Monday, March 25, 2013

Calisa Rhose - author to author advice

Pen of the Dreamer
Hi Becca! Thanks for hosting me today.

Glad to have you here, Calisa. Readers, be sure to leave a comment below for a chance at goodies from today's guest. 

You know, coming up with blog post ideas, much less full posts are coming harder for me the longer I tour.

I can relate to that one, but without it readers won't find your latest. 

True but still I hear it all the time. I’ve done it.

What's that? 

I’m talking about over doing a blog tour for a new book. 

When is it too much?
The Torture Art of Self Promotion  
by Calisa Rhose

A first book is mind-boggling in and of itself. So many questions, even more answers. Beware--when you ask a question--be prepared to be literally flooded with responses! It’s wonderful, exhilarating, and daunting, how many have already been where you are, and are very willing to help a newbie. I was in tears with appreciation at times. I wouldn’t have made it through those two months without all my new friends!

But you have to be careful how much of that advice, or which part of it, you choose to take advantage of. Remember--no matter how valuable or inspiring all the advice is--not all is for you or your book, as much as you tweak and try to make it fit. It’s like Cinderella’s stepsisters. The shoe was intended and designed for one person. Both sisters wanted to wear that treasured glass slipper, but it wasn’t a good fit for them and look what happened.

Advice is like that. Take what does fit and run with it! Just be prepared to share it with a newbie in your future who can wear it too. It’s not ours to keep and hog, but to share and spread around. Someone, someday, will find it fits them too.

When Home released I jumped in so far over my head I actually had to cancel blog dates. That’s not good. It was great that the hosts I had to cancel on were so very understanding, though. They all said no problem and wished me luck…which, I might add, I needed desperately.

Who needs self-inflicted brain damage?

Yet we all throw ourselves into the fray head first, not thinking how that endeavor could end. How are we supposed to know? We already, many of us, spend from dawn to dusk, or well beyond, on the computer. What’s a few more sites to visit? A few more minutes a day will put us and the book we are so proud of out there for others to see, hopefully, to buy.

Oy-- that frame of mind nearly did me in two years ago. A few more minutes??

I got my release date the first week of October and by the end of three days later I had over 20 blog guest spots offered. By the next week I had close to thirty and began scheduling them around December 28th--release day.

I knew I didn’t want to begin too far before release day. I’d been advised people would get used to seeing my book out there so far ahead of the release date that by the time my book actually became available everyone would have already forgotten about it. That scared me into waiting until two weeks prior to the date Wild Rose Press put it out for all to buy. I think I scheduled about eight dates in that pre-sale period. Not so bad.

Starting on the actual release date, though, I booked every single day for a week straight, two days I scheduled myself at two blogs at once. That week from hell taught me a huge lesson. Never book two in one day and rarely, or never, one a day for more than two or three days in a row! By the end of that week, I hadn’t even reached the half way mark of my tour, I was ready to be finished. I couldn’t because I had already committed to another month! Yeah, every other day and twice on a few.  Not only that, I found myself on more than one occasion, writing a post for the next day because I’d fallen so far behind I couldn’t keep up with all the dates I’d booked. In addition -I was editing for a different publisher then, and so, had work, family and all other kinds of things I had to do around blog posts that didn’t have to do with writing.

It was brutal.

What I learned.

Risk Factors released from Lyrical Press on March 4th. I laid out my plans, collected my guest spots, two months before and began writing posts and responding to interviews a month before the date of release. I’m still behind, but now, at least I have three or four days to a week to catch up between posts. I’m mostly two or more posts ahead at all times even. I strategically scheduled my guest spots every other day and some with two or three days between, none on weekends, so I can catch up with my other blogging, editing and writing obligations--and still keep everything on track. And that doesn’t count all the other forms of promotion, all those pesky hoops we have to jump through, just to get our book out there, so we can hope to make a few sales.

I haven’t got it ironed perfectly wrinkle-free this time either, but I’m a lot less stressed and have time to breathe. I’m getting closer to getting this self-promotion stuff down, I think. But I doubt any writer will ever be able to really market a perfect plan. There’s just no such thing.

Marketing plan.

What I can share in this is simple. Don’t over-do.

