Monday, August 14, 2017

Having fun with author photos


You might have noticed that I changed my author photo recently. The old one was stale. I needed something fresh, with more color and a little more personality. Perhaps I should have included my cat, but I figured he's not the one writing my books.

General advice says to update your author photo about every four to five years. It's like getting a new driver's license. It's a little terrifying and a lot more frustrating, especially for those of us who don't like being on that side of the camera. No picture is ever good enough. But you have to pick one.

As a writer with a current budget of zero dollars to hire a professional photographer, I enlisted my husband's help first. The day was a bit too sunny, though.

 
Even standing in the shade, there was no spot that didn't have reflections on my glasses.


Then there were sunspots. Pink sunspots in that one. Maybe I could get away photoshopping those out, but there's still the reflection on my glasses.


Really, honey? Get down from that tree!

Unsatisfied with that round, I was sitting around with another mom the next day while our sons played. She's an art and Spanish teacher, and she has a good eye. When I suggested it, she was eager to help out.


Lovely bush in bloom in the background with an evergreen. Just enough cloud cover to eliminate the reflection on my glasses and still provide enough light. But...


It can't help the fact that I'm uncomfortable in front of a camera. It looks like I'm standing at attention, ready for duty!

Finally...


An author photo I'm satisfied with. Good lighting, no shadows or reflections, and my hair isn't totally flipping out. The art teacher did a great job!
 
Author photo tips:
- unless you can really pull off moody or quirky, don't do it.
- don't overly make yourself up. Look like how you would if someone saw you in public... without your kids or the white cat hair on your black shirt.
- be professional. No offensive t-shirts or political messages, unless that's what you write.
- look friendly. You want readers to like you, and an author photo is part of your brand.
- hire a professional, if you can. If not, art teachers are awesome!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Shout-out to Unconventional Princesses!


Deja was a happy, trouble-making troll, until she was exiled from her home under the mountains for her perilous pranks. Now she must serve a frilly human, Princess Calleah who's locked in a tall tower. The Two Princesses from opposite sides of the Valley become unlikely friends in their seclusion, but when the time comes for Calleah to leave the tower, their bond is put to the test by propriety, princes, and parents. Deja doesn't take any gruff and will give it right back to protect Calleah, no matter the cost.



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Descending Moon (Totem #8) release day


Some say the moon is for lovers, but wise folks know to fear it. 

Kinley Dorn must be strong for her family in these dark times. Sometimes she feels she’s all that’s holding them together. But when the frightening Moon Man attacks and bestows a burdensome gift upon her, Kinley might have to do more than simply help her family. She will have to battle a god, but which one? If it’s the sly man hunting her in the astral plane, Kinley might not make it out alive.


Add it to read on Goodreads.

Totem Tidbit: This was a tough one to write because I had to make a character who wasn't a fighter into a warrior. Kinley is a peacemaker and uses her brains over her strength. So I had to find something that really motivated her to jump into battle!

The final book in the Totem series, True Shifter, will be available on August 29th. You can pre-order it on Amazon.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

#IWSG for August 2017

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, LG Keltner, and me!

Before we get to this month's question and my insecurities, let me tell you about this super fun event!

Show Us Your Writer Insecurity! 

Are you proud to be an insecure writer?

Then show us! 

On Wednesday, October 4 (IWSG Day), post a photo of yourself (or your alter ego) with any of the IWSG swag or with the IWSG logo. Then leave a comment that day at either the IWSG website’s post or the IWSG Facebook post directing us to your photo. (All blog, Facebook, Goodreads, and newsletter members welcome, but photo must be posted on a blog or Facebook to qualify.)

The IWSG site admins will visit each one and pick the top three. Why? Because there are cool prizes involved:

Third place – EBook of A Change of Mind and Other Stories by Nick Wilford, eBook of The Remnant by William Michael Davidson, eBook of Cling to God by Lynda R. Young, eBook of Already Home by Heather M. Gardner, and eBook of Dragon of the Stars by Alex. J. Cavanaugh.

Second place – The entire eBook collection of the Totem series by Christine Rains, eBook of Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie, audio book of CassaSeries by Alex J. Cavanaugh, eBook of Black and White by Nick Wilford, and your choice eBook from J.L. Campbell.

Grand prize winner - IWSG website interview, IWSG newsletter spotlight, IWSG pinned tweet for one week, C. Lee McKenzie's Featured Follower for the month, the IWSG Goodreads book club eBook for October/November, a short chapter critique, and a pair of IWSG erasers. 

We have some great IWSG swag – pens, mugs, magnets, erasers, etc. Proceeds go to fund the upkeep of the IWSG site. 

You have two months to prepare – show us your best insecurity!

