and irritable,” I replied with a smile.

“So no change from normal then.”

“No. No change.”

“You’d think she’d change her tune without Donovan anymore.” Pushing himself off the ground, he stood and dusted himself off before looking up at the clear blue sky.

“I’m pretty sure she thinks Donovan is my fault too. She barely says a word to me when I go over there.”

“Then why do you?’

I shrug. “She’s the only family I have.”

He looked at me for a moment then nodded his head before looking up to the sky. “Fuck this weather, mate. Fuck summer.”

I leaned down and pulled a fresh beer from the ice in the Esky and handed it to him, taking another for myself. We twisted off the tops and tilted the bottles toward each other without actually clinking.

“Cheers, mate,” he said, tipping it back and draining the ice-cold liquid before letting out a loud ‘ah’ when he finished. Then he sniffed and looked at me. “You wanna go a few rounds with the bag for old time’s sake?” He motioned toward the house where he’d installed a gym in his spare room, when he, my brother and I started training together for the Londonderry fights. We were just kids then, and to us, Londonderry was the height of every wannabe fighter’s dream. Although we knew better now. Experience had taught us that they were a trap that sucked you in and never let you go.

“Maybe some other time,” I said.

***

In the early morning air, my feet pounded the concrete path as I wound my way through the mulberry bushes, the scent of their rotting fruit mixing the hot damp earth and polluted river invaded my nose. There had been a storm last night that broke the worst of the heat, although it swelled the river and caused it to collect debris from its banks. It made the churning water a muddy brown as it rushed to wherever it emptied out, eager to become the clearer steady flow it was only a day before.

While the temperature had lowered, the storm had caused a humidity that hung heavy in the air. It caused my shirt to stick to my body uncomfortably, and I stopped running, breathing heavy as I walked toward the water to stand under the shade of a maple tree. Reaching down, I peeled my shirt off and wiped it across my face, tucking it into the side of my black running shorts as I looked out at the water and watched it rush by. A blowfly attacked my face, hitting against it angrily as I swatted it away.

“Fuck off,” I growled, trying to actually hit it so it wouldn’t bother me again.

“They’re terrible after the rain,” a voice said from above me. I jerked my head up and frowned – surprised – taken aback. It was her. It was Meg. I was staring, my mouth open. The blowfly seized its opportunity at a new source of moisture, and I jerked my head away quickly, blowing a raspberry in disgust at almost swallowing the repugnant insect.

She was kind enough not to laugh, but when I looked up at her again, she was smiling at me. “Of all the trees along the river, you chose mine.”

“Yours? You climb up there often?”

She giggled. “I do. The view is better up here than it is down there.” She let out a sigh and looked out in front of her, her long slim leg bent at the knee, swinging, as she balanced on the wide branch with feline ease. “You should climb up and see.” She looked back down and met my eyes, her long white-blonde hair, hanging over her shoulder in a long ponytail. She had blue eyes, darker than mine. They reminded me of an angry sea and had featured quite heavily in my dreams of late.

Without hesitating, I climbed the tree and she slid along the branch to make room for me.

“See?” She tilted her chin upward, indicating the view of the blue sky with its cumulus clouds peeking between the green leaves of the canopy. I could see homes across the river. I could watch the cars on the other side, driving along River Road. I could see all the way to the freeway bridge and in the opposite direction, to the railway bridge. I could even see the pontoon where there were rowers lined up and getting out of their skulls. “I like to come here too for a change of perspective. You can see the beauty in the world when you aren’t smack in the middle of it.”

I turned to look back at her, absorbing her words, deciding in that moment that she was probably the best part of this entire view. “I’d like to paint it. Or at least photograph it.”

She shook her head. “Not me. Then I’d have to share it. I like having it all to myself.”

“You’re sharing it with me.”

A smile curved her pink soft looking lips. “That’s because I like you.”

I smiled in return. It’s funny how often you spend smiling at someone when you don’t really know them. There are so many things you want to say. So many questions you could ask, but instead, you smile, and hope they don’t see the secrets you’re hiding just behind the light of your eyes.

“I tried calling you,” I started, rubbing my palms together as I looked down at the ground below, littered with dead leaves and dark dirt.

“I know.”

“Twice.”

“Yes.”

“You didn’t call back.”

“I didn’t know what to say.”

We stared at each other, and without knowing much about her, I felt sure she was the most interesting person I’d ever met. There was something about her, something that made me want to learn all there was to know about her, while at the same time, I wanted nothing at all. It was like she was a moment in time, one I couldn’t quite grasp, but I wanted her just the same.

“Are you hungry?” I asked.

“I’m starving.”

“Come on then.” I pushed off from the branch and dropped to the ground, bending my knees softly to break the fall. She dropped next to me almost immediately, and stood there watching as I pulled my shirt back over my head.

“You have a nice body,” she stated, her tone serious, her expression even as if she was just rattling off a fact.

“So do you,” I returned, a smile curling at my lips from her compliment. I liked the way she looked at me. I liked the way I felt when I looked at her…

“So they tell me.”

I grinned fully. “I’m sure they do.”

