Monday, June 24, 2013

Q & A with Bookouture founder, Oliver Rhodes by Lindsay J. Pryor


I’m so excited to have Oliver Rhodes with us on the Hot Pink Typewriter today. When I tentatively asked if he’d give up some of his time to be quizzed mercilessly by me, I was thrilled when he actually said yes.

For those who don’t know, Oliver Rhodes is the founder of Bookouture. He spent 10 years at Harlequin UK, where he was Marketing Controller and was chosen as one of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars of 2012. He regularly appears on The Romance University to give guidance and advice to authors. He was part of the Harlequin team that won The Bookseller’s Digital Strategy of the year award in 2012. His incredibly successful New Voices online author talent search won M&B the Bookseller’s Marketing Campaign of the Year 2011. He helped quadruple sales of Harlequin’s MIRA commercial fiction imprint in 5 years and establish authors such as Diane Chamberlain, Alex Kava, Debbie Macomber, Erica Spindler, Pam Jenoff, Maria V Snyder, Rachel Vincent, Elizabeth Flock, Anne O’Brien and Victoria Fox. Deep breath. That’s pretty impressive. Oh and, of course, let’s not forget he brought Blackthorn to the masses (not that I’m biased or anything). But seriously, let’s get the insight into this awesome publisher and his extremely exciting new venture…

Q) You had a hugely successful career as the Marketing Controller for Harlequin  UK. Why did you decide to go into business for yourself?

A) I think I could write a book on the answer to that question! But I shall try to keep it succinct…

A lot of business opportunities start with a problem: 

Publishing isn’t just about editing and book covers. Yet I felt that for a lot of authors – both those within traditional publishers and digital publishers, that was all that they were being offered.

With millions of other books to compete with, I don’t think that approach works unless the author is excellent at self-promotion. It might work for publishers, who take on enough titles to ensure that they back some winners, but I didn’t feel that it added enough value to authors.

I had a vision of how I’d run a digital publisher if I were starting from scratch, without the constraints of working within a bigger publisher – and Bookouture grew from there.

I knew that if I didn’t take the opportunity to test that vision I would regret it.

Q) Why romance and women’s fiction?

A) Both because that is where my experience lies and because those readers are furthest ahead in terms of the shift to reading digitally – it just made perfect sense. 

Also, the romance genre in particular is really well served by a very active blogging community – which makes it easier for us to add value to an author in terms of getting publicity.

Q) You have a very eclectic range of authors in terms of the books you’ve chosen to publish – paranormal, Indian, humorous, contemporary, New Adult... was that always your intention?

A) My focus was solely on working with the authors who I thought had the most potential. Very broadly the aim is commercial fiction aimed at women – similar to the MIRA list that I helped build at Harlequin.

It wasn’t a conscious decision to go with such a range – these were simply the manuscripts that got me most excited.

Q)  You have an open brief when it comes to submissions. Why?

A) With the concept of bespoke publishing we simply don’t need our submissions to be all of the same genre, or word-count, because we’re marketing that author individually.

It’s also worth saying that when I was setting up Bookouture, I looked around at other publisher’s websites and submission guidelines. I found the tone and the number of ‘don’ts’ to be quite off-putting – almost as if they were trying to make it difficult for authors.

I wanted to keep the submission procedure for Bookouture simple, open and approachable.

Q) What’s unique about Bookouture (and what first attracted me) is that you fit your publishing around the author, as opposed to the other way around. Is that not a bit challenging?

A) To me, developing a bespoke approach to each author is essential if we’re to do the best job of publishing that we can. Applying a template cuts corners and I think creates a danger of not developing or selling effectively what is unique about that author’s voice or story. 

With so many more books available than ever before I think a bespoke approach is essential to stand out.

As for being challenging, I actually find the variety it involves to be what I like best about the job – and we published a wide range of fiction at Harlequin, so I’m also pretty used to it!

Q) Deciding which authors to sign must be a big thing for you. Your business depends on you making the right choices. How stressful is it making those decisions?

A) Saying no is hard. The part of my job that I like least is sending rejection e-mails, and there have been some talented authors that we’ve turned down. And there are always a few that I wonder whether I made the right call on.

Saying yes is easy. I haven’t yet found making a decision to actually sign an author difficult. In each case there has been something about the story or voice that has grabbed me.

