beneath the satin gloves

Beneath the Satin Gloves is Now Available in Paperback

Excited to share the rerelease of “my firstborn” as a paperback edition. I wrote Beneath the Satin Gloves in 2012, a time when I didn’t know squat about writing fiction. Because I knew I could do better with my work, a few years ago I re-edited and rereleased my first book. Flash forward to present day, I’m overjoyed to finally bring Beneath the Satin Gloves into print.

As many of you know, I have been painstakingly turning my three ebooks into paperback editions since last summer. Last month I rereleased Nola Fran Evie in print. Just last week the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League shared the book with their 11,000+ Facebook fans, which was a starstruck experience for me. I dedicated the novel to the AAGPBL, so it was wonderful to connect with their organization and their fans.

Although my books have been out for a while, they didn’t seem real until now. Paperback editions of novels are truly an unbeatable reading experience. Holding each book in my hands has been a special moment for me, especially when I held my baby…my oldest…Beneath the Satin Gloves.

There are many WWII stories of brave women who fought to protect peace, freedom, love, and the continuation of the human race. But, we don’t hear them enough. I wanted to do my small part in celebrating these women when I wrote Beneath the Satin Gloves.

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nola fran evie

Nola Fran Evie is Now Available in Paperback

Holding a book in your hands is an unmatched feeling. The pages are filled with letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs that collaborate tirelessly until they become an entire story.

Holding a book that you wrote in your hands is sort of an out-of-body experience. The weight of the story becomes scary real. You think to yourself: No matter what I do with the rest of my life, here is something I made from nothing. And, it will always be a part of me.

It’s a bit jarring to think about, but last night I realized I’ve been writing fiction for a decade. Throughout that time I self-published three books. In ebook format, they never felt quite real. I knew it was because my books weren’t in print.

I started working hard to reach my goal of turning all three of my books into paperbacks last summer. Silly me thought it would be easy, but it took a lot of time and tinkering. I suppose the paperback release timing was all copasetic as I round out my decade of fiction.

I’m happy to say that Nola Fran Evie is finally available in print. If you so desire, you can hold this story in your hands too.

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astoria beaches

Begin Again: Fresh Website, New Series, and a Finished Novel

Sometimes you have to let your creative mind hibernate, so it can wake up when the sunshine returns. This may happen by choice, or not. For me, it just kinda happened. Time cascaded through my fingers like cold, incessant rain.

Life was as rambunctious as ever, courtesy of running Superneat Marketing with my husband Mr. H. Silly me thought leaving my full-time job for consulting full-time was going to free up time for writing and general creativity. You may all laugh now.

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publishing tips

5 Ways to Avoid Publishing Rejection by Being Human

Last week I made it my mission to get my ass out into the community. I’ve lived in Portland just over two years and had my head down for too long, grinding and whatnot. And when you work from home—no matter how terrific and cuddly your pets are—the need to be around humans intensifies.

Besides the array of local bars and coffee shops in my neighborhood, there is another convenient place to be around other humans…MeetUps.

I joined A LOT of them. Hence, the reason I ended up dancing in a Bollywood class, signing up for a marketing conference, and going to church.

Church? I know. They even let me in, can you believe it?

All joking aside, I went to church for this Willamette Writers MeetUp. The topic was all about how to get published…and how not to.

Presented by Tod Davies, Editorial Director of Exterminating Angel Press, Tod is an author herself with a colorful career track record as a radio host, screenwriter, and indie film producer. I’m not ashamed to say it—I was smitten when I discovered she co-wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. (Yep, that’s pretty damn cool.)

There is a Shit-Ton of Noise

This might be the part where some of you that have known me for years are wondering why I, a devout indie author with three self-published books under her belt, strolled into a MeetUp to learn tips about traditional publishing.

The rest of you probably want me to shut up and talk about the publishing tips, because you were lured here after reading the title of this blog.  Don’t get your panties in a bunch, or scroll down if you can’t handle the suspense.

Besides the MeetUp’s promise of writerly camaraderie, I have decided to give traditional publishing another go when I finish my fourth book this year. There are things I love about self-publishing, and things I don’t.

Without diving into a pros and cons moment here, I’ve talked about the struggle of being an indie author many times. When I wrote Why Writing Isn’t Enough—The Savvy Writer’s Guide to Success over at Kristen Lamb’s blog some months ago, I gave other writers the tough love.

We’re running a business. It’s the last thing any creative type wants to hear. But, it’s true—and we have to get our ducks in a row, like these guys.

writing as a business

In today’s publishing world—both indie and traditional—there is a shit-ton of noise. We know that. It’s not like the good ole days, when there were less authors and blogs. The accessibility of technology has opened the flood gates, and the market is…flooded.

