Monday, December 31, 2012

Romance Magicians’ Favorite Books of 2012

MorBCN/Flickr

2012 was an excellent year for reading. So many wonderful books, so little time. I asked my fellow Southern Magic members to tell me, of all the books they read this year, which was their favorite. (Note, I didn’t say the book had to be new this year, just that they had to have read it this year.) The resulting list was as varied as our members, and I ended up adding several books to my massive to-read list.


My favorite book this year is THE REASON IS YOU by Sharla Lovelace, which is set in a bayou area, with a hot, sexy ghost and an even hotter flesh-and-blood hero as counterpoint to a smart, loving single mom heroine who is not only down on her luck and forced to move back to the hometown (in her father’s house) and its snobs who think she’s a freak but trying to raise her teenage daughter who doesn’t know (yet) she can see ghosts, too. The characters are unique yet easy to identify with and care about and the story has a wonderful ending and bit of a twist. - Betty Bolt√©


I know you said one book--but three stand out to me, because each one of them represented something different.

1. SONG FOR SOPHIA by Moriah Densley, a historical. A story with two strong, scarred people that moved me to tears. (and I don't cry often with books). There was a happily ever after, but I still think of those characters.

2. MAGIC BITES By Ilona Andrews. An urban fantasy that kept me turning the page, it references old slavic myths, and has some of the best dialogue I've ever read.

3. UNHOLY MAGIC by Stacia Kane, urban fantasy. One of the most flawed heroines I've ever read. No matter, I still found myself hoping for her, and the secondary characters are memorable. - M. V. Freeman


I read the Millennium series trilogy by Stieg Larrson. The structure of the writing wasn't my favorite. Maybe it lost something in translation, but the characters and the plot drew me in and kept me turning pages. Salander has become one of my all time favorite characters.

And I've got to add one more. UNDER HIS WINGS (yet to be released) by our very own Naima Simone. I LOVED this book and the second in the series and cannot wait until they are both in print. Naima was born to write paranormal romance. The hippogryph shifter was unique. Her description of the hero made him come alive. With wings and without, he was a character I'd love to meet. Wonderfully written, and filled with Naima's brand - those of you who've read her books know she can evoke emotions between characters and describe them so fully, it really puts you in the story. - Debra Glass 


Of all the books I've read this year, I'd vote for HUSHED by Kelley York (YA - Entangled Publishing 2011). I'm normally not a fan of bad-guy protags, but this one blew me away. It's a very different book. Lots of dark characters. The main character, Archer, is technically a bad guy (a murderer of bad guys), but this is written so well, I hoped he would have a good outcome. Very dark. Very violent book. Just when you think it can't get any worse for this character, it does. It's one of those. It's not a romance, but has an element of romance in it, which is beautifully done as well. Amazing writing. I loved it. - Callie James


My favorites were Sylvia Day's Crossfire books! I loved them and can't wait for the next one!! - Alicia Hunter Pace


I'll put in a vote for Marta Acosta's DARK COMPANION. I've gotten kind of burned out on Young Adult, but this was a modern retelling of Jane Eyre, with a really dark, dark twist to it. It's a book that's haunted me and I'm still thinking about the different nuances of it months after I first read it. It's all about self-acceptance, and love, and friendship, and how distorted those things can become. - Suzanne Johnson


ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE by Jeanine Frost! Amazingly well developed characters combined with sizzling chemistry and snappy dialogue. - Julie Johnstone


My favorite book of 2012 is Nalini Singh's ARCHANGEL’S STORM. The characters were two of the most beautiful I've ever read. Their history, all they'd been through to emerge as these strong but scarred people who found completeness in one another had me in tears at the end of the book. The writing is amazing...take that back. Nalini Singh doesn't write--she draws a story. - Naima Simone


Though I don't read as many full novels as I would like, I did read several this year from some of my old time favorite authors and none blew me away with the juicy delicious difference of M V. Freeman's book INCANDESCENT. I have a crush on her hero and can't wait to read the next one. - Carla Swafford


And, lastly, my favorite book of the year: A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME by Wiley Cash. I love books set in the South, and this book was wonderful. I really love the book, especially the different perspectives you get from the story's three narrators. The depiction of rural Southern culture was very realistic, and the characters were rich and well-developed.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed their favorites!

