I’m back + Excerpt from Upcoming Release



Where to start after all this time? To my fans/readers wondering what the hell happened to me (or maybe it’s entirely possible that NO ONE gives a shit where I’ve been and/or missed me, which is more likely the case! 🤣)  I’ve taken a HUGE step back from not only writing but reading as well. I think life ebbs and flows and sometimes I’m really on top of my writing game, banging out words like a motherfucking machine, responding to emails, posting on social media, etc., and other times, well, I’m not. Nothing in particular happened; no major personal or family issue, no unexpected financial burden, nothing out of the ordinary…I’ve just been busy living my life.

Hobbies change, interests change, and I know everything will return full circle. For the past six, seven, eight, months, where I would have spent reading and/or writing, I’ve spent focusing on my health; preparing meals (doing this thing called cooking, rather than grabbing takeout!) and sweating my ass off riding my Peloton cycle bike every freaking day (and loving every second of it btw!) Which is awesome, amazing, fantastic, but it also takes time. A HUGE amount of time.


Writing is a passion of mine, but (unfortunately) it’s not the way I support myself. I *wish* I could spend more time writing all the words, but after working a full-day, cooking, cleaning up after dinner, exercising, and showering, I’m freaking exhausted. <– Working women I know you can relate!

That’s not to say, I’ve stopped writing completely, I’m just not as fast I’d like to be 🙂 I’d like to share a snippet from one of WIPs (you read that correctly: WIPs. As in more than one work-in-progress because I start a million different projects at once!)

This WIP is a standalone college romance, sports romance that I’m anticipating releasing late March/early April.

I have a title in mind, but I’m not fully committed to it yet, so for now, let’s call it Untitled. 😉

Please remember that this is raw, unedited, and subject to change!

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments 🙂  Happy reading!

Disclaimer: This work is Coypyright © 2018 by CJ Martín.  All Rights Reserved

No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of CJ Martín. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All characters and storyline are the property of the author and your support and respect are appreciated. The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or deceased, is coincidental and not intended by the author.


Untitled – Excerpt 

Her eyes flash with surprise as I continue to stare at her. I hold her gaze a few moments longer than is comfortable, but I don’t care because she’s fucking beautiful in the most understated, best possible way. She looks nothing like I remembered her from the locker room yet exactly how I remembered her: tiny, delicate, sweet yet spicy.

I’m not gonna lie, I looked her up on Snapchat. And when I couldn’t find her profile, I checked Instagram and Twitter. I felt like one of the team Tigettes creeping on her profile like some stalker, but I had to know more about her. Had to know what she was about.

Unfortunately, when I did find her, after twenty minutes of searching no less, her profile was set to private. I’d expected that. What I didn’t expect was her profile pic to be a painting. You’ve got to be kidding, I muttered to myself after clicking on the link. All that work and I couldn’t even get a lousy picture of her.

But today, seeing her in person, I’m actually glad that I couldn’t check her out online because I know without a doubt a picture wouldn’t have done her justice. My eyes drag across the length of her body. She wears slim black pants and a dark grey sweater with the word “love” written in white across the chest that flows into an infinity sign. Her heeled black boots add a few inches to her height, but she’s still tiny. I can put her in my pocket.

Her chestnut hair is down, tousled and loose from the wind. She shifts awkwardly and stretches the ends of her sweater over her hands. “You’re staring.” She half-says, half-whispers and her voice jolts me back to the present.

“I’m…” I start but the reporter calls our names cutting me off. “Jax. Brook.”

“Brooklyn.” The heat in her voice as she corrects him surprises me. I arch a brow but she ignores my silent question and moves toward the space that the news crew has cleared.

“Okay. Let’s get a couple of shots with Coach Paulson and the two of you.” Brooklyn stands stiff and rigid, face unsmiling. Truth be told she looks like she’s about to throw up.

“Relax,” I whisper as I smile at the camera. “This won’t take long.”

She keeps her body angled forward but directs her words at me. “Is that what you tell all of the girls?”

