Tuesday, February 13, 2018

New Release: Chasing Ordinary by Pandora Spocks

Just in time for February 14th, romance queen Pandora Spocks is releasing her latest novel, Chasing Ordinary.  I had the pleasure of beta reading this sweet treat, and I could not have enjoyed it more.  In this season of my life, a little escapism was just what the doctor ordered.  As usual, Spocks brings the heat, but a more vanilla flavor this time around.  If you haven't tried her yet because you're not into the BDSM romance genre, this is a good one to try.  At $0.99 today, you don't want to pass this up.  After all, it isn't Valentine's Day without some sugar.

Here is the blurb:

Red-haired Petey Cavanaugh is a sculptor who welds steel and glass creations. A young widow, she lives on her in-laws’ sheep ranch in Montana where she helps out during the day, working on her art at night.

Looking to raise money to expand the ranch’s business, she gratefully accepts her art school roommate’s offer of a gallery show in Manhattan. It’s been years since she was in the city, and she’s happy to visit her old friend.

Nik is in New York on business. He’s been traveling for nearly a month, enduring endless meetings, attending obligatory dinners, and battling jet-lag. On his way to yet another business dinner, his world collides with Petey's one rainy Manhattan night.

Their mutual attraction is immediate, but Nik’s skeptical. Could it possibly be that this gorgeous, enchanting artist has no idea that he’s Europe’s most eligible prince?

Spending time with Petey is Nik’s first-ever taste of ordinary. What will happen when she finds out the truth?

Click here to meet Prince Charming.  Happy reading!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Hexborn: the Trailer

I enjoy the process of making book trailers.  They're kind of glorified slideshows, at least for those of us without a gazillion dollars to set aside for marketing.  But they give me the chance to use images and words to provide a little taste of the plot, character, and themes of my work.  It's fun trying to distill things down to run in about a minute.

I usually do mine in first person, even though my books are all written in third person.  I like giving the main character a chance to speak for herself, and it ensures that the trailer isn't just a repeat of the book blurb. 

Take a look at the trailer, and let me know what you think.  And, of course, don't forget to drop by Kindle Scout to nominate Hexborn for publication.  Remember, if you nominate a book that gets chosen. you will automatically receive a free copy of the e-book ahead of the release.

Friday, February 9, 2018

A new adventure: Kindle Scout

I'm excited to tell you that my novel Hexborn is up for nominations on Kindle Scout!  What is Kindle Scout?  Basically, it is a process that Amazon's in-house publishing imprint uses to choose what books to publish.  (Don't confuse this with Kindle Direct Publishing, which is what we use to self-publish e-books.)  Their decision-making process is a little mysterious, but their editors assess writing quality and marketability along with the amount of support an author is able to drum up in nominations.  You can click here for more details about the program straight from Kindle Scout.

How do you nominate?   It's easy.  You can click my link and see my blurb, a sample of the book, and some additional information about me and my writing process.  Then you click "Nominate."  The site will prompt you to enter your normal Amazon login and password.

You can only nominate three books at a time.  When one campaign you've chosen to support ends, it frees up one of your slots. 

Once my 30-day campaign is complete and Amazon makes its decision, you'll get an email informing you whether Hexborn was chosen or not.  If it is chosen, Amazon will provide me with some editorial and marketing support much like other publishers, and everyone who nominates it will receive a free copy two weeks before the official publication date.  How cool is that?  If it isn't chosen, I'll launch it myself and let you know how you can get a copy.

Why am I taking a shot at Kindle Scout?  It is very hard for an indie author to gain traction in the current market.  I think Hexborn is a terrific book, and I don't want it to fall into a black hole when it is released.  I feel that Scout is an exciting opportunity for me to break through and gain some visibility.  I hope you'll support me in this new adventure by nominating Hexborn and sharing my campaign with your friends who enjoy reading.  Thank you so much, and happy scouting!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Kindle Scout for Beginners

Kindle Scout is a fun way to get to know some unknown authors and to influence the direction of publishing.  You get to taste some new books, find some you like, and nominate them for publication.  If a book you nominate gets chosen, you receive a free copy of the e-book in advance of publication.  Pretty cool, right?  Here are some tips if you've never nominated a book before.

I hope you'll take a moment to give my campaign for Hexborn some support.  Thanks so much, and happy Scouting!

Judging a book by its cover: Hexborn

It's finally time to show off my new book: Hexborn, a "sword and sorcery" fantasy novel set in the imaginary country of Bryn.  Just as with the November Snow series, the main character is a strong young woman in a dangerous world.  And just as November was the heart of my vampire series, Shiloh is the heart of this new story.