Of the books you read in 2012, which was your favorite? Which book are you looking forward to in 2013?

Kerry's website | Kerry @ Twitter | Kerry @ Facebook

Friday, December 28, 2012

Digital Books: Rights of Readers Verus Rights of Authors

Hopefully your Christmas was filled with joy and wonder.  As a book lover, I was thrilled when I received a gift card to buy books! I know that digital books are popular, but I still cannot resist the lure of paper completely. I recently read a blog, however, discussing a reader's rights to the digital copy of a book purchased.  Since I still typically buy paper copies of books, I had not given much thought about what I could do with any digital books I have purchased, read, and am ready to pass on.  It seems though that the same resale/giveaway/borrow options are not available for both formats. As a reader, I am somewhat frustrated to pay for a product, but unable to do with it what I want.  As a writer, I can understand the necessity. 

What are your thoughts? Are the restrictions on digital books reasonable to both readers and writers?  Or do you think there is a possible middle ground where both reader and writer can be happy?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

RELEASE DAY & GIVEAWAYS: CIRCLE OF DECEPTION


Yes! I'm celebrating my newest release today! CIRCLE OF DECEPTION is available in e-format to purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks (on your iPhone, iPad or iPod through the app or iTunes) and many other places.

In the meanwhile, here on this blog, I will be giving away three e-format copies. To be in the drawing, tell me what was your favorite gift you received this year (Christmas, Birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, etc.). Three commenters will win and can choose a book (e-format) from the series: CIRCLE OF DESIRE, CIRCLE OF DANGER, or CIRCLE OF DECEPTION. Be sure to place your email address in the comment.

Instructions on how to claim your prize will be sent out tonight around 9 p.m. A time limit will be given to answer the email and then hopefully by the end of this week I'll announce the winners here on this post. The reason for the time limit is that many people win but never claim their prizes.

If you don't want to comment but love to win a paperback copy of CIRCLE OF DECEPTION, through January 22, you can sign up at Goodreads to win a copy there. HarperCollins is giving away a copy to five lucky winners.


I feel like this is an infomerical, "But wait! There's more!" And later today (9 p.m. central US time), I will be announcing the winners of the Kindle Paperwhite and $100 Amazon Gift eCard. So you still have time to sign up for my newsletter and have a chance to win. Go to  www.carlaswafford.com for details.


Follow me on Twitter: @carlaswafford
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[Added 12/27/12:  Congratulations to Leanna Feazel, Billie (hkgunfamily), and Michelle Bledsoe! They each won an e-book by commenting on my post, and they all picked CIRCLE OF DESIRE!]

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rex's Potato Candy


During the holiday season everyone pulls out their family recipes, and you know your favorite is the one that brings back memories of being a kid. That’s Potato Candy for me. Plus it’s easy. My family will tell you in a heartbeat cooking isn't my thang.

Anyway, Avon Books asked each of the authors to post "What’s your character’s favorite holiday recipe?"

In CIRCLE OF DECEPTION, releasing December 26 in e-format, Rex Drago doesn't have many good memories of his childhood, but helping his mom make potato candy around the holidays was one of them. The big guy does have a sweet-tooth.

By the way, believe it or not, you won’t taste the potato. It’s more of a tasteless starch to hold the ingredients together.

Here’s the basic recipe.
1 small potato
1 box of confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon of vanilla
1 tablespoon of butter
Peanut butter

Instructions: Wash and peel your potato. Cut up into squares. Boil the potato until well done (flaky). Drain. Place half into a bowl. Add vanilla. Mix in sugar a little at a time. Usually it takes ½ to ¾ of a box of confectioners’ sugar to get the point you’re sure you can’t mix it anymore and then stir it a little more.

Using wax paper, place a square of butter or margarine and smear it across the paper. This will prevent the candy from sticking. Then take the slab of candy and flatten it. You can use a rolling pin or a sturdy glass. The thickness of the candy is up to you. I usually make it around ¼ inch thick. I suggest trying to keep a rectangle shape.