When I get that feeling I have a strong vision for the book – I know what we can do in terms of positioning, cover design and promotion – and I start to get excited about the potential. 

Q) You’ve had a LOT of submissions, agented and unagented, debut authors as well as those who have sold tens of thousands of books. Do those kinds of credentials/lack of them affect your decision-making?

A) Essentially, there needs to be something there that makes me think that we could make a success of that book.

The most important thing is the quality of the manuscript – and other factors (or lack of them) don’t influence our decisions in a negative sense if a manuscript is great. I think you can see that from the fact that most of the authors that we’ve taken on so far have been debuts.

Having said that, factors such as an established sales history or author platform are definitely persuasive because they increase the chances of success.

Q)  What’s your thinking process as you’re reading a manuscript? Do you start making judgments early on? Do you wait until you’ve seen the story unfurl completely? Basically, is it true that editors/publishers decide within the first few paragraphs?

A) For me, it’s easy to decide if it’s an obvious ‘no’ within a few paragraphs. From there, basically the better something is, the further I will read. If I get a few chapters in and I think there is potential, I will send it to one of our Editors for a second opinion.

Q) A great story is one thing, but what other qualities or skills do you look for in your authors?

A) The writing really is absolutely the most important thing, and nothing else is required, other than perhaps openness to feedback.  As I say, things like influence on social media can have a positive impact, but not a negative one.

In terms of marketing, people often forget that the product (or story in this case) is the most important element. I always say that if you write a good book, you’ll be able to sell it – if you write a great book, readers will sell it for you.

Q) Can you summarise what makes an author ‘ideal’ to work with?

A) I’d never thought about that – and it’s a difficult question because every author is different and you form a working relationship that seeks to make the most of their strengths.

In terms of writing I think creativity, a focus on delivering what readers want and being open to feedback are the key things. Being able to write and revise quickly also helps!

Q)  You work with some of the best editorial, design and marketing professionals in the business. How do you match your designers/editors to your authors?

A) That’s a good question, and one I had to think about as most of the time I just ‘know’ by instinct.  Designers tend to have styles that can make them a good fit for certain genres or for a look that you’re hoping to achieve. In a way the same is true of editors but, because they’ll be working directly with the author, personality can come into it to.

Q) All of your authors speak extremely highly of you and are very open with their praise. How does that make you feel?

A) It’s very rewarding, and I really appreciate it. I take is as a sign that we must be doing something right!

Q)  You very much have your finger on the pulse. Some publishers are still slow to catch up with the eBook revolution. I know you offer print on demand books, but why do you have so much passion for eBooks?

A) Because they are the future. Because the model of publishing is so much more efficient and quicker.  Because pricing is much more fluid. Because publishing becomes more about marketing to consumers and less about influencing a supermarket to stock your book. Because promotions are much more measurable. Because reaching a global audience is easier than ever before. I could go on…

At the heart of it, eBooks simply offer a better deal to the reader in terms of price, convenience and choice. I think that’s a very exciting proposition to be working with.

Q) Authors are becoming increasingly more business savvy as to what might be the best deal for them and their work. Is that a good thing or a bad thing for the future of publishing? And for readers?

A) I actually did a post on a similar topic over at Romance University recently http://romanceuniversity.org/2013/06/21/how-to-choose-the-right-publishing-option-for-you-by-oliver-rhodes/

I think it’s a great thing for both publishing and readers. It forces publishers to concentrate on adding value to authors and to justify exactly how they are going to do that. The good ones shouldn’t be afraid of that.

It’s also a pressure for publishers to continue to adapt to the adjusting digital landscape. There’s a quote from Mark Sanborn (a business guru) that I love – and that I think very much applies to publishing at the moment:

"Your success in life isn't based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers and business."

That’s another reason that I founded Bookouture, because I knew that I’d be able to innovate and learn quickly.

Q) What are your hopes for Bookouture? 

A) I want to carry on creating publishing that I’m proud of. I want to achieve what I think is possible in terms of sales with the authors that we have and to gradually add to our author base. 

We’re still just starting out so we need to be focused, but I want us to be a publisher that adapts, learns and flourishes. My aim is for us to be the best of the new generation of publishers.