*Schedule only as many blog dates as you can manage without going bald.
*Don’t be afraid to cancel some if you find yourself over-extended.
*Don’t forget your blog dates! (Yes, I’ve done that…Monday, this week, in fact…)
*You spend a ridiculous amount of time begging people to visit you on those blogs, pleading for company, so you aren’t commenting only to find you’re the only one replying to yourself…take a few minutes every couple of hours (if not more often) to reply to those who have heard your blood-soaked pleas for company. I can’t stress how important this is! Why will they follow you to your next blog post if you don’t even acknowledge them at the first one? And each blog on your tour is a first for some reader.
*Take a few minutes to return the favor to those faithful followers. Go say hi to them on a guest blog or to their guests on their personal blog.
*Let everyone know you are on tour. Don’t use Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, G+, or any of those other social media venues? Start…right now. Get your face and your book out there. No one sells out of a closet only they have the key to! Open that door wide and begin yodeling. Loud. Louder, Heidi!
*Do you have a website? Blog? I know there are some who don’t think they need one, but in all honesty--that’s how I began getting my name and writer self out in the cyber world. It’s my comfort zone, where I share without feeling like I’m being pushy and crude. It’s the one place that can be all about me and no one thinks it’s wrong.

I began blogging at least five years before I sold my first book. By the time I did sell, I had a good following and support base to help me with this promotion gig. I was in a ‘club’ with other struggling writers who understood, who cheered me on when I sold. I gained this support system through my blog mostly. But that’s another blog post.

*I know a lot of writers who swear by swag. I don’t have any yet, but it’s a financial thing for me. I will have some soon. Bookmarks, cover cards, QR codes, pens, etc. They are great contest and gift items and each one helps you and your book be seen in a wide arena other than family and friends or internet.

I got a swag pack from a publisher contest editor, sent all the way from Canada. I won another contest and got the most beautiful cup with LaVerne Clark’s book cover on it and full of scrumptious chocolates…sent from Australia. I won another cup from Sarah Grimm for her After Midnight contest, with a music note thing I made into a key ring.
Guess what? I join contests because I won such fun ones in the past. I hope my contest will be as fun for all of you who comment today.

Bottom line? It’s like the old saying: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. Believe me, I’ve tried. You can’t. Not that I think readers are horses! Just that you can put your book out there all day long, but in the end the thirsty are the only ones who will buy your book, and only when they have been stimulated to do so.

To help you want to win my contest I’m also awarding one host with the same packages I’m offering each commenter. A signature Rose Rock or Gift Card and an eBook of Risk Factors along with some fun swag. Thank you all for taking a moment from your uber busy day to stop in and say hi. And seriously, that all it takes for you to be entered and help a host win too.

I’ve enjoyed visiting you Becca. Thanks for letting me take over to ramble. J

You're welcome, Calisa. It has been interesting and I hope helpful to other authors struggling with this very thing. And readers - remember, writers want to hear from you. The want to know what you think of their work (especially if you love it) and they what to know what you would like to see in the future from them. At least I do. So don't forget to say hi to Calisa. 


RISK FACTORS- available March 4, 2013

Love, like life, is not without risk.
BLURB- Veterinarian Vivian Dane has purchased her uncle’s practice in the tiny town of Wales, Missouri, where most residents still doubt her ability to treat their pets. But Viv is used to being considered less-worthy than her predecessors. After all, her parents are world-renowned wildlife vets, and most everyone is unimpressed she’s chosen to not follow directly in their footsteps.

Now Connor, a patient’s owner, is hot for Viv, but clearly doesn’t think she’s dating material because he has a daughter…who he believes no woman is good enough for.

Being a perfect dad is EMT paramedic Connor’s life focus. He can’t seem to stay away from sexy Doctor Viv, but attraction is as far as he’ll ever let it go. His mother abandoned him, leaving him to be raised in the foster system, and then his wife abandoned both him and their daughter. He absolutely will not risk bringing another woman into his little girl’s life and having her feel the hurt of being left…again.

Forfeiting is easier than attempting and failing. So why does Viv feel compelled to prove she’s a sure bet for Connor and his daughter? Can Connor trust Viv--and himself--enough to play the possibilities?

