December 11, 2012

The End

It takes a while for me to finish a novel. Let Me Out took three years. Not just a draft, but revision after revision after revision. Three years. When I finally finished it, content with the way my characters developed and the plot progressed, I was the happiest person in the world.

With Die For Me, the same thing occurred. However, I spent 2011 rewriting the entire novel from beginning to end. 10x better, by the way.

Working on Mortal Eclipse though, a book I started three years ago, I'm finally coming close to the end. A half chapter left. Half a chapter! But as I seemingly do, I can't get myself to end it.

Perhaps it's because the muse isn't motivated. I could be tired. Or hungry. These last few months I've been busy with school, editing and work and I might not exactly be looking forward to putting another book out to query as I have two on submission already.

Or maybe, I just can't let go. Maybe I don't want the story to end or the characters to disappear. I didn't used to consider myself a sentimental writer, but now I'm not so sure.

Does this happen to you? Are you able to write THE END without problems?


October 21, 2012

Books Up For Grabs!

It's time to clean off my shelf of physical books while I start replacing them with e-books. So, I'm not holding a contest, I'm not limiting one per person. If you want any of these books, let me know. I can ship them to you as long as it's within the continental US.

Harry Potter, Books 1-7 by JK Rowling: All paperback except Book 7
New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer: All hardcover
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card: Paperback
The Princess Bride by William Goldman: Paperback

Scandal, My Wicked Enemy, My Dangerous Pleasure, My Forbidden Desire, My Immortal Assassin by Carolyn Jewel: All Paperback

A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray: Paperback
Eve by Iris Johansen: Paperback
Stephanie Plum Series, Books 1-17, All Paperback except Books 16 and 17
Fallen by Lauren Kate, Hardback

Like I said, you want them, you can have them. Let me know!

October 16, 2012

Sour Cherry is Contracted!

The Wild Rose Press has agreed to publish Sour Cherry!

The contract is sent. The blurbs, cover preferences and excerpts are in. Just waiting for edits at this point.

I have to tell you; this comes at the perfect time. I've released two books this year already, but not being able to write as much lately with working two full time jobs has taken a toll. I almost gave up writing completely to focus on things that will pay my bills, but there are miracles and people actually do seem to like what I write.

Maybe it's a sign I need to get my priorities straightened out :)

Here's a little bit about my newest book, Sour Cherry.

About

Cherish “Cherry” Williams has been betrayed by her own motorcycle club. The Outriggers, and its president, want her dead. In an attempt to save her life for an exchange gone wrong, she seeks help from the last place her club would look for her: behind enemy lines.

Only Cherry suspects her president’s corruption, but as she investigates him further, she finds the exchange was a set up from the beginning and war between clubs is inevitable with the CIA involved.

Cooper Nolan is Cherry’s only chance of survival, but as Vice President of the Outriggers’ rival club and an undercover CIA agent, he’s not exactly keen on risking his life for a woman who was supposed to be a one-night stand.

Without the CIA’s help, both the Outriggers and its rivals will see to Cherry fulfilling her “to the death” oath, but even more daunting is the fact she’s losing her heart to a man who isn’t willing to choose her over drugs, guns and blood.


 Look for Sour Cherry soon from the Wild Rose Press!

September 18, 2012

Let Me Out FREE on Oct 1-5

For a limited time you can download the Amazon Bestseller for FREE on October 1st through the 5th!

About

For a psychopath, murder is addictive.

With every remorseful drop of blood spilled, the violent whispers in her head are silenced, but to Adelaide Banvard’s disappointment, only for a short amount of time. Used as an assassin, the schizophrenic monster inside her head grows stronger the longer Christian Wren takes advantage of her demons. Knowing this life will have her behind bars or six feet under, Adelaide wants out by any means necessary in order to save her sanity and her life.

For a federal agent, revenge is even sweeter.

ATF Agent Marcus Grant has declared war on Wren after the death of a fellow agent and forces his way into the weapon manufacturer’s entourage to seek his revenge as an undercover bodyguard. Fully aware that men like Wren never risk getting their hands dirty, Marcus sets his sights on the first woman who has captivated him in a long time, Wren’s personal bodyguard, Adelaide Banvard.

Adelaide realizes the man who can put her behind bars for life is the opportunity she needs to overcome her bloodthirsty desires, but can she convince Marcus she’s not the killer he’s after?

Where to buy

Amazon - Kindle Version

What They’re Saying

“A heart-pounding ride of intrigue and betrayal. Not your ordinary suspense.” – Siobhan Muir, Author of Her Devoted Vampire

"Will knock your socks off!” – Midwest Book Review.

“A truly remarkable tale.” – Night Owl Reviews, Reviewer’s Top Pick.

July 6, 2012

Up The Stakes

Want to keep your readers drooling for more? Then you need suspense and conflict. Doesn’t matter if you write thrillers or suspense, romance or fantasy, these two elements are the heart of your book. According to Debra Dixon, author of Goals, Motivations and Conflict, “Your book is only as good as your villain”. So let’s break it down. What can you do to up the stakes in your novel?

