Friday, December 26, 2014

Win Free Books and Gift Cards!

This is the last week of the GIVEAWAY for KNIGHT IN HIGHLAND ARMOR! We're not far off the goal of 500 pre-orders.

The giveaway increases significantly at 500:

At 500 pre-orders and above:
  • $100 VISA Gift Card, 
  • 6 $5 Amazon Gift Cards 
  • 5 signed print copies of KNIGHT IN HIGHLAND ARMOR!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Winter Warm-Up Blog Hop and GIVEAWAYS!

Woo Hoo! It's winter warm-up time with the Winter Warm-up Blog Hop! I hope you have lots of hot chocolate, warm noses, and fun plans for the holidays!

A lot of things are happening on my end. First up, a new release! The second in my two-book Roman/Pict Series, CELTIC MAID came out December 18th. I love the cover of this one!


Secondly, my yet-to-be-published novel, A HIGHLAND KNIGHT'S DESIRE is up for a publishing contract in the Kindle Scout program, and I NEED YOUR NOMINATION (please). My giveaways in honor of the Winter Warm-Up Blog Hop area signed ARC copy of KNIGHT IN HIGHLAND ARMOR, which releases January 1st, and a $5 Amazon gift card.


All you need to do is nominate A HIGHLAND KNIGHT'S DESIRE for the Kindle Scout Program and or Tweet about it!


My Hops with Hearts Giveaway: ARC Copy of Knight in Highland Armor and a $5 Amazon Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Don't forget the Winter Warm-Up Giveaway! The grand prize is a $75 Amazon gift certificate!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please visit other authors in the blog hop and the main hop site: www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com:

I'm also doing a giveaway for the release of Knight in Highland Armor. Pre-orders have already exceeded 200. When they hit 500, I'll give away a prepaid $100 VISA Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I'm Trying Amazon's Kindle Scout Program

Have you heard about the new Kindle Scout publishing program by Amazon? I chewed my nails before deciding to test the waters with Book 2 in the Highland Dynasty Series, A Highland Knight's Desire.

So how does it work? Amazon Kindle Scout website quotes: "Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing."

Once you submit your book to Kindle Scout, Amazon owns the rights to it for 45 days. They put up an excerpt, bio and questions for the author as well, but the author agrees not to publish the book until the 45 day period is up...unless it is selected for a publishing contract. If a contract is awarded (as of yesterday no romance contracts have yet to be selected), Amazon gains the rights to the e-book, audio book and e-foreign rights for five years. They in turn agree to promote the author's book on any and all platforms they choose. Astonishingly, the author retains the print rights. Read more about the program details here. The Kindle Scout Program is open to the genres of Romance, Mystery & Thriller and Science Fiction/Fantasy.

During the 45 day period, the author notifies their friends and fans about the campaign and asks them to nominate said book.

PLEASE HELP ME BY NOMINATING A HIGHLAND KNIGHT'S DESIRE! Click the link to see the blurb and excerpt on Kindle Scout!


Heartfelt thanks and blessings to anyone who chooses to participate!

Return of the Highland Laird is FREE on Amazon through December 2nd.

Also, I'm running a Rafflecopter with tons of GIVEAWAYS for the release of Knight in Highland Armor. As of today, pre-orders have almost reached 200! I'd love to give away the $100 VISA card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 28, 2014

Return of the Highland Laird is Free on Amazon

I'm excited to announce that Return of the Highland Laird, A Highland Force Novella is free on Amazon through December 2nd! Click the picture to get your copy now...


Monday, November 17, 2014

12 Lords A Leapin' Author Hop

Welcome to my blog! I'm very excited to be a part of the 12 Lords A Leapin' Author Hop! While you're here, scroll down to the bottom of this post and enter my GIVEAWAY Rafflecopter!


Calum on the cover!
My hero's name is Calum MacLeod from CAPTURED BY THE PIRATE LAIRD. Though forced to turn to piracy, Calum is an honorable man. Nothing will stop him from providing for his clan. And after a particularly bad year, he has no option but to plunder an English ship. The only thing Calum doesn't count on is finding a stunning English lass when he kicks in her stateroom door...



