Friday, December 27, 2013
It had it's moment's of absolute greatness and the lowest of suck. You know what though, that's life.
The highest point in 2013, as most of you can probably guess, is that I self-published my first book Sapphire Universe. I wrote this book on a whim. I've always loved writing lyrics and sayings, and I kept a journal my whole life, but I never knew I could write a whole book. I've always been a bit of a daydreamer, and loved creating stories in my head, so it should have been a given, but sometimes the best things in life sneak up on you. My heart was in my stomach when I finally decided to self-publish SU, and I never expected to sell more than a few copies. I could have had only ten people read it and I would have been tickled pink. Really, who would buy a book from some no name author in Wyoming. I mean, most people don't even know where Wyoming is on the map, and if they do, they think that we all ride around on horses and our streets are made of dirt. There aren't computers or internet there!!
...No seriously, I was actually asked all those things once.
Every High has it's low.
The low to that high is that I learned how naiive I was about the literary world. I went about it all the wrong way, because I really didn't know any better. I researched my little fingers off, but in the end, I guess it's all a matter of experience. I didn't have the budget to pay a cover artist or an editor, but I thought, meh...how hard can it be to edit your own work and make a decent cover. Well...let's just say that from now on I'll let the professionals handle it. I know that there are some amazingly talented authors out there who can whip out a bestselling cover and edit their own work to literary perfection with no sweat at all-I'm not one of them. I mean...I just want to write.
Yea, I was a Noobie...I made Noobie oopsies, but I have no regrets.
I will say this much, despite the mistakes I made in the beginning, I was genuine about my writing and my goals. I wrote a story that came to me authentically, I fell in love with my characters and I wanted to share their story with others. I had no grand notions of becoming a best-selling author with my first book. I didn't expect to sell 15k copies every week, but I also didn't care either way. At some point, after all three books in the Universe Series are finished, I'll make Sapphire Universe free forever.
My only goal was to have at least one person connect with my characters. I wanted to bring out someone's emotions. If I could just capture the heart of one person, and teach them a few small lessons on life and love, then I would be happy. I like to think I reached that goal.
I've grown a lot as an author and a person in the last year. I had the immense pleasure to meet and befriend some truly incredible people who have changed my life in so many ways.
Where there is heartbreak, there is love. Where there is strife, there is strength.
On the other side of that coin, I've experienced a lot of heartbreak and some very large bumps in the road. My family has been through the ringer this year. It's no secret that I'm extremely close to my family. My sister and I married twins, we live two blocks apart, and my parent's house is just one more street away. Between legal issues, health problems, divorce, and deployments overseas each and every person in my life has been tried and tested at every turn. Their pain is my pain, and we've definitely had our share. Maybe it was just our turn since we've always been so blessed. Either way, it's happened, and I'm happy to say that we're on our way back up. I think 2014 is going to bring a lot of good things to my clan of people :)
Due to all the challenges I faced this last year, writing was forced to the backseat. I still managed-barely-to write and publish two books, but I didn't get to experience it the way I wanted. I didn't have time to put 100% of my focus on writing, marketing, and connecting with my readers like I wanted to. Writing is very personal to me, so it's important to that I have the time and freedom to give it the love and attention it needs. That's all going to change in 2014.
What's coming in 2014, and my long term goals.
I'm currently writing Hard of Heart, a love story about a young war veteran with "PTSD." This story is my favorite so far, and very near and dear to my heart. I know that it's risky considering that the market right now is alpha male millionaires and tatted up rockers, but it's a story that needs to be told. Despite all of that, I still think that people will love this book. I'm nervous and excited and challenged-and that's the rush that every author strives towards, so in a way, I'm already successful.
I still work my full time job with the State of Wyoming, but I don't see that changing any time soon. My goal is that within ten years or after I've published a good 15-20 books, I will be able to quit my job and write full time. I got a little girl with a giant's appetite to feed, so I can't do the poor writer's gig. :P
I'm one lucky SOB. Well...actually I guess it's DOB, but people usually acquaint that with Date Of Birth, not Daughter of a B**ch...and my mom's not a B word...never mind, you get my point. I'm doing what I love to do, and it's something that I never in my wildest dreams would have thought possible. I have an amazing family who loves and supports me even when their world is collapsing around them. I have the most amazing readers who continue to buy my books even though they are a bit off the radar and don't fit into the popular mold. This is the most wonderful feeling. I'm a bit of a rebel, and even though I love to read the books that are currently taking the literary world by storm, I like to write a bit against the grain. SU and DU weren't exactly revelations or anything, but I got to share a few of my deep seated ideals and perspectives on people, life and love. It doesn't get any better than that.
