These Are the Moments

These Are the Moments Book Launch Party

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Okay, now that the world has stopped for just a moment or two, I can finally tell you about the amazing book launch party I had in my hometown. And also get a little sappy about how I'm a published author now . . . someone get me a soap box.

But first, I need to thank you. Yes, you. If you've read my book or bought it or posted a review, I'm so grateful to you. I'm unbelievably amazed by the power of this community and I can't thank you enough. *showers confetti on your head*

Okay, let's recap:

Book Launch Party

In Covington, Louisiana, which also happens to be the setting of These Are the Moments, a girl put on a red dress and her red lipstick. Hint: this is me. With 120 books in the backseat, my mother, sister and I drove off to the Southern Hotel which was kind enough to host us for the evening. There was wine. There were nerves. But most importantly, there were books that needed good homes.

As 5:30 neared, a couple walked out of the bar and stopped to look at my poster.

"What's this?" stranger man asked.

"Oh," I said, caught off guard. "This is a book. I wrote it." Eloquent, let me tell you.

He takes out his wallet. "You're local. So you're family."

I awkwardly hover over the table and sign my name. I sold a book. I watched him and his wife leave with my words tucked under his jacket. And I wanted to remember that feeling forever.

If I could put that night into words, I would need a whole book to do it. I signed over 91 books that night. I watched as my family and friends reveled over the cover, gently opening to see what I'd written to them inside. If there was one prominent feeling, one single and solitary emotion I can pinpoint, it was love. I'd never felt so much love and support in my entire life.

Thank you, Covington. Thank you for raising me. Thank you for loving me.

Book Launch Day

Aside from my friends and family, my Twitter tribe is amazing. In little over a year of blogging, I've made incredible friends that were excited right along with me, tweeting confetti emojis, and sending me pictures of their shipping notifications. (Shoutout to Brett from The Prodigal Sister.)

I couldn't really prepare myself for all of the friendship. Honestly, I'm a very lucky girl. And if you're reading this, know that I'm so thankful. I do not take a second for granted.

So if you're curious about sales, allow me to be straight-up with you. Here are my sales to date:

  1. Book Launch Party: 91 copies sold. Additionally, I sold about 6 copies in-person post-party.
  2. Ebooks through Kindle Direct Publishing: 25 ebooks sold.
  3. Print copies through Createspace: 19 copies sold.

Not too shabby for less than a week of publication. If you'd like me to create sales reports for this blog to help you learn more about how I sell and the steps I take to sell more, please comment below. I'd be happy to provide income reports.

Praise for #TATM

It's one thing to write a book and sell it. It's another to have people actually like it. There has been so much love for this little book so far, and even though it's not your typical, happy-go-lucky romance, I think that makes it all the more special.

I'm not going to sit here and rave about my own book. But I do want to honor those who took the time to write a review. If I'm missing anyone, please comment with your review link below.

  1. She's Novel Featured Lady. Thank you, Kristen, for the honor!
  2. Huffington Post Summer Reading List: Romance for Real Girls. Katie Li, you are magnificent.
  3. 125Pages. 4.2 stars from Laura Nagore.
  4. A Time 2 Write Guest Post. Thanks to Abi for letting me host her blog for the day.
  5. Books and Ladders Review. Wonderful to meet Jamie and so happy she enjoyed the story.
  6. Write Like Rowling Review. Thanks to C.S.!
  7. Better Novel Project. Christine is my girl. Go check out her amazing TATM fan art.
  8. Writer's Edit. I'm so thankful to Writer's Edit for publishing my first short story. They're incredibly supportive and interviewed me for their blog!

Now, back to the notebooks. I've got a second book to write.

Ten Reasons You Will Love These Are the Moments

Keeping up with all the #TATM news? We're only a week away from the These Are the Moments release on May 26th! 

Happy #TATM week! I have so many fun things to share with you this week from a Goodreads giveaway to a Twitter chat tomorrow night—join me at 8:30/7:30c to talk #TATM trivia. This weekend, I sat in my bed holding my book and I had a thought: "This is just the start."

If you're a writer or a reader or a dreamer in general, I hope you know how possible your hopes are. I wanted to share with you a few personal tidbits of my story, and why I think this is a book you'll love. These Are the Moments is a story for everyone. (But mostly cool, awesome people like you.)

