PLN Author Blog Hop!

I am excited to be teaming up with 20 amazing PLN authors to give you our First Annual PLN Author Blog Hop!

IMG_8317

For the next 21 days, there will be giveaways each day on the different author’s pages. Stop by and visit all of us, look around, check out our books—you might find a new author that you want to follow 🙂

After you visit, make sure you enter the giveaway. We have signed paperbacks, ebooks, advanced copies, and gift cards too! The blog hop runs from December 4th – December 24th and winners will be picked and notified after the holidays, so be on the lookout.

You can follow along the blog hop below by clicking on the author’s name. Have fun exploring, commenting on the different pages—we look forward to chatting with you!

Wishing you and your families a very happy holiday season!

XO
Fabiola

Author Blog Hop Date
Daisy Allen 12/4
Nicole Loufas 12/5
TL Fisher 12/6
A.D. McCammon 12/7
Fabiola Francisco 12/8
Brandi Aga 12/9
Elizabeth Hayes 12/10
Heather Bentley 12/11
HM Sholander 12/12
K. Moore 12/13
J.R. Rogue 12/14
Willow Aster 12/15
Kat Savage 12/16
Rebecca Kate 12/17
Holly Hall 12/18
Dominique Laura 12/19
Juliet Dillon 12/20
V.P. Ortiz 12/21
M.M Clem 12/22
Leah Parker 12/23
Whitney Barbetti 12/24

Giveaway

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b26950fe9/

First Annual PLN Holiday Giveaway-2

Advertisements

Prologue: LOVE YOU THROUGH IT by Fabiola Francisco

While I was writing LOVIN’ ON YOU last year, the idea for this story popped into my mind and I quickly shoved it away harder than I’d push the biggest villain in any story. I was adamant to leave it alone and not venture into the emotions it would bring. Then, a friend brought it up to me after she finished Lovin’ on You, and I felt as if she had read my thoughts. I told her, NO. I’m pretty sure I used shouty caps. But, her words stuck with me because something inside me wanted to write this story. So, I did.

I began this manuscript, stopped and wrote another book, and picked it up later when I saw the perfect cover for it. It’s as if the universe was telling me, write the damn book. And I listened. I wrote the book and I cried more than I ever have writing any story. {Blubbering mess, y’all}

This is a topic that I fear in my personal life. Falling in love, having the fairy tale, and losing it all because of death. Grab tissues and read the prologue below.


Prologue

I knew the moment I heard the words slip from the man in uniform that my world would be turned upside down. Shattered. Everything ended that dreadful day, including my will to live.
***
I throw myself over the casket after the preacher spoke words of peace and light. I grip the hard wood, bawling, refusing to let them sink this box to the bottom of that hole. No one attempts to stop me. They all watch in sorrow as I yell, asking God why.
I finally feel my father and Josh’s father pull me away. They hand me the folded flag—the tainted reminder of all that is left of him.
I stand in shock as they lower his body and cover him in dirt. I stare numbly at the mound of earth that now separates us. I will never see him again. I will never hear him again. Everything is destroyed.
“We’ll take you home,” my mother says, but I shake my head. “Bri, it would be best if you left. Let’s eat something.”
Turning to her, eyes void of emotion, I say, “Take me home and leave me there. I want to be alone.”
In the silence of the car, they respect my wishes. I hold on to that flag as if it were Josh I was holding.
“I want to be alone,” I tell them as they pull into the driveway before they choose to come inside with me.
“But—”
“No, mom. Not today.” I get out of the car; the black of my dress feels heavy as I drag with me the darkness this day has brought. It’s real. As if I would somehow wake up and have dreamt the visit the officer and chaplain made not too long ago.
As the door closes behind me, I lean against it—white contrasting to my black— and stare at this home. I calmly put the flag down on the console table. I walk a few steps in, grab the lamp and strike it onto the floor. I sweep my arms across the small table in the living room, causing everything on it to fall and break. The metal dish clings against the tile.
“Ahhh!” My throat hurts from the exertion. I yell again and again until I’m sore. I shatter the vase with flowers my friends sent me. Water pours from the broken glass as the roses attempt to soak up the last bit. I walk to them and stomp them with my heel. They can’t live if he’s dead.
I can’t live if he’s dead. I can’t live. I can’t.
I fall onto my knees, the tears a common emotion for me, and look up at the heavens. “I only have one question, God; why’d you bring him to me to steal him away?”
With that, I curl into my side and lose myself.

