Thursday, January 30, 2014

Six Months Cover Reveal

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for SIX MONTHS (Seven Series #2). It was a long and arduous hunt to find the right male for this cover, and while I had several to choose from, I found my guy. All the way. I'm proud to present a series of covers that will display my characters from the neck up. ;-)

             ★★★★★
If you haven't begun the Seven Series, this is a paranormal romance about Shifters. Some books in the series are light, some are heavy. The characters make that call. This is real life meets fantasy - just like the Mageri series. Their struggles and imperfections make the characters come to life, and you can't help but fall in love with them. SEVEN YEARS (Seven Series #1) is available in ebook and paperback.

205 Five-star reviews on Amazon.




  



 Those who are signed up for my newsletter got an early peek, so be sure you click on the links to the left and above on my website to join the Mageri world.


AND NOW FOR THE COVER REVEAL!!!





 Ready?





Oh, I know how you hate it when people do this. Just get on with it!!






Ok, but first the summary. ;-)


SUMMARY


April Frost is a compassionate young woman with a steady job and ambitious goals. But the harder she runs away from her past, the more it threatens to destroy her. When three strangers enter her life, April is forced to face her demons and it’s a battle she may not win. 

Private investigators in the Breed world are men who take risks, and Reno Cole is no exception. As a Shifter, he’s expected to control his inner animal. But lately his wolf has been venturing dangerously close to the city, and he’s about to discover why. When Reno is reintroduced to a family friend, the attraction is immediate. April captivates him with her secretive eyes and resilient spirit. She’s also in trouble, and despite the fact she’s a human, Reno can’t turn his back on her. 

April is caught between two worlds: One that threatens to bury her dreams and another that could fulfill them. Can she trust the wolf at her door and find the courage to overcome her demons? 



 EXCERPT

There’s a buzzing sensation when you have chemistry with someone. It’s like there are invisible threads connecting your bodies and igniting into sparks, and the residual pulse bounces back in shockwaves, growing stronger with each second.
I felt that with Reno. He stepped so close to me that I remembered how good it felt when he’d held me in his arms. The animalistic look in his eyes captured me like he was a predator and I was prey. He felt it too. I could tell by the soft breath he took before he spoke.
“I’ve always liked hazel eyes,” he said. “Yours look like a sunset over sea-green waters.”
I hit pause. This was a scene I’d be replaying in my head for weeks to come, and I didn’t want to ruin the moment by saying something inane. I let him graze his thumb across my mouth. He pulled my lower lip down just enough that his thumb glided across the fleshy inside. Then he rolled his wet thumb across my lip, making what seemed like a casual gesture become the most intimate moment I’d experienced with a man outside of sex.
Staring into Reno’s chocolate eyes up close was like riding on that motorcycle. Intense, sexy, and addictive. When I felt his hand leisurely traveling down the curve of my back, my icy walls began to melt and I warmed to his touch.
I waited for him to make another move, but it never came. He looked at me like something unattainable—the same way I coveted the expensive perfume bottles behind the display counter, or the chocolate macadamia nut cookies at the gourmet shop.
I whirled around and he captured my wrist, gently tugging me back. “Something wrong with the way I touched you?”
“It’s nothing,” I breathed.
But Reno didn’t let go. He stepped closer and lifted my chin. “Did you want me to kiss you?”
“No.”
Reno grinned. “Liar.”
 

RELEASE DATE: MARCH 25, 2014

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Takeover

Well, it's official. My Seven Series characters have run amok and hijacked the train. I had mapped out the plan for each book down to the last. While writing book four, I hit a wall. Something didn't mesh and I really couldn't put my finger on what it was. I decided not to force it because I don't believe in a forced story; it has to tell itself.

This past weekend, I put the book down and started all over. Yep, that's right. From Chapter 1. I had already written 26,000 words. It made sense to give another set of characters a try and see if that felt right. I'd allow myself a couple of chapters and then make the call.

Well, I'm about 7K in and I'm fairly certain that the second attempt is going to be what I run with. I'm feeling, it, I'm excited, I'm getting all kinds of ideas, and that's how I want to feel when I'm writing. It doesn't mean what I've already written will go in the trash. Those characters will just come in the next book, and perhaps by then, I'll be ready for their story. I'm keeping what's written, although who knows, at this point I wouldn't be surprised if they decided to switch up their entire story. I get that there are some authors who bat ideas off of others, or need that friend to help them figure stuff out, but I'm a firm believer that your characters will tell you all you need to know. You just have to learn to listen. And sometimes they're not ready for their story to be told. They're shy, and I'm not about to tie them to a pole and force their story out. (Even though I'm really, really tempted. heh)

It won't mess up the timeline of the series in any way, so that's good. I'm a little behind schedule, but because I'm so excited about this new book, I'm going to be able to knock out more words faster than I would with a book I was struggling with. In fact, this story is taking an unexpected direction as the plot in my head has expanded.

