The Book We Thought We’d Never Finish

Today is launch day! It seems like I’ve had a lot of those lately, but this one is different for several reasons. Holy Sex Reboot: My Sexual Identity in Christ was like an illusive beast, hard to catch and even more difficult to keep pinned down. Besides the fact that it was our first co-authored book together as spouses (one of many we hope), and my first co-authored book ever, it was on a topic that exhausted our brains and in many ways broke our hearts. There is so much confusion and misinformation when it comes to ones sexual identity, and that is just as true in the Church of Jesus Christ. Every time we sat down to work on this book, we shredded more and more away. For me, that is always a painful process. Then there were the arguments… What should we add? Who was going to write that part? Did that addition make the difference that we wanted it to make? Add physical injuries and illness into an already complicated mix and you get… a really cool book?

The Book We Though We’d Never Finish

I am excited to say that this is one of the best books I’ve written, and that puts Travis way ahead of me since it’s his first book ever. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what readers are saying:

“As a single person I have often been frustrated with the Christian community’s lack of guidance on this subject. There is often a sex is taboo until you say ‘I do’ mentality. This book changes the discussion by pointing out how, even in my singleness, God has a plan for my sexuality.

The Spencer’s have done a wonderful job portraying the truth about God’s plan for sexuality in all walks of life. Their openness about their own journeys in purity are honest and insightful. I am so thankful to have a book on sex that I can recommend to all my friends; whether single or married. This book has been a blessing to my life and it will be a blessing to yours.” -Tabitha Burns, Hip Single Lady (24 years old), Serving in Full Time Ministry

“Travis and Kristin tackle a subject that many Christians shy away from, but they do so with much finesse and with valuable Biblical and personal insights. Holy Sex Reboot helps in understanding the divine principles of sexuality and in averting some of our misconceptions.” -Árpád Horváth Kávai, Pastor, Husband, & Father

This review is my favorite. It comes from a friend who volunteered to read it, even though she’s not the target audience:

“As a reader, I can give a chance to all kinds of books. If I like the subject matter, I read them. If I don’t, I ditch them. This particular book was something I would never imagine reading. Mostly for two reasons. First, it is written by Christians, and it’s addressed to Christians. Second, I didn’t know Christians would actually bring themselves to discuss the S-word in such detail. The Spencers have amazed me with their openness, honesty, courage and deep knowledge of the scriptures. They both seem to know what they’re doing, and they base all their advice on passages from the Bible. I believe Christians will be relieved to know that questions that have been torturing them regarding sex, can actually find answers in Holy Sex Reboot.

Now, the reason I think non-Christians will want to read it as well is very simple. Either single or married, people from all walks of life have been struggling with sexual frustration for years. Reading this book will not “convert” them to Christianity, but it will definitely help them regard sex as something more than a matter of the flesh. Especially married couples can revisit their behavior towards sex and proceed to have a healthier and more intimate sex life. The authors have been counseling couples, so it is certain that they know a thing or two on some of the factors why husbands and wives don’t always see eye to eye about certain things. I bet the topic of sex must come up very often during their sessions.

I was genuinely moved by the two authors’ confessions about their own mistakes and shortcomings and, for that, I salute them. It isn’t easy to expose yourself in such a way to help others. I think these two did a very good job.”

I hope you will find that this book bridges the gap for you between what ideas the Church accepts about sex and what the Bible actually says. If you have any questions we would love to hear from you.

Get your copy of Holy Sex Reboot: My Sexual Identity in Christ now for 33% off the normal price, a launch day special!

Happy Reading,

Kristin N. Spencer on behalf of me and T. E. Spencer

That Special Feeling

When you’re a writer, you always want to write well. Each time I start a new project (I’m a planner, don’t judge me), the first step is to think about why I want to write this particular work. One thing that sets my novels apart is the nature of the topics I choose. For some reason I always have a new controversial idea I want to express. The readers have noticed, and that makes me happy. But I don’t just want to write books that deal with controversial issues. I want to write amazing books that make people think, feel, and question their preconceived ideas. “Writing to Transverse the Bubble” is my author tag line. I write every book with this goal in mind, and sometimes I get the feeling I’ve done it, but the book still isn’t where I want it to be on a scale of one to amazing. Four-star reviews make me happy, but I’m not satisfied. I want to earn five-star reviews.

