Tag Archives: fiction

Adventures in self-publishing.

I always love hearing about how writers became writers. I love reading “call” stories, hearing about routines and learning what makes writers tick. How did they get there? What did they do? I thought I’d share mine, if anyone is interested.

I’ve been writing stories since I was in kindergarten. My mom saved the first story I typed when I six years old. Years later, I’d hide in my room reading Sweet Valley and Norma Klein books. I’d scribble my own stories in a big red binder.

During high school and college, I wrote every single night, because I had to write. The stories had to get out or they would drive me crazy. Still, I never considered it a true career path because it seemed so out of reach.

I’ve worked a lot of different jobs in my lifetime. I’ve been a graphic designer, a web designer, a retail sales person and an office administrator. I liked those jobs, but never felt satisfied. So, I would come home and sit at the computer and write. It was my stress relief and my joy. I bought a ton of “how to” books on writing romance. I belonged to RWA off and on during the years, both the national and local chapters, and I took editing and writing classes.

Still? I had a lot of trouble finishing a manuscript. I was afraid. That if I finished writing a book, I’d have to actually do something with it. What if it was hopeless drivel? What if I totally sucked at this? I was SO afraid to fail.

So, I procrastinated. I hemmed and hawed and did everything except finish the damn book. I’d start writing new books, saying *this* one would be better than the last. I wasted a lot of time doubting myself. It would have been a different story if I felt I wasn’t ready. I knew I was ready, I just refused to take action.

At the end of 2013, I lost one of the people I was closest to in my life.  When she passed away, it was one of the most awful times I’ve ever experienced. But, it was also eye-opening. We don’t know how much time we have on this big blue marble.  And, all the time I was wasting by procrastinating and putting off what really made me happy? Well, that had to change. I had to give it a shot. I wanted to prove to myself that I could finally finish a book and send it out into the world, failure be damned.

I had nothing to lose, really. I’d been freelancing after being laid-off from my administration job. Funds were tight. (Oh, how funds were tight!) It was now or never.

I gave myself a New Year’s Day deadline. Then I sat down and wrote furiously. Then I wrote some more. I made the ebook cover myself. I taught myself how to format the book and I wrote the blurb. I stayed up all hours of the night and barely slept for three months during the entire process.

Laundry piled up. My poor husband ate a million frozen pizzas. And the apartment? Well, I wouldn’t use a white glove to test for dust, that’s for sure.

The overwhelming doubt during this process was almost too much to bear. I read the story backwards, forwards and aloud. The night I uploaded the novella to Amazon, I sat down and had a huge cry from the overwhelming doubt and the months of stress.

When I finally did hit upload the book, it was five-thirty in the morning, and I was alone. All I could think about was that I’d done it. No, I didn’t do things the traditional way, but still, I had done it.

I finished the book, and entered the world of self-publishing.

Honestly, the support and interest in the novella has been more than I could ever hope for, especially as a new author. It’s been the happiest time in my life, and I don’t regret it for a second. So much of it is a new experience. Your first sale, your first rating, your first great review and your first bad review. All of it has been exhilarating and overwhelming. I am in love with the entire process.

The romance writing community has been overwhelmingly supportive and so incredibly helpful. Both self-published and traditionally published authors have offered insight, advice and support.

I have a long way to go, and LOT more to learn. There’s stuff that I’d change, and things that I wouldn’t. Overall, the experience has been the best one of my life.

So, if you’re a writer, keep writing and finish the manuscript. If you hate it, write another one. Make sure you finish that one, too. You can’t know what it’s like to go through the process until you write an entire book. Don’t give up on your dream. Take classes, learn your craft and keep working. We are never done learning.

Finish that book.

I chose self-publishing because it was a personal goal to finish a project by a certain deadline. If you want to be traditionally published, pursue it. Don’t ever give up. Write.

One of the best things about writing romance is that I get to give my fictional people their happily-ever-after.

I didn’t think I’d give myself my own in the process.  Dreams do come true.

Write on,

Jen 🙂

My hockey romance, Getting Lucky,  is available at: AmazonKoboBarnes & Noble, and iTunes.


Another snippet from Getting Lucky

I don’t know about you guys, but I am so ready for the weekend! Though I’m not sure how much fun it will be, as this cold or flu thing is making the rounds around my house. I’m hoping to dodge it with lots of Lysol wipes and hand washing.

In honor of it being *almost* Friday, here is another snippet from my new book, Getting Lucky. Hey, it’s as good of an excuse as any. Happy reading! – Jen 🙂

“Thanks for letting me stay with you. It’s very kind.”

He winked. “I can’t leave a damsel in distress, can I?”

“I guess it would make the white knights of the world look bad.”

