Friday, April 21, 2017

BOOK COVER FRIDAY! MAKE ME BEG BY REBECCA BROOKS


WELCOME TO BOOK COVER FRIDAYS!
Every week we bring you an exciting hot book cover from 
one of New York's Leading Romance Authors.



MAKE ME BEG
The Men of Gold Mountain Series
by Rebecca Brooks
Entangled



SUMMARY:  Bartender Mackenzie Ellinsworth has always gone it alone. So when she has a chance to open her own bar and restaurant, she’s got a plan for how it should go. Not in that plan: a ripped and rugged playboy stepping in to take over. Connor Branding is determined to prove he’s not the directionless playboy Mack thinks. But opening a place together causes more problems than it solves.


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Friday, April 14, 2017

BOOK COVER FRIDAY! ROMANCING THE FASHIONISTA BY K.M. JACKSON

  
WELCOME TO BOOK COVER FRIDAYS!
Every week we bring you an exciting hot book cover from 
one of New York's Leading Romance Authors.



ROMANCING THE FASHIONISHTA
The Flirty Fashionistas series
by K.M. Jackson


SUMMARY: Manhattan fashion maven and magazine editor Melinda Mitchell shuns the social media spotlight. That is, until a tipsy girl’s night out ends with her first Facebook account and a friend request from none other than her secret high school crush, Nolan Parker. 

When Nolan lost his chance at the big leagues, he signed on with Doctors Without Borders and never looked back. Now he’s back home to help out his ailing father. Running into Mel at his fifteen-year high school reunion rekindles old feelings he thought he’d buried for good.

Intrigued by Nolan’s irresistibly sexy profile, Melinda heads to the reunion with her best friend to see if the picture matches up to the man. Their instant attraction flares brighter than the Manhattan skyline. 

Although the tough fashionista and accomplished ex-jock rub each other the very right way, a few stumbling blocks will decide if the heat between them is a symptom of forever love, or a past that should be left where it belongs.

Warning: Contains a tough, no-nonsense, Big-Apple businesswoman who likes to call her own shots, and a hot doctor who can turn her on with surgical precision.




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Friday, April 7, 2017

BOOK COVER FRIDAYS! LOVE POEMS BY KAREN CINO

  
WELCOME TO BOOK COVER FRIDAYS!
Every week we bring you an exciting hot book cover from 
one of New York's Leading Romance Authors.


Happy to celebrate Poetry Month with author Karen Cino.




LOVE POEMS
by Karen Cino


SUMMARY:  LOVE POEMS will take you on a magical journey through the inner depths of one's heart and soul. The underlying emotions that are revealed through these poems show how deep love truly goes. The poems will make you laugh and they will make you cry. They are written for those who have met their soul mate and are still waiting for the moment that will bring them together.


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Monday, April 3, 2017

THE LITTLE THINGS MATTER BY KATE McMURRAY


  
I picked up a book recently that was a delightful surprise. It was a nonfiction book, but the author had a Shakespearean gift for word play, and I enjoyed the prose almost more than the content. It was a nice reminder that writing itself is an art form, can be something truly beautiful.

There’s a tremendous amount of pressure on authors these days to produce more books. Some of that pressure is external—readers demanding the next book in a series, publishers wanting to keep authors on tight schedules, etc.—but some of it is internal. We put pressure on ourselves to produce, perhaps out of fear we’ll fade into obscurity if we don’t put new books out constantly, of needing to put out new books on a regular schedule in order to earn a certain income. Or, we see our colleagues put out book after book and feel like we have to write more in order to be competitive.

We can’t do much about the external pressure, but we can be a little introspective about the internal pressure.

Here’s what I mean: I’ve read probably a dozen novels so far this year. They’ve been a nearly 50/50 split of traditional and indie pub. And most of the books have been… fine. Not terrible, but not great either. And, because sometimes it’s hard to turn off the editorial part of my brain, I thought a lot about what kept these books from being great.

Here’s a theory: authors, particularly indie authors, rushing books to market is actually doing these books a disservice because getting the book out matters more than the story.

This manifests itself in a few ways. Some are obvious. An author who cuts corners on editorial will have a book full of typos. An author who skips over research will put out a book full of factual errors. Some are less obvious. An author who rushes through the writing process might put out a book without obvious flaws but that is nevertheless kind of dull or not engaging or ultimately forgettable.

And all of those things can kill a writing career, because a subpar book might persuade readers not to pick up the author’s next book.

What can be done about this?

I argued in my column last month that I thought gatekeepers would make a comeback. One way to get through the gates is to write a better book. And the best way to do that is to slow down and remember what’s important.

Story is important.

I teach a class on revision in which I recommend that, before authors revise, they take a few minutes to write a paragraph about the core of their story. That story core is something that I think gets lost among published authors when we talk about writing. We’re preoccupied with marketing strategies, with sales, with the size of our royalty checks. We think about social media, conferences, deadlines.

However, a really great book will sell itself.

“But I wrote a good book! How do I let readers know about it?” No, slow down. Marketing is important, but story is king. Story sells your book.

