Terry Spear: The Fantastical World of Wilde & Woolly Bears

My next guest is prolific, bestselling author Terry Spear. Terry writes paranormal romance (she is well known for her werewolf romances) and she makes award-winning teddy bears. They’re cute and cool and she tells us more below about how she makes them for herself, readers, and other writers. (I’m tempted to ask her if she can do a barghest or a tiger. Wouldn’t it be neat to have a little stuffed Nova or Virtus? 😀 ) Links for finding Terry, her books, and her bears are below. Welcome, Terry!

Terry Spear, paranormal, author, crafts, teddy bear, Halloween

Like with books, creating original bear “characters” are lots of fun. But they’re also great companions for books. Years ago, my parents asked me to create an old-fashioned teddy bear to sit on the doll carriages they created that they took to doll and bear shows. I began winning awards for my bears and sold to stores all over, was featured in several magazines including Texas Monthly, Teddy Bear Review, The MacNeill Galley, Texas Co-op Monthly and several newspapers. They were even included in the Spectral Visions film: The International Teddy Bear Connection.

I realized, though I had created dolls, quilts, embroidered, cross-stitched, made rugs, you name it, bears were my perfect contribution to the world. As soon as the Internet came into existence, I wanted to tap into the market of the world! I was so excited to do so because I knew it would be a way to really showcase them and not just at craft or bear shows. Wilde & Woolly Bears have found homes all over the states, and across the world: Canada, Australia, Wales, Kazakhstan, Russia, France, and South Africa.

But how do I make the bear and book connection? Earlier on, I began to get requests for bears that would be given as prizes for authors’ new releases. The bears are really popular and I help spread the word to my fans that an author is giving away one of my bears as a prize. Cross promotion can really help.

Here are some of the bears I’ve recently made for authors as giveaways for their book promotions:

Matheson Clan Bears from Vonnie Davis for her Highland bear shifter books:

Matheson Bears
Matheson Bears

 Linda Warren has given away Texas Belle and a Texas Ranger bear:

Texas Belles Bear
Texas Belles Bear

A vampire author, Rick Tibauld, gave a vampire bear with his book. And actually created a coffin for it!

Vampire Bear
Vampire Bear

And many more!

Steampunk Bear
Steampunk Bear

The other thing I’ve been doing is that when I sell a bear or multiple bears to a bear buyer, I’ll ask if she wants one of my autographed books. I’ve had new readers excited about receiving a free autographed book with their bear order! A South African reader couldn’t get my first wolf book as it was out of print until they made up more, and she had ordered a wizard bear, so when I sent her the bear, I sent her and a friend a copy of the first book. They are loyal fans and spread the word to everyone else who worked at their firm.

A bear buyer in Wales had never read any of my books, and so I sent her the first one of my wolf series also, and she was delighted! And now is reading them all.

I’ve had several new readers who have gotten hooked on my bears, and now are reading my books. And some that have gotten hooked on my books, and now are buying my bears.

So if you have a creative talent and can cross-promote between authors and between selling what you make and your books, it’s a win-win promotional effort.

Even if you just give it away as some fun swag—like I’ve done with my bears at FB parties, and really seen a ton of response, that can help!

And also, I’ve given bears to critique partners and beta readers. So another way to share the love. Oh, and I create fun pictures with them—like a Halloween setting with two of my bears in attendance. And a wizard bear picture with a wizard girl. Just all kinds of fun.

my_favorite_bear_by_shapeshifter_goddess

Like with writing, it’s important to love creating a craft! And have fun in the promotion of it!

Wilde & Woolly Bears: http://www.celticbears.com

More about Terry:

USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Terry Spear has written over fifty paranormal romance novels and four medieval Highland historical romances. Her first werewolf romance, Heart of the Wolf, was named a 2008 Publishers Weekly‘s Best Book of the Year, and her subsequent titles have garnered high praise and hit the USA Today bestseller list. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on her next werewolf romance, continuing her new series about shapeshifting jaguars, loving to share her hot Highlanders, and having fun with her young adult novels. For more information, please visit www.terryspear.com, or follow her on Twitter, @TerrySpear. She is also on Facebook and on WordPress at Terry Spear’s Shifters.

The Senator Theater Baltimore, Maryland
The Senator Theater
Baltimore, Maryland

Hope everyone had a terrific weekend! Yesterday, my family went to a screening of several films that were made by middle and high school students last summer during a three-week summer camp (Steve Yeager’s Young Filmmakers Workshop). They were terrific!

View from Projection Booth
View from Projection Booth

The shows were followed by a brief, behind-the-scenes tour of The Senator, a 75-year-old historic art deco theater. My kids loved seeing the projection booth and I loved seeing the results of a recent $3.5 million dollar renovation. Afterward, we had an impromptu brunch at Shoo-Fly Diner (they have a fun menu that changes seasonally, but the neatest thing about the place is that it used to be an old shoe store). Most of the rest of the weekend was spent doing very unexciting things around my house.  

How about you? Did you do anything fun this weekend? Do you think Terry’s bears are as adorable as I do? If you could have her make a bear character from any book, who would it be?

Thank you, Terry, for guest blogging today!

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Goodreads #Giveaway for DARK LIGHT OF DAY #UF #SFF #Fantasy

Jill Archer's Dark Light of Day

To kick off the upcoming release of the third Noon Onyx novel, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, my publisher is doing a Goodreads giveaway for the first book in the series, DARK LIGHT OF DAY. If you haven’t yet read a Noon Onyx novel, this is the place to start! Check it out here and feel free to help me spread the word about the giveaway (US only; 15 copies; ends 4/23/14).

 

Also, just saw the RT Book Reviews review for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, which is terrific:

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover artArcher’s Noon Onyx series continues to be an original and compelling tale of what happens after Lucifer’s army triumphs at Armageddon and a new demon-based society is formed. Already an oddity because she has waning magic rather than the usual feminine waxing magic, Noon Onyx is determined to control her own future – but the cost could be higher than she suspects. Kudos to Archer for creating such a compelling heroine and mythos! (4 Stars)

RT Book Reviews, June 2014

Archer w Mouse EarsYou may have noticed how quiet I was last week. We went away for the first part of Spring Break. These pictures give you a hint about where we went. 😀 We had an amazing time. I hope to load up more pictures and do a post about our trip later this week. Fiery Dragon

I’ve also got some other neat things planned for the upcoming week: a guest blogger on Tuesday; a one day promo blitz for my first two novels (including a giveaway) on Wednesday; and some information about a fun Twitter contest I’m doing to help get the word out about the Noon Onyx series on Thursday. So stay tuned…

I hope everyone is having a wonderful spring. If you celebrate Easter, have a happy one!

Page Proofs for White Heart of Justice: Sneak Peek at Prologue and Page 1

White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy
Page proofs for
WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE
(Most of those stickies are notes for me,
not typos!)

Just turned in the corrected page proofs for White Heart of Justice! As I mentioned after turning in reviewed proofs for Fiery Edge of Steel, this is a great moment for authors. It means, from my end, the book is FINISHED! Sure, there are all sorts of things that still need to be done, but most of them concern promotion — ways to get the word out about the book. So…

What can readers expect from White Heart of Justice?

