Not a Bestseller

If you’ve been following my newsletter, you already know that I’ve started a #projectgethappy in regard to my health. All my life I’ve been bigger, and I’ve spent years endlessly searching for a quick fix. Pills, considering surgery, even tried tightening corsets to try to force my body into a specific shape, all while still trying to enjoy my laziness. I would try everything under the sun but exercise, because… ugh. 😉

Stay with me now, I’m getting to the analogy part for the title of this post…

I grew up with my brother as one of my best friends. He’s a year younger and we hung out in the same circles, but more than anything else, I think we had this struggle in common—we were bigger kids. We embraced ourselves despite our overweight bodies, and I believe we were both often sought after for company. I looked to him a lot, and once we grew up, our lives took very different paths. But we were still the two big kids on the block 😉

Last year, he dropped 100 pounds, and I was dying to know his secret. I’d had a very rough year, struggling with not only my weight, but trying to understand what I had to offer to anybody. Stress had stifled my personality that even I didn’t want to be around myself. When he told me that all he did was eat right and exercise, I wanted to throw something at him. I excused it away as him being a boy; of course he lost weight that way. But when I finally screwed my head on straight, I realized that the reason why I wasn’t losing weight was because I wasn’t working for it.

I’m on month 4 of #projectgethappy and I still see that person who just wants results now. NOW I TELL YOU! But the thing about doing things the right way is that they take time.

If I lose weight the right way, it will be a gradual descent. Some descents are faster than others, depending on the person, and it’s easy to compare my progress to someone else’s. But that’s not my journey, that’s theirs.

Did you stay with me? If not, I suppose you can start right here 😉

This year, I will have published 20 books. How many of them have that special italicized title above my name? Zero.

I’m not talking Amazon bestseller. If you take a look at that title, yes, I’ve probably hit one of those lists. Back when I published my first title, I hit several lists on Amazon, even Barnes, but the big three (USA Today, Wallstreet, and NYT) were all laughable IMO. No way could I reach those. It’s impossible for me or anyone else I know. Those are the Oscars of Publishing.

Then as time passed, more of my friends started hitting those lists. Am I jealous? Sure. But I’m also quite happy for them. However, the longer I write, the more those lists seem farther and farther from my grasp. I start comparing myself to these books, these writers, wondering what the secret is, how are they doing it, and what’s the code I need to replicate in my own novels.

My friends are fabulous, and they give me all the advice possible. It’s all work, of course, because nothing this amazing comes easily. And what worked for some of them two years ago will do absolutely nothing today, so not only is the “formula” hard, it’s unsteady. With every piece of advice, there is always the “and a lot of luck” tacked on the end.

Some of my friends debuted as bestsellers. But me?

I’m on book 20 this year, as I said before, because like my weight loss, this is my journey. The question isn’t if I’ll make a list; it’s if I’ll turn back around before I get there.

I don’t know how long this will take. I don’t know if this dream will be one I reach when I’m 30 and I can travel off to find another one, or if it will take me 30 years. The only thing I’m sure of is that it will never happen if I don’t try.

Sitting on my butt will not make me lose weight faster.

Writing books just for the sake of getting them published will not make me hit a list. (Sitting around, not writing anything, won’t help either 😉 )

So each book I put out has all of my heart into it. It’s done the right way (ie: edited, formatted, professional cover, advertised, etc.). I’m so excited to get my words into reader’s hands. If it’s not a bestselling book, does that make it a failure? Does it make it less valuable?

To answer all my author friends who have yet to hit a list (or whatever your goal may be that you haven’t yet reached), absolutely not.

There is something to be said about the person who endures. I’m talking about those of you who, no matter what anyone else around you may be achieving ahead of you, keep on going. I look up to you. I want to follow your example. I know that if I do, I’ll get there, no matter where “there” is.

So no, I’m not a bestseller (yet 😉 ), but I may be something else—a fighter. And that may be just as rewarding.

Spell for the day:

Incendio! 

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It’s already that time when I give you the rundown of what to expect in terms of release dates in the upcoming year 🙂 This year marks year number 4 that I’ve had books out, and I just can’t believe it. Let me rewind for just a second so I can be nostalgic and all that.

