Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mega-sale

Twist is currently on SALE for only $0.99

Less than coffee.
Less than a hamburger.
Less than the service charge at the ATM.
Less than a trip to the dollar theater.

Ok, you get the point.



This is for a limited time, so grab it while you can! And did you know that for ONE DAY ONLY, Sterling (Book 1) is also on sale? On 9/29 (Sunday) it has been marked down to $1.99. Two full-length novels for less than 3 bucks. Seriously. That's less than most of us pay for a fast food meal, and so much more delicious without the guilt.





In other fantastic news, I'm almost done with the front cover for MB5. I'm going to work on designing the full cover (for the paperback) this week to have that knocked out of the way. 


That's about how I felt yesterday. I narrowed it down to two fantastic models, but I went with the one that best captured the story. The betas in the meantime are loving the book and I'm anxious to start on my final edit before it goes to my editor in November. Then you guys should have a nice x-mas present! Holla!


As for the timeline of everything, I'm going to do a cover reveal as usual, and probably the title reveal prior to that. I'm pretty settled on a title right now because of something that's said in the book and it just connects. I'm still targeting a December release (probably late) as long as there are no unforseen snags. I can't pinpoint a date this early until it goes to my editor. Then I'll have a better timeline.

In the meantime, you'll have SEVEN YEARS to nibble on. 

Aren't sure about Shifters?  Reality meets fantasy is probably one of the biggest things people love about the Mageri world. 

This series is for those who love a good love story. So put on your slipper socks, break out the chocolate and cocoa, and get ready to find a new book boyfriend.


Over 2,200+ have added Seven years to their Goodreads bookshelf as "want to read", and I can't thank them enough for the enthusiasm! It's going to be a book you'll want to read again.


On a side note, I'm thrilled to be working on the covers for this series. I'm already locating stock images and they're going to be an awesome series to collect in paperback! The timer is ticking on my blog, but watch out in case it goes live a day early. SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER.



And PS: One more day to win a big fat giveaway on my Facebook page, so go check it out.


SEVEN YEARS
Seven years ago, my world ended.
Seven years later, my new life began.

It's been seven years since Lexi Knight lost her brother in a tragic accident. On the anniversary of his death, her brother's best friend shows up unexpectedly - a man she hasn't seen since the funeral. He is no longer the boy Lexi once knew, but a dangerous-looking man with tattoos and dark secrets. He broke her trust and abandoned her family, yet what he reveals makes it impossible to stay angry. Lexi has been secretly infatuated with Austin since childhood, so finding out he's a Shifter just makes him sexier. Dammit.

Austin Cole has returned to the city where he grew up, and just in time. He's lived a hard life these past seven years, and the shadows of his past are threatening to destroy Lexi's family. It's time that she learned the truth about her brother, but there is a shocking twist that Austin never saw coming. Now he must protect her family when her mother and sister wind up in mortal danger. Will Lexi learn to accept the truth about who he is, and can Austin salvage a relationship from the ruins of their past?

------------------------------------------------------------

Seven Years is a light paranormal romance
Cliffhanger-free
Mature content 17+
What if Shifters really did exist, and lived in secret?

-----------------------------------------------------------
EXCERPT:

The closer I snuggled up to Austin, the more I craved that cozy familiarity—more than I would have cared to admit. I’d missed him. How do you not miss someone who was a huge chunk of your childhood and young-adult life who disappeared off the face of the earth? Almost every memory I had from kindergarten to age twenty involved Austin Cole.
The next thing I knew, my cheek rested on his bicep and I tucked my body against his like a puzzle piece. Just when I closed my heavy eyelids, he groaned.
Oh God, please don’t let him wake up now.
It was deep and guttural, and he shifted on his right side, facing me.
“You okay?” he murmured.
I didn’t reply. I played dead and pretended I was asleep. It seemed like a good plan to avoid the embarrassment of explaining why I was latched on to him like a man-sucking leech.
A rough, warm hand cupped my cheek and I felt him scoot down a little. Maybe he thought I had fallen asleep, because his thumb brushed over my right eyelid softly.
Five times. I counted.
When his lips lightly touched mine, my brain just shut down. It was a soft, almost nonexistent kiss, but I felt it all the way down to my toes. Then it zinged back up to my hips and damn if I didn’t moan.
Now we were both aware I wasn’t asleep and he was kissing me. But it didn’t stop. His kiss pressed a little bit harder and tingles roared through my body, and my breath was shaky and erratic.
When his tongue touched my lip, I quickly opened my mouth and kissed him back.
Hard.
Deep.
Kissed him like I’d fantasized about doing for the last seven years

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Stock Hunting I Will Go

I blogged about this a while back and it pertained to my search for stock. Only then, my example was men. But the vast majority of models I sift through are women. And let me show you a little bit about my "journey".

