February 28, 2014

Friday Fun: Cover Love

Maybe because I'm excited to decide on a book cover for Chasing Shadows, but I've fallen in love with a few book covers this week.

First, the lovely Casey L. Bond debuted her Pariah cover this week.


Beautiful girl, spooky background. Intriguing. And I love the pop of color in her dress.

About Pariah
(from GoodReads)

What are the things that you need most in life—the things you crave?

Solara longs for freedom. Having been raised under the Kingdom’s lock and key since the age of two, she wants to see the world. Upon turning seventeen and receiving no mark from the Lord, she believes freedom is finally within her grasp. Unfortunately, she is wrong. The Kingdom has been fooled. She is marked by an angel of light and one of the fallen dark ones. Solara is God’s chosen, and with her birth, the new covenant made with mankind is made manifest.

Solara also longs for love, strong enough to last a lifetime, and beyond. Riven loves her. But is one of the fallen prophesied to betray the chosen. Can she trust him? Love him? Prophesy states that she is the key. The fate of humanity rests with her decision. She alone will determine whether the doors of Heaven or the gates of Hell open upon the Earth.

But how can a normal girl, who has been raised with no knowledge of either side, make such a decision? And how can she turn away from finally tasting those things she has craved for so long.

Expected Publication: 5/13/14

Next up... Krystal Wade, who is so dear to often stop by to show me some blog love, debuted some new covers this week (featured yesterday on my Mom in Love with Fiction here) for her Darkness Falls trilogy. My favorite, although I loved them all: 


I love everything from the forest in the background to the fire and eerie red glow behind the woman. 

About Wilde's Meadow (Darkness Falls #3)

Happy endings are hard to find, and even though Katriona is in the middle of a war with someone who’s already stolen more than she can replace, she aches for a positive future with her DraĆ­ochtans.

Armed with hope, confidence in her abilities, and a strange new gift from her mother, Kate ventures into the Darkness to defeat a fallen god.

Losses add up, and new obstacles rise to stand in the way.

Is the one determined to bring Encardia light strong enough to keep fighting, or will all the sacrifices to stop those who seek domination be for nothing?


Finally... I've gushed about the always-giving Bethany Lopez many times on this blog before, so she almost needs no introduction. Last Friday, she debuted her cover for 8 Weeks (I featured it here).


Love the eight of the title and the flower being presented. Both faces portray a serious edge to sweetness. 

About 8 Weeks

Is eight weeks enough time to earn back the love of someone you've betrayed...the only one you've ever loved?

Shelly has been in love with Cal since they started dating in eleventh grade. Despite everyone saying that the odds were against them, they got married after graduation and built a life together. Now, six years later, she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. Devastated, her first instinct is to call it quits…

After a drunken binge at his best friends’ bachelor party, Cal betrays the one person who has always been there for him, his wife, Shelly. Terrified and realizing she might divorce him, Cal must come up with a way to prove to her that his love is true…

Cal asks Shelly for eight weeks. Eight weeks to convince her that their marriage is worth the fight. Will Shelly be able to trust him again, or will their marriage end the way many others do when faced with opposition… In divorce?

Expected Publication: 3/24/14

*****

What speaks to you about covers? For me, it needs to invoke a burning curiosity in me. 

Hope you enjoyed the covers today. I can't wait to share my cover very soon! Wishing everyone a fabulous Friday.

February 24, 2014

Less Wham-Bam, More Thank You Ma'am: ROW80

As promised last Wednesday in my New Adult Fears post, today it's all about the New Adult genre.

To summarize, my daughter recently inquired about New Adult... a new genre she'd heard about and noticed me reading. She reads all the time and prefers paranormal/fantasy. Basically, she's exhausted most of her YA options. She thought NA would be a solution. 

However, here's what I've discovered about NA.

So far it's basically adult romance. There, I said it. 

When I first saw "new" before adult, I thought it meant the target audience would be newer or almost adults (high schoolers). Since young adult is read by late elementary and early middle school students, I thought this would be a genre to bridge the gap between that and reading full adult books.

Not so. It's more that new = contemporary. Quite frankly, if these books are depicting 20-year-old romance today, my daughters are not allowed to leave the house until they are 35.

I don't want my 8th grader, almost 14, to be reading some of the sex scenes I've read in NA. From what I've read so far, it's romance light and kinky heavy. Some have bordered on erotica light. It's too much wham-bam and not enough thank-you-Ma'am. 

To clarify, I'm 41. I don't need every romance scene to be knight-in-shining-armor. That's unrealistic. But sex should be respectful and at least a little sweet. Right?