If you liked the first two books, Dark Light of Day and Fiery Edge of Steel, expect to see more of the same blend of magic, deep, dark worldbuilding, romance, and action/adventure with a whiff of mystery, all told in a youthful first person voice (except for the prologue, which is told from a certain someone’s point of view 😉 ). That said, Noon is not as inexperienced in this third book as she was at the start of the series. (But that’s half the fun of reading a series, right? Getting to see how a character grows and changes over the course of the novels.)

In White Heart of Justice, readers will also get to see more of Nightshade (Noon’s tall, dark, and handsome healer brother), Aurelia (Noon’s somewhat enigmatic, always intense, sometimes aloof mother), and Karanos (Noon’s at times distant, often imposing Demon Council executive dad), as well as some other favorites. 😀

You’ll also get to see a new type of magic… and Noon using waning magic in a different way than she did in books 1 and 2. And, of course, there will be new beasts, new demons, and new places — both on and off campus — to explore!

Sneak Peek at Prologue and First Page

Clicking on the pictures should enlarge them enough to read. If you like what you see, please pre-order and/or add it to your Goodreads shelf! Links are below.

White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy
White Heart of Justice
Prologue i
White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy
White Heart of Justice
Prologue ii
White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, fantasy
White Heart of Justice
Page 1

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover art

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

Interested in reading more about

White Heart of Justice?

  • Click here for my post on the revision process and to read about what the other racers’ targets are.
  • Click here for my cover reveal post, which has my thoughts on all of my covers, including my favorite — White Heart of Justice!

Thanks to everyone who has supported this series! I hope you enjoy reading book #3 as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Cover Reveal: WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE (Noon Onyx #3)

Today I’ve got a fun, beautiful, fantastic post that I’ve been looking forward to sharing with you — the new cover for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, the third book in my Noon Onyx series. As with FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, Jason Chan was the cover artist. Below are my thoughts on the cover, the book blurb, pre-order and Goodreads links, and a chance to win some neat prizes: signed copies of DARK LIGHT OF DAY and FIERY EDGE OF STEEL (US only) and a $25 eGift Certificate to the book store of your choice (international). Please help me to share the new cover by tweeting, posting, etc.!

urban fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy, White Heart of Justice, Noon Onyx, Jill Archer, cover reveal, cover art
WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE
Noon Onyx #3
Cover Artist: Jason Chan
Cover Designer: Lesley Worrell

My Thoughts

I’ve loved each of my covers for different reasons. DARK LIGHT OF DAY was my first cover so I’m rather sentimental about it. I’ll always love it because it was my first and because cover artist David Palumbo incorporated a lot of design elements that I appreciated: the blackened vine motif on the gate, St. Luck’s in the background, the books that Noon held, the fireball raised high in her hand, and that defiant, though somewhat hesitant, face. It fit the story and the character for that book perfectly.

I loved FIERY EDGE OF STEEL’s cover because it was visually striking. Noon looked tougher and, instead of carrying books and a vague, unshaped fireball, she was now griping a knife — a fiery filleting knife that she’d shaped out of waning magic. The backdrop was the New Babylon docks — appropriate since that story was, for the most part, a river adventure.

But — wow! — I think the cover for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE is the best yet. It’s stunning.

When my editor sent me the cover art and I opened it up for the first time, I was thrilled. It’s beautiful, and like my first two covers, it incorporates many of the design elements that we discussed early on. Noon’s clothing is different than it was on the first two covers. Instead of a bustier and cloak, she’s bundled up in a fur-lined hood and gloves for her trip into the dark parts of southern Halja. She’s graduated from a knife to a sword. It’s symbolic of how far she’s come as a character. (Whether or not the sword on the cover is actually the famed “White Heart of Justice” that Noon seeks in the book, I leave to readers to determine). And a fiery war bird circles her, another nod to her growing magic skills and a hint to readers that they will see magic used in new and different ways in book #3.

But the two things I love the most about this cover are its attention-grabbing, bright, bracing colors and Noon’s expression. Though she is looking down, she looks contemplative and strong, almost meditative. Appropriate for a character whose decisions have become more weighty with each book. Here’s the blurb…

WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE

A Noon Onyx Novel

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…

After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future.

However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

Please Pre-Order and Add to Your Goodreads Shelf

Who else is participating

in the cover reveal?

Below are the other bloggers that are participating in the cover reveal. THANK YOU to each and every one of them! I am very grateful that they wanted to help share the new cover and spread the word about WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE. Please stop by to check out their sites, subscribe and/or follow them, and for more chances to win my cover reveal prizes. A big thank you to Roxanne Rhoads at Bewitching Book Tours, who helped to organize the cover reveal.

Prizes!

To celebrate the new cover, I am giving away a signed set of DARK LIGHT OF DAY and FIERY EDGE OF STEEL (US only) and a $25 eGift Certificate to a book store of winner’s choice (international). To enter to win, click here.

So what do you think? Do you love the new cover as much as I do? Thank you for helping me share it!

Fiery Edge of Steel Sneak Peek Tour is at Rabid Reads Today

The Fiery Edge of Steel exclusive excerpt tour is wrapping up. Today and tomorrow are the last days to enter to win a signed ARC and a $25 eGift Certificate to the bookstore of your choice. Check out today’s excerpt at Rabid Reads. And see below for more Fiery Edge of Steel inspirations. Happy Friday!

Jill Archer, Fiery Edge of Steel, inspirations, bonfire, urban fantasy, speculative ficion
BONFIRES = INSPIRATION FOR… BONFIRES 😀

I’ve always loved bonfires. I still remember spending one Christmas Eve with my dad, step-mom, and brother watching the bonfires burn along the Mississippi River. I also remember my high school used to let students build and burn a big bonfire for homecoming. And, growing up in western Pennsylvania and now living in rural Maryland, there have been no shortage of friends to hang out with who also love to safely burn things. Despite the picture above looking very “Lord of the Light-ish” I took it last summer at a local backyard bonfire. I took it with my cell phone so it’s a little grainy, but the timing couldn’t have been better. I was walking out to my car and I turned around and saw the moon and the guy standing in front of the fire (yes, he’s in front of the fire, not in it :-)). I couldn’t help thinking that scenes like this have likely happened throughout human history with very little change. I edited out the farm house, which really gives the picture a timeless look.

Those of you who have read Dark Light of Day know that bonfires play a minor role in the story. They do in Fiery Edge of Steel too. And I even managed to work in my idea that scenes like this have been repeated with each passing generation for countless years. (Chapter 21 for anyone who’s curious). Unless something drastic changes during edits, there will also be a bonfire in Act I of book #3. Why? To me, they are a symbol of continuity and community, friendship and warmth.

More Inspirations for Fiery Edge of Steel and Teaser Tour Excerpt Part Three

The third Fiery Edge of Steel, Chapter 1 excerpt is at the speculative fiction blog, Preternatura (Suzanne Johnson’s blog). Find out which demon they’re bringing to Timothy’s Square for the Carne Vale and enter to win one of six signed ARCs of Fiery Edge of Steel (US) and a $25 eGift Certificate to either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, winner’s choice (international). And see below for some more “behind the scenes” type stuff. Happy Wednesday!