You can find out more about Bookouture here or by viewing the trailer below:

Thanks so much again for joining us, Oliver! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Capturing Lightning, by Natalie Charles

I read this on the Internet, so it must be true: when readers select a book, they first look at the cover, then the back copy, then the first chapter. That seems reasonable to me because that's how I buy my books. I'm a Kindle sample queen, and if a writer doesn't hook me with that sample, I'll probably keep looking. If a writer manages to get my heart racing in the first paragraph, I'm happier than a kid with an ice cream sundae, and I'll buy that book in no seconds flat. I confess to buying a selective few books on concept alone, most recently Michael Connelly's The Lincoln Lawyer. A lawyer who operates his law firm from the back of his Lincoln Town Car? Sold.

As a writer, I wouldn't say that I analyze market trends when plotting my next book, but recently I've been thinking about what readers look for when they select their reading material. I'd imagine genre plays an important initial role. Sometimes you're just in the mood for a contemporary romance or a thriller. Then, of course, there's name recognition. Certain authors consistently deliver excellent books. But aside from that, how can an author stand out from the rest of the crowd?

I have some thoughts.

Incorporate a high concept premise - I've seen "high concept" (not to be confused with high brow) described in terms of how easily a book concept may be summarized. But high concept is more than a hook, and it's more than being able to create a quick, down and dirty summary of your book. High concept plots appeal to something in our collective consciousness. A high concept premise delivers a promise to a reader, and the reader understands that promise almost immediately, and without a great deal of additional explanation.

For example, "A boy attends wizard school" is a high concept premise, while "A young girl comes of age and falls in love" is not. See the difference? Both can be easily summarized, but with nothing more, we have an idea of what the first book is about. It promises magic and incorporates something with which we all have experience: school. Except that wizard school promises to be awesome. The second premise is too vague -- "coming of age" and "falling in love" could describe a thousand different books in lots of different genres.

Basically, a high concept premise appeals to a pre-existing interest in the reader. It's that book that makes you not only think, "I've been wanting to read something like this for a while but didn't realize it until this moment," but, "Why didn't I think of that?"

Have a killer opening - If books sell based on samples and first chapters, then this is no place to slouch. You've got a few paragraphs -- pages at the most -- to draw your reader into your world. This is valuable real estate, and I like to avoid backstory and setting descriptions and cut right to the action. The first sentence should make someone want to read the second, and the second should make them want to read the third. If you're looking for some opening line inspiration, you could start here. My best advice? Make your opening the last part of the book you write.

Really, all of this boils down to concept and writing style, which sounds beautifully simple, doesn't it? "Hey, just find a great concept and make sure your writing is superb, and you'll have a bestseller! You're welcome." In truth, it's a bit like capturing lightning in a bottle.


So what is my list missing? What was the last amazing book you read, and what made it so amazing?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

After The Call: Line Edits, by Olivia Miles

Today I'm moving on to the second installment of my After "The Call" series, where we discuss all the work that continues after you sell your book.

I recently wrapped up my line edits for my first Harlequin Special Edition book, 'Twas the Week Before Christmas. I sold this book quite a while ago, and I've written a few more since, and therefore it had been some time since I read over the manuscript. When my editor sent it back to me, it was as if I was reading it for the first time! In some ways, this was to my advantage, as it allowed me to really step back and review the book with a more critical eye. 

The line edit is essentially a marked-up copy of your book, wherein your editor will tighten any prose, question anything that seems confusing, suggest deletions, word replacements, or maybe ask you to elaborate on a specific point. Whereas the revisions are more broad in scope, the line edit is much more detailed. And see, the thing is that I could just get nit picky for weeks... But ah, see, that's another thing that comes After "The Call": deadlines.

I learned a few things going through my line edit - things like words I over use. The exercise itself was great, and it will only improve my future work before I ever get to the line edit stage. It was also reassuring to have the opportunity to scrutinize the manuscript again and to be able to make changes when asked, or where I thought just needed to happen for my long-term sanity.

I spent more hours than I had anticipated on that line edit, knowing this was the last chance I had to change a word here, delete a sentence there. The AA's (Author Approvals) have landed in my inbox, and it won't be the same experience. For the most part, I will be forced to sit on my hands, trust what's there, and live with it. So why does that somehow feel like a greater challenge than writing the book in the first place?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Q & A with Annie Seaton by Rachel Lyndhurst

I'm thrilled to welcome fellow Entangled author, Annie Seaton onto the blog today. Her latest book, ITALIAN AFFAIR, was released just two days ago and it's a beauty! 


