Cover Reveal: Under His Protection

Are you ready? I’ve held onto this one for almost six months. This is the cover that made me change the name from No Time for Love to Under His Protection.

 

 

I am so excited about this book. We continue Lee’s story, and no, he’s no with Deena, the chef he was dating in the first book.

Fox and Laura are in several scenes, and they are getting ready for their wedding.

Lindsey has been at Clemson for a year, and is progressing towards her Master’s degree in mathematics.

Lee has started his new business, as he planned in No Strings Attached, but he’s having trouble getting any traction. No one wants to give a new company a chance. Robert Stephens, his mother’s husband, uses his connections to get Lee an interview with Senator Martin Crowne, who wants to hire security for his daughter.

Elizabeth Crowne (don’t call her Beth) is running for attorney general for the state of Georgia. Someone is threatening her with vicious notes, but she doesn’t think they need to hire security. She has a feeling that her ex-fiancé is behind the threats and it will all blow over. She goes along with the bodyguard for her dad, but she thinks it’s a waste of time and money. When the threats become attacks, she has to admit that someone wants her dead.

Two jaded loners find a connection, but nothing is as it seems.  As Lee digs deeper, looking for answers, he only raises more questions, uncovering a conspiracy that goes deeper than they suspected. When those closest to you betray your trust, nothing is sacred.

Originally I envisioned this series as connected books, meaning that they share characters and not much else in terms of story line.  However, I found unresolved issues carrying forward into this book, and the plots are becoming more entwined than I planned. For this reason, I recommend they be read in order, and put the order number on the cover. My editor has the complete book now, and I am hoping for a release date in June or early July.

Today I dropped the price for No Strings Attached to $0.99, to celebrate its birthday. I’m planning to run the sale through the end of May. I’m not sure how long the different retailers will take to lower the price, but you can find a direct link to your preferred ebook seller here.  All-Romance ebooks also sells the book in pdf format if you don’t have an ebook reader. The book is now available in iTunes, Kobo, and the Nook. You can also download a kindle reader app for your tablet.

Everyone who signs up for my new email list between now and the end of May will be entered for a drawing for a $5.00 giftcard to Starbucks. You can choose either the monthly newsletter option, or the email on new release only option. Either way, you’re eligible for the drawing.

The first newsletter will go out June, and the contest will reset. So be one of the first subscribers and have a chance to win. Newsletter subscribers will also be the first to read the new prequel that I’m coming out with in August or September, that explains tells some of what happened in the first book from Lindsey’s point of view. What really happened in that casino with Ric? Sign up for the nesletter here

Happy Birthday to No Strings Attached!

The official birthday for my book is May 25, 2013, because that’s when it went live on Amazon. But on May 24th, at about ten o’clock at night, I clicked publish.

2013-07-08 11.00.55It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year. One year ago today, on May 24, I clicked publish on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program. We had checked and checked and made changes, and as I stared at that screen, I was terrified. What if I had some stupid error? What if everyone hated it? What if? What if? What if?

It’s scary as a writer to Let it Go. (Cue the Frozen song, because that’s what we do at our house).

But I knew that I had put too much time and effort into that book to let it languish on my computer. So I hit publish. Since no one knew me from Adam, and I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on promotion, I’m pretty proud of my results. In it’s first year, my book has sold over 500 copies.  The most interesting thing for me is that I have developed quite a following in the UK. For the past two or three months, I have sold more books over there than in the United States.

I have had strangers email me and tell me how much they enjoyed it. People regularly harass me as to when I’m releasing the sequel. So, to celebrate the one year anniversary of No Strings Attached, tomorrow I’m going to reveal the cover for Under His Protection.

I struggle with titles. The working title for the first book was always A Corporate Affair. The sequel was to be called A Political2013-12-07 11.46.15 Affair.

Then I decided to start each book in the series with the word No. So, following No Strings Attached, I planned to have No Time for Love, which was the working title for the second book. Tomorrow you will get to see the cover that made me change my title to Under His Protection.

If I wasn’t using the title to tie the series together, I needed a series name. I liked the idea of the city background for all of my books in this series, so I decided to name the series City Lights. While we travel to the Caribbean a good bit in the books, much of the action takes place in Vegas, Miami and Atlanta in the first book, and Atlanta in the second. Plus using the city background ties the covers together. Here’s the new cover for No Strings Attached with the series name.