OFFICIAL HOP RULES


Here's the cover of the kick-ass Medieval Romance Calendar!
Hop on over and visit the participating authors and remember to enter the contest on Elizabeth Rose's website:

1) Elizabeth Rose                        2) Laurel O’Donnell
3) Kathryn Le Veque                   4) Tanya Anne Crosby
5) Anna Markland                        6) Elysa Hendricks
7) Suzan Tisdale                          8) Amy Jarecki
9) Eliza Knight                            10) Denise Domning
11) Kris Kennedy                        12)  Lana Williams


While you're here, I'd like to tell you about my upcoming January 1st release, KNIGHT IN HIGHLAND ARMOR. I'm running a Rafflecopter GIVEAWAY. The more pre-orders the book gets, the greater the prize (enter below)!


Here's the back cover copy:

Grieving from the death of his wife, Lord Colin Campbell listens to the cries of his newborn son whilst penning a missive to the king. With no marriage prospects, Colin petitions his majesty for help in finding a stepmother. Never again will he fall in love—the death of a woman brings more pain than losing a whole contingent of men on the battlefield.

Feisty, quick tongued and smart, Margaret Robinson is delighted when her father receives a messenger from the king…until she discovers what news he brings. In a sennight, she will wed the notorious Black Knight—her life is about to end.

Tension builds during the wedding and deteriorates from there…until an accident draws them together. Just when their love begins to blossom, a dire request arrives from the Pope. Colin must join the Crusades at once.

Their fragile love is forced to withstand the seductions of hell—Margaret tempted by a scoundrel laird—Colin courted by Satan himself. Aye, the war for Christendom could very well ruin their dreams forever.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out my website: AmyJarecki.com

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pre-Order Giveaway - KNIGHT IN HIGHLAND ARMOR

Want to win a $100 VISA Gift Card? Help me drive up the pre-orders of KNIGHT IN HIGHLAND ARMOR! See details below:

Click the link to pre-order on AMAZON


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Highland Force Boxed Set - New Cover

After trying the "e-reader" face boxed set, I resigned myself to going with the standard model. Interestingly, sales picked up after I changed the cover. I guess if you can't start a new trend, stick with the old! It's a great deal. $4.99 for three full-length novels and a novella.

Click on the cover to hop over to Amazon.com


Thursday, October 2, 2014

New Ancient Historical Romance!

Hot off the press: RESCUED BY THE CELTIC WARRIOR is out!

Though RESCUED BY THE CELTIC WARRIOR was not my first published historical romance, it was the first historical romance manuscript I wrote. I visited Hadrian's Wall in 1996 when I was studying in Edinburgh, and years later, that visit inspired me to write "Rescued", a Pict/Roman romance that took place during Barbarian Conspiracy (in 367 A.D.). I paid a visit to the Vindolanda ruins in 2013 to verify my facts, but so much is unknown about this time period--especially about the Picts.
    
Another interesting fact: after I wrote this story, I traced my family history back to the Picts. Dunpelder, the immense butte in East Lothian (now known as Traprain Law), was a Pict stronghold, and my ancestors lived there!
   
I hope everyone enjoys Taran and Valeria's story...it is fraught with danger in an ancient world.
Traprain Law--The Pict Stronghold of Dunpelder









Buy on Amazon


Blurb for Rescued by the Celtic Warrior:

Highborn and privileged, Valeria has never known life outside her father’s Roman fortress. But when Hadrian’s Wall falls, Valeria’s world shatters.

Ripped from her bed, she’s captured by savages. Terrified, she prays her betrothed will mount a rescue. But it is the enemy, a Pict with Celtic tattoos and hair of fire who wields his sword and fights for her freedom.

When she seeks refuge in the warrior’s stronghold, the Picts eye her with distrust and force her to earn her keep as a commoner. But the longer Valeria remains, the more agonizing it becomes to conceal her burning love for the Celtic warrior.

Vindolanda Site

Vindolanda ruins


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Captured by the Pirate Laird Now In Audio!

My first audio book is live! I hired Paul Woodson to narrate Captured by the Pirate Laird, and he delivered an amazing performance! I'm very excited about this new venture into audio books. Narrator, Brad Wills, is nearly finished with Beauty and the Barbarian, and I've hired a Scottish man to narrate Return of the Highland Laird.




Friday, September 19, 2014

Fall Into Romance Blog Hop!

Hey romance fans!

