Name: Constance Melanie Barnes
City: Mill Lake, New Mexico
Occupation: Marketing/Web Design
Dream Job: Bestselling Author
Favorite Food: The Constance Barnes Significantly Superior Sourdough Sandwich
Favorite Drink: Wine, Wine, and Wine
Thanks for stopping by to get to know the new heroine in my soon to be released novel TORCHED! Constance Barnes is a 24-year-old published author living the dream. She's got good friends and a little bit of notoriety in the writing world. As a paranormal romance author and book cover designer, Constance loves the people she spends time with, until it all starts to unravel.
Having signed a three book contract with The Written Page Publishing...
Constance likes to call herself the bad ass of her author group. Wait until she finds out who the real bad ass is.
She loves nothing more than spending an evening around the fire with The Written Page team.
After Girls' Night, she goes home to the man in her life. Sully is her beloved smushed up mutt, as she likes to call him.
Constance was happy with her life, until she met Mack at the park one January afternoon when she realized how lonely she was. A runaway dog, a shared sandwich, and a dark secret, bring Mack & Constance together to find out who's killing authors and why.
I flopped down on the couch and let out a sigh of relief. Home never looked as sweet as it did tonight. I patted the seat next to me. “Come here boy,” I called, watching my mother’s dog jump up next to me and curl up in a ball. When I’m gone, Sullivan stays with my neighbor, Mrs. Navado, but since I got back into town on time tonight, I picked him up and brought him home. Sully is a mutt, born of several different breeds smushed together to form a dog with a big hind end, short legs, and the head of a Jack Russell terrier. He looks odd, but he’s great at giving kisses and forcing me to exercise. I say he’s my mother’s dog, but the reality has set in; she’s not coming back. That means he’s now my dog, as I’ve taken care of him longer than she did.
Guardian came along and swept her off her feet when Sully had been part of the family for only a few months. The upside is my mother gave me the dog and her house, which means I can’t complain too loudly. Besides, one good thing about Sully is, he knows how to live. He doesn’t talk to me when I want to be alone and other than feeding, watering, and taking him for walks, he doesn’t demand anything from me. He doesn’t seem to take it personally when I need to go away for a week and I leave him with the neighbor. I guess he’s an easy-going kind of dog. I wouldn’t mind finding a man who’s the same. I snickered to myself as I pictured myself feeding, watering and setting said hot guy in the corner until I got home. I’m relatively sure it doesn’t work that way.
The truth is, I know all too well how it works, seeing as how I almost got married eighteen months ago. Tate and I had been dating for almost two years and he had me looking at wedding rings and trying on dresses. Upon the mention of finding one I loved, he had a complete and total freak out attack including hyperventilation and denial all at the same time. He told me he didn’t plan on proposing any time soon. He needed years to fall in love and why would I think otherwise? When I reminded him that we had been dating for years, and it had been he who had sent me off on trips to look at rings and dresses, his eyes went from freak out to hooded and deceptive. It didn’t take me long after that to discover what he had been doing behind my back. And by doing, I mean a blond with a flat chest and a pencil-sized figure. No one would call me a pencil. I believe the word most often used for me is ‘buxom’.
Thankfully, I hadn’t let him move in with me. Sure, we had a toothbrush at each other’s house, but that kind of commitment could be dealt with easily. His toothbrush has been the best toilet scrubber I’ve ever had. This messy ordeal happened two years ago when I described myself as young, naïve, and infatuated with the idea of being in love.
Now I’m young, a little bit worldlier, and absolutely not looking for love. I write about it all the time, but simply put, romance novel men don’t exit. These shirtless, glistening chest men are simply figments of our imagination when we’re at our lowest. Sometimes they’re the author’s imagination of the perfect man while she’s writing next to a guy drinking beer, watching football, and farting. Either way it doesn’t matter. They don’t exist, end of story.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m somewhat convinced there are plenty of nice guys out there, but the ones that aren’t gay are snapped up quickly. You can’t take your time when you find one of these guys––the kind that likes to go to work, makes his bed, washes his clothes, and has something more than beer in his fridge. You gotta move on those guys like a bee on a picnic basket or some other woman, or man, will snatch them up. Sigh.
I picked up my laptop and opened the top, deciding to check email and the ranking of my books on Amazon. I released the third book in my paranormal romance series a few weeks ago, and the signing this week had been resoundingly successful. I ran out of books halfway through the signing this morning. All I could do was hand out cards with my website information and hope they bought the books online. As I talked with readers, I got busy pedaling Alexis’ books. Why? Because helping another author in your publishing house, especially the owner, helps everyone. Her books were shipped to the event weeks before, which meant they would have to pay to ship them back if they didn’t sell. Thankfully, they all sold except for half a dozen, which Andrea had packed into her luggage to return to Alexis tomorrow. With that disaster averted, the entire event resided in the successful category.
The publishing world as it is now means you don’t get on the USA Today or New York Times bestseller list for paperback sales, at least not when published by a small press. You can achieve those lists in the eBook market. However, I had my hopes up that the final book of my trilogy would send me shooting off like a rocket to the stars. But by the looks of it, that dream would end in the rocket exploding before it left the launch pad. I hadn’t sold half as many copies as I should have, considering how well one and two were selling. Maybe the reason was simply that readers were still finishing books one and two. The idea of thousands of people sitting in their living room reading my books gave me hope that book three would spike soon. Good thing I didn’t live off book sales as an income. Not many authors can do that anymore. Unless you’re Stephen King or Nora Roberts, you’d better have a day job.
My day job revolved around books, which is great since they’re my one true love. With a degree in web design and marketing, I’ve run a successful and profitable business for two years now. I have prestigious clients, small business owners, and recently, several publishers besides my own.
I’ve designed covers and spent countless hours formulating marketing plans for the sixteen authors signed to The Written Page since I signed with them. I don’t get paid for it in cash, instead they cut me a bigger percentage of my royalties. I didn’t complain because back then, I needed the experience. That was then, and this is now. I need to start charging them for the covers and marketing plans or tell them to find someone new.
My clientele over the past few years has increased tenfold and I wouldn’t notice the drop in royalties if I stopped working for The Written Page, but I would notice the income lost if I had to drop a new client. I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone because I knew no one would be happy with me if I left. The other authors enjoyed having someone in-house they could run to for reassurance, help, and brainstorming. I would miss being able to do that too, if I quit being their marketing director. I hoped to work out a new deal with Andrea and Alexis before March when my newly acquired client would need a lot of my attention.
I glanced up at the clock and saw the big hand click up to the twelve, meaning I had been awake far too many hours today, and had only a few more before I had to be up and at ‘em again. I stood up and stretched my back, the hours on the plane leaving me sore and stiff.
I patted my leg. “Come on, Sully, time for bed.”
He looked up at me and yawned, jumped down, and waddled into the bedroom to resume his slumber. Some days I wish I had a dog’s life.
Since I can't give away a bottle of wine, I'll give away a gift card to Amazon, where you can buy a bottle of wine, books, or even sourdough bread.
The choice is yours :)