Copyright 2017, Fabiola Francisco


Pre-order: http://amzn.to/2j1ssSD

I will be posting sample chapters before release here, so make sure to follow me! https://www.wattpad.com/user/AuthorFabiola

Release Blitz & ARC sign-up: http://bit.ly/2g44xzV

Reader ARC Master List: https://goo.gl/forms/jiv0Z2YjYMAA1oaI3

She fit around me so.png

Authors, Use Your Superpowers

We all have days where we doubt ourselves, put ourselves through a self-inflicted ringer, crushing our dreams before we have a chance to wake up and attempt to fulfill them. It’s part of being a human, experiencing this life. We can choose to learn from it or drown in it. Some days it seems almost impossible to rise above it—our mind reminding us we’re not good enough. We are.

Use Your Superpowers.jpg

I feel as writers we sometimes subject ourselves to this. Comparison kills joy. So what do we do when we’re constantly being compared to others as a part of our career?

Believe in yourself. Believe in your craft. Often times, when I doubt my words, when I doubt my story-telling ability, I remind myself why I started writing in the first place. Not publishing, writing. I began to save myself from myself, so there is no way something that saved my life will be able to bring me down. I’m a writer before anything else. Before I’m a published author. Even, before I’m a reader. Because writing was a tool I used when I didn’t give a shit about the rest. I won’t bore you with the details. You get the gist.

So how can something that helped me battle negativity be a negative in my life? It can’t. I just need to remind myself why I started. What’s my why. Flow with that why. Remind yourself about the passion you feel toward your craft and forget what others are doing. I come back to my core. To who I am as a person, as a soul, not as the public figure. I return “home” in a sense and write something that has nothing to do with my work in progress that brings me back. That reminds me about my writing purpose.

Who cares if someone is writing about such topic. Does that topic resonate with you? Yes? Great, write about it. No? Great, write the story you have in you.

It’s so easy to question plots, to judge our creativity, to shut down an idea because it’s not “popular.” There are readers for everything, thank goodness, and there are writers to write all kinds of stories, again, thank goodness. That’s the beauty of fiction—creativity is limitless. The unimaginable becomes imaginable through the magic of words.

Write what you know. Write what you don’t know. Hell, you want to use the word moist? Use it. Yes, some readers will cringe. Guess what, if your story resonates with them, they’ll overcome the use of that word.

Break the rules. Seriously, if you have an idea for a book and it doesn’t fit a mold, write it anyway. It’s easy to get stuck on trends, but if you force yourself to write what’s popular while it’s not your passion, this career will squeeze the life out of you. Though publishing is a business, writing is an art. Finding balance for both is key, but never compromise what’s in your heart.

 

*Spoiler alert: Not everyone will love all your books, so stop trying to please the outside world instead of yourself.

 

 

An Author’s Horror Story

I woke up this morning with high hopes of coffee (it is International Coffee Day, after all) and a strong will to focus so I can reach my daily word count goal (a new donut shop opened nearby and that donut will be my reward for writing. #TGIF y’all). I started my day early, motivated and determined to swim with success in this author life I’m living.

After drinking my first cup of coffee, I check the usual business—chat with peers, schedule Facebook posts, check my Amazon page.

Gasp!

The nightmare I’ve had on repeat since I started publishing became true. The Phantom of Amazon assaulted with a vengeance. Five out of eight books lost a review.

Just one review? Don’t be a crybaby.

I’m sure many of you think that way. Those of you who publish and have never lost a review, those who aren’t in the business and don’t understand the value of reviews to authors and the work reviewers put into expressing how they feel about a book.

And yes, it could be worse. I could have lost more, but one is enough to stir uncertainty. It starts with one, but it never stops there. This week I’ve been talking with a couple of friends, one of them has lost multiple reviews for her new release.