Shock courses through me at the jab. I was not expecting that. But it takes me only a moment to come to my senses. “Why don’t you come back to my place and find out?”

She snorts but it dies on her lips when the cameraman directs. “Okay, just Brook and Jax now.”
Her eyes dart to the cameraman and if looks could kill he’d be a dead man. “Brooklyn.”
The cameraman ignores her and snaps a few photos. “Okay,” He changes the angle of the lens. “A little closer.”
“Gladly,” I murmur. Deciding to push my luck, I sling an arm around her shoulders.

“Try not to get your sweat all over me.” She huffs as her body stiffens alongside me.

“What?” I pull her a little closer so that my we’re pressed together from heel to chest. I resist the urge to rub against her, but only because it’d be totally inappropriate and I don’t want the gesture captured on film. “Nothing wrong with a little sweat.”

“Great.” The cameraman says and as soon as he’s turned away Brooklyn swats my chest. She makes a face when she realizes that I’m still wearing my protective pads and I’ve felt nothing. She stomps her foot. She’s so fucking cute. I’m still stuck on that thought as she begins to walk away.

Finally, my body catches up with my brain. “Hey.” I jog to catch up with her. Holy fuck her little legs move fast. “Hey!” I call again. “Wait up.”

“What?” She stands alongside a skinny dude who can only be described as a hipster. I don’t recognize his face from around campus. Fuck, the art department is like a whole other species. But then a more sinister thought occurs to me. Maybe this guy is her boyfriend.

“Aren’t you going to introduce me?” I question, gesturing to the hipster dude, the entire time hoping, praying, she’ll say he’s only a friend. Or a cousin. Or a… I don’t give fuck who he is so as he’s not her boyfriend.

“No.” She shakes her head. “We were just leaving.”
The guy’s eyes dart between Brooklyn and me. After a moment’s pause, he says, “Corey Winters.”
“Corey!” Brooklyn shrieks.

“Nice to meet you.” I tip my chin. “You a student here?”
“No.” Corey laughs and shakes his head. “Not at all.”
My eyes drift to Brooklyn who looks like she’s ready to throat punch Corey. Based on their body language they don’t seem as though they’re together but I can’t be sure. Some people aren’t into PDA.

“Good game,” Corey says.

“Thanks, man.”

There’s an awkward pause and finally, Brooklyn says. “We’re gonna go.”
“Okay,” I agree reluctantly. I’m debating whether or not it’d be a dick move to ask for her number. I mean, if Corey’s her boyfriend then yeah it would be, but neither of them has given any indication that they’re a couple. Don’t you think one of them would say something? Fuck it. “Can I get your number?”
Her nose scrunches. “Why?”
I look at her and Corey. No jealous outburst. No clenched fist. No reaction, at all. I smile at Brooklyn. “So I can call you.”
“Why?” She questions again.

Seriously? I may be tired but I know I’m not that off my game. It’s more than obvious the reason I’m asking.

            “Jesus,” Corey hisses. Shit. Maybe I misjudged the situation after all. But goddamnit if I didn’t think Brooklyn would have better taste than to date a guy with a man bun. Maybe she’s into artistic dudes.

            I’m just about to walk away when Corey speaks. He holds his cell phone in one hand. “What’s your number?”
I repeat the digits without thought, but then it occurs to me, Why does her boyfriend want my number?

“Done.” He says and slips his cell back into his jeans. I watch, closely, as he stuffs the phone into his pocket because honestly, I don’t know how it fits. His jeans are tighter than my football pants.

“I texted you her number.” Corey spins toward Brooklyn. “Can we please go now?” His voice is dramatic and a touch whiny.

“Thanks, man.” I hold my fist up for Corey to pound, which he does, rather reluctantly.

“Unbelievable,” Brooklyn mutters and turns to me. “Don’t call me.”
“Okay, okay. I won’t.” I draw an “X” over my heart. “I promise.”
She grumbles under her breath and loops her arm with Corey’s.

A huge smile lights up my face as they walk away.