Spread peanut butter over the top. Then roll the longest side to the other long side. Use the wax paper it was sitting on to wrap it up and place in the refrigerator. About an hour later, it’s ready to cut. I suggest using a sharp knife. It will give you a smoother cut and the pinwheels will show up so pretty.

Oh, if you’re wondering what to do with the other half of the potato. Make more potato candy, of course!

Hope you enjoy it. 

For more information about my books you can check them out at AvonRomance.com and www.carlaswafford.com. 

Follow me on Twitter: @carlaswafford
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Friend me on GoodReads: CarlaSwafford

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21, 2012

Check out what NASA has to say about it.  They're so certain all is okay, they produced a film called Why the World Didn't End Yesterday even before December 21, 2012.



See ya tomorrow!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Editor Lindsey Faber, 5 Minute Interview

Today  in my 5 minute interview I am speaking with Lindsey Faber, Editor from Samhain (www.samhainpublishing.com ).  I found her energetic and extremely positive. My only regret? That I didn't have more time to talk with her. See what she says....
 
What affect has digital have on your sales?
L.F.: The changing landscape has been huge for us. Even though we've always been a digital-first publisher, print outsold digital for us for several years. A few years ago the digital boom flipped that, and now we by far sell more books in digital. I think we're past the boom at this point - sales seem to indicate steady growth more than exponential growth - but new devices and retailers' increasing interest in the space have continued to bring in new readers.
This I found fascinating and encouraging, as a writer and reader. This shows to me a balance of both worlds.
 

How does your company address piracy issues?
L.F.: For the most part, we don't. The problem with DRM (Digital Rights Management, the way of encoding files to prevent sharing) is that most pirates can break it, meaning it only ends up being a hassle for paying customers who want to read their books on another computer or device. Our priority is on accessibility of the files for our paying customers, so we sell our books DRM-free from our site, and give readers a virtual bookshelf to redownload their book in any format, at any time. We feel that pricing our books competitively and making them accessible are the best deterrents to piracy.
This I found made sense--because trying to chase the pirating is very difficult, especially overseas. The fact that your goal is access--appeals to me' 

What can new authors do to make themselves valuable to you?
L.F.:Write more books! The more titles we have from an author, the more there is for readers to enjoy - and the more incentive for us to promote. Series tend to be big sellers in romance, and digital readers (used to getting what they want when they want it) can be voracious. Sometimes even novellas can be a great way of putting the series back in front of readers and generating more interest.
Ah, writing! You're right the bottom line is get your stories written and out there. I will keep that in mind.

What ways are readers finding your authors?
L.F.: We hope readers are finding them wherever they look. We distribute widely to all major - and some minor - digital retailers, so our books are in front of readers wherever they're looking to buy. We utilize social media and advertise in many venues - from romance blogs to an ad on Times Square in New York City. Plus we use cross-promotional excerpts in the back of our books to help our readers reach new authors, and Samhain books often show up in each others' "Customers Also Bought..." algorithms. We work hard not just to promote individual authors, but to promote the Samhain brand as a whole - if customers know they can trust our brand for quality books, it means all our authors reap the rewards.  
An add on NYC Times square, I have to admit--that's cool. I know I'm drawn to Samhain.

What is the one question no one’s asked and they should?
L.F.: Well, this is a good one! Actually, romance writers are a pretty savvy bunch, so I always get great questions in interviews and on panels. The most popular questions, though, tend to focus on how to sell to a publisher (trends, submission requirements) or how to sell to readers (marketing, print distribution). Yet a major facet of navigating a writing career is working with an editor and a publisher, and some of the most common complaints I hear from authors have to do with difficulties in these relationships - particularly communication. So I also encourage writers to also ask questions about what the working relationship will be like - what an editor's editing philosophy is, how the publisher communicates information, who authors go to if they have problems. Matching styles and setting clear expectations on both sides of the publisher-author relationship goes a long way towards not just selling a book, but building a career.
Communication--I agree with that. I am taking notes on this, because that is my goal--build a career.

