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Alice Visits Sloan and Thinks She’s Found a Rabbit Hole

Alice from Fancy Free is on tour again. I’m visiting Smexy Books today where I’m talking about Fancy Free and doing a giveaway.

I’m also blogging at The Romance Studio today.

Fancy Free

Warning: Condoms were tested and a few harmed during the writing of this story.

It’s not every day a girl inherits a condom company, and to say accountant Alice Beasley is astonished and out of her depth is putting it mildly. For an almost virgin, she needs a quick education in all things condom because her inheritance is in danger. Someone is intent on sabotage and playing nasty, trying to destroy her new company.

Alice is suddenly getting down and dirty with charismatic James, the factory manager, all in the name of business, testing new condom designs. The sex is hot. Mind-blowing. It’s a dark thrill and an erotic journey. Yeah, it’s a hard job, but a girl’s got to do what a girl’s gotta do.

The testing turns personal. Alice wants James. She craves his talented touch and sultry kisses, she desires passion and physical pleasure on a permanent basis but first she must convince bad-boy James to give up his fancy-free ways…

Ginormous Pumpkins

My regular blog readers will probably recall my earlier post about pumpkins. Mr. Munro and I purchased seeds at the Farmers’ market and gave some to my father, some to my brother-in-law and we kept the remaining ones. Our first lot of seeds didn’t germinate. The second lot grew, but they didn’t grow much bigger than bowling balls.

I don’t think my father understood how big these particular pumpkins grow. He certainly didn’t understand our enthusiasm or competitive spirit. He’s definitely changed his tune since then and gleefully rings up to skite about the rapid growth of his pumpkins.

Here are some photos of some of his pumpkins. They’re all too big for me to lift. Both photos were taken about three weeks ago, so they’ve probably grown even bigger.

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Aren’t they a gorgeous color?

I’m blogging at The Romance Studio Blue today about the first erotic romance I ever read.

The First Romance & Wild Child a Top Ten Seller!

Wild ChildWild Child has hit the top ten seller list at All Romance Ebooks! I’m so excited and glad that my contribution to the 28 Days of Heart series has sold so well. Wild Child is currently at number 8 (I hope I don’t jinx this and wake to find my book has slid out of the top ten!!)

Purchase Wild Child today – it’s not too late to grab my book or one of the others in the 28 Days of Heart series. Remember all proceeds from sales go to the American Heart Association.

I’m blogging at Access Romance today about my introduction to the romance genre and the first romance I read. Here’s the link to Access Romance.

Ordinary Superheroes with Fiona Jayde

My special guest today is Fiona Jayde who has a new sci-fi romance release called Cold Victory. Fiona Jayde is a space pilot, a ninth degree black belt in three styles of martial arts, a computer hacker, a mountain climber, a jazz singer, a weight lifter, a superspy with a talent for languages, and an evil genius. All in her own head.

In life, she is an author of kickass, action packed, steamy romances, possesses a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do and blue belt in Aikido, a web developer, scared to death of heights, loves jazz piano, can bench-press about 20 pounds — with effort, speaks English and Russian fluently, and when not plotting murder and mayhem enjoys steamy romance novels, sexy spy thrillers, murky mysteries and movies where things frequently blow up.

Today Fiona is talking about superheroes. Over to Fiona.

Cold Victory by Fiona JaydeVampires or hot-shot pilots. Werewolves or sexy super spies. Genetically altered humans or humans with larger-than-life lives. Supermen and kickass women.

My favorite books or movies or TV shows tend to feature superhero type characters. There is something about a larger than life character experiencing the same pull of love, lust or loss as us ordinary folks do. There is something about being able to step into a superhero’s life and be surprised that internally they can bleed just as much as we do.

With the explosion of the paranormal subgenre in romance, our choices for larger than life characters have expanded to suit every fantasy. Angel lovers, demon villains (or vice versa!), dragon shifters, you name a fantasy and there are books ready to cater to it, with various shifts on various subgenres. Blood vampires, energy vampires, psychic vampires… Werewolves, werecats, weredragons… One of my favorite paranormal “superheroes” are motorcycles from the series Driven To The Limit by Alice Gaines. The concept is so originally brilliant – motorcycles (which to me has always been a symbol of sexy man power) are built to shift into a man.

