Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Renee Wildes's Riever's Heart releases today!

The warrior in her was ready for anything. But she never saw him coming...

Book Five in the Guardians of Light series releases today! Renee Wildes's Riever's Heart is the story of elven Verdeen, hopeful warrior ranger until no war mare chooses her. Without advancement, she must take another job, to act as bodyguard to barbarian Prince of Thieves, Daq Aryk. Daq is trying to unite his nation and Verdeen's beauty is a distraction he doesn't need.
Product Warnings: This tale illustrates what happens when adventurous dreamer meets seen-it-all cynic. Contains hot, no-holds-barred sex, voyeurism, and some self-loving. Also betrayal and some graphic (but never gratuitous) battle violence.
30% off during release week at Samhain!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Biting Me Softly up for award! Voting through Sep 30

My novel, Biting Me Softly, is up for a Bookie Award! Best Vampire Novel is filled with great entries so I'd appreciate any help you can give. Voting through September 30.



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guest Renee Wildes on Elven Heroine from Riever's Heart -- giveaway!

Renee has been an author friend of mine since my first WisRWA convention. She's a multipublished fantasy author who has won both great acclaim (Ecataromance Reviewer's Choice, EPIC finalist and more) and great sales (Amazon and more). Please join me in welcoming her today! And be sure to enter her giveaway for a chance at an Advanced Reading Copy of Riever's Heart!

Welcome, Renee!

Riever’s Heart comes out next Tuesday, 9/27/11 from Samhain Publishing. I have a lot in common with the elven heroine, Verdeen and thought I’d share a bit about the both of us. Maybe you’ll see a bit you can relate to as well.

Verdeen was born to high parental expectations. Her parents were so proud when she became lady’s maid to the queen, Dara, in Duality. They though “queen” but she saw “lady’s maid” and it wasn’t enough for her. Dara asked what she wanted and Verdeen was honest and told her. So Dara helped her enter the military academy—first female to do so in generations. Her parents were…disappointed. I used to be a waitress, and living off tips getting pinched by drunk businessmen was not where I saw for the rest of my life either. So I went back to college—and became the only vet tech in a family of nurses.

We’re both black sheep, following our own dreams instead of that of others’.

Verdeen and I are both tomboys. We’re both bookworms, both inclined to “look it up” when we have a question. I’m terrible about never wanting to stop research to actually WRITE. There’s so much interesting stuff to learn! But she and I both learned that sometimes, there’s no substitute for actually getting out there and LIVING life instead of just reading about it! Research is also EXPERIENCE. (And we both love to read just for fun, too.)

Tami and Sassy
We’re both major horse lovers. I’ve always had Arabians and have two half-Arab mares now. Temptation Fyre N Ice (aka Sassy) is a gray 7-year-old Morab and Moonlight is a white 20-year-old half-Welsh pony who technically belongs to my daughter Tami.
Tami and Moonlight
Verdeen’s always dreamed of having an elven war mare select her to partner in becoming a full elven ranger—those beautiful, glowing white, sentient war mares. Only when she graduates from the military academy, Verdeen DOESN’T get her war mare. None of them choose her. For me, I just had to buy one. Verdeen doesn’t have that luxury and her disappointment is crushing. What to do when the one thing you want most in the world is denied you? How to come up with Plan B? I’ve also had to deal with disappointments and roads not taken.

Sometimes it’s not about what you want. It’s about what you need.

I’ve started gaming on Dragons of Atlantis with my son, but because I never do anything halfway I’m now second in command in our mutual alliance. I’m basically the go-between between the overlord and the rest of the tribe. I’m counselor, resource allocator and diplomat. I also fight when necessary to protect what’s ours and defend my fellow alliance members. Verdeen is assigned by King Loren to accompany the human riever Daq Aryk back to his kingdom of Isadorikja and help him unite his warring clans into a single cohesive nation. She also is a go-between between Loren and Aryk. Part counselor, part spy. But she’s also right there to guard his back and defend him when threatened. Diplomacy when you can, war when that fails, diplomacy again when the war is over.

Always have a plan, and a backup plan, and a backup to the backup. Turn disappointment into triumph. See a failure as a new opportunity.

We both struggle to balance “warrior and woman.” Career vs. family. Time constraints. Choosing one thing means NOT choosing another. Time management and prioritizing. Coming to grips with the realization that you can’t do everything. Recognizing that every day you set an example, both good and bad. Learning to accept that your best is all there is, but it’s always enough. If you can look yourself in the eye in the mirror every night then you have nothing to apologize for.

We’ve both faced our fears. Verdeen had to climb a mountain, face her fear of falling. I’ve gone rappelling and faced my own fears of heights and falling. We both trusted the person holding the other end of the rope (belaying) not to let us die. Sometimes it’s out of your hands and in the hands of another. Sometimes you just gotta check that rope and step over the edge.

Both of us have dealt with the insecurity of wanting another’s approval, not getting it and slowly coming to the painful realization that we can’t please everyone all the time. You have to be secure within yourself. You can’t let others’ opinions dictate who and what you are.

The best characters are like real people with the triviality burned away. They’re multi-faceted. They have insecurities, weaknesses, moments they’re not proud of and things they want to do over. But they’ve got a good heart, learn from their mistakes and always try to do the right thing. Learn and grow. Be open to change. Be able to adapt. Celebrate life’s triumphs both great and small.

I loved hanging out with Verdeen, seeing how much she’s grown between Duality and Riever’s Heart AND how much she’s grown from the beginning of Riever’s Heart to the end. I hope you all find some part of her and her story to relate to your own life.