We know, don’t include the words ARC, book gifted in exchange for a review, etc, etc. The thing is, the publishing business works this way. Authors send out ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) as part of their marketing. It creates buzz before the book releases. Traditional publishers do this as well.

Not too long ago, I was watching an interview with three interns for a publishing house. They were asked what they learned the most in their summer internship. One woman said how many books are given out for free to readers before a book releases. We’re talking hundreds of books. Us indies, aren’t doing anything different. We’re playing by the same rules, Amazon. It’s part of the business. And trust me, those free books cost us money.

We host giveaways, we purchase books from Createspace (an Amazon-run company) to sell signed copies on our website and book signings. We invest, work tirelessly, and lose quality time with loved ones to pursue a dream. I’ll be honest, days like this make me question what the hell I’m still doing publishing books. I’ll always write. It’s embedded deep in my soul and I can’t quit it—not cold turkey, not with therapy. Writing is my therapy. But publishing is a business. A business that continues to provide struggles and obstacles for indie authors because we get chastised for working hard and following the path that’s been paved. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe we need to break away from that path and carve our own. Hell, I never get all the reviews for books I give away.

For the record, they can be five stars or one, I want honest. In me giving a book to bloggers for reviews doesn’t mean I expect them to give me four or five stars. Are you listening, Amazon? Because it’s funny how the one and two star reviews never get deleted.

I try not to get hung up on reviews. They’re for the reader, not the author, blablabla. I get that, but they are also for the author because they help with our exposure on Amazon. They either work for or against Amazon’s algorithm, so to that comment, I dare call bullshit. We use blurbs from reviews to use in our marketing material. There’s a purpose. If there was no purpose to reviews, and no benefit, they wouldn’t exist.

If I were getting hundreds of reviews per book, I may not even notice. Even then, it’s still unfair. Unfortunately, I’m not. I have loyal readers, whom I adore. They know this. I’m forever grateful to them for their unconditional support. However, readers who have no idea who I am don’t invest time in writing a review for me, or bother to buy my book if I have measly twenty reviews, because surely this author sucks if no one buys her book (reviews are not a reflection of sales, FYI). Every. Review. Counts when you’re an indie like me.

Do you want to know what I find humorous? (A dry humor) Every single book that lost a review today is enlisted in Kindle Unlimited. Do you also want to know a fact? Readers who read a book via Kindle Unlimited and review said book does not show as verified purchase despite them investing in the Netflix of books.

We’ve all seen posts like this, talking about the loss of reviews and frustrated authors venting. The thing is, nothing changes. We continue to pay for building an audience and selling books (or not selling depending who you ask because it’s a hard knock life out there, yo). We continue to bring up that same nagging topic because it affects us. We try to take a stand and get rebutted. How would you feel if you were given food from a stranger only to have someone come to you and take it away because it was “free”? Or if someone donated clothes for your child and a person comes into your house to collect it all because you didn’t pay for it?

It works the same. Or similar. You get the gist. I’m still working through coffee número dos. The bottom line is, for the most part, we do this honestly. I don’t tell reviewers, you better give me five stars or you’ll never review for me again. No. That is wrong. Paying readers to review your books is wrong. Marketing your book to gain exposure by having reviewers read is not. We see vloggers do it for everything—makeup, skin care, hair products.

Now, I have a few questions that need some clarification, and I’m not a well-known author so I may not even get responses, but contacting Amazon in the past has been pointless.

  1. What happens with Kindle Unlimited reviews that show as non-verified? If you can keep track of the pages read to pay authors, then surely you can track if that reader reviewed from a “purchase.”
  2. Authors purchase books from Createspace (paying a price) in order to have paperbacks to sell as signed copies on their websites or at book signings. Readers who read those books and review will not show a verified purchase. YET, (and yes, I’m using shouty caps because I totally shouted that word in my head) Amazon is receiving payment for those books from the author. How would Amazon know where the book came from? They have no idea that it was indeed, a purchase. Maybe add that as an option in your review, Amazon. You can see the author’s purchase history from Createspace.
  3. Why are we getting punished for running a business? Many other businesses provide services and products in exchange for reviews. I don’t know most of the reviewers who receive my books. I hire a company that runs that service for me. The reviewer and I have no relationship.
  4. What does Amazon gain in removing reviews? I understand it’s a way on controlling and keeping things fair and honest, but I’m not cheating the system. The people I know, who are also losing reviews, aren’t scamming. I don’t have time to even think that. YET, there have been “authors” who have cheated the system to make sales and become bestsellers. Amazon cracked down on those when readers united (in an very impressive force) to express the unfairness in it.