Tomorrow I will celebrate the first book by starting a week long sale, and we’ll have a big cover reveal for the second book.  Everyone who signs up for my new email list between now and the end of May will be entered for a drawing for a $5.00 giftcard to Starbucks. You can choose either the monthly newsletter option, or the email on new release only option. Either way, you’re eligible for the drawing.

The first newsletter will go out June, and the contest will reset. So be one of the first subscribers and have a chance to win. Newsletter subscribers will also be the first to read the new prequel that I’m coming out with in August or September, that explains tells some of what happened in the first book from Lindsey’s point of view. What really happened in that casino with Ric? Sign up here

10 Dialog Beats Contemporary Writers Can’t Use

Do you realize that as writers we have lost whole action steps/plots to technology? Dialog beats are those little actions that you use in dialog to both tell who is speaking and provide characterization. I had a mental image of my 2013 character twisting a phone cord around her. Sigh. Not happening. Now I’ve got to come up with something else. So here are some other things we’ve lost.

WE500dialphone

Related to the Phone

  1. She twisted the phone cord around her body. What a great way to show nervousness!  I actually used this with a hotel room phone in No Strings Attached.
  2. She slammed down the phone. (Not with a $200 cost and no forthcoming upgrade subsidy)
  3. She knocked the phone off the hook. Our kids don’t know what a hook is.
  4. Her finger dialed the operator, hooking her finger in the 0 and pulling it all the way around. See number 3.
  5. She looked up a number in the phone book. Do 20-somethings even know what a phone book is?
  6. Bash someone on the head with the receiver. I’m sure it’s been done before in fiction noire. Those were heavy receivers.
  7. She stretched the cord as far as it would reach. Gained – Replace with held the phone up in the woods to try to get service.
  8. He twisted the phone cord around his victim’s neck, tightening slowly. How are we going to strangle people now?
  9. The line “He’s calling from inside the house” goes away, since GPS can’t be that accurate. “He may or may not be calling from within 500 feet of your house?” isn’t quite as bone-chilling.
  10. A busy signal. Now we just get people who hit that send to voice mail button.

What we’ve gained…

  1. Cell phones even in remote locations, which can be challenging for crime stories. There’s always the battery died…
  2. Personal databases on cell phones, including calendars, social media, and contacts. A wealth of information for would-be criminals.
  3. GPS – it’s harder to get lost, but if your character relies on your phone maps in the country with no Internet you could get lost even worse.
  4. The fantasy of being unconnected or off the grid. When I was in college, you would go hours without anyone knowing where you were. Friends had a general idea, or you may tell someone you would be at the library, but that was it. Now, not so much.
  5. DNA evidence. That has its own problems.

What we still can’t do….

  1. Predict the weather with confidence. Sure, we get generalities, but we don’t know exactly where hurricanes will hit. They can always turn at the last moment.
  2. Rivers still flood.
  3. Blizzards still hit. (seeing a trend here?)
  4. We can do very little without electricity these days.
  5. Force someone to fall in love.

For more technology troubles with writing, check out this post from 2012 on technology.

I hope you enjoyed this little walk through time. Carry on.

(Picture by ProhibitOnions at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons)

Free Flick Friday – Scents and Sensuality by Joan Reeves

Despite my best efforts, I didn’t get another blog done this week, but here I am for the second week in a row with Free Flick Friday. I’m hoping to continue to share book trailer love, so here is another. Welcome Joan Reeves and her book Scents and Sensuality.

SCENTS and SENSUALITY

 Amanda Whitfield is desperate for a man. She’ll do anything — well, almost anything — to get a date for her snooty cousin’s wedding. When a matchmaking mama proposes her son for the wedding date, Amanda agrees. After all, what choice does she have? Men aren’t exactly falling at her feet and beseeching her for the pleasure of her company.

Harrison Kincaid has had it with his mom’s matchmaking. Desperate to put an end to her meddling, he decides to teach her a lesson as well as get out of the date she’s “guilted” him into accepting.

Two desperate people, each determined to achieve their goals. Desperation makes for interesting bedfellows. Lies, seduction, and hot passion. Is it Love or just Lust? Will the truth set them free or rip them apart?

