Steph Campbell's Blog

July 18, 2014

Liz and I gave our New Orleans set, contemporary romance GOLDEN HOUR a little makeover!

“Beautiful, sexy, and romantic. Golden Hour made me want to be best friends with Elise, fall madly in love with Caleb and brought the Louisiana setting to life before my eyes.”—NYRAE DAWN, International Bestseller of the Games Series 

“A captivating story that is raw, powerful, gritty, and topped off with a fiery love that stems from, and heals, different forms of loss.”– MOLLY MCADAMS, New York Times bestselling author 


AmazonBarnes & NobleiBookskoboFoundryScribd

In the medical field, the precious moments following a traumatic event in which you have the best chance of saving a life are known as the golden hour. 
But being there during the golden hour doesn't mean you'll be able to save the one you love...
New Orleans native and ER nurse, Elise Dupuis knows that fact all too well. There was nothing she could do to save her fiancé, New Orleans police officer Mike Bazanac, when he was brought into her hospital with two fatal bullet wounds. 
Now everyone walks around on eggshells when she comes into the room—except her brother Charlie. As Mike's partner, he bears a guilt that's spiraled him into dark pain. Charlie is lashing out, Elise is turning in, and life seems to be falling apart around them. 
Caleb Warren knows what it feels like to always be on the losing end of things. A few criminal turns in his youth landed him two crap choices: mandatory service in the armed forces or jail. He chooses to enlist, and just when he finds a commander who has a little faith in him, their truck hits an IED. Caleb's training as a medic isn't enough to save the one person who's ever given a damn about him. 
Now back in New Orleans as an EMT, Caleb is bound and determined to drown himself in booze and regrets. But he crosses paths with nurse Elise Dupuis and finds a woman whose passion and courage gets under his skin in a way that wakes him up and makes him want to live again. 
Unfortunately, Charlie doesn't think the new EMT is good enough for his sister, and he’ll step outside the lines of the law to prove it to Elise. 
Caleb has to figure out what's worth fighting for…and how far he's willing to go for the woman he loves.

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on July 18, 2014 09:42 • 23 views

June 26, 2014

We've read your tweets, messages, emails etc. wondering about ALMOST LOVER's release date and we've been debating how to respond. The only way is with honesty.

ALMOST LOVER is a book we conceptualized a long time ago. Two years ago, when we originally outlined the Silver Strand series, we always planned on beginning Enzo's story in RIPTIDES and then branching off into a new series (Rutherford Vineyard) and continuing his story in ALMOST LOVER. 

A LOT has changed in the indie world since we released Lengths in August, 2012. We planned release dates based on the market at the time we outlined our books, and while ALMOST LOVER is complete, we unfortunately just don't feel like this is the best time to release. The Contemporary Romance market is incredibly crowded and we want to make sure we give Enzo and Jordan the best chance we can. 

At this time, we aren't sure when we will release. We hope soon. We hope the contemporary romance market stabilizes a little. While writing is our heart, it is also our business, and it just doesn't make good business sense to release ALMOST LOVER in the current saturated market. 

We of course offer our apologies, and while we know this isn't great news, it's honest. Both Liz and myself have several projects in the works, both together and on our own, and we'll keep you updated about those, as well as any ALMOST LOVER release news. :)

To help smooth any ruffled feathers, we're sharing the first 65 pages HERE

xx,

Steph & Liz



 •  flag
0 comments
2 likes · like  • 
Published on June 26, 2014 18:14 • 40 views

June 11, 2014

It's that time again! For those that have followed my publishing journey, you know that I've done one of these 'year in review' posts on the anniversary of the first book that I indie pubbed, (Grounding Quinn, June 12, 2011) each year.

(For those that want to catch up on what I learned each of those years, here's the previous posts: The first year,   the second year.) 
So, the third year will probably go down as the first year that I questioned my decision to indie pub.