So, Amazon, instead of picking on authors that are working hard on paving a way to build a name for themselves, why don’t you look into what’s true fraud.

Authors providing books to be reviewed is not a scam. It’s part of the publishing business. Like I mentioned, I never even get reviews for all of the books sent out.

What do they gain in removing reviews? Those reviews help us reach a level within their algorithm. They help our books not get lost in the sea of millions. Publishing isn’t full of flowers, sunshine, and good coffee. It’s full of tears, heartache, frustration, and disappointment.

So, why do it? Because it takes one reader to send a message expressing how much your book helped their personal life to chuck the bad stuff and focus on that. It takes one kind word about your story to help you realize there’s no way you can stop sharing your words once you start doing so, but it’s expensive to get a book published. You’ve heard the stories.

This is a business based on art, so it’s trickier than say, selling clothes. We pour passion and soul into our words. We create books based on our experiences, our hurt, our truths. That alone is scary. Then, we have to tie in business, a price tag, to it. Imagine coming up with a price for a child. Because to us, our books are our babies. I, for one, bleed onto my laptop, writing things I’d never express if they were in the form of non-fiction. It’s not all fairy tales, guys.

But we want to share it with the world, and we choose to make it a business. It’s a delicate line. It’s doubly disappointing to receive news like this. To see all the hard work you’ve poured, slowly be deleted as if you’re just a number. To Amazon, I am just a number. But for my peers and me, those reviews mean more than just that.

I’ve had my own issues with Amazon in the past due to other reasons. To the point I’ve had to consider removing some of my books from their platform. Most of my readers, if not all, read on Kindle, so in a way Amazon will always have the upper hand unless I say, fuck it, and take a risk.

Today, I’m over it. Today, I want to say a big F U and call it quits. Instead, I have words to write because I’m eating that damn donut.

Tomorrow is a new day, and for the love of God, I pray that Amazon leaves us alone. If not, it’s time we unite and pave a new way. There can be a lot of division in this community, but we’re strong when we come together.

 

*Edit: In the time I wrote this post and published it, I reached my word count and got my donut. How ‘bout dat?

 

 

 

Dear Porn, You’re Not Romance

Porn: Man sees woman, undresses her (with hands, not eyes), and they instantly engage in sexual acts. No names, no story behind their meeting or relationship. It’s raw and dirty. (I think this is how it works, I haven’t exactly watched porn. Did I just admit that to the internet?)

20394893_282208558921737_1043302668_o
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

The stigma associated with romance novels (and their writers) is a continuous clash between those who know the difference and those who think they know the difference. Many people truly don’t know the difference. So I’m here today, as part of the hundreds of people who have already discussed this topic, to hopefully clarify some misconceptions about romance novels.

Romance, noun: a (1) : a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural (2) : a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious (3) : a love story especially in the form of a novel

b : a class of such literature

I grabbed this definition from Merriam-Webster. As you can read, romance is a love tale that involves events, chivalry, adventure, etc. in the process of finding that person who you want to spend your life with. Romance is about the happily ever after, not just the happy ending. (wink, wink)

We all hope to find that special someone in real life. I know I do. The person you can laugh and cry with. The person to hold you tightly, and the person you push away when you’re angry. It’s all part of romance. Like any true love story (real or fiction), sexuality is a part of it. Say what?! I know, I know; how dare I speak of such things in public? But that’s just it. We live in a world where we are fighting to become more open and accepting of the truth we live, and having sex is normal.

I understand it’s been a taboo topic in the past. I know romance novels have been looked down on with snooty noses as not good enough literature, allowing people to look away instead of being educated on the topic. The thing is that everyone desires to be wanted. Everyone desires to have a connection with another person. That is what romance is about—the bond between two humans, who find in each other a connection that allows them to grow and move forward together.