A phone call may be off the table. But she never said anything about texting…










Forever Hearts 99c Pre-order

In case you missed it I have a book releasing on August 3rd and for the next four days, it’s only 99 pennies!!!! On release day the price goes back up to $2.99 so grab it at the sale price before it’s too late!

buy-now-blue 2


Forever Hearts is a standalone friends to lovers new adult (coming of age) romance.

Forever Heart FOR WEB


Read an excerpt here.

Add to TBR and read early reviews here.


Happy reading!


Forever Hearts – Cover Reveal

Look at the pretty…


Forever Heart FOR WEB



Today is the cover reveal for my new, STANDALONE friends to lovers romance, Forever Hearts! I’ve been *dying* to share this cover with you all and the day is finally here!

Isn’ it beautiful?! *Squee* Hang Le did an amazing job!  I’m in love with it and with this story! ❤ I can’t wait for you to all meet Jesse and Riley! August 3rd can’t come soon enough 🙂

Until then check you can do the following:

Add to GR –> Click Here

Join my Readers Group –> Click Here
(This is where I hang out the most and is the best place to find me :-))

Follow me on Social Media:




I’ll be sharing teasers like this one–>

Forever Hearts Teaser # 3

and lots of other goodies, so don’t miss out 🙂
Before you go…

Sharing the cover AND release info on social media is GREATLY appreciated. Readers liking, tweeting, sharing, and commenting about books they like and/or are excited about is an author’s greatest tool to get the word about her books. So please feel free to do all the above 🙂

Check back soon for an exclusive sneak peek at the first TWO CHAPTERS!




Five for Friday # 4

Happy Friday everyone! I’m actually playing hooky from work today. Shhh…don’t tell anyone!

April showers bring May flowers…The past week in Pennsylvania has been fairly damp and rainy.  Perfect weather for snuggling up on the couch with blanket and good book! I actually really love the rain, especially when I’m home (days like today 👍🏻)

Here is a recap of my thoughts/activities from this past week:

1.) Okay, I know I said I don’t watch a lot of TV (I really don’t…I think) but last night I watched the new ABC series Imaginary Mary. It was hilarious!!!! I only watched the pilot episode and maybe I was just in the mood to laugh, but it was hysterical. It’s like Ted (the movie) but from a female perspective. I highly recommend checking it out. It’s available on the ABC app.

2.) Need a pick me up? Then you need to watch Jamin’s Downtown Disney Flashmob Proposal. I’ve seen it countless times and it always makes me smile 🙂 There’s dancing and Disney and Bruno Mars and a cute couple….#goodtimes

Click here⇢⇢⇢ Jamin’s Downton Disney Flashmob Proposal

P.S. The intro is a little long…but trust me, you won’t be disappointed 😉

3.)  I’m ridiculously excited about this new notebook I picked up in Staples the other day. Do I need another notebook? No, no I do not. But I am sucker for pretty stationary, especially stationary with inspiring quotes.  Isn’t it pretty?!


4.) I hate traffic. Mr. M and I attended our money conference on Tuesday night (I talked about this in first FFF post). The event was being hosted in a historic theater (read: no parking) in a suburb of Philadelphia. We knew we would be hitting rush hour traffic so we gave ourselves plenty of time to get to the event; it was general admission seating and the event was sold out. We did not, however, expect to be stopped at the same stoplight for over forty-five minutes. Seriously, ever time the light turned green, and we didn’t move, I felt my life slowly slipping away. I’m a fairly patient person, but traffic is something I cannot deal with. After driving around for another half-hour looking for parking (this was a downtown area with no parking garages) we made it to the show—flustered and exhausted—but we made it just in time.

P.S. The show was great 🙂

5.) I have a girl crush on Alicia Keys. I love her spirit and honesty and I think she’s an amazing role model for women. Plus, I recently heard that she never wears make-up (I don’t know if this is true?) but if so, it makes me love her even more. And her voice! I’ve been known to sing (read: perform) her songs a time or two. Not saying I do it well but…



Okay friends, that’s all I got this week! Make it a great weekend!

Until next time, here’s some solid advice:


❤ CJ


Five for Friday # 3

Another week has come and gone. Most Fridays I’m caught somewhere between “Where the hell did the week go?” and “Thank God it’s Friday!”