I'm participating in the Fall Into Romance Blog Hop and giving away a signed print copy of RETURN OF THE HIGHLAND LAIRD (rafflecopter below). Follow the hop on the Romance with Hearts Link:
http://www.hopswithheart.blogspot.com/

How many romance enthusiasts on this hop enjoy historical romance? As trends go, historical is experiencing a downturn at the moment, but it remains my favorite genre. When I was growing up, I loved history and often pictured myself living in the past. I loved to wander through antique shops and imagine myself living in the eras in which the antiques were made.

I'm often asked why I chose Scottish historical romance. Aside from my Scottish roots, I have to admit that I like a bit of action/adventure in my stories. There is nothing sexier than a rugged Highlander who can protect his woman with a giant claymore and dirk. And my Highlander romances are certainly filled with edge of your seat action and running for your lives.

Return of the Highland Laird blurb:
Wounded, battered and down on their luck, a violent storm embroils Lady Jane and Laird Alexander in an unlikely union deep in the woods of northern England. Both must hide their hideous pasts, both desperately need to find redemption. But before healing can begin, it is essential they learn to trust…and love.


To win an autographed copy of RETURN OF THE HIGHLAND LAIRD, A Highland Force Novella, please leave a comment and click on the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget to enter the Fall into Romance Blog Hop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cover Reveal! RESCUED BY THE CELTIC WARRIOR

I have two books soon to be published with Turquoise Morning Press: Rescued by the Celtic Warrior (Oct. 2nd release ) and Celtic Maid (Dec. 18th release). Last night I received the cover for Rescued!

I really enjoyed writing this book. It was my first foray into historical romance, and is a Roman/Pict story that takes place during the Roman occupation of Britannia. I wrote it in early 2012. After nearly three years, it's fun to see the book published.


And the back cover copy:

Highborn and privileged, Valeria has never known life outside her father’s Roman fortress. But when Hadrian’s Wall falls, Valeria’s world shatters.

Ripped from her bed, she’s captured by savages. Terrified, she prays her betrothed will mount a rescue. But it is the enemy, a Pict with Celtic tattoos and hair of fire who wields his sword and fights for her freedom.

When she seeks refuge in the warrior’s stronghold, the Picts eye her with distrust and force her to earn her keep as a commoner. But the longer Valeria remains, the more agonizing it becomes to conceal her burning love for the Celtic warrior.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Highland Force Boxed Set Now Available

Four sexy Highlander romances in one set for $4.99: 


Captured by the Pirate Laird ~ features a rugged Scottish warrior whose only care is the protection of his clan…until an English gentlewoman ignites in him a fevered desire so powerful, it threatens to ruin them all.

The Highland Henchman ~ The way Sir Bran’s eyes hunger for her ignites an internal fire Enya cannot quell. All her life she’s wanted adventure and excitement but now her every thought is consumed with the rugged Highlander.

Beauty and the Barbarian ~ Born with the mark of the devil, Merrin has been hidden on the Isle of Eilean Fladda for near twenty years. When a Highlander washes ashore with a musket ball in his back, her sheltered world shatters into tumult that could forever destroy them both.


Return of the Highland Laird, A Novella ~ Wounded, battered and down on their luck, a violent storm embroils a Lady Jane and Laird Alexander in an unlikely union deep in the woods of northern England. Both must hide their hideous pasts, both desperately need to find redemption. But before healing can begin, it is essential they learn to trust…and love.

Buy on Amazon
Buy on iTunes
Buy on Smashwords
Barnes and Noble & Kobo buy links coming

Friday, August 15, 2014

Official Launch Day August 16th

Join me in celebrating the official launch day of RETURN OF THE HIGHLAND LAIRD, August 16, 2014

Everyone's invited to join the FACEBOOK PARTY from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time from the comfort of your computer! There will be giveaways and special guest authors, and a whole lot of fun!


Buy on:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Congrats to the Beauty and the Barbarian Winners!

The BEAUTY AND THE BARBARIAN Rafflecopter has ended. Please joining me in congratulating the winners. They will each receive a signed print copy:

Veronica Boudreau
Linda Bass
Anna Gibson


Thanks to all who entered the contest! You're welcome to join the RETURN OF THE HIGHLAND LAIRD Facebook Party on August 16th. There will be many more prizes to win!