Lady Justice, fantasy with legal fiction elements
LADY JUSTICE (AND HER MANY PREDECESSORS: JUSTITIA, MAAT, THEMIS, AND DIKE) = INSPIRATION FOR THE ABSENT DEMONESS, JUSTICA

I name all my chapters and then take the names out during edits. Some of my chapter names could probably be left in — the ones that are evocative because they play off some thematic element in the chapter. But many of them are just sign posts for me, the drafter. They help me to keep track of what the chapter’s supposed to be about. When I was drafting Fiery Edge of Steel, I had this idea to put little snippets of stuff at the beginning of each chapter. Things that would provide information to the reader, but not necessarily as part of the narrative. I decided against it. For one thing, the books have enough information for the reader to digest. But for those of you that like extras, here’s the one I drafted for the beginning of Chapter 20:

Lead investigators shall have the following duties:

1. To the Demon Council: Lead investigators shall be loyal, faithful, and respectful to the Council, and shall uphold its authority at all times;

2. To the Investigative Team: To the extent possible based on field situations, lead investigators shall keep members of their investigative team reasonably safe;

3. To the Outpost Lord: Lead investigators shall not unnecessarily offend an Outpost Lord who is under investigation. During the investigation, investigators shall cause as little disturbance as possible in outpost operations and shall take care not to diminish the Outpost Lord’s adoration; and

4. To Justica: Lead investigators shall conduct a thorough investigation, shall render an impartial and fair judgment, and then mete out punishment, including execution, as necessary.

Rule 2290.13(g) of the Maegester’s Rules of Engagement (Demon Complaints; Investigation of Outpost Lord; Duties of Lead Investigator)

Fiery Edge of Steel Teaser Tour Part Two at Urban Girl Reader

Fiery Edge of Steel Chapter One, Part Two is up at Urban Girl Reader! Click here for the 2nd excerpt and more chances to win signed ARCs (US) and a $25 eGC (international). Hope everyone’s day has been great! Mine has been wet and rainy.

MAGIC 8 BALL = INSPIRATION FOR ALBA’S BLACK ONIONS

Here’s a deleted snippet from Fiery Edge of Steel, Chapter 2. It’s the menu at Alba’s (a.k.a. “the Black Onion”), a tiny cafe on the corner of River Road and Widow’s Walk where Noon and her study mates go when they want to get off campus.

Alba’s
Bread $3.95
Soup $6.95
Fish $12.95

Black Onions $0.60
Don’t you want to know?

Fiery Edge of Steel Exclusive Excerpt Tour: ARC Giveaways and More!

Fiery Edge of Steel is releasing at the end of this month — May 28th! To help spread the word about its release, I’m doing a six stop exclusive excerpt tour through Bewitching Book Tours. From today through May 11th, one part of Chapter 1 will be posted at each of the stops below. I’m giving away six signed ARCs (US only) and one $25.00 eGift Certificate to the bookstore of the winner’s choice (international) during this “teaser” tour. I’m ALSO giving away two more signed ARCs of Fiery Edge of Steel and two signed copies of Dark Light of Day from my site (US only). All you have to do to enter to win one of those is e-mail your US address to [archer at jillarcher dot com] by midnight EDT May 13th. Subject line should be the title of the book you are interested in. (You can say “both” :-D).

Fiery Edge of Steel

Exclusive Excerpt Tour

In writing Fiery Edge of Steel, I was inspired by a number of things, among them an old French imposter case, two children’s songs, and a fairy tale. I wanted to explore the themes of love, betrayal, knowledge, death, and duty. To set up those themes I could think of no better way to open the book than to recreate a Haljan version of the 16th century execution of Arnaud du Tilh, the man who impersonated the French peasant Martin Guerre. That recreation forms the basis for Chapter 1.

May 6th: Part One at Fang-tastic Books

May 7th: Part Two at Urban Girl Reader

May 8th: Part Three at Preternatura

May 9th: Part Four at Urban Fantasy Investigations

May 10th: Part Five at Rabid Reads

May 11th: Part Six at Romancing the Dark Side

Great First Reviews!

I was thrilled and excited to see that the first reviews for Fiery Edge of Steel were positive. In fact, I love what was said about the book and the series. I’m very grateful for any interest and thankful to everyone who takes the time to read and review.

“Archer delves deeper into the enticing and magical world of Dark Light of Day in this original and clever urban fantasy… Excitement and action leap from the pages as Archer’s skill with description pulls readers fully into her magical world.” — Publishers Weekly

“The second Noon Onyx story is an astounding adventure tale. Archer’s unique world, where Lucifer’s army triumphed at Armageddon, is filled with adherence to strict laws that keep an uneasy peace between races. This is proving to be a really fresh and fascinating series!” — RT Book Reviews

Noon Onyx is participating in a

Supernatural Smackdown

Does that sound hilarious and fun or what?!? I couldn’t resist saying I’d participate even though Noon’s character isn’t as kick a$$ as the characters she’ll be competing against. If you’re interested in seeing how a Supernatural Smackdown works, stop by Dark Faerie Tales (I’ll be taking notes along with you because this is the first one I’ve ever done!). And, if you want to vote for the underdog, come check out my post there on May 16th! (Yes, I’ll be sending out reminders. ;-))

More About the Noon Onyx Series

In Dark Light of Day, the first book in the series, Nouiomo “Noon” Onyx, a 21 year old post grad magic user, had to choose between death or training to become a demon peacekeeper. In Fiery Edge of Steel, Noon faces a different question.

The Noon Onyx series is a genre-bending fantasy series. The setting is post-apocalyptic, but it’s not dystopian fiction. In fact, Armageddon is old news. Demons have inherited the earth, but goodness and love still exist. In short, the series is for readers who adore adventure, passion, mystery, and magic.

I’ll be posting info and links to various other events in connection with Fiery Edge of Steel‘s release. And I’ll be posting more guest blogs from the fabulous authors who are participating in the Spring Into Summer Romance guest blog series. Behind the scenes, I am working feverishly (sometimes literally — dang spring colds!) on book #3.

I had a lot of fun writing Fiery Edge of Steel and I hope you enjoy reading it! Have a great week, everyone!
Jill Archer's Dark Light of DayJill Archer's Fiery Edge of Steel

Just One Bite: Writing Novellas by Foodie Romance Author Kimberly Kincaid

Kimberly Kincaid is here to kick off her blog tour for her contemporary foodie romance e-novella, Love on the Line (yay! I get to kick off another blog tour! I have to admit, I love being the first blogger to host some of these awesome authors. 😀) Kimberly discusses how she went from writing single titles to writing novellas and she shares a few tips for anyone who is thinking about writing a novella. I also asked her to share something unique about the story that no one knows yet and she said… “The chicken and dumplings dish that my heroine, Violet, makes for Noah (the hero) is based on a real dish that I make for my family all the time. The recipe is included with the novella, and it’s not only a perfect belly-warmer, but it’s (really!) easy to make. The cheesecake, sadly, is a complete fabrication.” Which, of course, makes me curious about that cheesecake! Welcome, Kimberly!

Love on the Line

Novellas aren’t “less.”

If anything they are more.

My first e-novella, Love On The Line, is exciting to me in quite a lot of ways, not the least of which is that it happened quite by accident. Like many aspiring authors, I had manuscripts. Plural. So when my agent sold them in a three-book deal last summer (once I got over the screaming and the ugly-dancing and more screaming), I found myself with a very rare, very puzzling problem on my hands.

All three books were done. And I had nothing to write.

Now, writing is definitely a career for me. I’m not a nothing-to-write person. So what could I do? How could I fill my time and build my career? My agent and editor put their heads together, and what they came up with startled me. “You could write a few novellas,” they said.