Here’s a recap of what’s been up in my world 🙂

1.) Dieting Issues: I decided that March was going to be the month that I cleaned up my diet. No more junk food, no more chocolate 😥, no more eating out…basically no more fun. And guess what? I did really well for the first twelve days. Then, I fell off the wagon one night, which snowballed into the next day and then the next. Now here we are March 31st and there’s been little to no progress on Mission: Lose Ten Pounds by Summer. But seriously, why does dieting have to be so freaking hard?! I heard analogy about dieting many years ago that I think sums it up perfectly: “Dieting is like masturbating…it gets the job done but it’s not as satisfying.” #Facts

2.) I attended a “TA Talk” at a local university this past Wednesday. Essentially it’s a free workshop that features The Fulbright Exchange teaching assistants who have worked at college the past school year. Mr. M and I attend every year; it’s so interesting to hear about education in other countries, different value systems, foods, language, etc.
Interesting fact: One TA was from Nepal and to say “hello” or “goodbye” in Nepali is the expression”namaste”. Being a yoga instructor (and huge yogi!) I was super excited to learn this 🙂

Side note: If you’re not familiar with The Fulbright Exchange it’s an incredible, federally-funded exchange program for teachers and/or graduate students seeking advanced placement within certain fields.  You can read more about it here –> Fulbright Exchange


3.) I’m not much of a TV watcher but I started watching The Arrangement on the E! Network.  Anyone else watching it? The premise of the show is that a no-name Hollywood actress is hired to be the fiancée of an A-list celebrity. who recently went through a very public breakup. There’s a lot of back story – the A lister is a bit closed off and belongs to some spiritual cult (for lack of a better word) and the no-name actress has her own secrets.  I can’t decide if I love it or hate it but every week I tune in to see what happens so I guess I’m lovin’ it 🙂

4.) I’m a closet nerd (okay, maybe not so closet 😂) and I love learning the origin of sayings that we use in modern language. Take the expression “caught red-handed” for example. A co-worker and I recently got into a discussion about this phrase. I thought it had to do with fire alarms; supposedly there’s dye inside of them that ruptures when pulled and therefore can (potentially) identify the person who pulled the alarm. I’ve never researched this though, so this theory could be complete myth. 🙂

My co-worker claimed it had something to do with bank bags; a dye pack is placed inside a bank bag (during a robbery, for example) and then can later be triggered using a remote, wireless device. The dye pack ruptures and coats the bills with ink (I’m not sure if it’s visible or not) and makes the bills easily identifiable to authorities.

But those two interesting theories aside, Google tells us that the true origin of the expression “caught red-handed” dates back to 15th century Scotland and refers to someone who is (quite literally) red-handed due to blood from either murder or poaching. Who knew?

5.) Friday night is pizza night in our house. As far back as I can remember Friday nights were always pizza night. My family would order a pizza and my older sister and I would each pick out a movie to rent at Blockbuster…those were the days!

Mr. M and I still do this; Friday nights are our time to relax, eat some pizza, and watch Shark Tank. #LifeOfTheParty

Speaking of which…it’s time for dinner!

Until next time friends…

Hakuna Matata


Five for Friday # 2



Welcome back to Five for Friday, Round # 2

Spring is finally here (yay!) and while there still may be snow on the ground in  Pennsylvania I’m smiling because it will be flip-flop weather soon 🙂

Okay so here’s a run-down of my week:

1.) Is anyone else getting an annoying amount of ADS for Mahabis? No? I’m the only one??? Seriously?! For the past week (maybe a bit longer)their ADS have been popping up everywhere…from my Facebook feed to Twitter to Pinterest to Instagram! I can’t help but think that the universe is trying to tell me something, like maybe I really need these slippers in my life 😊 . I think I’m falling victim to their marketing  tactics because I found myself clicking on their website and shopping around. They’re wearing me down, man! I  *almost* purchased a pair before I came to my senses and gave myself a stern talking to. The conversation went something like this: CJ, they’re slippers! Yes, but… They’re ninety-eight freakin’ dollars!!! Do not buy them!

