Tuesday, March 28, 2017

4T Olio -- Do you remember 8-track? and why promo drives me nuts

Do you remember 8-track tape? Answer below (no cheating, lol).

Technology has changed substantially over the last 50 years. When we began the twentieth century, we had recording tech for both audio and video, but only barely. There were wax cylinders and vinyl records and photographic plates. The equipment to make these records were expensive. The average person couldn't afford to make their own recordings.

Then came film you could buy at the drugstore--and send out to be developed. Now families could record their most precious moments. But you still had to buy records, either by the album or the single.

Then, in the mid-sixties, suddenly we had magnetic tape and Polaroid self-developing film, and the world changed. For the first time, an audio recording device was within the price range of the middle-class family. You could record anything you wanted, including music off the radio. What a wonder!

Better yet, tape was portable. No needle-scratching just because of a few bumps! Soon tape-playing devices were available in cars. Remember cassettes?

But it didn't stop there. Computers were up and coming, and magnetic and disk technology combined to create data storage on magnetic disks. But we needed to transfer data physically. Soon we had 5 1/4 floppy disks--they really were flexible, which is why they were called floppies. On the heels of floppies came smaller, more indestructible 3 1/2 floppies--no longer floppy but the name stuck.

And then came *gasp* fiber optics and CDs, followed by DVDs. And *gasp-gasp* flash technology that gave us thumb drives--and gave rise to .mp3 players. Data and music were suddenly available in our palm.

Tablets and phones with stunning audio-visual capabilities came history's equivalent of a millisecond later.

So what does all this have to do with promotion?

Simple. As fast as technology has rushed by in the past few decades (does anyone have a floppy drive anymore? I think not), social media and the art of book promotion has changed JUST AS FAST. The things I learned as a new published author DO NOT WORK any more. This is a huge problem for me because, frankly, I like to do a job right the first time and then consider it DONE.

Yeah, I can hear the guffaws out there. LOL. Even I know how ridiculous that is. Because, you know--life happens. No plan survives meeting reality. That sort of thing.

So, this is all a round-about way of posting a couple promo helps that may be obsolete as soon as I suggest them.

8-track was the alternate cassette format of magnetic tape we used to play music back in the stone age. Sort of like VHS/Betamax.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

3T Writing Tidbit

Taking a brief time out from the serious business of writing for a link to the lighter side...

Q: How many writers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Just one, but the light bulb has to endure a series of conflicts and challenges before it finally changes.
More totally awesome fun at Amanda Patterson writerly light bulb jokes.

You're welcome :)

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2T Repeat Performance

In December, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. I thought you might be interested in seeing those posts now.

The Shifter Mystique by Vivi Andrews--originally published May 22, 2014

Award-winning (Golden Heart, RT Top Picks) author Vivi Andrews writes my favorite combination of sassy, steamy and smart. Please welcome Vivi in her first appearance at Magical Musings!
Recently a non-romance-reading friend of mine asked me what my upcoming book was about.  When I explained that Jaguar’s Kiss is a forbidden-love romance between the princess of a pride of lion shapeshifters and a sexy loner who shifts into a jaguar, the look he gave me could best be described as utter confusion.  He hadn’t been expecting big cats.  After some discussion, it became apparent my poor misguided friend couldn’t understand the appeal of shapeshifter romance, and I found myself in the position of trying to explain exactly why I find these stories so irresistible.
Was it the alpha male heroes?  They are so deliciously sexy—all power and authority and lovely bulgy muscles.  Dominant and determined and sexy and… *fans self*   Yeah.  What’s not to love?
Or is it the sensuality that naturally imbues a story about creatures that are so physical and possessing such heightened senses?  Shifters are dominated by instinct, in touch with their primal, animalistic sexual selves in a way that can be hot as hell.  Many shifter romances are written in a style that highlights that intense sensory body-awareness in a way that’s lush and vivid.  Hard to resist…
Or perhaps it’s the certainty involved in the popular fated mates trope in shifter romances?  The idea that there is a soul mate and when you find them you will sort of lock into place and there will be no doubt (and no questioning whether this is really the guy for you as you wade through the quagmire that human dating can be).  There’s a comfort in the feeling that the happily-ever-afters will make it all the way to the ever-after and when there’s a metaphysical mate-bond, it’s easy to believe they’re going to go the distance.
What do you think?  Why are shifters so dang sexy?  Alphas, animalism, mates?  All of the above?  Some other factor I haven’t considered?  The tight knit communities of packs and prides that exist in many of the books?  The sociopolitical elements of the shapeshifter worlds?  Or is just that we all dreamed of being able to transform into jaguars or wolves and run through the forest as kids (I know I did) and we never quite grew up?
Are you a shifter lover?  What makes them impossible for you to resist?
Jaguar's Kiss
Jaguar's Kiss
To get what he wants, he’ll have to rattle her cage...
Lila Fallon, the Lone Pine Pride Alpha’s only daughter, has been betrothed since childhood to marry her father’s chosen successor. The match is designed to maintain peace by shoring up any cracks in pride solidarity.
She’s always known she would do her duty—she just never expected to meet a man who would tempt her to throw it all away.
As a black panther, Santiago Flores couldn’t be a less suitable mate for the Alpha’s purebred lioness daughter. But that doesn’t change the fact that for every one of the five years he’s been with the Lone Pine Pride, he’s been head-over-heels in love with her. And when the Alpha announces that Lila’s indefinite engagement is about to end in a very definite marriage, Santiago is through holding his peace.
From their very first kiss, Santiago rattles Lila’s neatly ordered world. But can a lioness who’s always lived to please everyone else risk everything to please herself?
Warning: This book contains tempting lone-wolf jaguars, lionesses who long for fairy tale endings, arranged marriages, tangled emotions and a pride full of trouble.
Available for pre-order: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Samhain Publishing
30% off at Samhain through June 16!
Vivi Andrews
Vivi Andrews
Vivi Andrews is an award-winning paranormal romance novelist with a travel addiction. Born and raised in Alaska, she still lives in the frozen north when she isn’t bouncing around the globe. Whether at home or on the road, she’s always at work on her next happily-ever-after. For more about her books or the exploits of a nomadic author, please visit her website at www.ViviAndrews.com, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