Then she did that curious tilt of her head before she turned around and began to walk back toward the path. I followed, drawn to her side, and together we walked to where I’d parked my car, a gentle hum between our bodies where we almost touched.

“You fixed it.”

“A friend did.” I leaned in front of her and unlocked the passenger door, holding it open to let her in, hoping I didn’t smell too bad after running in the heat. She thanked me and I walked around to my side, starting the engine before driving us both to the nearest café.

We both ordered their big breakfast, an apple juice and coffee, and while we were waiting for our order we continued to make small talk, asking questions, learning answers.

“What are you studying?”

“I’d like to be a lab technician,” she said, twisting the saltshaker between her fingers.

“As in pharmaceuticals?”

“Yes. My brother seems to think I’m going to discover the cure to cancer or something.”

“Or the common cold. I hear they’re after a cure for that as well.”

She glanced up at me. There was that smile again. “What about you? Are you an artist or something?”

“I studied art, yes.”

“Studied? So you’re finished with school?”

I sat back in my chair. “For the most part, yes.”

The server brought over a tray with our drinks and placed them in front of us before returning to the counter and bringing out our meals.

“Smells wonderful,” she commented as she inhaled the scent of bacon, eggs, tomato and mushrooms with a wedge of buttered toast on the side.

My stomach grumbled in agreement and we both laughed, eating and chatting away with ease. I was leaning so much yet so little. I didn’t want it to end. But her phone rang, and without answering it, she simply looked at the screen and silenced the call before announcing that she had to go. She wasn’t even finished eating.

“Wait. Can I see you again?” I asked as she stood to leave.

She smiled again, her hands sliding into the back pockets of her jean shorts as she stopped beside me. Then without warning, she leaned down and she kissed me. It shocked me, and at first I didn’t respond. But that was a momentary pause before I reached up, my hands sliding along either side of her face, holding her steady as I entwined my lips and moved my tongue with hers, taking that first stomach flipping taste of her. Immediately I was addicted. I breathed in deeply, drawing her scent inside me, memorising her taste, my head spinning, my body feeling more alive than it had in months.

Regretfully, I released her, my eyes locked with hers as she pulled away, her cheeks pink, her blue eyes dark, her lips red. She was prettier than the most perfect oil painting.

“We’ll let fate decide,” she whispered.

“I don’t believe in fate.”

She shrugged. “You should. It led you to my tree.”

Then she turned away and left the café without even looking back, and I wondered if she was right. I wondered if fate really had intervened…

PREORDER LINKS 
AMAZON – http://mybook.to/HugoMeg

iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/drawn-to-fight-hugo-meg/id958226357?mt=11

Nook – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drawn-to-fight-lilliana-anderson/1121082687?ean=2940046516234

Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/drawn-to-fight-hugo-meg

 

Happy reading!

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It’s that time of year again. Authors, sit tight.

This post is getting filed under ‘stuff I wanna say’. It’s not a rant. It’s just an observation and hopefully a little perspective for some of the writers who haven’t experienced the ‘yearly slump’ yet. 

What’s the ‘yearly slump’?

Well, it’s the time of year when most authors see a downward turn in their sales. It generally starts in August and continues to decline until after christmas when people are receiving shiny new kindles and iPads, along with gift cards with which they buy lots and lots of books to read while they’re on holiday. Generally sales will be good until March. Then they’ll drop a little, even out until the end of July (just enough time to make new comers feel as though they have an ‘income’) then you’ll hit August and be right back at the beginning again.

The key to getting through it is to plan your year in advance and spend your money wisely. Authors make income via royalties. We don’t get a wage. Our income fluctuates with the market and if writing is your sole source of income it’s important to plan ahead and save every extra penny to keep you afloat when you do have ‘bad months’.

Wait, wait. Shouldn’t authors write for the love of it and not worry about the money?

In a perfect world, yeah they should. And the majority of us start writing because we sincerely love it – the stories are in our bones and must be written down so our characters don’t torture us with their cries for release (I’m not even going to address the writers who throw together books in the hope of making a quick buck here, because that’s their prerogative, and really, it’s none of my business.) But, when your books start selling well, and your readers ask for more, you find yourself in the midst of Bookworld, running a small business with its own costs and budgets. It’s a place where creativity is sometimes stifled with the mountains of paperwork you have to deal with, and the numbers you are forced to recognise. Sometimes, it sucks the fun out of it. Sometimes, it makes you feel so overwhelmed that you want to crawl into a little hole and give up.

That’s what we’re seeing now. We’re seeing writers who didn’t know the slump was coming hit their panic buttons. They’re talking about quitting, and since being an author is a lonely job, a lot of those authors are posting about this on Facebook. They’re posting about it because they’re worried. They have bills to pay. They have children to feed. They have a car that is barely running. They’re struggling and just need to say something.

I can understand that. It’s not something I would personally do. But different strokes for different folks, and who am I to judge? Who are any of us to judge?

Fact of the matter is, when you have a family to feed (or even just yourself) and bills to pay, money matters. It matters to all of us. Writing novels is demanding work. A book that takes readers hours to devour, takes an author months to develop, write and deliver. We can’t all be EL James or JK Rowling and have a few books that hit it out of the park – they are the exception, not the rule.