I bowed my head and closed the browser. But hey, maybe I’m the one missing out here…anyone own a pair and can let me know?

Mahabis-Slippers-1 2


2.) Avocado Toast is everything. I first had avocado toast while vacationing in Edinburgh last summer. I love avocados but was skeptical of eating it on toast—don’t ask why, I’m weird like that—but that all changed the second I tasted the most amazing, delicious, tasty, crunchy, oh-so-good toast in the world. One bite and I was hooked and I’ve done my best to duplicate the Scottish version.

I usually make this on the weekends (during the week I don’t have time to sit and eat breakfast so I typically grab a smoothie on the way out the door).
Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 slices of sour dough bread, toasted
  • 1 ripe, avocado, pitted and sliced
  • Sun-dried tomato spread
  • Mix equal amounts: chia seeds, sesame seeds, red hot pepper flakes, and crushed sea salt (sprinkle over toast)


P.S. Also pictured is another absolute obsession of mine – Honest T: Moroccan Green Mint…seriously it’s the BEST tea ever but I think I’ll save rambling on about it for another post 🙂

3.) This picture:

9aa86abfbea58cee337851c9044c4a9e 2

I pinned this picture the other day on Pinterest and I’m still thinking about it. Even though it’s such a simple photo I absolutely love its meaning. Reading (and writing!) takes you on a magical adventure (sorry this sounds so corny, but it’s true 😊 )to explore new worlds and cultures, it shifts perspectives, broadens the mind…it’s like traveling while curled up on the couch with your favorite blanket. It’s perfection.

4.) My deadline is approaching for current WIP: Forever Hearts (May 1st) and I’m nowhere close to being done. Current work count = 28,729 *hangs head in shame*

But in my defense I do my best work under pressure; I need  a deadline. That being said I see a lot of late nights in my near future!!!

P.S. I really, really want to share my “blurb” but I’m still tweaking it. I will soon, as in next week soon. I promise!  <– See, I told you I need a deadline 🙂

5.)  Mr. M and I purchased Fitbits (I know, we’re really late to the party) and I’ve become borderline obsessed with checking my heart rate. My resting heart is rate low (typically in the 60-65 range bpm range) but the second I start doing anything physical it shoots up… a lot (90 bpm or higher). It comes down fairly quickly but still it kind of freaks me out…like am I going to die or something? It’s probably  just a sign that I need to more physical exercise and less sitting. But then again, I’m sure it’s fine 😉

There are so many different types of Fitbits. Based on a friend’s recommendation we got the FitBit Charge 2:



It’s pretty, but I’m not a huge watch/bracelet person so it’s been an adjustment wearing it all of the time.

Until next time here’ a super cute puppy to make you smile:


P.S. You’re welcome for getting that song stuck in your head 🤣

❤ CJ

FIVE for Friday # 1

what to do when you feel stuck

TGIF & Happy St. Patty’s Day14034-illustration-of-a-four-leaf-clover-pv 2

Welcome to my first FIVE for Friday post : -)  First, let’s all take a minute to rejoice because it’s FRIIIIIDAYYYY, my absolute favorite day of the week. There aren’t many things that I love more than driving home from work after a long week knowing that I am free for the next forty-eight hours. No alarms, no making lunches, hell, no bra if I so choose, which btw I don’t. Sometimes.  Okay, a lot of the time but that’s neither here nor there 😉

I thought it would be a nice end to the week to share five highlights from my week; complete randomness, from the products I’m loving, beautiful and inspiring quotes, trivia (I love random trivia and have an intense urge to share it with the world), to funny stories, to music I’m listening to, to my current works in progress… you get the idea!

Let’s dive right in:

1.) Random fact: I recently read that there are six people in the world who look exactly like you and there’s a 9 percent chance (statistically speaking) that you will meet one of them. Now, I can’t cite a credible source (it was a meme) but if this is true it’s pretty cool…and a little creepy.  I wonder what my “twins” are doing right now?! Maybe they’re wishing for spring as much as I am even as the snow continues to fall outside!