When I originally self published, I had good friends cry. No, seriously. They gave me wide, earnest eyes, and felt very sorry for me that I "was ruining my career before it even started." I thought they were dramatic, and I pushed on, found my little slice of success and kept writing, not looking back. This past year though, has been the a year of reflection. A year of "what-if's" and second guessing myself. I can tell you that in general, and especially creatively, that's not a fantastic place to be.  (More on this in a bit.)

***One thing that's happened this year is my outlook on reviews has changed. While I understand that (especially in this very saturated market) reviews are necessary and for the most part, bloggers are out there doing this fantastic service, there is another side to it. There is this constant noise. Opinions. On. Everything. The kind of noise that is so deafening that you just want to turn it all off and walk away. On both sides, positive and negative. I've gotten to the point where if my husband and I are going out to eat, I may look up the restaurant info, but I avoid all reviews completely because I've seen how completely biased they can be. I don't want to know. I want to form my own opinion. I've learned this year that some reviews are bought. Some are put out there by others in the book community as a form of sabotage. Some are clearly just a showcase for the reviewers own back patting of their own wit and humor rather than an actual review. Sometimes it all feels like an endless, loud, popularity contest. It's just TOO.MUCH.NOISE. You know that fantastic graduation speech that Jon Lovett did a couple of years ago in which he said, "I believe we've reached peak bullshit"? Well, if we aren't there, I think we're pretty damn close. (So we're clear, and before I get a bunch of hate mail to add to the stack from people that are pissed off about the ending of My Fate for Yours, I'm not saying this about all reviewers--just my feelings on the state of insta-feedback on everything in general.)


Back to the topic of regret.

We all know that the market is glutted, and there are more people writing and publishing than ever in the history of life. And in some ways, that's sucky because, dude, standing out in this crowd is HARD. But in others, it's really rad, because BOOKS! And people are reading BOOKS! More books are never bad, right? (Okay, that's wrong, *some* books are really bad. I would link some of the choice titles my pal Rebecca Shea texts me, but I try to keep it semi-clean here, and no one wants to see XXX were-koalas here.)

So in this market, there are indies selling widely and hitting lists and being scooped up by traditional publishers. That's all fantastic. But (and this leads me to the part about regretting my choice to self publish for the first time) there's also this other group of indies that have maybe outsold a solid portion of traditionally published authors, but because we haven't hit the NYT list, we encounter publishing people that love our work, but won't take a chance on us.

And maybe it's the particular books I've written. Or my writing in general. Or maybe, it's just this weird Catch 22 that myself (and other indies I've talked to) have fallen into. Where you've sold hundreds of thousands of copies of your books, but you haven't hit the Times list, therefore, you're considered a bigger risk than say, a debut author with a clean slate. So regret starts tugging on you. Did I make the wrong choice?

I've spent a lot of time talking circles around this topic. Trying to make sense of it, or find my way out of this continuous loop I've found myself in. The short answer, I guess is that while discouraged, if I had it to do over again, I  don't think done things differently. I believed in Grounding Quinn and Delicate (the first two books I self published) and I still do. I believe in all of my books and the love the characters that I've created. My pal, Nyrae Dawn wrote this blog post on feeling discouraged that's worth a read. Here's my fav bit:

And I was shaking my head 'yes' as I read because I DON'T want to be that girl. I've started repeating this mantra to myself:


The last couple of months have been focused on getting back to writing only for myself. (Nova Ren Suma wrote this post about writing for yourself again that's beautiful, by the way.) I've started working on two YA's that I've put off for too long. I'm focusing on not only writing, but reading the types of books that I love and that mean something to me, make me think, and remember what I love so much about books. I'm left feeling inspired, instead of dragged down by the noise out there.

So, this has been my third year.

I've put out some books I love so, so much. I've connected with readers, authors and bloggers that have come to mean so much. And while there is so much frustration and insincerity out there right now that it's hard to look at the world, and more specifically, at our little publishing bubble without a hefty dose of cynicism, I'm trying.