Keep reading, writing, loving, and living. That's my motto for 2014.
Monday, November 25, 2013
I get asked a lot about my writing process. First, I spend quite a bit of time, talking to myself about my characters. Their favorite colors, their childhood stories, quirks, preferences, ect. Then I plan out my story to make sure everything fits together and I have a clear idea of the messages I want to get across. Next is research. Lots and lots of it. I want things to be accurate and as realistic as possible. Fiction always has some level of unbelievable in them, because they are fictional. We have to squeeze in as much juice as we can in just so many pages so it doesn't come off as superfluous. I know that some of you wish all of your favorite books were 500 pages...but I can guarentee that you woldn't love them as much if they anything but exactly what they are.
Lastly... I go music hunting. I find songs old and new that have the same general tone as what I want the reader to experience. I compile them into a playlist and put that sucker on repeat. I add as I go, but for the most part I put a few hours worth of music together before I even start writing.
Music is a big part of my life. I ALWAYS listen to the lyrics and everytime I hear a new song I love, I get inspired. Sometimes it gives me a new character, or a break up scene, or a childhood event, or a love scene to put into one of my books, but I always get something out of a great song.
Everyone who's been following my process for Hard of Heart knows how important this story is to me. Therefore, so was the playlist. I think it's so great that I want to share it with you right now, before I'm even halfway through writing Kaleb and Alexa's story.
Go forth and listen. Enjoy the feels, dance to the rythm of the journey of love. Teehee ♥
Hard of Heart
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Well today is a new day and I feel fantastic.
Because I've rocked out over 3,000 words and it is pretty amazeballs if I do say so myself. I'm loving it, and that's saying something.
Sometimes writing is the poopy...but sometimes I feel like a superhero.
This is how I feel right now.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
I'm sure most readers realize this as well, but definately not always. I will admit that writing Sapphire Universe and Dark Universe was a process, and not easy by any means. SU was my first book, and I had no idea what I was doing. It took three covers and several- SEVERAL edits before I realized...wow...I'm a shitty cover artist and I can't edit my own work to save my life. During DU my life was full...FILLED TO THE MAX with family and personal and work related drama. I didn't think I was going to get done on time, honestly.
Hard of Heart, is proving to be even more difficult. Not only have I spent countless hours researching for this book, but I'm forcing myself into a place with my writing that I haven't visited before. SU and DU both touched on emotional and tough issues, but they were riddled with humor and both of my main characters were emotionally strong and had a lot of support to make it through. So there wasn't a whole lot of fuss or muss.
I finally got the point where I could sit down and write Hard of Heart, and I made it through the entire prologue. Now this prologue is sort of lengthy because it's the telling of Alexa and Kaleb's childhood. This is something that is important in the book, because it gives you the whys and hows and whos. How did Kaleb and Alexa meet and become close? Why did Kaleb join the military? Why did Alexa fall in love with him? Who were they and how did they end up here?
I was LOVING IT. The words were flowing, the characters were developing and I gave myself a nice little pat on the back. Then I sat down to read it...and...something wasn't right. It didn't have the right tone, the narration was all wrong, the stories didn't mesh with my theme...it just didn't work.
Wanna know what I did?
Yup...you guessed it. I deleted everything. Clean slate. I reoutlined, I changed up the narration, I started completely over from scratch.
Did it suck? Hell yes, but it had to be done. The thing is, I know my plot and the theme and the storyline like the back of my hand. I have my hidden lessons and messages and ideas all outlined and ready to change some perceptions, but the process is a bit sticky. I don't want to fall into what's comfortable and write another Universe novel. I want this book to be different and stand on it's own.
So...Here I go, rewriting and all that jazz. Keep sending me those encouraging messages my friends... I'm going to need them.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
When I first wrote Sapphire Universe, I was a total dufis in the writing world.
That's right, I said dufis.
See, I knew absolutely NO ONE! I thought I did my research, I thought I was all set to go, but as it turns out...I knew nothing. My cover was paranormal looking, I edited my book myself (something I will NEVER do again) and I had no clue how to market.
You see I didn't really consider myself an author at first. I was just a small town girl who wrote a book because she loved it. I work full time, I'm a mom, and a military wife, so I had little to no time to dedicate to writing and marketing and networking...so...I was a little lost.
When I made it past 20 reviews I seriously flipped out. Really. 20. That's how newbie I was. I was happy that ANYONE read my book and liked it. AAAANNNND then some more experienced readers read my book, and some of them loved it...others...not so much.
