Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Writing Update

The first draft of Totem #7 is done.
The first draft of #8 is almost done.
I have no idea where the story is going to take me in #9.

But then it will be done. I'm eager to move on to a new world.

And now I want to change all my covers to something like this!

I'm pushing to finish #8. I'll see you next Wednesday for the IWSG. Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - the dreaded author photo

I hate having my picture taken. I prefer to be the photographer. I work alone, tucked away in my writing cave, with no care how I look most of the time. My typical uniform during the week is a geeky t-shirt or hoodie and flannel pajama bottoms.

Most writers tend to be the same way. We want to share our words with the world. Not our faces!

I've had the same author photo for a while now, and I'm bored of it. I no longer think it looks like me. Okay, it does, sorta. But I want something different.

Plus, I want to cut my hair very soon. It's long right now. Every time I get more than 12 inches past my shoulders, I cut it and donate it. (Here's a good article with the differences of donating to Pantene and Locks of Love.) I don't wear short hair well, so I want to get in a photo with my long hair.

I put a lot of thought into my author photo. It is a key factor in branding yourself as an author. I'm not going to take a selfie in my writer's uniform or have my kid take one of me folding laundry. I want it to represent me as confident and professional.

I have a plain background in the photo I have now, but I either want books or something outdoorsy in the new one. Do I smile or scowl at the camera look serious? Do I go with a traditional pose or try something different? Can I pull off quirky?

I also have the difficulty rating of being an author of multi-genres. Romance authors tend to go with sexier photos. Fantasy authors with something a little magical. Urban fantasy writers go dark. I'm an author of all these things.

I could photoshop something great, but it has to be realistic. It must represent me as a writer.

What author photos stand out to you? Any favorites? Is it acceptable to take a picture of my cat in front of the computer and go with that?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Get Lucky Sale & Giveaway, Plus 3 Freebies!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! While my little guy is making a trap to catch a leprechaun, I'll be filling my e-reader with all these awesome paranormal romance and urban fantasy books. These stories are on sale for a limited time, but if you have Kindle Unlimited (KU), you can read them any time for free! KU is as good as finding a pot of books at the end of the rainbow.

You can also enter to win a fantastic bundle of books. My urban fantasy, Of Blood and Sorrow, is included in the prize. Click on either of the images to take you to Fantasy Book Giveaways!

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More good luck is coming your way! I'm offering three of my steamy novellas for free for the next five days. Three for free! If you have KU, you can read all three series for free. Just click on the images to get your free copies from Amazon.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks cover reveal!

I'm excited to help reveal the cover for the Where Words Fail, Music Speaks Anthology, which is scheduled for release April 21, 2017.

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Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.

Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.

Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry

All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Incense and Peppermints Blitz & #Giveaway

Incense and Peppermints
by Cathrina Constantine
Publication date: March 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Peace demonstrations, sit-ins, and burning the U.S. flag following the escalation of the Vietnam War are leading to a catalyst known to the world as the Sixties, and a musical revolution, flower power, hippies, marijuana, and drugs are carrying the generations—young and old—into a new decade. All the while sixteen-year-old Mary Monroe is caught between being an innocent good girl and an autumn of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.

When her brother offers a solution to her dilemma in the form of a little pill, Mary ignores the rumba in her brain and takes a walk on the wild side. Plunged into popularity and a life she’s only imagined, she meets Michael Covington, the hot newcomer, and she’s instantly drawn in by his less than flawless exterior and bad boy sex appeal. Caught up in the danger and excitement as they drift from party to party, into underground fight clubs, and through a series of drug and alcohol fueled adventures, Mary follows her new crush into a world where young girls are never truly safe from the predators lurking in the shadows and young men are hiding from the harsh reality of war.

Feeling buzzed and as if her life is spinning out of control, Mary is assaulted by an unknown man at a party, and she’s left questioning if the enigmatic Michael is truly her hero or if he is the face behind the terrible attack. With every piece of information Mary learns about Michael, her doubts grow deeper, but with every minute she spends in his presence, so does her love.

With the war and her fear threatening to separate Mary and Michael forever, only the death of a friend, a crushing confession, and her own sensibilities can carry her over the threshold between adolescence and adulthood.

Cathrina Constantine is the Best Selling author of Don’t Forget To Breathe. Her book won Readers’ Favorite International Book Award for 2015 and The Literary Classics Seal of Approval and Literary Classics Gold Award. Her Paranormal Fantasy, Wickedly They Come has been awarded the 5 Star Seal from Reader’s Favorite. Tallas from her dystopian series received Literary Classics Silver Award and Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

Cathrina resides in Western New York with her husband, five children, two Labrador Retrievers and her cat, Bones. Author @chbbpublishing. Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly. When not attached to her computer, she likes to take long walks in the woods with her dogs, drink way too much coffee, and is an avid movie watcher. She loves music and doesn’t need a dance floor to shake a leg.