I started this blog in August 2011 with one very rough draft under my belt and not a clue on how to write according to the “rules” and I can say that if it weren’t for blogging, I probably never would’ve published at all. I learned so much and met so many wonderful people, including my now best writer friends and critique group. Things can change so fast you don’t even realize that your dream is unfolding before you, and this year I’ve challenged myself to get back to that person who celebrated the crazy ride that is the writing rollercoaster. I also miss a lot of my blogging buddies and I hope to find the time to give them a visit more often this year.

 

Quick Note About Brand Names

Before I list the releases, I’d like to quickly explain why I have two names. Some of you know this, or some of you don’t really care and that’s fine, go ahead and scroll those mouses (mice??) right on past this 🙂

Becca Ann is the pseudonym (yes, I have to look up how to spell that every time I use it) that I’ve used in the past for my self-published works due to contract issues. However, there will be a change happening with the use of Becca Ann for my future works.

Cassie Mae (the name, not the person 😉 ) will be my Adult/New Adult brand, meaning the books I write under that name I’d recommend for 18 and up. Becca Ann will be used for all my YA works. When I write solo, you will most likely see “Cassie Mae writing as Becca Ann” but for the sake of too many words on a cover, when I collaborate, you’ll only see one or the other, depending on what the genre is.

That probably came out more confusing than I meant it to. *sigh* Branding… it’s a part of the biz.

Okay, now we’re here…

 

My 2016 year in books

 

Crazy About Love

June 14th

Random House Loveswept

This book has no blurb. It’s a Rom Com which means it’s funny and sweet and got some cute kissy scenes and a couple of steamy ones.

Flirty Thirty

December

Random House Loveswept

Okay, this isn’t the official blurb, so don’t quote it 😉 But here’s the gist:

Maya never expected to get kissed when she walked out in her robe and cherry-bomb underwear to get the mail. But when a shirtless god jogs down your street, grabs your face, and kisses you… you kiss that man back!

Cooper is on a mission to find the love of his life, and he’s gotten desperate. Thirty years old and with more money than he could spend in his lifetime, he’s ready to spoil and love his soul mate. After hiring the beautiful woman he kissed on the street as his realtor, he’s convinced that fate has led him to her.

But Maya doesn’t buy into fate, and certainly doesn’t want something serious. She’s not ready to become one of her baggy-eyed friends who all have two or more kids and one or less husband.

So Cooper challenges her to a month of “marriage”—live with Cooper in his new place and he’ll prove that family, relationships, and even marriage can be just as thriving as the single life. Maya accepts the challenge, knowing she’s in the right, and at least she’ll have a great story to share when she is ready to settle down. But Cooper’s heart has made him more determined than ever to show Maya what they could be; he just has to convince her that he’s more than the fun experiment of her thirtieth year.

Broken Records
(Hopeful Spring release)
Written with Tessa Marie
We’re pairing up again, but we’ll be delivering a New Adult this time. I’ll keep you as updated as possible on it because once it happens, it’ll happen fast.
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(Full cover to be shown closer to release)

Wicked Girl

(Hopeful Fall release)

Written as Becca Ann

This one is not my normal YA rom com. It will have humor, will have romance, but it will also have its psychological thrills 😉

Snow (not official title)
(Release TBA)
Written with a Super Secret Collaborator
This one is still in the outline stage, but both me and my collaborator are excited about it and I expect its release in the 2016 year. It will be a YA contemporary retelling of Snow White. It will be geeky and fun and it is a present from us to our fans. I can’t say much more, but I promise, BE EXCITED 😉 YES SHOUTY CAPS ARE APPLICABLE!
My 2017 year is also booked up already, as well as most of my 2018 year. I really hope you aren’t sick of me 😉
Love all of you and thank you so much for the support you’ve shown me, especially in 2015. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that it’s been a year full of lessons. I hope that it’s just humbling the crap out of us before something amazing happens 🙂
Spell for the day:
Orchideous!
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Don’t Feed the Green Monster

I spent much of my youth comparing myself to my best friend, who in my eyes, was the epitome of perfection. I met her in fifth grade in a class where I had no friends and I was just excited to see a familiar face. She had no idea who I was, but we became quick friends after I endlessly ran to her every time the teacher asked us to partner up. Thank heavens she was a genuinely nice ten-year-old and was always happy to be my partner. She became my best friend from then until, well, now 🙂

As we moved from elementary to middle school to high school, boys started to flock into our conversations, and our twosome became a groupsome with lots of different personalities and it really was a great time to be alive. However, as I look back, I spent a lot of that time never really appreciating who I was and what I contributed to my friendships. In fact, I never understood, and maybe still don’t understand, why in the world my best friend considered me as her best friend. I’m not good at hiding my emotions, and I’m sure it was written on my face every time something good happened for her, I was pinched with so much jealousy that I could never fully be happy for her.