And yet, under the chrome, or leather, or scales, or teeth or Adamantium infused bones (gotta love Wolverine) we still have regular men and women who need an emotional connection, something or someone to believe in.

In Cold Victory, my superhero is Galen Stark, commander of Battlecruiser Victory. He possesses various technological enhancements such as an ocular implant which allows him to see vitals of a person, communication implants which allow him to “telepathically talk” to members of his crew, or nano-controlled fibers in his body which let him easily adapt to swift changes in gravity. And in that sexy tech-enhanced bod, pumps the heart of a red blooded male who has a duty to his crewmates and an insatiable desire for one of his pilots who shouldn’t even be on his ship.

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“You’ll follow standard protocol aboard this ship.” Stark knew his voice had dropped, was furious that he couldn’t control it. Images of skin and sweat and tangled limbs flashed through his mind as his pulse shuddered with accelerated rhythm.

She looked at him now, those exotic amber eyes empty of feeling. “My apologies, Commander. I’ve been on civ div far too long.”

Heat wouldn’t let him breathe. Despite himself, Stark engaged his ocular implant, watching the waves of red surrounding her form, her body temp spiking, her blood vessels pumping overtime. If not for the pink, delicate flush over her face, she showed no outward appearance of being affected by same beast that clawed at him.

“You’re dismissed.” He didn’t know what the hell had happened, couldn’t understand why an impersonal touch charged him with a sexual awareness he had no business feeling. He simply knew he had to put her out of his reach. “I suggest you find a standard uniform.”

Cold Victory © Fiona Jayde

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To the readers: who or what are some of your favorite super heroes or heroines?
(Fiona will be giving away a $15 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky commenter at the end of her tour. Details of Fiona’s full tour are available here at Goddess Fish Promotions)

Cold Victory by Fiona Jayde

Intergalactic warfare has not been kind to humans. Convicted pilot Zoya Scott has the chance to avenge her family, redeem an act of desperation with that of sacrifice. She’ll end this war if she betrays the man whose touch burns through her soul, the man whose ship and crew she must destroy. The man who is her bloodmate.

Commander Galen Stark never expected the convicted pilot on his ship to be anything more than a good looking inconvenience. A small brush of their hands grips him with vicious lust, a need he can’t control. She is his bloodmate–a biological reaction burning through his veins.

Except his bloodmate carries an explosive. And Stark may have to give the order to destroy them all.

Purchase Cold Victory from Loose Id
Visit Fiona Jayde’s Website

Pros and Cons of Writing for Different Publishers (part two)

This is part two about the pros and cons of writing for different publishers. Part one appeared yesterday.

Pros and Cons of Writing for Different Publishers (part two) by Brenna Lyons

Choosing your publishers: Risk Management?

Bride Ball by Brenna LyonsSplitting your investments- This is actually another reason that many people choose more than one publisher. There are authors who have experienced the fall of a publisher and had to scramble to place all their books again. Understandably, they don’t want that to happen to them again, so they keep their eggs in different baskets. But…

Watch your percentages in high risk baskets– You have to look on choosing publishers as risk management much as you would view investing your money. What makes a high risk? A new company. A company that doesn’t have a full, competent, experienced staff. A company based on a “radical new idea” for shaking up the industry. An owner who doesn’t have a solid business plan. An owner that lacks people skills…or depends too highly on people skills and too little on business sense. A business that has already had financial and interpersonal blow-ups. You can take on some high risk, as long as you balance it with low to moderate risk publishers. It’s a good idea to weight your basket toward low and moderate risk companies and not high risk. Even the most aggressive planning doesn’t advocate putting all your resources in high risk. Placing all of your work with high risk carries the high risk of losing it all.

Do your homework with ALL publishers– Having more than one publisher does not make you all knowing. No matter how much you might like to claim you can, you cannot “spot a good company or bad” at a hundred paces, though it is usually easier to spot warning signs of a bad risk than it is to say with conviction that the company is a good one at a glance. You have to research all prospective publishers and assess their risk factors. For more information see my two part series about choosing a publisher. Part one. Part two.