Her stomach hadn’t stopped fluttering since she’d stepped into his vehicle. If he hadn’t been the cause of all this emotional upheaval, she’d think she had an entire swarm of butterflies taking up residence in her belly.

Ryder took her hand and brought it to his lips, placing a gentle kiss on her fingers. His dark blue eyes smoldered as he watched her. “We can’t have that, m’lady.”

Her breath caught in her chest and she froze, unable to tear her gaze away from his face.

A moment later the look disappeared, and he grinned. “I always wanted to do that.”

“Does the sexy, smoldering thing you just did work on all the girls you rescue from bars?”

“I don’t know. Did it work on you?” he asked, looking amused.

She stared out the passenger side window. “Yes,” she replied. “I’d say it did.”

Getting Lucky is available at: AmazonKoboBarnes & NobleiTunes.

Hockey Romance. It’s a thing.

I was on a popular social media site the other day and giggled at a conversation I “overheard.” A woman said she liked hockey romance books, and her friends innocently asked, “Wait…so hockey romance books are an actual thing?”

Yes! They are *so* a thing. The first romance book that I read with a  hockey player hero was Rachel Gibson’s “Simply Irresistible” back in 1998 or 1999. Oh, I fell in love with that book. Finally, an athlete hero! (They were probably scattered around and available here and there, but this was the first one that I discovered)

I was a tomboy and played deck hockey in leagues for years, so all of the guys in my life (aka boyfriend / guy friends) played hockey. These were guys that taught me how to play the game, showed patience, and were always willing to help me improve. Sure, they weren’t in the NHL, but I wanted to see those qualities come to life through a hockey hero in the romances I devoured every week.

When Rachel’s “See Jane Score” came out, I was hooked! From then on I hunted for hockey-themed books. I bought all of Rachel’s books, plus Deirdre Martin’s hockey series, as well as other Harlequin authors who had started prominently featuring hockey players or athletes in their books. For me, it was a natural evolution to want to read about athlete heroes. I sought out that theme in the romance books I loved so much.

Now, romance books with hockey heroes (and baseball, football, etc) are really starting to come into the limelight. Authors like Jaci Burton, Kelli Jamieson, Cassandra Carr, V.L. Locey and Kate Willoughby, as well as countless others, are feeding that love with hunky hockey guys in their books, and we can’t get enough.

So my question is, why do *you* love hockey romance? What makes these athletes so damn fun to read about? Did you play hockey? Are you a mad hockey fan? Let me know. 🙂

My hockey romance, Getting Lucky, is available now, so you can snag it at any of the following places:  AmazonKoboBarnes & NobleiTunes.

Answers to a few questions, and another snippet from Getting Lucky.

Hi everyone! Hope your Sunday is spent relaxing and enjoying the day before getting back to the daily Monday grind.

I wanted to answer a few questions that I’ve been asked in the past week since Getting Lucky has been released. If you want to just read the snippet, you can skip to the bottom of the page. 🙂

First: “Where the heck is your website? I clicked on the link and it isn’t working.”

I know, it’s pretty funny that me, a web designer, has a website that isn’t ready yet. It will be up and running soon. For now, you can find me over here on the blog, or twitter. I’m @jenlazaris over there, so feel free to follow me. I’m also on Goodreads.

Second: “When is the second book coming out?”

The second book is finished, and currently being edited. It will release early this year. As soon as I have a specific date, I’ll announce it on my website and blog.

Third: “Is it West Keller’s story?”

Yes. The next book is all about West Keller, the Kingsnakes goaltender. I really, really loved West’s story, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

Finally:  “Can the books be read as stand-alone books, or do they have to be read in order?”

All of the books can be read as stand-alone books, but the experience would probably be richer to read them in order as they are released. However, it isn’t necessary.

I hope that clears up some questions, and if you have any more, feel free to send me an email or hit me up on twitter!

If you have read Getting Lucky, I’d be so appreciative if you could give it a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

Thanks so much everyone, and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

And now, as promised, your Sunday snippet from Getting Lucky:

“Zoe,” he murmured. Leaning toward her, he tangled his fingers through her hair and inhaled the faint scent of cherries and vanilla clinging to the silky strands. He’d associate the scent with her forever.

“What are you doing?” she asked. He didn’t miss the tiny hitch to her voice, and she trembled in his arms. The interior light in the SUV switched off, plunging them into darkness.

“I don’t like other people touching what’s mine.”

“I’m not yours,” she said softly.

“You could be.” He ran his thumb along her jaw and across her pouty lower lip. “I really wish you would be, Zoe.”

Getting Lucky is now available at: AmazonKoboBarnes & NobleiTunes.