1T Status Update

WANT TO WIN A KINDLE? Check out the March FREE Reads & Giveaway 3/5-9! Our Romance Authors are offering 69 books.

Most of them are FREE for a limited time. It's just our way of thanking our loyal readers.

Even better, we've pooled our funds to offer an awesome giveaway! Enter to win a Kindle and Amazon Gift Cards just for subscribing to our newsletters or following us on social media.

Here's the link to the March FREE for All & Giveaway: http://lovekissedbookbargains.com/free-for-all
*       *       *
We are all sad that Samhain Publishing, my first publisher, went dark March 1. I wish everyone the best, Christina M. Brashear, all the authors, editors, artists, and everyone who made it such a lovely home.

Where do I go from here? Well, I've already got a significant footprint with indie publishing. A dozen of my books are still going strong, including the Biting Love Short Bites, my contemporary fantasy Black Diamond Jinn, my romantic adventures including Hot Chips and Sand and Happily Ever Alpha: Falling for the Billionaire, and two of the three books already released in the Pull of the Moon series.

I'm still waiting on a couple other possibilities for reissuing the Biting Love series. So my first book to be republished will be Heart Mates (Pull of the Moon book 1). I'm aiming to have it up for preorder sometime this month. I'd like to reread it and freshen it up a bit for everyone :)

I've been spending a majority of my time improving my mail list. If you haven't signed up for my newsletter yet, now's the time! Sign up here.

The other project I'm currently working on is a series of three billionaire romances. Look for the first, about a bad-boy billionaire and the good girl who snags him, as part of the next billionaire box set, coming this fall.

Interspersed with this trio of contemporary romances, I'm working on a lovely fantasy novel that I'm planning to publish in serial format. Very excited about it.

Finally, I'm expecting edits in May for my first book in The Ancients series. Night's Caress is the next book set in the Biting Love universe. This is such a good book. I'm so chuffed to be rounding out the saga of Elias and the gang. Look for Night's Caress sometime after May.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

4T Olio--More than Luck--$1600 in Amazon Gift Cards

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

3T Writing Tidbit

Blurbs. We all hate 'em, but we gotta write 'em.

Some people are actually good at blurbs, even exceptional. I bow to all blurb writers, especially the one who whipped Passion Bites into shape. Here is what I sent in:

When a blond god blows into Alexis Byornsson’s emergency room and interrupts her treating a little girl, Alexis is furious. Or, not furious exactly, because Alexis is known as Dr. Frozen, but severely, finger-shakingly disapproving.  Then he kisses her breathless, and Alexis is stunned, her logical armor shaken, when what should be a nice release of endorphins breaks into a steamy tropical storm.

Luke Steel hasn’t felt passion since his wife died in a brutal attack three hundred years ago and he felt powerless to save her. Alexis shocks him by bringing good things to life in more ways than one. Mates are forever, so what the hell is going on?

Then an old frenemy takes off the gloves. With Alexis’s life at stake, all-consuming passion is the one thing neither Luke nor Alexis can afford, yet the one thing that will never let them go.