These people help :)
















Cheers to another year, folks.
 •  flag
0 comments
1 like · like  • 
Published on June 11, 2014 13:13 • 41 views

May 24, 2014

Liz and I have been toying with the idea of giving the crew from Silver Strand a new look, but weren't sure which direction we should go. Good think Allie Brennan is a genius and took on the challenge like a boss! Check out the new covers below!! We're so thrilled with them!! 
*The new covers have been uploaded to all ebook sites and should be reflected SOON! 
**These covers WILL be available in paperback (because, hello, perfect beach read!) shortly!
 •  flag
0 comments
2 likes · like  • 
Published on May 24, 2014 10:03 • 33 views

May 18, 2014

I know you're probably tired of reading posts about RT, so I'll keep my short and sweet. Sort of.

I went with the goal of feeling recharged and refreshed, and hoped to learn a few things, too. Mission accomplished.

Some panels I attended were pretty "meh," some were super informative and some were AMAZING (I'm looking at you, THRILLER: The Violence Factor: Why are so Many People Fascinated with Violence? and  Across the Color Lines - Multicultural Romance Past, Present and Future. The authors on these panels blew me away with their insight, and left me inspired. Some panels were surprising: such as publishers stating their "wish lists," as "something fresh and new like, billionaires or rock stars, or something unique like MMA fighters..." If you're scratching your head too, I'm glad that I'm not alone.  Seems to me there have been more than a few of those released in the last 2 years, but what the heck do I know? And then some were surprising in other ways, like the one put on by Entangled Publishing. I honestly don't know what I was expecting going in to that one, but it turned out to be one of the most professional panels I saw. The editors were smart, enthusiastic and had such great things to say about their marketing approach as well as what they'd like to see. I left feeling hopeful.

Apart from that, big highlights were seeing all of my friends. It's so nice to have the chance to catch up with people who are at the same time, thumbnails on your computer screen and some of the people closest to you. 














Then there was the tarot card reader, Miles, who rocked my world with his dead on accurate reading of my personality and career and dropped what will certainly become rad lines of dialogue in one of my future books (I warned him) like, " Everything I need to know about romance, I learned from watching Family Guy."  He also told me that I think that I'm in a creative slump, but I'm not. That all of the tools that I need are already in my hands and I just have to push through and get shit done, because if I do, it'll be amazing. 

So, Miles, along with all of the other incredible, talented folks I had the pleasure of listening to speak, broke bread with, clinked glasses with, have officially lit a fire under me. I WILL finish the YA I've been working on. I'll stop telling myself it's too big for me, that I can't possibly do these characters justice. Because I CAN. No one knows them better and I can't wait to dive back into the angst filled waters with them. 

I was planning on running this super-sale on the THREE YEAR anniversary of self publishing my first book in a couple of weeks, but I'm really going to try to step away from the interwebs to finish this book while the fire is still hot under me, so I'm putting my RISK THE FALL bundle on sale. FOUR BOOKS, $0.99! Grounding Quinn will be three years old June 11, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than by marking down my solo titles so low that anyone who has yet to meet Quinn, Ben, Syd, Trevor, Grant, Tessa, Shayna and Carter the opportunity to scoop them up! If you've already read the books, consider leaving a review or helping me spread the word on this limited time sale! :) 

Have a rad summer, folks!




 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on May 18, 2014 18:49 • 11 views

May 5, 2014

Nyrae Dawn is not only one of my favorite writers, but also people in general. She is kind, generous with her time and advice and best of all, AUTHENTIC.  She is fiercely passionate about her family, friends, writing and the causes that she supports. I think that shows so much in her writing.

"...love is love.  It’s okay to love who you do, and it’s okay to be the person you are." -- Nyrae Dawn

Today, I am so, so proud of her on the release day of her latest book, RUSH.
Not familiar? 
Here's the cover and blurb:

This new adult, male/male romance will capture the audience who fell in love with Nyrae Dawn's Games Trilogy.


