Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sink or Swim Time: Diving into the Deep End of the Publishing Pool by Anna J Stewart @ajstewartwriter

I want to introduce a new friend of mine to Believe!
One I'm tickled to share with you
as she's featured with me in the new,
upcoming St. Valentine Day release

Hearts & Kisses.

And... she's a wonderful author!


Hi everyone.  Thanks so much to Mimi for hosting me on her blog! So excited to be here. 

Although I'm a long-time writer, I'm a newbie to the publishing world.  After numerous years (too many to count) of working my way up the ranks, 2015 is shaping up to be the year I've been waiting for.  I got an early start late last year with my first published Harlequin work, CHRISTMAS, ACTUALLY (11/14) and am gearing up for my very first single title contemporary romance release through Berkley InterMix with ASKING FOR TROUBLE (the first in my Tremayne Family Romances).  Having the opportunity to participate in a boxed set with these talented authors is yet another dream come true for me.  I'm so honored READING BETWEEN THE LINES is included in HEARTS & KISSES (can you believe the .99 price?!).

READING BETWEEN THE LINES isn't a story I'd planned to write. In fact, the idea didn't even percolate in my brain until late last year when fellow author Melinda Curtis suggested I branch out and stretch my publishing wings. A year ago, heck, a few months ago, the idea of self-publishing was positively petrifying, but here I am!  I might be wearing floaties, but I'm in the pool! Look at me go! <splash zone>

The reason for my dive off the ledge? Well, with my single titles (3 so far) coming out five to 6 months apart, Melinda advised me I needed a bridge between stories, something to keep my (hopefully growing) audience anxious for the next books. Thus the Lantano Valley Novellas were born.  

While these novellas don't feature the main characters in my Berkley books (but they are referenced!), this special group of friends who belong to a book group will each get their happily ever after in the same southern California town of Lantano Valley over the next year.  Cassidy Wells and Ethan Sutherland--former high school sweethearts are about to find their way back to each other--get the series off the ground, providing eternal loner Cassidy can find the strength to forgive Ethan for what was, to her, a heart-breaking betrayal.  I'm all about the HEA, but boy these two were tough to wrangle.

To say the idea of this story came easy would be lying. In fact, I had no clue what their story was going to be until I saw some images my cover designer (the amazing Annissa Turpin-Giannone) was thinking of using.  The instant I saw the photo (I just love this couple), the story exploded in my head and I couldn't get the words out fast enough. Sometimes being a writer is pure magic (other days...).

Cassidy was a bit of a new type of character for me to tackle.  Her history is less than pleasant and she dealt with issues no child should ever have to face. She might be stronger because of her past, but she's also incredibly mistrusting, which makes forgiveness all the more challenging. Ethan had his own set of difficulties, nothing on the scale of what Cassidy faced, but complicated nonetheless.  Watching these two come around and see life from the others' point of view, where they learn to let go of the past and, however terrifying the idea, move into the future with hope instead of skepticism was incredibly rewarding. When I closed the file and hit send  I was already thinking about the next novella.  But first I'll be venturing into ASKING FOR TROUBLE (on sale 2/17 wherever eBooks are sold). I'd be thrilled if you'd stop by Lantano Valley for a visit...or perhaps an extended stay.  The more people in the pool the better!

Happy reading!

Anna J

Anna J. Stewart can't remember a time she didn't have a book in her hands or a story in her head.

Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family centric romances with happily ever afters for the independent heroines she writes for Harlequin and Berkley. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her).

Visit Anna online at:


Hearts & Kisses

A Valentine's Day Special for readers who love romance.
12  heart-wrenching stories 
by 12 talented authors
to be released 
February 10th

 On Pre-order here:




  1. This sounds great Anna, so proud to see your career taking off, you richly deserve it :)
    Jacquie Biggar

    1. Hey, Jacquie! Boy, you pop up everywhere! How great to see you here. Thank you for posting. Good to have my friends behind me. :) Hope you're doing great!

  2. Well! Nicely done, you two. So happy to 'meet' my newest colleague, Anna J. Stewart. And happy that Anna as a fabulous title in Hearts & Kisses.
    Jackie Weger
    No Perfect Secret

    1. Thanks, Jackie. Nice to "meet" you, too. :)

  3. Whaaaaaat???!!! $.99! I'm on it. HEY ANNA!!!! Can't wait to read the novella! :) Casssidy and Ethan here I come!

    1. Kristin!! Yay!! SO nice of you to pop in...almost 40 years since we started dance classes together (were we ever that young?!). Tell me that makes you feel as old as I do, LOL. Hope you enjoy Cass and Ethan's story...and all the rest in this set! <3

  4. Hi Anna,

    This was inspiring, indeed. I loved what you wrote about looking at the images your cover designer showed you, and how this brought words flooding out!

    1. Thanks, Hiten! Great to see you here. :) Thanks for posting.