Friday, May 25, 2018

Starting off the summer with free geeky romance!

It's the first day of summer break in my household. While I'm excited about getting in some family time, I'll be losing a lot of a writer time.

To help my sanity, once a week, a group of gamer buddies come over to our house and we play for hours. We scheme, roll dice, and laugh like madmen.

 I'm sharing all that fun with you. Plus a little extra bit on the naughty side! Laughs, nerd talk, and steamy scenes.

The Dice & Debauchery series is FREE for five days!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Making of a Cover - Harnessing the Winds

It's tough making your book stand out. There are millions of books out there, and one of the best ways to grab a reader's attention is to have to a fabulous cover. (One day my house will likely have an interior like that!)

I'm not a graphic designer nor do I have any aspirations to be one. Everything I've learned about making covers I've researched on my own and experimented in Photoshop. It's a long and tedious process, but I thoroughly enjoy playing around with images. And since you all seem to really like it I share my process of making a cover, I'm here with one I created for an author friend.

I will always recommend writers hire a cover artist to create their covers or buy a premade one. Yet these things aren't cheap. There are plenty of free images sites, and one I really like to use is Pixabay. Images on there are free to use for commercial ventures. Always be certain you have permission to use an image.

My friend, Morena Silver, is a fantasy romance author. Her debut novel is about pirates. Arrrr! A whole ship of women pirates at that. The book features the captain who can harness the power of storms.

Morena chose the model.

She's wearing a bikini... I'm assuming. And sitting on a rock like that can't be comfortable. Her poor bottom! Anyway, good choice for a model. The background is clear. Easy for me to cut the model out of that image (and off the craggy rock) and insert her into the new background.

Beautiful, isn't it? I love the drama and the color. Both these images are from Pixabay. While I do like the whole image, I cropped it to feature the ships. I didn't think it looked stormy enough, though. So I added in more billowing clouds and played on the oranges.

The actual cutting and pasting of the model onto the background was easy. Who wouldn't want to be there by the sea? The toughest part came when Morena said she wanted lightning. On the woman's arms. Okay, okay. It was time to learn a new skill, and you know what? It was surprisingly simple. I read a short tutorial about how to create lightning in Photoshop and BAM! Or should I say ZAP!

I'm so pleased with the way it turned out and so was Morena. The cover screams romance. It screams fantasy. It screams don't mess with this woman!

I mentioned tons and tons of layers in the post about making the cover for Of Gods and Sorrow. There aren't many layers to this one. The little bolts of lightning I connected to make that effect took the most layering. Simple and elegant.

What do you think? If you're an author, where do you get your covers?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Word Witch Wednesday - more on marketing

Just when you think you know the general rules of marketing your work, something else comes along. If you're like me and don't have a lot of time to stay on top of every little thing, it helps to have other people give you a head's up. Here are a few new things that have come up this year that authors need to know.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Some of you might have heard about this. It may be a European law, but it affects all businesses including writers. These regulations will better protect people's information online. It will help it from being used for purposes other than what they have given permission for.

If you have a newsletter, you will need to have readers resubscribe to give you explicit permission to email them. Yes, this is only for Europeans at the moment, but it is good if you have all readers do so.

Update: If you wish only to have your European readers resubscribe, but you don't know which ones are in that region, Mailerlite will be releasing new tools later this month that will allow you to see what country your subscribers are from. I hope other email marketing sites will do the same thing.

Amazon reviews. Oh, Amazon. Always messing around with rules about reviews. The newest one is that a review will be deleted if it states that person received a free copy of the book in exchange for a review. I've recently posted a few reviews which included that, and my reviews have not been taken down. Yet.

More links for you:

Do you have any news on author marketing? Please share with us in the comments below.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

#IWSG for May 2018

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: E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, C.Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant!

This month's optional question: It's spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

None of the seasons inspire me more than the others, but I've noticed many of my stories take place in the fall. I do try to push forward fast in the spring, because it isn't long until the summer. I get very little done in the summer, because my son is off school.

My insecurities this month: I've fallen behind where I want to be. Last month was busy with family visiting and birthdays. I had also been sick. Oh the new things you learn when you're ill so you can use that later to torment your characters! Did you know that salivary glands can get infected, swell to the size of baseballs, and they can get stones like kidneys? Thankfully I didn't get stones, but boy, could you imagine passing that? Yikes!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Have you got your copy of Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime yet?

The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

Buy links:

Add it to read on Goodreads.

Check out the Tick Tock Mysteries blog!

And their Facebook page.

Special shout-out to Dancing Lemur Press and the IWSG!