That Special Feeling

Lately I’ve had that special feeling, the one you get when you know you’ve made something unique and wonderful. Maybe it’s a quilt or a painting. Maybe you’ve helped someone do something they couldn’t do before. You know the feeling I’m talking about, right? It’s a rush of adrenaline coupled with satisfaction and calm at the same time. Though you’re sitting or standing still, your skin dithers and the back of your eyelids feel electric. You know that this is the beginning of something special. Something amazing.

Kerfuffle, my new novel, comes out on June 1st. The feedback I’ve received so far has been thrilling. I don’t know how else to describe it. You see, Kerfuffle is the book I wanted to write from the beginning. I love Newfangled and Flummoxed. They each hold a special place in my heart, and their plots and themes are important. But Kerfuffle is the book I’ve been waiting to write. I feel like that shows. I almost wrote Kerfuffle right after Newfangled but my husband convinced me that Flummoxed needed to happen. He said it would be too disjointed if I introduced Olive to junior high and jumped straight into high school for the next book. She needed some time for things to seem normal before another big transition. He was right. I am very happy with how Flummoxed turned out. But Kerfuffle… there’s just something about the story.

Some people will probably be annoyed by it (and I can’t say why without spoilers), but I really don’t care. I love it. A piece of my heart is in this book, and I hope you will give it a chance.

When was the last time you had that special feeling?

Happy reading,

Kristin

How to Survive a Failed Book Launch

Last week the second book in the Desires & Decisions series came out. I wish I could say I sold a bunch of copies and all the time and money invested were worth it, but the truth is, I only sold 6 eBook copies and two paperbacks of Flummoxed. That means that I made $8.26. I spent $468 on editing and $85 on advertising. So my total profit is -$544.74. I look at that number and it makes me sad. Where do I go from here?

 

How to Survive a Failed Book Launch – Write More

This morning, after doing the disappointing math, I thought, “What am I going to do now?” The answer came to mind pretty fast. “Keep writing… move to the next project.” Today is the second day of Camp NaNoWriMo, and the project I picked was to edit Kerfuffle, the third book in the Desires & Decisions series. It’s the book I have always had in mind when I started telling Olive’s story. Last May I sat in the amazing Regency Park in London, England and plotted the entire book in 15 minutes with a tiny notebook while my children played in the grass. Kids that grow up in Athens, Greece are impressed by grass. Almost a year later the book is so close to being ready to share with the world. Two more rounds of edits and I’ll be able to start planning yet another launch. So I sat down with my trusty laptop and started to edit. Because it’s already written, and why not? Right? Why not keep trying to succeed at what seems like an insane goal? That seems to be the theme of my life.

The Silver Lining of a Failed Book Launch

With all the time and energy that gets put into launches, it’s probably my least favorite part of the entire writing process. But then reviews start to come in, and you realize that maybe it was worth all the hard work and negative profits after all because another person actually read your book, and they got it! *insert cheering* All the plot points and character arcs came together and projected the meaning you intended to create! It’s a miracle.

Here is a review for Flummoxed that really encouraged me to keep writing, keep editing, even if I continue to fail at marketing:

“Once again Kristin Spencer has captured a beautiful snapshot of what it’s like growing up as a young girl and growing up in the Lord. I was so blessed reading Newfangled and was equally, if not more so, blessed in reading this second installment of the Desires & Decisions series, Flummoxed.

Even as an adult I found myself learning from Olive as she goes through the struggles and difficulties of life and dealing with issues of the heart. I was again blessed by the wisdom of Pappie, the encouragement of Aunt Barb, and the wonderful example of support and friendship provided by the Callis family and the Mashables. These characters have become my dear friends and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next.