For the love of the game.
Brandon Chase has always defined himself by one thing: football. Tough and athletic, he is a great college player who enjoys the hard hits and the sweaty grind of the gridiron. But when Brandon is injured, only one person can help him get back on track-a forbidden love he's desperately tried to put behind him. 
Alec Andrews has never quite forgiven Brandon for walking away when their friendship turned into something more. But he can't deny help to one of his closest friends. As the two spend the long, hot summer working together, their old attraction comes flooding back.
Now as Alec thinks about coming out to his conservative family and Brandon considers revealing he's a gay football player, the two men must be strong to fight for a love that could be the greatest rush of their lives. 
"Devastatingly relevant, engaging, sexy, and ultimately heroic. Rush is the kind of book that will keep you reading late into the night." -J.H. Trumble, author of Don't Let Me Go




I asked Nyrae to stop by and answer a few questions about the book and what she hopes readers will take away from it:
1) Was there any particular spark of inspiration that made you want to write Brandon & Alec's story? A picture, a song? Not in the respect. In some ways the boys themselves inspired me. When their story unraveled in my head, I knew I had to tell it. I wanted to share a love story, which is what this is to me. I think love stories and romances are different things. Though I love romance, this to me is more of a love story, because all they really want is to love each other, and to be okay with who they are. And honestly, the struggle the LGBT community fights every day inspired me as well.2) What is your absolute favorite line from the book? Why? This is such a hard one for me because I have a few. One of my very favorites is:
 I slide my hand down to the back of his neck, fisting it there, and wonder what the fuck is so wrong with feeling like this. With holding him like this and having someone who knows you in ways you’re too afraid to admit to yourself.


I think those lines sum up a lot of the book. What’s wrong with loving who you love? With having someone who gives you what you need?3) What makes RUSH different from your other books? (This doesn't have to be the obvious answer that it's M/M..or it can be!) I accidentally answered part of this in the first question but like I said, I feel this is more a love story than a romance. There’s never a question of whether or not they love each other. I feel like this book is more…real and raw in a way I’ve not written before. It’s not a book where crazy things will happen for the sake of shock value. It’s just a very honest, real story. It’s about being willing to show the world what’s inside you. About being okay with who that person is. Alec and Brandon are stripped bare in a way I haven’t written before.4) What do you MOST hope readers take away from this story? That love is love. It’s okay to love who you do, and it’s okay to be the person you are. I hope readers feel this story on a different level. I want readers to see the struggle that so many people live with on a daily basis.5) You are a huge supporter of LGBT works and rights. Why is that such an important cause to you? I don’t think anyone should have to feel ashamed or scared to love someone. Not only that but afraid to be honest about who they are. We have kids committing suicide, and people feeling locked inside themselves, every day of their lives, for what? I just don’t understand it. I’ve always considered myself a champion of love and this is an important fight, because we all should be able to love equally. It’s a basic, human right.6) What's up next for you? I just finished a YA that I’m in LOVE with. It’s a fun, quirky story but also filled with a lot of heart. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share news with you on that soon!
Thanks so much to Nyrae for stopping by! To help celebrate, we have a giveaway for some RUSH swag including stickers and Brandon's football card! 
Enter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on May 05, 2014 18:29 • 34 views

April 29, 2014

If you've followed this blog for a while, you know that one thing I am is honest.
I've been honest about my querying journey.
I've been honest about my choice to self-publish.
I've been honest about my early sales figures. My thoughts on things like piracy and books in general. 
My ups and downs personally, and my experiences the first year being indie published and then, hybrid pubbed.
I've talked about the cyclic nature of success, and my thoughts on indie publishing and offered advice where I could.

There are some things that have been weighing on me and I've wanted to talk about them in this forum, but I haven't been quite sure how to word what I want to say without sounding like a jerk. I didn't want to put up a post that diminished any of my successes or made me sounds like a cry ass for wanting more. 

I wanted to hold onto the honesty and bluntness that is me. Unsure how to reconcile all of that, I just bit my tongue. But I was talking with a friend the other day about this post and she said, "You know, I promise you're not the only one thinking it or going through it. Just do it."

So, here's me and where I'm at.

