Houston Marathon Hopeful

IMG_7373In the time I wasn’t updating here or doing much writing because why bother at this point (just kidding, it was depression), I got into running. Really into running. And at some point, 5Ks were just not doing it for me anymore. 8 months after I started the Couch to 5K program, I did my first half marathon. Last summer, I decided I was going to be super-amazing and try marathon training.

Let’s back up a second. So I have this friend I’ve known for like 15 years at this point, and he’s a very dedicated multiple marathon runner. He’s also the worst influence on me in the world. He can hype me up faster than anyone I’ve ever known, and he was super excited when I tentatively asked him questions about the Houston Marathon. My original goal for the year was to do the Houston Marathon Warmup Series, which is a series of 3 races that lead up to the Marathon in January: a half marathon, a 25K, and a 30K. Then my friend happened and my friends in the 10 Mile Club backed him up. The next thing I knew, I was signed up for the marathon. Twenty Six point Freaking Two.

I actually did really well. I pushed myself harder than I’ve ever pushed, running 4 times a week with a peak mileage of 32-35 miles. I was incredibly proud of myself when I not only made it up to 20 miles, I finished the Warmup Series with my friend cheering me on (and turning Deadpool into an inside joke). I’m so proud of these dang medals.

And then…INFLUENZA H3N2. The week of the marathon.

Obviously someone with a 103 degree fever isn’t running 1 mile, much less 26, so I stayed at home and stayed off Facebook where all my friends were running the marathon. I was so angry and bitter that I didn’t even congratulate anyone. Because all my hard work was wiped out by a horribly mutated virus and no fault of my own, I became depressed and lost all my motivation.

I’m proud to say that I’ve managed four races this year; The Cowtown 5K, Cowtown Half Marathon, Dash Down Greenville 5K, and Green 6.2 10K. Unfortunately, because I haven’t been training, I barely made it through the 10K. Even though my motivation still wasn’t there, and I suffered through some bad runs and another illness, I still applied for the 2019 Houston Marathon. And got in.

IMG_7598It is now critical that I get back into the training groove. I’m joining the marathon training group again in the summer, doing the Houston Half, then a 22.5 miler in late November, and by that time I should be ready for the marathon in January. Today, I started the dreaded cross-training.

It went pretty well. I did an hour of spin class – haven’t done THAT in more than a year and my butt is telling me all about it – followed by 3 miles on the track. My next run will be on Sunday before work, and I’m planning on 3-4 miles. My eye is on the Skyline 10K in Dallas on April 28th and dammit, I’m going to crush it.

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Paperback Are Here!

I’m super excited to announce that after a couple of hiccups, one of them involving an unexplained delivery delay, the print copies of Drowned History are in my house and being inspected carefully by my QC department. I’d like to thank Strider, Pitti-Sing, Wasabi and Lemondrop for their hard work in making sure everything looks and smells good. They wanted to taste them as well but I put a stop to that.
IMG_7590There are a couple of things I’d like to change for my next book, but I really am happy with the way they turned out. Nothing against Createspace, but the colors on the cover came out much better on the ones I got from KDP.

I’m going to the gym in a little while but plan on picking up some mailers on my way back so I can start sending these off to people as soon as they send me the money. I’m very excited!

On a related note, one of our clients at the clinic where I work came in yesterday and I made sure to thank him for buying a copy of my book. He seemed genuinely excited to read it! I really hope he enjoys it, I’m so grateful to all our clients who bought a copy. My boss was so excited that he put me on our Facebook page and the post was one of the ones that got the most likes ever. Here’s hoping he puts me on the page again when Only a Rogue Knows comes out!

If you would like a signed copy, please email me at beccalovebooks@gmail.com and let me know! They’re $8 and no shipping if you don’t mind media mail (otherwise shipping is $3). You can also buy a copy on Amazon, or the ebook for Kindle. It’s still only $0.99 for another couple of weeks!IMG_7591

I’m off to sweat off last night’s chicken fried steak. This will be my first spin class in over a year, so I’m mentally preparing myself for how sore my butt is going to be afterward. Cross-training. I just keep telling myself it’s going to pay off later.

Why Self-Publishing?

This is a question I’ve been getting a lot lately, and with my new book out I thought it was a good time to write a (really long) post about it.

I wrote The Detective’s Brother some years ago and was very proud of it. I polished it, edited it, and sent off dozens of queries to agents and editors. None of them picked it up, though a few did show interest. Disappointed but not ready to give up, I shopped it around to some small presses, especially ones that were focused on romance novels.

img_0113It wasn’t long until I found a very small publisher called Sinnful Books that was just starting out. The publisher loved the book and wanted to sign me at once. I was excited and the terms were good, so I signed and sent it off. He set me up with a beautiful cover and the book was headed to the editor with a tentative release date. Then, out of nowhere, he emailed all his authors and said that the company was shutting down. All rights would revert to us, we were no longer bound by the terms of the contract, and were even free to keep our cover art if we wanted to cut out the imprint.