Back in 2012, when silly me decided to pursue published author glory after I “finished” my first book, I diligently created a spreadsheet of every literary agent that seemed like a good fit from a hefty publishing book my mom gave me.

During the submission process, I acted personable and professional—hell, I was in my first marketing job at the time, so I knew a little something about PR. Still, I was ignored or rejected again and again and again, until the crazy time when a big shot agent in Manhattan actually considered my manuscript for Beneath the Satin Gloves.

I thought: This is it!

It wasn’t. He passed.

“Spectacular writing is writing that fits the category and fits the need. For example, with pornography you don’t want it to read like Proust.” – Tod Davies

Even though I didn’t get any feedback besides the “this isn’t right for us” pillow talk, I reworked my manuscript to make it stronger and I self-published it. Years later, I revised it again and republished it on Amazon, applying my recent years of writing experience to make it even stronger.

Looking back on it all, I realize I just wasn’t ready. And I think that’s a mistake a lot of writers make, whether they are self-publishing or shopping it around.

That doesn’t mean we have to spend years on a quest for writing perfectionism. That quest will make your life miserable and your book will never see the light of day. And simmer down, because you’re probably breaking it.

We absolutely have to put together the best possible work. But, we also need to consider the “now what?” phase. If you’re self-publishing, how are you going to get people to read it? If you’re going traditional, how are you going to get it picked up?

Here comes the “B” word again. We’re running a business.

publishing tips

We’re All Humans, So Act Like One

So, where was I? Oh, yes. An indie author walks into a church…

I’ll admit I was skeptical about the MeetUp, because it was the first one I ever attended. I sat in one of the back pews, close to the exit in case I needed to bolt. I was pleasantly surprised by not only the educational value, but the entertainment as well.

Tod Davies knows her shit, and she was up front about her goal to create an interactive experience for the crowd.

During the “what NOT to do” part at the beginning there was some tasteful role-playing—with the desperate writer acting out each point to the publisher searching for an escape route.

Though they may all seem like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised how many writers regularly commit these atrocities and become a part of the “guess what this writer did today” discussion when publishers get together for drinks.

What NOT To Do

Be insistent
Be confident
Be oblivious
Be pretentious
Be yammering

While I enjoyed the playful approach, the shining moment of the MeetUp happened in the second half, during the “what to do” segment.

This was when Tod went through each point from her publisher’s perspective, inviting the audience to freely ask questions to fuel the discussion. So, here they are:

What To Do

Be informed
Be courteous
Be open
Be professional
Be yourself

“Be yourself. Don’t try to be somebody else, Because that’s what you’re bringing to the party.” – Tod Davies

At the beginning of the talk, Tod asked us one no-frills question that stunned the room: How many of you know that publishers are human beings?

I wish I could have been standing where she was, taking in the blank stares. I imagine it was a bittersweet mixture of comedy and frustration for her. When she posed the same question again, cautious hands began to rise from the tattered pews and laughter enveloped the musty space.

So, if thinking about your writing as a business doesn’t resonate with you, then remember humanity. Be human, be yourself. Because there is a human on the other side of every part of this.

Who’s reading your book? A human. Who’s reviewing your book? Oh look, it’s a human. Who’s editing, formatting, designing your book? Still a human. Who’s reading your eager email when you submit your pitch to a publisher or agent? I think you get it.

We’re all humans, so act like one. Interesting concept, eh? See what that does for your success as a writer.

Have you ever been to an amazing MeetUp? Or, do you have any great tips for pitching to publishers?

Nola Fran Evie is a Delight!

Summer is right around the corner and I know you’re all stocking up on yummy books to read outside in the sunshine. While I love cozying up with books in the colder months, I have to say reading outside this time of the year with the sun warming my skin trumps shivering my ass off any day.

It’s rare that I talk about my books around here, because I try to keep my blog more about life inspiration than a place for marketing my books.

BUT…

Today I have to share a lovely review for Nola Fran Evie—along with a little plug for anyone looking for a summer read set in 1950s Chicago, with strong women and bit of baseball. For those new to my novel writing (and perhaps a wee bit skeptical), I included an excerpt down below for you to check out.

Reviews in the indie author world are so golden, and I am very grateful any time a reader takes a moment to leave kind words and shiny stars on Amazon or Goodreads.

Big thanks to my girl, Arianna, for being a doll and leaving this glowing review on Amazon.

From the minute you start reading about Jacks and her discovery inside an old vintage handbag, you are transported back in time – to a time when women weren’t allowed to have opinions or dreams.