I was okay with that. I was content. No biggy, I'm not really an author right? Well, then I met a few other newbie authors. Wow, you guys. These people are amazing. They supported me, read my books, gave me some much needed advice, and became life long friends.
THEN...I started thinking...Maybe...What if I really am an author? Could I really be like Colleen Hoover, or Jessica Park, or Jamie McGuire, or Jennifer Armentrout? Could I really one day have readers and followers who pine for my next books? Could I really make a difference in someone's life with my words?
Well, I'm a stubborn broad...and I love a challenge. So guess what guys...
I'm totally going for it.
Dark Universe is out now, and boy was that a roller coaser write. I moved houses, got sick, my sister barely missed having cancer by the skin of her teeth, my husband had surgery, my family had some drama, and I honestly didn't know if I was going to finish it. But I did. And I love this story.
I hope you do too.
Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU, to all of my readers, bloggers, and author buddies who have stuck by me and supported me. I seriously love you all with everything I have.
Now...Back to writing my heart out.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I thumb the button to turn the volume up, and continue on into the bathroom to wash the dirt and horse shit off my hands. The water turns a faint rusty red from all the fresh blisters. It stings like a mother fucker, but I smile remembering how I got them. Ruger is one hell of a firecracker. That young mare is going to be the best horse Wyoming has ever seen when I’m through with her. That day can’t come soon enough for me. I’ve dreamt of one thing my entire life. The Rodeo.
I cup my hands to capture some of the water to splash on my face. Fan-fucking-tastic. The cold water cools my sweat covered brow, and clears the dust out of my eyes. I run the hand towel down my face, and peel the lids back from my eyes stare at my reflection. It’s my father’s face, just younger. I have a picture in my room of him when he was just three years older than me. He’s perched on his horse, smiling for the camera before he gets ready to ride into the arena. You can’t even tell the difference between us in that picture. A lot of things have changed since then. He doesn’t smile anymore.
“WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!” My dad’s voice booms throughout the entire trailer, hell the entire park probably heard him. I’ve heard that tone enough times to know that the shit is about to hit the fan. I shove open the door and hear the knob go through the wall behind it. I don’t care. I’ll patch it up later. I walk over to my father who is standing over my mother. I walk, because if I rush over there like I want to, I could spook him. Dealing with Emerson in this mood is like approaching an angry rattle snake. If you make any sudden movements, you will get bitten.
“What’s going on Dad?” I say, assessing my small mother’s defensive position. Delilah Thomas is small, blonde and thin. And right now, she’s terrified.
“Drake, your momma seems to think she can just go runnin’ her mouth whenever the mood strikes her.” His eyes are still locked on his shaking wisp of a wife as he speaks to me. “Haven’t you ever heard not to bite the hand that feeds ya, Lil?”
“I didn’t mean anything by it, Emerson. I just said we were out of beer and…”
“And I told you to take that pretty little ass down to the store and get some more.” My father cuts my mother off mid-sentence. Her eyes flare a little and it reminds me that although my mother is obviously afraid of her husband, she hasn’t fully become the meek and obedient housewife my father expects her to be.
“And I told you, we don’t have the money to spend on another case. We barely made rent as it is Em.”
“Excuses! What have I told you about your God damn excuses Delilah? I gave up my life because you refused to get an abortion. I put a roof over your head and take care of you and your son, and all I ask is for some God damn respect!” My mother is so used to this speech she almost looks bored.
I know how she feels, because after fifteen years, I’m also totally numb to my father’s disappointment in his life and his family. When I was a boy who idolized his father, I would run to my room and lock the door so he wouldn’t see me crying. I don’t cry anymore, I haven’t for years. Thomas’ don’t cry; that’s for little girls and pussies. They do get angry however, and right now I’m angry for my mother. Why she puts up with him is beyond me. It’s not for the sake of her son that’s for sure, and I can’t bring myself to think it’s out of love. My father killed my mother’s love for him with his resentment a long time ago.
“You should be ashamed of yourself, Emerson Thomas. Your son is standing right there.” My mother puts her fists on her hips and glares at my father. Her defiant stance only enrages him further.
“Drake is a grown ass man; he knows exactly what goes on in this house Lil. It’s time you stopped babying him. Now you better get movin’ before I get really pissed.”
“That boy has never been babied one day in his any of his miserable fifteen years Em.”
I wish they would leave me out of this. When my father directs his anger on someone, it doesn’t divert from its original target no matter what. As much as I love her for it, I don’t need her to defend me, I can do that all on my own if I feel the need.
