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

Spotlight on Witch Way to Love

wwtl1mWhen Breena McCall goes to find her wayward wand, the last thing she expects to find is the man destined to be hers. Instant attraction only goes so far, especially when her chosen one acts like someone pissed in his kibble.

Wolf Shifter Cade Milcom doesn’t understand the sudden urge to bend the witch over and take her every way imaginable. She’s sassy, sarcastic, and gets on his nerves from the beginning. And yet, he finds himself answering the distress call when she gets herself into trouble.

An accidental mating and a demon bent on blackmail make for an interesting few days, but it’s nothing Breena can’t handle. Maybe.

 EXCERPT

Lightning skittered across the sky, the brilliant flashes lighting up everything around her. Thunder boomed overhead, shaking the earth beneath her feet. The high-powered winds whipped her long, red hair around her head and made her fight for purchase on the pavement. It was a bad night out, for witches and mortals alike. If only she hadn’t lost her damn wand! What was a witch without her wand? Damn near mortal, that’s what. The heavens were going to open up at any moment and she would be drenched. Taking a witch’s wand was as good as stealing her powers. No, she didn’t need the wand to create magick, but if it wasn’t in her possession, her powers sort of…fizzled and died out.

Her high-heeled sandals were a poor choice of footwear at the moment, as she tottered down the sidewalk, following the beacon of light in the distance. She’d cast a locator spell in hopes of finding her wayward wand. She wasn’t certain if it had been appropriated by someone, or had merely wandered off, kind of like her broom had done the month before. Anyone who thought a wand was an inanimate object was a fool. It had a life force of its own. Otherwise, it would just be a piece of wood with pretty carvings.

The beam of light shooting into the sky started to flicker, and she worried it would sputter out completely. She could tell it was in the area the residents of Mayfair Heights called “the jungle.” Only shape-shifters lived in that part of town. Despite the ominous clouds in the sky, she knew there was a full moon tonight. She just had to hope whoever had taken the wand, or the lucky person her wand had chosen as its guardian, was in residence. It would be just her luck that the furball would be out on a run, even if the weather did leave a lot to be desired.

With the wind buffeting her small body, she felt like she was fighting an uphill battle, and wondered if she’d ever reach her destination. If her powers weren’t on the fritz, she could just translocate to wherever she needed to go. But, of course, on the worst night they’d had in months, she was stuck traveling on foot. She couldn’t even use her broom until she was at full power again. The damn thing refused to work. She completely blamed the tree sprite, the one who had gifted her with the branch used to carve the broom handle. It had obviously imbued some of its stubbornness into her broom.

Breena rounded another corner and sighed in relief. The home she sought was half a block away and lit up like the fourth of July, thanks to her little spell. She thanked the goddess that it had worked so well, or at all, for that matter. She couldn’t imagine having to find her wand the old-fashioned way, or having to hire someone else to cast the spell for her. How embarrassing! It was bad enough that things like this kept happening to her, but if the spell-casters guild caught wind of it, they’d pull her license to practice for sure.

As she neared the home, she took in the little details, like the gargoyles standing guard at the edges of the roof. She had no doubt they were the real thing and gave them a little wave. The red door stood out in stark contrast against the gray and black home, beckoning her closer. She stepped under the portico just as the rain began to beat down, a deluge really, and she thanked the goddess she hadn’t been standing out in the open just then.

She lifted her fist and knocked on the door, listening for any sounds of life within. No answer. She banged again, this time a little harder. The light from her spell spluttered and blinked out, leaving her standing in the dark. The fact that there were no lights on in the home, nor on the porch, told her that her query was probably out running wild, but she refused to give up.

Breena’s tiny fist pounded on the door for the third time. Grumbling under her breath, she gave the wood a good, hard kick, wincing as her toes met the unforgiving surface. She had just turned, and was about to leave, when the door flew open.

“Do you have any idea what time it is?” growled a deep voice, a voice that zinged through her and made all of her lady parts take notice.

She spun around with a snappy retort on the tip of her tongue, but it died the moment she was faced with six-foot-six of yummy goodness. A button-down shirt hung open, leaving his scrumptious muscular chest in full view. Her gaze dipped down over six pack abs and she licked her lips, wanting to run her tongue over each and every inch of him.

“I’m, uh, looking for my wand,” she stuttered lamely, her brain having been fried by his hotness.

He smirked. “Oh, I have a wand for you all right, but I don’t think it’s the one you came looking for.”