I was just looking at the calendar and realized the cover reveal for SIX MONTHS is next week! My nerves are shot. Pass the whiskey. I design my own covers so I'm biased and love them all, but I'm always a little nervous about ever reveal and every book published. I think I needed a tranquilizer when I published "Twist" because NOBODY has any idea that Logan would be making his introduction, and I knew a lot of readers were going to be thrown for a huge loop. But I'm channeling those nerves into excitement - I feel like I owe that to my characters that I love so much.

Once the reveal goes up, keep an eye out because there will be a goodreads giveaway.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Attention Book Bloggers


Cover reveal for SIX MONTHS is forthcoming! Six Months is the second book in the bestselling Seven Series, a paranormal romance about Shifters. A synopsis will be provided. :)

Please share this with any book bloggers you think might be interested in participating! CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

Saturday, January 11, 2014

For those who finished Shine

I wanted to talk a little bit about some of the characters in the Mageri Series, but didn't want to post it on the blog where it might accidentally get seen by some of you who have not yet finished the series! So, I created a document with a link where you can read my thoughts.

MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT
This has major spoilers for those who are not done with the series, or SHINE. I strongly encourage you to simply bookmark this post if you're not finished, because the read will be less enjoyable and have less of an impact if you find out these things in advance.

Some of these items I've discussed on blog posts or elsewhere, but I wanted to get it all down in one location. I warn ya, it's a long read, but you might get some insight. Click here to read spoilers.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Website Layout Tips

There are a lot of first-timers creating their own websites for talking about books or maybe an author page. I do the best I can with what I have, but years ago I used to code html and customize websites. I was around when blogging was the big thing. I also visit a lot of sites, and based on my personal experience, thought it might be helpful to list out some things that drive me nuts, and things that make me interested. Take it with a grain of salt because we all have our preferences; this is just my observation since the 90s when it all began. But since it's the New Year and a lot of us are making changes, this might help inspire you, or even help a new blogger trying to navigate through the world of web design.


The Good:
  • Easy to navigate menu located toward the top.
  • Fast-loading page that isn't heavy on graphics or java
  • An awesome header! I'm a sucker for a really great graphic header or design
  • Columns: I like to see them. A few sites just have a solid color across the page and the left and right columns blend in.
  • How to follow/contact you close to the top, if not on the menu.
  • A way for me to search your site
  • If you are book blogger, I love seeing links to your top favorite reads, recommends, and things like that. (lists). If you are an author, I like a link to your book page with all your titles and links to retailers.
  • A background that matches your theme. I get confused when I'm on a book website and the background is a picture of dogs running in a meadow. ;-)
  • Frequent posts! Doesn't have to be daily, but I've been referred to a website and saw their last post was a month ago. Chances are I won't be back or bookmark it.
  • A place to comment. I still scratch my head when I end up on a site that has comments disabled.
  • About you! I love either a bio page (esp. for authors) and I've seen some book bloggers do this as well. One site has cute little pictures of the bloggers on the sidebar with very short info on them. Not everyone might want their picture up or full name, but it's fun to know more about who operates that site.
  • Pictures used in blog posts. I'm a visual person.
  • Review lists: Book bloggers usually have a master list of the books they've reviewed. I love seeing the star-rating beside them. I'll click anything from 1-5 regardless, but it feels more complete this way.
  • Whatever is popular on your site should have a link on your menu bar. Whether it's reviews, new releases, upcoming book releases, works in progress, etc.


The Not So Good:

  • Sites that play music. I'm cool if you have a playlist you want to share, but I don't want to hear it. Also consider some people are at work and that might get them in trouble if it blares on their speakers.
  • Background scroll. I'm personally a fan of a fixed background that doesn't scroll with the content.
  • Too many graphics. I have a fast computer, but if it gets hung up loading content on your page and even freezes, I probably won't return. Usually this has to do with sidebar content. The more graphics, links, and java, the slower the loading time is. Consider creating separate pages for some of this content and a link to those pages in the menu.
  • No header. This is a sad day when I hop on a site and the header is in Times Roman. No graphics or even fancy font. I think there are sites that will create headers for you - free.
  • Too much content on left and right sidebars. I get dizzy when both sides go on and on, far past the blog content in the middle. Information overload. I try to keep mine to a minimum and on the left side, but I do find times that I'm trimming what I'm posting there.
  • Animated graphics. It shouldn't be snowing on your page.
  • Black backgrounds and white fonts. Try to make reading easy. If you have a dark theme, even upping it to a dark grey can make a huge difference.
  • Tiny fonts or a font type that isn't easy to read. Fonts should be clean, legible, and not in cursive (unless they are headers/footers)
  • Pop-up ads or videos that automatically play. I know we all have to pay our bills, but consider less obtrusive advertising that won't steer away visitors.
  • Highlighting portions of your text and changing the color. Be wary of doing this (just an FYI) because if you ever change the background color behind the text, then while most of the text will appear as you want it, those specific areas you highlighted months ago won't change because they were manually adjusted. So they become almost invisible. I'm semi-guilty of this now, but I will use blue or red because those are link colors and I always make sure my background is compatible with those.
  • Headers that change so frequently, I don't know where I am. It's good to stick to a brand because readers become familiar with the visual look of your site, including how you've branded yourself in font design or logo.
  • An "enter here" page. I'm still uncertain as to why these exist. I remember years ago seeing them on movie page websites, but it's like a portal entrance. 