1.      Kick up the suspense. In this step, external conflict is king. This is where something physical prevents your character from achieving their goal(s). Author Avery Flynn says it best in her blog post, What Are You Looking At—Writing Conflict: “It’s the big, bad thing forcing the hero into action.” This is the guy who wants to stop your hero or make them pay, but is he really doing everything possible?  


Let’s say the bad guy has kidnapped the hero’s mother and won’t free her until the hero robs a bank for him. Only problem is, if caught, he’s going to prison and the hero’s family would suffer. If the hero doesn’t do what he’s told, things could get ugly. That’s suspenseful, but we’re missing out on some bigger opportunities by leaving it at that. So let’s see how you can make a bad situation worse.


What if the bad guy decides not to wait for the hero to make up his mind and decides to kill his mother anyway? The bad guy has won. The hero is distraught and now his mother’s death is on his hands. Now what is he going to do about it?


By making bad situations worse, we’re taking the suspense just a little bit further for the reader. These are the types of situations that will keep them turning the pages and since we’re writing fictions, you can make the impossible believable.



2.      Make it personal. Use internal conflict to make your readers care about your characters. They want to be personally invested, they want to root for the good guy. Develop those inner conflicts and emotional issues.


So when we have a bad guy holding the hero’s mother hostage, of course the hero will be distraught. But what if we change out his mother for his wife or son (or romantic interest in romance)? If your hero/heroine has a fear of heights, guess where they’re going to end up—on a cliff or a really tall building. By challenging your character to face their fears, you’re keeping the suspense continuous and upping the stakes.



3.      Keep it short. Use short sentences to make your reader not only see the suspense, but feel it as well. Let’s take the following passage as an example:



A set of knuckles connected with his jaw.

The punch to his face forced him back into the wall.
This last sentence reads almost passively, with a slow narrative feel to it. Now to “keep it short”, we’re going to change it to make us feel the suspense.

                        A set of knuckles connected with his jaw.

He slammed into the wall. Hard.


Not only have we cut five words while giving the same information, we’ve intensified them to deliver just the right amount of suspense and life.

4.      Give your characters a deadline. Consider Patrick Lee’s novel, Deep Sky. Lee’s main characters, Travis Chase and Paige Campbell, have only 24 hours to decipher a message to save the world. Doesn’t that alone make your character’s heart race? From this deadline, you can imagine just how many obstacles are going to work against them and how on edge your readers will be.



5.      Have bad guys worth rooting against. Not every novel has a bad guy. Situations are used as conflict too. However, if your conflict takes the form of a person or a group, consider Tami Cowden’s Villain Archetypes.
In order to make the ultimate villain, however, your bad guy needs to have believable motivations. Dennis Palumbo’s article, [title] in this month’s The March of Crime newsletter, explains readers are less likely to believe your bad guy is psychopathic “just because” than they will when they discover he’s been abused, his loved one was murdered or he wants power and money.
For suspense, use psychological aspects alongside the violence. Your antagonist can kill a lot of people, he can torture and maim, but psychological attacks have a lasting impression.

By integrating these five elements into your manuscript, you’ll keep readers drooling for more and leave a lasting impression with the heros and heroine who overcome such obstacles.

July 2, 2012

The High-Concept Pitch Line

A lot of thrillers deal with a "high-concept" pitch line and while I'm revising my second suspense novel, I wanted to know what exactly makes a thriller/suspense high-concept. First, from what I understand, high-concept deals with a short and exciting one line pitch.


Here are a few examples I've found:
Michael Critchton - "Killer disease from space!" to "An island of dinosaurs reconstituted from fossil DNA!" to "Killer nanorobots!"
The Hunger Games - "Teenagers fight to the death on TV!"



With my goal to find an agent with Bleed For Me, I decided to take the high-concept pitch into consideration. How could my novel be summed up in a one line, exciting and encompassing pitch? Like a hook, it needs to catch readers/agents/publishers off guard, but at the same time tell them what my book addresses.

One line... 

"A former hitman must prevent bloodshed!"

What do you think? Does the line tell you what Bleed For Me is about? Does it make you want to read more? Is it different enough from other books you've read?

The entire novel must be understood from a high-concept pitch. It has to be loud. So I gave this one a shot:

"A hitman and convict must save lives!"

Better? I found it interesting that the entire time I worked on my high-concept pitch, it was a lot easier to get through my revisions. Even if your book isn't high-concept (understood in one short sentence) you can still apply this same concept to make sure your writing is focused. 

Obviously I'm still working on it, but what are some of your ideas for high-concept pitch line?

June 15, 2012

Great Reviews for Let Me Out!

SQUUUEEEE!

