It Was a Writing Frenzy!

Oddly enough, before I was able to even finish editing my first book, Laguna Sector, a new idea jumped into my head and I just had to get started on it. Within a day I had already written close to ten thousand words and the story was going strong. So I gave up the idea of editing Laguna Sector so I could get it published and just went with the new story. Less than ten days later, the majority of the story was done.  The newest one was called Cally’s Dream. I had written two books in less than three weeks. For someone who never dreamed of writing anything other than what related to the sport of darts, I thought it was a pretty impressive accomplishment. Yes, I am tooting my own horn and patting myself on the back.

Deep down, I am a perfectionist, so I spent the next two weeks editing, editing and more editing for both of the books. I wanted to make sure they were perfect before I had to take the time to get the publishing part done. I am not going to lie. This was the part that intimidated me the most.

But there was a slight detour I needed to take with the first book. I was still under contract with the publisher for The Ultimate Book of Darts and there was an option clause in that contract for a book #2 of any type. So off went the first manuscript, Laguna Sector, to the publisher. Now normally an author would be sitting there waiting with baited breath to hear back from a publisher about them wanting to take on their book. I honestly did not want them to. I also knew that the chances were pretty slim that they would because they do not publish anything in the romance genre. So I spent that time editing and editing some more while waiting on word and working on creating my cover art. Thankfully, my buddy the author is just a great guy that does all his own cover art, and he took a little time and created two really awesome covers for me.

Then, after a couple of weeks, word came back from the publisher. They tried, but just did not have a spot for it. Was I sad? No. I was actually quite elated! Because they said they tried to find a spot for it. To me, that meant they considered it worthy enough to actually try to find a spot for it. It was a huge boost to my confidence as a writer. So while most authors are bummed out about rejection, I was on top of the world.

During the whole process of waiting, I was conferring with my buddy, who was the one that talked me into this madness to begin with, about the self-publishing process. He was a great help, but unfortunately, he had paid for a program to format his books. I didn’t have that kind of money to do that. So I went to my newest best friend, Google, and punched in a query about formatting an eBook. I came across a website for a free program called, Calibre. It had a couple of videos to help learn what to do and it ended up being very simple to use. I was rather intimidated by this prospect because I am technologically challenged, but even I could figure it all out on my own.

Now it was time to conquer Kindle Direct Publishing through Amazon. It is a little time consuming at first when you don’t know what you are doing, but it is explained pretty well and there are a lot of help topics available. The eBook process was pretty simple since Calibre did all the formatting for it for me. I did have a little trouble with the margins of one of my covers and had to edit it somewhat, but that was the hardest part of the eBook process.

Next came the formatting for the paperback version of the books. Now that the covers were edited and uploaded already for the eBook, that part of the process was taken care of and I could use the same images.  When setting up for the paperback, you have to choose what size book you want to start off with, along with fonts, paper, etc. It was suggested to use 6×9, as that was the most popular, so that was what I went with. I was using Microsoft Word for my stories, and I learned it is important to remember to format correctly for all pages, not just the first page. This was a struggle for me because I could not figure that part out right away. KDP will let you upload a Word doc, but your margins have to be spot on, or it will not print correctly. I learned that I needed to change my page size to 6×9 to start with. Obviously with the start of a chapter, your top and bottom margins are going to be different than on the regular pages, so you have to go in page by page to make sure these are set correctly before uploading.  Trust me; I had to upload about a dozen different times because I was stuck on the margins process. But I learned, and when it came time to upload book two, I knew what the margins had to be, and everything went off perfectly.

After a few hours of struggle, I was officially a self-published author for not just one book, but two! The amount of elation and the sense of accomplishment were huge for me at this point. That night, if you were to tell me I would not sell one darn book, I would not have cared one bit. I was on my way to greatness and that was all that mattered. There are so many times where life’s challenges kick you down, but when those great moments show up, it makes everything that much more worthwhile.

Thanks for stopping by again as I continue my writing journey and I hope somewhere along the way, another author reads this and it was beneficial for them. When you get a chance, head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy of Cally’s Dream and let me know what you think of my second try for the romance genre. I appreciate any and all feedback.

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The Writing Journey Continues…

Now that I decided to bite the bullet and start writing romance novels, I now had to decide just what I was going to write about. I thought back to the many, many novels I had already read and what were the ones that I enjoyed the most. I always found that I really liked the ones that were set in old time England, Scotland or Ireland, but I didn’t feel I was qualified enough in my knowledge of those times to be able to do the research correctly.