Enter Nola, Fran and Evie. Three women who, despite their circumstances and the era in which they live, are determined to be better and are willing to fight for it – no matter the cost.

But, do these women truly exist; or are they all a part of Jacks’ wonderful imagination? And what impact will they have in Jacks’ life?

Nola Fran Evie may just be Britt Skrabanek’s best work yet!

 

Nola Fran Evie Cover Master Small

Get it now on Amazon

Get in now on Amazon UK

______________________________

woman vintage car

Once upon a time, sitting beside Harvey in one of his fancy cars made Evie feel like a queen. Now she felt like the jester, a laughable character forever stuck in a flashy costume, attempting to please yet never able to do so.

Her eyes wandered to the small space between them on the shared leather bench. Now she wished they had one of those European cars that came with separate seats. Evie hated sitting so close to her husband. To think she had once sat tucked inside his draping arm. Even then she instigated the affection, wiggling closer and placing Harvey’s arm around her body.

He’d always been incapable of showing any tenderness. A man like Harvey Shaw didn’t know how to love. He was a connoisseur of lust—quick, impatient, greedy lust.

She wagged her feet, which hung lazily out the window. Her pretty red toenails contrasted against the green countryside. With the fresh breeze lifting her plaid sundress and tickling her feet, Evie could almost pretend to be a little happy.

Almost.

“We’re getting close. Put your feet down before somebody sees them,” Harvey said, snarling.

Determined to protect her fragile euphoria, Evie remained with her feet up. “There’s a lake and it’s summer. Chances are, they’re all gonna catch my bare feet sooner or later.”

“I don’t want you to go swimming,” he said, continuing to look at the road.

Harvey hadn’t looked at her a single time during their excruciating hour in the car, except to snarl at her feet. A tiny wad of toilet paper with a red mark hung from his chin, the shaving bandage she loathed as much as his cold laugh.

“And why can’t I go swimming?”

“Because I don’t want you getting your hair wet.”

Harvey didn’t want people to see her in her swimsuit. Purposely she had packed her raciest one, a modern white two-piece. Evie was sure it would attract attention and enrage her husband.

“You know, darling. For a man who goes through women like he goes through cars, I’m surprised you get as jealous as you do.”

Harvey pulled the car over to the side of the dirt road, stopping below a billboard of a chirpy wife cleaning her kitchen with Clorox. Dust kicked up around them, infiltrating the open windows and causing her to cough.

He killed the engine, yanked the emergency brake behind the wheel and lurched across the bench. He pointed an angry finger an inch from her eyes. “You better listen closely, Evelyn.”

Evie stared at his finger. “It doesn’t appear that I have a choice since I’m trapped in this overpriced tin can.”

Harvey squeezed her arm roughly. “When did you start losing your mind?”

Though she was frightened, crippled by one of his searing questions, Evie looked him straight in the eyes. “It’s hard to say, because it was so long ago. Probably around the time you stopped loving me.” She placed her feet down, then crossed her legs.

He released her arm and scanned the open road.

She laughed weakly and took the tiny piece of toilet paper off the tip of his chin. “I can see by your face that you never loved me at all.”

Harvey gave her a surprised look.

“You know, I wasn’t born yesterday.”

He rubbed his chin, gripped the steering wheel and leaned back with his eyes closed. “Suppose I loved the idea of you when we started. Then I realized an idea isn’t the same in reality.”

He opened his eyes and turned toward her.

Tears rose to the surface and she looked away. “Dammit, Harvey. I thought I was past this point. But you can still break my heart as if you were born to do just that.” Evie dipped her chin down to hide her sadness underneath her summer hat.

Harvey started the car, wearing a harsh expression. “Don’t flatter yourself, darling. I have other things I was born to do.”

“That’s true. You’ve done most of Chicago and half of Milwaukee. Perhaps you’re here just to screw everyone.”

He laughed. “I know you’re trying to get under my skin, but saying that I screw everyone has a nice ring to it.”

“Mr. Shaw, you make me feel sick.” Evie hugged herself protectively, looking down the road.

Harvey cracked his neck. “Mrs. Shaw, you don’t make me feel anything.”

“Go to hell, Harvey.”

“Sure, darling.”

He pulled onto the highway and they drove in bitter silence to the picnic. Somehow after all they just said, Mr. and Mrs. Shaw would try to pull off their biggest bluff. As two people eating hamburgers and potato chips who could stand the sight of each other.

Evie flipped on the radio and surrendered to the rock and roll music blaring through the speakers. She closed her eyes and tapped her hand on the windowsill, dancing alone inside.


vintage story