Let Me Out was chosen as Reviewer's Top Pick over ar Night Owl Reviews! Here's what they had to say:

"There is only one word to describe a novel of this caliber: wow. Let Me Out tells the story of Adelaide Banvard, and her trials and tribulations with both Dissociative Personality Disorder and Schizophrenia and her time with two very different but equally sinister monsters. It also tells the story of Marcus Grant, an ATF agent with a heart of gold searching for his partner’s killer. He suspects local business magnate Christian Wren as the mastermind of his partner’s death, but still was not sure about who actually killed him. When Marcus goes undercover in Wren’s organization to solve Scott’s murder, little does he know that the beautiful little spitfire he has fallen hard for is not only a ruthless, brutal killer but also a little girl lost in a big bad world.

The story is nearly epic in its scope, showing how families and lives can be torn apart by not only crime but also murder, kidnapping, and the trials of mental illness. It starts fast and never slows down. I honestly could not put down this novel, easily reading two thirds of it in one day. It is that good. This is a novel for anyone who wants a good adventure, and also a story of love and learning to cope with the unbearable. A truly remarkable tale."

A NIGHT OWL REVIEWS BOOK REVIEW * Reviewed by: Hitherandthee

Thank you to everyone who believed in me and helped me through this journey. Come back for more good news!

June 9, 2012

Guest Post by BC Brown!


"As an indie author, it's hard to get people to review your book."  This is one of the most reiterated statements I hear from other authors.  And it Simply. Isn't. True.




The self-pubbed world of literature has literally EXPLODED in the last one- to two-years thanks to success stories like Amanda Hocking.  What used to be a phrase ("self-pubbed") that was more whispered than spoken, being an indie author has put the power of the written word back into the hands of those who count - we who hold the pens/laptops! 


But, despite this shift of power, there are still daunting tasks for any author going the self-pub route.  If writing, editing, formatting, cover art, promotion and sales weren't enough to make most people want to run for the hills. As authors, we also have the overwhelming tasks of garnering -yipes!REVIEWS for our books.

What used to be a difficult thing to do without the backing of a powerful agent or publishing house, indie reviews have gotten so easy to come by it's almost too easy.  The big thing is getting your new writing out there for book bloggers, voracious readers, and sometimes-only readers.

Um, how? Well, you utilize every tool you have in your arsenal. Book blogging sites are numerous; almost everywhere you look online, there is a link to this book blogger's site or that one's.  We simply have to do the small amount of research required by clicking over to their blog, actually reading it (highly suggested if you don't want to just be a "solicitor"), and finding out what their submission requirements are.  Then you email, DM, submit the form, do whatever is required of you to submit to this book blogger and, well, wait.  Most book bloggers do what they do for the love of reading; and in part, I'm sure, for free reading material.  What do you have to lose by it? Nothing.

"But I've lost a sale."  Whenever I mention this to people, this is what I hear. And the truth of the matter is that this statement couldn't be less true than someone saying the world is flat. This book blogger you've given a free PDF to wasn't in your fan base and probably didn't even know you existed. If they never knew you existed, then they were never a potential sale, were they? So we haven't lost a sale; we've gained a review, a (hopefully) fan, and the notice of that particular blogger's following.  Think we might get at least one sale out of that free read? You bet your sweet tuckus!

But book bloggers aren't the only place to seek reviews for indie authors. There are thousands of full time book review sites embracing their love of indie skill and creativity. And, yet, there are still old standbys like your friends, family, and acquaintances on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.  Make an event and send it out to select individuals you think would like a free copy of one of your books; you can even make this fun and maybe toss in a contest. Who wouldn't want a free PDF of a book and the possibility to win an autographed print copy? Sure, they may already have it but an autograph is an autograph (they'll want it when one of us becomes the next J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyers). Plus, they don't necessarily have to get it signed to them; maybe they liked it and want to give it as a gift? Who knows!

Does all of this take a little time out of our day to accomplish? Sure. An author might have to send out 200 review events to get even 5 back. But who cares? That's 5 more reviews we didn't have before. Does it take time to read and research book bloggers and review sites out there? Yep, sure does. But would any one of us want to pass up the chance a book blogger with 10k followers loves our book and suggests it as a 'Must Read' to their fans? Um, probably not.

Remember: yes, you are giving away free copies of your book, but you can't look at it like that.  You have to think of it as part of your marketing strategy, part of generating BUZZ. As people we look at the reviews an item has to determine if it is "worth" the money or time we'll be spending. It would be just plain silly to let the idea of a loss that was never a loss in the first place keep us from gaining more than we ever could have thought possible. It's one thing to think outside the box, but sometimes you also have to think outside the straight jacket. ;)

Any other indie or traditional house authors out there want to chime in? Did I forget to mention something here - another circle or type of review-getter?


Also, if you're interested in picking my brain over the matter, feel free to come meet me in person at the Vincennes, Indiana Farmer's Market Book Fair on June 9th from 8-Noon. There will be a free door prize given away during the day – presence not required to win.