It was close to five o’clock and Viv wanted to go home. Winter hadn’t reached the Midwest yet, but from September through October the temperatures often dipped and dove sporadically, before diving for the long winter ahead. There’d been a slight chill in the air that morning and she hoped for a few more weeks of warmth before harsh weather moved in.

She looked forward to a hot soak in the bathtub, but Skittles was due for pick-up first. Connor had assured her he’d pick her up, or have his father get her before five. She glanced at her watch again. Four-fifty-six. 
She didn’t mind staying late if she needed to; it would be a shame to leave the nervous animal alone another night.

She opened the small closet to put the dust mop away.


With a start, she spun and her hand caught the broom handle on her way around. Gasping, she grabbed uselessly, horrified as the cleaning tool flew sideways from the closet. In slow motion she saw it shoot out against Connor’s shoulder and fall with a sharp snap onto the tile floor.

“Oh! I’m so--so sorry! Are you hurt?” Instant heat rushed up her neck and she bent to reclaim the errant broom to shove into the closet. She slammed the door and leaned against it on a sharp breath.

“I’m fine. You worried your killer broom might attack again? You might consider putting a lock on the door,” he said with a crooked smile.

Find Calisa Rhose

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meet Kate Richards

Today I'm pleased to introduce readers to the dynamic Kate Richards. Kate was one of the first authors/editors I became friends with as I started on this crazy journey. She was kind enough to host Valarie Mann and I during RT/LA, never fails to offer a sounding board or title help, and has become an invaluable asset in my life.

Kate Richards has wanted to be an author for a very long time, but only found time to begin about four years ago. She is an editor, an author, a pet owner, and a wife. Not necessarily in that order. Kate divides her time between Los Angeles and the lovely High Sierra town of Bishop, California.

Lately, she’s been traveling to quite a few book conventions for the pleasure of meeting readers, which she considers to be one of the best benefits to the job. She hopes to one day have the opportunity to travel to Tahiti for a book signing or maybe Ireland. She has also been known to conduct the occasional workshop on author/writing related topics.

Kate loves the beach and while she is not a surfer girl, she can Boogie Board with the best of them. She loves swimming and gardening and hiking but finds that she spends so many hours a day lost in her characters, it’s a challenge to get outside on a regular basis.

Connect with Kate 

Her latest work is Virgin Under Ground, one of the Decadent Publishing 1Night Stand Stories, which she created along with Valerie Mann and Olivia Starke.

Doctorate in hand, Jane Ann Summers is ready to return to the South Seas paradise of her youth, when the director of the institute—her mother—drops a bomb. She cannot return until she experiences more of life...a social life

Determined to waste no time, Jane searches for a shortcut and discovers the 1Night Stand dating service. A single night with a Dr. Gerard, geologist…and she can go home and get on with her fascinating study of world weather trends. The only question is whether to have sex with him…after all, it would be her first  and maybe only time.

Dr. Lukas Gerard’s own field of study has shown him some alarming trends. He believes a killer earthquake may rattle the Western half of the United States in the near future. In preparation, he has converted an abandoned gold mine to a secret bunker, loaded with supplies and all the comforts of home. Only thing he needs is company in his hideaway. Unsure how to find the right companion, he turns to 1Night Stand, but neither he nor Jane are prepared for the sudden impact of one of Madame Eve’s connections.

Maybe there is more to life than science…for both of them.

“I need to ask you something first.”
His brow furrowed, but he shrugged. “Okay.”
“Does Madame Eve know the location of your secret place?” Out there in the dark, with the sprinkle of stars to light the black velvet night, the reality of proceeding blindfolded into the desert with a stranger, no matter how attractive, seemed dangerous. If the answer was no, she would ask him to turn the car around and hope she wasn’t already too late.
“Yes,” he said, in a low voice. “She insisted.” When she still clutched his arm, he smiled. “I understand caution, let me show you something.” Lukas reached over her to the center console. So close, his warmth and the clean scent of soap went to her head. Hang on, Jane. Even if he is the cutest guy you’ve ever met, and smells so good.
He retrieved his cell phone and clicked to a text message. “Look at this.”
I have confirmed the location of your date and we can schedule your evening. I hope you understand the safety of my clients is paramount, yours as well as Ms. Summers. Thank you for your cooperation. M.E.
Reassured, Jane faced away from him. “Do it, then.” She closed her eyes and tried not to flinch as the soft cloth covered her face. It tightened and then his hands dropped to her shoulders.
“Okay?” His fingers rested on her collarbones, inches from her breasts. Her eyes strained, but the several folds prevented the least bit of starlight from entering.
“I can’t see a thing.” But she could still feel his touch moving down her arms, past her short sleeves, and onto bare skin. The desert wind soughed; her heart thumped in her ears. Hyperaware of the man behind her, she waited to see what he would do next.