The last year of writing and publishing has been incredibly stressful. Even though I knew how cyclic publishing's successes and failures could be, I didn't fully prepare myself for the truth that it didn't matter how much I loved my books, or how much of myself I put into them, that some of them might not do as well as others had. I didn't for a moment consider that even though I'd sold hundreds of thousands of ebooks, that because I'd never made a best sellers list, that manuscripts would go unsold to publishing houses because they could buy an existing book from another author that HAD listed--and I didn't prepare myself for how much of a failure I would feel like after that. Sure I'd failed at things before, but I'd never FELT like I was a failure. 

I didn't prepare myself for the fact that when the market started to become more and more saturated, that my quiet books couldn't really compete with abs and book boyfriends and all of the noise in the indie book world right now. There's absolutely nothing wrong with those types of novels, I just don't happen to write them. And that's okay. I found myself stuck between the two worlds of publishing, and it almost felt like both doors were closing at times. And I had a hard time accepting that it wasn't necessarily something I had done wrong. That it didn't mean that my books were failures. That it didn't make ME a failure.  

While part of me sometimes feels like, 'go home publishing, you're drunk!'   I watched this TedTalk yesterday with Elizabeth Gilbert, and it dawned on me:  *I* am the one who needs to go home. I've spent too much time comparing, and focused on my success or failures based on numbers or reviews, and have strayed from the most important factor of writing: characters and their stories. When I started writing eight or so years ago, I didn't think about or care if anyone ever read those manuscripts. I wrote because I had to. Because it was a part of me. But I let the feelings of failure of the past year override the amazing feelings that come with creating something that you love--something that keeps you up all night, overwhelmed by inspiration.



(in case that doesn't work, HERE's the link.)

"Returning to the work of writing because writing was my home. Because I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing. Which is to say that I loved writing more than my own ego. Which is ultimately to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself." 

I love writing. It's part of who I am. And I know that even if I never sold another book, I'd still write. Always.
I am very grateful for the successes that I've had. 
I'm so thankful for all of the lessons I've learned.
I'm proud of every one of the books I've published in the last three (side note: Gah! Can you believe Grounding Quinn was released June, 2011?!) years. I have a manuscript in the works that is very back to my roots YA. I can't stop thinking about all day until I get a chance to sit down and work on it, and that time now feels like a gift again.And I am so, so ready to go home. 
It'll be quite on these fronts for a while, but I'll see you soon. :) 
 •  flag
0 comments
1 like · like  • 
Published on April 29, 2014 11:48 • 36 views

April 19, 2014



If you haven't yet met Caleb and Elise in GOLDEN HOUR, now is the perfect time! We've dropped the price to $0.99 as part of our special promotion running April 20-May 3. Be sure to check out the following blogs for excerpts, beautiful teasers (made by Wordsmith Publicity), interviews (with both Liz and I--and Caleb and Elise) and insights into the book! There's also going to be a giveaway, so be sure to stop by, it's going to be a lot of fun! :) 

Reviews by Tammy and KimGlobug and HootieMadison SaysBook GossipShh Moms ReadingKindle and MeMuch Loved BooksBookworm BrandeeBooks to BreatheStuck In BooksTotal Book GeekJudging Books By Their CoversNose Stuck in a BookmustreadbooksordieThe Book BellasA Bookish EscapeBooks Over BoysBooze, Bookz and Bad BoyzPainful ReadsThe (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty Something Year Old GirlHolly's Red Hot ReviewsThe Autumn Review
Huge thanks to all of the blogs participating, and to Autumn at Wordsmith Publicity, who I can't recommend highly enough!

 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on April 19, 2014 21:15 • 21 views

April 13, 2014

Now that GOLDEN HOUR (the first book in the Crescent City series) is out in the wild, we can now let you know that ALMOST LOVER (a Rutherford Vineyard novel) (the first book in our Silver Strand spin-off series) will be released May 19, 2014! 
You do not have to have read any of the Silver Strand series to follow along with this book.
We'll have teasers and be giving away some ARCs on April 24 (8pm-10pm) when we take over Flirty & Dirty Book Blog's Facebook page
If you have a blog and you'd like to sign up for an ARC, we have a form HERE.
You can add it to your TBR HERE

And don't forget that the first chapter is HERE!
AND, in case you missed the cover reveal, here's a second look:


 •  flag
0 comments
3 likes · like  • 
Published on April 13, 2014 17:38 • 58 views

March 24, 2014

You may or may not have noticed that I've been pretty quiet around the interwebs the last few months. 