Free-spirited sex therapist Brianna Ballantine has four days to find a fiancĂ© so she can inherit her birth mother’s Italian villa. Commitment is not on the agenda. Writing her sex therapy book and signing legal papers are. And once all is said and done, she’ll return home to Scotland.

For finance guru Tomas Richards, relationships have been a bad investment—give him stocks and shares any day. When Tomas offers a marriage of convenience to help Brianna secure her inheritance, the sizzle between the sheets promises an affair to remember, despite family complications at every turn.

But Tom must convince Brianna to stay, and make this Italian affair a lifelong commitment.


So, now I get to be very nosy with some questions ...


Welcome to The Hot Pink Typewriter, Annie! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
When I retired from full time work as a high school principal a couple of years ago I put on a few new hats. I am a writer, an editor, a nanny (as in a granny) a tutor, a wife, a gardener, and the owner of a large dog who needs a walk on the beach every day... oh and I don’t sleep.

Wow! You’re one busy lady, are you a naturally disciplined writer? Or do you have any tips you can share about keeping the word count flowing and meeting those crunch deadlines?
I have a fridge magnet that says ‘if it wasn’t for the last minute nothing would get done in this house!’ That applies to my writing too—I write best under pressure when I know a deadline is looming.

My biggest problem is the necessary evil of social networking for promotion. It can be such a time waster. So when I have a deadline, I don’t allow myself to peek until I have written 1000 words. If the deadline is really close, I make myself go 5000 words before I dip into the online world!

What sub-genres of romance do you write and why?
I write mainly contemporary now, as that is where the contracts have appeared from the contract fairy. But my first love is historical romance... and I am trying hard to find the time between books to pursue that love of history in my romance writing.

I flit in and out of the steampunk genre... I had never heard of it until I saw a call for a competition about three years ago. I did the research and fell in love with the freedom of world building, alternative history and creating techno-contraptions.

Where do you do your best work?
I sit in a lovely cane chair near a window which looks out over the ocean. Water is my element and the view inspires the words. The winter sunshine bathes my back and it is very easy to imagine exotic settings in such beautiful surroundings.

Your latest novel, Italian Affair was just released, congratulations! Can you tell our readers what they can expect of it?
Italian Affair is the story of two very different people who have very set ideas...or so they believe... of what they expect out of life. Each is a little flawed by their past experiences. I had great fun setting them up so they had no choice but to fall in love. And then that is the dilemma for both of them. The cover quote says it all... I hope readers will ‘laugh, cry and sigh!’

Your latest release Italian Affair is your second Indulgence release, and I know it’s early days, but was this experience different/similar to the release of Holiday Affair?
Holiday Affair was my first real contemporary release and I had had no experience of the publishing world. I was so green, I didn’t realise that getting to #364 on Amazon was such an achievement for a debut book! Now that I know the industry almost inside out, I am an obsessive statistic checker. Now that I have a few books to check by the... er... hour... er.. .half hour, I may get no words done in a day!

The dedication at the front of Italian Affair is deeply intriguing, can you tell us more about this and the inspiration behind the story?
Tom, the middle brother in Holiday Affair needed to find his happy ever after and I mulled over his problem and what sort of woman he would need to fall in love with, to complete his happiness.

Now, for those of you who have read Holiday Affair, you will remember Tom as a bit of a stuffed shirt, as one reviewer of Italian Affair described him! Tom needed someone who was free spirited, who could tease him, but who would also fall in love with the wonderful man he is.

Inspiration came to me through a very dear friend and I have dedicated Italian Affair to this friend, Melissa Lulham. As writers we take very little time away from our keyboards and don’t have the time for pampering ourselves. My secret weakness for pampering myself is having a facial—it does wonders for the stiff neck from sitting at a keyboard all day. Melissa is a beauty therapist and one day as I lay back with gunk on my face and cucumber on my eyes, she told me how she had discovered her birth grandfather on Lipari Island.
My eyes flew open, the cucumber went flying and Brianna Ballantyne was born in that moment. Free spirited and with an urgent need to find a husband in four days, she meets Tom on the plane on the way to Italy. And that is where their story begins. I adore this book. I have learned and developed so much as a writer over the past couple of years; I hope everyone enjoys their story as much as I do

The descriptions of Lipari are so evocative, have you been there yourself?
No...not yet. I do plan to travel there next year. I relied on Melissa’s descriptions ...and Google Earth is amazing as a research tool for settings. Being a historian and a librarian for many years, I know the value of research and I do research all of my settings down as far as the types of cobblestones in the square. The only thing you can’t capture without a visit is the smells!