A book about nice people falling in love might be a perfectly nice beach read. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to write perfectly nice books. I want to write books that evoke what Sarah Wendell calls “good book noise,” that delighted sigh the reader lets out when she reads something that hits her in the right place. I want to write books readers talk about, pass around between each other, encourage others to read. I want to write books that people are still talking about five years from now. I want to write amazing books.

And, you know, I’d rather sell 10,000 copies of a great book than 1,000 copies each of 10 okay books.

The thing about rushing a book to market is that we overlook the little things, but the little things matter. Words matter. The best books have compelling stories and beautiful writing.

So push aside as much internal pressure as you can. What can you do to make your next book your best yet? Does that mean writing slower? Taking more time to revise? Rethinking the core of the story? Does that mean hiring a better editor or spending a little extra money on an eye-catching cover? Does it mean trying a different publication strategy (indie vs. traditional)? Does that mean stopping the rush to publication and taking the time to get it right?

At the end of the day, I want us all to write better books. Better books makes the genre better as a whole. A rising tide lifts all boats, and we are those boats. Not to mention, more good books in the world give me more good books to read.

So my advice this month is to take a step back and really think about what is more important: your story or your need to get it up for sale? The latter might be good for your short term career, but the latter is what will make your career sustainable. Because great books win over readers and earn us fans for life.♥


Kate McMurray is an award-winning author of gay romance and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She has served as President of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter of Romance Writers of America; and as Vice President of RWA/NYC. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. Visit her at www.katemcmurray.com.   






Sunday, April 2, 2017

CELEBRATING WOMEN AND WRITING BY MARIA COX



At eleven years old when I read my first few romance novels – my grandmother’s Barbara Cartland collection – I was hooked. There was something magical about the stories and how they unfolded.

What I didn’t know at the time was that my grandmother would be the reason behind my writing.

“Speaking of romance,” my mother said over coffee one morning, “Your grandmother was quite the romantic writer.” “Grandma?” I shrieked. The reference caught me off guard, Grandma had been deceased for years and my mother rarely spoke of her. “Yeah” she answered. “Your grandmother wrote love letters to your grandfather when he was away on business.” “She did?” I never heard this before. “Yeah, didn’t you know?” Mom continued, “She placed first in a writing contest.” Love letters? Contest? Whoa. I had no idea.

When I started to write romance in my twenties the genre fascinated me. Intrigued by such appeal I often questioned from where my desire to write emerged. After my mother’s revelation, I thought long and hard about my grandmother’s writing. When did she start writing? What inspired her to write?

Mystified as I was to learn about my grandma’s writing prowess one thing was for sure, it offered a new perspective: Romance writing was in my genes.

My grandmother would have been ninety-seven years old this past February and I still think of her when I write, I can hear her giggle as I’m crafting a sexy scene. “Gracias Abuelita for your gift. I know now I was born to write.”♥



Maria Cox is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America; she has also served as President of the Phoenix Writers Club. Maria has been writing stories since she was a young girl. She picked up her first romance novel when she was just eleven years old and has loved the genre ever since. Maria writes sensual romance, stories that showcase strong, sassy, and sexy characters. When not writing fiction, Maria works as a technical writer. She lives in Queens, New York. Please visit her site www.mariacox.net and/or follow her on Twitter.


Friday, March 31, 2017

BOOK COVER FRIDAY! THE ART OF THREE by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese

  
WELCOME TO BOOK COVER FRIDAYS!
Every week we bring you an exciting hot book cover from 
one of New York's Leading Romance Authors.



THE ART OF THREE
by Erin McRae & Racheline Maltese
www.avian30.com


SUMMARY:  Jamie Conway has a charmed life. At 24, he's relocated from Dublin to London to star in his first feature film. Unfortunately, he also has one very big problem: He has a huge crush on his happily married costar.

British heartthrob to middle-aged women everywhere, Callum Griffith-Davies should have more sense than to flirt with his new-to-the-business colleague, but good judgement isn't one of the qualities for which he's known.

Nerea Espinosa de Los Monteros Nessim has better things to do than fret about her husband's newest conquest. She’s busy planning her daughter's wedding at the family's farmhouse in rural Spain. Besides, she and Callum have been married and polyamorous for almost 30 years; she's content to let him make his own bad choices.

But when Nerea flies to London after her artwork is selected for a high-profile museum show, she falls for Jamie too. Soon Callum, Jamie, and Nerea have bigger problems, and surprises, than international logistics. From ex-lovers and nosy neighbors to adult children with dramas of their own, The Art of Three is a contemporary romance that celebrates families, and farce, in all shapes and sizes.



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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

BRANDING BY XYLA TURNER



In my college years, I saved up my money, put away my pain and went to get my eyebrow pierced. When I returned home to my conservative mother, she had an absolute fit. She wanted to know why and what I was thinking. My only response was, “I liked it.”