New companies/old associates: does experience translate?– As I said earlier, it is never a good idea to choose a company just for…the company you would be keeping, though choosing not to work with someone you clash with may be a very good idea. Just because someone has good ideas for marketing her own book does not mean the person is capable of marketing an entire company. Just because someone was an EIC for five years does not mean that person is skilled as a company owner and will make the right decisions for the company when given all decision making. Not all experience is equal, and friendship is not business savvy.

You can actually hurt your chances rather than help them– Choosing the wrong publishers can hinder you toward your goals….which we will cover more in contracts. But, you can also hinder yourself by spreading your books too thin. Conventional wisdom says that it takes roughly three books with any publisher to start making a name with the company…and making decent money. It is almost impossible to break even and build an audience when you have one or two books each thrown in a half dozen venues.

Special concerns when you have more than one?

Contract provisions to watch out for– You have to be very careful, especially with the contract you sign. There are contracts that specify that the author is expected to keep a web site for only the publisher’s books…or that the publisher will not link to your site if you don’t comply. Forcing you to split your audience (or not giving you the same exposure they give every other author) is counterproductive to your aims of building an audience, and you should not sign something that does it. Always keep your contractual obligations in mind when signing a contract. Can you live to each contract you sign? How long will your rights be held up? How soon can you move to another publisher if things don’t work out? Do you have an “out clause?” Never sign a contract that gives blanket first refusal rights. Why?

Splitting series and related books– You do not want to be forced into a position where you have to split a series or related books from a series because you have signed first refusal to someone else. Keeping related books together is usually a good idea. Putting out shorts in anthologies that relate back to an established world somewhere else, while not overly appreciated by the anthology publisher in some cases, are a different matter. I look on them more as throwing out bait. It’s further exploiting the idea of bringing readers from one company home to another. Always spell out how far that “series” ranges in first right of refusal clauses. If you write the same world in another timeline and with new characters, is that still the series? If you write related books not on the same world (don’t you love science fiction?), is it still the series? The first is debatable. The second is arguably no, even if you see characters from the series there.

Pen Names– Never allow a company to own your pen name. That both steals your word of mouth from you and forces you to split your marketing. Instead of selling YOU and the books. You are forced to sell YOU and YOU and the books. This is a bad idea all the way around. The closer you can bring your pen names, assuming you aren’t writing in clashing genres like erotica and children’s, the better it is for you. It is always better to spend $100 promoting Brenna Lyons than $60 promoting Brenna Lyons and $40 promoting Brenna Stuart, with no apparent connection between them. If you are separating two adult reading genres, you may want a single site that splits into the pen names/genres. That allows for possible carry-over from one pen name to the other from regular readers. If your genres are children’s and adult, you may want two different sites entirely! In fact, it’s probably preferable that you do it that way.

Brenna Lyons is a bestselling, award-winning author in spec fic indie press. With 21 series worlds and stand-alones, it’s not a surprise that Brenna works with between six and eight publishing houses at a time and fields ten or more releases every year. You can reach her at her site http://www.brennalyons.com

Thanks so much for the informative posts, Brenna! If anyone has any questions just ask them in the comments section.

Pros and Cons of Writing for Different Publishers (part one)

I’m a member of the Marketing for Romance Writers loop. There’s a wealth of knowledge available in this group, mainly promo and marketing advice but there are also discussions about other writing related things such as publishers. Late last year the subject of writing for different publishers was raised. Author Brenna Lyons had such awesome advice about the pros and cons that I asked if she’d write a post for me on the subject. Over to Brenna…

Pros and Cons of Writing for Different Publishers (part one) by Brenna Lyons

Why do it?

All I Want For Christmas by Brenna LyonsYou’re a prolific author– It is possible to overload the system of a single publisher, if you submit everything you write to that one. Can you imagine the havoc that could cause with a prolific author?

You write in several genres– It’s a solid fact that authors who write in many genres may not be able to place all of their books with a single house. If you sign with a publisher for your fantasy erotic romance books and then you write a straight fantasy book, that publisher is likely not your market.

