Amber, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today. I really appreciate it. Writing is hard, writing a book—an entire book with dimensional characters, and engaging plot, and a believable conflict that gets resolved in the end—is harder, and to me, writing book two in a series is the hardest of all. The pressure to make the second book as good or better than the first is there, and creeps up on me throughout the writing, editing, and promotional process.
In my Scarred Hearts series, A Reckless Heart was book one. It has received great reviews, my loyal readers claim it’s my best one yet, and it’s even won or placed in contests. I’ve been thrilled, obviously, because I love the premise of the series—four college buddies who use their vast wealth for good—and I love writing the wounded hero trope.
But now I’m on to book two and the terror sets in for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s the next book in the series (even if it is a standalone). If I’ve done my job, readers of book one will flock to book two. That’s the purpose of writing a series—to build on your readership, rather than creating something from scratch. And I don’t want to disappoint them.
Second of all, with Unlock My Heart, the hero’s “wound” is close to my heart. He’s hard of hearing, as am I, although I purposely made his condition much more severe than mine. And I don’t have the same issues around it. But it takes “write what you know” to a whole new level and is a little like baring my soul to strangers.
And third, as always, there’s the fear of the unknown. How will this book perform on its own? Did I make the characters believable? Did I do the story justice? Is it truly a standalone or should I have done more or less to make sure a new reader understands and likes it enough to go back and read book one? Most of those questions are due to my own anxiety, and if I listen to my critique partners and early reviewers, I have nothing to worry about.
So that begs the question, how do I get past that fear? We all feel fear at different points in our careers. Every author talks about it. But how do we push it down far enough so we can get past it?
Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. To calm my anxiety in general I go for walks, pace my house, or meditate. It definitely helps. And to get out of my head, I try to talk with friends—not even about what makes me nervous, but just about our everyday lives, our kids, our whatever. It reminds me that I’m not the only one with stress and tends to calm me.
As for my book related stress? Well, a lot of it is faith and trust. I know I’m a good writer, and I need to remind myself of that when I have doubts. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect. No, I’m fully aware of my flaws, and I make mistakes. But that’s normal. I’m human. A bad book won’t be the end of the world. And the likelihood of it being a bad book, versus something that a subjective reader might not like, is slim.
I trust in my critique partners to help me improve. They are amazing at pointing out areas that need fixing, or ideas that just don’t work. I have editors who are also really good at fixing mistakes and pointing out development issues. I have wonderful writing friends who understand what I’m going through. They go through it, too. We all have doubts, imposter syndrome, and frustrations. The romance community is a supportive one, and when we see one of our fellow authors suffering, we rally behind them.
Bleeding onto the page is hard. Not everything is going to work. But knowing I have people around me who get it takes a little of the fear away. And with a lot of deep breaths, it’s possible to continue writing and editing and marketing, knowing I’ve done the very best I can do to put an enjoyable book in the hands of my readers.
Product Nbr: 16048
Title: Unlock My Heart
Series Name: Scarred Hearts
Theme(s): Scarred Hero/Heroine, Workplace, Billionaires and Millionaires
BISAC: FIC027020 FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
Keywords: Billionaire Boss; Boss; CEO; Cinderella; Close Proximity; Computer Genius; Contemporary; Damaged Hero; Diverse; Fairy Tales ; Hearing Impaired; Scarred
Page Count: 298
Word Count: 72167
Digital Price: 4.99
Print Price (if applicable): 16.99
Release Date: 2022-03-02 (This is in YYYY-MM-DD format)
(Please note that this means generally by noon on release day, not at midnight.)
Abby Marlow, computer security expert, lands a job at the best IT security firm in the country. Her sole focus is financial independence so she never has to rely on others again, especially a man. But why does her boss make her wires short circuit?
Ted Endicott, CEO and founder of the IT security firm, is hard of hearing. Although an expert in his field, he’s still uncomfortable admitting his difficulty hearing to his clients or employees. So why is he willing to accept Abby’s help?
As Ted and Abby work together, barriers fall away, and soon the lines blur between colleagues and lovers. But a security glitch in a client’s system indicates one of his employees is the hacker, and all signs point to Abby. Can they get past the suspicion and find a future together?
Tagline: Can love break through their firewalls?
“You always run alone?”
She pointed to a nearby jogger. “I’m not alone.”
“But you’re not with anyone.”
Standing this close to him, she wished for things she shouldn’t. “No, I’m not.”
“How far are you going?”
“The end of the trail and back.” Or however long it took to get him out of her mind.
He put his helmet on. “Come on, I’ll keep you company.”
“It’s not necessary.” Clearing her mind would be impossible with him next to her.
“It’s safer this way.” He looked down the trail.
His desire to protect her sent warmth curling up and down her spine. It had been a long time since anyone was concerned about her. All of a sudden, the idea of company appealed to her. Touching his arm— and trying not to squeeze his bicep like you would if you tested the ripeness of a peach—she waited for him to turn. “You’re welcome to join me if you want. If you can keep up.” She winked and raced away, his bark of laughter a brief punch in the silence behind her.
She no longer kept an easy pace, easing into the morning. This time, she sprinted hard. The slight whir of his bike wheels warned her as he reached her a few moments later.
“You’re pretty fast, but I’d suggest you slow down.”
She turned toward him. “Out of pity for you?”
His lips twitched, and his nostrils flared, but he kept his humor reined tight. Instead, he cycled next to her, his head turned slightly toward her. “The only pity I ask for is please don’t make me carry you home when you’re too tired to continue.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it, sir.” She made sure he could read her lips.
He grinned, and the last of her tension disappeared. He accepted her teasing.
“Oh, you’ll pay,” he said.
He rode ahead, and she thought for sure he would leave her in the dust. But he turned around, a gleam in his eye, and returned to her side. When they reached a part of the trail farther on, he pulled ahead a little and skidded in a puddle, splashing her legs.
She gasped and looked at her mud-spattered shins and ignored the twinkle in his eye. “You play dirty—literally.”
Ted stopped while she paused to clean her legs off. Given the opportunity—two could play this game—she took her mud-streaked hands and wiped them on his chest. She drew in a breath and realized her mistake. Sure, she’d repaid him for splattering her with mud, but a sudden awareness of his body overrode her satisfaction. His muscles were hard, and she wondered what the rest of him felt like. Her pulse pounded in her ears, and her gaze shifted to his lips. What would it be like to kiss them?
She jerked and pulled her hand away. No. She jumped at the strangled sound from the mouth she’d considered kissing and raised her glance to his eyes. His surprise mirrored her own.
Mistake, mistake, mistake! An internal voice blared a warning. She’d intended for it to be like when she and Max, her best friend from childhood, challenged each other as kids. In fact, when he teased her, Ted reminded her of Max—something about the glint in his eye and the “need to win” coupled with concern. But she hadn’t counted on the sexual component.
She closed her eyes. She was not like her mother. She wasn’t.
She stilled. Maybe he couldn’t see her. Right, and maybe unicorns are real.
“Open your eyes.” She opened them.
“Let’s get breakfast.”
Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.
In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.
Jennifer Wilck is an award-winning contemporary romance author for readers who are passionate about love, laughter, and happily ever after. Known for writing both Jewish and non-Jewish romances, her books feature damaged heroes, sassy and independent heroines, witty banter and hot chemistry. Jennifer’s ability to transport the reader into the scene, create characters the reader will fall in love with, and evoke a roller coaster of emotions, will hook you from the first page. You can find her books at all major online retailers in a variety of formats.