I had that eyebrow ring for all of two weeks before I had an interview at a prestigious organization and my mother had my uncle bring his tools over to cut the jewelry that represented my rebellious college years, from my face. Oddly enough, I let them cut it because deep down, I knew my mother had a point. I might not have agreed with her point, you might not even agree with the point but it was one that I subscribed to at that time in my life and to a certain extent, even today.

That event happened almost twenty years ago and how I represented myself mattered then, as it does now. Things may not be the same and depending on the circle you’re in or subscribe to; people will make assumptions about you based on things like the placement of jewelry, body art, hair color or your accent. Now that we live in a digital world, those same assumptions can be made with a click of a button.

As an educator, I do not friend my students, teachers or staff members on social media with my personal account because it’s for me it's personal. On my professional account, I will add almost everybody and on my author accounts, I am very strategic about who I invite into my world. In all of my various worlds because it does matter.

Everything you do online can be tracked, pulled back up and put before you. It can even be used in a court of law. Nowadays, it’s one of the first things official look into, as well as the media when there is something to cover; social media profiles, posts, pictures, etc.

Why am I discussing this topic?

One, because branding is vital to an author’s trajectory in the industry. Two; because branding is often misrepresented with marketing. Three; having the title author comes with a responsibility.

How can an author’s branding advance or hinder their status within the industry? In many different ways including but not limited to logos, website, book covers, signatures, tag lines, books other readers purchased along with your books, collaborations, publishing companies, images, comments and posts.

Most authors know that people do, in fact, judge a book by its cover. I'm not saying they should but the reality is that they do. There is also the fact that certain covers represent different things. A cover with a shirtless man often means that the level of sexual encounters will be present. Versus a fully dressed couple whose foreheads are touching; which can signify a sweet romance. When a reader sees these covers, this also is a part of an author's branding.

An author’s profile picture, posts, retweets, likes comments speak louder than our taglines for our books. Even an email address can also send a message. This may sound a bit snobbish but we are talking about branding. A free email account can say a lot about the seriousness of a business or an author.  A professional website could encourage someone to do business with you or not.

I was using a freelancer who was a professional videographer and he resided in Europe. I wanted him to create a video for me and after hiring him, he said, “I looked you up and from the looks of your website, you seem to be a pretty good author but then I saw the prices of your books and then I thought, maybe not.”

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to say because it was a compliment, until it wasn’t. He was an outsider giving his personal opinion about my brand. My website impressed him; which was great. My prices, not so much. I forget what I told him, but I do know, I started to change some of my prices. Dare, I say, indie authors, prices can also be a part of your branding.

Social Media: There were two unique opportunities that I applied for; one was for the submission of my book for publication and the other was for a contest. One wanted to friend me on Facebook and the other wanted my twitter handle. I’ve conducted enough interviews to know that they wanted to know more about who I was as a person as well as how I represented myself. I could hire someone to write an excellent synopsis, get the greatest editor money could find but if I conducted my online business, which is my how I post, respond and what I engage in on social media; that could make or break a deal.

As an author, I try to be careful about how I represent myself to my readers, other authors and anyone because you never know what in this industry where you'll be and what you'll need. I always remain who I am, which is also essential to my brand. Branding isn't about being fake or putting on a display; many times it's about time and place.

The overall goal maybe to sell books but in many ways, we are selling ourselves. Readers buy books by great storytellers, people they know or have been highly recommended. As a reader first, if I see messiness coming from an author, I steer clear. As an author, I do not engage because it's a fruitless activity that will benefit me none and sends the wrong type of message I would like my readers and potentials to get from me. Plus, I work in a school and have to deal with drama five days a week.

Branding yourself as a gifted author, that is professional, and a hard worker requires spending money. Logos, covers and anything that comes from your business, enterprise, publisher should not look like it was created by an amateur. Honest feedback is necessary and being open to hearing the truth about something is important. One of my favorite things to purchase is best-selling covers. You know, those covers that just make you stop. Yes, those. If they make you stop, the goal is to make the reader stop. I always run it past my PA to make sure it's not just me. If she gives me the thumbs up, I usually purchase them.

Logos, swag, and promotional items can be purchased with minimal cost, thanks to organizations like freelancer.com, fiverr.com or upwork.com. These are sites that I've used heavily to create promotional images, videos, bookmarks, t-shirt designs and much more. For some, you can set the price or select a service provider. Either way, the cost remain low and affordable for the author trying to professionally brand themselves, even if it's on social media alone.

How you represent yourself matters and it counts.

The last thing we all want is to be discounted because of poor branding or misrepresentations of our work. Create the brand you want, remain consistent and open for feedback. ♥


Xyla Turner was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She has always been a writer, even as a teenager, she wrote short stories and essays that won awards and nation-wide competitions. Xyla is an avid reader of romance novels and a sucker for sassy females and dominant males. She is a lifelong learner, High School Vice-Principal and a pretty good Auntie. Outside of reading, Xyla likes to spend time with her family and friends, experiment with dangerous adventures and travel. She writes different genres, but her favorite is romance. Visit her at xylaturner.com.


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