October 18, 2014

Dave & Melinda, Musings

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Diva in the Dugout by Arlene HittleIt’s hard to believe my debut novel, DIVA IN THE DUGOUT, came out a year ago today. Yet it did.

My book baby has been out there for 12 months. 365 days.

Wow. It’s been a crazy year.

In its 365 days “in the wild,” it’s gotten some attention. Among the notice: six reviews on Amazon (nothing below a 3-star) and 24 ratings on Goodreads (3.79 average). A 3.79 average might not seem that impressive, but then I remind myself that some of my favorite authors’ books have similar scores.

No matter how beloved they are, no author can please everyone. DIVA garnered my first one-star review. I know, I know. I’m not supposed to read the reviews. Confession: I did it anyway. It was thoughtful and I can respect the opinions it expressed.

Back to DIVA’s wild year. It hovered on various Amazon bestseller lists for months. I learned to love that “Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction  > Sports” designation. “Kindle ebooks > Romance > Sports” is also pretty sweet.

Taken at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13 ... DIVA's sales rank was the highest I've seen.

Taken at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13 … DIVA’s sales rank was the highest I’ve seen.

DIVA also garnered attention from my publisher. When Turquoise Morning Press celebrated its 2013 Best of TMP this summer, I was recognized three times.

Best of Turquoise Morning Press 2013 Best of Turquoise Morning Press 2013 Best of Turquoise Morning Press 2013It received a nod in the 2013 TMP Readers’ Choice awards, too. Ultimately, it didn’t win—but like all the movie stars say, it was an honor just to be nominated. A nomination meant that enough readers enjoyed DIVA so much that they thought it deserved to be included on the list.

And when I decided to enter the RITA competition, it became a print book. It’s definitely selling better in its ebook form, but it was a thrill to hold my book baby in my hands.

(No, it didn’t receive a RITA nomination. Too bad. You only get one shot at “best first book.”)

Diva in the Dugout | Arlene Hittle | Turquoise Morning Press

In print!

My debut isn’t perfect. I know that. For example, I didn’t resolve Dave’s issues with his father. I realized it on one of my read-throughs and figured my editor would call me on it. When she didn’t, I let it slide. That turned out to be a mistake. More than one reader has pointed out the omission.

Another confession: I set the story in Texas because I wanted to sell to Harlequin American and so many of their stories are set there. I picked a part of Texas I’d driven through on my move from Indiana to Arizona, but still…I should stick with writing a place I know. That’s why most of my stories are set in either Arizona (like BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER, SLIDING INTO HOME and the upcoming BREAKING ALL THE RULES) or the Midwest (HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS and BLIND DATE BRIDE). I lived the first 28 years of my life in northern Indiana and have been in northern Arizona for the last 15.

Still, DIVA is an entertaining read. I fell in love with Dave and Mel, and their daughter Tara. I hope you will, too.

Get DIVA IN THE DUGOUT: Turquoise Morning PressSmashwordsAll Romance EbooksAmazonBarnes & NobleKobo and iTunes.

 

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