But…but but but I write single-title! I wanted to say. I have no idea how to write a novella! But the option made sense, so (after I got over the shock) I grabbed it with both hands. The next thing I grabbed were stacks of anthologies and e-novellas online. And what I discovered surprised me.

Despite being much shorter than full-length novels, novellas weren’t “less”. If anything, they were more.

It took six months of research and writing (I’m currently writing novella number three), but what I discovered was that despite their small stature, novellas still have all the elements of a full-length novel. There are plot points and characterizations to be made. There are external conflicts and personal journeys to be had. There’s sexual tension to build, and there’s love to be found. And it’s all in this tiny, powerful package. Getting all those things into thirty thousand words means every single syllable matters, and measuring them out with precision is both challenging and crucial. It taught (very wordy) me to examine my characterizations, my plotlines, my arcs. You don’t have to sacrifice any of these things to fit them into a novella. In fact, you can’t. Novellas are still great stories. They’re just told with different method and intention.

That said, here are a few things I learned along the way (the hard way):

Getting to know you. It’s helpful (but not necessary) for your hero and heroine to know each other already in a novella. In Love On The Line, Violet and Noah were well-acquainted from page one, and in fact, had shared their first kiss well before that. This doesn’t mean they didn’t have hurdles (big ones!) But it made my job as the author easier because I could sprinkle their set-up into the action, rather than having to establish it freshly. Likewise, many authors use the novella for secondary characters who are already established within a series because they already have the setup in place. You still need setup. You can just write it in a more compact way.

I’m so conflicted! Since you’ve got a lot to do in a little space, conflict can lean a little more on either internal (emotions) or external (circumstance). Usually, in a full-length novel, there are both keeping your h/h apart. But the beauty of a novella is that you can usually choose either/or and really dig into it. For Violet and Noah, there was a lot of internal struggle keeping them apart. I got the chance to really make those emotions sing. In my Christmas anthology story coming out this fall, it’s all external conflict (a competition only one of them can win) keeping my hero and heroine apart. Whichever you choose, it’s important to make it sing in the space you’ve got.

Pace yourself. The same things that happen in a novel also happen in a novella; they just happen in different time. Pacing is crucial (remember that every-word-matters thing? Yes. That!) Starting on a hook is key. Keeping the hook at the end of every chapter, more key. Giving each scene, each sentence, purpose—the biggest key of all. Novellas must move. After all, you’ve only got a little space for a lot of action and a whole lot of love to go down!

So tell me, writers! What’s your experience with the novella? And readers, what do you think? Tell me some of your favorites!

More About Love on the Line

Violet Morgan puts the personal in personal chef, catering to clients who want the full cooking experience rather than a culinary drop-and-dash. But when her brother’s police detective partner is injured in the line of duty and needs help during recovery, she makes an exception. Violet lost her father to the job seven years ago, and worries for her brother’s safety every day. The last thing she wants is to get up-close with her brother’s career-cop partner…again.

For Noah Blackwell, being a detective isn’t just a lifestyle, it’s a legacy. So when he’s forced to take mandatory leave and deal with the trauma amnesia keeping him from identifying his shooter, it’s a literal case of adding insult to injury— and now he’s got to deal with an unwanted culinary caregiver on top of it. Never mind that he and Violet shared a steamy, secret kiss last New Year’s Eve. She rejects everything related to the job, and Noah’s not about to be distracted from recovering his memory and getting back to what he does best. No matter how pretty Violet is.

Despite their differences, Violet and Noah share a surprising bond in the kitchen that grows into something neither of them expect. But as Noah heals and their feelings for each other extend from the kitchen to the bedroom, Violet knows she must make an impossible choice. She may wear her heart on her sleeve when it comes to food, but can she risk it all to put love on the line?

Excerpt

As soon as Noah got behind her, the smell of coconuts and warm sand filled his senses, delivering a crystal clear image to his brain. His heart slammed in his ribcage, and without thinking, he cupped Violet’s elbow and swung her around, so tight to his body that he felt her gasp as much as heard it.

“You were in my hospital room yesterday. Before I woke up.”

“I…I—”

But he barreled on, the memory as bright and vivid as if it had just happened a minute ago. “Your hair was braided, on your shoulders, and you were wearing a…a bracelet that sounded like wind chimes. You said the doctor was coming. It was you.”

The fan of her gold-tipped lashes fluttered wide, and the warm puff of her breath heated his cheek as she nodded. “I didn’t mean to intrude. I was looking for Jason, but I didn’t think you’d wake up.”

Noah shook his head to quell her apology. “It doesn’t matter,” he said, his resolve locking into place, and Violet went utterly still against him.

“It doesn’t?”

“No. You’re the first thing I’ve been able to remember since I got shot in the first place. In fact, you’re the only thing I can remember since I got shot.”

Where to find Kimberly and her books

Kimberly Kincaid
Kimberly Kincaid

Love on the Line can be purchased from Amazon by clicking here.

She also has an anthology, The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, coming out from Kensington in the fall, which can be pre-ordered here.

Find her online at:

So, readers, are you a fan of chicken and dumplings? How about cheesecake? (Come on, who isn’t?!) Have you read any good romance novellas lately? Do you think the idea of a foodie romance novella is as fun as I do?

Writers, what about you? Is there a novella in your future? I’m seriously considering one after I turn in Noon Onyx book #3. I’ve been toying with the idea of possibly doing a novella featuring Nightshade, Noon’s twin brother. I think he’d be a fun hero to write about. We’ll see…

Congrats on your release and best wishes for Love on the Line, Kimberly! Thank you for guest blogging today!

5 Self-Publishing Tips from SoCal Writer’s Conference from Bethany Lopez

Bethany Lopez is a wife, mother, airman, and author. She writes YA, New Adult, and has her first Fantasy coming out in April. She just released the final installment of her NA “Friends & Lovers” trilogy, Trust in Me. Bethany recently attended the Southern California Writer’s Conference and shares some of the self-publishing tips that were discussed there. Even if you are traditionally published, Bethany’s list is a great reminder of some of the most important steps in producing, marketing, and promoting a novel.

Top 5 Self-Publishing Tips by Bethany Lopez

I went to the Southern California Writer’s Conference this past weekend, and there were a lot of new workshops that discussed the current trend of Self-Publishing. It is a really exciting time to Self-Publish. As a Self-Published Author, I attended many of these and agreed with everything the workshop leaders were saying. I decided on five take-aways to share with you here:
1. Hire a Professional Editor – One of the biggest mistakes that writers make when they decide to Self-Publish is to do so before they’re ready. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have any money to put into this new endeavor, but it’s an important step that cannot be bypassed. The best thing I can say is do your research. Not all editors charge a ton of money. Ask other authors, search online, and find someone who will be a good fit for you, as well as your budget.
2. Use a Professional Cover Designer – Readers will often buy, or bypass, a book based on its cover. That is the readers’ first impression of your work. Again, do your research. Look at your favorite covers, and covers in your genre, and see who designed them.
3. Build Your Platform – Your presence online, and your interaction with others, will help you reach readers. Start a website and blog; get a Twitter account, and Facebook Author Page. Check out Tumblr, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, see which social media sites work best for you.
4. Network – It is important to build a good relationship with readers, bloggers, and other authors. Look and see who other people are following, and follow them. Engage in conversations, and help bloggers and other authors. Participate. Never disparage another author, and never respond to a bad review. We are here to help and support each other. Make sure you do your part.
5. Be Prepared to Market Your Book – Writing your book is the easy part. Once it is finished, edited, and released, the real work begins. I would suggest using Blog Tour hosts for your cover reveal and for the release of your blog. This is a great way to get reviews of your book and create a buzz about it. Join groups on Facebook, and maybe a Tribe or two on Triberr, be active on Twitter and the other social media sites. Promote other Authors. Don’t just promote your book. No one wants to help someone who is always worried about themselves and never helps others.
The bottom line is that Self-Publishing is a lot of work and isn’t something to jump into without a lot of thought and research. But if you love writing and believe in your work, it is very gratifying.