A peek at what this prolific author has to offer.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Please Welcome Dawn Luedecke

Today Dawn Luedecke joins us on Meet the Author Monday. Before we get into the interview, here's a bit about our visiting author. 

A country girl born and bred, Dawn Luedecke has spent most of her life surrounded by horses, country folk, and the wild terrain of Nevada, Idaho and Montana. As a child she would spend many afternoons reading books, watching western classics, and Rogers and Hammerstein movies. When she grew up she decided to leave the quiet country life for a chance to find adventure by serving a successful tour in the United States Coast Guard. During that time she found her soul mate (and alpha male) and started a family and writing career. She enjoys writing historical and paranormal romance and spends as much time as she can working on her current manuscript.

Readers please leave a comment for a chance to win an eBook. 

Hi, Dawn. Welcome to Meet the Author Monday. Im happy to have a fellow country girl in the house. I cant wait to get to know a bit more about you.

Thank you, Becca! Im very happy to be here.

I heard you were in the Coast Guard. That had to be a life changing time. What can you tell us about it?

The time I was on active duty was the best in my life. I crave adventure and action, and the Coast Guard gave it to me. I was able to do things like stand guard for a president and presidential candidate, work with elite military forces, repatriate illegal aliens, and was involved in a very large drug bust.

My time taught me very important lessons and gave me life experiences I will never forget. I’m lucky to still be attached to the Coast Guard and love to live vicariously through my husband. J

Wow! How cool and exciting. I assume the Coast Guard kept you in the States but if you could make your home anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Montana. Although I'm originally from there, I can't wait to move back home after retirement.
What would you say is the best thing about a (your) man.

My husband is a true alpha male. He is a drill instructor for coast guard boot camp, when he isn't being a DI, he is a law enforcement agent and does search and rescue at sea.

Do you prefer Alpha or Beta heroes and why?

Alpha! Having the husband I do, and with all of his friends, I am surrounded by alpha males. They are the best kind of hero!

Why do you write?

I write because I love the job! I am a true book nerd and proud!

What is best thing a reviewer/reader has ever said about your work?

I received the CTRR (Coffee Time Reviewer's Recommend Award) from a reviewer at Coffee Time Romance.  Here is part of the initial five-cup review:

To Tame a Montana Heart is an engaging read. This reader was immediately drawn in from the beginning. The strong character of Travis, and the sassiness of Dusty, blends in with some interesting dialogue that spins a splendid good read. Dawn Luedecke adds just the right amount of zest within her main characters, and secondary characters to create a convincing story of love and romance, along with action, thrills and downright good charm. She incorporates a western romance that is hard to put down, with a cast of colorful players that one will not soon forget.

Very Nice. Readers should know that your characters are often
The heroines in my Montana Girl series are my sisters. I found that each of my siblings holds a unique characteristic that makes them the perfect heroine, my family is quirky and make for a great read.

Ha ha, I agree that family can be an endless source of inspiration. How would you define yourself as a person/writer?

I love to live by my personal motto "Always Have Passion". I try to incorporate this in everyday life, and my work.

Give us a quirky thing or two to know about you.

When I want to relax, I watch crime shows.
I secretly want to be a scientist.
A scientist? That's certainly different from being an author. Okay, now to see how good you are with short answer a tough order for most writers. So quick fireComplete the following sentences.

a.                   My favorite treat istootsie rolls.
b.                  The most interesting person I know husband.
c.                   Given the opportunity, I would spend 10 daysin the Caribbean!
d.                  The glass ishalf full.
e.                   The most amazing giftis a good book.
f.                   Life is too short to settle foranything less than what you believe is perfect.

Thanks again for dropping by Dawn. It was fun getting to know you and a bit about your work. Readers don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win an eBook courtesy of Dawn.  