Preorder RETURN OF THE HIGHLAND LAIRD ON




Smashwords (if you have a kindle) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/456976

HAVE AN AWESOME DAY!


Monday, July 14, 2014

The Romance Novel Convention 2014

Awesome Friends at RNC
My fantastic friend,
Jen Greyson 

Saturday night I returned home from Las Vegas the second annual Romance Novel Convention. OMG, I had a few complaints, but I'll refrain from listing them. Yes, the conference needed organization, though I prefer to focus on all my positive takeaways:

  1. I attended several classes given by Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords. He was a wealth of information and presented ebook sales data sliced and diced in a myriad of ways. Here are some of my takeaway points from Mark:

    • Definitely use Smashwords pre-order option when setting up your books. You will have a greater chance of making the bestseller lists if people on the Smashwords platforms have signed up for your pre-order and all buy the book as soon as it goes live.
    • Download Mark's free book THE SECRETS TO EBOOK PUBLISHING SUCCESS
    • Back matter matters! Ensure you have a bio, list your books and your website, Facebook page and twitter handle.
    • Your books need an emotionally satisfying EXTREME!
    • Reader word of mouth is paramount!! Get this through book reviews and blog reviews.
    • Give one or more of your books away for free. Free books are presently being downloaded 39x more than paid books (though that number is declining).
    • MAXIMIZE AVAILABILITY AND AVOID EXCLUSIVITY!
    • Create an awesome cover image.
    • Publish another incredibly great book (and another).
    • Build a platform you can control (web site, blog, newsletter, FB, Twitter)
    • Pricing strategy is a lever for success. $3.99 seems to be the sweet spot!
    • New York releases books on TUESDAYS. DO NOT RELEASE A SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK ON A TUESDAY!
  1. In the audio book class, my biggest takeaway is that you there are times when the narrator needs to add "s/he thought" so the listener knows it's an internal thought rather than dialogue.
  2. In my Social Media class, the biggest takeaway is that you have 10 seconds to engage someone who clicks on your web site...otherwise they're gone.
  3. I taught a class on Writing Sexual Tension. It was awesome! I kept it fun and used volunteers to demonstrate body language. I think it helped me sell books at the book fair!
  4. I dressed up as a tiger for the costume party. I spent an hour on my make-up. It was kind of eccentric, but after that, everyone knew who I was. SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO TAKE A RISK!
  5. The book fair was awesome. I ran a special and a giveaway for people who signed up for my newsletter and had a lot of traffic at my table!
  6. BEST OF ALL? I GOT TO MEET AUTHORS AND READERS with whom I interact on social media. It is awesome to shake a hand or hug someone I've been following for months or years! 

With Kathryn Le Veque and Suzan Tisdale


There's still time to enter the Beauty and the Barbarian signed print copy giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Romance Weekly Blog Hop - How do you Choose Character Names?


I hope everyone had a great 4th!!! This week's questions are brought to us from Jeanne McDonald. Welcome to those who've hopped over here from Leslie Hachtel's blog http://lesliehachtelwriter.wordpress.com!

1. How did you go about choosing the names for your characters?

Since I write Scottish historical fiction, I predominantly use historical genealogy charts to select names, but then I also cite the caveat that all characters are a result of the authors imagination on the copyright page. I am presently working on a series where there are about six men named John, so to avoid confusion, I've used variations like Iain, Eion, and Sean. One of the supporting characters in my current WIP was John Stewart, Earl of Lorn...so I call him Lorn in the manuscript.

2. Where did the inspiration for your current book come from?

The remains of Brochel Castle on the Isle of Raasay
I've talked a lot about Beauty and the Barbarian, so I'll make mention of Return of the Highland Laird (A Novella), which will be released on August 15th: I had intended for the Highland Force Series to be a trilogy, but the books became popular quickly, and I decided to write a novella to cap the series off (at least for now). Ian, the hero in Beauty, has a brother, Alexander, and I wanted to tell his story. I am so familiar with the 16th Century world that I built on the Isle of Raasay, it's fun to spend time there. Who knows? there may be another Highland Force novel in the future *rubs hands and grins*

3. What methods do you use to ensure you have no plot holes (journal, storyboard, outline, editor, etc.)?

As I've mentioned before, I am a plotter and I use a spreadsheet to outline my plot. I massage my plot as I write. I also review the MS at 50 and 100 pages, and then again before I write the ending. I think doing a lot of my reviewing upfront helps avoid some of the common pitfalls that can plague writers when they are editing and realize something major doesn't make sense.