Those are really the highlights for me. Blog sites have changed so much over the years where even a novice can have a professional-looking site. I'm always visiting pages to see what I love about it and if it's something I can incorporate into mine. Which also means I'm very open to change, and if there's something that is bugging my readers, I want to know about it. Or if there's something they want to see that's not there, send me a word on my Contact page.

I know many are like me and busy in their real life and can't spend too much time customizing their website or figuring out the right html code to tweak one of the templates. Some outsource others to do this for them.

Anyhow, hopefully some of those tips get you to thinking. Every so often, most of us need an overhaul to our site design, and sometimes it even takes a few outside opinions to help with that. (Can't see the forest for the trees) The best thing to do is consider the sites you love visiting, because aside from their actual content, I bet there is something aesthetically pleasing about that site that draws you in.

Now this makes me want to revamp my page (again), but I have to work on some editing and cover design before starting that endeavor. Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Shine Blog Tour: Starts Friday!


Tomorrows marks the first day of the blog tour for SHINE! Hop on over to my BLOG TOUR page each day through January 17 and follow the links that are updated daily, as I receive them. You can enter the giveaway on each stop, and show support to the awesome bloggers who are hosting!

I decided I'd do a little something since it's the final book in the series. So, I opened the floor for Q&A. I also have a few questions in my files that haven't been answered. It turns out there were actually a lot and I didn't want to clog up the page, so I had to be selective, and I might save others for later. So, here we go!

Q: Favorite color to wear?
A: Black or grey

Q: Favorite alcoholic drink?
A: Either a daiquiri or rum and coke.

Q: Favorite season?
A: Kind of like picking favorite children. I love winter and snow, but I love all seasons because we only see them once a year. A whole season can encompass some pretty miserable weather, so I enjoy moments. The smell of fresh snow on the ground and the way it crunches beneath my boots; the feel of a cool breeze when Autumn leaves are fluttering overhead, ablaze with color; the heavy perfume of wildflowers in spring; early mornings in summer before the heat settles in and the squirrels are at play. I even enjoy a hard rain that goes on for days.

Q: Favorite Holiday?
A: Christmas!

Q: What lessons have you learned from when you first published your first series that made you improve with publishing of your current series?
A: In comparing the Mageri to Seven series, I don't know how much I'm doing differently. What I've learned about cover design is the importance of branding out a series ahead of time. I am also not working on the next book coming out (too much pressure) but am 1-2 books ahead of the game. I still have lots of deadlines, but it's reduced my stress immensely.

Q: Now that your first series under your belt - if you were given the chance to go back and change anything about the series or characters or your publication, what would it be?
A:  I don't know if I'd change anything, because it all brought me to where I am now. Whether those were mistakes or successes, they were all vital in the experience as a whole, and teaching me what I needed to know.

Q: How many post-it notes/scraps of paper do you think you\'ve transcribed into Word over the last year for your stories?
A: Dear God...LOL The number has dramatically reduced since working at home. But when I had a day job, I'd come home with a purse full of scraps. I had notebooks as well where I'd write in the car or at work. I destroyed those scraps as they were transcribed (but saved all my digital notes). The one scrap I did save is the final words to Shine I had written on a post-it note or something. I still have notes in a dish next to my couch, believe it or not.

Q: Quote/scene that is your proudest \"Ah Ha\" moment. Maybe you\'d been stuck and it came to you in the car or a TV commercial gave you inspiration, etc. Or maybe it\'s something that gave you warm fuzzies and knew it had to go in a book. Doesn\'t have to be from Shine. 
A: This will sound wacky, but someone might be able to dig up the post on my website or Facebook because I did mention this happening. I was at work in my chair and heard the words "She fell to her knees". Yes, that sounds really corny, but I couldn't get it out of my head and scribbled it down, and it ended up resolving a climactic scene I had yet to write in Shine. Perhaps the other was while writing Twist. I knew Logan and Silver's fate, so I enjoyed some of the things Logan said to her and did, without her realizing they were fated.