“Quit your bitchin’ and get movin’ Lil. I won’t tell you again.” My father waves his hand dismissively and starts to turn away, but my mother’s eyes light up with a bit of that old fire. I can see the defiance and anger take root in her posture and the words are out of her mouth before I can do anything to stop her from speaking.
“What about, there is no money, don’t you understand? Do I need to spell it out for you?” As though I have the ability to see into the future, the next five seconds play out in my head before it happens, but I’m too slow to act. My father’s hand swings up and across his body to slam knuckle side up into my mother’s cheek. My mother’s fragile body bows backwards with the force of the blow and her head hits the counter top before she crashes to the floor.
The sight of the only person who gives a damn about me sprawled motionless on the floor is like throwing a flame on gasoline. I erupt. As if there is no heart or brain in my body, as if I’m a machine with no other purpose, I attack. I don’t feel, I don’t see, I don’t hear, I don’t think. I act. I don’t feel my hands grip my father and throw him to the ground. I don’t see my fists connecting with his face in a fury. I don’t hear his grunts of pain. I don’t think about stopping. Nothing registers until I’m seized from behind and forced into a headlock by strong uniformed arms. I fight against my restraints for as long and as hard as I’m able to, until a soothing voice breaks through my concentration.
“It’s alright, Son, he’s down. Stop fighting us, we’re here to help.” The red haze clears a bit, and I look up into the familiar blue eyes of one the officers. I recognize him as one of the officers who responded to the last call from a worried neighbor. Although I can’t remember his name, I do remember his concern, and how he seemed almost reluctant to leave despite my mother’s insistence. I glance down to the name tape on his chest and see the name “Wheeler” etched on the black rectangle. He stares into my eyes for a moment, and nods his head, coaxing me to relax. When I finally stop struggling, I look down at the two motionless forms now side by side on the floor.
There is a pool of blood next to my mom’s head, and my father is unrecognizable. The policeman that’s not holding me puts his fingers to my mother’s pulse, and someone screams. I can’t hear what he is saying to the one holding me, because the screaming is so loud. I hear a groan from my father, and that’s when I realize the screaming is coming from me. I lunge for him again, and the officer barely manages to pull me away and handcuff me to the leg of the coffee table. EMT’s finally rush into the house, and I wait with bated breath.
Emerson is cuffed and taken out to the ambulance on a stretcher as the medics work to stabilize my mother. I hope they lock him away for good this time. Just as that thought crosses my mind, another more disturbing one follows in its wake. The fact he’s walking out of here at all doesn’t relieve or calm me. I wanted him dead. I wanted him out of this world and out of our lives for good. I hate him for what he’s done to me and my mother, and even though my rage has tempered, that feeling refuses to recede.
I close my eyes in attempt to block out the knowledge that stems from those unforgiving thoughts, but the truth refuses to be ignored. They can lock him away on the other side of the planet, but it will do no good. With his blood flowing through my veins, he’s free to hurt anyone who gets too close. After all, I am my father’s son.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Monday, May 6, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Friday, April 5, 2013
On another note I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read Sapphire Universe. Without my readers I wouldn't be anywhere. With the new wave of self-publishing and ebooks, Indie authors now have all the same possiblities as Traditional authors, but have one major hurdle to overcome; ...Getting people to buy and read a book from an unknown name. So, with that being said I have one favor to ask. If you have read Sapphire Universe then please take a couple minutes to write an honest review on the site you purchased it from. Reviews are an author's bread and butter and a great way to show your support for all the great Indies out there.
You all rock my socks off!!
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013
Loving someone is easy. It's natural. You can love someone with all your heart and not necessarily make it in a relationship. Relationships are hard. When you are with someone everyday and witness their faults and their mistakes on a daily basis, it's easy to take that love for granted and treat them as though they aren't the love of ...your life, or your #1 priority. Marriage takes more than love. It takes patience, understanding, support, and self reflection. You must put their feelings first and yours last and hope they do the same. You must fight for your marriage, while you fight with your spouse. You must wake up every morning and remind yourself why you married this special person, and how lucky you are they married you despite your faults. You must cherish every day, even the bad days, because the hardest things in life are the ones worth fighting for.
I love you baby,
You are worth fighting for,
We made it! ♥
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I have had two people on Goodreads add my book and then stop reading it to give it 1 or 2 stars because they thought it was a Paranormal Romance or an Urban Fantasy, only to discover that it was Contemporary Romance. I have even had people think it was a thriller or horror. This is not good. I do not want to mislead anyone.