I would highly recommend this book to all ages and stages of life. There is something here for everyone as it discusses trusting in the Lord and surrendering our hearts, hopes, and fears further to Him.”

They said the characters have become their friends. There isn’t anything more you can ask for as an author (besides for people to pay for your book so you can afford to write more books). I’m genuinely humbled.

So even though I have failed *again* to successfully launch another book (the launch of Newfangled was a total disaster), I won’t quit. I will keep writing and I will continue to fight to get my stories out there.

Happy reading,

Kristin

Kindle or Books Giveaway

Hey there,

Do you like free stuff? Well I’ve partnered up with other Christian authors through CelebrateLit to bring you an awesome giveaway. The first prize winner will get a Kindle Fire, and the runner up will win a free copy of 19 books! That’s a lot of awesome free books to ignore. (Psst, Flummoxed is one of the books on the giveaway list!)

Giveaway Details

Go here to enter, and remember that you can enter until April 8th.

Happy reading and may the force be with you.

-Kristin

 

Flummoxed is Live!

Dear Awesome People,

I implore you to consider my new book, Flummoxed, for your reading consideration. Today is launch day, and that means that in various corners of the inter web, people are learning about my new book for the first time. Maybe you are part of that group. Welcome! I can’t wait to hear what you think about Olive and her unique group of crazy, fun friends. Maybe you’re part of another group, and you’ve been waiting for the second book to arrive after devouring Newfangled. I can’t put into words how happy you people make me. Please accept my digital hug. *Hug*

Flummoxed was actually my husband’s idea, and as usual, when he’s sure he is right about something, he slowly pushes until I acknowledge that he has a point. I was getting ready to write Kerfuffle (the third book in the Decisions & Desires series… coming later this year) and he said, “I think there is another story in between Newfangled and Kerfuffle… you know, before Olive starts high school. Like, what happens with Dean? And how do things change for Olive once she’s more adjusted at school?” Those were both awesome questions that needed to be answered, and writing a vague recap at the beginning of Kerfuffle didn’t do justice to the answers. Hence book #2… Flummoxed: the completely unplanned addition to the Desires & Decisions series.

This book deals with one of the most fundamental and defining questions in every human being’s life; what does love mean? Olive tries to balance what she knows about the Bible with what she sees the Christians doing around her, but doesn’t come to any easy conclusions. As Olive works to figure all that out, she realizes that maybe a few of the other characters could use those answers, too.

For a full synopsis and description of my creative writing process for Flummoxed, please check out this awesome video that my husband made.

I hope you love reading Flummoxed as much as I loved writing it.

Happy reading,

Kristin N. Spencer

Reader Experience: The Double-edged Sword

This morning I was reading a review aloud to my husband before I clicked the “send,” button and he asked me if I wasn’t being too harsh. “It’s subjective, isn’t it? Are you sure you want to send that?” I’m so glad he said that, because after a few minutes of abusing the delete key and writing a totally different review, I realized I was using my experience to discount the other author’s book. Not cool, Kristin. Fast forward to later in the day when I happen upon a discussion of one of my books online.

Reader Experience: The Double-edged Sword

Imagine that you have just spent six months of your life carefully crafting a story. You wrote the first drafted, edited, and sent it out into the world on it’s own. If you write contemporary fiction, you understand that when readers bring their own experiences to your story, it can be a double-edged sword. Contemporary fiction is it’s own beast when it comes to reader experience because you can’t really apply your own experiences so well to other genres. For example, you are less likely to complain about a character who is in space doing something you wouldn’t do. Why? You aren’t in space.

Ouch!

My first novel, Newfangled, was an experiment based on my own experiences. I was raised in a really sheltered way, and then when I went into public school, my parents were going through a lot. I faced numerous firsts on my own. It was like I was totally apart from the world, and then suddenly thrust into it without a sufficient support system. So I wrote Newfangled as a way of dealing with that. It’s fiction, so I gave Olive, my protagonist, a supportive family as she faced some of the similar challenges that I experienced. I based her family on real people I know. These people are the ones I want to emulate as they emulate Christ. But they are real people. Clip to me reading that the whole family in my book is too idealized. Le sigh.