How does NaNoWriMo affect submissions?
L.F.: We definitely see an increase of submissions after NaNoWriMo each year. It's great that it gets so many authors motivated to up their word count and finish their projects - some of our authors even participate. Our advice, though, would be to be sure your NaNoWriMo project is fully edited before you submit. We get a lot of submissions the first week of December due to author eager to share their finished work, but many of these submissions could use a little more polish.
Ah! That is a good to know. I think there is a new program from NaNoWriMo creators that use December as the month to edit and polish.

For Fun: Favorite Beverage?
L.F.:Water. And if I can find it, Peach Fresca.
I used to love Fresca, and I've never tried Peach--now I want to!
Thank you for this wonderful interview! I hope that I have the opportunity to speak with you again.
This concludes my current round of Agent and Editor interviews. I plan to do another series after the first of the year.

 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fan Fiction, Not Just For Trekkies by Debra Glass

It’s never been a secret that author E.L. James originally penned the Fifty Shades Trilogy as fan fiction based on the Twilight Saga.

But what is fan fiction?

The term fan fiction refers to stories written using characters from a book, series, or movie, by fans instead of the original author.

Some are just now hearing about fan fiction, but the genre has been around for a long time. There are several fan fiction versions of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, the current television hit, Elementary to name one.

Fan fiction gained widespread acclaim in the Sci-Fi genre with the advent of the 1960s Star Trek fanzines – magazines featuring stories submitted by fans about the original series characters. The world wide web saw an explosion of fan fiction sites. Fanfiction.net is one of the more popular sites which allows anyone to upload content in any fandom.

Several noted authors have praised fan fiction. J.K. Rowling states she is "flattered" that people want to write their own stories based on her fictional characters. (I can think of a few stories about James and Lily Potter I’d like to write myself!) Stephenie Meyer’s website includes links to fan fiction sites about her characters from the Twilight Saga.

Anne Rice, however, is one of many authors who does not condone fan fiction based on her characters and feels it is copyright infringement.

As writers, we are all inspired by things we read, see, or experience. My Slave to Fashion could loosely be termed as fan fiction. I take a break for lunch every day during the time What Not to Wear airs on TLC. Stacy and Clinton’s witty exchanges with their fashion-challenged makeoverees inspired the character of Georgiana Talbot, a modiste who dresses England’s ton. The fan fiction part stops at the banter, however. The characters are purely fictional.

slavetofashion_msrBlurb~

A taste of the forbidden…

Georgiana Talbot intends to remain a spinster in order to ensure her younger sisters debut and find husbands. But when she encounters a devilish Scot who ignites a searing fire within her, Georgiana realizes just how much she has denied herself regarding the pleasures of the flesh. Determined to learn more, she concocts a daring scheme.

A touch of the taboo…

Seducing the haute ton’s premier modiste into buying linen from his mills is foremost on Blane MacLaren’s mind. Until his need to bend the brash beauty to his will drives him to enter into a scandalous agreement—Georgiana will purchase his linens if he will tutor her in an array of dark delights and forbidden pleasures. Yet nothing could have prepared him for the effect his very willing student will have on him—or how far a harmless lesson in lust can go.

Digital Edition

Ellora’s Cave | Amazon | B&N | ARE

** What do you think of fan fiction? Love it? Leave it? Do you enjoy reading a book that is obviously inspired by a favorite literary or movie character?

Leave me a comment and I’ll enter your name in a drawing to win a free download of Slave to Fashion in your favorite ereader format.

About Debra Glass

DSC04453aDEBRA GLASS is the author of over thirty-five books of historical and paranormal romance, non-fiction, and folklore. The recipient of the National Society of Arts and Letters Alabama Screenwriter Award, she went on to win the NSAL Empire State Award for excellence in screenwriting. Debra is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Professional Authors’ Network. She is also a member of RWA's Heart of Dixie Chapter and RWA's Southern Magic Chapter. She lives in Alabama with her real life hero, a couple of smart-aleck ghosts, and a diabolical black cat.

http://DebraGlass.com

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Agent Kim Lionetti, 5 minute Interview


Today in my 5 minute interview series, I am interviewing Kim Lionetti agent from BookEnds, LLC.  (http://www.bookends-inc.com/ ) I met her at Moonlight and Magnolia. Instead of pitching to her, she let me talk to her--it was a very quick conversation. I found her take on digital and promotion interesting.  