More about Bethany:

Bethany Lopez
Bethany Lopez

Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult series. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her novels through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Where to find Bethany online:

More about Trust in Me

Roni’s dreams of becoming a contemporary dancer were smashed under the brutal rage of her ex-husband’s fists. Getting divorced and starting over at the age of twenty-two was never her plan, but maybe in Texas, she’ll find her path. When the town’s local player, Rich, opens a Rec Center, she sees a way to rekindle her dancing dreams…and maybe have a little fun with her sexy new boss.
Rich never expected to fulfill his dreams in the town he planned to leave behind, but that’s just what he’s doing. His reputation as a noncommittal ladies’ man might make it challenging to earn respect in the business world, but he’s willing to prove that he’s serious. In fact, when it comes to pursuing Roni, he’s more than willing. But she’s taking a page out of his book, not wanting to risk another relationship. Can he convince her that his playboy days are done and that she can trust him with her heart?

Trust in Me, the third and final installment in the Friends & Lovers Trilogy, is available now! The cover was designed by BDesign.

Where to buy:

Writers, have you been to any good conferences lately? Have any other tips to share? I especially like tips 4 & 5. They are terrific reminders that, no matter which publishing route you decide to take, it’s a nicer experience when we support and celebrate our fellow authors’ journeys as well as our own. 

Readers, speaking of professionally designed covers, what do you think of the one BDesign did for Trust in Me? I think it’s both cute and sexy. Check out the rest of Allie B’s book covers (and the other two covers for the first two books in Beth’s Friends & Lovers trilogy, Make It Last and I Choose You). They’re great too! Bethany, thank you so much for sharing your conference tips with us!

Looking for Guest Bloggers for 2013 New Year #NewAdult Book Blast

Reading by the window in winter
Do you write New Adult books? If so, I’d love to hear from you!

A little over a week ago I ended my “Fall Into Winter Darkness” Book Blast. As with my “Spring Into Summer Romance” Book Blast, I had a lot of fun hosting fellow writers and getting to know more about them and their work. I want to give a final shout out to all of the authors who participated in my fall guest blog series. They are listed below in the order in which they posted or were interviewed.

For the next book blast I’d love to host authors who write “New Adult” books. Many of you have probably heard the term New Adult by now, but for those of you that haven’t, New Adult is an up and coming genre that’s getting increasing attention. Definitions vary (which is part of the reason it’s such an exciting topic), but basically NA fiction features protagonists who are slightly older than the typical YA character (18-24) and who grapple with the momentous life decisions that often occur early in one’s adult life (career choices, partner choices, finding one’s adult identity, path in life, etc.) I wrote a blog post about it, which posted here at Brinda Berry’s site, during my blog tour for Dark Light of Day. I enjoyed talking with other writers who write in this emerging genre and I thought it would be fun to host a New Adult themed book blast, which would start shortly after the New Year. So… if you write New Adult fiction and are interested in participating in my 2013 New Year / New Adult Book Blast, please contact me!

Thanks to the 2012 Fall Into Winter Darkness Book Blast Participants!

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! 😀

Next Big Thing: Noon Onyx Book #2

Noon Onyx Book #2You may think this post is a hoot, because it’s about my second book – and I’m still promoting my first! The truth is my agent, Lois Winston, who is also a writer (she writes the Anastasia Pollack crafting mystery series), tagged me in this online author’s Q&A game.  And how could I say no to her? 😉

In all seriousness though, I thought it would be fun mid-DLOD blog tour, to give everyone a sneak peek at the next book in the series. I also get to tag a few other wonderful authors who have some cool things lined up in their writer pipelines, which they can tell everyone about next week. Those authors are listed below after my Noon Onyx Book #2 Sneak Peek.

Next Big Thing Q&A

What is your working title of your book?

Noon Onyx Book #2 😀

Where did the idea come from for the book?

As with the first book in the series (Dark Light of Day) my inspirations for Book #2 came from myriad sources: a French imposter case, a story from the 1990 Tales from the Darkside movie, creepy folklore, and two children’s songs about the unlikeliest of topics — death.

What genre does your book fall under?

The Noon Onyx series is fantasy. That said, there are elements of all sorts of other genres present in the series: mystery, romance, legal fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, even new adult.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I always demur on this question because it would be much more interesting to hear reader’s thoughts on this. If you’ve read Dark Light of Day and stumble across this post at any point in the future, feel free to answer this question in the comments. I’d love to know what *you* think!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

New assignment, new adventures, and new adversaries. (Later this fall, I’ll have a new cover, new title, and new blurb to share.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m represented by the person who tagged me for this post, Lois Winston.

I’m currently under contract with Ace to write the first three books in the Noon Onyx series.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Probably a year in total. My “first drafts” are a lot more than working drafts. I spend the most time on the first draft stage of writing.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Uh… next question, please… [“Unique” and “different” are two words that seem to come up a lot with respect to Dark Light of Day].

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

In Noon’s second story, I wanted to explore the themes of knowledge, duty, love, and betrayal.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I’ve shared elsewhere that Noon Onyx Book #2 will have some characters who return, some who are new, and that Noon will get her first field assignment. I’ll also add that I became fascinated with the idea of divination tools and I like how that played out.

If you enjoyed this sneak peek of Noon Onyx book #2, you can add it to your Goodreads shelf by clicking here.

Or “like it” or pre-order it by clicking here.

May 28, 2013 is the anticipated release date. Okay, that’s it on book #2 for a while…

Other Authors with “Next Big Things”

Next week, these authors will post about the Next Big Things they’re working on:

Brinda Berry: Brinda is the YA author of The Whispering Woods series, which includes The Waiting Booth (“A missing boy, government agents, an interdimensional portal….”) and Whisper of Memory (“Weapons training and winter formals… a deadly combination”). She’s also the President of the Diamond State Romance Authors and she hosts the Social Media Savvy with Sanity Series at Gloria Richard’s blog. Look for Brinda’s Next Big Thing post here.

Alex Hughes: Alex is the author of Clean, a dystopian thriller (“In a dark future Atlanta, a disgraced telepath must stop a serial killer who murders with the mind. Can our hero stay on the wagon long enough to lead the police to the killer?”). For her Next Big Thing post click here (link will go live on 10/25/12).

Amy Raby: Amy is a fantasy romance author whose novel Assassin’s Gambit will be out in April 2013 from Signet Eclipse. I’m hoping Amy will tell us more about it with her Next Big Thing post: click here (link should be live on 10/22/12). She also does a “History for the Fantasy Buff” blog series, which is terrific.

Readers, thanks for letting us share our Next Big Thing with you!

New York Comic Con and New Adult Fiction

NYCC

Book Signing Update!