You can find BC's books and follow BC here:

Twitter: @BCBrownBooks

May 26, 2012

The Importance of Cover Design and Genre


Today we have Stephanie Bibb talking to us about the importance of cover design and genre. Take it away, Stephanie!

As many authors can tell you, a good book cover can make or break a book. Whether you plan on trade publishing or self-publishing, having a strong cover to represent your work is an important aspect of catching a reader’s attention.


While we’ve all heard “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” this is extremely hard to practice. How often do we pick up a book in a bookstore, or click a thumbnail image from a website based on the cover?


A book cover does at least three things:


1. Tells us the genre of the book.

2. Gives us insight into the story.

2. Catches our attention.


When we read a book where the cover doesn’t resemble the story, it leaves us annoyed. We didn’t get what the cover advertised.


For example, I’ll use a cover I designed for my own short story project. I had written a 1000 word short story that could be best described as young adult science fiction. It had both dystopian and war elements, as well as a strong focus on romance. I called the story “Socks,” due to a comment in the story itself.


Then I set out to create the cover.


My goal was to recreate the socks on the cover, and give it a grungy look. I wanted it to be clean enough to be dystopian young adult, but dark enough to hint at the war-time elements in the story.

So I came up with this:



In your opinion, does this look war/dystopian book at all? It’s pink and lime green, and one person who saw it said they thought it looked like a children’s story.



I have to agree with them on that one. So, several revisions later, I came up with this:



Much better. It targets the young adult audience, not children, and its muted tones suggest the war or dystopia, as does the grunge.


Imagine if I had used the other cover for the story. I wouldn’t have targeted the right audience, and the people who read it would probably have hated it. Instead, with the new cover, I’ve had reviewers suggest that I turn the story into a novella. I have plans currently to make it into 3-4 short stories that cover the entire story.


So, lesson learned. When creating a cover, or choosing a cover artist, make sure it captures the feel of your story. What message are you trying to convey? Who do you want to read your story? There are quite a few popular titles with more than one cover. Take a look at US vs UK books. The covers are usually similar, but they were styled to match their audience.


Anyway, I hope this has been helpful, and for those of you searching out cover artists, good luck. :-)


---

Stephanie Bibb is a photographic illustrator who uses her own photography and Photoshop to create fantastical images. She seeks to create book covers over a wide array of themes, though she mostly tailors to young adult, science fiction, and fantasy illustrations. You can see her work at http://www.sbibbphoto.com . She blogs about both writing and cover design at http://sbibb.wordpress.com .

May 12, 2012

Quick Update

Haven't been around in a couple of weeks. Sorry :/ Staying super busy writing! Right now, I'm waiting to hear back from Avon about my newest novella, Sour Cherry, a romantic suspense story that takes place in a motorcycle gang. And I'm working on the last couple of chapters of Bleed For Me revisions, my newest suspense going out to query this summer.

I attended an awesome conference last week, the LDStorymakers Conference in Provo, UT and was privileged so many great writers.

Hoping to get back into the swing of things soon! Keep writing - The Avengers say to.


April 27, 2012

Interview with Sci-fi Author, Cara Michaels!

Welcome back to Week 5 of Getting Published! Today we have sci-fi author Cara Michaels, author of Gaea’s Chosen: The Mayday Directive and Gaea’s Chosen: Event Horizon.



Thanks for having me, Nicole. It’s a pleasure to chime in on a subject near and dear to me.


1. Tell us what inspired you to write the Gaea’s Chosen series.

Gaea’s Chosen was born during an afternoon at the day job. Once a month, my day is overtaken by the mind-numbing chore of folding and stuffing billing statements. It’s not exactly the most stimulating job, and so I have a tendency to daydream to pass the time. One such day gave birth to the idea for a gore-fest horror story (the no-one-gets-out-alive type) that morphed into Gaea’s Chosen as I wrote.

2. Now that you’ve self-published, are you interested in seeking representation for future works?

Absolutely. I opted for self-publishing due to the short length of these stories. I didn’t want them lost in some magazine or anthology somewhere. But self-publishing is serious work and you’re really on your own out in these shark-infested waters. I’m happy to build a readership for these stories, though. They’ve been really well received so far, and I hope that counts in my favor when I consider representation for my longer works.

3. How do you prioritize which projects you’ll work on next?

Ahhh… well… I’m a bit (okay a lot) of a pantser when it comes to what I’m working on and when I’m working on it. I have three projects actively claiming my attention at least once or twice a week right now, and then I have several more projects in various stages.

4. What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?

I’m definitely working hard on Gaea’s Chosen: Heavenly Bodies. I also have an ancestor story for one of the main Gaea characters in the works. Outside of that, I am part of a dystopic, end of the world, flash fiction anthology. I’m getting my final draft to my beta readers this week on that one.

5. What advice would you give authors looking into self-publishing?

• Make sure your book is well edited and COPYedited (even if you have to save up to have a pro look it over) – one of the biggest complaints I see for indie and self-pub regards typos. You’re already having to work extra hard to get noticed in the sea of mainstream publishing. Don’t get people noticing you for the wrong reasons.