Next up on the hop, click on over to Kim Handysides' http://kimhandysides.com blog. Kim always has insightful and thought provoking answers!

~~~~~~

There's still time to enter the Beauty and the Barbarian signed print book giveaway! And I'd love to see you at the Return of the Highland Laird Cover Reveal on Facebook!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Romance Writers Weekly - Do You Ever Doubt Your Ability to Write?



First up, happy Canada Day to my northern friends! 

This week's Romance Weekly Blog Hop questions from the lovely Tessa Gray. 

1.   Do any characters you've written into your books remind you of yourself? Explain which ones and why.

Enya from The Highland Henchman reminds me a bit of myself. I've always been a bit of a maverick and pursued things I wanted with reckless abandon. She's me to an extreme. Don't let that sweet, innocent face sway you. Enya's sharp as a tack with killer instincts.

2.   Was there a teacher or mentor in your life who helped nurture your writing?

There have been many. In second grade I had a teacher who believed in me--though she gave me an A in creative spelling (LOL), another in fourth grade, a journalism teacher in high school, a creative writing teacher in college. Once I started down the path of writing fiction novels, I'd have to say Donald Maass and his Writing the Breakout Novel methods was pretty huge. I attended his week-long Breakout Novel Workshop in 2012, and that helped me immensely.

Also, Grace Burrowes (NYT & USA Bestselling regency author) helped me with a content edit of Captured by the Pirate Laird. Her guidance was invaluable. 

3. Every author has that moment when they doubt their ability to write. When that happens to you, how do you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and continue? What do you do to inspire YOURSELF?  

I wish this didn't happen, but it's hard not to crash, say, after you're hit between the eyes by a lousy review, or you're rejected for the 100th time. Not everyone is going to like your work, and the competition out there is fierce. The sooner an author realizes that, the better and I think being realistic makes it easier to cope.

To pull myself out of the doldrums, I sometimes shut down my internet, turn on JS Bach and immerse myself in work...or I read a book. Since I started writing full time, it's amazing how much less time I have to read aside from editing my own work or that of my critique partners. If Bach doesn't work, there's always wine!


Next up, hop on over to Carrie Elks http://carrieelks.com/blog/ to see how she answers these thought provoking questions!

~~~~~

Remember there's still time to be a part of the Beauty and the Barbarian giveaway! Three signed print copies are up for grabs! Enter the Rafflecopter below...




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beauty and the Barbarian Print Giveaway

To celebrate the successful launch of Beauty and the Barbarian, I'm giving away three signed print copies in addition to the Goodreads giveaway (above), so there are more opportunities to win! Just follow the rafflecopter below, join the Return of the Highland Laird cover reveal event on Facebook (and invite your friends), or tweet about it!


Beauty and the Barbarian back cover copy:

Born with the mark of the devil, Merrin has been hidden on the islet of Eilean Fladda for near twenty years. When the body of a Highlander washes ashore, the innocent lass presumes him dead. Brushing the hair from the rugged warrior’s face, her fingers connect with warm flesh. Warm.

Ian MacLeod wakes to a woman so radiant, he believes her an angel. But when the lass recoils from him, he fears she knows of his evil deeds. While he heals, Ian is stunned when he exposes her witch’s mark, yet he’s spellbound by Merrin’s allure. He’d do anything to erase his haunting past and earn her love.

But there’s a henchman after Ian’s head, and when that man learns the Highlander is still alive, the couple is forced to flee Merrin’s sheltered world. Fighting for survival, destiny demands they each face their demons, but doing so may forever ruin them both.