 

Buy Links

ARe – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-witchwaytolove-1557640-140.html

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Witch-Way-Love-Spell-Book-ebook/dp/B00LB8ZFD2

Evernight Publishing – http://www.evernightpublishing.com/witch-way-to-love-by-jessica-coulter-smith/

Sidelined…But Still Going

This weekend, I was going to make my first author appearance at Beautiful Trouble Publishing’s Eat and Greet. I was so excited. Since I’m currently unemployed, I had to make cuts to my advertising budget but was able to wrangle books to sell along with bookmarks for giveaways. I had my rental car and was on my way to Target to pick up miniature body sprays to attach to the bookmarks.

And I got hit by a large truck…

Apparently after the accident I stepped out of my car and fainted in the parking lot of Wendy’s. When the EMTs arrived and asked me how I was doing. I responded – I’m writing a book about tights. Different kinds of tights.

Later that evening, I begged my husband to drive me to Austin since the ER docs said that I had a concussion and shouldn’t drive. He refused and yes I will hold this against him for the rest of his life. He seems okay with this.

Anyway, I missed my first publicized event. I’m sore and I’m afraid to drive. However, there is a the gleam from a silver lining sparkling through my clouds.

anawcoverA short story that I penned two years ago has found at least two new fans. I checked my Amazon stats today and found this for A Night at the Wesley:

4.0 out of 5 stars Short and hot June 22, 2014
By dncc26
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I didn’t know where this story was taking me, but I liked it. Old crushes are the best. It’s short but good. Could be turned into a longer story.
5.0 out of 5 stars Night with who? June 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First I would like to have a longer story. I liked this book. It needed to be longer. Romance is romance and this story reminds you that old flames can come back into your life. This one I’m going to say worked out. Again I WOULD LIKE TO SEE LONGER ENDINGS.
Sometimes I think I’m the only one who likes short stories, but I’m so appreciative of those who want a novel to give me a shot. Wow! And Wow! What a way to make a terrible weekend bearable.

Sympathetic Heroine or Nah?

Blogging over at the LLs today!

I’m polishing a novella for submission. Yes, I’ve been polishing it way beyond what should be needed for a 20,000 word piece but that’s me.

And I’ve got another one of those heroines who may not be easy to like. I don’t set out to create them they just speak to me.

There’s Amber Grayson Miller, a strong personality who likes to be in control. A reader said that Kevin should have dumped her in the first novella. Eek!

Then there’s Darcey St. Claire Guidry, a fashionista with panic attacks. Darcey’s been told to simply get over her PTSD. I think you know what the Psychology major in me says about that.

Anyhoo, I’ve got another one.

Young black woman wearing dress and sun hat, afro hairstyleTara Kirkland, the other woman. Does it matter that she didn’t know her lover was married? Should she have donned her detective hat when a prospective client asked her out to dinner?

Hmmm, it’s…

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Publishing Snafu – Just Between Us

I write romance as Vallory Vance.

I write erotica as Cecile Duval.

So this weekend, while under the influence of a muscle relaxer, the two worlds collided. Just Between Us, an erotic flash fiction piece. was published under the name of Vallory Vance. This is my public apology for anyone who picked up the work looking for a romantic HEA because you aren’t going to get one.

Just Between Us is the story of three roommates who become intimately acquainted one sunny afternoon. They don’t fall in love, at least not in this story. It is a story of exploration not only sexual but intellectual. As one of the heroes asks the heroine, “What did you expect a man who enjoyed watching his wife being pleasured to look like?”

Psychology graduate student, Mara Brighton, gets her answer and hopefully erotica readers will get theirs as well.

Now if you are interested, Just Between Us is available FREE from Smashwords with the coupon code, KR79L, until tomorrow!

Beautiful woman making a hushing gestureEve Calloway, a grad student in the study of human sexual behavior, has a paper to complete. And in all of the porno flicks she’d viewed there was nothing that made her want to take part in any of the acts she’d watched.
That was until one of her roommates caught her masturbating and the other eased his hands up her quivering thighs. Then research took on a whole new meaning.

Just Saying I Love You

Today, I’m posting over at Luscious Literaries. Enjoy your Saturday!

Ti voglio bene.

It’s Italian and if you type it into Google Translate, you’ll be given – I love you. Literally it translates as I want well for you. The special meaning behind it is – regardless of me I want the best for you. That’s love isn’t it? But so much prettier to say it in Italian.