Just for a refresher, here's the book blurb again:

You can't go back. You can't go back. You can't go back.

Ten years ago, Wendy Lake fell in love with Simon Guidry, who grew up and went away. Now, not much has changed. She's back at home, back from college, almost back to normal. Until Wendy's best friend gets engaged, sending Simon ricocheting back into her life, and leaving Wendy with the questions she's been struggling to ignore.

Do people ever really change? Do two people, who can never make it work, actually make it right? And most importantly, does she even want to?

And now, ten reasons why you'll love this book:

You'll love #TATM if you love love stories

How many times can I say that in one sentence, huh? If you enjoy a good tear-jerking, life-affirming love story, then this is the book for you. It's part young adult, part new adult, and all parts emotion. As a reviewer put, "[Jenny Bravo] created characters that not only rooted for each other, but had the reader really rooting for them."

You'll love #TATM if you have a best friend

You know your best friend? The one who doesn't judge you for not wearing pants? These Are the Moments features best friend trio Wendy, Vivian and Reese, who ask serious questions like, Do you feel engaged? and I have to think about weddings now? Like plan and shit? Trust me. You're gonna love 'em.

You'll love #TATM if you're a twenty-something

If you're in that what-am-I-doing-with-my-life stage where you're somewhere between a full-time job and taking a mid-day nap, then yeah, you'll love this book. Wendy works a dead-end job, lives at home, and eats a lunch that her mom packs for her. Feeling good about yourself yet?

You'll love #TATM if you're a teenager

Since These Are the Moments is a book told in dual timelines, you get to see the awkward high school years, and it's pretty fun. Get excited for prom pictures, first dates and house parties. Also kitten heels. Remember those?

You'll love #TATM if you've had your heart broken

Okay, no spoilers. But let's just say someone in the novel breaks someone's heart at some point in time. Heavy stuff, my friends.

You'll love #TATM if you like Rainbow Rowell

This is probably one of the biggest compliments I've received. A friend wrote, "Her writing style made the book really easy and enjoyable to read, and reminded me of Rainbow Rowell or John Green."

You'll love #TATM if you have a sibling

If you've been keeping up with the prequel, you already know Claudia is Wendy's sister. Six years apart, they don't have much in common . . . until they do. Well, you'll see.

You'll love #TATM if you've ever been in love

First love. Can't-get-over love. Forever love. If you've ever felt an inkling of love-like feeling, These are the Moments is up your alley. There's Wendy and Simon, Claudia and Casey, and Owen and Vivian. In other words, something for everyone.

You'll love #TATM if you like weddings

If you're weepy over I do's, then break out the tissues for Owen and Vivian's beach wedding. Add in some drama, some champagne, and we have what I call a book finale.

You'll love #TATM if you like me

Maybe you're my Twitter friend. Maybe you're my best friend from college. Maybe you are just meeting me for the first time. (In which case, hello there, you look lovely.) If you like me or the way I write on this blog, I feel pretty confident in saying that you'll like my book. *Fingers crossed.*

These Are the Moments Book Cover Reveal

The happiest of Mondays to you all! So, this week is a pretty big week for me, and I'm so happy to finally share with you the cover of my first novel, These Are the Moments. If you've been tuning into my Twitter/blog/newsletters for a while now, then this is a pretty exciting moment. Moment, get it? Let me take you back to when I first revealed the book title. Wow. It's finally real!

Since we're not going to have a "true" post today, I just wanted to take a breather and celebrate this incredible day with you. Let's get a little nostalgic. Let's break out the tissues:

On Ordering My First Proof

So this weekend, I finished making all of the proofreading edits from the lovely Miranda Martin and wrote my dedication and acknowledgments. Note: when reading the acknowledgments, picture me two glasses of champagne deep at 2:00 in the morning. Yep, that happened.

With Createspace, you have a 24 hour window that they take to approve your cover and your interior files before you can order the first copy. So naturally, I spent my Sunday refreshing my email on my phone. I got the email around noon and proceeded to jump up and down as I submitted my credit card info, for my book to arrive this Wednesday.