Author links: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I can't wait to read Cathrina's new book! Maybe I'll get to this week. My little guy's on spring break. So I'll be absent from the digital world. Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Word Witch Wednesday - The Quest to Perfect the Newsletter

I've been trying different strategies when it comes to my newsletter (NL), and I'm forever researching them. I've even signed up for dozens of them. Probably more than 100. Yeah, you can imagine how my inbox looks!

But it is very helpful in seeing how authors set up their NLs, what works and what doesn't, and what motivates subscribers to keep reading.

Here's the info I gathered:
- authors who send out their NLs daily offer little more than "buy my or my friends' books"
- authors who send out their NLs weekly have more exclusive content, but still are mainly just advertising books
- authors who send out their NLs monthly (or less) feature the most personal content and news

- almost all authors offer something free to new subscribers
- a few authors offer something for free in every NL while more hold giveaways
- giveaways for gift cards get more responses than giveaways for books

- most authors only offer excerpts or first chapters when a new release comes out
- less than half talk about what they're writing now
- less than half have a NL and a blog
- less than 10% of authors talk about what's going on their lives

My preferences as a reader:
- I don't like the daily NLs, and I especially don't like the NLs where the author is advertising another author's books and says nothing at all about what they personally are doing
- I will enter giveaways, but only for books if I like the author's work
- I read NLs most often when they offer something special or personal like their experience at a recent signing, a family trip, or a regular feature that isn't focused on books

What I have tried as an author:
- I offered up a free ebook to new subscribers. It's not much of a motivator, and I would prefer to sell the book instead. After my poll on Monday, I have decided to write a short story that will be exclusive to new subscribers.
- I've tried drip campaigns (a series of NLs sent every week). Subscribers do not respond better or worse to them. I get the same amount of opens and clicks for the campaigns as I do normally.
- I sent out one NL recently that offered no giveaways or freebies. I had the most amount of unsubscribes I've ever gotten and my first spam complaint.
- I've tried numerous NL swaps. They did not bring me more subscribers or sales.

What I am going to try this year:
- I will pull back on how frequently I send out my NL. My next one comes out on March 17th, and then I won't send out another until mid-April. Monthly (except on special occasions) seems like the best way to go for me.
- I will try to always have a giveaway or freebie involved, whether it be one I'm participating in or a link to an author's I like.
- I want to add in personal news and/or a feature, but I still want to keep the NL separate from my blog. They are not the same thing, and I won't treat them as such.

Do you have a newsletter? Do you subscribe to any? What do you like and don't like about them?

Monday, March 6, 2017

I Want To Know Your Opinion

Do you subscribe to authors' newsletters? Why? What motivates you to sign up?

I've been striving to increase my subscribers. Giveaways attract new readers, but then there's a bunch of unsubscribes when they don't win or if you don't offer another giveaway in the next newsletter.

Right now, I offer new subscribers an ebook (The 13th Floor Complete Collection) as a thank you for signing up. I'd prefer to have readers buy the book, though.

I've been considering writing a new short story or novelette and offering that exclusively to new subscribers. I want my readers to know they're special, and I hope this lets them know they are. That way they'll stick around.

I want to know what you think. Would a new and exclusive story motivate you to sign up for an author's newsletter? What do you think is the best way to appeal to subscribers?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Great opportunity for promoting!

I'm part of a fantastic group called Fantasy Book Giveaways along with two talented authors, T.F. Walsh and A.A. Chamberlynn. Every month or so, we organize and host a sale and giveaway for paranormal romance and urban fantasy authors. It's a marvelous way to promote your book and it's free! We have a huge combined audience, and the more authors that participate, the more readers we can reach.

This month is our Get Lucky! book fair. We're featuring books that are in Kindle Unlimited. If you're interested, pop on over and sign up.

I'll remind you later this month about the event so you can enter to win the big prize bundle of books!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

#IWSG for March 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: Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nicohle Christopherson!

IWSG Question of the Month: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I keep all my old stories. On occasion, I'll go back and read one, and most of the time I come away laughing or stunned. It is shocking how far I've come writing-wise. Some of those old ones are really, REALLY bad. But I keep them around just in case I ever do want to rewrite one or take an idea from it for something else.

I have one character that has been with me for over a decade. I wrote a trilogy for her many years ago and queried agents with it. I had no idea how to market myself properly, and so it didn't get picked up. Plus the writing was not as strong as it could have been.

This character would not leave my head. A few years ago, I started to rewrite the trilogy. I couldn't get it right. I tried a half dozen different beginnings, but nothing was clicking. So I pushed it aside again.

She's still with me. I have a new idea for her. One I think will work. She'll have to get into the queue with my other stories, though. Yet I believe she's strong enough to wait around. Maybe not quite so patient, but she's going to make certain I write her story eventually!