Saturday, September 3, 2011
So we thought (much like the ending of a much loved television series often does with a montage to music) we’d revisit some of our favorite moments of Sorcha and Alec (without the music, however.)
TALL, DARK and WOLFISH
Alec tries his hardest to win the affection of Caitrin, much to his friend Ben Westfield’s chagrin. (There’s still not a ton of love lost between Ben and Cait – one of those things that hasn’t changed.)
Sorcha is the only witch within the Còig who accepts Ben as Elspeth’s husband. In fact, she’s the only member of the coven who attends the pair’s rather impromptu wedding. (And through the event, Alec is right beside her, supporting his friend.)
Sorcha becomes enamored with the idea of Lycans thanks to Ben Westfield, and decides right then and there that she’d like to marry a wolf of her very own. So when another Lycan turns up in their midst (charming rakehell Lord William Westfield) Sorcha considers slipping a love potion to the rogue in order to seal the deal. But coven sisters, as they are wont to do, put an end to those plans.
THE TAMING OF THE WOLF
After being rejected by Cait time and time again, Alec left Edinburgh for England. He can’t quite believe his luck when he stumbles upon her along the Great North Road. Hoping that providence is finally on his side, Alec pursues the lass with renewed vigor. Unfortunately he has a new rival to contend with – Dashiel Thorpe.
Upon meeting Dash and learning that he is a Lycan, Sorcha is nearly beside herself with glee – convinced that each member of the coven will end up with a wolfish mate.
After Cait chooses Dash, Alec is truly heartbroken, but gentleman that he is – Alec heads to The Highlands to check on another coven sister Blaire as Cait is nearly worried sick about the other witch. His final goodbye to Cait still makes us weepy.
IT HAPPENED ONE BITE
Upon his arrival at Briarcraig Castle to ensure Blaire’s safety, Alec finds himself surrounded by vampyres, both benevolent and not-so benevolent. Too late he realizes what he’s up against when he’s attacked and left for dead beside the shores of an icy loch.
Not long after, Sorcha first comes in contact with vampyres back in Edinburgh – an evil one who was involved in Alec’s attack, and a noble one who had fallen for Blaire. Always the sweetest of the bunch, Sorcha’s heart aches for the tortured, malevolent vamp; and she welcomes the other into the coven’s circle with open arms.
IN THE HEAT OF THE BITE
Alec struggles to adjust in his new life as a vampyre under the tutelage of his maker Matthew, who’d saved him beside the icy loch that fateful night. He’s not comfortable in his new skin, but there’s no going back now. Still a gentleman, he tries his hardest to protect Rhiannon from those of his kind (particularly Matthew), even going so far as to align himself with his one-time rival Dash in order to do so.
Sorcha thanks Matthew profusely for saving Alec from certain death, once again welcoming a newcomer into her midst.
Alec hits his lowest point when he realizes Matthew has changed for Rhiannon and he will have to face this dark world all alone from here on out.
At Rhiannon and Matthew’s wedding, Sorcha comes face to face with Dash’s three Lycan half brothers and she is certain one of them is in her future – the wolfish husband she’s always wanted.
And that’s where Alec and Sorcha are (metaphorically speaking) when NEVER BEEN BIT begins and their story starts to unfold.
Sorcha - a naïve lass, controller of plants, exuberant and full of life. And Alec - a vampyre, still heartbroken over the loss of Caitin Macleod.
We hope you'll join us (and Mr. Seamus Ferguson) in the celebration in honor of Sorcha and Alec and long awaited Happy-Ever-Afters.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I am currently under contract, writing the second in a Regency werewolf trilogy. So I haven’t dipped my toe in that ever expanding pond. But I have been polling my friends and acquaintances about their experiences in this realm. What follows below is a list of the most frequently replied answers to my question - “What is the best thing about self-publishing?”
ONE – THE MONEY
Contracts from most NY publishers offer royalties anywhere from 5-9% on print books, and 15-25% on e-books. Percentages are often higher for e-only publishers. But retailers like Amazon pay 70% on e-books and Barnes & Noble pays 65%. There isn’t a publisher out there offering those percentages.