Learn more about Dawn and her works:
Twitter @d_luedecke

Blurb: To Tame a Montana Heart

Running from a past of privilege, deceit, and danger, Travis Simms is ready to settle down. What better place to forget all he left behind than the quiet little Montana town of Lolo Hot Springs? His goal is clear — build a hotel and his own destiny without complications —until one of the town’s most troublesome women captures his attention.

Dusty Larson is hell bent on independence, helping her sister run the Triple D Ranch. She can do anything a man can, and do it better, so she certainly doesn’t need one in her life. The only problem is she seems to attract bad luck and danger...and Travis. Can he tame her wild ways and keep his bachelor status intact — or does he risk losing his heart?

She watched him with care. “I don’t know if I love you. I like you, a lot, but I don’t have the slightest idea what love feels like.”
Travis’ smile grew slowly across his face. “I understand. I’m not sure if I love you or not, but I also don’t think I could live without you. So you will always have that.” His voice was almost a whisper when he said the last.
“Truly?” Her voice cracked and she had to force herself to breathe easy.
She inclined her head and took two brisk steps toward him. She leaned over and kissed him with all the fever of a thousand fires. He reached up and intertwined his hand through her hair to hold her still as he plundered her mouth.
She released him with a shaky breath and jumped back to turn on her heels. “Put something nice on. I’ll be back with a preacher man.” 
“You know, I heard you only have to say ‘I marry you’ three times and then you’re hitched.”
She threw him a sassy look and slammed the door shut.

Buy Links

Monday, March 4, 2013

Meet Azura Ice a.k.a. F.L. Bicknell

Please welcome F.L. Bicknell / Azura Ice to Meet the Author Monday. This complex and interesting author will take you out of this world. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win this adorable bag and bracelet. 

Mad for a Series

Written by Azura Ice a.k.a. F.L.Bicknell

“That one was so low he could have shot my sapin off!”

What’s a sapin? It’s the Azutuan word for penis, and the above dialog is one of many things the character Volund spouts off from time to time. He and Miln, who’s the mc of Sacrifices BK2, are full of quips, humorous views, and frustrated retorts. In the scene where this sentence is taken from, Venus from BK1 is trying to teach Miln and his partner, Oshki, how to shoot revolvers from the mid 1800s. When I wrote the opening scene to Sacrifices, it gave me a case of the giggles.

As readers progress through a series, one thing becomes evident: he or she will ultimately fall in love with one or two of the characters. For me, it’s Volund and Miln, but most of all Miln. He’s pure alpha male, but does he ever catch a lot of hell. I think this is why he cracks off unexpected retorts and comments. With the amount of responsibility he shoulders, he has to have a way to relieve stress. And in his next story, he finds himself in the ancient world battling hostile Amazon women and one in particular who… Whoops! Gotta save that info for the book. {winks}

But seriously, in both books, there’s great humor. Venus is always correcting her two men, as well as Miln and Oshki, on their English, and Oshki resents the fact the threesome seem to always be making love—the racket often keeps him awake. The humor in these books ranges from falling out of a tree stand to bitching about the “noise” to the difference between female and woman, which irks Venus to no end.

When I discover a wonderful series, I can’t wait until the next book comes out because I always grow attached to the underdog or the one who provides comedic relief. I guess that’s why I enjoy writing series; I get just as attached some of my own characters. These special people make us all mad for a series. What will he or she do next? How will she escape the villain? Will the hero get to her in time?

In Sacrifices, Miln is faced with a really big question: is it lust or love that he and Oshki share? The dilemma tears him up, and as a result, he’s forced to do much soul-searching. I really enjoyed developing Miln’s character, and I hope you’ll read Sacrifices and fall in love with him, too.

Sky Streamers – Book Two


Miln and Oshki travel to the year 1847 where they track down Randle Nyerscot, a potential killer, but their journey into the past isn’t the lovers’ getaway they hoped it would be. Miln soon realizes there’s trouble in their historical paradise. It’s his duty to protect others, but his new, much-younger mate insists their love should always come first, setting them at odds with one another.

With the help of a local, Miln discovers an orphanage held hostage and a killer injecting victims with the Bone Eater virus. Forced to make drastic decisions, he must fight for everyone’s lives to save future Earth.Can he make amends with Oshki? Or will Miln be forced to choose duty over love once more?