Excerpt from Beauty and the Barbarian:

Chapter One

  
Sprinting onto a thin strip of beach, Ian raced for the shore. Rain pelted his face as he skidded to a stop. Gasping for air, he sucked in deep breaths and peered through the dark night—north, then south. Thank God. A lone skiff sat askew, poorly camouflaged at the tree-line edge.
His side cramping from his frantic escape, he darted to the tiny boat with a pained hitch to his step. The deerhounds’ barks grew closer. If he hesitated, they’d be upon him in a blink of an eye.
Ian’s heart hammered his chest as he bore down on the skiff and shoved it into the angry swells. He jumped over the bow and snatched an oar. With every muscle, every sinew, he paddled against the surf and ignored his fatigue. A single oar made the boat fishtail, but there was no time to set them in their locks. Ian gritted his teeth and slammed the oar into the white swells in a hurried rhythm, side to side.
 Over the roar of the surf and the driving rain, dogs yelped in an excited frenzy. Men shouted. Ian didn’t turn around—he needed more distance. As sure as he breathed, they were ramming lead balls down their muskets. With luck, the rain had soaked their slow matches, rendering the guns useless.
 Ian sped his determined paddling and squinted through the pelting rain—across to his home, the Isle of Raasay. He hadn’t set foot there since he was four and ten, but the sight of the island enlivened him. He could barely make out the black outline of Dùn Caan, the flat-topped peak that forever identified the isle as Clan MacLeod land.
 A sharp jab struck him from behind. Ian’s body propelled forward. His nose slammed into the wooden hull. An ear-shattering musket clap followed, piercing through the wind. Something stung, burned his back. Ian slid his hand over the screaming pain. Hot blood oozed through his fingers.
 More claps blasted from the beach, thudding into the tiny skiff. Ian rolled to his side. Icy water spurted over him. Frantically, he worked to hug both wooden oars against his chest. A thousand knives attacked his skin as salt water swallowed his lifeline to Raasay. The last thing he saw was the looming outline of Dùn Caan.
 Blackness engulfed him.
~~~~~

I love to interact with readers and writers on Facebook and Twitter, or visit my website and sign up for my newsletter: www.amyjarecki.com
Twitter: @amyjarecki   https://twitter.com/amyjarecki

Purchase Beauty and the Barbarian:






a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Romance Weekly Blog Hop - Some Interesting Questions


If you hopped over here from Rhenna Morgan 's blog, WELCOMEThis weeks Romance Weekly Blog Hop questions come from Colette Cameron and her dynamic blog, Blue Rose Romance:

1. How do you respond to someone calling your writing smut or demeaning your work in some other way? 

That's one thing we authors must learn to take. So when someone publicly expresses that they don't like my writing, internally I get a little upset...then I read all the nice responses and get over it. 

2. When critiquing or beta reading, do you ever find the voice of the other author creeping into your writing? 

Fortunately, my critique partners don't write in my genre, so I've never encountered this problem. I do have an editor with one of publishers who tries to reword or rewrite things. That always hits a nerve, because to me its a loud trumpet blaring that it's not my voice. So any time she does a rewrite, I rewrite it again. Voice has become a powerful thing with me.

My sweetheart, Maya
Occasionally I'll be reading a really good book in my genre...then I have to work to keep the story and the voice out of my head. Same with a good movie. *sighs* Rob Roy comes to mind.

3. What’s one quirky thing you do or must have around you while writing?

Me? Quirky? Um... My Chihuahua sleeps under my desk while I'm writing. I always jot down notes before I write a scene. I listen to Celtic harp music especially when I need to connect with my muse. My desk is always a mess because I have research books and papers scattered everywhere. Nothing too weird. 

Next up, hop on over to S. C. Mitchell's blog. I'm sure he'll knock your socks off!  http://scmitchell.wordpress.com/



Everyone's invited to my Facebook Event unveiling the cover of RETURN OF THE HIGHLAND LAIRD on July 25th. Just click on the picture and then click join. I hope to see you there!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

So I Have a Street Team...

After receiving some not-so-nice critiques about having a street team, I thought I'd share a bit about what my team does. For those not involved, street teams seem to be in a category of the SCARY UNKNOWN. Before I formed my team, I went to a couple of Facebook workshops and followed a few authors who had them. Then I started my team with a vague idea of what I wanted.

Basically, a street team is a newfangled term for fan club and the bottom line is that street teams are pretty varied. My team is small with about ten active members (there are also a couple of authors and family members who are not active). My team is a work in process, but these are our activities:
  • They help me decide what to do when I have a Facebook book release party. By the way, my sales always take a small upturn as a result of these crazy parties:
    • We talk about dates to have the party and the times. I like to have a big 3-hour bang in which to stir up fun and excitement for my new book.
