Romance Novel Convention 2014

After sleeping for ten hours, I’m finally awake from my four days in Vegas at the Romance Novel Convention 2014! I had a blast, met some amazing writers, cover artists, readers, cover models and learned some stuff too!

I attended a class by Anne Perry, author of the William Monk series, and wonderful speaker. Her class was supposed to focus on weaving the back story throughout the piece so as not to create a historical laundry list. Instead it grew into something more. And this afternoon, I’ll be writing out my back story and then writing the outline for a new piece! Ms. Perry just added to my to do list.

Another class that has added to my to do list was the Twitter: Dos and Don’ts presented by Cheryl Bradshaw, author of the Sloane Monroe series. I have to clean up my twitter act and really take advantage of this free marketing tool. At some point today, I’m going to come up with what I’m going to regularly tweet about and go from there – slowly and steadily.

Then there was fun for the sake of fun!

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Swoon! Fitness Guru and Model – Mike O’Hearn

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The Rone Awards

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Sharks by the pool

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Music/Light show on Fremont Street

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Love this sign

To Publish or Not to Publish

BookCoverImageAmazonLast March, I released Deja Vu, the continuation of Darcey St. Claire and Vincent Guidry’s story. I started immediately outlining two additional stories about Darcey’s best friends, Lenore Jennings and Catalina Houston. By November 2013, both stories were in the first draft stage and I was ready to really start polishing A Loving Affair.

Then…

Nothing.

I love Darcey and Vincent. But I thought that was just me and three of my relatives so the stories remained on my hard drive.  Not because I don’t enjoy them but because publishing them takes time and money. And I was okay with the rest of the Rose Gold Collection residing there.

Then I was having lunch with my friends in late April and one of them asked when the rest of the books were being released. This evolved into a discussion of why I’d waited so long since they knew I finished in November.

My response – You never said you liked it.

Friend 1 – I just thought you knew.

Friend 2 – Why would think we didn’t like it?

Obviously my besties aren’t writers, but they are a great source of encouragement when they know I need it. So I polished both books and I’m moving forward to the beta reading stage. I’m also taking it as a good sign that a reader asked me about the books about a month later. Here’s hoping for a publication date in July!

Happy Reading! (And if your favorite indie author has a book you enjoy let them know)

An Experiment – The Category Change

Last night, I was checking my ranking for Scent of a Woman on Amazon (yes, I’m slightly obsessive). And this is what I found:

soawamazonranking

It’s a good start for the book and it is showing up in two top 100 categories. My thing though – it’s not erotica.

What I learned was that “Interracial” gets put into the Erotica category on Amazon by default. So what if someone picks up the book expecting an erotic work and they don’t get one? Perhaps they enjoy it anyway or maybe they’ll return it. But honestly, I don’t think this practice is giving the IR genre the best opportunity to thrive.

anawcoverSo I tried an experiment, I have a short story on Amazon that has been there for almost two years. It has received some good reviews but has never seen many sales.

A few times, I offered it for free and a few more readers picked it up but nothing like what has happened today! On my last 3 day free sale, I had 112 books downloaded for the entire sale.

Less than twenty-four hours since a A Night at the Wesley has begun its free promotion and 85 books have been downloaded. I put a new cover on it – one that clearly shows an African-American woman and a Caucasian male and I re-categorized it as Contemporary Romance with the tags: interracial romance and sensual short stories.

The results:

anawamazonranking

I’ll let you know how the short story fairs after it’s no longer free. I have two self-pubbed works coming out in July so if I can see more exposure using general romance instead of interracial romance, then I’m going with general romance with tags.

Happy Reading!

Wanted to add in a daily total for each day.

On Saturday when I checked, my numbers for A Night at the Wesley were:

My best ranking ever!!!

Coming Soon And Upcoming Events

Coming-SoonWith the year almost halfway done, I finally have a release coming out! I’m nervous and excited as I always am. Still no cover, but soon. Scent of a Woman hits the virtual shelves on May 20, 2014!