Many authors enter into this industry, and they have a hit, leave their job, and then suddenly, the numbers aren’t adding up anymore and they’re forced to go back to paid work to make ends meet. Others write for years, toiling away until they have enough titles to collectively make an income so they leave their jobs then. Others write in their spare time, work a day job and release when they can because writing is their passion – not their pay.

There is no right way to be a writer. It’s not a competition. Suffering with no money in the name of your art isn’t going to win you a medal. Voicing your financial fears because you’re struggling doesn’t make you weak, and it doesn’t make you a sell-out because you openly talked about the money – it just means that you’re struggling, and may have to plan better next time. Sure, you might need to get a job in the meantime, but if you love writing, you’re going to do it anyway, so you’ll find a way to pay your bills and produce more stories for readers.

You are not a failure

This is where numbers are actually an authors best friend. There is so much focus placed on hitting that ‘top 100’ that people forget what success in this industry really is. For the sake of ease, we’re going to focus on the Kindle store (since that’s where we’re all looking anyway) and we’re going to take a look at percentages. Ready?

There are almost 3.5 million books available on the kindle store. Using that number, that means that the top 10% of ALL available books are ranking within the top 350,000. Top 100,000 is less than 3%. Top 10,000 is less than 0.3%.

See where I’m going here?

Let’s break it down a little further just to get a little more perspective.

Top 1000 is 0.03%

Top 100 is 0.003%

Do you see how hard this industry is? Do you see how hard it is to actually sell enough books to make any sort of income?

YOU. ARE. A. SUCCESS. and just because you’re struggling right now and feel as though your career is over doesn’t mean it is. It just means we’ve hit the slump, and if you keep at it, things will change. BUT, you may have to get a job to supplement your writing for a while. And you’ll do it, because writing is in your blood, just like it’s in mine and countless other writers out there who will type in the middle of a hurricane if the story is strong enough in their mind.

How do I make it through the slump next time?

Personally, I map my expenses twelve months in advance. The biggest obstacle for the money that comes with a hit book is the understanding that the money isn’t your typical income. It’s best to look at all book income as a windfall. Plan your life and don’t expect large sums to keep coming. The majority of books have a lifespan, and while they’ll continue to earn in the future, most won’t always be making that initial launch money. Plan your releases, plan your expenses. Don’t go emptying your bank account on trips to Disneyland because you get excited and think the only way is up. Because it’s not, we work in the entertainment industry and what’s popular today, might not be popular tomorrow. So, unless one book has made you enough money to live off comfortably for the next ten years, you’re going to have to budget well and plan sensibly. It sounds boring, but that’s the best advice I have – save your pennies. That’s how you make it through.

 

OK. That’s it from me. Hopefully this isn’t too long winded, and has helped someone. I’m by no means an expert, and you can tell me to shut up if you like. But, I’ve been around long enough to gain a little experience, and make it through the slump myself. Good luck to everyone from here on out.

Write well. Read more.

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47 Things is now available!

 

Wow. For a while there, I didn’t know if this book was going to make it out of my head. It’s been in there for so long and I really liked having these characters dancing about in my mind. But, now there out of my head and out in the big world of readers, who may, or may not love them as much as I have.

Our main man, Tyler, is that guy we all knew from high school – you know the one who seems like he’s got it all going on. He’s the guy who infuriates the hell out of you because it seems no matter what he does, everyone loves him. But, like many popular boys, he’s hiding something behind that million dollar smile…

Sarah is our narrator and of course, she’s Tyler’s love interest. They grew up in the same town and she was the girl who was smart and tough, and dreamt of bigger things than a country town could offer her. She was that girl, sitting there, looking at the popular kids and wondering what made them so darn special. She wasn’t blinded by the facade Tyler put up to the world, and as a result, she was the one person he could never win over. That is, until their final days of university when a stick of gum intervenes…

 

★* ღ 47 Things is LIVE!ღ*★ and it debuted at #2 overall on iBooks AU! So excited! Thanks to all who preordered.
And for a limited time, it’s only ‪#99cents‬!
So grab your copy now and be sure to grab a box of tissues. This one’s a tearjerker. heart emoticon

Here are you links –

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/1SDcuWR
Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/1MJlE2k
Amazon AU – http://bit.ly/1HSUuT8
Amazon CA – http://amzn.to/1SDcF4q

 

Here’s the blurb –

“What’s your name, sweetheart?”….

That was the first thing. I wasn’t his sweetheart, and he should already have known my name. But that was the moment I became caught in Tyler Lohan’s sight. He was wonderful and complicated and I’d spent my life trying to hate him for being the golden boy who had everything easy. But once we gave in, there was no stopping what we had.

There would be a total of forty-seven things that sucked me into Tyler’s life then forced me away. Forty-seven things that ruined me forever.

Forty-seven was never going to be enough.
There was no number great enough…

47 Things. A standalone new adult romance that follows a couple as they come to terms with falling love in a world they can’t control, and the certainty of the inevitable.

 

Enjoy!

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