Amazon Link: www.amzn.com/B00BTIDUHW/

Now, without further adieu, here’s the promised trailer:

I love it!  It really shows the potential conflict between these two characters.  Sexy!!

Since Joan has a wealth of experience with videos, she took some time out of her busy day to give us some tips. Take it away Joan:

 

5 Quick Video Tips

Thanks, Lily, for having me here today. Here are 5 Quick Video Tips that will make it easier to create a video whether that’s one of your vacation or a business video or a book trailer.

1. Select your theme, or premise, or message you want the video to put across. Write it down so you keep your focus on the message you’re trying to convey. For a book, this might be a logline or a couple of sentences that sum up what the book is about. For a vacation, this might be the scope of the vacation–start to finish or the 1 week spent at a resort.

2. Select your art work. If you’re working with photographs, lay them out before you scan them. If art is in your computer, sketch a storyboard with squares to represent the art work and tag each rectangle, i.e., Bryan building sand castle or first kiss scene. Use a square for each photo you want to include so you can estimate the size of the video.

3. Match text, i.e., a caption, for each photo or a text block inserted between photographs. (You’ll see what I mean if you watch my videos.)

4. Music sets the tone. Hollywood has sound editors, and so do videos–you. Select the music you want playing in the background. If it’s a book trailer for a dark vampire romance, then you want moody, dramatic music. If it’s a romantic comedy, you want something lighthearted that invites the listener to smile. If it’s urban young adult, then you want something that makes one think of urban young adult, not a twangy country music soundtrack.

5. Time is crucially important. In a video for commercial purposes, like a book trailer or a product showcase, short is not better, but best. Try to make your video between 30-60 seconds long. If the video is personal, then time isn’t really a problem. It can be as long as you want IF it’s entertaining and holds the audience’s attention.

Let me know if these tips help you. I can be found online at my blog: http://SlingWords.blogspot.com / my website: http://www.JoanReeves.com / Twitter @JoanReeves / and my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/JoanReevesAuthor. Watch my other videos http://preview.tinyurl.com/Joan-Reeves-Video. I’ll be publishing new videos every month, including writing instruction and humor pieces aimed at authors, so SUBSCRIBE so you won’t miss any of them.

Leave a comment with your email on my post here and tell me which of my videos you like best, and you’ll be entered to win a 60 second video created and produced by Joan Reeves Productions! Contest open until May 8. Winner will be emailed directly and announced here in the comments on my blog post.


 

Wow, Joan is being really generous. So that your email isn’t spammed like crazy by those Internet bots we all hate, you don’t have to put your email in the actual comment, but include it when you submit the comment and I will be able to see it in the background and forward it to Joan. Good luck!  Also go check out Joan’s website and blog. She has some great tips.

If you haven’t seen the book trailer for No Strings Attached, you can find it here…  If you’re a romance writer interested in visiting my blog or you have a book trailer to share for Free Flick Friday, let me know here.

Amazon Takes Down Monster Porn

Amazon is removing some books from its virtual shelves, namely books that have been reported as offensive, including non-consent sexual acts with monsters, sexual acts with Sasquatch, and aliens.

http://www.businessinsider.com/monster-porn-amazon-crackdown-sex-fantasy-bigfoot-2013-12

The quote that I found fascinating is this, from the literary agency that represents E.L. James, who parlayed her 50-Shades trilogy into millions:

A representative from Valerie Hoskins Associates in London, the literary agency that reps E.L. James, was apparently so opposed to being included in a story about the genre that they responded to requests for comment with “We know nothing about self publishing or erotica.” (You read it here first: “Fifty Shades of Grey” has absolutely nothing to do with self-publishing or erotica.)

This, of course, continues the age-old debate that pits pornography against freedom of expression.

What do you think? Take my short poll here.

What Happened in Vegas Didn’t Stay in Vegas

No Strings Attached is now available. After double and triple checking my final copy, I felt that the time was right to upload. After all, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter were all visible in the twilight sky. What more of a sign do I need?

This little book started I went to Las Vegas with my husband in 2009 for our tenth wedding anniversary. My husband had been before, but I had not.

I don’t know what I was expecting. I guess after years of hearing how sleazy Vegas was, I thought there would be prostitutes openly stalking the streets, and winos on every corner. I was pleasantly surprised.