• Take the time to design a nice cover – A poor cover can immediately announce to the world that you don’t have the backing of a house. There are a number of inexpensive services to help if you don’t have any graphic design skills yourself.


• Set aside a small budget for promotion – And I do mean small. I’m a full-time office drone, I have a kid in Tae Kwon Do, I spend $200/paycheck on my commute… I don’t have a lot to spend. But you can launch a Facebook ad for a couple bucks a day. Take advantage of offers from your host, if you have one. Mine throws $50 and $100 Google Adwords gift cards my way all the time. Just remember you’re making an investment in yourself. You have a lot more control over your output than you do any stock. Any little bit you can spend increases your exposure and builds your name and your sales in return.


Don’t expect to get rich quick. DO expect to lose a lot of sleep. If you’re like me and you’re doing this on the side while still holding a day job, raising kids, etc, you’re going to be fondly remembering those days of spending QT with your family and sleeping. Promotion is all on you, but it’s worth it to see your first reviews coming in and watch your sales numbers go up, even if it’s only by one or two a week.

Thank you for visiting with us, Cara, and congratulations on your newest release, Gaea’s Chosen: Event Horizon.


Thanks for stopping by the blog today. You can find Cara and her works through these links:
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus
Smashwords
Amazon



April 20, 2012

Interview with Paranormal Romance Author, Sherri A. Dubb!


Welcome back to Week 4 of my interview extravaganza! For this week, I have Sherri A. Dub, author of Goddess Cottage, The Witch Ball and Threshold of Bones.
Thanks for talking with us today, Sherri!

Tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you for having me.
I’m happily married, not in the cliché sense, but seriously in the completed sense.  My husband and I are approaching our 17th year of marriage on April 21st, so I feel pretty confident that he’s the one.
I have a wonderful son in the USAF and two grandsons.  I have a penchant for spoiling them, and I don’t see that particular habit ending any time soon.
I’m a major Disneyland fanatic.  Also, I will never give up looking for my owl to Hogwarts.  Magical inspirations of the fantastical are what keep me going.
I love to travel, read and watch classic film.  Film Noir is by far a favorite, but I actually own and devour all the old Black & White horror films from the early Hollywood film days.  Seriously, I can’t get enough of those bats on strings, or the way the light hits the creature effects just right, showing the real teeth beneath the fake.  Love it!
And, I’m officially a Hawaiian resident as of April 20th.  Who can’t be happy being an Islander?
Now, of your three published books, your plotlines include some type of paranormal element. Why paranormal and what is your favorite part of writing these paranormal stories?
I believe in the supernatural, the spirit world and all things that go bump in the night.  I have enjoyed Hitchcock, King and M. Knight.  I think movies, books and even radio broadcasted plays are what keep our imaginations alive.  However, I don’t think anyone does it better than Spielberg in explaining to us, our own fears.
After seeing:  Close Encounters, E.T., Poltergeist and all the Indiana Jones films, I believe that the paranormal realm is where my heart feels most comfortable.
I love writing about something that “may” be possible, to even the most stubborn non-believer.
Your heroine in your latest release, Threshold of Bones, is an Anthropologist. Is anthropology a subject you’ve personally found an interest in and did you have to do a lot of research for this profession? How much research do you recommend for a novice writer?
I have a BA of Anthropology from UAA. 
I spent 10 weeks in the field, 4 years in college collections and 2 years in a museum setting.  I feel pretty confident in my own capabilities to express the occupation and the subject on paper, but I believe anything can be researched and written well, if one does their homework.
I am currently delving into the Victorian era to write a YA Steampunk Trilogy.  Therefore, I am taking the research quite seriously.  I’ve spent days online, purchased too many books, and antiques.  I want my writing voice to be as authentic as possible to my readers, but the details are what will pull that together.
I always recommend that anyone does their research.  Who wants to read about a cellphone say, in Victorian times?  False information is unrealistic and a definite deal breaker for any author.
Apart from Twitter and Facebook, what marketing strategies are helping you find success?
I use Goodreads.  It’s the best tool available, not being completely utilized, in my opinion.  If everyone read, rated and reviewed books in that one spot, it would be much easier to get a feel for what is out there and to find new authors. 
I also have my own website and push promotions through other author’s sites. I print postcards, do mailings and cannot wait for my first book (Goddess Cottage) to be in print, to do signings this summer.
Last question, your self-pubbed books seem to be doing well. As a self-pubbed author, are you interested in seeking representation from an agent or publisher?
My books are doing well, and I have a nice following on Twitter and Facebook.  As well, I have over 500 friends on Goodreads.
But, I’ve learned a lot on my own.
I’d like an agent, and to be represented, but I want someone who is serious and that is excited about my voice.  I don’t want to be picked up as a “flavor of the month” and dropped when the next one-hit wonder arrives on the scene. 
I had many typos in all 3 of my books.  The last one is being corrected as we speak.  It would be terrific to have representation and help in that area, but I can’t wait for that to happen.  I’m a writer, so I write and publish and tread through the slush piles.  But, to me, just waiting for a call to “make” me an Author, isn’t in the cards.  I’ve done that myself and I’m pretty proud of it.
With that said, I am currently looking for an agent/publisher that realizes my potential.  I put myself on a track to publish 3 books in one year, and beat my own time line.  I’ve created a web presence and a following. 
I’m ready!
Thank you so much for visiting with us, Sherri, and congratulations on your newest release. You are truly an inspiration for writers everywhere.