I wanted that feeling for my latest release, Scent of a Woman.

In my first paranormal romance, I got the opportunity to invent my own language, Ap-Muen – spoken by the puma-shifters who reside in the small town of Haziel, TX. It is a mixture of my imagination and base words from the Apache language. I even came up with a lexicon of about fifteen words..

And I had to give them their own version of ti voglio bene.

As Ewan Hathorn, the Kai’lai of the Ap-Muea, explains to…

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Phantom Fears – An Evernight Free Read

Phantom Fears

phantom-fears-freeAs a private investigator with a werewolf girlfriend, Shannon Ryan is used to the unusual. But her latest case has even level-headed Shannon questioning reality. Joyce Bonner swears her daughter is being haunted by a poltergeist. Charlotte Bonner swears she’s not. Shannon has one night to uncover the facts behind the supposed supernatural phenomena. Between an over-enthusiastic ghost-hunter and her own scepticism, can she get to the truth?

Available from

http://www.evernightpublishing.com

http://www.allromanceebooks.com

Excerpt

Charlotte moaned again, mumbling something incoherent and probably rude. She sat up slowly, as if she was moving through tar. “Whassup? S’not time for school.”

“There was a power cut,” I said in explanation. “We just wanted to make sure you were alright.”

“I’m fine,” she said irritably. “Just wanna sleep.”

Esther fussed around her like a mother hen, fiddling with the duvet and muttering about hormones. I was about to tell the au pair to leave Charlotte be when the screaming started.

I’m not ashamed to admit, I jumped. Esther did too, clutching at the bedpost for support. Charlotte just groaned “What the fuck?” and buried herself under her duvet. I wished I felt so apathetic. It was a woman’s scream, shrill and eerie, and once again I was plunged back into the shadows of Paris. I didn’t want Ayla’s night vision or sense of smell anymore; I just wanted Ayla.

I sucked in a deep breath and reminded myself forcefully that there was no such thing as ghosts. “We should go find out what that is,” I said, impressed at how calm I sounded. Esther gripped my hand as we left Charlotte’s bedroom and I squeezed her fingers as I would Ayla’s, missing the warmth and reassurance of Ayla’s firm grip.

Taiki was running down the hall when we came out, a torch in hand. “How amazing is this? Actual manifestation! I can’t wait to see the data!”

I snatched the torch from him since he was waving it around like a lunatic. The beam wasn’t very bright, but I felt better with a light in my hand. The sound of clanking blended in with the screams now, like some old brass machine full of rusty gears. I gritted my teeth, hating the sound. “Where’s Joyce?” I asked Taiki.

“In the kitchen. Where’s Charlotte?”

“In her room, trying to sleep through this racket.” I shone the torch around the hall, not sure what I expected to see. My chest was tight with adrenaline, but the longer I stood here listening to the awful noise, the less nervous I felt. Noise was all it was. No slime dripping down the walls, no apparitions or flying objects. It was surprisingly anti-climactic and I just wanted it to stop. That meant finding out where it came from.

Without waiting for the others, I ran down to the kitchen, calling Joyce’s name. She sat at the kitchen table, head in her hands. I touched her shoulder lightly and she jumped, slapping my hand away.

“Shannon! Oh goodness, I’m sorry. I just…my nerves…I can’t take much more of this.”

“Then let’s stop it,” I said. The noise wasn’t as loud down here, although I still had to raise my voice to be heard. “Let’s get the lights back on, okay? Where’s the circuit board?”

“In the basement.”

Of course it was. What horror film scenario was complete without a trip to the basement in the dark? “Right, show me the way then.”

***About the Author***

My first love as a writer is urban fantasy, quickly followed by werewolf myth and legend. The Urban Wolf series lets me combine the two and put my own spin on them – what more could a girl want? When I’m not writing, I’m probably creating my own perfumes, reading, watching wacky documentaries and/or drinking fancy tea.

Find me online:

Blog – http://naomiclarkwrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/naomi_jay

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/naomijclark

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)

Sunday Chat with Damon and Tristan

biterecluse1mTwo years ago while Tristan and his boyfriend were enjoying some privacy, a recluse demon attacked them and his lover paid the ultimate price. Since that day, Tristan has dedicated himself to finding the demon. After all, an eye for an eye. All evidence points to a recluse named Damon.Like all spider demons Damon knows about Tristan’s mission and is forced to stay on the move. But fate has a wicked sense of humor and they must team up to fight the real killer. But when she’s closer than Tristan expected, his and Damon’s relationship is tested before it can begin.