I’m going to be signing copies of Dark Light of Day at New York Comic Con on Saturday, October 13th, at 6:00 p.m. at the Ace/Roc booth, which is Booth #921. If you are going to be there, please stop by! I would love to meet you. This will be my first book signing so I’m pretty excited about it! Hope to see you there!

Other News

Today, I’m at Brinda Berry’s place discussing the emerging “New Adult” genre. If you are a reader or a writer who has an interest in stories where the main characters are ages 17-25, stop by! We’re talking about what “New Adult” is, whether it’s needed, and whether authors should self-label their books as NA.

My blog tour for Dark Light of Day is nearly half over. I’m really enjoying it! It’s been great meeting everyone at all of the different stops I’ve visited. The tour is going to run until the beginning of November and so I’m going to continue posting these updates as to what I’m up to and where I am. I’m also going to have more guest bloggers as part of my 2012 Fall Into Winter Darkness Book Blast. In late fall, things will likely slow down again. For those of you who follow me for the “On the Fly” travel posts, movie reviews, and interesting people interviews, that’s when I’ll be getting back to those. So no worries if you’ve been missing them. They will return! 😀

The Wise Woman Archetype and Dark Light of Day’s Women Healers

 

Quick post to let everyone know I’m over at the Reader Girls today (a book review blog run by two teen sisters and their mom). I discuss the wise woman archetype and the noble women healers from Dark Light of Day, the Mederies. In the comments, I also touch on a subject I’ll be blogging about later this week, the emerging “New Adult” genre. Also want to let you know (since I have another guest blogger here tomorrow) that Monday, October 1st, I’ll be at Urban Fantasy Investigations discussing Dark Light of Day’s Angel Spellcasters. More chances to win signed copies of Dark Light of Day, an Ace/Roc SF/F sampler, and eGift Cards. Hope to see you there!

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

Jami Gray, Author of Shadow’s Soul, on Monsters

Shadow's Soul
Shadow’s Soul is available now

Jami Gray is a Star Wars fan and the fifth eldest of 37 children. She writes urban fantasy from the Southwest. Today, she’s here to talk about her latest release, Shadow’s Soul, which is Book 2 of The Kyn Kronicles. She’s also giving away a $10 Amazon eGift Card to one lucky commenter. I asked Jami to share something unique about herself. She said:

I’m so OCD my bookshelves are in alpha order by author and series.  Before iTunes, so were my hundreds of CD’s.  Yet, I’m a complete pantser when writing.  I have a general idea of where my story is going, but my characters love taking over and turning it in all sorts of directions.  Outlines tend to offend my Muse and when she gets upset, I run for cover.  Therefore, outlines have been banned.  We try to pass off the most basic ones as just “plot points” and so far it’s working!

Jami’s answer fascinated me because I’m the complete opposite! Before iTunes I could never find the music I wanted to listen to. CD’s were everywhere and anywhere! Yet… I plot. 🙂 

Welcome, Jami!

Who’s The Real Monster? by Jami Gray

I have always loved the darker fairy tales, not the Disney kind they’re just too…bright and shiny.  The real Brother Grimm stories, now those were exciting.  Their monsters were scarier because they hid behind masks of normality, think the woodcutter’s wife in Hansel and Gretel.

When I write, I tend to develop my characters first and then their world opens up and away we go.  For Raine McCord, the heroine of Shadow’s Edge and Shadow’s Soul, her first spark came when I was listening to a song by Nine Inch Nails titled “Right Where It Belongs”.  The chorus of the song talked about the darker side in all of us and how it blurred the division between wrong and right.

This started me down the spiral of questions and answers until Raine starting haunting me from dark corners.  When she finally cornered me in a rain drenched alley in Portland, I just couldn’t refuse her request and my first book, Shadow’s Edge was born.

In Urban Fantasy (UF) your hero or heroine has to be tough.  Otherwise all the creatures out there prowling around (vamps, weres, zombies, demons, feral slugs, etc.) will tear them to pieces.  Between the magic screwing things up and the massive amounts of supernatural creatures strolling around, their lives are never boring.

One of the most adventurous parts about writing UF is creating monsters who give your leads a run for their money.  My villains tend to be the ones you least expect, because honestly, what’s more terrifying? The hunched over, crazy eyed, one tooth, half dead maniac slithering in the dark or the reassuringly normal neighbor next door who brought you chicken soup when you were sick?

In both of my books Raine begins to learn that not all monsters are easily defined.

Shadow’s Edge follows Raine down a bloody trail of bodies into the shadowy world of power plays and half-truths, while forcing her to face the monster crouched inside.  Now it’s her turn to decide who’s really the monster–the one destroying the ones around them or the one who’s hunting them?

When a simple task takes a nightmarish turn, in Shadow’s Soul, Raine comes up against one of the most feared creatures of the Kyn world-a Soul Stealer.  Battered in body and mind, she finds undiscovered strength in her partnership with Gavin as together they unravel the web of secrets and hidden vendettas haunting the Southwest Kyn.

I hope you enjoy both Shadow’s Edge and Shadow’s Soul!

More About Shadow’s Soul

Raine McCord has no problem taking down the monsters of the world, it’s one of the reasons she’s so good at her job.  So playing bodyguard to Cheveyo, head Magi of the Northwest, as he consults with the Southwest Kyn should be an easy assignment. Unfortunately, simple task turns into a nightmare when Cheveyo is kidnapped and Raine is left for dead by one of the Kyn’s most feared beings, a Soul Stealer.

The Stealer’s attack leaves lasting wounds, undermining Raine’s confidence as a warrior and damaging her unruly magic. Her ability to heal her mind and spirit hinges on the one man who can touch her soul, Gavin Durand.  Compelled to face the emotions raging between them, they must embrace not only their stormy relationship but their evolving magic to escape the twisted threads of murder and betrayal to find Cheveyo.

As Raine and Gavin come together and begin to unravel the complex web of secrets and hidden vendettas haunting the Southwest Kyn, they discover unsettling new truths that threaten their very existence.

Excerpt

“Good gods, girl. Didn’t I teach you better than that?”

The sound of Cheveyo’s sharp tone jerked her head up. Scrambling to her knees, she met the disgruntled gaze of her mentor.

“Obviously not,” she snapped back.

A small grimace that might have been a strained smile appeared on his tired face. A part of her relaxed a bit at his presence, but he didn’t look good. Weariness and pain had carved deep niches around his mouth and eyes, drawing his skin tight over his high cheekbones. The normal bronze of his skin was a pale olive. Gone was the fierce, dominating Magi. In his place was a hard, battle-weary warrior.

“Cheveyo,” she started, but he waved his hand cutting her off.

“I know, we have to get me out of here, yadda yadda.” He raked a hand through his collar length hair, as he slid down some invisible wall to sit across from her. Placing his hands on his upraised knees, he just looked at her.

His assessment made her uncomfortable.

“Didn’t expect me to answer your knock?” A faint thread of humor twisted through his words.

His question threw her back to when he had first created this bond between them. Her concerns on how linked they would be had resulted in his reassurance that the only way the door would open was if she went knocking and he answered her.

“Actually we were hoping you would.”

He raised an eyebrow. “We?”

Before she could respond, the feel of nails scoring her skin set her on her feet. She spun around to face the thick barrier of fog behind her. She hissed as another scrape peeled against her magic. Cheveyo’s hand on her arm stopped her from stepping forward.