If you could go anywhere in the world right now to research your next book where would that be?
New Orleans has always called to me. I am planning my historical and it begins in a fire in New Orleans in 1794...so I think a trip to the RT conference next year in New Orleans is a must do!

Can you summarize Italian Affair for us Twitter-style (140 characters or less)?
Stuffy, stitched-up, list-making Tom and sassy, vulnerable Brianna confront change, family ties and finding the right person to love.

For a bit of fun, can you open your book to a random point and tell us what’s happening?
A rhythmic creaking sound drifted in through the open window, and he lifted his head away from her hair and turned to the sound. The grating of a key in the metal gate on the back balcony followed. He shook Brianna’s shoulder when he heard a voice call out, “Allo? Allo?”
Brianna,” he whispered. “There’s somebody in the kitchen.”
What?” She sat up and smiled at him, her expression relaxed and contented.
There’s somebody in the kitchen.” His words were confirmed by the running of water and the clanging of dishes in the sink. Then a quavering female voice burst into song. Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, Ting-a-ling-a-ling and you’ll sing, ‘Vita bella’
Tom and Brianna have finally ended up in bed and are interrupted by the arrival of the second person that she meets in her blood family... Great Aunt Maria!

Do you have a favourite scene in Italian Affair?
The final scene where Tom is waiting for Brianna to come home to him, not knowing what the outcome will be, is one of my favourites. An astute reader will see the parallels to the first time Tom sees Brianna at the airport in Sydney.

What is next on your writing and publication schedule?
Oh... deep breath...and then expelled in a huge sigh.
I think I am a mad woman!
I have three books completed and in edits with Entangled Publishing. Outback Affair which follows Holiday Affair and Italian Affair, is complete and with my editor. Worth the Wait is the first book in a three book Bliss imprint series and is in edits. Dangerous Desire is a romantic suspense and I am just waiting for the cover; it will be out in September. I am also writing a paranormal for the Covet imprint which is due to my editor before we go off on our outback adventure in a couple of weeks. I also have other news which I can’t reveal yet but is my favourite genre above!

If you could have dinner with any three authors, who would you choose and why? And what would be on the menu?!
Well... the menu is easy.
I would invite them into my home and serve them fresh fish as that is what we live on here on the coast! Served with lots of lovely Australian white wine and followed by Pavlova!
The dinner party would be made up of: Nora Roberts as I would want to know how she disciplines herself to be so productive; Sharon Penman... to find out how she completes her historical research and Ian Rankin so I could listen to his lovely Scottish accent!

Thanks so much for joining us here today, Annie, we wish you many sales and lots of luck with all your up and coming projects.

You can find out more about Annie on her website and the buy links for ITALIAN AFFAIR are:


  



Monday, June 10, 2013

Beating The Clock by Jennifer Faye

As you can tell by the time this post is going up that this week the clock is being me. *sigh*

Sometimes it works out that way. Family obligations overtake work deadlines. This is a shining example.

But most times, I can hit my deadlines. This month and next month will put me to the test as my debut, RANCHER TO THE RESCUE, releases July 1st and I embark on my first ever blog tour. It’s a little intimidating, a bit overwhelming and a lot exciting. :-)

And while all of this is going on, I’m back on deadline. So how do I beat the clock and get my newest manuscript turned in on time?

It all started years ago when I started doing NaNo. And it doesn’t hurt that I came from a background of statistical work which relied heavily on spreadsheets. So every time I have a deadline, I set up a spreadsheet.

I use a calendar format and make it big enough to encompass the beginning and ending dates. Then I simply add formulas to calculate how many words I write each day, how many words minimum I must write to finish by my deadline.



Since I’m sort of a #’s freak, I love updating the spreadsheet and seeing my percentage finished climb. When I’m writing, I generally update it each time I save my manuscript. What can I say? It’s the simple things that entertain me. :-)

How about you? What keeps you on track?