All comments are entered in a random drawing to win an ADVANCED copy of Riever’s Heart. Win it before you buy it! So let us hear your thoughts! Drawing will be 10 PM CST Friday night, 9/23/11. Good luck!

Riever's Heart -- Releasing September 27, 2011!

The warrior in her was ready for anything. But she never saw him coming…

Guardians of Light, Book 5

Verdeen is on the brink of becoming an elite warrior ranger until the ultimate humiliation—no war mare chooses her for advanced training. King Loren’s consolation prize isn’t much better. Journey to the Isle of Ice as bodyguard to a human riever. Daq Aryk. Barbarian. Prince of thieves.

Aryk dreams the impossible: unite six fractious clans into a peaceful nation. Failure means they are all doomed to kill each other off—and the nightmares of his son’s death by sword will come true. The new elven ambassador rouses his ire, not because she’s female, but because she’s inexperienced. Her possibly needless death weighs on his already overburdened soul. Her beauty is a distraction he can’t afford.

In a fragrant, moonlit garden, Verdeen dares yield to an irresistible compulsion to kiss the mortal riever. The heat shakes her to the core, and frees a desire that should occur but once in her life. With a mate.

As their quest twists down ever more dangerous paths, though, their bond is the asset that could assure peace…or the liability that could send a dream down in flames. 

Product Warnings
This tale illustrates what happens when adventurous dreamer meets seen-it-all cynic. Contains hot, no-holds-barred sex, voyeurism, and some self-loving. Also betrayal and some graphic (but never gratuitous) battle violence.

Website:  http://www.reneewildes.net/index.html
Blog: http://reneewildes1.wordpress.com
Publisher: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/authors/renee-wildes
Email: http://www.reneewildes.net/contact.html

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tomorrow--Guest Blog and GIVEAWAY

Independent women, strong smart men, and horses. Add in a giveaway of an Advanced Reading Copy giveaway and tomorrow promises to be epic! Fantasy author Renee Wildes will be here to share some insights and celebrate next week's release of Riever’sHeart (Samhain Publishing), the fifth book in her Guardians of the Light series.

A personal writing update:  I have some editorial interest in my short story Black Diamond Jinn, where a dying witch and powerful jinni fight to save the world from Y12 (the Mayan Doom) even as they fight their own attraction. More as that develops.

To round it off, my husband sent me this link to "The Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra" by Garrison Keillor. It reminded me of Meiers Corners.

‘The Young Lutheran’s Guide to the Orchestra’ in We Are Still Married (New York: Viking Penguin, 1989), 30–4.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

After the Publishing--Getting the Word Out

Every writer's journey is different. It's like we're each in our own canyon. We all want to get out of the canyon and back to civilization, but we're differently equipped. One may have a sure-footed donkey, one climbing equipment, one a radio... Anyway, there's a lot of advice out there but not all of it will apply (like the climber reading Getting Out of Your Canyon, Step 1: Turn on the radio). I advocate picking what resonates for you and trying it. If it works, keep it. If not, try something else.

But there's one universal. After the publishing, if you want your stuff read you have to do something to get it into readers' hands.

Two weeks ago I published Oz Bites. I wrote it as a thank you to patient Biting Love readers, so I didn't announce it to the general public. But I did get the word out to my readers, with channels that can also be used in general marketing. I thought I'd share them today.

Goodreads Groups. I belong to the awesome Kindle Smut group. They not only have a place to announce reads, they have discussions and are very active and well-read.

Yahoo Groups. I belong to Samhain Cafe, SavvyAuthors, EPICSocial and the WisRWA loops among others. The important thing is to create a post title that snaps. You want your post to stand out from all the other New Blog Today posts. The first line usually shows too, so make it count. FREE is always a good word to grab attention. Example: Free Short Story--Oz Bites // Vampires, music, marital relations and a smart-mouthed heroine. Free at Smashwords!

Facebook and Twitter. These are two of the current top social networks. If you're not on them, I'd suggest looking into them. Warning: They can be addictive!

Newsletter. Newsletters are great for the reader who doesn't have time to check out your sites.

Website and blog. I've read just about everywhere that your website and blog are your number one promotional tool. Dunno if I agree but I have both and enjoy them--hopefully readers do too.

Books and blogs. There are way too many to name (and see the above on picking what works for you) but Smashwords Book Marketing Guide,  How To Write Workshop are a two that I used for this release.

How about you? What are your favorite ways to catch an author's new book? A favorite way of getting news out or hearing it?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Anatomy of a Free Short Story

Last week I released Oz Bites, a free short story. Thanks to everyone who voted in my title poll!

After publishing three novels, one novella and two freebie short stories, I have to say this one presented some brand-new challenges.

This is the first time I've been responsible for the cover. I tried a few pictures on my own (like the one on the left) but thankfully eventually ended up with this from Valerie Tibbs (the one on the right).

This is the first time I've been responsible for posting and format. Originally I thought I'd make my own pdf and prc copies and load them onto my website, adding other formats as I learned how to make them. A couple, ahem, hiccups getting the beta copy to Mrs. Missive (it wouldn't even copy in properly) showed me I needed help. I needed a well-tested, inexpensive system to give me robust well-formatted ebooks in a variety of formats. Thanks to some self-pubbed friends including Edie Ramer (Self-Publishing Basics by Edie Ramer) I knew about Smashwords.

After reading the information at Smashwords, I knew I needed to preformat my story properly to have a clean conversion. I used a combination of the article How to Format an Ebook by Lori Devoti and the Smashwords Style Guide.

That's my self-publishing story. Hope you found it informative. Thank you to everyone who downloaded Oz Bites!