“Self-publishing has been the greatest thing to ever happen to me…and to my former publisher! My first two books were released by a small press that I love dearly and am very grateful for. However, they didn’t have the marketing resources to get me where I wanted to be, both in terms of readership and money. I took a lead from the incomparable Ava Stone, and self-published the 3rd and 4th installments of my Wetherby Brides series. The next thing I knew, I had sold hundreds of copies of my books! But that wasn’t even the best part. I got an email from my publisher saying, “What are you doing?!?! Your sales (which had earned me a whopping $60 in all of 2010) are through the roof!” So while I’m making a great living for myself, I’m also helping a small publishing house thrive!” – Jerrica Knight-Catania
TWO – CREATIVE FREEDOM
How many times have you heard an author lament about the market? They want to write one type of book, but NY isn’t buying them? Self-published authors can write whatever they’d like, at whatever length and not have to worry about their story getting watered down or not contracted at all. The market of actual readers will determine if you make money, not an editor’s educated guess.
And how many times have you heard authors complain about an awful cover or title they got saddled with? I, personally, have lost count, if I was ever keeping track. Self-publishing doesn’t guarantee good covers or good titles, but there is more of a chance that the author is happy with the end product. Or they can keep tweaking it until they are.
"Now I have a market for my short stories or those shorter stories about side characters that readers want to know more about, but I an't write enough about to fill up a book." – Laurel Bennett
“I love to write what I call Romantic Erotica – short, explicit stories that take place between committed couples. But in the real world, this genre doesn’t exist. In the Amazon and B&N self-publishing world, it does, because I made it so. And I’m so excited to see that what was turned away at publishing houses is quickly gaining a following.” – Chastity Lane
"I write historical western romance -- a genre that's been on the market decline for years, but I'm convinced that it's because of the lack of availability. There are people who love it, because I do. I now have the creative freedom to write in any genre I choose to with self-publishing. Any failures are mine as well as any successes, and that makes it worthwhile to me. I can write what I love and share it with others who love the genre as much as I do." – Suzie Grant
"I turned to self-publishing after seeing the success of my friends. I am not unhappy with my publisher because they have always been great, but I decided to give this avenue a chance and have not been disappointed. Besides my inspirational, I also write in two separate genres, under two different pen names. But because it took me so long to find a publisher for my inspirationals, as it does with most authors, I didn't want to have to go through the same process with my two new genres in hopes of seeing the books picked up and published sometime in the undefined future. My latest books will soon be published and I thoroughly enjoy the freedom of telling the story I want to tell in the way I want to tell it without being told that this type of book doesn't sell. How do we know it won't sell if it isn't available? Shouldn’t the readers be the ones who decide what sells?" - Amy De Trempe
THREE – REAL NUMBERS, REAL TIME
Authors do a lot of self-promoting. Blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, etc. We blindly hope that doing these things helps sales, but we don’t know for sure. I only get to see my numbers twice a year when my royalty statement arrives. But self-published authors can see their numbers all day, every day if they so desire. So if you wonder if that blog did you any good, you can look at your daily sales and find out.
“Having your sales available in real time can get addicting (“Oh look, another three sold!”), but in watching the trends in my short story sales I know immediately what the readers are buying. I can shelve projects that have a lesser potential and concentrate on what will earn better. As much as I’d love to just write the books of my heart, my writing is a business. Self-publishing allows me to get a jump on popular trends in a way other publishers can’t offer me.” – Roxy Jacobs
FOUR – NO WAITING
Most of the time you deliver your manuscript and then you wait. You wait for editorial notes. You then wait for the copy-edited version. Then you wait for the galleys. And then you wait some more for the book to finally be released. Self-published authors place their book(s) on virtual shelves as soon as they’re ready to do so. That book can start earning you money now instead of months or, in some cases, years from now.