When I first started publishing books on my own, indie wasn't yet a "thing." I (and several others) were writing books and publishing them, uploading backlists, dusting off books that were queried but never sold... And it was hard in the way that we weren't taken seriously as authors. By and large, early indies were shunned by most writers groups and told that we were "less than."

After a year or two, that started to change and self publishing became more acceptable. And some books rose to the top of best sellers lists that had previously never included self pubbed authors. Some books were picked up by large publishing houses. It was a really exciting, fantastic time. 

And like most good things, people started to catch on. People with stories to tell. That's rad! Everyone who wants to should have the experience of writing a book they love and publishing it if that's a dream. But with the piles of new books being published everyday, the noise grew. 

Publishing had become hard in a completely different way then. I continued to put new books out that I loved, but it didn't feel the same. Release days had become this big PR push full of excerpts and teasers and giveaways, and while I understand that buzz is necessary, there is/was SO MUCH of it out there from everyone that it just felt forced and weird. Almost like books were losing something. And it didn't feel good. I personally felt like I was chasing something--and I wasn't even sure what it was--or why. All I knew for sure was that I still loved books. I still loved writing. But I needed to back away from the noise of it all. 

So I decided to take a step back. To enjoy some quiet. Liz and I both took some time to get back to  basics over the last few months. We read a ton. We wrote a ton. And we're completely and totally in love with the projects we have coming up in the next few months. We hope you'll enjoy them too. 

We enjoy interacting with readers and love hearing from you, and talking books and whatever else you want to gab about. Truly. We just want to do that in an honest, organic way. 

Today, we've quietly released the first book in our brand new Crescent City Series, called GOLDEN HOUR. It takes place in New Orleans and is sort of a mash-up of Rescue Me and Grey's Anatomy.

Why a secret project and a quiet release? Isn't that the opposite of what we should want? Maybe. But we really hope that our books and writing will speak for themselves. And if you like them, maybe you'll consider telling a friend about them, and/or leaving a review. Isn't that what reading used to be? Simple. Honest. Organic.



In the medical field, the precious moments following a traumatic event in which you have thebest chance of saving a life are known as the golden hour. But being there during the golden hour doesn't mean you'll be able to save the one you love... ER nurse, Elise Dupuis knows that fact all too well. There was nothing she could do to save her fiancé, New Orleans police officer Mike Bazanac, when he was brought into her hospital with two fatal bullet wounds. Now everyone walks around on eggshells when she comes into the room—except her brother Charlie. As Mike's partner, he bears a guilt that's spiraled him into dark pain. Charlie is lashing out, Elise is turning in, and life seems to be falling apart around them.
Caleb Warren knows what it feels like to always be on the losing end of things. A few criminal turns in his youth landed him two crap choices: mandatory service in the armed forces or jail. He chooses to enlist, and just when he finds a commander who has a little faith in him, their truck hits an IED. Caleb's training as a medic isn't enough to save the one person who's ever given a damn about him. Now back in New Orleans as an EMT, Caleb is bound and determined to drown himself in booze and regrets. But he crosses paths with nurse Elise Dupuis and finds a woman whose passion and courage gets under his skin in a way that wakes him up and makes him want to live again. Unfortunately, Charlie doesn't think the new EMT is good enough for his sister, and he’ll step outside the lines of the law to prove it to Elise.
 Caleb has to figure out what's worth fighting for…and how far he's willing to go for the woman he loves.




P.S.) For those that may be bummed that our new release wasn't ALMOST LOVER (Rutherford Vineyard Series, book one) (Enzo's from Silver Strand's book!), we promise it's coming very soon....and the cover is revealed in the back of GOLDEN HOUR! 
 •  flag
0 comments
2 likes · like  • 
Published on March 24, 2014 11:38 • 95 views