Jennifer Faye’s debut, RANCHER TO THE RESCUE, is available NOW at Harlequin.com. Or it’s up for Pre-order at Amazon & B&N. She’d love to hear from you via Twitter, her website, or Facebook.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The People-Pleaser Learns a Lesson, by Victoria James

I'm a people pleaser. I'm one of those people who has a hard time saying no. I like making friends, family members, readers, editors, etc. happy. Two young children and ageing parents ensure that there is always someone in need of something. I hate letting people down and often will take on more than I can realistically handle. But somehow I find a way to get it all done, and I get an enormous high when I do. I know this is something many people can relate too-especially moms. Usually, I somehow find a way to swing it. Well, the last month has been a huge lesson for me...

I had a hundred balls in the air, and this was the first time in a long time I wasn't able to juggle. I got sick, and in typical 'mom' fashion I just ignored it and kept going, full speed ahead (thank you, coffee addiction). Anyway, my husband finally convinced me to go the walk-in clinic (I didn't bother making an appointment with my regular doctor-because who has the time, right?). I received a prescription for antibiotics five minutes later and was on my way. Or so I thought. A few days later I was getting progressively worse and in between popping antibiotics was chugging coffee and Advil's.

That Saturday night, I was at Whole Foods with my son picking up some takeout because we had friends coming over for dinner and I was too wiped to cook (see, that was what I thought was taking it easy. It didn't even occur to me to cancel). Anyway, food bought, on our way to the parking lot and I just stopped. Suddenly, it was like all the pain I was denying I was in, couldn't be hidden anymore. All I could feel was the intense throbbing in my cheekbone, like someone had taken a chisel to it and was carving out a new mountain. I had a hard time making conversation with my son (luckily, he talks a mile a minute and barely noticed) and the drive home took intense concentration. We arrived home, I dropped the groceries on the kitchen floor and mumbled to my husband that I needed to sit. Kids were scavenging through the bags (every time groceries come home, it seems they turn into these ravenous little monsters who haven't seen a morsel of food in days) and the noise level was reaching a disastrous level. I was having a hard time concentrating on anything, even simple conversation. Hubby put the kids to bed and then tried to figure out what was wrong with me. My symptoms were all over the place-my cheekbone killed, my teeth ached, my 'bite' had changed and I couldn't line up my teeth properly, and I felt despondent. The poor guy thought I was having a stroke. We did cancel on those friends, and I went to bed (without eating a scrap of that delicious takeout-a true sign something was wrong). The next morning at the urging of a friend who's had a root canal recently, I called the 'after hours' number on the back of the dentist's business card and explained my symptoms. At this point I really thought I was dealing with a root canal. It sounded like that to him as well-considering the tooth movement-and he prescribed an antibiotic and said to go see him next week. This was somewhat reassuring and frightening at the same time because I'm totally afraid of dentists and dental work. I just realized how long this post is going on...sorry, will try and wrap this up!

These antibiotics were starting to work and by the time I went to the dentist a few days later I was beginning to feel human again. He took X-rays and saw...nothing. Nothing. Then he examined my mouth-my bite had changed, because a tooth (the one I thought was infected) had lowered in much the way it does when the root is infected. Anyway, as he's looking inside my mouth he asks me if I'm under a lot of stress. Hmm. What was I supposed to say? I'm a romance novelist, small-business owner, and mom? I felt a little ridiculous. So I just kind of shrugged and he told me I was grinding my teeth and had actually shifted that tooth. He then shaved off some enamel so that tooth would be even and I need to go back for a follow-up. That medication he prescribed was working for my sinus infection and after a visit to my regular doctor-and some more X-rays/ultrasound, found my left sinus blocked. I received a referral to a specialist and now it's wait and see. Fingers crossed this will clear up and sinus surgery isn't a must.

So, very long, long story, short? Don't ignore your body-get whatever it is dealt with as quickly as possible and take the time to rest. Don't feel guilty for admitting you can't do something (this is the hardest-I still feel horrible for asking for help). I cut out all social media for a few weeks (that feels very strange actually). I was honest with my agent and editor who were very understanding and now I'm playing catch-up. Take some time for yourself-go for a walk, take a bike ride, get yourself some flowers if no one else buys them for you :)

I'm so grateful to be feeling well again...and I'm trying to say no to the five thousand requests I get on a daily basis to help someone out with something...um, that being said, I'd better run: the two-year-old has just whacked older brother on the head with Hello Kitty dollhouse...