2.) Product shout out: Paula’s Choice Skincare line is a godsend!  I have super sensitive/oily skin and have struggled with acne since adolescence. In fact, I am still struggling with it into my thirties, which seems  a bit ridiculous if you ask me. PC Ultra-Light Mattifying Daily Fluid is awesome because it’s super light and contains SPF 30+ to protect my skin. I wear it every day and have never broken out once. The only caveat: it’s a little difficult to find. Amazon is hit or miss so I’ve been ordering it from the DermStore.

Click the pic if you want to check it out –>66495


3.) I’m a podcast junkie. I have a long commute to work (about an hour each way) so I use this time to catch up on the goings on of the world. If you’re into finances (I know what you’re thinking: Is there anyone who is actually interested in finances? *Raises hand proudly and shouts* “ME!”) a great podcast to check out is the Dave Ramsey Show. It’s a talk radio show that is 100% free and I’ve learned so much about budgeting, bills, and investing since I’ve started listening. His motto is to live “debt free” and he outlines a step-by-step plan that it’s easy to follow. At the risk of sounding like a complete nerd, Mr. M. and I have tickets to attend Dave’s live event in April and I’m über excited for it!

4.) What I’m reading: Nicole London’s Mr. Popular. I’m about halfway through and I’m liking it so far. I’ve been in a bit of a book funk lately and I downloaded it on a whim, but I’m pleasantly surprised. I’ll keep you posted  🙂

5.) One of Mr. M’s best friends is staying with us this weekend (he’s flying in from California) and he and Mr. M have a TON of bro-dates planned. What does this mean for me? The house 100% to myself. As much as I love Mr. M, every girl needs some time to herself every now and then. I’m planning on getting a lot of writing done on my current WIP, Forever Hearts—more on this next week 😉 .  Notice I used the word planning because sometimes I fall victim to the magic lure of Netflix and then all bets are off. Wish me luck!

How was your week?  Any exciting plans for the weekend? Leave any questions or comments below. I love hearing from you.

Until next week….here are some cute puppies to keep you company 🙂


❤ CJ









Book Marketing 101

Okay, I’m going to be completely honest here…when I started self-publishing (October 2015) I had no freaking clue what I was doing. (SPOILER ALERT: I still don’t 😳 )

I wrote a decent book, found a great editor (shout out to Vivid Words Editing 🙌🏻 ), hired a cover designer, booked a one day release blitz, and released live on Amazon.

Literally….that’s all I did and I expected sales. I know, I know….commence eye rolls and sarcastic What was she thinking?! comments now. I’m guessing I don’t have to tell you that sales for my first book, Snowbound, were pitiful, yet I  was still happy (read: ecstatic) when I sold 35 copies. I write under a pen name and literally no one in my *real life* besides my husband new I had written/released a book, so these sales were all from strangers who were interested enough in my cover/blurb to take a chance on me. Score!

Here’s the book –>

What do you think? I got a lot of criticism over this book cover. I guess it doesn’t exactly scream HOT SNOWBOARDER ROMANCE, but at the time I thought it was the best thing ever! It should probably be changed, but part of me is too sentimental…this was my first baby 😳

Fast forward to August 2016,  Book # 2: Off Key. As with all things in life, I lived and learned. I did a bit more to get the word out, but nowhere near what I should have done. I didn’t utilize my mailing list (however small it may be 😉 ), I didn’t tweet or post daily, I didn’t blog or release excerpts. Are you screaming at me through your screen yet?! Because this shit is freakin’ sacrilege to indie authors. Here’s what I did  do: I hired a PR company (they were expensive — at least for small time author like me), hired a company for a book review tour, hired a separate blog company for a cover reveal, release blitz, and five-day blog tour.  I should also mention that I did some author takeovers in various blog groups/reader groups on Facebook. And yes, I sold more books—YAY!— but not enough to cover my expenses. Still (with a lot of encouragement from Mr. M.) I kept a positive attitude.