It isn’t all about the sex. That’s porn. They’re very different. Porn wants to excite the viewer/reader quickly to get the job done (again—wink, wink). Romance is about the journey—the tale of coming together, overcoming struggles, and living your life with another person.

Now, let me tell you how our society works. Sex sells. A lot. So when we bring in marketing (for romance or anything else), sex is a big factor. Considering romance novels, most times, do include some kind of sexual activity, teasers and excerpts may be geared towards that because it hooks readers. It does raise emotion, entices them, and makes them want more. We’re human after all.

Just because something has a sex-geared advertisement doesn’t constitute it as porn. Let’s take a perfume commercial for example (oh, those can be hot!). A lot of perfume commercials entice the viewer with a good-looking man, a woman in lingerie, or a couple engaging in a steamy kiss. Does that mean the perfume company sells porn? What it does is sell the product. It hooks consumers. That’s their ultimate goal.

Nicholas Sparks has sex in his novels. Does that make him a writer of porn? You have sex in your life with your partner. Are you a porn star? (Role playing idea?)

When I first started writing romance, I was hesitant to answer people’s questions about the genre I wrote. I would think to myself, Oh God, they’re going to know I write sex in my stories. Yet, I love writing romance. I love writing about the bond between people, their struggles (this is my favorite—it shows their true character), and having balance in life. So little by little, I became more comfortable telling people who knew me before I was a published author that I wrote romance. (My mom was the hardest. Like, Mom, I wrote sex into my story. I still remember the day I told her I wrote a book, and it was explicit. Kill me now! She’s probably reading this. Hey, Mom!) I had that stigma attached to me until I said, fuck it, and owned it. Now, I giggle when people mix up the true romance meaning with that of porn. I don’t get offended; I get it.

I strive on making my stories about more than just the romance. I add topics that sometimes are difficult to read about, and other times I add humor and good nature. It’s a balance, or I’ll sink into this dark oblivion of heavy emotions. Regardless of the tone of my novels, I want to get a message across, so when people think I write porn it defeats the purpose of trying to convey this meaningful message. It also confirms that sex sells, because if what you remember most about my novels is the teaser you saw about some heavy kissing, then I’ve left a memorable (whether it was my intention or not) hook in you. Now to reel you in and catch your full attention. (Horrible fishing symbolism—I promise I can write better symbolism than that.)

I get that society, as sex-driven as it is, also scolds people for being so open about their sexuality. Again, many people don’t know the difference, come across a teaser about a man running his hands down a woman’s bare hip before cupping her behind, and think the story is sex-driven. There is so much more to romance novels, and I hope that each of us that know about it can continue to educate people on the difference because it is such a wonderful genre to get lost in.

We watch romance movies and don’t think twice about questioning if we will be watching porn. We eagerly schedule a girls’ night to watch the latest Rom-Com whilst drinking a glass of wine, yet doubt the morality of romance novels.

I ask that you don’t let the label of what people think the romance genre is to limit you from reading some fantastic literature. I have read novels that have stayed with me for years. Romance novels are real, raw, sweet, and flirty. They encompass so much life. As humans, we want to feel intimacy with another person. Romance is that. It’s the story of intimacy, trust, and opening our hearts.

With the way the world is nowadays, I’m glad I have a Kindle full of romance novels to show me hope. To prove to me love still exists, because if we, as writers, can come up with stories about love, then love must still be alive, right?

Ultimately, that’s what romance is about. It’s about love, the journey to get there, the strength it takes to overcome loss when love goes awry, and the power of relationships (friendships and more).

I’ll raise my glass to all of you romance readers and writers, for believing in love. I’ll raise it to all of you who are not familiar with it and hope you’ll indulge a bit in this beautiful community. While I’m at it, let’s be open to all types of romances and love stories. Romeo and Juliet is a classic tragedy that still remains very much alive in our world, and they ended up dead. (Spoiler alert)

In all seriousness though, I do hope we can come to an understanding about the essence of romance. I hope this helped to better understand the difference between romance and plain ole sex in a written form. May we all live a life full of love, intimacy, trust, and strength, like my favorite heroes, and not shy away from a topic that is human nature.