 
                             

April 13, 2012

It's Here! New Release: White Trash Beautiful!

My newest release from Evernight Publishing is available today! Woot!


Trey Aston is hiding from the mob.

Desperate to save life, she sells her body in order to make the monthly payments her father owes the mob, but when Trey discovers he hasn’t been making the payments, she’s forced to turn to the one man she hoped never to see again for help.

Deputy Luke Johnson refuses to acknowledge his high school sweetheart is a prostitute and is determined to make Trey see it for herself. Until she starts treating him as a client. His ability to know right from wrong is challenged and he isn’t the only one who’s noticed. The force doesn’t have his back where Trey is concerned, leaving him to fight against them for a criminal.

The Camino Family is out to make her pay, but what really has Trey on edge is the fact she’s fallen for the deputy who wants her behind bars.

Pick up your copy of White Trash Beautiful today from these vendors:
Evernight Publishing
Amazon 

Interview with Romance Author, Shirley Kennedy!


Welcome back for Week 3 of Getting Published! In this series, if you haven’t been following, I’m interviewing published authors in order to discover their secrets to getting noticed.
Today we have Shirley Kennedy, author of Heartbreak Trail, Who Killed Rudy Rio?, Selfless Sister and many more.

Shirley, what was your road to publication like? 
When I started writing, I read someplace that it took the average writer seven years to get published.  Maybe that was a self-fulfilling prophesy, but that’s exactly how long it took—seven years!
How many manuscripts did you complete before you became a published author?
Four.  My first, a little scuba-diving romance called Dive Down to Heaven, still awaits the light of day.  Maybe I’ll self publish it on Kindle.  On second thought, maybe I won’t, thus sparing the world a painful experience.
(Preference) Digital books or print?
Up until Amazon Kindle, I would have said print, by far.  Now my western romance, Heartbreak Trail, has been making phenomenal sales through the Kindle Select program, so I’ve changed my mind.
Do you see any down sides to self-publishing?
Yes and no.  Back in the day, “self published” carried a huge stigma.  Not anymore.  In fact, I’ve just self published one of my old books, and it’s doing okay.  The problem is, anybody and her sister can self publish these days, without any regard to grammar, syntax, spelling, and all that makes a good book.  There’s a lot of trash out there, and that’s not fair to readers.
And one more thing:  Those who self publish will never have the thrill of getting “The Call,” that truly unforgettable moment when an agent or editor calls to tell you that you’ve sold your first book.
What do you think of the rumor claiming in as little as three years, paper will be obsolete?
Really?  I honestly don’t know.  Right now, I read books on my Kindle, but I’m also reading print books.  If I were to guess, I’d say the two formats will co-exist for a long, long time.
Do you have some advice for both published and unpubbed writers out there?
Yes. Before you sit down to type that first “Chapter One,” read and study everything you can get your hands on about writing.  Two books I found invaluable were:  Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, and How to Write A Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey.  If, before I started to write, I had read these and similar books, I might not have needed seven long years to get published!

You can find Shirley at her website, www.shirleykennedy.com
And you can purchase her books here:
The Last of lady Lansdown, Camel Press, will be released May 1st, both in print and e-book form. Unlike the "sweet" Regencies I used to write, Lady Lansdown is larger and more adult.  The paperback can be pre-ordered on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Last-Lady-Lansdown-Shirley-Kennedy/dp/1603818189/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334081111&sr=8-1

Heartbreak Trail, a wagon train romance, has remained on Amazon's Kindle History best seller list for several months.  Find it at
http://www.amazon.com/Heartbreak-Trail-ebook/dp/B004EPYTC2/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1292087343&sr=1-6

The London Belle, originally published by Signet is now available on Amazon Kindle.  http://www.amazon.com/The-London-Belle-ebook/dp/B007RSGZPW/ref=sr_1_2?m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&ie=UTF8&qid=1334081722&sr=1-2

In fact, all my old Signet Regencies will soon be available on Kindle.

Who Killed Rudy Rio? is a fast-paced female P.I. mystery available on Kindle for (such a bargain!) $.99.
http://www.amazon.com/Killed-Holly-Keene-Mystery-ebook/dp/B005IGUQFU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1334081992&sr=1-1

And by the way, I have just sold a paranormal romance to Inkspell Publishing.  Titled Deadly Gamble, it will be released in October, 2012.  It’s about a haunted casino in Las Vegas and promises to be a fun read.