Another thing I don't need (for myself or my daughter)... the use of the F word for shock value only or as a sex come-on. Sure, if I drop a freaking cinder block on my foot, you are getting the F word. If I'm trying to land a date with some hot dude, not so much.

One last complaint... too often the writing is similar to YA (less details, word choice, less maturity) with just the aforementioned additions. Is NA simply a way to amp up YA sex and language?

Please note, I support all authors and know some great ones who write NA. It's just a confusing genre for me, particularly as a mom.

If I'm missing something, please let me know. And I might be a little old-fashioned, although I cringe at the word.

*****

A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update

It's Monday, and time for my check in. My family and I went to DC this weekend for my husband's brother's wedding. What fun! But I'm definitely in catch-up mode this week. My main goal is to focus on my Tala Prophecy novella. Wish me luck!

Oh, and I thought I'd share a picture of me and my three daughters from the wedding.


February 21, 2014

8 Weeks by Bethany Lopez Cover Reveal & Giveaway

I'm so thrilled to host Bethany Lopez's cover reveal today. Not only is she an awesome indie, but she's someone who really gives back. Happy Friday!

8 Weeks by Bethany Lopez
Cover Reveal



Title: 8 Weeks
Author: Bethany Lopez
Publication Date: March 24, 2014
Summary: Is eight weeks enough time to earn back the love of someone you've betrayed...the only one you've ever loved?

Shelly has been in love with Cal since they started dating in eleventh grade. Despite everyone saying that the odds were against them, they got married after graduation and built a life together. Now, six years later, she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. Devastated, her first instinct is to call it quits…

After a drunken binge at his best friends’ bachelor party, Cal betrays the one person who has always been there for him, his wife, Shelly. Terrified and realizing she might divorce him, Cal must come up with a way to prove to her that his love is true…

Cal asks Shelly for eight weeks. Eight weeks to convince her that their marriage is worth the fight. Will Shelly be able to trust him again, or will their marriage end the way many others do when faced with opposition… In divorce?

About Bethany Lopez: Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. Since then she has published various YA and NA books. She is a lover of romance, family, and friends, and enjoys incorporating those things in what she writes. When she isn't reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 19, 2014

New Adult Fears: ROW80

Since I was in high school NOT that many years ago, I'm hyperventilating that my oldest daughter will go to high school in the fall. It's so strange that she's aging twice as fast as I am. *smiles*

As if it's not bad enough that I'll be attending several upcoming meetings about her future (and what classes will lead to said future), I've been noticing a lot of other growing up signs. *sniff, sniff*

My oldest loves to read. In addition, she's an advanced reader. She's been reading Young Adult for almost four years. At first, I pre-read every book to determine if it was appropriate. After a while, I trusted her judgement. She's a great kid with a good head on her shoulders. 

Now she wants to move into New Adult. I have some very intense feelings about this. I understand that some of the YA is on the younger end, and she's exhausted a lot of the options thanks to her veracious reading habits.

She loves paranormal/fantasy, but she doesn't like a lot of romance. So far, the NA books I've read have been focused on amping up the sex. Quite frankly, some of the supposed YA books are way too focused on that subject matter. Not okay for my almost 14 year old. (I so sound like a fuddy-duddy -- wait, that word choice didn't help, did it?)

I'd love to hear from other parents, and New Adult authors, about the genre. What do you like/not like about it? Is it really just a glorified adult book?

Please check back on Monday, 2/24/14, for my thoughts on the NA genre from a mother's point of view. I want to devote an entire post to the topic. 

*****

Wednesdays are my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) check ins. 

I am considering entering the Amazon Breathrough Novel Award, but I have to admit I'm pretty freaked out by the "pitch" portion. Any advice from authors who've gone before me? 

My blurb is coming along slowly, so I'm sure that's why the pitch idea is so terrifying. Why is it easier to write an entire novel than to summarize it in a marketable way? ARGH!

February 18, 2014

Cover Reveal for Promise Me Forever by Sarah Ashley Jones & Giveaway

We join Grapevine Book Tours in presenting the new cover for:


Cover designed by Okay Creations

Promise Me Forever
by Sarah Ashley Jones
Promise Me Forever #1.5
Publication: March 17th, 2014
New Adult Contemporary Romance | Novella



Charlie Jennings and Jhett Hudson knew that a single moment could change everything.

It took them one song to find each other, one question to give them a chance, one kiss to fall in love, and one night to almost lose it all. But they had one thing other couples lack—pure, unconditional love—and that takes more than a moment to walk away from.