Personal note: Mr. M is a successful business owner and is super comfortable with the idea of “spending money to make money.” I am ultra-conservative and have mini panic attacks when outgoing money supercedes incoming money, but I digress.

Cover of Book # 2 –>

A definite improvement, wouldn’t you agree? It’s colorful and catchy and conveys that this is a rocker romance

Okay, so here we are October 2016 and I’m set to release my third book, Knockout. By this point I’m a little beaten down and question whether or not this whole “writing thing” is working out. I hire the same PR company and book review tour company, and participated in a few author takeovers. Sales? Not great, but you already knew that didn’t you?

Cover of Book # 3 –>

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00075]
Simple cover that leaves no doubt that this is a boxing romance.
What did I do wrong? How much time do you have?!

No but seriously, here’s the list:

1.) Didn’t utilize my mailing list to its fullest potential (if at all)

2.) All of my books are standalones — which is great — but the story lines are completely independent of one another which is not great for building a fanbase.

3.) Didn’t have a website or blog

4.) Didn’t post nearly enough on social media.

5.) Did not use FB effectively.

6.) Had unrealistic expectations about how readers would find my books…because if I’m being 100% honest I’m a minnow in a sea of freaking sharks! There are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of romance books. Why should a reader take a chance on mine? Because I’m special? (I’m not.)  Because I work hard? (We all do.) Because they owe me something? (They don’t). I’m a reader just like you and guess what? I’m incredibly picky about what I read. Big names mean nothing to me (I’ve read NYT Bestselling authors that have me scratching my head and saying really?) But reviews DO matter to me. One negative review can sway me from one-clicking. And my guess is you’re exactly the same. Low reviews/no reviews make me question: Why isn’t anyone reading this book? It’s a terrible catch-22. A new author doesn’t get reviews but needs reviews to entice readers. #TheStruggleIsReal

6.) Didn’t release consistently enough—I’m cutting myself some slack on this one because I do have a full-time job (and a life!) outside of my writing career but still I could have used my free time more efficiently.

Now comes the part where I list everything I did right. Ha! I see you laughing at me!  I did hire a professional editor and book cover designer but this post is about marketing and I think we can all agree that I did very little right in terms of promotion.

I wish I could say I have all the answers…but I don’t. Even more frustrating any seasoned, successful author will tell you this business isn’t a one size fits all. Translation: what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander 😉

can refer you to some great resources. J.A. Huss’s Blog and her Marketing Tip Monday posts are incredibly helpful. Also, check out Whitney G. and Nicole London’s new blog: The Indie Tea. I’ve been subscribed to their newsletter for quite some time and have gathered a lot of useful tips/strategies. They are also hosting an indie authors retreat June 2017, so maybe we’ll see each other there?

My goal for 2017 is to do better 🙂 My time has been spent researching and learning on how to be a better business woman because like it or not, authors are equal parts writer and entrepreneur. I can’t compare myself to big-name authors, but progress is progress…even if it’s only 1 more book sale a day than before… and that’s good enough for me…at least for now!

Questions, comments, encouragement, random thoughts…be sure to leave a comment. I promise I’ll answer. Seriously, I will, probably immediately 🙂

Until next time friends,

❤ CJ

Vacation is over :(

Our Italian holiday has come and gone in the blink of an eye. It seems like just yesterday I was procrastinating packing and trying to get everything ready for our departure. And now it’s over and I’m left waiting for the inevitable crash that always follows a jam-packed vacation. We saw and did so much that it’s impossible for me to include everything. Okay not impossible, but it would take a really, really long time to write about it all and I know you don’t have time for that!