I have been a fan of Nora Roberts for quite a few years now. I especially love her trilogies that tie all together. They are fascinating and enjoyable to read and there are times where I have been chomping at the bit trying to wait patiently for the next book to be released. She has done some contemporary ones that I have liked as well. But I am not Nora Roberts, nor do I think I will ever be.

I did remember that for a period of time I really looked around to find romance novels that included time travel, as these ended up being funny at times too. They generally were a quick and enjoyable read and left me with a good feeling once the book was done.

So, after all the thoughts on it, I decided my first book was going to have some time travel aspect to it. I figured that maybe with being able to make stuff up instead of having to do a lot of research, I would be able to work harder on the writing and spend less time worrying about if I got every single detail right. I also decided that the setting would be somewhere that I used to live because I knew a lot of the details of that area and would be comfortable using them in the story.

This is where Laguna Sector, my first romance novel, was born. The setting is in Laguna Beach present time and the same area of Laguna Beach in the year 2153, and it is called Laguna Sector. I spent over twenty years living in Laguna Beach and my husband grew up there. Our daughter also grew up there and when she graduated, we moved to Laguna Niguel, which is right next door, and we lived there for another seven years.

Here is what the introduction looks like in my book, to help explain the setting a little more:

Laguna Beach 2017: The quaint little beach town of Laguna Beach is located in Southern California about an hour south of Los Angeles. The town grew in popularity as an artist community due to all the artists and entertainers who have made Laguna their home over the years. The landscape of Laguna’s coastline is full of a variety of beach areas, with many of them containing rocky bluffs that made perfect scenery for artists of all levels.  Parkland areas cover many spots throughout the town, and the craggy canyons out in the San Joaquin Hills have, for years, been an inspiration for many artists.

While the town may be small, it is internationally known for playing host to large events such as The Pageant of the Masters, The Festival of the Arts, The Sawdust Art Festival, and Art-A-Fair, just to name a few. The town was originally settled in the 1870s and officially founded in 1887. The town itself, while a popular destination for tourists, still remains isolated from the demand of developers because it is surrounded by hills and has limited road access. There are only three ways out of Laguna Beach, northwest or south on Pacific Coast Highway or northeast through Laguna Canyon. There are many beaches in Laguna Beach and the tide pools at Main Beach are a popular tourist spot.

Laguna Beach, in its past history during the years of the 60s and 70s was known as the center for the hippie culture. The Brotherhood of Eternal Love was located there and world renowned psychedelic drug advocate, Timothy Leary, lived on Gaviota Drive. People who make their home there now are often jokingly referred to as “Lagunatics”. Many other famous people over the years have called Laguna their home. Stellar names such as Judy Garland, Bette Davis and Rock Hudson, just to name a few. On Christmas Day in 1970, Laguna Canyon played host to what was later known as the Woodstock of the west coast. About 25,000 people gathered for a one-day music festival, called The Happening, which did not end until three days later. In 2004, MTV created and casted their show Laguna Beach from the locals who attended Laguna Beach High School.

The cramped coastal town itself is dotted with many smaller homes and businesses, but once you ventured higher up, the craggy hillsides provided the perfect setting for the multi-level goliaths with their shimmering glass facades built by the rich and famous who chose to make Laguna Beach their home. These goliaths of the elite would spend their days like soldiers standing at attention while looking out over the vastness of the ocean. They would preen in all their majestic glory for the entire world to pay homage to their beauty as they looked up from below.

Laguna Sector 2153: In the latter part of the 21st century, all state and local government agencies were abolished. Cities were broken up into groups and classified as Sectors. State lines were adjusted and Colonies were created. Each colony was made up of their own group of sectors. All the colonies together created what is known as the United Alliance, and National Oversight was the only government agency in charge of ruling all of the colonies in the Alliance. The towns formerly known as Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel were all merged into one Sector called the Laguna Sector.

What once was a thriving area for tourists who wanted to spend time at the beaches of Laguna Beach, has since become a desolate ghost town. Shortly before the Alliance was formed, beaches were closed permanently and citizens were banned from spending any time near the water. The pollution rate had increased so much over the latter part of the last century that all marine life in the water that touched the western colonies had since died off and the toxic levels noted in the water itself made it necessary to shut the beaches down completely. The general population that enjoyed their cliff side homes looking out over the ocean now chose to move inland and build their homes in the canyons to enjoy the stunning vistas of the San Joaquin Hills. What used to be considered the Green Belt Conservation Area of Laguna Canyon is now dotted up and down the hillsides with the million dollar homes of the rich and famous. The once shining structures on the hillsides of Laguna Beach no longer have an audience to appreciate their beauty. They now stand as lonely sentinels looking out over the ocean waiting for life to return them to their shining glory.

