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!


Smashwords (if you have a kindle)


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.
    • 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).
    • 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!
  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!

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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!

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 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' 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!

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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 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...

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