Have you ever heard the saying, "Never judge a book by its cover?" Well that's a load of crap. EVERYONE judges books by their covers. It's what draws you in. First you pick a book that catches your eye, then you read the blurb, and then you read the reviews, and then you buy it. Almost everyone I know shops for books this way. It's human nature to single out the best looking item. And if you're out trolling for Contemporary Romance novels, you scan for books with a specific look to them. This can range from half naked men, to a sexy couple in a compromising position, to a simple picture of two people holding hands. There are lots of options, but for the most part there is a theme.
So, I have decided to have a professional make the cover for me. Actually, I had a new friend and author approach me about this, and it just so happens her husband is a graphic designer. Richard Luciano has graciously offered to design Sapphire Universe a brand spankin new cover!!! I am really VERY excited about this. I know there are some readers who love the current cover, but I really need to keep the book's best interest in mind. The good news is, I know you will all love the new one just as much if not way more, so we all win. If you want to see a sample of his work, check out his wife Beth Michele's book here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Beth-Michele-Author/198619836947212
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Monday, February 25, 2013
That's NOT all folks!! She is also hosting an ebook giveaway!! All you have to do is "like" my Facebook page and your in!!!
Check it out here:
Friday, February 22, 2013
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
“Are you saying there isn’t anything going on between us?” I whisper huskily. He freezes and I bite back my giggle. “Because I thought we had some serious…” I lick my lips and glance down at his. “…chemistry.” Drake looks down at my lips and swallows. I swear I see sweat trickle down his neck and he swallows again harshly, breaking my poker face. I burst out laughing and slap him on the shoulder. “You should see your face.” I stutter through my cackling. “You looked absolutely terrified!” Tears are now streaming down my face and I bend at the waist clutching my side in hysterics.
I finally stop laughing and manage to look at Drake and his eyes are smoldering. He steps forward and brings his hand to my face and brushes his thumbs across my cheeks. My skin flames under his touch and the air I was taking in gets stuck in my chest. “Lola.” He breathes, blowing his hot breath across my face, causing the skin on my neck to pebble deliciously. “You…” He pauses and leans in closer, still brushing my cheeks gently. He looks directly in my eyes and brings his other hand up to mirror the one he placed on my face. “…have mascara, all over your face.” He deadpans. Mother fucker!
I blink stupidly, before coming fully out of his trance. I just got punked. That bastard just beat me at my own game. Shit. This one is going to be a handful. I can’t wait.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
I am 7,000 words into book 2 which I have titled Dark Universe. This book will be centered around Lola and Drake from book 1. I have already finished the cover and will probably post some sort of challenge to get it posted early. And I'm hoping to have it published by November 2013.
I have started querying for representation and will wait patiently for the responses. The agents usually take anywhere from 4-8 weeks to respond so I'll just be keeping my fingers crossed.
Also I am in need of one more trusted beta reader. If you are interested in this please send me a message on Facebook with your name and location, your email address and an approximate number of books you read in a month and any other special qualities that you think would make you a good fit.
Much Love ♥
Monday, February 4, 2013
If you haven't already, be sure to go and purchase Sapphire Universe on Amazon or Smahswords for $2.99. This cheaper price wont last forever so get it while it's hot.
Much Love ♥
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Sapphire Universe is now available for purchase on Amazon and Smashwords for $2.99.
Here are the links: http://www.amazon.com/Sapphire-Universe-The-Series-ebook/dp/B00B9L2B56/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1359937156&sr=1-1&keywords=Sapphire+Universe and https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/279847
Smashwords sells all file types so you can read on practically any device.
Over the next week it will be distributed to Barns and Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo and other venders. I will post these links when as it happens.
I will only ask one thing of all my readers. PLEASE. Pretty please with a cherry on top, WRITE AN HONEST REVIEW. I don't care if you loved, hated, sort-a liked it or are indifferent. Tell me about it in a review.
I am so crazy excited for everyone to read this book and want to thank everyone who gives it a try.
In other news: The 49ers are going to kick some Raven ass.
Much love ♥
Thursday, January 31, 2013
My name is Devon Herrera and I live in Cheyenne, Wyoming where at some point in September , I decided to write a novel. I love romance, I mean come on, I'm a woman, so that's what I wrote. This has been the greatest experience so far in my life and I plan to write many, many more books.
This will be one of the places to stay updated on my writing and reading status. Yes I said reading. I read ALOT. If I read something so amazeballs that I have to tell everyone about it, it will be on here. I also have various other profiles on networking sites where my general doings will be posted. To check them out, click on the Connect With Devon Herrera Online tab at the top of the page.
Thank you to everyone who is supporting me and keeping in touch. You all mean the world to me.
Until next time folks.
Much Love ♥