On Receiving My Book Cover Design

Let's flashback to Easter weekend. I knew that I would receive the four proofs for my book cover design on that Monday, so I couldn't sleep on Sunday. Around 5 in the morning, I checked my phone. Groggy. Barely awake. And there was the email. You know how sometimes you feel like your heart catches in your chest and you just need to lie on the floor? Yep, that was me.

I loved them all, but the one above struck me immediately. I thought, it's like Rainbow Rowell, and more than anything I could have ever thought up in my non-visual brain. I woke up my mom to make her look at them with me. This was it. I was an official author.

On Sharing My Journey With You

This blog has been such a gift. And maybe that's cheesy, and maybe that's okay. I never could have dreamed how valuable it is to have a place to visit every week, where I can share updates about my book journey, and hopefully help you a little with yours. I was so nervous when I shared the first scene. And now, I share scenes from the prequel every single week.

There are some of you who are regular readers, and I want to thank you for that. Your time is valuable and the fact that you pencil me in at all blows my mind. I've come to know some of you personally, and every week, I'll think, oh, Brett is going to love this scene or I can't wait to read Karah's comments! I am blessed beyond measure.

I can't wait until May 26th, when you get to hold the book in your hands. This journey is beautiful, and we're just starting.

Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you.

New TATM Scene: Wendy's Blind Date

Happy almost Valentine's Day! On Monday, you voted from a choice of three new scenes and your voices were heard. Today, I give to you the Wendy blind date scene, in celebration of the novel being in my editor's hands.

This scene takes place in the present timeline, when Wendy's best friend Reese encourages her to try to find a date for their other friend's wedding. And without further adieu….

Wendy's Blind Date

Wendy didn’t know how to date someone she didn’t know. She realized this halfway to the restaurant, mid-lyric of a country song. She wasn’t quite sure where to put her hands. Clasped together in her lap made them sweat, crossed over her chest sent the I’m pissed off message and she had no idea how to make herself look like an actual human being. Since when were hands so awkward?

Everything about Gray Fulton screamed man. He smelled like aftershave; and in his hair, he wore a gel or a mousse, which made it Ken doll stiff and shiny. There was a slight lean in the way he drove his car, a kind of cool comfort.

He took her to Sander’s, a fancy steakhouse that Mom and Dad took the family to for special occasions. On cue, Dad would always say, “I really need to teach y’all how to make hollandaise,” which he promptly forgot by the drive home.

Gray Fulton did all of the gentlemanly things boys are supposed to do: door-opening, chair-pulling and jacket-taking. Wendy knew girls were supposed to want these things, but it always made her feel like a show horse, like something to parade around a group of judges. Look at her, isn’t she a byoot?

“Wine?” he asked her.

“Absolutely,” she said.

Boys who bought her wine received high marks in her book. She loved wine. Red, mostly. But even though she loved wine, she still felt strange ordering it, like she was breaking some kind of rule. She wasn’t, she reminded herself. She had an ID to prove it.

What did one talk about on a date? Did you start with light conversation about your job or did you start even simpler with a nice weather type of comment?

The waiter brought the wine. Good, Wendy thought, Something to hold.

“So tell me about yourself,” Gray asked her.

This was most likely the hardest question he could have drawn from the question hat. She laughed uncomfortably and countered with, “What do you want to know?”

He didn’t know what to do with this response. He straightened his tie. Oh yeah, he was wearing a tie. “The basics, I suppose.”

That’s when Wendy realized that Gray Fulton, despite his gentlemanly check marks and quaffed hair, lacked an essential component to any and all Wendy contenders: a personality. Namely, a sense of humor/an awareness of social cues.

“Well, I work at a law firm,” she started. Basics only. Simplistic personality traits. “I graduated with a double major in art and business. I live with my parents.”

He kept pulling at his tie, like a dog with a collar. He coughed a little. “Cool.”

One word. No elaboration. Another observation about Gray Fulton: he had no propensity for conversations with females. Or maybe conversations at all.

“How about you?” she asked.

He muttered something about being in IT, then something else about living in New Orleans. He said all of this while biting on his bottom lip, nay, chewing, and the words had to maneuver themselves around this impediment, making them sound more like grunts than actual syllables.

Wendy nodded, gulping down her wine. “That’s great.”

She had no idea what was great, but the silence was a jarring. She was dating silence, and it just sat there sprawled out on the table in front of them, naked and awkward.