Keywords: Beautiful Woman yields 1.4 million results.
I don't have that kind of time.

So, to narrow things down, I have to start adding keywords. Brunette, young, emotion; sometimes I switch woman to girl because woman always seems to bring up naked woman. Often what I do is stumble upon great images, and I check out the keywords that the photographer uses. Some photographers are men, and men think differently than women when it comes to how they label their images. They don't often put "sexy" under images of men. Instead, they might put athletic or masculine.

*snort*

Once I've narrowed down my search, I began scrolling. Oh Jaysus! Hours and hours of scrolling.



What I've learned to do to cut time in the future is when I stumble across awesome images, I store them. So for future books, it's not square effing one again.

Now after I've plugged in my relevant keywords, these are the types of images that come up on the most "relevant" search.

Orange you glad you kept reading? Cute huh? Well, there are PAGES and PAGES of this - using different fruits. I'm not sure what use would come of out of this, but if I put it on an Urban Fantasy cover, I just might get locked up.

And all those poor fruits who were harmed in the making of this photoshoot!





 I did not use any questionable terms during my search to bring up a cat.

Any cat owner knows this look. Ears back, eyes beginning to hood, the left paw staring to raise up.

Someone is about to get owned.












So then I think I need to get serious and put the word "sexy" in my search. Perhaps I'll get less wholesome images.



I sure hope there ain't no gaters in that swamp.











Realizing I'm not getting the quality images I want, I try keywords like "vogue" and "fashion", because photographers who take professional pictures like to imagine they are Vogue-worthy, and will label them as such.

What I'm looking for at this point is not the pose, but the model. Then I go through her portfolio.



The only problem with the search is now I'm pulling up a lot of girls doing what I like to call.....

the pee-pee dance.


Awkward posses, facial expressions, and sometimes the model is sitting upside down in a chair. This is also the search that brings up a lot of flowy dresses, and we've seen those on a lot of YA covers. Yards and yards of dress fabric, blowing off a mountain cliff.

But at least all the women aren't smiling. That becomes the most difficult challenge for a cover artist who is searching for a model to put on an Urban Fantasy cover. Fantasy chicks don't smile. Face it - they're too busy kicking supernatural ass.




And on a side note, if I ever look this happy before I've had my third cup of coffee, then you better just back away slowly.









In the end, it comes down to luck and patience. I have literally spent 8 hours searching through images with breaks inbetween. The most important thing is finding an image that works with my vision. Even if you hire your own photographer, you're still going to be limited to the models they use and the image may not come out exactly as you envisioned. Plus, you'll pay a lot more. I work on a budget and I think I do well with the resources available.

I'm still knocking out the cover for MB5. I have about 50% of the cover done and I'm still deciding between three models. But based on what I have so far, it's going to be awesome! I've nailed down the idea for the back cover and I'm also choosing between a couple of images for the insert that you guys enjoy so much, because you never know what you'll get and it always ties into the story.




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cover Progress

I have two mock-ups for Mageri 5 and I'm not entirely happy with them. In order to use them, they'd require a lot of work, so I'm toying with alternative ideas. I put the design aside and have been spending the last several days reviewing stock art and collecting images for different concepts. Once I get enough to play with, I'll go back to the drawing board for round 2.

My goal is to have a few more mock-ups before my betas turn in the manuscript notes next month. I've decided not to push myself with crazy expectations.  I really have a lot going on right now so it's all about balance.

Going forward, all my covers and paperbacks for future books will be ready before the ebook release. Mageri was my learning curve.If it's one thing I've learned about when writing a series, it's branding and preparation and getting that done before the first book release.

I had a good chuckle the other day when thinking about updating my resume to include my current job functions. Does "spending five hours staring at male models" look good? I carve out time each Sunday to scour for stock art, but since I'm between projects, I'm utilizing that extra time to locate potential images for my upcoming Seven series. I'd love to put symbols on the covers, but those seem strongly associated with erotica. It would make my life so much easier though. ;-)

Keep an eye out on my Facebook page. I have plans for a contest this week.

Thanks to readers who continue to review the books on Amazon and B&N to show their support. You rock! Maybe you've never reviewed a book before, but it's painless and greatly appreciated by indie authors.

Be sure to head over to Goodreads and sign up for the SEVEN YEARS giveaway! (Link on my blog)

Only 27 days left until...




Isn't he dreamy?




Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Insane numbers

I was reviewing my files earlier tonight for the novels I've written (but not published) and by looking at the dates, realized from early Oct 2010 - July 2011, I wrote 16 novels. I'd always summed it up in my head to be a year, but now that I look at it, I was cranking out close to 2 novels a month.



And we're not talking short novels, but some of them were well over 100,000 words. The only thing I can attribute to this amazing feat, aside from the fact I'd stopped writing for several years and the dam broke free, is that I created a world that became my playground. It's not an easy thing to do, and once I laid down the foundation for the Breeds, I began to develop rules and gave a lot of thought to the politics, social hierarchy, and then focused on the meat of the story.

The Mageri world became my crack, a world I'm still passionate about writing in because there are so many unexplored avenues.

Anyhow, that was my random post for the evening. I'm just a little blown away by those figures. I wish I could publish them as fast as I can write 'em, but that's the way this process works. A total of three books are already written in the Seven Series, and I'm itching to get started on the fourth!

Mageri crack. Get some.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Giveaway Reminder


Just a reminder to enter in the giveaway on Goodreads. 5 autographed copies of Seven Years are up for grabs! Help spread the word! http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/62450-seven-years

I'll host one at a later time for those outside of the countries listed.

REMINDER: Mark your calendars for the blog tour and check the "Blog Tour" page on my website for a full listing. Lots of fun stuff planned, including a giveaway.

Can you tell I love giveaways?

Here's a scary thought: Christmas is in 3 months. Better get started! If you know anyone who loves urban fantasy/paranormal romance, consider grabbing either Sterling or Seven Years in paperback (available on Amazon). I've always loved giving books for special occasions. It's my thing.

Yeah, everyone is into ebooks now, but I hope paperbacks never go away. I love bookshelves and having my favorites on them. They're a part of our identity in a strange way. I love running my finger over raised lettering and the smell.

You know what I'm talking about. Don't act like you've never sniffed paper before.



Friday, September 13, 2013

MB5: Out of my hands

Today I sent the Mageri (Book 5) manuscript to my betas. So they are devouring it, laughing, crying, vomiting, hurling laptops, swooning, swearing, shooting vodka, shooting guns, and taking a cold shower. Well, you guys know the drill. If you've read the previous Mageri books, then you know how I roll. I hope they enjoy it, and yeah, I get a little nervous during the waiting period. I try not to think about it, but I take my time with each book because it's important to write a quality story that you guys will get your money's worth on.



Now comes the part where I have to start thinking about cover design, which excites me about as much as a Brazilian wax. In the end, I'm proud of my covers. But the first stages of design give me serious ulcers.




It seems everyone's curiosity is piqued about SEVEN YEARS and I continue to receive inquiries. Austin Cole's sexy self on the cover doesn't hurt. And yes, I'm going to thoroughly enjoy making covers for the SEVEN SERIES using male models. You bet. ;-) If you are a book blogger, you will need to contact my tour host with any questions.


The next book in the series is SIX MONTHS. I'm working on edits at the moment but I have no time frame for release, but it will be early 2014.

I was talking with a few authors and speculating what the books of 2014 will be. It seems 2013 was the year of New Adult, especially stories with heavy themes. I'm curious if the trend will continue in 2014 or if readers will shift to either another genre, or romance books with more humor. In any case, it's exciting to see indies making a splash and setting the trend. More stuff to read. :-)

Which is what I should be doing now. I'm probably going to go on a book-reading binge followed by a literary coma. This usually happens during the beta read, even though I have other projects. I was a more voracious reader before publishing, but writing now takes away a lot of that time. But like you, I've got so many books on my TBR shelf (real life and Kindle) that I need to make a dent.

Wish me luck.



Saturday, September 7, 2013

Seven Years Countdown




I have a countdown running on my blog for SEVEN YEARS (SEVEN SERIES: #1). Since I received an inquiry this morning from a supporter wanting to list the countdown, I decided maybe I should share it! If you have a website/blog and would like to add it, the code can be found HERE.

xoxo


Enter the giveaway for autographed paperbacks HERE.

Keep watching my blog and Facebook as the closer we get, the more likely I am to be doing  fun stuff. The support I've received for the new series = amazing.


And be sure to mark your calendar for the BLOG TOUR (see my website for the dates and places). There will be a fabulous giveaway, as well as reviews, guest posts, interviews, character bios, and fun!



Bringing a character to life

It seems pretty easy to create a character. Let's give him dusty brown hair, sideburns, green eyes, and a broad smile. Yay!

No.

This is where a character flatlines for me. If I constantly have to hear about his jaw of a Greek God or chiseled abs, I have no sense of who he is, outside of being Mr. Fine.