In my mind, this was the two of us:

I was smart, but she was way smarter. In a higher math class, graduated early, got excellent grades not only academically but gym and the arts were also her forte.

I was cute, but she was hot. As I’ve mentioned before, I was the funny fat friend, and she was the innocent girl who did not know just how beautiful she was. Guys loved it. And they knew I was close to her and countless times they used me to get to her. I’d like to say that I drove some of them away because if they really wanted to date her or whatnot, they should just ask her themselves, but I have to admit, a lot of it was jealousy. I received so much attention and flattery and when I found out it wasn’t about me at all, the sting was too much to take, and I ended up being very vocal to my best friend about how I felt about these guys, even if she returned their feelings.

I was fun, but she was more pleasant company. I was painfully annoying now that I see myself in hindsight. Desperation to stand out made me quick with the jokes, funny or not, and unabashed in including myself in most everything, and not taking anything seriously. See, if I purposely screw up, then people will be laughing with me, not at me. She excelled in so many talents because she took things seriously, and again, I wished I was her.

Don’t get me wrong with this post. I loved my best friend. She was always there for me, a perfect example of who I thought I should be and what I should strive to do in my life. If I could go back, I’d spend less time wishing I could be her and more time appreciating just how wonderful she was. I’d jump for joy in her accomplishments and I’d recognize that her achievements and mine are separate entities, and there is such a goodness in that. I ache to apologize to her, but I am unsure of how or if she was even aware of my consuming jealousy.

Presently, I deal with the green-eyed monster on a daily basis. It’s so easy to be consumed in comparing yourself to those in the same field of work, whether you be a writer like me, or a reader or blogger like I know many of you are, or a mother or father or wife, husband, neighbor, friend… I have to remind myself every day that my accomplishments are in no way diminished by the success of others. I want to look back on this time ten years from now and not regret the way I felt when one of my colleagues reached a list or signed a big deal. I want to say that I felt genuinely happy for them and celebrated those accomplishments without that jealousy eating me from the inside out.

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a friend who told me that she has stopped scrolling her newsfeed on Facebook because of the way it made her feel. I tried this for a few days, but of course, didn’t last long because of boredom and laziness and habit. I did notice the difference though. I didn’t want to just take the temptation away because it would always be there when I was weak and I could fall back into that pattern. No, I wanted to defeat the temptation altogether.

So as the new year approaches and resolutions anew, I want to write down here the only thing I truly want to make a habit of.

Be 100% happy for other people.

I don’t want to feed the monster by comparison any more. I want to take their stories and accomplishments as inspiration and celebrate with my friends in their happiness. It’s a great time to be alive, and I want to appreciate that.

Spell for the day,

Cantis!


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No Interest in Love is here!

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No Interest in Love_Mae

A road trip with public enemy number one? What could possibly go wrong?

Advance praise for No Interest in Love
 
“With the sassy, fun and lively No Interest in Love, Cassie Mae delivers an entertaining read.”New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde

“Yet another winner from Cassie Mae! Sexy, sweet, and wonderfully clever, No Interest in Love solidifies her spot on my auto-buy list!”USA Today bestselling author Lauren Layne

“With the combination of Cassie Mae’s voice, a hero you just want to tackle-hug, and all the emotions stirred by No Interest in Love, I completely fell in love with this story!”—Cecy Robson, award-winning author of Once Kissed

“Featuring a fun road trip full of hot sex, great laughs, and an unconventional romance that will leave you sighing, No Interest in Love is a heartfelt and hilarious read!”—Christi Barth, author of Risking It All

“Cassie Mae’s No Interest in Love is a fun, flirty, friends-to-lovers romance that will leave you sighing with delight.”—Beth Yarnall, author of Vindicate

Aren’t they so nice?? I love all these authors, btw; their books are fabu! 

You can snag a copy of No Interest in Love on many e-retailer sites, as well as its predecessor, Doing It for Love

Now… a giant THANK YOU is in order. I can not put to words how appreciative I am for all the tweets, messages, encouraging emails, and all around goodness I receive from my readers. You are truly my friends, and I apologize if I haven’t been able to respond as quickly to you. But thanks to your uplifting advice and much needed kicks in the rear, I am back in writing mode and have a lot of new books in store for you in the future. It is the only way I know how to repay you for all your kindness and support. MUCHO AMOR!