To work with publishers/authors/editors you enjoy– This is not my favorite reason to change or add publishers, but some people do choose publishers this way. For me, it is more important that I think the people I will be working with know what they are doing, are pleasant (or at least tolerable) to work with, and have a smooth-running system that I feel will work well for me.

Getting in on special collections or projects– This is actually a good reason to join a publisher…if your other concerns are met as well. Think of it this way. Even if it’s the collection you think is perfect for you, if the contract and staff are far less than ideal, you are better off taking your personal ideas elsewhere. Remember that this is your career!

A new concept or contract option that you enjoy– Unfortunately, some authors are so dead-set on making sure a particular thing is addressed at their next company that they allow themselves to be blinded to the less savory aspects of the company they target. You have to keep the full package in mind. It is typically easier to convince company B to add something you want than to convince company D to change half a contract that you don’t like to suit you, just because it already has that one item covered.

In addition, a new concept in publishing is good…if it works. Keep in mind that many of the more radical designs don’t last very long. A company that gives you 75% of cover price sounds great…until you find out that you won’t be able to sell a quarter of the books you did with your old publisher.

The pros to having more than one publisher?

Reaching new readers who haven’t read you before– There is no denying that you will likely reach some readers at the new company who are not regular buyers of the old one. However, while some readers buy a company, many readers buy the author. That means that, once introduced to you, the readers are typically willing to follow you from publisher to publisher…as long as they are comfortable with the publisher sites…or they follow you to one-stop places like ARe/OmniLit or Fictionwise, where they can buy books from you with several publishers at once.

Name building at double or triple the speed…maybe– This sounds good in theory. But while it is true that you are reaching more readers, there is typically an overflow of readers that read both houses…or one company may have a large audience while another is new and has a small one. You can’t count on doubling your publishers meaning that your double the readers who know you.

Less wait time for editors/release date…maybe– You may very well reduce your wait overall, since you are waiting editors at several publishers, so you can get four books through in the time you might have gotten one or two through at a single publisher. However, you may lengthen your wait on a particular book.

Not being pigeonholed into one genre or style– This is one of the most widely-stated reasons for people choosing to have more than one publisher.

The cons to having more than one publisher?

Planning ahead to fulfill your contracts– You have to keep an eye on what you agree to do and when. If you have three books coming in for edits, you better have everything out of your way and be prepared for some long nights and days getting those edits done in the 30 days you have to do all three! And, you don’t want to burn out.

The “Prolific Trap”– When you’re prolific, you often get contacted by your publishers saying things like, “We have X going on. You’ll put something into that, right?” This is where you get into an interesting balancing act. Do you say “I can’t” and get on a publisher’s bad side? Do you say “yes” and figure out a way to make it happen? That depends on your comfort level.

Glutting the market on your name– It is possible to put out so many books that the readers can’t keep up…or don’t want to keep up. At what point do the readers’ eyes glaze over? The problem is that there is no set number I can give you. If you write really well, that glut may not come for a long time.

Expectations of publishers– Your publishers have certain expectations of their authors. The problem comes when you either have conflicting schedules…you should be in chat with B at the same time C is doing a list game you should be taking part in…or you are get used to the expectations for one and have problems changing gears.

Keeping your mind in the game: which publisher is which– You could make a file of printouts or a database of guidelines and house styles a prerequisite for having more than one publisher. Worse, it’s easy to start resenting one company for not being more like another. You can suggest changes gently, but if they don’t want to change, you either have to live with it quietly or not sign them any more books. You are under no obligation to stay with a company that doesn’t offer what you need as an author PAST what you have already contracted.

Arranging SOME crossover readership to aid in the transition– You want to find new readers, but you also need the old readers following you along and bringing new readers with them by word of mouth. Having some distribution channels or promotion channels that overlap is a wonderful thing.

The “Leave your other publisher at the door” problem– Imagine a well-meaning reader or reviewer congratulates you on an award finaled for with a publisher on the wrong list…or someone mentions a series from publisher B in publisher C’s chat. Though it is beyond your control, and no matter how skillfully you handle it, it will still be held against you to a certain degree.

Come back for part two tomorrow.

