Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - the little things of website design

As you might have heard, I'm redesigning my website. It's long overdue. Very long overdue.

A few weeks ago, I spent some time browsing other authors' websites. I wrote notes of what I liked, of what worked well and what didn't, and what would be best for me. I realized my tastes are minimalistic. I didn't want anything full of graphics, blinking lights, or a soundtrack.

I designed a new look. A chore I thought would be simple with the sort of layout I wanted, but it was the little things that made it into an hours long job.
Background image / header. Most authors have a personalized header. Some use a background image. I prefer the latter. But what to use? My first idea was to find an image or series of images that captured what I write. Bad idea. So much of my time wasted browsing images. I found the majority of authors use images from the covers of their books. Though I wanted a gorgeous new image, I thought that maybe people who visited my site would think the image was from one of my books and get confused. So I decided to go with one of my cover images.

The color palette. Many paranormal romance authors feature red and black on their sites. Urban fantasy authors use red and black too, or blues, grays, and black. Romance authors have a lot of reds and pinks. While I'm partial to blue, I want my site to stand out. The background image I chose led me to pick from a color palette I never expected. Dark and light browns and golds. Browns? I know, I know, but it looks rich and casts the right atmosphere.

Fonts. I'm still changing my mind about fonts. I'd just have everything in Courier or Times if I had my way. I'm not picky, but a lot of people are really enthusiastic about fonts. Font matters as much as the color palette in creating the right look. So, I've been trying out a ton of them. I like simple and easy to read fonts. I don't like the fancy scripts or very genre specific ones for me. I'll decide on something sooner or later, and it'll likely be in the Courier family.

I've handed my husband all my notes. He'll be programming the new design for me. I just hope he doesn't spend all his summer evenings playing Skyrim and forget about my site!
If you have a website or a blog, how much time and consideration did you put into the little things?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Effigy Release Day!

It's Effigy Release Day!

EFFIGY (Epic Fantasy), Book One in the Coile?in Chronicles
by M.J. Fifield

Release date: July 22, 2014

Now available in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon and CreateSpace (other editions to follow soon!)

The survival of a once-mighty kingdom rests in the hands of its young queen, Haleine Coile?in, as it slowly succumbs to an ancient evil fueled by her husband?s cruelty.

A sadistic man with a talent for torture and a taste for murder, he is determined to burn the land and all souls within. Haleine is determined to save her kingdom and, after a chance encounter, joins forces with the leader of the people?s rebellion. She gives him her support, soon followed by her heart.

Loving him is inadvertent but becomes as natural and necessary as breathing. She lies and steals on his behalf, doing anything she can to further their cause. She compromises beliefs held all her life, for what life will exist if evil prevails?

Her journey leads to a deceiving world of magic, monsters, and gods she never believed existed outside of myth. The deeper she goes, the more her soul is stripped away, but she continues on, desperate to see her quest complete. If she can bring her husband to ruin and save her people, any sacrifice is worth the price?even if it means her life.

Add it to your Goodreads List!

About the author:

Armed with a deep and lasting love of chocolate, purple pens, and medieval weaponry, M.J. Fifield is nothing if not a uniquely supplied insomniac. When she isn't writing, she's on the hunt for oversized baked goods or shiny new daggers. M.J. lives with a variety of furry creatures?mostly pets?in New Hampshire's Mount Washington Valley. Effigy is her first novel. Visit her online at, find her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 21, 2014

Death Knocks cover reveal

Who knew a knock at the door could rupture your entire world? They don’t demand money or possessions…they want much more than that, they want your life.

Maverick is preparing for senior year: he’s no longer stuck in the “friend-zone” with the girl of his dreams, he’s looking forward to choosing the right college and being on his own, and he plans to have a blast along the way.

But a knock on the door changes all of that forever.

Maverick begins a mind-altering, life-changing journey to discover the truth—a truth that certain individuals will do anything to keep hidden.

Death Knocks is a Young Adult paranormal thriller about the strange global phenomenon known as the Black-Eyed Kids. Take a creepy and exciting ride in a world where myth meets reality.

Death Knocks is scheduled for publication on September 26, 2014 by Quixotic Publishing.

Congratulations to Miranda Hardy & Jay Noel!
This is one creepy cover.

Check out the trailer too!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Five for July 18, 2014

1. I think I've been outsmarted by a chimp. A Mailchimp. Is it really that easy to use? I didn't find it to be. Setting up the newsletter itself was simple, but the whole setting up a list and subscribers thing was not. I'm crossing my fingers. So... TA DA! I created an author newsletter which I have named "Geeks, freaks & EEKS!" You can subscribe to the newsletter by typing your email address into the handy little box on the right side of my blog. Subscribers will get all my exciting news before anyone else. Plus there will be special giveaways, previews, and excerpts.