“Raine.” He turned her away from the fog. His six-foot-six frame towered over her. She didn’t let it stop her from yanking from his hold.

“What?” she snarled. Screw authority. Right now they were in deep shit and they needed to get out.

Where to buy:

More About Jami

Urban Fantasy AuthorGrowing up on the Arizona-Mexico border, Jami Gray was adopted at the age of 14 and suddenly became the fifth eldest of 37 children. She graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and three minors-History, English, and Theater.  Shortly after marrying her techie-geek hubby (who moonlighted as her best friend in high school) she completed a Masters in Organizational Management from University of Phoenix Oregon.

Now, years later, she’s back in the Southwest where  she’s outnumbered in her own home by two Star Wars obsessed boys, one Star Wars obsessed husband, and an overly-friendly, 105-pound male lab.  Writing is what saves her sanity.

Where you can find Jami online:

So, readers, how about you? Which type of monster is scarier to you? The hunched over, crazy eyed, one toothed, half dead maniac kind? Or the ones who look like the boy next door? Leave a comment to be entered to win the $10 Amazon eGift Card that Jami is giving away. Giveaway will close at midnight EDT tomorrow. Jami, thank you for guest blogging today!

Blog Tour for Dark Light of Day Starts Today!

Noon Onyx Book #1 Blog Tour

I’m over at P.W. Creighton’s place discussing how writers use folklore and myths as inspirations for their stories. I also talk a bit about the myriad sources of inspiration for Dark Light of Day. Do you use myth as inspiration for your writing? If so, which ones? Do you like stories inspired by folktales? If so, what are some of your favorites? Stop by and tell me if you love ABC’s Once Upon A Time or if you’ve read Meg Cabot’s Abandon or share some of your own reading and watching recommendations.

Tour prizes!

Here are the goodies I’m giving away during and after the Dark Light of Day tour:

  • Signed Copies of Dark Light of Day: Three signed copies of Dark Light of Day to the blog tour followers who visit the most stops. (U.S. only due to mailing costs).
  • Ace/Roc 2012 SF/F Samplers: At each stop, to be drawn randomly from that stop’s commenters, one Ace/Roc Science Fiction and Fantasy 2012 Sampler. These are bound, print samplers with a color cover and the first few pages of new work from the following authors/titles: Benedict Jacka’s FATED, Alex Hughes’ CLEAN, Jacqueline Carey’s DARK CURRENTS, Steve Bein’s DAUGHTER OF THE SWORD, Anton Strout’s ALCHEMYSTIC, and Jill Archer’s DARK LIGHT OF DAY. (U.S. only due to mailing costs).
  • $10 eGift Card: Either Amazon or Barnes & Noble $10 eGift Card, winner’s choice, to be drawn at random from all blog tour commenters.
  • $10 eGift Card: Either Amazon or Barnes & Noble $10 eGift Card, winner’s choice, to the person who brings the most people to the party. To enter to win this one, tell a friend about the tour (someone who hasn’t yet commented). You’ll be entered to win when your friend stops by at any spot on the tour and tells us that you told them about the tour.

Don’t forget: my publisher, Ace, is also giving away 25 copies of Dark Light of Day on Goodreads. Click HERE to enter to win one of those copies.

Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement and support! Hope to see you on the cyber road!! 😀

2012 Fall Into Winter Darkness Book Blast!

Fall into reading
If she can do it, so can you. What’s your excuse for not reading more? 😀

Starting this Saturday, I’m going to be hosting another round of guest bloggers interspersed with an author interview or two.  Darker days means darker stories and I’m happy to report that this round of writers is just as diverse as the last. If all goes well, we’ll be hearing from authors who write urban fantasy, dark paranormal, horror, even non-fiction — one author has compiled a collection of local ghost stories to share. Morgan Keyes, author of Darkbeast, a middle grade fantasy that was just released from Simon & Schuster yesterday, will get us started. She’s going to be giving away a copy of Darkbeast to one lucky commenter.

Hope to see you here this weekend… and throughout the fall!

eGift Card Winner and Some Musings on My First Twitter Contest

Me Catching My First Fish ~ Kansas Circa 1979

We have a winner!

The winner of the Amazon eGift Card is Casey Wyatt (@CaseyWyatt1)! Casey, I’ll be e-mailing your eGift Card to you later today. I hope you use it to buy books! 😀

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. Thanks also to those of you who requested samplers. I was happy to share them. For anyone who missed the giveaway, I’ll be giving away more samplers during my blog tour for Dark Light of Day, so stay tuned. (I ran the giveaway for only two weeks because I don’t want to constantly bombard people with my promo stuff, although I hope everyone realizes I need to do it from time to time. See below for more thoughts on that).

A few of you who requested samplers had some terrific blog ideas. I’m going to see what I can do about coming up with those posts. In the meantime, if any of you have suggestions about a topic you’d like to see here, feel free to let me know in the comments below or use my Contact page. After this, posts will slow down a bit. I’ll post something next weekend — likely some summery lagniappe “On the Fly” post unrelated to books or promo. I hope to also have another “Interesting People” interview up soon and the final guest blogger in my 2012 Spring Into Summer Romance Book Blast will post in August.

For Writers — A Note About My Twitter Contest

My recent Twitter contest was the first Twitter contest I’ve done and I was curious to see how it would work. For those of you who don’t know, I offered a $10 Amazon eGift Card as thanks to everyone who helped me spread the word about my recent sampler giveaway on Twitter. To be entered to win the eGift Card, all someone had to do was tweet about the sampler giveaway. The tweet had to include my Twitter handle (for tracking the entries) and, to help people out, I included a sample tweet on my giveaway page when I first announced the contest. (I don’t know about you, but that 140 character limit is constantly giving me headaches! Although, I admit, it’s probably good practice for someone who’s as wordy as I am!)

How did the contest work? Would I do it again?

Fairly well and yes. I’ve got a little under 300 Twitter followers. With the contest, I was able to reach almost 7,400 people. Now the question is, were all those followers listening when the tweet was made about the giveaway? Who knows? But what I do know is: (1) far more people were potentially exposed to my giveaway than might have been otherwise; and (2) those people are more likely to want a sampler than the general population because (granted, this is an assumption) the people who are following the people who tweeted about the giveaway are, more likely than not, science fiction and fantasy readers. Which means the reach was more targeted, which is better for both tweeters and receivers. 🙂 Lastly, and most importantly, a bunch of people requested samplers and they nicely answered many of my optional questions too.

My Attitude Toward Promo

Sometimes I think of author promo the way I think of fundraising drives. It’s necessary, but people don’t want to be bombarded with it all the time. I’m a debut author, so I have to work to get my name out there. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable. There’s a huge part of me that just wants to say, “If readers want to read my book, they’ll read it” and be done with it. But, the thing is, readers might not even know about the book if I don’t tell them about it. So, to make myself feel better, I try to think of promo as a somewhat self-serving PSA. It’s an introduction to the product, not a push to buy it. I put my reader hat on and realize how much I like discovering new authors and new books. If those authors didn’t tell me about their latest releases (through whatever promo mechanisms they’ve set up), I would miss out on some great new fiction.

Have a terrific week everyone! Take advantage of these longer days — more reading, more bike riding, more of whatever it is you’re into! 😀

Prolific Author Jane Toombs Tells Us Why Paranormal Is Her Shtick

Jane is giving away one ebook copy of Deception’s Bride. To enter to win, post a comment below.