    • I usually invite a guest or two, and they make suggestions on who they'd like to see.
    • We talk about giveaways and what's new.
    • We talk about games/activities for the party.
    • They help me spread the word.
    • Usually they are active during the party and can win giveaways just like everyone else.
  • Occasionally I'll ask a member to beta read a new manuscript to help me determine where it needs polish.
  • I'll ask questions about new covers, and they always give their honest opinion...sometimes too honest LOL!
  • A couple of months ago they helped me choose a title for the novella that's coming out in August.
  • Sometimes we chat on the street team page and have our own mini Facebook party.
  • On occasion I send them promo items/SWAG or ARC's of a new release. However, I never ask them to leave a review. Of course, some of them do leave reviews, but most don't. In fact, most of my reviews come from NetGalley or people who have purchased my books. Interestingly, I was accused by a reader on Goodreads for soliciting reviews from my street team and providing them with the verbiage to do so. That is not only unethical it is simply false.
I found my members by making an announcement in the Captured by the Pirate Laird party that I was forming a team and asked who might be interested. Several people commented they were, and I added a few, but most of my members came to me and expressed interest in being on the team. However members ended up joining, they are a awesome and caring group, and we're all becoming friends.

Eventually I'd like to grow my team a bit, but for the time being, I think it works as is. I heard of one author with 800 members (I don't know how she does it). I know other authors who have rigorous screening processes/questionnaires for new members. I hope I never have to go to that extreme. My Facebook street team is fun, and a place where people can be themselves and support each other. My team is here to stay!

~Amy

Have you entered to win a copy of Beauty and the Barbarian on Goodreads? The contest is open through June 29th...



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Beauty and the Barbarian by Amy Jarecki

Beauty and the Barbarian

by Amy Jarecki

Giveaway ends June 30, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Romance Writers Weekly - Do You Know How Your Story Ends Before You Write?



Sorry I missed last week, but with the book signing in Las Vegas, something had to give! The good news is I started a new manuscript last week (#14), so I'm in writers heaven! This weeks questions come from the wonderfully outlandish Jami Denise:

    1. When writing your novel, do you know how it’s going to end before you write, or do you write from start to finish?

    I'm one of those plotting types who spends weeks planning, researching and plotting before I can write the first scene. So, the answer to this question is yes. I'm not so rigid that I can't allow my character's voices to make changes, but the beginning, middle and end are always as I planned. 
    2. How do the people you know impact your writing? Are you influenced by friends and family for your characters?

    I am more influenced by character type than actual people, but on occasion, one of my characters is similar to someone I know. I'll ask myself, how would that person respond? Often, after I've asked that question, I come up with something entirely different than my first thought.
      3. Describe the hero in your current WIP in three words.

      Adventurous, Powerful, Deadly

      Fun questions this week! Next up, hop on over to Kim Handysides blog and see how she anseres these interesting questions! http://kimhandysides.com

      Monday, June 9, 2014

      My Writing Process

      Today I'm participating in the My Writing Process Blog Tour and would like to thank NYT and USA Today Bestselling author, David Farland for inviting me on this tour. I met Dave in 2011 at his Professional Writer's Workshop. He used to be a writing teacher at BYU and is the mastermind of The Rune Lords as well as a host of other fantasy and science-fiction novels. If you haven't visited his site, you can find his writing process post HERE

      Follow Dave's twitter handle: @DavidFarland.


      We writers share these things, but informally during workshops and at conferences (and, for a handful of established writers, in printed interviews), but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions. How long it takes one to write a novel, why romance is a fitting genre for another, how one's playlist grows as the draft grows, why one's poems are often sparked by distress over news headlines or oddball facts learned on Facebook... 

      So, participating authors have been asked to answer the following four questions:

        1) What am I working on?

      Presently I have a number of projects on the front burner, which I try not to do, but it just happened that way this month! I am editing a novella that comes out in August. I am plotting and starting to write book three in my 2015 series, Highland Dynasty. I am working on final edits for Rescued by the Celtic Warrior which will be released in October...and I just finished "fixing" Celtic Maid, which is scheduled for a December release.

      *swipes head with back of hand* It's hard to keep all these heroes and heroines straight!

        2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