2. Sorry, I can't share the secret I've been bursting to tell you yet. This contract business is slow-going. I really, really want to tell you, though.

3. My website is still under construction. You'll see the old one if you click on the link. I wanted a minimalistic and clean look, but maybe it's too bare? I don't know. My husband is slowly working on it.

4. Click on over to Untethered Realms for the monthly news post. We're having a huge giveaway celebrating reaching 100 followers on our blog, and some of us are participating in Smashwords' July sale. Find out which books are half off or free!

5. The weather has been mild here all week. My son and I have been out most days enjoying this lovely summer. My husband and the boy are going to do some backyard camping this weekend. I hope to enjoy some quiet writing time, and at night with my husband outside, I will joyfully hog the entire bed!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - pen names

Do you write under your real name or a pseudonym? Or do you publish under both? I'm curious as to why you chose to do so, because I debated whether to use a pen name or not with my newest stories.

There are many good reasons to use a pen name: boring or hard to pronounce real name, real name already the same as a famous person, the desire for personal privacy, identity protection, writing in a different genre than you're known for, and giving yourself a second chance.

Many famous authors have used pseudonyms. It's not an unusual thing in this business. In fact, it could be a good marketing decision.

Some hide the fact they use a pen name while others let their readers know they've something published under a different name. Again, neither is out of the ordinary. We're in a world where it is acceptable for authors to use various identities. Use it to your advantage.

I've become known for writing The 13th Floor, a paranormal romance series. I'm now approaching a time in my career where I'm publishing something that is not in that genre. It is still contemporary and adult romance, but not supernatural. Who is Christine Rains without the otherworldly stuff?

I publish all my short stories under my name. They encompass a wide variety of genres. But that isn't the same as the world of novellas and novels.

I had to decide if Christine Rains was only a paranormal romance author or something more? Did I want a different name attached to my books in another genre? I waffled back and forth. I even tried to think of a great pen name. I was unsuccessful, but it didn't deter me from considering still using one.

In the end, I decided not to use a pseudonym. The new books may be a different genre and they may be completely different in style than the 13th Floor series, but they're still adult romances. I believe the majority of my readers will like the new books. I would also like to attract readers who pick up the new books first to read my paranormal romances next.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Soulless Cover Reveal and Sidelined blog tour

I'm so excited today to host the wonderful Kyra Lennon (author of the Game On series) for her Sidelined blog tour and to help reveal the gorgeous new cover for SOULLESS by the cheese-rific Crystal Collier.

* * * * * 

Hey everyone! Thanks Christine for allowing me some blog space today!

When I was setting up the blog tour for Sidelined, and I was emailing everyone and asking what they’d like me to talk about, Christine hit me with one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked. Why are sports romances so popular?

Well, I had to think on this one for a while because, actually, the answer wasn’t immediately obvious. Not everyone loves sports, right? But LOTS of people love to read a sports romance – so what is it that makes it so interesting?

After thinking for a while, the most obvious – and some might say superficial – answer I could think of was – SPORT IS SEXY.

Yeah, yeah. I know, it IS a little shallow, but let’s be honest. The World Cup is happening right now, and if I had a penny for every time someone posted on Facebook or tweeted about how sexy a certain football team or player is, I could just about retire!

Don’t get me wrong – I am in no way suggesting that everyone who reads sports romances is only into the good looks of sports player. There are masses of people who enjoy sports for what they are. My point is – there is something exciting, and almost untouchable about a famous sports player. It’s a world most of us don’t ever get to see for ourselves in reality. Sure, we can get out glimpses into the perceived glamorous lifestyle of sports stars through Internet gossip sites and magazines, but in a book, we get to delve a little deeper. We get to go on a journey into something we will probably never go on in our real lives.

Sports aren’t just sexy, they’re intriguing. Interesting. And let’s not forget to factor in the excitement of backing a team or a sports person, and waiting to see if they triumph, or if they falter and lose everything they’ve worked towards.

So, to sum up – I believe sports romances are popular because readers enjoy a deeper look into a world that is intriguing, yet untouchable for most.

Why do YOU think sports romances are popular?

Blurb: At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.

About the Author:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

* * * * *
Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend†(a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

PREORDER your print copy
Sign up for Crystal Collier's newsletter to receive release news and freebies.