At that point I considered self-publishing, but thought I’d give the whole small press thing another try. I submitted my book to Booktrope because I felt like it would give me more creative control – small press marketing with indie control, what could be better? They also wanted it with some slight edits, so once I got it into the system and picked out my team my book went into edits.

img_5455My editor whipped it into shape, teaching me some very important lessons along the way, and I credit her with The Detective’s Brother turning out so well. Once it was a book we were both proud of, we set it up to be published! Then, about two weeks after it was released, Booktrope said it was shutting down at the end of the month. Unlike Sinnful, though, we were left with the options of either paying back our cover artists and editors or selling them and divvying up the royalties as per the contract. My cover artist decided to just give us the art, but my editor preferred a payout. Of more than a thousand dollars, which would be her fee for my manuscript If I’d gone directly through her.

Since it’s rare for me to even get one paycheck of that sort of money, The Detective’s Brother has gone back on the shelf until I can pay her or the contract runs out in five years. I really do want to pay her and was willing to do it in installments, but then my husband became disabled and I became the breadwinner of our family. As for The Detective’s Brother, I can sell the last few copies I have but that’s it.

treasured Love coverI was pretty depressed about the whole thing. What was the point, I thought, to signing with these small publishers only to have them go under? Thankfully, Tammy Andresen had contacted me before Booktrope shut down, asking if I wanted to be part of a pirate-themed historical box set. As depressed as I was, I had already agreed to it so I wrote the novella for Treasured Love and had a great time. I was also included in Every Rogue’s Heart, another box set with them.

The box sets, as many are, was self-published and consisted of mainly self-published authors, most of whom are very successful. After firing a zillion and one questions at Dawn Brower, I decided to take the plunge and self-publish Drowned History.

I don’t yet know how things will turn out, but I’m pleased with how the book is doing and love the way it looks. It would be nice to have a publisher deal with the marketing and such, but I don’t have to have one to validate me. If there’s one thing I do know, though, it’s that I love writing and I’ll never sell myself short again.

52 Week Short Story Challenge #1

52-weeks-twitter-post

Welcome to Week One of the 52 Week Short Story Challenge!

This challenge was created by SM Cadman, based on the advice of Ray Bradbury:

The rules are simple: write one 200-10,000 word story a week using one of the prompts provided, then post on your blog – even if it’s terrible.

The first prompts were posted Saturday and are St. Patrick’s Day themed, and I’m really excited about doing this! I’m planning on posting my stories on Tuesdays, much the way I did the Yeah Write challenges. If you want to play along, here are the prompts for this week!


StPatricksPrompt

“Come on, it’s only one drink.”

“Can you just tell me what exit I’m supposed to be taking?” According to his GPS, Ellis had driven off the side of the world ten minutes ago and trying to get help from the extremely intoxicated woman in the passenger seat was almost impossible. In addition to being nearly incoherent, she also wouldn’t stop flirting with him. Poorly.

Continue reading “52 Week Short Story Challenge #1”

Goodbye, My Cranky Boy

If you’ve picked up a copy and flipped through it, you’ll notice that I dedicated Drowned History to Rufus, and I’m sure some people are wondering who the heck he is.

IMG_5090Rufus Bartlett was my 15 year old cat who passed away in December. He was named that because after I fed him he resembled a Bartlett pear, something that my textbooks informed me was ideal. He was two days old when I snatched him out of the jaws of Animal Control, who would have put him to sleep because they don’t have the resources to bottle raise kittens and puppies. He was found in an abandoned rabbit nest with a baby bunny, his umbilical cord still attached. The bunny went to a wildlife rescue and Rufus came home with me.

Continue reading “Goodbye, My Cranky Boy”

Becca’s Hooks n’ Books

Have you ever wondered to yourself “Gosh, I wish I knew where I could get a quality baby blanket for a last-minute shower gift or a signed book written by an awesome indie author”? Never fear! It just so happens I now have a Storenvy shop where you can find both of those things!

Right at the moment, it only has two items in it but I’m planning to put more in. I have a number of gorgeous, basic baby blankets in a variety of colors hanging around my closet, and some out of print paperbacks that need a good home. Eventually you’ll be able to buy signed paperbacks of my new work there as well! I’m excited to have a way for people to get their hands on signed books, and maybe get some blankets into cribs. Take a look and check back often!