Falling in love is only the beginning. Forever is what happens next.






 




Sarah Ashley Jones

Her Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads
Sarah Ashley Jones was raised in San Diego, California, but currently wrangles her husband and three dogs in Clarksville, Tennessee. When she’s not writing she works in a pottery studio and comes home covered in paint on a daily basis. She has a slightly unhealthy obsession with cupcakes and chapstick. She is an eternal optimist and can often be found dancing and singing to music at any given time. It’s rare to see her not smiling or laughing, but if you do, just bring her a cupcake and it will cheer her up. Her huge imagination was always in overdrive as a child and now she is beyond excited to put it to good use as an adult. She plans to write as long as she has stories that need to be told.

Three (3) eBooks of Promise Me Forever (and book one, Promise Me This) by Sarah Ashley Jones {INT}
Cover reveal organized by

February 17, 2014

Writing Competition, Souls of Indie & ROW80 Update


Happy Monday. I have stuff to share today.

First, a great opportunity to enter a short story contest for a low fee ($10 per entry) and nice prizes ($100 to the winner, $50 to the runner up). Check out the Pamlico Writers Writing Competition.

Deadline: February 23, 2014

Information (for further details, visit here):

Who May Enter: 
  • Any adult writer (age 18 or over).
  • The High School Category is for students in Grades 9-12 ONLY.
  • Members of the current Steering Committee, Jurors, and Workshop Presenters WILL NOT participate in the competition.
What You May Enter:
  • Your entry must be your original work.
  • You must own all publication rights (i.e., the work must never have been published in a manner in which you gave away your rights). You generally do not give away rights when the work is published on the Internet. You may, as when you are not paid, retain all rights whenever you have published the work in a conventional way.
  • Entries flaunting degrading sexual and physical violence or espousing extreme political views will not be considered for judging at the discretion of the contest juror.
There are five contest categories:
  • Fiction
  • Creative Non-fiction
  • Young Adult
  • Poetry
  • High School 
Second, an amazing deal on 5 full-length novels...

5 full-length novels from 5 of the hottest authors in New Adult Paranormal Romance!

Escape reality and immerse yourself in these steamy paranormal romances. With everything from tattooed bad boys and sexy demons to hot, otherworldly bodyguards, you’re going to fall in love. Beware: you’ll be up reading well past your bedtime!

ONLY AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME!
Retail value = $14.95
Limited time release = $.99

Recommended for readers 16+
Approximately 1,200 pages


Get your copy now at:
For more information on the books in the collection and to enter the giveaway, please visit here.

*****

Mondays are also my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) check in days. 

After completing my second round of edits on Chasing Shadows, I needed to play quite a bit of catch up on everything from blog posts to taxes. Now, I'm working on Chasing Forgiveness, a Tala Prophecy novella, while I'm waiting for CS to come back. Plus, I need to finish my Acknowledgements and back cover summary. 

Wishing everyone a great week!

February 14, 2014

Dauntless Indies, A Collection of Shorts: FREE eBook 2/14 & 2/15

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing everyone a sweet day surrounded by loved ones, and spreading the news about a wonderful freebie today...

18+ adult content

- Beyond Dusk: Anne - Anne Fontaine recently discovered the life she grew up in was a lie. She must step outside the world she knows to learn more about who she is...including this terrible, inexplicable ability she was born with

- Shadows Fall - Amethyst Lakes is a nymph with a problem. She left her ex-boyfriend when he started to smother her. Nothing she says seems to keep him away. Carl needs Amethyst more than he needs to breathe, but she just doesn’t get it. He’ll stop at nothing to make her stay. An old friend and teenage crush will keep her safe until Amethyst can decide how to deal with Carl once and for all.

- Masked Encounters - Korah Daniels has been through a lot in her nineteen years. Broken hearts, abusive relationships, and horrid dates have caused her to doubt love. Dane Davidson is the worst kind of playboy. The ultimate frat boy, drinking and ending up with a different girl every night. The two meet one fateful Halloween night, changing their lives forever.

GET IT HERE

February 13, 2014

A Bad Bubba: ROW80

I've been in my editing cave for days.

What began as a small plot hole developed into a bigger one. Fixing it required my Muse who in turn had strong feelings about how to further improve the story.

It was like that string on a shirt that you pull. Sometimes it comes right off. Other times, you pull and half the shirt unravels.

Source
Chasing Shadows is back with the amazing Jo Michaels. Although the editing process is draining, it's what keeps us all from having rough drafts forever lingering on our computers.