Q: Did anyone end up with a different ending then what you originally planned for them?
A: I try not to plan endings because characters have a mind of their own. I do have vague ideas early on and when it solidifies, I might begin dropping clues or working in that story in advance.

Q: My question is about Simon. Was his Mage ability ever revealed? I don\'t remember reading it, but perhaps missed it somewhere along the way. 
A: No, this hasn't been mentioned. Simon likes to keep his cards close.

Q: Some of the situations that occur in your books are so \"real\", it feels as if you have experienced the pain first hand. If your source for these moments is only research and not first hand experience, then you have an amazing talent. So are you a great researcher and storyteller or have you had some of this pain for real in your life?
A: Thanks so much for that. We've all experienced pain in our lives, and that helps shape who we become. I do take care to research anything I'm not familiar with (like fighting with knives..ha). Any experiences in my life I am careful as to how to weave those emotions into the scene to be true to those characters and that storyline, because authors should use their experiences as tools to create a richer story. Have I experienced some of the things I"ve written about? To some degree, yes. I'll admit that I was almost kidnapped by four men, and had a car not stopped at that time at my struggles, I don't know where I'd be. I've experienced a lot of things in my life - good and bad- and does that help me write better? In some ways, it does. I think those who have sat on a motorcycle and experienced the thrill can describe it better than those who haven't.

I do not project my likes/dislikes into books. This is sometimes done when an author might talk about foods they love or describe smoking too much because it's a habit they enjoy. Half the foods in the Mageri series I don't even touch. Chinese donuts? Yeah, they're my weakness, so that's a little bit of me in there. But you can forget about omelets. Death? Strife? Sorrow? Solitude? Friendship? Sacrifice? Family? These are all things we have experienced in lesser or greater degrees. I believe you can strengthen a story by tapping into the correct emotions, but also realizing that each character is their own personality and won't always do things the way you would. I wanted to create a series that is enriching, where there are many layers of experiences and struggles going on that every reader will find something to connect to that relates to their life. I think that is never more evident than how some of the stories play out in SHINE. Not everyone's ends the way we envisioned, but life is not without struggle, and sometimes we need to focus on not what we don't have, but what we do.

Q: Oh, and what is your favorite tooth paste? 
A: lol Ultra-brite ;-)

There were LOTS of questions about continuing the series. Novels, novellas, stories about Novis, Simon, Finn, Levi, etc. I love this because it shows how much you care. I could have wrapped it all up in the final book and written an epilogue, but I honestly believe when you love characters enough, you're going to want more no matter how tight that door was closed. I think you'll appreciate that had I laid out every conceivable ending and answered all questions, I will have painted myself in a corner where I couldn't revisit the books.

Will you get answers to certain things left semi-open at the end of Shine? I'm fairly confident you will. I've mentioned I'd like to explore Mageri world novellas or novels, and I'm currently writing one now, although I do have to finish up some primary projects first. They cannot be written from Silver's POV, so I won't publish anything until I'm certain this will enhance your Mageri experience and not the opposite. Aside from a few inquires, I'm not sure how many people actually want more. 2%? 80% ?  Keep posting your reviews on Sterling and other books in the series to show support. It's a huge investment for me to work on side projects that aren't part of my current series, so I need to know that the demand is truly there.

What I really want to do is talk about the spoilery stuff!
But I don't want to post it on a public page. I've had so many questions I'd love to address on characters and storylines. I'm not sure how to do this so I'll be thinking on it. Maybe a live chat room or something - if the demand is there. I don't know how to work that so yeah, let me think.

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING MAGERI! This has been an amazing world to write in and I'm excited to continue writing in this universe with new stories, but the same familiar "Breeds". Seven Series fans are going to get a snippet at some point of something that connects to the Mageri Series. So I will have a little authory fun in connecting books in this way. Hope you enjoy the ride.


Blog tour and Paperback Info





The blog tour for SHINE kicks off tomorrow! For those who don't know what a blog tour is, different book blogger websites feature me. Some will be promos and others reviews. You'll want to visit every stop because you'll have the chance to enter the GIVEAWAY! Lots of goodies to grab, so be sure to participate!

I'll be designing the cover for SIX MONTHS in the next couple of days. Once I plan the cover reveal, readers will get to see the book description. Just to reiterate, this book is PNR style, and most that I read that are true PNR (not UF) focus on new characters in each book while having all the lives intersect. PNR was a challenging undertaking, and I'm doing something a little different in regards to the POV and what's usually done in this genre. It's been a fun transition from the Mageri series, and I also look forward to diving back into Urban Fantasy.

SHINE IN PAPERBACK. I'm crossing my fingers that I get the proof copy today and it's good to go. I had to do some minor tweaking and I'm not one of those authors who just clicks "publish" without making sure it's up to my standards, so that means ordering copies and reviewing them. But it will be this month.

Well, here we are in 2014! Where is my flying car?