Monday, April 22, 2013

A funny thing happened on the way to nursing school...

I discovered writing (or maybe it discovered me?) and everything in my world changed. Almost overnight. When I clicked "publish" on Amazon on April 22, 2011 with my first novel, Accountable to None, it was on a whim--a testing the waters kind of thing. After all, I had worked for two years to obtain my Associates in Science (Phi Theta Kappa baby!) so I could then enroll in R.N. school. The elective course requirements were filled by taking Creative Writing I and II. But thanks to an incredible instructor who prodded me to continue in writing, I opted to take the plunge and upload my work to see if she was right--that I had the ability to create an intense thriller.

Thank you, Melody Berning. You changed my life.

The last two years have been a whirlwind, filled with extreme highs and bottom-of-the-barrel lows. The excitement of hitting #1 in suspense in December 2011 (the first month that Amazon started the KDP program) left me speechless, which is quite the difficult task I assure you! Tens of thousands of books sales later, I was punch-drunk giddy. Unfortunately, soaring on that incredible high didn't last too long because several negative reviews popped up on Amazon and Goodreads. Of course, the lambasting I received was my own fault. I knew nothing, nada, zip, zilch about the art of publishing a book and made ALL of the rookie mistakes, which included:
  • I didn't have my work professionally edited
  • I designed my own cover
  • I formatted the ebook myself
(For those of you that fainted from abject horror--I'm sorry).

Once I picked my broken bones up off the floor and extracted several sharp knives from my back, I set out to rectify my mistakes. After a short bout with a small press, I went back to my Indie roots with much more knowledge. I hired an English teacher to edit my books and a professional design team to reformat not only the interior for the print and ebook versions but also the covers. Yes, I'm talking about the amazing folks over at Blue Harvest Creative. Sales soared and critical reviews are rare. (Thank goodness because they ARE painful). Then, in December of 2012, Accountable to None hit #1 OVERALL in free books and stayed in the Top 100 PAID for over a week. Apparently, December is my lucky month!

Thankfully, most of the people that read the unedited earlier version of Accountable to None looked past the minor editing issues that plagued it in the beginning and dug deep into the core of the story. Then the sequel, Zero Balance came along and I was blessed with rave reviews and thousands of downloads. I remember the day that Jon Bloch of The Kindle Book Review posted his review and I literally jumped up and down in the driveway (hubby and I were in the midst of a wicked game of Bag-O--I lost) because Mr. Bloch obviously enjoyed it. My favorite quote from his review:

"If a black widow spider could write a book, this might be the result."

It was Mr. Bloch's review that finally made me realize that I was an author. Then, NY Times bestselling author, Janelle Taylor, read not one but all three of the trilogy and she loved them. And reviewed them on Amazon. It took me three days to recuperate from that! To know that such a talented and successful writer such as Ms. Taylor liked my work was (and still is) something I will always treasure.

Other reviews started pouring in from around the world for all three novels and I still get teary-eyed when I read them. A slight detour from my original route to nursing school turned into a HUGE career path for me. After a guest appearance on ArtistFirst Radio, I was offered to host my own weekly radio show, which airs every Sunday night at 8 pm EST. I have had the honor of interviewing several NY Times bestselling authors as well as numerous, highly successful Indie authors from around the world. How cool is that? VERY COOL.

The most amazing thing that has happened was that an agent approached me about submitting my works to production companies. I was skeptical at first, but then proven wrong: a producer requested a copy of Accountable to None. Then, a few weeks later, he requested a copy of Zero Balance, followed less than two weeks by Adjusting Journal Entries. He loved the story and we are working closely together to make it come together for television.

(This is the part where I fainted. I still have the knot on my skull).

All because I took a leap of faith and clicked "publish" two years ago today.

This is why I picked today to release my new thriller, "Number Seventy-Five." Never, ever in a million years did I think I would be able to say that THREE NY Times bestselling authors' quotes will grace the back cover:

"Ashley Fontainne proves with 'Number Seventy-Five' that she's a talent to watch."
--Raymond Benson, author of the Black Stiletto series

"With an attention to detail, and a slowly building sense of dread and horror, Ashley Fontainne's 'Number Seventy-Five' will have you racing through her story of online connection, and just how bad things can go on a date. This is a tale that, with its Hitchcockian twists dealing with greed and murder, I dare you to stop reading."
--Matt Costello, author of Vacation and Home

"I absolutely love this woman's style and plots. Have to read anything and everything she writes. Awesome talent! Oh, the twists and turns she takes us on. Thanks, Ashley Fontainne, for creating such memorable works!"
--Janelle Taylor, NY Times bestselling author

Life: it sure can lead you down some interesting roads! Enjoy the ride--I know I am--just not as a nurse.

Buy links:
Amazon - Paperback:
Amazon - eBook

Coming soon to Kobo and Sony

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