Congratulations, Shirley, on your upcoming release and thanks for stopping by! I hope this week's interview has given you a little more insight into the publishing world. Next week, come back to check out sci-fi author, Cara Michaels!

April 3, 2012

Free Ebook of Let Me Out!

I am giving away (gifting) 3 eBooks of Let Me Out.


How to get one: leave a comment per the rules below and agree to leave an HONEST review at your eBook vendor.

Rules: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Must be 18 or older. I can only gift at US vendors who allow gifting of eBooks and who are selling Let Me Out (Smashwords and Barnes&Noble both allow the purchase of an eBook as a gift).
Leave your comment by midnight pacific April 6, 2012.
Go.

March 30, 2012

Interview with Romance Author, Nina S. Goodin


Welcome back to the blog. Today I have Romance Author Nina S. Gooden, author of A Clockwork Christmas, The Big, Bad… and Light Can Be Gentle.
Thanks for coming on the blog, Nina!

How did you start your career as a writer?
When I was a kid, there were so many things I wanted to do. I overused the line “when I grow up…” and pretty much plotted to work every job under the sun. I had a lot of energy and fully intended to juggle all eighteen of my career choices! Even so, there was always one goal that kept popping up. I wanted to write. In fact, I wrote all of the time! Fanfics, short stories, poems…I spent so much time reading and writing that even today my friends make fun of me because I missed so many movies and musical eras.
Ultimately, it was my family that pushed me to take that final leap into the professional world. I’m kind of a sickly chick, so one day when I was down in the dumps over all the things I couldn’t do, one of them just kinda said “Do the things you can.” So I did. I think that’s an important lesson for everyone to learn, you know? Finding your limits and pushing them. I was lucky enough to be born into a family of Can-Doers.
Don’t let what happens while you’re making plans slow you down. Be flexible, responsive, and determined.
I see you’re published through The Wild Rose Press and Liquid Silver Books. What made you decide to choose these e-publishers over traditional publishing houses and an agent?
It’s probably really sappy, but The Wild Rose Press has one editor in particular who pushed me into e-publishing. In the beginning, I did my fair share of submitting and being rejected. At the time, I was really struggling with building up a thick skin. I also didn’t realize I was making some rookie mistakes in my manuscripts. Callie Lynn Wolfe was a dream come true, she took my first book and validated all of my hard work. It needed some major scrubbing, but her warmth and enthusiasm…well, to be completely honest, reading those emails, even today, can bring tears to my eyes.
There’s just something about the way e-publishers seem to work for and with their writers. In the future, I will probably end up seeking out an agent, but these companies have laid down the foundation for what I will look for in all of my future endeavors. They’ve set the bar high and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
I work hard and I know what I want. That kind of confidence is important to any writer. It’s not an easy business to get in to. There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. You just have to keep your eye on the prize and know when to push and when to let up. Unfortunately, the only way to learn which is the better option, is to experience both and the success and failure they bring.
How are you able to balance real life with your writing life or have you?
Oh, that’s an easy question! I have a fantastic support system. My husband is like my own, personal talking Blackberry. Sometimes when I write I get on these binges that can go until…well, until I wake up with my keyboard imprinted in my face. He reminds me when I need to eat, when I need to sleep, and enforces a rather strict exercise/break regiment. You’ll never catch me doing 1k1h on Sunday and that’s because it’s my day off: whether I like it or not!
On the other end, my sisters are what keep me on track when it comes to my various projects. I’m a pretty fast writer, so I can get a book done in a couple weeks if I focus, but between the time-vortex that is the internet and my own special brand of crazy, I’d never get anything done without the constant reminder that I need to continue such-and-such series because they’re waiting for this-and-that to happen.
I cannot express how important it is to surround yourself with positive people who respect what you do. There are always plenty of people who will belittle and doubt you. Be prepared to meet tons of individuals who think it’s sooo easy to write a book that surely if you can do it, then so can they (*Coughs* Not that I’m bitter or anything). You need a strong barrier of love and support to block out all that noise when you’re on your fifth draft and still have no idea why your heroine seems so flat.
Since you’re published through e-publishers, are you working to find an agent and go the traditional route for future projects?
As mentioned before, I have particularly high standards when it comes to the kind of people I want to work with. Every book I write, every drop of ink I scribble onto a page, is a little bit of me. That being said, I have one project in particular that I value. My baby, so to speak. That project, I’m hoping to have represented by the beginning of next year.
 I’ve already gotten my list of targets… I mean agents… lined up. I want to finish at least two of the series I have contracted/published before I go down that route. That gives me enough time to clear some of what I’ve got on my plate, as well as continue to shape my craftwork. I figure this is one of those businesses where you’re never a “Master.” There’s always something else to learn and I want the biggest, shiniest arsenal of awesome before I try my hand at finding an agent.
How long were you writing before you signed your first publishing contract?
I was writing with the goal of getting published for about two years before I landed my first contract. I spent a long time on my first book, trying to make it work when it had some fundamental flaws. It took me that long to be okay with setting it to the side and working on something else. It was a hard lesson to learn, but probably one of the best I could recommend to my fellow writers.
 If something isn’t working, let it go. You can pick it back up later, use it in a different way, or switch it up in the future, but all the time you spend struggling with a faulty concept only weakens your resolve and frustrates you. That doesn’t mean you should drop your work every time you hit a snag, but if you’re editing your little heart out and nothing seems to be working, maybe it’s time for a step back. Sometimes a clean slate is exactly what you need.
Is there anything you’d like to say to novice or unpublished writers out there who read this blog?
Writing can be a very solitary act. It’s easy to sit in your room, write, and completely forget about the world outside, but you mustn’t do that. First of all, you can’t write about beautiful things if you don’t experience beautiful things. If you don’t have a support system at home, there are plenty of writing/reading groups out there. There are classes and workshops designed for the sole purpose of helping you hone your craft and meet like-minded people. Go to them, learn everything you can, and remember you’re not alone in any of this.
My second bit of advice is a little contradictory. Of all the lessons I’ve taken on this journey, it was the hardest to accept, even though it’s kind of obvious when you think about it: not everything works for everyone. Advice is all well and good, but ultimately, it’s up to you to find your own way. Don’t be discouraged if you find that you don’t fit the molds you’re handed. Find your method, your niche, and your voice. You’re the only one who can.