Now feel free to see some pretty teasers for the All About Love series, and take a look at my Pinterest board for some of the inspirations behind these characters.

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I love you all so much!

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I am a quitter

***This post turned out to be much longer than intended. Kudos to anyone who manages to read through it all***

I have quit nearly everything I’ve started. Back in the day when I was just a shorty with grandma glasses, I picked up a viola and played it for years. I kid you not, I thought I was the absolute shiznit. My very supportive mother bought me music books and a stand and a case, a tuner and new rosin every time I needed it. She went to all my concerts and took pictures with me flourishing my bow and curtsying in my concert attire. For four years, I thought I was going to be the next *insert famous violist here.*

Middle school brought a harsh reality. I immediately signed up for orchestra as one of my classes, my inflated ego ensuring that I would move up to Viola chair on in no time. Oh, naive twelve-year-old Cassie Mae. Not only did the first day pop that big head of mine, it drained it from all confidence and faith I ever had in myself. The teacher gave us all a test to see where we were in terms of music theory. What in the world does fortissimo mean? I thought as I read over the first question. Needless to say, I bombed the entire thing. Worse? The teacher then gave us a music sheet and recorded us individually. When I heard the playback I felt as if I was hearing the psycho shower screeches, only slightly off key.

I crawled my way through the year, watching other classmates improve their talent while no matter how hard I practiced, I just couldn’t get it right. After receiving a final grade of B- (which was appalling! ;)) I dropped the class and decided to go out for something else the next year.

I stuck my hand in theater, and after a fantastic response to the monologue that I’d written myself and performed pretty flawlessly, my confidence slowly started to build once again. Middle school awkward years were hard enough, especially for a heavy set person like myself. But onstage I got so many laughs, and coming off stage I received so many compliments that I thought I’d finally found my passion for something. This is what I’ll do with my life. I’ll win Oscars and be on TV!

But success didn’t follow me into high school. The theater class I’d become so acquainted with all went off to different electives and I was suddenly in a class that had an exuberant amount of talent. My confidence died, and stage fright ruined all the comedy I’d been able to pull off before. Boys I liked were watching and girls who were thinner and far more beautiful were so much better at portraying the lead roles. I shrank into the background, and by the end of the year, the teacher didn’t even know my name.

As I gazed over the electives for the next year, I figured I would put all my studies first so my senior year would be more fun and less scrambling. Junior year brought homework, study groups, and yes, I became a mathlete since math was my absolute favorite subject. I scored in the top ten percent of my class, and I started tutoring other students. I did this for years, watching them get it and turn their grades around. I felt that sense of accomplishment by proxy, and I loved it.

Then there was one student the first year after I graduated. She was a good friend and I knew she was smart, but she lacked focus. I spent months with her on the subject (pre-algebra, which was my favorite), struggling to get her to pay attention enough to click with the material. After she brought home a failing grade for the third quarter, her parents had a talk with me. Being young and panicked about this never happening to me, I quit on the spot. I quit on her. It’s one of the biggest regrets I have. And I never tutored again.

The next few years I didn’t try anything. Life was happening, marriage, babies, and I read books and cleaned the house during the “down times” of young motherhood. After my second was born and we’d finally been able to move from a small apartment to a decent first home, I’d felt that I’d accomplished everything I wanted to become in life. After all, being a mother was the only thing I really felt I wanted to do, especially since I lacked any real talent at anything else.

But boredom was starting to eat at me. With little interaction with other adults, I often found my mind wandering off into little scenes and worlds that I hadn’t read about yet. One very uneventful day, I took out my computer and decided to see how fast I could type. I was a keyboarding nerd, and I loved to race with my husband to see how many wpm we could do. Problem was that I was already so comfortable in my couch and there was nothing to type from. So I just made something up.

That something became the first chapter I ever wrote. Then the first book. I couldn’t believe I’d written something with a plot and characters that were only in my head. This was a miracle, and it must be Twilight fame material because I’d finished a book! Who finishes a book, right? 😉

Of course when I found out it was trash and remembered why math was my favorite subject, not creative writing, I took to the internet to research on how to write a book. I studied the craft, learned the rules, I read like a madwoman, and I taught myself. Trust me, I did not have the talent to write. I may have had the imagination, but not the execution.