Becca’s Hooks n’ Books

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Drowned History – Excerpt

img_7014Their footsteps were loud against the stone and the sound of water had become further away again, but the air had turned cool and damp. Water dripped from the unseen ceiling and pattered onto the ground. The echoing sound of the droplets and their steps made her think of the time she had gone into a cave behind a waterfall with her friends as a girl. Alice’s mind was taken over by the sounds of water and the sight of George holding a gun, so when her foot slipped on one of the steps she didn’t notice until she pitched forward with a cry of surprise.

“Alice!” Phillip reached forward and caught the back of her shirt as she fell, and Alice heard the fabric tear.

I just bought this shirt, she thought, realizing as she did how ridiculous it was. It didn’t stop her falling, though, and George turned toward the sound of Phillip’s voice to see Alice coming directly at him. He dropped the lantern and caught her in his arms, an action that pushed him off the edge of his own step. The lantern crashed on the stone floor beneath them and burst in a splintering of glass and metal, giving off one bright burst of light before being swallowed by the darkness. Alice hoped that when they hit the ground he wouldn’t land on the mess. The last thing she wanted was for him to get hurt again because she wasn’t paying attention.

George was under her, so when they hit the floor together he broke her fall. Alice lay in his arms for a moment, trying to decide if they were really all right before she got up. The worst thing that had happened to her was her ruined shirt but George was coughing and trying to catch his breath.

“Are you all right?” She sat up and got off him but didn’t stand, waiting instead to make sure he was going to be okay. George pressed a hand to his chest and nodded.

“Just got the wind knocked out of me,” he said.

“Thank you,” Alice said quietly, not wanting the others to hear what she was saying. She wanted to keep as much between her and George as possible. “You could have just let me fall.”

“I could’ve,” George said looking up at Phillip and Nadir, who were coming down as fast as caution would allow. “But I won’t.” The light of Nadir’s lantern reached them, throwing shadows onto George’s face and he smiled. “As you can see, I didn’t even lose my glasses.”

“Are you okay?” Phillip knelt down beside Alice and she nodded. “Thank God. I’m sorry about tearing your shirt, I thought I would be able to catch you.”

“It’s all right,” Alice said. “Thank you for trying, though. I can forgive the loss of one shirt.”

“I’ll buy you a new one when we get back to the States,” Phillip said. “Whatever kind you like.” His words touched Alice but she knew she couldn’t let him do it. She had felt his feelings for her growing the longer they spent together, and he was a sweet boy, but that was all he was to her. Before she could reply, George started to get up.

“Let me help you,” Alice said, shooting up from her place on the floor and offering George both of her hands the way she used to. He gave her a dubious look and for a moment she thought he was going to tell her not to be ridiculous and stand up himself. Instead he took her hands and let her put on the old charade. Alice didn’t know if he could see it but she was smiling hard enough that it hurt. “You’ve definitely put on weight.”

“Age will do that to a man,” George said, standing up as she took a step backward to pull him. “Happens to the best of us.”

“I should say so,” Alice said. “I know I—” Her words were cut off before she’d really gotten a chance to say them as the stones beneath the heel of her shoe crumbled away under her slight pressure. When she realized she was falling again, Alice immediately let go of George’s hands so she wouldn’t pull him down with her.

“Alice!” This time it was all three of the men shouting at her as she fell backward and the fact that their voices were echoing made her realize that they must have come into an open chamber. She couldn’t sense the floor or more steps coming up at her and it dawned on Alice that she was most likely falling to her death.

She could hear her companions shouting again and this time they seemed much further away. It was getting darker and cooler by the second as she fell away from their warmth and what little light was left to them with the one lantern. It looked like one of the fireflies she’d seen while she was playing outside in summer.

This is it, Alice thought. I’m really going to die. Rather than try to look into the darkness, Alice closed her eyes and stretched her arms out to her sides like wings. I wonder if it will hurt?

Thoughts warred and spun through her head; images of her parents and her friends, the work she did for the translation company, her mother’s noisy little dog. Mostly she thought about George and how happy she was that she’d gotten the chance to tell him that she loved him. She hoped he would be able to forget everything that had happened since they met again in Nadir’s office and remember the time they’d spent together in Surat, only this time he’d know how she felt.

I’m sorry, George, she thought as she finally felt something rushing up at her. For everything.

Alice clenched her teeth and braced herself as best she could for the impact, hoping that she would die right away and not suffer. She didn’t know how far she had fallen so it was impossible to tell, but she knew that it wasn’t a question of whether or not she would die, more of how painfully she would do so.

Then, to her surprise, Alice plunged into water so icy cold that it sent a shock through her body. It wasn’t at all what she expected and she opened her mouth to cry out but nothing came out. A moment later her heart stopped and everything was black.



Drowned History

Now on sale for $0.99 on Kindle, or free with Kindle Unlimited!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B9SDHKP

Paperbacks coming soon!