What has digital done for you as an agent/writers in general:
KL:Digital is a new world. There are opportunities, and it helps an author with promotional and branding. It is opening up great opportunities for traditionally published, using ePub for cross promotion. 
If you think about it more and more promotion type things are falling on the author. This is something to ponder.  
What can new authors do to make themselves valuable to you?
KL: Be career minded: build their brand. This is hard for debut authors—they must create a brand, which is done by the publisher. Traditional brands feed off each other. For example self-publishing back list once their name is out is a good idea--because many are seeing great success.
It seems you support self-publishing back list. Next time I talk to you I need to ask you about Novellas.
What are ways readers finding your authors?
KL: By ePub and traditional ways. Social media is important for an author but find what fits them and focus on that. Put time in what words for you: Blog or FB or Twitter.
I'm hearing that across the board from both Agents and Editors. This is good to know.
What is the one questions no-one’s asked and they should?
KL:No one asks me who my favorite authors are, and what I am reading.
What are you reading?
KL: Hush Hush, a YA, and I read Historicals.
I have a fondness for Historicals and YA!
 
Thank you for allowing me to interview you. I look forward to meeting you again at another conference.
My next 5 minute interview is December 20th, 2012 with Editor, Lindsey Faber, from Samhain. (She's fabulous!)



Monday, December 17, 2012

Blog Marathon: Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar


What is the working title of your book?  Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar (My favorite title yet!)

Where did the idea come from for the book? I was kicking around the idea of a supernatural bar for the series when I attended RWA in Disney World.  Some of us went out to eat at a restaurant and our waitress was this long-legged, smoky voiced brunette and I thought, “There she is.  That’s Beck, the heroine of my demonoid bar book.”

What genre does your book fall under? Southern fried paranormal romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie? Jason Momoa from “Conan,” and a twenty-something Rachel Weisz. (Think the first Mummy movie)

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book? The tough demonoid owner of a dive bar for supernaturals and the sexy demon hunter thorn-in-her-side join forces to defeat the evil that threatens humans and supernaturals alike.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency? The book is published by Kensington and the release date is January 31, 2013!  I am repped by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? A solid year.  I am SLOW.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Take “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “True Blood” and squish them together, and that’s what I write.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.  I wanted to something that combines romance, humor, and magic.

What else about your book might interest the reader? The book features shape shifters, a vegetarian zombie, a feline harbinger of doom called the Wampus Kitty, and hunky immortal warriors.

Here is an excerpt.  In this scene, Beck, the heroine of Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar, is a guest at a fancy wedding and w-a-a-y out of her comfort zone:

  

The bar was all Beck knew, all she’d ever known. She’d been serving drinks before she was ten, running the office and ordering supplies for her dad by the age of thirteen. She knew how to talk down a mean drunk and break up a fight. But she didn’t know how to mingle with townies, and she sure as hell didn’t know how to make small talk at a wedding.
She looked around. The fellowship hall of the Episcopal church was narrow and long with arched windows along both sides and gleaming wooden floors. Candles glowed softly in the windowsills amid glossy bunches of magnolia leaves and white ribbons. At the far end of the room in front of three windows, two enormous wedding cakes commanded center stage. Additional cloth-covered tables flanked the wedding cakes, groaning under the weight of silver trays laden with a mouthwatering array of hors d’oeuvres, and a champagne fountain sparkled in one corner. Beck didn’t recognize half the fancy food on the platters. It was a far cry from bar food; that was for sure. Not a chili cheese dog or a chicken wang in sight.

The noise level in the crowded room was incredible. Guests swirled around the loaded tables in impatient eddies, eager for the happy couples to appear. Beck caught snatches of conversations as people brushed by. The subject of football reigned supreme, followed by talk of the wedding and the food.
Beck hung back near the door that led into the church garden, uncomfortably aware that she did not belong here.

She caught several curious stares directed her way and wondered if she was overdressed. She’d been to exactly one other wedding in her life, and that had been her dad’s, a simple ceremony at a country church with a preacher and a few friends. Not a formal society affair like this.
Although she’d never lived in the city limits or gone to school in Hannah, she recognized a lot of the guests from the “What’s Going On In Town?” section of the local paper. Folks with money and comfortable, predictable lives; steeped in a sense of belonging and an unshakeable knowledge of who they were and their place in the scheme of things.