I knew that Hexborn was going to be special before I even finished writing it.  I knew I needed to put some thought and money into the cover in order to give it the best chance of succeeding.  So, I turned to the indie guru Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi to do the cover design.  She is amazing-- the perfect combination of creativity, professionalism, and, occasionally, brutal honesty. I am thrilled with what she and her team put together.  I think it will give me a good shot in my Kindle Scout campaign.  (Don't forget to vote and spread the word!)

I knew that I wanted my protagonist, fifteen-year-old Shiloh, to dominate the cover.  This is her story, after all.  I wanted to include the detail that she covers her head for religious reasons.  I thought that the hood would also help convey the epic fantasy genre a bit.

One detail that was particularly crucial to me was her hair and eye color.  In the book, you learn that hair and eyes of unnatural colors are signs that a child was exposed to too much dark magic in the womb.  Such children are called “hexborn” and suffer a kind of chronic illness.  The condition is highly stigmatized in their society, and nearly impossible to hide.  Living as an outcast obviously has a major impact on Shiloh’s development as a person, so I wanted her hexborn status depicted on the cover, along with her strength and determination.  My designer did a fabulous job retouching the photo to match Shiloh’s description from the story.

The perfect choice of frame and the title font help complete the magical/fantasy feeling:

What do you think of the cover?  What are some of your fave fantasy covers?  Please don't forget to pop over to Kindle Scout to give Hexborn a nomination!  Many thanks, and happy reading.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Gracie Bradford, RRBC Spotlight Author

I'm happy to welcome to the blog today up-and-coming author and Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author Gracie Bradford.

This is the second book in her Lady Bird Series of children's books.

Gracie writes about children who are overcoming challenges and obstacles in their young lives. She believes that Pet Therapy plays a critical role in the healing process. I am delighted to share her story about some of the pitfalls she faced as she begins her writing journey.

If you attended college, you had specific courses that were mandatory. One of the mandatory courses in healthcare is Medical Terminology. You learn acronyms and abbreviations related to the human anatomy. When an employee first enters the federal workforce, as Gracie did, it is like entering a foreign country. Gracie tells me when she decided to write; no one told her that she needs to learn Writer’s Terminology as she had to learn in the healthcare profession. After realizing that she did not know what most people were talking about in the publishing world, she decided to go to Publishing University 101. Then she searched the internet for a book club and found Rave Review Book Club, her life line. She registered for many writing webinars and conferences.

Here is her running list of abbreviations that she calls ALPHABET SOUP OF PUBLISHING and has found useful as she grows in her writing journey.

ARC – Advanced Reader Copies
ASN – Advanced Ship Notices
BISAC – Book Industry Standards and Communications
CIP – Cataloging-in-Publication
CMYK – Four inks (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black)
CRA – Camera-Ready Art
CSR – Customer Service Representatives
DOI – Digital Object Identifier
DRM – Digital Rights Management
EAN – European Article Number
EPS – Encapsulated Post Script
Epub – The universal open-source file format for digital books
FOB – Freight on Board
GIF – Graphics Interchange Format
ISBN – International Standard Book Number
ISSN – International Standard Serial Number
JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group
LTL – Less than Truckload
OOP – Out of Print
OS – Out of Stock
PC – Page Count
PCN – Pre-assigned Control Number
PDF – Portable Document File
PMS – Pantone Matching System (codes)
POD – Print on Demand
PPI – Pages Per Inch
QR Code – Quick Response
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
TIFF – Tagged Image File Format
UPC – Universal Product Code

Now, isn't that handy?

Expect to see the 3rd book of the Lady Bird series late 2018, this one addressing Autism.

You can pick up a copy of any of Gracie’s current books here.

Like and follow this author through the social media platforms below:

Thanks for stopping by, and happy reading!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

New November Snow Covers

You may have noticed the little makeover I've given my November Snow series of paranormal fantasy novels.  Thanks to Eeva Lancaster over at The Book Khaleesi, my favorite doomed psychic has a new look for the new year.

I just love the colors on this one!  There is an innocence about it, which seems appropriate as November enters a new and dangerous world.  It also has a bit of a romantic feel, which makes sense to me because there is something very seductive about the supernatural powers and individuals she encounters in Book 1.

This one communicates heat and danger as November copes with all the changes to her existence.  I love how the background reflects the Gothic feel of the church where she hides at the start of the book, and the way it looks like she is heading into danger.

I love the regal power this one communicates, as November strides into danger with her head held high.  The details of the scepter and the trees correspond so well to the story.

All in all, I'm pretty thrilled with the new look.  Hopefully a few new readers will be enticed to leap into the story.  Happy reading!