I don't often think up character traits before I write. Sometimes fleshing them out comes during the first draft or even the second draft. Sometimes it comes later in a series when I get to know them a little better. An important part of bringing your character to life is to give them a unique personality. Something that makes them stand out, that each time they do this thing, you think, "Oh, that's so Gary! He always does that thing with his hand where he pinches his chin." And sometimes that action your character does becomes a "tell", where without explanation of feelings, your reader knows if he's angry, nervous, or embarrassed.

Some examples of what I do:

- Silver has a thing about picking labels on her beer bottles. It could also account for why she's always spilling her drinks.
- Adam tends to rub the back of his neck when he's uncertain about something or uncomfortable.
- Justus rubs his tat when he's thinking, or laces his fingers together. He sometimes is unable to control his Thermal ability when he's upset.
- Simon is more animated with his hands when he gets excited. He'll pace around, fold his arms, and even gets a jumpy leg when sitting.
- Knox tugs on his knit cap, flips his lighter open and shut.
- Sunny's lip swells when she's upset. She also does a hair-twirling thing when talking.
- Novis does a lip or chin pinch when thinking. He also botches idioms.
- Nero chews on toothpicks, rolls up his sleeves when he's getting down to business
- Finn avoids eye contact and is always messing with his hair to cover his ears
- Christian is always nibbling on candy and has a thing about people who litter
- Logan's traits are often in his posture. He stands with his arms at his side or clasps his hands together. He covers his mouth with a fist to conceal laughter, widens his legs when sitting. But he has all kinds of Chitah characteristics in the sounds he makes, how he doesn't break eye contact, and even the tilt of his head.
- Page taps her nose when thinking and has a blush that doesn't just redden her cheeks, but her neck and hands.

So these are just a few snippets of personality traits. These go beyond the types of clothes a character likes to wear, and I didn't list "key words" that they often say. I actually did some research on body language and what that silently conveys, including a man's posture when sitting (leg's open, crossed, etc.) I try not to have way too many things going on, because you really only need a couple. It gets confusing if the reader has to remember a list. But you also don't want to stereotype them, which is why Simon is not always in leather pants. lol We are all more than who we portray ourselves to be.

One important thing to do is people-watch. I used to do it at work and I often do it in public. I watch people's mannerisms, interaction with others, eye movement, and habits. It gives me ideas, because some of the crazy stuff I've seen and heard I could have never imagined myself!

I have a character in an upcoming book who jingles change in his pocket, and another who is always stumbling into things, and an interesting fellow who often puts an unlit cigarette in his mouth or tucked behind his ear. These mannerisms are all part of the building blocks to creating characters. We all have little things we do that make us who we are. Maybe when nervous, we start picking our nails, or we laugh at inappropriate times as a defense mechanism. I hope this process has made is easier for you to get to know my characters, as if they were real people. Each has a different way of laughing, speaking, or showing emotion.

When you have a full cast of characters in a book or series, it becomes challenging. It's imperative to know who they are, what makes them tick, and to also keep bios for consistency. You can't have them despising popcorn and three books later, eating it.

So the next time you're ready a book - any book - take time to notice how the author developed that character. What is it that really made them leap out of the page for you?


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Five cool things



1. I sent an email to my beta readers to let them know that Mageri 5 might arrive as early as next weekend.
That means I'm on schedule and still continue to target a late December release. It's nice to have my crew who does such an awesome job at providing input to fine-tune the book so it's ready for YOU!




2. Christian Poe appears in another book to be published.
You may not have heard, but yes, that fiendish Vampire with the foul mouth wound up in another book I wrote years ago that I wanted to make a series. I got sidetracked, but just so you can pee your pants a little, you'll have more Christian.


3. Sweet baby Jesus, Austin Cole is almost here.
On October 22, you'll meet a new crew of men from the Mageri world. Shifter men. Sexy men. Over 1500 people have added SEVEN YEARS to their Goodreads TBR shelf!!! Over 1100 entered the giveaway. Cliffhanger-free series. Add Austin to your shelf.



4. Don't Miss Out on Announcements!
Be the first to INSTANTLY receive notification when there is a cover reveal, book release, or other important news. You are likely to miss it if you rely on Facebook or if you don't follow this blog daily. This is putting a second check in place so you are kept in the loop! Sign up for my newsletter.




5. New item in the Mageri store.
Go check out the store and turn the "safe filter" off on the left side of the screen. The mugs are really awesome and I bought several. The "L" fire necklace is super cool and this is just a way for you to grab a Mageri item of your own.

CLICK HERE