Brenna Lyons is a bestselling, award-winning author in spec fic indie press. With 21 series worlds and stand-alones, it’s not a surprise that Brenna works with between six and eight publishing houses at a time and fields ten or more releases every year. You can reach her at her site http://www.brennalyons.com

Finding Love & Fortune, Old Age & Wrinkles

Tea For Two Where do you find love? It’s a question I asked here on my blog not long ago, producing some interesting answers. Today the Tea For Two Tour continues at Love Romance Passion and I’m talking about romance and meeting places. I’m also doing a giveaway so don’t forget to come and say hello.

Random thought – I must have more wrinkles than I thought because the bus driver stopped at the old folk’s home to let me off the bus, instead of continuing to the stop just a bit farther down the road. (which is closer to my house) He was trying to be nice, but I think I should be insulted. What do you think? LOL I think everyone is picking on me this year, that’s what I think.

Lost & Wandering

Wanderlust I’m visiting Nikki Duncan’s blog today where I’m talking about traveling and books. There’s a download of Wanderlust up for grabs. Comment on my post and you’re in the draw.

I’m also doing a guest spot at The Romance Studio Blue about a particular weakness of mine–my total lack of a sense of direction. Just ask my husband. :grin:

Conflicted with Karen Erickson.

My special guest today is fellow Samhain Publishing author, Karen Erickson who is talking about her new release. Karen’s Tangled is another hot and steamy story, perfect to provide some heat in your life if you’re suffering through a cold Northern winter.

PhotobucketI must confess something. I’m normally not a big fan of romance books featuring couples who start out hating each other and end up falling in mad passionate love. I find it kind of unbelievable and sometimes even annoying. Why the heck would you want to be with someone who drives you nuts?

Yet…in my new release Tangled from Samhain Publishing, my heroine starts out hating on the hero. She’s been chasing after another guy. The problem? The other guy has a major crush the hero. Now you can see that’s where the name Tangled came from. :smile:

You see, Scarlett can’t stand Trevor. She thinks he’s arrogant, overbearing and he’s a known heartbreaker. He’s crazy about her and he doesn’t shy away from letting her know it which she can’t help but find flattering. It doesn’t hurt that he’s gorgeous and charming and sweet.

She tried to resist. To the point where I’m afraid some readers might find her a complete pain. She was just so stubborn and it was as if I couldn’t control her. Some might even wonder why Trevor would put up with her. He even tells her at one point why does he like her so much when she treats him so badly.

I couldn’t make her any other way. Poor Trevor. He didn’t deserve the bad treatment from Scarlett but she uses her anger and stubbornness like a shield. To protect herself from being hurt because she knows she’s falling for him and in a big way. Then she goes ahead and throws Drake into the mix which is kind of confusing. A sexy and naughty too. *wink*

I hope everyone who reads Tangled enjoys it – and understands where Scarlett is coming from. I’m curious to see the reaction toward her. She’s by far one of the most complicated heroines I’ve ever written – and I wouldn’t have her any other way.

Blurb:

The girl can’t help herself…until she helps herself to a triple-hot fantasy.

Playing With Fire, Book 2

Always wanting what she can’t have. Scarlett learned this the hard way, and this time is no different. Drake, the one guy she’s hot for, isn’t hot for her. Nope, he’s hot for Trevor, the gorgeous, arrogant actor she works with. Maybe it’s time she let loose and let the right man capture her, for a change.

Trevor wonders why she can’t see that the right man is right under her nose. He’s crushing big time on the quirky, sexually confident Scarlett—a huge turn-on for a guy who’s not your standard looking-for-vanilla-sex kind of guy.

When an argument with Trevor explodes into the hottest sex of her life, Scarlett thinks nothing has ever felt so right—until Drake joins in and kicks it into white-hot gear. Trevor is astounded that she trusts him enough to make her three-way happen for her. But suddenly he’s not so sure he wants to share…

So let’s take a poll. Do you like romances where the characters start out not liking each other? Maybe feel a little wary or non-trusting of one or each other? Let me know what you think.

~ Karen
http://karenerickson.com
http://karenwritesromance.com/blog

Visiting Access Romance Today

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I’m at Access Romance today, talking about sports and romance. I love a good romance featuring a sporting hero or heroine. Do you?