Now on to the events…

Attribution: Arvindn This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Attribution: Arvindn This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

On June 21, 2014, I’ll be a part of Beautiful Trouble Publishing’s Greet and Eat III in Austin, Texas. I’ve never been to an author / reader event and I think I jumped up and down and cried a little when I was invited…as an author. Wow!

Attribution: By David_Vasquez (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Attribution: By David_Vasquez (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

And in July, I’ll be attending the Romance Novel Convention 2014 in Las Vegas! Not only will I be surrounded by amazing authors (I plan on having some fangirl moments), but my best friend is coming with me.

We haven’t seen each in two years so I’m thinking there are going to be a few late nights and once or twice one of us will say, “I can’t believe you did that.”

Now I’m off to find swag for both events, I have no idea what to get or how to prepare. So if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to post them below.

Happy Reading!

The Virgin Heroine?

When I began college eons ago, I became friends with a group of ladies and gents that I still hang out with. At the time we met, we were all virgins. Every single nerdy one of us.

By the time we graduated, only two virgins remained. Unlike the rest of us waiting for our moment to bloom in the eyes of the opposite sex, they had made a conscious decision to not have sex before marriage.

darceystraighthairSo here’s where my life experience affects my enjoyment of smexy reading material. The Virgin Heroine who is old enough to legally buy alcohol.

In order for me to buy into this woman’s story, I need the reason she’s a virgin. I don’t even care what is – self-esteem issues, daddy issues, religious view point, whatever! Secondly if she’s now going to have sex with this guy then I need to why as well. And sorry it can’t be lust at first sight.

This is a lifestyle choice we’re talking about. Like being a vegetarian, you don’t look at one burger and say to hell with this. This is years of hearing – “Say, girl, you wanna come back to my place?” And the answer being – “No thanks.”

Of all the heroine romantic archetypes, I think the virgin is trickiest one to write for contemporary writers. I applaud those who have done it well and keep me seeking out their stories. And I’m asking for support as I put the finishing touches on my own virgin heroine’s story. Look for it over the Christmas holidays!

Happy Reading!

Typed The End…Part 2

Cocktail partyAllergies have slowed the work down this week and I didn’t accomplish as much on my second week, but I did accomplish some things. Here’s the wrap up:

The first thing, that I’ve done is to create a writing schedule that will take me to the end of the year. Along with that came a promise to myself that I was going to complete it. Here’s schedule and where I am:

  1. Anthology Submission to Hot Ink Press for an upcoming project called Naughty Bedtime Stories – Received an email that it was received and is under review.
  2. Holiday Short Story – The second draft is going very slowly. I’m trying a new technique and while I think it will produce a better work, it’s taking a lot longer.
  3. Second Shifter Novella – The first draft stalled on Wednesday and I haven’t gotten back to it. Must work on this this weekend.

I also know that I have to get back out there and start connecting with readers and other writers, so I have a few blog hops coming up and some writers lined up to visit the blog very soon.

Happy Reading!

Typed ‘The End’ – Now What…Part 1

Cocktail partyIt’s been a while. But I’m back in the blogoshere and the writing world. However, it’s not easy to jump right back into late nights, no Candy Crush and marketing, marketing, marketing!

So I’m easing into it, instead of running full steam ahead.

The first thing, that I’ve done is to create a writing schedule that will take me to the end of the year. Along with that came a promise to myself that I was going to complete it. Here’s schedule and where I am:

  1. Anthology Submission to Hot Ink Press for an upcoming project called Naughty Bedtime Stories – This has been submitted and now I’m waiting. If not accepted then I’ll rework and find a new home.
  2. Holiday Short Story – I have a first draft completed at 11,000 words and will begin working on the second draft next week. Plan on submitting this one to Secret Cravings before the September deadline. If not accepted then I rework and self-publish this one.
  3. Second Shifter Novella – I have an outline completed for a follow-up to A Scent of a Woman which will be released by Evernight Publishing in a few weeks. First draft should be completed next week. Please, please let them accept this one!
  4. The Rose Gold Collection – A Loving Affair is in first draft form and Dulce Means Sweet is in outline form. Just got to get started. Choose cover art, contract an editor, hire a proofreader…

That’s the schedule. Check back with me next week for an update.

Happy Reading!