She, on the other hand, ran a bar on the river for demonoids. She had plenty of society, just not the elegant kind.

Beck took another quick look around. The fairies ignored her and swarmed around the wedding cakes in an ecstasy of anticipation. Fairies obviously liked sugar. Now would be a good time to try to sneak out, while the little stink bugs were distracted.

Pasting a wide smile on her face for the benefit of anyone who might be looking, Beck edged closer to the exit. The fairies were trilling a song in their thin, little voices. “A Rhapsody to Wedding Cake,” most likely, Beck surmised. It was only a guess, because she didn’t speak fairy. The norms, of course, were clueless.
She eased closer to the door. She’d make a run for it, and hope like hell Silverbell didn’t catch her and gobsmack her with fairy dust again. She’d sat through the ceremony. She’d be damned if she’d stick around for the rest of this nauseating crap.

She scooted a little closer to freedom.
“You look lovely,” a deep voice said, stopping her in her tracks.

Beck whirled around and almost fell off her princess shoes. It was Conall, looking all bad boy and delicious in a perfectly tailored dark suit and a blazing white dress shirt, open at the neck. She’d never seen him in daylight or in a well-lit room, for that matter. Until now, that is, and it was something of a shock to her system.
Something of a shock? Try 9.0 on the Richter scale.

The Dalvahni demon hunter pain-in-her-ass was a total babe.
Boy, that really pissed her off.

 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Introducing Lindsay Avalon Author of Breaking The Nexus

When Lady Katherine asked me, Captain Jack Sparrow, to interview debut author Lindsay Avalon, I asked how I would get paid. Aye, mates! If you were thinking she offered me rum, one jug for you. So without further ado, I give you... "Stop that dancing undead monkey!"


Bilge rats! (Watches said monkey scurry up the braces.) 

(Straightens effects.) Lindsay Avalon! Nice hat. It becomes you, love, and will be great for our shipboard duties today. Now, if you would. Please tell us a little about yourself before we sit down and share a jug of rum. That way, things will go much smoother between us when you acquisce to my charms...

I am a wife, a programmer, and now an author. I have an adorable mini Schnauzer and more books than I have room for. I love reading romance because no matter what may be happening in my life, I can always count on my books to end happily ever after. The day I met my husband was the day I truly began believing in happily ever after. After hearing me complain a few too many times that I had “nothing” to read despite the hundreds of paperbacks scattered around the house, my husband began suggesting I write my own stories. When I finally took his advice I discovered that although I enjoy my day job as a software engineer, my true calling is to be an author.

My sister drilled into me an appreciation for fantasy and mythology, something I try to bring to my books. My debut novel, Breaking the Nexus started as a book written for NaNoWriMo and has grown to so much more. It was the conduit that introduced me to a fantastic group of independent authors who have changed my life in unimaginable ways.

When I’m not writing, I’ve found a passion for blogging and interviewing fellow authors. I also love reading (of course!), baking, crochet, sewing sock monkeys, playing video games, and all sorts of random crafts. I have an incurable love of rubber duckies and stuffed animals, and I believe nobody should have to grow up if they don’t want.

Sock monkeys? (Shiver me timbers!) Adorable crafts, they are. But do forgive me, love. I just had a flashback of an undead monkey invasion aboard the Pearl. Didn't end well. That's why I can't seem to get rid of Barbosa's pest. But this isn't about me, love. We're here to discover your treasures. And aptly so. Though you addressed a bit of this above, when did you first know that you were a writer?

 
I didn’t know I was a writer until I started NaNoWriMo with my sister. It was the first time I ever let myself write the same genre that I loved to read, paranormal romance. In the past, I’d convinced myself I didn’t have the attention span or patience to write a full length novel so I never tried. NaNo gave me the confidence to give it a try and I discovered just how much I loved writing.

 
NaNoWriMo? I can boast a bit of rhyming myself, but I wouldn't call it para-normal. That kind of normalcy is probably due more to Cotton's parrot than anything else aboard the Pearl. Now, dearie. Do tell. How long have you been writing?