XO,

Fab

I thought I was done publishing, and then more words came

It’s hard to come from Twisted in You, which is a story I’ve waited years to tell (I think before I ever decided to write novels). I wasn’t sure what to write. I started on Bri’s story (Love You Through It), and it felt forced. Cash and Olivia were still too much in me to give Bri her own voice despite the VERY different tones in their books.

For me, Twisted in You was my ultimate goal. So I questioned if this was it. Is this where I close out my publishing life? Publishing this book was always my light at the end of the tunnel. That book is THE book for me. How can any other after it be justified?

I’ll be honest, it’s not the first time I question my publishing path. It’s hard out there, guys. I just want to share words. I want to create word art and express myself in a way that feels comfortable. Words are that for me. They always have been. Whatever shit I was dealing through, I’d write it. Death? Write a poem. Done. Anger? Write a letter to the person. Relief. Abuse? Put yourself in the perpetrator’s place. Compassion & understanding. Love? Write another poem. Acceptance that happy endings exist.

I won’t say writing was always a channel of expression for me, because it wasn’t. It took thirteen years to become aware of this gift. As a child I rejected reading and writing. (Joke’s on me, huh?) But damn, if it didn’t save my life multiple times. You all know how the story goes. 

Part of my life purpose is to help others heal. I’m aware of this, and it’s a path I’ve been working towards, finding my balanced footing on it. Writing is my way of doing that, whether it be fiction, blogging, or submitting articles to other sites. Because of this, I don’t know that I’ll ever fully be able to stop publishing. But, after Twisted in You was out in the world, I struggled with what to work on. What part of me was I ready to share next?

So I went back to where it all began—my teen years. One beta reader (who is a friend and knows me pretty well) sent me a text message the other day that said, “You are soooo Luna.” Yes, she sent that many O’s. And she was right. I am a Luna, because I am every character I write. I am the teen poet, using her words to express what she does not yet understand, or what she is not quite ready to share with the world verbally.

I went back to the girl who was shy, felt like an outcast with peers, and was so dead-set that there is more out there than the crap we deal with at times. I went back to my teen years because those were hard. And while I didn’t have a Carter, I had a brother like Becket and sometimes I took him for granted (He also slept with his basketball. AND I already dedicated a book to him, so we’re even, right?).

There was born Beneath the Stars. I’ve wanted to write a young adult for some time, and the story blossomed. There’s romance, mistakes (lots of them), confusion (even more so than mistakes), and hope. We have a girl who is trying to find her place in a space that she may not fit in. We have a boy whom she secretly crushes over finally pay her attention. We have a connection that bonds them and mistakes that tear them apart. We have a story of the confusion teen years bring, the struggles and monotony of them. So when I felt like I was done, I went back. I went to the beginning of my writing life and wrote who I was then. To a certain extent, obviously. I wish a cute basketball player was fighting for my attention back then (or now, because basketball players are cute!). 😉

read the lines

I am excited to share this story and the person Luna is. I include poetry in this book, so I was able to have my own creative expression, as well as novel writing. Poetry was my first love and helped heal so much of my past. I’m glad to be able to incorporate it into a story.

Read the synopsis here:

Quiet poet, observer, emotional teen. That’s me, Luna Gardner. When my lifelong crush, Carter, finally makes a move, it seems like I’m living out one of my poems. But like my writing, emotions are high and endings can be brutal.

One decision makes a mess out of everything. Being a teen isn’t supposed to be this complicated. No amount of poetry will fix the damage I’ve done. So, beneath the stars I get lost in the words and hope I can write a better outcome to my reality.

And add to Goodreads shelf!And add to Goodreads shelf!

Join Fabiola’s Fab Reads for EXCLUSIVE teasers and be the first to get all the 411.