This month's IWSG question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing? 

I have a lot when reading. Bad grammar, huge plot holes, poor characterization, sloppy formatting, etc. Being a writer has made it more difficult to get past these things, but I do save myself time by putting down books I don't enjoy and moving on to something else.

When I'm writing, it's usually things in the environment that annoy me. Noise, people interrupting, cat interrupting, and if it's too hot.

My insecurities this month: I'm a new admin for the IWSG. I'm so excited about it. I've been a part of the group for a while. I've received such great advice, encouragement, and support, I'm happy to give back to the community. But, of course, I worry if I'll be good enough and be able to keep up with my responsibilities. What if I mess something up? I don't want to disappoint anyone. The admin team is incredibly organized, smart, and creative. I hope my contribution will continue to make the IWSG such an awesome group.

You all can help me with the newsletter. You can do this by sending me your news. I want to hear about new releases, events, and exciting news. Please send an email with "IWSG - news submission" in the subject line to christinerains (dot) writer @ gmail (dot) com. Thank you!

One more awesome announcement I want to share with you about the newsletter: On August 24th at 2:00 pm EST, Chrys Fey will be participating in a LIVE YouTube interview with Evan Carmichael, an entrepreneur who she'll be interviewing about his book Your One Word and getting some great advice for IWSG members. You'll be able to watch the interview live HERE. You can set a reminder if you click on the link, or you can watch it later. The video will be uploaded in the August 30th IWSG newsletter issue.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The #IWSGPit Twitter Pitch is On!


The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Twitter Pitch Party!

#IWSGPit

8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Time

All writers and authors are invited to participate in our very first Twitter Pitch.

Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On July 27, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query. Sample Tweet from #PitMad:

Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.

Rules: 

Writers may send out 1 Twitter pitch every 1 hour per manuscript.

Publishers/Agents will favorite/heart pitches they are interested in. Publishers can either Tweet basic submission guidelines or direct writers to their submission guidelines. (Writers and readers, please do not favorite/heart pitches.)

Please do not include images with the pitches.

Pitches must include GENRE/AGE and the hashtag #IWSGPit.

Ages:
#C - children’s
#MG - middle grade
#YA - young adult
#NA - new adult
#A - adult
Genres:
#AD - adventure
#CF - Christian fiction
#CO - contemporary
#F - fantasy
#H - horror
#HI - historical
#LF - literary fiction
#MCT - mystery/crime/thriller
#ME - memoir
#NF - non-fiction
#PB - picture book
#PN - paranormal
#R - romance
#SF - sci-fi
#WF - women's fiction


Participating Publishers and Agents:

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Shadows Fall (Totem #7) released to the world!

https://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Fall-Totem-Book-7-ebook/dp/B073PDD56V/
Sometimes it isn't what lurks in the shadows we must fear, but the shadows themselves.

Ametta Dorn is hosting her first family Thanksgiving feast. Everything must be flawless from the appetizers to the desserts. But the totem quest weighs heavily on her and her family. If she can’t even fold a perfect crane napkin, then how can she help her family find the next token?

That totem is closer than any of them realize. The Shadowmen have opened a door to their world, and they’ve targeted Ametta as the weak link in her family. She will show everyone she's just as capable as they are. Except her daring might be the very thing that loses not only the raven totem but also her life.

All the Totem books are free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

Totem tidbit: The raven totem was a tricky one for me. And tricky it should be! I wasn't quite sure how I wanted it to work into the plot. In Inuit lore, there is no concept of good or evil. So in working with the totems, I had to make them remain true to their natures and yet steer my plot in the direction I needed it to go in.

* * * * *

Don't forget the huge Christmas in July sale & giveaway at Fantasy Book Giveaways! My paranormal romance series, The 13th Floor Complete Collection is on sale for only 99 cents. Plus you can enter to win over 20 amazing ebooks!

http://fantasybookgiveaways.blogspot.com/

Friday, July 21, 2017

Christmas in July Sale & Giveaway

Make your summer magical
with books!


There's nothing like sitting in the shade with a good book. Fantasy Book Giveaways is hosting a big romance sale and giveaway. All books are 99 cents or free. It's Christmas in July!

As if that isn't awesome on its own, you can enter for a chance to win a prize pack of over twenty fabulous books! Just click on the image above.

For the next week, you can get my paranormal romance book, The 13th Floor Complete Collection for only 99 cents. (That's 80% off!) The first novella in the series, The Marquis, is always free. And once you're hooked, you can get the entire series in one ebook.

Buy the book: Amazon *B&N * Kobo * Smashwords


Fill your ereader like you're stuffing a stocking!

http://fantasybookgiveaways.blogspot.com/