Jane Toombs has written over 80 books and has been writing since 1973. That’s two books a year for almost 40 years! She’s here today to share why she loves writing stories that have a paranormal twist and to tell us a bit about her latest series — The Underworld. The first two books, Unwise and Unwanted are available now. The third book in the series, Uncanny, will be available soon.

Paranormal Is My Shtick by Jane Toombs

I developed my attraction to paranormal early on.  Perhaps because I first read Poe when I was about seven.  I had no idea what he meant much of the time, but I loved the ambience of his work. Poe’s word choices thrilled me–like “the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.”  Okay, I was an odd kid, allowed by my parents to read any book in the bookcase I wanted to.

Like any normal kid I loved to go sledding or ice-skating in the winter, but blizzards or 10 degrees below zero were not uncommon in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My small town, situated as it is on Lake Superior, got its share of winter inside-reading weather.

So now that I’m an old bat, I’ve returned to my home town.  I still enjoy the area and I never did get over my preference for paranormal.  I write mostly paranormal suspense romance these days, and sometimes sneak a bit a paranormal into other genres, such as historical romance, like Deception’s Bride, newly up at Amazon from Books We Love, Ltd.

I also like to write series such as my Underworld Series published by Eternal Press. The  first two books in this series, Unwise and  Unwanted are already published.  I’m finishing up the third book,  Uncanny,  and there are a few more to go. Unearthly and Undone will be the next two.  And who knows, I may not quit there. This is the first series I’ve ever done where the title of the book came first and the story evolved for me from the title.

Ordinarily I write the story first and then find a title, but in this particular series it was the other way around.  Even in series, I usually do a brief outline of the story before choosing the title. Not so in The Underworld, which is an alternate world connected by a constantly shifting gate to both Earth and other alternate worlds. Uncanny is as much unlike Unwanted as Unwanted is like Unwise. For one thing Uncanny has Wolfen Ridge, where badly deformed dead newborns are left for the wolfen to eat, because the people there believe if you bury a dead, deformed infant it will haunt you forever.  But people are people and sometimes unwanted but alive newborns are left there as well…

This story is about one of them.

Jane is giving away one ebook copy of Deception’s Bride. For a chance to win, comment below. Thank you for guest blogging today, Jane!

Readers, do you have a favorite Edgar Allan Poe line or poem? Have you been to Michigan? Do you like sledding and skating… or surfing and sailing? Writers, how do you start your stories? Has anyone else started with only a title and then the rest of the story followed? For Dark Light of Day, I started with the main character (who she was and what she would struggle with) and the rest came after that. 

* TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF MY SF & FANTASY SAMPLER GIVEAWAY AND eGIFT CARD CONTEST: If you live in the U.S. and want a 2012 Ace/Roc sampler, just fill out the form on my Giveaway & Contest page and I will send it to you. The sampler contains the first three chapters of Dark Light of Day, the first book in my new Noon Onyx series. (Also, as thanks for helping me spread the word, anyone who tweets about the giveaway on Twitter will be entered to win a $10 Amazon eGift Card. See contest page for details.)

The Seven Deadly Sins by Author Miguelina Perez

In The Vicar’s Deadly Sin, Miguelina Perez explores the sin of greed.

Miguelina Perez and I both belong to the Washington Romance Writers group. It’s a fun, active group of writers who write in all of the many sub-genres of romance, including historical romance. I don’t write historical romance, but I love to read it. Maybe it’s because a Regency or Victorian set novel can feel quite otherworldly when compared to our contemporary one. When you read for entertainment and pleasure, all worlds are worth exploring, right? And, the fact is, some themes transcend genre. They are so rooted in the human experience that their presence immediately grounds the reader in the world of the story, making the past, the future, or even an entirely new place, feel familiar. When I heard that Miguelina had based her new series on the Seven Deadly Sins, I was intrigued. The concept of sin is arguably one of humanity’s oldest. I find it fascinating to think that Miguelina’s blog topic is as classic as it comes. Just think, men and women have probably been debating the nature of sin since words were first invented!

Capital Vices, Cardinal Sins & Holy Virtues

The Seven Deadly Sins are also known as the capital vices/cardinal sins that keep a person from God’s grace. The sins are: Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath and Sloth. These sins along with the Seven Holy Virtues were the moral standards and tests of the early Catholic Church, since early Christian times to educate and tutor Christians concerning Man’s tendency to sin.

In The Vicar’s Deadly Sin, the first book in my “Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard Mystery” series based on the Seven Deadly Sins, I created a world where two young friends in 1815 Regency England share dreams, hopes and a love for reading. Fans of Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), the young ladies use their wild imagination and a love for solving mysteries to find out who killed the vicar of Dover, because of “Greed.”  “Greed” suggests a desire to gain money or power, especially for personal gain.

To complicate matters, the girls are joined by Sir Hugh Cameron, a British government agent, and Lord Havensworth, Philip Latham, one of Dover’s brightest solicitors, as they try to solve the murder before anyone, including the young ladies, become the next victim. The task, however, proves to be an enormous one as Jane and Margaret go against all that is expected of a young lady in Regency Era society to prove that women are just as capable of intellectual thought as men, even if it means becoming the killer’s next victim.

Miguelina Perez’s second book explores the theme of lust. (Have to say… I love how creepy this cover is!)

Currently, I’m working on the sequel to The Vicar’s Deadly Sin called Angel’s Lust. I’m adding elements of the paranormal as my latest villain lusts for beauty and youth and achieves it temporarily by sacrificing young maidens. In the sin “Lust” there is a fixated, unlawful depraved thought, or engaging in unnatural desirous appetites.

For my third installment, I plan to focus on wrath as my theme. Wrath suggests inappropriate feelings of hatred and anger.

The remaining sins are “Pride” which suggests a desire to be more important or attractive to others, failing to give credit due to others, or too much love of oneself; “Envy is spite or resentment of material objects, accomplishments, or character traits of others, or wishing others to fail or come to harm; “Gluttony” is the thoughtless waste of everything, overindulgence, misplaced sensuality, uncleanliness, and maliciously depriving others and finally, there is “Sloth the lack of interest, idleness, and wastefulness of time. It is believed that laziness is particularly condemned because others must work harder to make up for it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief history of the seven deadly sins and how they will be implemented in my seven book series of the Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard Regency romance  mysteries.

More About Miguelina Perez

Miguelina Perez’s Seven Deadly Sins series will be available in November 2012 from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She has a blog called The Regency Inkwell and she’s on Twitter (@regencyinkwell).

Lina, thank you for guest blogging today! Lady Jane and Miss Margaret sound like intrepid young heroines.

Readers and writers, how about you? Is there one particular sin that fascinates you more than the rest? Which vice do you have the most trouble with? Which do you think would produce the most conflict for a character as they wrestle with it? Do you like historical romances? Mysteries? How about cross-genre blends? Are you intrigued by the paranormal elements in Miguelina’s second book, Angel Lust? Do you think the cover is as creepy as I do? 🙂

Don’t forget, I’m giving away a limited number of  Ace/Roc Science Fiction and Fantasy ’12 samplers. For details, see the post immediately prior to this one. (If you live in the U.S. and want one, just fill out the form and I will send it to you. Giveaway runs until July 15, 2012 or while supplies last.) The sampler contains the first three chapters of DARK LIGHT OF DAY, the first book in my new Noon Onyx series.