Who’s to Blame?

One of the things we talk about in my writing group is reader experience. People will read your book and judge your characters based on how they would respond. If they relate to your character, that’s a good thing. If they think your character is unrealistic because they wouldn’t behave that way, it usually means you’re going to get a bad review. But who is to blame? You certainly can’t blame the reader (say it with me, “Never blame the reader”). But can you blame the author?

How to Approach Reader Experience

We have a way of battling this double-edge sword in the writing world. We go with the majority. If 8 out of 10 people say our characters are acting realistically, we accept the criticism of the 2 that disagree and leave the story the way it is. If a majority of the people testing your book notice a problem during your advanced reading group, you work like crazy to fix it before your launch date.

Reader experience is a real issue, and it needs to be addressed. But somedays the bad reviews hurt more than other days (for example when not one person in your advanced reading group has written you back about the manuscript you sent them a while ago), and you want to quit.

I’m so glad I didn’t send that critical review this morning!

If you’re still reading this, you deserve a cookie. And also, hug an author today. I guarantee you they need it.

-Kristin

When Characters Don’t Behave

One of the topics that comes up a lot at writing meetings is that wayward character. The one that doesn’t end up being anything like they were when they were still just an idea floating in your head, before your birthed them onto paper. I’m almost finished writing the first draft of “Kerfuffle,” the third book in the Desires & Decisions series, and one of the characters is ruining everything.

When Characters Don’t Behave

Chance was supposed to be kind of a red herring. He sits next to Olive in Spanish, and helps her through a few difficult moments, but the more I wrote his character, the more I started to think, “Oh no, I like him better than Dean.” The way I wrote the first two books in the series, you aren’t supposed to like any other boy for Olive, and so far, that has been working. The emails, comments, and feedback I got all included Dean.

“Is Olive going to end up with Dean?”

“Is Dean going to get saved?”

“Dean is such a nice boy.” (This one came from an older reader)

But Chance, as I said, is ruining everything. He’s too nice and considerate. And he’s funny. He isn’t overly mature like Dean (which I always found to be Dean’s most irritating quality). Chance is the kind of guy that us mothers would want our teenage daughters to like.

Imagine he has black hair, and this is Chance…

This is when things get tricky. As a writer, I have the next three books for the Desires & Decisions series plotted (they will be about Holly [Pastor Lance’s wife], Olive, and Anna), but now I’m wondering if maybe I shouldn’t reconsider a few things. I can do that, because I’m the creator of this world.

I know that no matter what I do, there will be some people that are disappointed. I also know that there will definitely be #teamdean and #teamchance after this third book comes out. The way “Kerfuffle” ends, I won’t have to decide, but in the next Olive book, “Resplendent,” the decision has to happen pretty much right away. But that book isn’t on my writing schedule this year, so I have time to think.

I can’t wait for you to read what happens between Dean and Olive in “Flummoxed,” coming out on March 28th.

Happy reading,

Kristin

Thank you!

I want to say thank you for helping me by requesting a price match on Amazon. It is my pleasure to announce that “Newfangled” is now free!

I also sent the third draft of “Flummoxed” to be edited this week. I’m working with a new editor, and am excited to see what changes she suggests. That means that Flummoxed is one step closer to being published this March.

I’m working on a new project called, “From My Side: 10 Days to Healthier, God-Centered Relationships,” which will only be offered through my website free to anyone who signs up for the email updates. If you are already on my email list, I will be sending out a link for the devotional once it’s finished. Here is a preview of the cover:

I have spent the last few days reading books about marketing. I will be running a promotion of “Newfangled” on Spirit Filled eBooks for Valentine’s Day. Once it’s running, I’ll let you know, as the prize is a free Kindle Fire. I hope that any momentum will build toward Flummoxed’s release date. Keep an eye out for beta reading opportunities, and a digital launch party where I will be giving away digital and paperback copies of “Flummoxed.”

That’s all for now. Happy reading!

Love,

Kristin