Thanks for stopping by again as I continue my writing journey. When you get a chance, head on over to Amazon and pick up a copy of Laguna Sector and let me know what you think of my first try for the romance genre. I appreciate any and all feedback.

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How My Writing Journey Began

All my life, I never dreamed of becoming a writer. I spent a lot of time reading and generally was known as a nerd in school, or typically called, a brainiac. It wasn’t that I was super smart, I was just old for my age and at a socially higher level than other kids my age because I was the youngest of eight kids and most of them were adults or close to being adults while I was growing up. I also had excellent comprehension skills that helped me remember details that most people would quickly forget after reading something.

Most people that know me personally know that I have been a competitive dart player for over thirty years. I met my husband at a dart tournament and we have now been together for over thirty years as well. At one point, he was one of the top players in the country and traveled to different parts of the world to compete in international events. I shared in many of those experiences. With the birth of the internet and the rise of many online websites devoted to darts, I discovered a lot of people like talking about the history of the game and I felt I had a lot to share. Eventually, writing out those long posts turned into writing different articles and doing a few player interviews. It was then that my writing career was born.

Oddly enough during those first few years, I also had a job that involved writing. I work for a major insurance carrier and at the time I was an associate in their grievance department and my job was to respond to complaints via letter. I was lucky enough to have a great boss, who herself was an avid reader her whole life, was extremely intelligent, and was the harshest editor I had ever met. It never failed that no matter how many times I edited my letters prior to sending them to her for review, they always came back with some sort of changes made. It infuriated me. I was a competitor deep down and always had to do my best at whatever I did, so when my best ended up never being quite good enough, it frustrated me to no end. But do you know what else it did? It taught me a lot about writing and I didn’t even realize it.

In 2012, I had long since relocated and left the writing job behind, but I had still continued doing guest blogs for different websites and some player interviews for a print magazine, but my level of writing had slowed down considerably. One day at work, on my break, I decided to check my email. I also have had a website for years devoted to darts and I have an email account for this too. Generally, I do not get many emails in this account, so even when something goes to the spam folder, I will still read it just to make sure it is spam. I will never forget that one day in September that I did this and saw an email with the subject title: Book Offer. Naturally, I had to click on it so see what it was about. As it turned out, there was an Editorial Director for a publishing company based in New York that was a casual dart player. They were looking at the options of having someone do a type of “how to play darts” book for them, he had found my guest blogs and website information and was contacting me to see if I would be interested in the project. I was stunned. I had never written anything more than a blog in my life and now someone was giving me a huge opportunity to write a book, and the book was about something that I loved to do. How could I say no?

One year later, The Ultimate Book of Darts was released and I was a published author. It was the greatest time of my life. When my first copies of the book arrived, I rushed home from work, opened the box and just cried. It was such an amazing moment in my life.

Eventually I progressed in my writing and created my own personal blog for darts and have been having fun with that part of it all. It gives me the chance to still be creative in my writing and continue to promote the game I love so much.

One day, an old friend started telling me about how he was writing books and asked if I would be interested in helping him out with the editing process. I had already edited a screenplay for him in prior years, so it was something I was used to. That night I sat in front of my computer and began editing, and after a short time, my thought was “I can do this” and that is how I finally decided to write books of my own. His genre is military sci-fi, which was not quite my thing, so I decided to give the romance world a try. I had been an avid reader of romances since I was in my twenties, which was a lot of years ago. My friend explained all about self-publishing by then and I was sold. I could write my own book and self-publish and it wouldn’t cost me a dime. What he neglected to tell me was that it would cost me “time”, but we will leave that story for another blog. I ended up writing two stories in less than a month and it was the greatest fun.

As of today, I am now a published author for two romance novels. One is in the time travel sub-genre and one is a contemporary romance. My third one is a work in progress and is more like a Fantasy/Viking/Valkyrie type of story with royalty, castles, fairies and a creature I created called a Derigon.

All of my books are available on Amazon via eBook or Paperback and are easiest to find by accessing my author page:  Amazon Author Page-Anne Kramer

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