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Thanks Twitter

Candace Havens
The power of social media never fails to amaze me. It’s the reason I have a Steampunk novella in A Riveting Affair. Late one Saturday night, I took a break from writing and checked out Twitter. I happened to see a tweet from Entangled Publisher @Liz_Pelletier who wanted Steampunk stories for an anthology.

I need to back up at this point and explain the deal the universe and I have. The universe presents me with opportunities, and I always say yes. It’s why I stay so busy and run myself into the ground. But I friggin’ love what I do.

A few months before Liz’s tweet, I’d been asked by Fen Con to write a short story for their program. They wanted a southern steampunk. I didn’t even know what that was. But after some research I created the character Maisy, a Sherlock Holmes-like detective who solves cases involving the paranormal. I set the original story in my hometown of Fort Worth, and I fell in love with Maisy and her world.

So back to that Tweet… I DM’d Liz, who I’d met a few times through our mutual friend Dawn, and asked if she’d like to see the story. She said yes. About 90 minutes later, she bought the novella. I was ecstatic. When I woke up the next morning, she asked if I’d considered turning Maisy into a series. A few days later, I had a four-book contract for the series. That contract, lead to other contracts and now I have the writer’s dream. I know what I’m writing for at least the next two years.

So thanks @twitter for the hookup. I’ll be forever grateful.

I hope you’ll check out http://www.amazon.com/A-Riveting-Affair-ebook/dp/B00BY5XRHI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365002102&sr=8-1&keywords=a+riveting+affair and please help me get the word out that it’s meant to be a tease for the series.

And do yourself a favor… The next time the universe offers an opportunity say, YES!

The New Rules

Candace Havens

I haven’t talked about it much, but over the last six months I’ve been making positive changes. Except for a brief interlude with the I must eat cake diet last weekend, I’ve changed my eating habits for the better. I don’t get sick quite as often, and some days, I almost feel human.

I’ve tried to simplify my life, personally and professionally. I don’t travel as much. I only work on projects I love. And I’m gradually weeding out the negativity in the professional world. I’m sick of dealing with people who say, “no, you can’t do that.” I’ve proven many times that I can and I do succeed when I follow my gut. I have no respect for people who won’t even try something. And honestly, if you aren’t on Team Candy, I don’t have time for you anymore. I know it’s a tough world out there in publishing. But if you aren’t willing to take a risk, why are you in the business?

I choose the people I work with very carefully. I’ve discovered how much one can do when the people you’re working with genuinely believe in you. I have to give a shout out to my publicity team at Entangled. They work around the clock with me, yes they even answer my 2 a.m. sort of lucid emails, because they believe in what I can do. Those are the people you want on your side. They make a difference. I’m lucky that my editor Liz, is someone else who is beyond supportive. She loves my writing. She edits the hell out of it, but she loves it. I have the same sort of thing at Harlequin with the lovely Kathryn Lye. She wants to work with me, which is a joy. She edits the hell out of me, too. But they do it so we all look good. And my new assistant, Pasha, is a gift from God. She can do more in two hours than most people do in a week. I’ve thrown her in the deep end with the sharks and snakes, and she has survived. It helps that she’s a brilliant author and columnist, so she gets my kind of crazy.

I still work 24/7, but I love what I do. Even better when you’re working with people who are as dedicated as you are. I don’t know a single, successful CEO who doesn’t work 90 hours a week when building the business. Sometimes, we forget that authors are constantly building their businesses. There is no rest for the weary. (Though two weeks in Paris where all I have to worry about is what shop to go to next, would be nice.)

I’m nurturing the friendships that matter. The time I spend with my friends is special for a reason. They are amazing people. You learn, as an author, who is your friend and who isn’t every time you have a book released. A friend is someone who will chat up your book, even if it isn’t her favorite. A friend is someone who picks you up off the floor when things are gnarly, and brings the champagne when it’s time to celebrate. They are there for you when it counts. I’m so grateful for my incredible pack o’ friends. They are amazing people.

Family is everything. I’m lucky that my parents are so forgiving. I think about them every day and how supportive they’ve been throughout my life. I should make an effort to see them more and call them more, but I hope they know how much I appreciate them.  I’m lucky that I come from a family who believes in me. My husband and kids are the same way. They just assume I’m going to be successful because they’ve watched me go out and achieve one dream after another. They see how hard I work and they get it.

And the fans, goodness, what would I do without you guys? The outpouring of love you’ve shown for the new book, and all the books in the past, humbles me daily. You guys get me. You like my funny stories that whiz by at the speed of the Tardis. (And most of you even know what that is.) I love you guys. From now on it’s all about you.

This blog stems from an earlier conversation where I had to let go of someone I absolutely adore, but they weren’t really on Team Candy. It isn’t that they didn’t want the best for me. It was more about the way they deal with me. I may sound like a diva, but if you always say “no,” we aren’t ever going to move forward. I have the greatest respect for that person, but I’m constantly moving forward. It isn’t a decision I made lightly. But it had to be done.

I’m not big on following rules. In fact, most of my life I’ve believed rules are for other people. But I do have a code/rules I’m using for life now. I have to say, I’m a lot happier than I was a year ago. Here’s how I accomplish everything that I do:

1. Only work with people who get the big picture, are positive and believe in you. You don’t want the pollyanna ‘yes’ gang, but  you must work with people who want you to be successful.

2. Get your priorities straight, and adjust your world to fit those. There are times when you can’t do it all, and you have to make sacrifices.

3. Stay focused on the goals. It’s so easy to get sidetracked when you listen to the wrong advice.

4. Don’t do it for the money. If you don’t love what you do, it isn’t worth the pain it causes you.

5. Never rest on your laurels. To be successful, you have to move forward at all times. Build on what you have. Complacency is the kiss of death.

6. Don’t be afraid to take risks. The worst that happens is you fail, and you’ll learn from that.

7. Dream big. How do you know, if you don’t even try?

So tell me about some positive changes you’ve made, or want to make, in your life? What rules do you live by?

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  • Sat, 12:08: RT @SuzJay11: Absolutely loving @CandaceHavens Dream Big, Write Big Workshop.
  • Sat, 14:29: Just scared my class half to death -- I'm going to make them read "stuff" out loud. :) I'm wicked that way.
  • Sat, 21:00: I've had so much fun here in Cleveland. Great group of writers, who came from all over the place. Thanks for hanging out w/me! :)
  • Sun, 08:46: I slept 7 hours. I really like Ohio. :) Now to get some revisions done before I head to the airport.

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  • Fri, 20:42: In Strongsville, Ohio. It's nice. The people are lovely. Teaching a writing workshop all day tomorrow. But tonight #IamWriting :)
  • Sat, 11:45: I'm having so much with the Ohio Writers today! What an amazing group. Tons of energy. :)

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