As my youngest always says, I've been a bad bubba. I missed my Sunday A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) update (and technically Wednesday since this is late) thanks to editing. 


As a reward for getting closer to publication, I'm playing around with cover images. Yeah, the fun stuff. 

Next up: a blurb. Not so fun!

What do you think is the most important part of a successful blurb? Any help is greatly appreciated.

February 7, 2014

Cover Confusion

Let me preface my thoughts by saying I read a lot (roughly 100 books a year). Plus, I'm a mom to three. I can't always count on my brain to remember what I have read. 

It makes me crazy that books in a series don't have numbers on them to help me out. A simple 1, 2, 3, etc on the bottom of the binder or even within the book would be extremely helpful. 

My cynical mind wonders if big publishing houses choose to leave off the numbers so poor, helpless, overwhelmed people like myself will simply make a mistake and repurchase the book. But, I'm going to blame that on my cynicism. 

Still, please, I beg my fellow authors, do not confuse me even further by making the covers look too similar. I understand the importance of complimentary covers in a series, but each one should be distinctive. 

For example, I recently received the first three books of a series to review. The first book was blue and stood out, but books two and three were so confusing. 


Two hot guys with orange backgrounds (the exact same color, although the picture is a bit off) with one word F titles. If I had seen book three in the store, I would have assumed I already read it and kept moving. It's just too similar. The back covers didn't help, either.


Please tell me I'm not crazy!

Do you have any cover pet peeves or preferences?

February 5, 2014

Mystified by Marketing: #IWSG & ROW80

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (or IWSG) is a wonderful group put together by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh (which now has an equally cool Facebook group). 

The first Wednesday of each month is the perfect opportunity to share my insecurities on the #IWSG therapy couch, get encouragement and support about such insecurities, and to read how other writers are faring. 

Today, it's more about my marketing insecurities.

With each book, I grow as a writer. But, I can't say I know all that much more about marketing. Or at least effective marketing. 

I watch my peers, read marketing blogs, and dissect marketing books. I follow the advice, but so far I'm not seeing much in the way of results. Or to be more blunt... dollars. How else can I measure marketing success?

I recently ran a free promotion--a concept that still confounds me--and did quite well. I reached number #1 in two categories and #36 overall in the Kindle Free Store. After, I saw a slight increase in sales and four reviews (all 4 or 5). What?


This book, Chasing Memories, is the first in a planned series (plus a novella). Did I gain some readers that will buy my upcoming release, Chasing Shadows? I hope so.

I've done giveaways, cross-promotions, and spent countless hours on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging to build an author platform. 

What am I missing?

*****

Wednesdays are also my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) update days. I am almost done with the Chasing Shadows edits. I'm on the second read-through and should be done by Thursday. I was hoping to be done yesterday, but I've had a very sick dog (spent way too many hours in a Vet's office) and late input from a hubby reader (can't just call him a beta).

Hope all my ROW80 and IWSG buddies are having a great week!

February 3, 2014

How Editing is Like Sleep: ROW80

My husband received a Fitbit® for Christmas. At first, I didn't think I needed one. I'm active, I told myself (and him). I exercise at least 3-4 times a week. 

Not good enough according to Fit Bit. And a lot of days I sit for long periods stuck at a computer. Seeing how hard it was for him to meet his goal (30 active minutes and 5 miles a day of total walking), I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

Man, I didn't realize how hard it was to hit those targets on days where I needed to keep my butt in the chair. But I've made little tweaks to my daily routine to include walking my daughter to school and taking a run after. Overall, I feel less stressed and more eager to hit the computer when I get back.

Another feature of Fitbit® is measuring your sleep pattern (both total sleep and restlessness). My last report...


When I saw this, my first thought was no wonder I'm so tired when I wake up. But my second thought... that's how I feel when I'm editing.

I start off raring to go, then I hit a spot where I can't figure it out. Frustration and a need for sugar often result before I find my groove again. That was today. Off and on emotions... 

I rocked that scene.
I'm never going to get this scene right.
Why won't this character tell me what he/she is thinking?
Why won't another character shut up?
What's the word I want? ARGH!
That's pretty good. Did I write that?
Oh my God, did I write that?

Off and on. It can be exhausting. 

And that's my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) progress in a nutshell. Editing Chasing Shadows. As a side note, I filed my quarterly sales tax return and wrote a few blog posts during those "need a break" moments. Not too bad.

What's the craziest thought you ever had while editing?