Genre: Paranormal, adventure, erotic, sci-fi, GLBT/gay, futuristic, western romance, historical, time travel
Heat level: 5
Word count – 28k
Cover art by Fantasia Frog Designs

Brief Excerpt:

“Please, fierce one. Let us be together tonight.”
Desire surged through him. Oh how he wanted Oshki, wanted to hear his partner’s lusty shouts filling their chamber, but…he couldn’t. He didn’t dare. Tapio was crafty, and it wouldn’t surprise him to discover surveillance kerks attached to their possessions or even craftily woven in their clothes. It was just too soon.
“Well?” He smoothed his other hand down Miln’s bare arm.
“I do not want you angry with me, nor do I want to hurt you.” Worry prickled his conscience. He stepped back and stalked across the chamber to a long, padded bench with a back on it. He stared at the opposite wall, its surface a dreadful gray. He much preferred the vivid colors of Azutu. “It is too soon. If we are together physically, we run the chance of being caught.”
Oshki’s deep, rolling chuckle wrapped around him, inspiring more desire to course through his veins. If only his lover truly knew how much he needed him.
“By the Twelve Galaxies, how would Tapio even know? We are millions of telens away from the Ruling Body of Planets.”
“Through kerks, that is how.” That one simple sentence nearly choked him.
“You are serious?” Shock laced Oshki’s voice. “You actually believe Tapio would have had someone attach kerks to our belongings? Are we that much of a concern to him that he would track us all the way to Earth?”
Keeping his back to him, Miln shrugged. He couldn’t bear to turn around and see the stunned look he knew was on his mate’s face. “He is a controller and he hates us.”
“But we would need a kerkviaa to detect them, if there are any at all.”
“I know,” Miln replied.
“Are you not making assumptions?”
He shook his head. “Tapio suspected all along that we were in love. Have you forgotten security nearly caught us the first time we consummated our union? What makes you think he would not keep track of us here, too?”
“I do not believe it!”
The sudden, agonized shout startled him. He flinched and then slowly faced his mate whose eyes blazed bright silver.
Oshki breathed heavily through his nose, his mouth a firm, grim line. “You are afraid!” Both fists clenched as his sides, he yelled, “You allow your fear to rule your life—our lives! Why must you always push me away?”
The worst was happening right in front of him and he was at a loss how to avoid the disaster.

Buy Links

Book One of the Sky Streamers Series


Three hundred years in the future, Earth is dying. Venus Dalshvire, the daughter of murdered scientists, is one of the last survivors. Barricaded in a bank building with only her dog for company, Venus raises a rooftop garden and scavenges during the heat of the day to avoid the Bone Eaters. She’s independent, strong…and utterly alone.

Light-years away, the Ruling Body of Planets decides to send extraterrestrials to Earth. Their mission: to re-populate the planet, as well as utilize hidden vaults of DNA, seeds, and spores. Through time travel, these aliens will retrieve people from the past and re-introduce them as settlers into the ravaged world.

Equipped with Earth’s entire history and plenty of tools to help them survive, Volund and Jaxxon arrive in a small, desolate town near Lake Erie. Upon finding a curvaceous female, each man knows Venus is a lovely and intelligent mate. The dilemma, however, is that they both want her. Will their passion tear them apart, or can they find a way to share and love as a threesome?

Genre: Sci-Fi romance, time travel, steampunk, cyberpunk, ménage a trois
Heat level: 4
Cover art by Dara England

Buy Links
Decadent Publishing

Author Bio:
F.L. Bicknell's work has appeared in a wide range of genres and publications such as: Would That It Were, Touch, GC, and Ohio Writer Magazine as well as publications in Canada and Turkey. Under her now-retired pseudonym, Molly Diamond, she was a regular contributor to Gent and Ruthie's Club and has had fiction published in Hustler's Busty Beauties, Penthouse Variations, and Twenty 1 Lashes. Ms. Bicknell is the author of several e-book and print titles, also writing as Azura Ice, Amber Redd, Cutter Phoenix, and Kiyara Benoiti. She has served as co-editor and managing editor for three different publishing houses. She is represented by TriadaUS Literary Agency.

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