 
Only about a year, but it has been an intense six months as I’ve really fallen into the groove of trying to transition to writing on a regular basis.

 
Intense? Clearly, you've never been to Singapore. Since you do this on a regular basis, probably the way I consume rum, what is your writing process?  Do you story-board your paranormal world?  Or are you a plotter or panster?

 
I have no real process lol. I tend to sit in front of my computer, put my fingers on the keys, crank up some epic music, and words magically flow. I have a vague idea of where I want a book to go but that’s about it. For instance, I know how I want book 2 to end, but I have no idea how I’ll reach that ending. I’m definitely a pantser lol.

 
No idea? Are you saying you don't have a compass? (Slips coveted compass into buccaneer coat.) Without your own compass, what particular time of day do you like to write or find yourself sailing smoother waters?

 
I seem to write better at night. During NaNo in 2011, my best writing happened between 11pm and 1am. Sadly, I have a 9-5 day job so the late hours aren’t always the greatest for that. I’ve learned to survive on a lack of sleep though J

 
What's this? No sleep? NaNo? 9-5? Are you admitting that you, (dreads the idea) work? So what particular delicacy keeps you going when the muse sucks you into the locker and you're surrounded by rock crabs~ hungry as hell?

 
Sugary kids cereal. I’m a kid at heart and love things like Peanut Butter Crunch or Lucky Charms. A bowl of that and I’m ready to keep going. There’s also chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate.

 
What a pity! I had hoped you'd say rum jugs and jugs of rum. Speaking of rum, dearie, it's come to my attention that your debut release, Breaking the Nexus, broke out of Davy Jones Locker recently.  What inspired you for this book?

 
I’ve always loved myths and legends because my sister was a big Latin buff and drilled the stories into my head from a young age. Those tales inspire me as well as the idea that magic could be real, could exist in the every day. I’m fascinated by how different cultures separated my thousands of miles and hundreds of years could share similar mythologies. That got me thinking, what if those stories were based in fact? What if at one time, dragons and banshees and mages coexisted with ordinary humans? From there, the ideas behind Breaking the Nexus continued to form.

 
(Quivers) Did you say dragons and banshees? I do believe you lied about the rum. But, say I believe you when you say you haven't broken into my stash. I have seen mermaids. What then? Did you have to do any research to develop your paranormal world?

 
I did some research into the myths and legends I chose to feature, but the beauty of writing a paranormal fantasy is the ability to create your own world how you want it. My next book will be set more in the Mythrian Realm and I’ll do research as I bring in more mythical creatures and powers.

 
Mythrian Realm? Am I still in the locker? (Checks around to see if undead monkey is near and tries to summon mythical power.) Clearly I am not in Singapore. Now... why did you decide to self-publish?

 
I’m not widely known for my patience lol. I didn’t have the patience to write my book and submit it to a bunch of agents hoping to be picked up, just so I could then submit to a bunch of publishers with the hope of being signed on a contract. I wanted to put myself out there before I lost the courage to publish my book, so self-publishing seemed right for me.

 
That does take courage, love. And without a compass too. My congratulations! What's next?  Are there any sequels in store or are you working on something completely different? (Leans closer to whisper.) I have it on good authority I might be involved in another...

SCREECH!

"Where is it? Do you see it?" (Takes out blunderbuss and aims.)

Do go on, love.

Breaking the Nexus was the first of a sub-trilogy of my Mythrian Realm series featuring Sha and Connor. I plan to start book 2, Waking the Phoenix, very soon and my goal is to release books every 4-5 months. Once this sub-trilogy is done, I’ll begin a new Mythrian Realm book featuring a new hero and heroine that I introduced during this trilogy.

 
4-5 months? That's much faster than Jerry Bruckheimer can keep me in rum. Which is a brilliant segue into my last question, love. Rum, brandy or port, when the muse needs a helping hand?

 
Strawberry rum with Sprite is my go to drink, but really any kind of rum is wonderful.

Aye, dearie, there's nothing like rum to satisfy the savage beastie. Thank you for ...

(Boom, goes the undead monkey!)