Here is what I got back:

Dr. Alexis Byornsson has her hands full in the ER when her patient’s uncle blows into the exam room. Stitching up a five-year-old’s cut is hard enough without a blond god distracting her all to hell.

To say she’s furious is putting it mildly—not that anyone would notice. Not with the legendary control that’s earned her the nickname “Dr. Frozen”.

Luke Steel never knew a woman chastising him could be so sexy. But for the first time in three hundred years, passion stirs in his gut—along with panic. Since his wife was taken before his eyes in a brutal attack, he’s sworn he’d never feel that powerless again.

Almost before either Luke or Alexis realize what’s happening, they’re sharing a blazing kiss that shatters her logical armor and unleashes his wholly unwanted mating instinct. And spurs a closer-than-skin enemy to put into motion a devastating plan for revenge.

 Let's look at some of the changes:
  • I started with the blond god. Blurb writer started with the main character's name and her situation.
  • I had "interrupts her treating a little girl". BW has Alexis's "hands full in the ER" and "stitching up a five-year-old" (interrupts vs. hands full and treating vs. stitching, each more active or descriptive).
  • I had Alexis furious at the interruption.  BW differentiated that it was the distraction from her work that made her furious, showing her to be conscientious, not contentious. 
  • BW kept my verb "blows into", noun "blond god", and nickname "Dr. Frozen".
  • I had the kiss as part of Alexis's paragraph. BW moved it down to the third paragraph (the couple's interaction paragraph).
  • I had a paragraph for Alexis, one for Luke, and one for their enemy. BW gave an intro to Alexis meeting Luke, a paragraph for Alexis's initial problem, a paragraph to Luke and his problem, and a paragraph to combining their romantic attraction and their enemy.
  • I had "Luke hadn't felt passion". BW punched that up to "For the first time in 300 years, passion stirs in his gut" and then yanks it 180 with the "--along with panic". True genius.
  • I had "frenemy". BW has "closer-than-skin enemy".

There's more, but I'll let you figure out the rest.

But as you can see, a good blurb is worth 200 words, but a good blurb writer is worth a helluva lot more.

Published since 2009, over the years I've accumulated various items of writing wisdom. The Third Tuesday Writing Tidbit showcases these items in no particular order. Click here to see all 3T Tidbits.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2T Repeat Performance

In December, the lovely Magical Musings crew decided it was time to close down their blogging shop. I had three wonderful years with them. I thought you might be interested in seeing those posts now.

photo credit: Identity Photogr@phy via photopin cc

Playing Music in the Dark--originally posted April 30, 2014

Getting to know you. To dream the impossible dream. Favorite things. What do all these have in common? (Answer at the end.)

Speaking of getting to know you--I'd love to get to know you better. What's one of your favorite things?

In return, I'll share too. One little bit each month.

My favorite things #10--playing pit orchestra for musicals.

Sitting in the dark, watching the drama and fun and color of a musical unfolding onstage as an audience member is great. As part of the pit, you get to see so much more. The musical (for free), sure, but you're also privy to rehearsal bloopers and horrors (ask any community theater group what the show looked like the week before opening and prepare to laugh and cry) and the sometimes hilarious antics of brushup night.

My husband and I played pit for The Pirates of Penzance one summer. During the Croquet scene, one of the young ladies hit the ball too hard and my husband the cellist was beaned by a pool ball. So the next rehearsal he wore a hardhat.

In the Pit
A friend relates that, during The Wizard of Oz, Toto kept coming over to the pit to sniff the players. In our production, the cute doggy got bored in performance and decided to investigate himself! (My fictional heroine, pit musician Junior Steig, plays through a similar laugh-out-loud incident in Biting Oz.)

Another friend told of an old fog machine that got stuck during a performance. It produced great billowing gouts of the stuff. Stage fog is heavier than air, so when it gets to the pit it just falls right in. The string players' bows--haired in horsehair--went completely limp. No sound at all! My friend and the rest plucked their instruments like guitars just to get some sound. Plunk plink plunk.

Fun times aside, musicals speak to my heart. Who can't relate to young novitiate Maria in Sound of Music as she goes to her first job outside the convent, seeking the courage she lacks in "I Have Confidence"? Who doesn't feel the anticipation that tonight won't be just any night, shared by West Side Story lovers Tony and Maria in the duet "Tonight, Tonight"?

Getting to know you. To dream the impossible dream. Favorite things. What do all these have in common? They're all lines from hit musicals (The King and I, Man of LaMancha, Sound of Music), and they all speak to the heart.