“So, I’m a painter. Watercolors, mostly.”

Once Wendy opened her mouth, she couldn’t close it again. She started talking about work, about Donald, about the storyline of the most recent series she’d started watching. Gray nodded along with her, playing with his fork, swishing the wine around in his glass, whatever it took to lose himself in her jabbering, to distract himself from the fact that he was out, on a date, with a very chatty girl.

So, this was how it was going to be. Wendy: the egotistical, self-obsessed loudmouth.

And all before 8:30.

“Can I just say something?” Gray interjected, finally allowing Wendy to catch a breath. “When Reese set us up, I had no idea how attractive you would be. You are seriously a beautiful woman.”

Gag me, Wendy thought. His words actually sounded sincere, but maybe that just made it worse.

This statement freaked her out more than anything else. A beautiful woman. Were they allowed to say that? She would never tell her friends, “I went on a date with a gorgeous man last night.” She wasn’t a woman. Women had rents and suits and titles like Mrs. or Dr. or Ms.

Women did not watch Saturday cartoons and drink their coffee out of Disney princess mugs.

She excused herself to go to the bathroom. She didn’t say she had to powder her nose or wash her hands. She straight up told him she needed to use the restroom.

“I’m not cut out for dating,” she said hurriedly when Claudia picked up. She wasn’t sure why she called Claudia.

“Oh no, are your teeth all stained like they always get when you drink red wine?”

Wendy gritted her teeth at the mirror. Purplish. “Add that to the list. He called me a beautiful woman. After I talked his ear off for a straight forty minutes. And he wears hair gel. And he bites his lip. And I hate this so much, please please bail me out.”

“I think you should stay,” Claudia said, “If you bail now, you’re just going to keep making excuses not to go on dates.”

“I’m not…”

“However,” Claudia continued, reveling in her power, “I’ll bail you out this one time. Because of all your recent emotional turmoil and whatnot. You owe me, though.”

“I owe you big time,” Wendy said.

At home, supposedly caring for her sick sister, Wendy set herself up to paint. She ran her palm over the paper, and dipped the brush into the water. When she closed her eyes, she could almost smell the air bouncing off the pond water. She could see the field of swaying grasses. She could picture herself there, her hand through his, standing in the wind.

She would date, eventually. Just not now.

For now, she would paint, and she did just that.

Greetings from the #TATMtent

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Good morning, jitterbugs. At this moment, I'm hanging out in the #TATMtent, and if you don't know what that is, you haven't been following me on Twitter and now I'm sad. Kidding. You could never make me sad. The #TATMtent is a magical place where all things #TATM are born. I set up camp last weekend, finishing the final touches on the book before sending it off to beta readers and my life-saver editor, Tanya Gold.

That's right people, Operation Self-Publish is in full swing. And let me tell you a little secret: this ish is hard. Okay, not like climbing-Mount-Everest-hard, but definitely stranded-on-a-lifeboat-hard. Thankfully, I have cool friends like Ashley R. Carlson to answer my 'help, I don't know what I'm doing' emails. That girl's the best.

And now, a little about the future:

What I Know for Sure

Keep in mind, I'm learning this as I go along. So the list of things I don't know is drastically more involved than this one, but I'll spare you. I know that the book will go to developmental editing on February 11th. I know that I will receive this back after a couple of weeks — around the same time I get my beta's responses — and have scheduled two weeks for more revisions on my part.

Then, it's off to the proofreader and cover designer. I'm still kind of hashing these details out. I also know that I will be publishing using CreateSpace and KDP, but I'm definitely open to exploring other avenues, if y'all request it!

What I Don't Know for Sure (an abbreviated list)

I do not know what the release date will be, but I have a fairly good idea. I'm not telling! It's more fun this way. Promise. There are definitely small details I'm not 100% sure about yet such as the print copy size or the fonts or the pricing. However, I do at least have an idea of what I want. I'm ahead of the game, I swear! Famous last words. 

In the next couple of months, I plan to gear the majority of my posts toward self-publishing: what I'm getting wrong and tricks I learn from people who are much smarter than I am. If you have any specific questions, please let me know. I'll be happy to help/bond over a shared crying session!

Now, back to the #TATMtent. Five of my favorite people are about to read my book. Eeeeeek!