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!

Almost There – The Scent of a Witch

I’m on the fifth draft of my first paranormal romance and I think I’m almost ready to turn it over to one of favorite editor’s, Khriste Close of Scribe Ink Editing. This is a novella so I’m working through this one extra hard because I want to make sure that all the questions are answered in less than 30,000 words and it has the feel of a longer work. I don’t want to miss a thing.

And I think I’m finally ready to share a little bit of the story, so here goes! This is the first meeting of Ada Trevors and Ewan Hathorn.

The Scent of a Witch

yay-10013652“She’s new.” Ada pointed to a female bartender at the smaller bar near the entrance. The shapely blonde poured a line of shots for a group of guys. “Whoo,” she yelled out after throwing the first one back like it was water. “Who’s buying the next round?” Her laugh-filled holler rang in the air.

“Maybe you should buy the next round for her.” Ada nudged Russ, disrupting the fourth check of his watch in the last thirty seconds. “She seems approachable.”

“We’re leaving.” Russ glared at her.

“We have three minutes. Go talk to her.” Ada pinched his thigh as she’d done when she needed him to focus on course work in college. “Do it or I’ll start tickling.”

“That’s not necessary.”

“Huh?” Ada released her hold on Russ’s thigh and looked up at the man who had appeared at their table. Of course she wouldn’t have heard him approach. The band was playing at an earsplitting level and the guys surrounding the side bar were laughing just as loud, still she jumped a little at the sound of his voice.

“Your credit card. It’s on the house.” The man held a gold card between his long fingers and smiled.

“Cool.” Russ jostled in the seat next her, indicating that she should move.

Russ’s bounce to get out of the booth rocked her body from side to side on the springy cushion, but she remained otherwise motionless. Her gaze locked with that of the man in front of them.

He was as out of place as she was in the bar. Among a crowd of button down cotton shirts and jeans, he wore an olive green suit that fit his lean body like it had been sewn into place. He was the first man she noticed all night because stood with a wide stance of absolute confidence not some imagined, alcohol-induced swagger. And an unfettered smile stretched her own lips upward.

“Thanks” She managed to take the card from his hand and shove it into what she hoped was her purse. “We appreciate it.”

It wasn’t that he was strikingly handsome – his brows were too thick and dark for his parchment colored face, his chin ended in a point and his smile revealed incisors that appeared sharper than normal. It was his eyes that held her in place. Looking into the dark orbs rimmed in a flaming gold was like looking into a pond in the moonlight – playful beams of light mingled in the shadows creating something beautiful and slightly dangerous. Her heart skipped a beat then two then three as she searched the depths of his eyes for her reflection in them.

For a moment she thought he sought the same. That was until he spoke again.

“Management hopes you have enjoyed your evening but you are being asked to find entertainment elsewhere.” His voice was deep and smooth, devoid of the Texas twang she encountered in the small town, like it was meant to be heard accompanied by a saxophone. She could have listened to him talk all night.

Only if he hadn’t just told her to get out.

“What?” Ada gulped the last of her now tepid beer, trying to find relief from the heat that overtook her body with the speed of a forest fire. Asking her to leave or not the man was quietly but deftly triggering her libido. “Wh-why?”

He raked his long fingers through his midnight black hair which hung in a straight line inches from his shoulders and groaned.

Ummm

She could also bear to hear that deep throated sound all night. Of course it would be better if her hands were twisted into his silky looking hair and her naked body was writhing beneath his.

Shit, had it been so long since she’d been with a man that good grooming and a sexy voice had her body humming a symphony? Maybe.

And just maybe she imagined the slight rock of his body backward and the gentle purse of his lips as if he were following her thoughts down the same licentious path.

Late January 2014 Update

Late January 2014 Update

I’ve promised myself that I’m going to be on track this year for writing. And I’m already off to a bad start.

The monthly update is late!

031859083-woman-call-lying-beside-manIn January, I started work on my first paranormal romance, a novella, tentatively entitled The Scent of a Witch. It has gotten some good feedback from my beta readers. Now, I’m working to get it wrapped up to send to an editor before I submit to a publisher.

I’m a little hesitant to release something different. I’m a new writer and I’ve only written contemporary romances to date, so how will this be received? I don’t know, but why not start my year with some excitement?

I’ve written a story I enjoy with the elements I like in the paranormal romances.

The heroine: Ada Trevors, professor of anthropology, is spending her summer in the canyons of West Texas searching for the truth behind the Ap-Muea legend. Stories of a man who can change into a puma have been told for centuries in the region and she has reason to believe that they based partially in fact.

The hero: Ewan Hathorn is Ka’lai. He reigns as the chief magistrate of the five clans of the Ap-Muea who roam the canyons. As the Ka’lais before him have done, he must protect their way of life and keep their existence secret even if it means silencing a beautiful woman.

The setting: The canyons of West Texas – second only in size to the Grand Canyon.

yay-10013652The puma: I had fun researching this animal. A few quick facts for you – Pumas, cougars, mountain lion and panthers are all names for the same animal. The Cherokee held the puma as a sacred. The Apache held that the puma’s wail meant death. Pumas screech and hiss instead of roaring. Males often spit at each other. They are primarily solitary animals.

The language: This was great. I got to play around with developing an Ap-Muea language. Shortly, you’ll learn what Najuo jina lako means.

And the witch? Well that’s a secret.

What Brings You to the Blog?

For November there was not a lot of posting going on. I was busy with NaNoWriMo. (Which I finished! See the badge below.)

2013-Winner-Square-Button

So what kept readers visiting the page – the great authors who stopped in to share their work and these insightful search engine terms:

  • erotic short stories – You’ll find some great authors on this site!
  • any fiction fanfiction authors out there that writes interracial romance stories /african american male caucasian woman – Michel Prince has a great story called Silly Girl
  • male romance authors - Post by Stacy Deanne
  • interracial multicultural romance book site – There’s plenty of that on here.
  • read after party by vallory vance – Thank you!
  • shifter romance – Just had Elodie Parkes and Kassanna on the blog.
  • هارد سكس (I wish I knew what this meant!)
  • sexy boyfrend tag! - Kevin Miller :)
  • dragons ward by leteisha ward – LeTeisha Newton stopped in to chat.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be lining up guests and promise to be back sharing my writing neurosis with you on a regular basis!

Happy Reading and Writing,

~Val