So I’ve decided this blog post will be more like a Photostory, highlighting some of my favorite moments of the trip. Enjoy 🙂

Dodge’s Palace in Venice:  Do you notice the 2 different colored columns? That is where the town crier would stand to share the town’s news and gossip!
St. Mark’s Basilica; We did a guided tour of the Basilica and the Dodge’s Palace.
The colorful buildings of Burano, a tiny island about 1.5 hours (by Vaporetto) from Venice
Another shot of Burano because it’s just so pretty!
Yum 🙂
Murano – They produce the most beautiful glass in the world – I’m convinced!!!
Gondola in Venice
Ponte di Sospiri; This is the famous “Bridge of Sighs” that connects the Dodge’s Palace to the prison. The bridge got its name because the prisoners would “sigh” upon crossing over it as they caught their last glimpse of Venice before entering the prison.
Water taxis everywhere! No cars or paved streets in Venice!
Pathway to our apartment
Positano is known as the “Vertical City” (I didn’t know this before I got there!) because it is literally built into the side of the mountain. Everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING!) is either up a massive amount of stairs or uphill!
There are orange and lemon trees everywhere along the Amalfi coast! One of their staples is Limocello (an Italian licqueur – it’s way too strong for me!) but we had fresh orange juice every morning 🙂
We sampled a variety of cheeses from this café and had a glass of wine. Highly recommend 🙂
I ❤ this pic…Sunset over Positano
La Collina, Positano: The best gelato I’ve ever had
Dinner Day 1: Caprese Salad
Dinner Day 2: Homenade Gnochhi al pomodoro
Positano at night
Pompeii – We had a little over 2.5 hours to tour Pompeii. We decided to forgo a guided tour and purchase audio guides (it’s way cheaper!) Big mistake! Pompeii is HUGE and very difficult to navigate. Half of the time we didn’t know where we were or what we were looking at! Nevertheless it was really breathtaking to see, especially with Mt. Vesuvius in the background. One of the coolest (or eeriest) things are the plaster molds of victims created by the archeologists upon excavation of the site.
Statue in Pompeii
Ruins of the Roman Baths at Pompeii – The Romans had to have been the cleanest people ever because the baths were so complex and huge!
Pizza that I devoured after touring the ruins
The Vatican – Catholic or not the Vatican is a definite must see! The attention to detail, the paintings, the sculptures are incredible! We did a guided tour of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Our tour guide was awesome and I’ve developed a slight obsession in learning about Michelangelo and Rafael.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Amalfi Coast
Vineyard Tenuta San Francesco – this grape vine is more than 500 years old and is one of the oldest in the region surviving a diseased bug (Filoxera) that was brought back to Europe from the New World.
It doesn’t look like much but this was one of the BEST things that I ate in Italy. Twice baked bread with olive oil, fresh mozzarella, and homemade ricotta (made that very morning!) I didn’t want it to end and Mr. M wouldn’t share any of his with me 🙂
When in Rome…you eat gelato! Lots of it 🙂
Fontana di Trevi – I really wanted to see this fountain so that I could make a wish! Mr. M and I each tossed a coin into the fountain over our shoulders, just like legend says to 🙂  I read online that city officials collect more than 3,000€ a day from the fountain!
The Pantheon – Amazing! Another must see! What’s so interesting is how Italians “recycled” Pagan Roman temples/buildings and converted them to Christian places of worship by placing crucifixes and holy statues in them. They did this all over the city, even in the Colosseum!
Great pic of the oculus in the Pantheon – it never closes, so if it’s raining outside, it’s raining inside the Pantheon
The Palatine (Ruins of ancient Rome)
The Colosseum was by far my favorite place to tour. It was amazing! I have to admit that my knowledge was very limited about the use of the Colosseum before this trip. I knew the gladiators fought here but didn’t know much about the process, who the gladiators were, etc. We did a special guided tour that allowed us to walk on the stage and see the underground “basement” where the workers (slaves) and animals were kept.
Inside view of the colosseum; This massive structure made mostly of travertine (it’s like limestone) only took 8 years to complete! Very impressive considering the Vatican took over 100 years to complete 😳
Fun fact: After Rome was converted to a Christian city the games at the colosseum were deemed “inhumane” and stopped. The Colosseum was used a quarry yard for hundreds of years. This is why almost none of the original marble sculptures and/or decorations remain.


As you can tell, we were on the move A LOT! And now that I’m home, I’m thinking I need a vacation from my vacation 🙂

Comment below and let me know if you’ve been to any of these (or any other cool) places around the world.

I’m off to bed!