Excerpt:
He placed his hands on his hips. “I need to see. I need all the pieces of the puzzle.”Kill me now, God. “I have a sore spot. It started hurting shortly after Marcus died. I’ve always meant to go to the doctor, but looking for Marcus’ killer became priority.”

“Okay. Well, where is it?”

Please God, kill me now. Not only did I not want to drop trou, but in front of a demon? More importantly, in front of Damon, and those magnificent eyes, gorgeous body, and desirable lips? How in Jesus’ name I became attracted to him blew my mind. For that matter, when? Completely out of left field. It hit me suddenly. We were driving, talking, at the mountain, and suddenly I felt it. A passion I’d forsaken years ago. Yet, here I was, my cheeks reddening. Fuck it. I sighed, stood up and began unbuckling my belt. I slid my pants down.

Damon backed up a few feet. “Umm, what are you doing?”

“The bite is on my thigh.” I lifted my boxers to just the bottom of my butt cheek. “My upper thigh.”

Damon gazed over me skeptically before kneeling down in front of me. I felt his warm fingertips touch my skin. To my surprise, I had to do everything in my power to stop from shivering. The way his touch felt, his fingers dancing over that sensitive spot… It normally hurt, but Damon was so gentle with me that it caused a different reaction. A different, dangerous reaction.

I glanced behind me. Damon looked up, his gorgeous silvery eyes gleaming with…lust? No, that couldn’t be it. But I thought it was. I drank in his gaze, the power behind those eyes. I had the urge to push him on the bed and allow our feet to entwine as we spent hours in bed together. Instead I pulled up my pants. Much smarter move.

“What do you think?” I asked.

He stared at me, a look of confusion crossing his face before he smiled and moved back to his seat. “Definitely recluse. I’d say my sister bit you.”

My skin burned from his touch. I wanted to, desired more than anything, to ask him to touch me again. I peered at him from below my lashes. He was doing the same. Fuck it. I rushed over to his chair and placed my lips upon his, claiming his mouth. The way he slipped his tongue past the barrier made my cock harden. I did the same, and our tongues danced with one another’s. He was warm, inviting, and didn’t hold back. My breath became harsh as I stilled, afraid of what I had just done.

I quickly pulled away and ran for the bathroom. Once inside I closed the door and pressed my body against it, hoping that if Damon came knocking, he couldn’t get in.

I knew I stunk. Plus I had a massive erection in my jeans. I turned on the water of the shower and got it to a nice temperature. After undressing, I stepped beneath the spray.

Click here for a chance to win in a Rafflecopter giveaway!
Buy Links:
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Meet Damon and Tristan from Bite of the Recluse
What was your first reaction when you saw each other?
Damon: I thought: “Fuck, he found me. I’m so dead. Hope they still have my bed made in Hell for when I return. In pieces.”
Tristan: I was happy to see him, but not in a good way for him. Since I had been under the impression that Damon killed my lover, I saw those silver eyes and thought pay day had finally come.
 
When did you first become physically attracted?
Damon: I was attracted at the get go. Right when we exchanged glances. Couldn’t say anything though. Trying to force back a massive hard on was difficult, even if I knew what he was there for. To send me straight back to Hell.
Tristan: I have no idea. It had been all business between us, and then it hit me how gorgeous he was. Those eyes, that soft expression…I was hooked as soon as I got my head out of my ass.
 
What physical quality to you like best?
Damon: I really like Tristan’s ass. Gorgeous in his stone-washed blue jeans.
Tristan: Have you seen Damon’s cock? I guess not, since he doesn’t whip it out every chance he gets, but it’s magnificent. The curve, the head, just mouth watering.
What physical quality do you like least?
Damon: His knees. They’re just bulky and kind of dry-looking.
Tristan: His split ends. Damon is in need of a haircut.
 
A secret?
Damon: Secrets. Uh, do I have a lot. But the biggest secret of all is that a demon’s time on earth isn’t infinite. We are from Hell, many of us are sent for reasons, and there are only two situations in which a demon is sent back to hell. Death or because the big man down under has called us back. I fear my time may be up soon and I don’t dare tell Tristan.
Tristan: Even though Damon and I have a blast, I’m afraid to let go of my ex, Marcus. I truly loved him and am afraid that I can never give my heart over to Damon. And I hate wearing socks because my feet get claustrophobic.

 

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!!!