      I've read a ton of books in my genre, and I think mine have a bit more action and adventure. Also, I don't sugarcoat the brutality of the eras in which I write. The Renaissance produced some of the most brutal and savage torture devices known to man. I would be doing history a disservice if I ignored that part of society.

        3) Why do I write what I do?

      Firstly, I LOVE Scotland. It's in my blood, and I LOVE history. I have always enjoyed reading romance and historical novels. It only makes sense that I would put it all together and write Scottish historical romance.

        4) How does my writing process work?

      Holy moly, this is a loaded question and one I can't answer in one sentence...
      • I build a notebook for every book. It starts with research. I usually find an event in history, or someone who sparks my interest. I learn everything I can about them and use that as a framework for my outline. If I'm building a new world, I might research for a month or more.
      • Once I'm ready to write.
      • Start with a premise statement.
      • Write a 2-3 page general outline of the book/sequence of events.
      • Develop my characters--I use a psychology book to identify their personality type, then I use a character profile sheet to make them into a real person and write their back stories.
      • I then use an Excel spreadsheet to plot each scene. I use a numbering system that allows me to insert scenes, because once I start writing, the gloves come off and my characters start taking over. Inevitably, the outline changes as the story comes alive.
      • Of course I then edit the hell out of it...that has become my favorite part.
      Some of my writing tools

      Next up are three talented authors:


      Jen Greyson writes award-winning and bestselling NA romances, including fantastical time travel and steamy contemporaries. When she's not writing her own stories, she ghostwrites them for a USA Today Bestselling NA author and a local celebrity. She is a voracious reader and longs for books that entrap her for hours and transport her to other worlds (mostly so she doesn't have to vacuum) and is always eager for a recommendation.

      A recovering horse addict, she grew up with hay in her hair and manure on her shoes. Now a suburban housewife and mom, she's taken her competitive sportsmanship to the water and is learning how to wakeboard without any more trips to the ER.

      Visit her site to see how she answers the #MyWritingProcess questions:

      Twitter:
      @jengreyson


      Katherine Givens is a museum employee with a secret. Few know the truth of her greatest passion, but those closest to her know she loves to write historical romances… Alright, maybe more than a few people know she is a writer. Anyone who will listen to her can glean this from a conversation.

      So, Katherine Givens is a museum employee who wishes she had a devilish secret or a jaw-dropping double life, but the characters in her manuscripts often do. From the withdrawn duke mesmerized by his quiet maid or the savage viking eager to ravish a Christian girl, her heroes are always bound to have a secret or two. It is often up to the headstrong heroine to unravel the mysteries surrounding the man that has captured her heart.

      Katherine's Twitter handle: KatherineGiven3

      Katherine's blog: http://katherinegivens1.wordpress.com/posts/


      Victoria Barbour lives on the island of Newfoundland, and is fiercely proud of her home. She can imagine no better setting for her Heart’s Ease contemporary romance series, and hopes that her readers will one day come to witness Newfoundland and Labrador's rustic beauty for themselves. 
      She was born in St. John's, and raised above her family's fish and chips restaurant. She has traveled and lived in other parts of Canada, but chose to make her home where her heart has long resided. Victoria has a degree in History from Memorial University of Newfoundland, with a minor in Newfoundland Studies. The only thing that stands between her and a Master's degree in History from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia is her thesis. She has a background in broadcast journalism, advertising, and marketing. She is a proud member of both the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and their affiliate chapter, Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada (RWAC). 

      ~~~~~~

      And I can't sign off without doing a plug for my new release, Beauty and the Barbarian. Have you got your copy yet? :-) Or you can enter the Goodreads contest at the top of the blog for a chance to win one of five signed copies!

      Born with the mark of the devil, Merrin has been hidden on the islet of Eilean Fladda for near twenty years. When the body of a Highlander washes ashore, the innocent lass presumes him dead. Brushing the hair from the rugged warrior’s face, her fingers connect with warm flesh. Warm.

      Ian MacLeod wakes to a woman so radiant, he believes her an angel. But when the lass recoils from him, he fears she knows of his evil deeds. While he heals, Ian is stunned when he exposes her witch’s mark, yet he’s spellbound by Merrin’s allure. He’d do anything to erase his haunting past and earn her love.

      But there’s a henchman after Ian’s head, and when that man learns the Highlander is still alive, the couple is forced to flee Merrin’s sheltered world. Fighting for survival, destiny demands they each face their demons, but doing so may forever ruin them both.