I am so grateful for this gift, and never do I take it for granted. When one person sends  a message thanking me for a story that resonated with them, or for sharing something that is barely spoken about, my heart is full. My job is done. I want words to give people hope, heal the past, and know that HEA exists in all aspects of the word
because ultimately, when we are in love with ourselves, we are able to be in love with others and allow others to be in love with us. Romance has always been a part of history, and what a way to celebrate and share it. Words are healing, whether we are reading or writing them. SO again, thank you for allowing me to do this. ❤

XOXO

Fab

 

Reflection: Three years in this business~THANK YOU!

read-the-lines.jpg
Three years ago I published my first novel. In 2009, I wrote one of those Facebook Notes that were the craze back then—25 Random Facts About Me. The fifth fact was: I want to publish a book sometime in my life. I’ve told the story before—bucket list item I wanted to check off. However, it always seems unreachable. Two reasons why: 1. Up until that point, I had only written poetry and a few shorter stories. Dialogue and elaborating a plot were, in my mind, not my thing. 2. How was I going to get a publisher? All I wanted was to write a book to share and move on. It seemed impossible.

I was living in Spain during this time and shoved the idea to the back of my mind’s bookshelf, focusing on my work there and my college degree when I was back home.

Fast forward a few years, and I still had a story idea I began in 2009 running through my mind. Needless to say, I opened that file and began what is now PERFECTLY IMPERFECT with no idea how to publish.

It has been a unique journey these last three years, meeting new people (many I call friends now), learning the ever-changing ropes in this business (I am less business person, more creative), finding my voice in a world where many times we are encouraged to stay silent as to not stir society’s pot. My books are not liked by everyone, and I am perfectly okay with that. Writing is a part of my personal journey, a skill I use to express myself.

I never thought I would be okay with sharing my writing with anyone, let alone an entire audience. I’ll tell you one thing, publishing my first book is one of the most empowering things I’ve done. I went against my self-preservation tactic, against my comfort zone, ripped off my security blanket and shared pieces of myself to a world willing to know me. If that isn’t scary, I don’t know what is. I am a quiet observer in this community, in this world really, and turning the role of the observed on myself has been an interesting experience.

It has made me vulnerable, open, and accepting of myself. Writing novels, publishing them, has made me look at my reflection and learn more about who I am. When I write, I get into a sort of zone. Many times I don’t remember what I write. When I go back to re-read and prepare for edits, it’s as if I’m seeing myself for the first time. Every book is different; the mood is set according to my experiences and emotions at that moment in my life. I’ve always said writing is my form of therapy. It’s why I began in the first place—a safe way to express my emotions without the world judging me for feeling certain things.

So as I approach my third year of being a published author, I reflect on my experiences. I confess, more than once I have considered no longer publishing my work. I have two amazing friends to thank for staying in the game. It’s not always easy, especially for an introvert who bleeds onto pages to then be judged. I get it, it’s part of the package deal. The irony does not go unnoticed.

I’ve learned to not take things personally (read #15 in that FB note), and understand that people’s judgment of my work is their perception. Perception is everything in life. How we live and what we experience will influence our thoughts and emotions. If I can provoke emotion (positive or negative) through my writing, my job as a writer is complete. Reading is about feeling things, stirring things we have long buried within us, and travel to different places and be someone we may not dare explore in real life. I know when I read I want a book that stirs me. A book that leaves me feeling stagnant does nothing for my growth.

So although quitting this business has crossed my mind more times than I care to admit, you, my readers, keep me going. It’s your notes, messages, words of encouragement that remind me why I decided to share my words in the first place. This is a way for me to allow the world to know me, and for the opportunity and hope that you read my words and soak them up. I hope that you resonate with my writing in one way or another (for the good and bad), and can take a piece of it with you wherever you go.

Thank you for three of the best years of my life. For the opportunity to follow my passion and share it with you. Thank you for allowing me to be myself and share my voice when it can be so scary to do so. What turned into a fun challenge became so much more, and without any of you to share it with, this experience would have less meaning.

You can read two BONUS scenes for Perfectly Imperfect here: https://authorfabiolafrancisco.com/perfectly-imperfect/

Connect with me and join Fabiola’s Fab Reads to stay up-to-date with my writing, chat book and life stuff, and hang out with the best group of people: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FabReads/

XOXO,

Fab