We stayed at Harrah’s, but we spent a great deal of time walking through the other casinos. We explored Caesar’s, the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, Venice, Bellagio, New York New York, and the Desert Sands. We splurged and went to see Phantom of the Opera (now defunct) and O by Cirque du Soleil. I found Vegas the ultimate paradox. I was amazed at the opulent beauty and at the same time horrified by the men on the streets handing out the business cards with naked women on them.

Las Vegas is a tremendous conference venue, and from there, it felt right as a setting for the opening scenes of my novel. What happens when a career woman finds an attraction so strong that she can’t deny it in a town known for its sinful hook-ups? What if she gives in just this once, believing that “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas?”

Laura Todd attends a conference in Las Vegas and meets Fox Thornton, a consultant to the hotel industry. Far away from her normally quiet life, Laura is swept away by her strong attraction for Fox. They both know the score, and neither expects to see the other again. After their hot weekend, circumstances bring them back together in Miami, where Fox is investigating a suspected embezzlement and Laura is the prime suspect. Can their brief romance rekindle in the real world, where suspicions and misunderstandings lurk behind every corner? Will their no-strings-attached affair evolve into a strong relationship, or is it destined to stay in Vegas?

I hope you will join Laura and I as we take this journey together. Take a sneak peak on Amazon, or download the first few chapters for a test drive.

If you are a blogger and interested in helping me promote No Strings Attached, let me know. I’ll be happy to work with you. Let the roller coaster ride begin!

If you Self-Publish, Please Please Please Please Hire a Copy-Editor

I don’ t knowhow I can be clearer.Lets just say that I’m so tired of reading messed up print from indy authors. “I’m also tired of missing quote marks, she said.

Did you like reading that? My guess is no.  I didn’t like writing it, either. It hurt my fingers to type it that way. Get the picture?  Ugh!!!

My Bachelor’s Degree is in English Literature from the University of Georgia. I also have a Master’s degree. I read ALL of the time. I chose not to go on and get my Master’s in English because I wanted to write genre fiction, specifically romance, and that kind of fluff was frowned upon in academia. It still is, for the most part.

With two kids close together, I had cut way back on reading, because I didn’t have the time. But with my Kindle, I can read wherever I want — while waiting during my daughter’s dance class, waiting at the school, waiting at the doctor’s office. I’m a fast reader, and having a whole bookstore in my hands at all time didn’t bode well. In fact, I spent a fortune on e-books. More recently, as I have begun to look more at publishing my own novel, I have turned away from the mainstream publishers like Harlequin and have looked at more of the self-published writers.  My thought was if I download their free book and like it, I’ll give them a good review and strongly consider buying something else from them. That seemed like a reasonable trade to me.

I just started a book yesterday that I downloaded last week. It has a compelling story, and a great cover, but there are issues. I won’t name the book, because I’m not sharing negative publicity, and I don’t want to cause any issues or problems. I’m two chapters into it, and while it’s a compelling story, the lack of a copy editor is glaringly obvious.  Words run together. Quotes are missing. I want to know what happens, but I don’t know if I can go on. It’s pure torture! (I’m borrowing my son’s words when I ask him to clean his room). I went back to the book’s listing on Amazon and it has two reviews, both a 3, knocking it for a lack of an editor. These aren’t style issues. These are flat-out typos. All I can say is I’m glad I didn’t pay money for it.

The sad thing is, I really like this writer. I have to check. I may actually be following her on twitter.  I just want to send her a tweet and tell her to hire a d@mn copy editor!  Maybe it’s formatting issues switching from word processing to the Kindle book format, but wouldn’t you read your own book on the kindle and pull it if it looks ridiculous?  She’s self-published, so it’s not an issue of another company giving her permission to pull it to fix it.

Traditional publishing is competitive enough. It seems that Indy-publishing is competitive in a different way. Since anyone can do it, rising above the trash and riff-raff will be difficult. I still have a lot to learn about digital publishing and the indy-author world, but it seems that the only way to make any kind of mark is to make ABSOLUTELY sure that you have a file that’s mistake free.  Most readers will forgive one or two, but when I’m two chapters in and there have already been several, I have to question the author’s commitment to her work.