You shot my sock monkey. :(

My apologies, love! Another dreadful flash back. Let me make it up to you. Do give us a peak at Breaking The Lexus and tell us where you'll be sailing next.

 

Throughout history, myths and legends of extraordinary creatures have been told and retold. Fantastic tales of demons and banshees, gryphons and dragons, and of course, magic. Stories that every child grows to learn are nothing more than fantasy…or are they?
 
Beyond the world you see lies a hidden realm, the Mythrian Realm, inhabited by all of the creatures you’ve been told are mere fiction. Only one thing lies between humans and the truth: the Nexus. A magical barrier erected millennia ago to separate the two realms, it has stood the test of time. Until now.
For Mythrian Sha Phoenix, magic is nothing new. But when she stumbles upon a portal on the verge of collapse, her fate will forever change. Pulled through the portal into the Human Realm, she lands in the middle of Detective Connor Flynn’s brutal murder scene. Soon it is obvious someone is using blood magic to try to bring down the Nexus. Together, Connor and Sha must work to unravel the secrets before the barrier falls and the realms collide.
The Nexus is breaking and all hell is about to unleash…literally.


Welcome to the official release tour for Breaking the Nexus by Lindsay Avalon! This action-packed paranormal romance will be released on 12/12/12 on Amazon in ebook and print!! To celebrate, Lindsay will holding giveaways throughout the month and a release day party filled with games and plenty of prizes!
The blog tour runs from Dec 1-31 and there are over 40 blogs participating! Join her on each stop as she shares exclusive snippets from the book, answers interview questions, or guest posts, and leave a comment to enter for your chance to win prizes!  Don’t forget to enter the rafflecopter grand prize giveaway while you’re at it! Prizes include Breaking the Nexus swag, ebooks, custom jewelry, and more!
For a complete list of blogs participating, dates of special giveaways, the grand prize rafflecopter, and a list of the amazing authors generously donating books and swag, check out the special page on Lindsay Avalon’s blog: http://lindsayavalon.blogspot.com/p/breaking-nexus-blog-tour.html
 
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Blog Tour and Release Day Party Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/174143076057719/

I say this has been a successful interview, me hearties! Do you think Lady Katherine will approve?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Editor Sandy Sullivan, 5 minute Interview

Today in my 5 minute interview series I am talking to Sandy Sullivan, owner and editor of Secret Cravings (www.secretcravingspublishing.com ) digital publishing house that focuses on spicy stories. She is easy to talk to, savvy, and see what she says about how they find authors!
 
Your thoughts on Digital:
S.S.: Majority of the books we publish are digital. We print books 50k and above.
How does your company address piracy issues?
S.S.: We send take down notices. There is not a whole lot we can do. The majority of sites are overseas and that is not in our jurisdiction.
I have heard that from some of the other editors as well. It's frustrating for all of us.

What can new authors do to make themselves valuable to you?
S.S.:They can send a manuscript as clean as they make. Gradually over time new writers learn and it becomes easier. (Being a literal sort, I'm assuming you mean new writers learn to self-edit and it becomes easier) Yes. New writers learn to self-edit their work before it comes in for submission and it becomes much easier for them.
 
What ways are readers finding your authors?
S.S.: Social media—FB, reader groups, Yahoo, chats. Authors need to be interactive at these sites, not just “Buy my book”. The Author needs to be in for the long haul—because digital is out there for as long as you want it. Traditional publishing tends to have a shorter shelf life.
I think this is important to know for authors and readers. I know it can be hard to juggle, but necessary.

How does NaNoWriMo affect submissions?
S.S.:There is an increase of submissions. I have hired an acquisitions editor for this.
Very cool!

What is the one question no-one's asked and they should?
S.S.: What can I do to make my book more appealing to the readers from the very beginning? The biggest thing I see from new authors especially is the lack of grabbing the reader from the first sentence. You need to grab them and make them want to keep turning the page until they are done, but if you don't get them at the first sentence, you've lost them, possibly for good.
That is excellent--and you are right.

For fun: What is your drink of choice?
S.S. Smirinov—strawberry!
Yum! :)

Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you Sandy! I hope that we can do this again sometime.

My next 5 minute interview is with Agent Kim Lionetti on December 18th~ Hope to see you there.