Books became trial and error. The first two books didn’t get picked up by an agent, so I wrote a third. When that one got a request, I cried happy tears for about an hour. Visions of books on shelves with my name on them formed in my brain. Book tours and signings and interviews on Ellen, I envisioned them all. (Even acted some of them out.) I was on cloud nine.

But of course, that cloud quickly dissolved when I received my first rejection on a full manuscript. Then a second. Then R&Rs rolled in (revise and resubmit), and I did those. I worked my little butt off to get this book to an agent.

Long story short, it took a long time and a lot of studying and work to publish a book. And that… was the easy part.

My first book published was a bestseller. I sold thousands upon thousands of copies (and I can tell you that because my first book was a self published title ;)). I couldn’t believe the response I got, the fan mail (I got fan mail!), and the wonderful reviews that spoke of touching people’s hearts, people I’d never heard of or met. It was the most exhilarating experience, and I must admit, at times, I wish I could go back and appreciate it more.

My subsequent books all sold fairly well. Inspiration was an all time high and I was putting out more and more books because I really felt people wanted to read them. I thought of quitting only once or twice, but never truly in a serious way, because you bet your bottom I was at my computer typing within the hour.

Then came 2015.

A very good author friend of mine pledged that this would be our year to shine (she pledges this every year ;)) but this year, I believed her. I never had before; I’d always been satisfied with the mediocrity of my “fame status.” It paid the bills, and I was genuinely happy. But this year, a book was set to come out, and as my favorite book I’d ever written, I was so positive that it would send my mediocrity into “well-known” or even the quite unattainable “USA Bestseller” status.

It wasn’t set to release for a while, so I had time on my hands (a lot of it) to envision the Ellen interviews and the book signings again ;). Come June, my husband and I made the bold decision to move from our not-so-great neighborhood to one with a much better school for the kids. The move destroyed my word count and productivity, not to mention our bank account. Depression and stress sunk in, and it became harder and harder to put words on the page, but I still managed to do something.

What held me together was the hope that this book would put me on top. I couldn’t have asked for more positive reviews, the promotions and marketing were all set, the cover was exactly the tone of the read. Come release day, I was sure that this would be the answer to all my problems. Surely releasing my favorite book would take me out of my depression.

You know how I said I’m a quitter? If you’ve read up until now (I give you props if you have) you’ll notice a pattern. It’s only when I think I’m worthy of what I’ve accomplished that I hit a humbling road block. And at the first sign of failure, I run, because I believe that my talent was a sham. That I must be that unremarkable person who needs to give up.

I don’t want to be that person anymore, but I feel the urge to quit creeping up on me. I want to shove it away, and I’m unsure how. Pulling up a book only sends me spiraling off into wondering what the point is, and the disappointing release has only sent me spiraling farther.

The only comfort I find (besides the chocolate cake in my fridge) is in the support I have from the dedicated readers I’ve found and become close to. I’m sure they’ve noticed the change in me, and that it’s getting harder and harder for me to remain the positive and upbeat author they once knew. If you’re reading this, wonderful friends, I promise I’m still here somewhere. If I find the strength not to quit, then I’m sure I’ll come back with squishy hugs and lots of Harry Potter memes. 

I do want to say this, however. If you’re reading this and feel the same way, please don’t be like me. Don’t quit. Every time I’ve dropped something, I’ve regretted it, and you do not want that. Find the joy in what you’re struggling with and fight through it, and I’ll try to do the same this time around as well 😉

Spell for the day:

Expecto Patronum!

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New Look for a New Kind of Book

Hey all!

Welcome to my “adult audience” site. 🙂 (Adults use emoji’s, yeah? Well, this one does 😉 )

I’ve loved writing for younger people, but I wanted to stretch out my little writing arms and write for some of us who aren’t exactly in high school. Give you a bit of sexy, but still make you laugh. My newest release, Doing It for Love fits into that category. So to make things nice and simple (in my head), this is where you’ll find the books that I’d personally recommend for 18 and up. Don’t worry, if you’re still a YA fan, I’m keeping that site and those books nice and young and nerdy and fun. You can find it here: cassiemaeauthor.com

My site is still under construction while I try to figure out this bloody WordPress, but feel free to look around, contact me, and all of that.

Loves!

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