Thank you so much for stopping by today, Nina. We really appreciate your information.

Nina can be reached through:

And you can find her books at the following retailers:
Links for The Big, Bad:


Links for A Clockwork Christmas:


Links for Light Can Be Gentle:

March 25, 2012

Revision Hell, Anyone?

If you remember, last year I rewrote the ENTIRE manuscript of Bleed For Me, my second suspense novel. I've learned a lot since that complete rewrite and I've just received the MS from two critique partners.

...sigh...

I'm back in Revision Hell, but this time, it's not so bad. I have some major elements to fix, mainly character development and it's a start. Up next, paranormal romance with angels and demons.

March 23, 2012

Interview with Romance Author, Shannan Albright!


As promised, I’ve dedicated this upcoming year to helping other writers become published, just as a lot of you helped me these past few years. So for today I’d like to welcome romance author, Shannan Albright to the blog to tell us her journey to publication.

Thanks for stopping by Shannan!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a second generation Californian, raised on the Central Coast near Santa Barbara. My family came from a small Bayou town in Louisiana and had made that part of the country their home since the mid 1700’s. I come from a family of artist’s, but I’m the only one who got the writing bug. I also am the only avid reader in my family so I guess you can say I am a true oddity in my family. Lol! I was a dancer, illustration artist and paint to relax and solve any plot problems I come up against with my books.
How long were you writing before you signed your first contract?
I have been writing since 1980. I can probably circle the world three times with all the rejections I have received. I stopped for a few years and would return to it off and on. Then I found the Romance Writers of America, became a member in 2008 and started taking workshops. It was the workshops that helped me to finally get published so I have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to that organization.
Approximately how many manuscripts did you write before then?
Lol! Since 1980? Lord I lost count by 1992! Let’s just say a lot.
Did you follow the traditional publishing route for any of those books?
Yes I did and I know the reason I got my foot in the door to the publishing world is because of the growing popularity of the eBook market.
You’re published with Evernight Publishing and eXtasy Books, what about these publishers drew you in to submit?
I was friended by Evernight Publishing when they opened for business in Oct. 2008. They were looking for authors published and unpublished and sent out a call for submissions for a Christmas anthology. I went to their website, liked what I saw and took a chance. And my experience with them has been stellar. They stand by their authors more than any other I have heard of. I took a small novella to eXtasy because I have friends who are published with them and they contract an entire series instead of one at a time.
What future projects can you tell us about?
I have a book called The Summoning nearing completion. This has been a 3 year project. It took time for my talent to catch up to this book. It’s about Watchers also known as the Grigori and their army of immortals called the Sentinels. They are searching for a key that will allow them into our world to restore the balance between good and evil.
I’m also working on the third book in the Dark Breed Series for Evernight and as I write this I’m finishing up the second book in the Knights of Excalibur for eXtasy. I have one more in the series with eXtasy and that series will be done and I’ll continue on with my other projects.  
What advice would you give a novice or unpublished author?
Don’t. Give. Up. Pure and simple. If I can get published after so many years trying, I know with dedication, workshops and lots of hard work you can get published too if your serious about it and willing to devote the time to really learning the craft and business.

Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your world, Shannan! You can find Shannan through her website, Facebook, Twitter and her blog.



Check out her books through these vendors:

Dark Passion Rising

Passion's Flight

Beloved Wizard
http://www.amazon.com/Beloved-Wizard-Knights-Excalibur-ebook/dp/B0064HD7PS