"Being able to finish a book and publish it all in the same week is one of the huge advantages to self-publishing. I don't have to try to predict the market a year from now. Instead, I can create something fresh and see how the market responds today. I get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing instant feedback on my work. And as far as money goes, I have published three books in six months and already made more money than I would have expected to see from a typical advance. Seeing instant profit from my writing has truly changed my life." – Sarra Cannon
"Before I decided to self-publish, I had been waiting for two e-publishers to respond to my submission for over four months, a big 6 editor to respond to a requested full for eighteen months, and several agents for over two years. Best case: if they decided to offer me a contract tomorrow, it would be a minimum of another year before my book became available to readers. Worst case: my work would be buried in a 'requested' slush pile forever. It took less than one week from the time I made the decision to self-publish until I'd made my first sales on Amazon and Barnes & Noble." – L. J. Charles
"A week ago, I took a chance and uploaded my first novel to Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I wasn't sure if this was going to be the right career move for me or not. After all, there are no guarantees. But whereas with traditional publishing, I'd have to wait months, or maybe even years, to discover if I'd made a wise decision, by self-publishing through these venues I've been able to see immediate results. It is much easier to decide what to do from here on out, after analyzing the sales I've seen to this point." - Catherine Gayle
FIVE – COMPLETE CONTROL
You set your own price. You set your own schedule. You pick your own cover. You pick your own title. You write your own blurb. Once you’ve hit the button and your book is live - if you think your cover isn’t drawing readers, change it. If you find a typo on page 183, fix it. These are just a few of the options open to authors who are self-publishing.
"What I like best is I can put out however many books I want to in a year. With traditional publishing, you'll likely only be allowed one or two books, sometimes three if you have a three book series the publisher thinks they can capitalize on by putting them out a month a part. But then that's it. You have to wait another year before your next book comes out. With doing it myself, if I write six books this year, I can put all six out. Likewise, if I only write one book, I'm not in danger of breaking my contract and having to start the whole process over again." - Rose Gordon
“I love many things about self-publishing but mostly I love the control over when to publish. I like setting my own deadlines because the only pressure is what I inflict on myself. When the book is ready to share I can upload it.” – Heather Boyd
"I had a cover for my second book - A Scandalous Charade - that I really liked. In fact, it was my favorite cover, but it wasn't selling as well as the other books in the series. So I changed the cover and now the sales for that book are on par with my other titles. That just would never have been an option with a traditional publisher. If you get a cover that doesn't work, you're stuck with it. And even though I liked my original cover, it wasn't speaking to readers. Having the ability and freedom to make that change was priceless." - Ava Stone
"As of three days ago, my backlist has been available on Kindle and Nook, so I'm as new to this as it's possible to be. My vote so far? I'm in heaven. Having this much control is completely addictive. I love designing my own covers (the cover for A Kiss To Die For on the original book was a purple train); I love tweaking the content so that the book is smoother and sleeker; I love setting my own price; I love writing my own blurbs. I love everything about this new game in town!" - Claudia Dain
So there you have it from a number of self-published authors themselves. I’m not sure if it’s the path for me, but I am happy that others are enjoying their foray into this brave new world.
Have you thought about self-publishing? What are your thoughts/comments/concerns about doing so? Hopefully some of the self-published authors I know will pipe up throughout the day to answer questions.
Originally posted April 29, 2011 at ladyscribes.blogspot.com
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Several years ago on my first trip to New Orleans, a friend of mine suggested we take one of the local haunted history tours. I (the Jodie ½ of Lydia Dare) was up for anything. Since my friend really wanted to take the Vampire Tour, I went along for the ride – or rather walk, as it was a walking tour late at night in the French Quarter. I was struck by the amazing storytelling of our guide as he brought each tale to life as we passed the buildings where the stories were reported to have taken place. I still get chill bumps when I think about some of the things we heard that night.
One story in particular has stayed with me throughout the years – the tale of Jacques St. Germain.
In the court of King Louis XV, Comte d’ Saint Germain has the feel of a real life Portrait of Dorian Gray. A handsome, wealthy man with many friends who never aged a day. In fact, the comte claimed to possess the elixir of life. And though he was always at the right functions, with the right people, no one ever saw him eat as much as a morsel of food. He did, however, often carry around a wine glass from which he sipped fairly regularly. After tiring of court life, the comte moved to Germany, where it was reported that he died. However, many people throughout Europe claimed to have seen him years after his “death.”
Flash forward to New Orleans in the early 20th Century. A handsome, wealthy man by the name of Jacques St. Germain claimed to be a descendant of the popular comte. And like his ancestor, St. Germain knew all the right people, attended all the right functions, and never ate a bite of food – though he did love to sip wine from his glass as reported by anyone who knew him. Jacques took up residence on Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter and in addition to being one of the city’s elite, St. Germain was a true ladies man, always in the company of one woman or another… Until one night when a paid companion screamed at the top of her lungs and then leapt from the second floor balcony of his home to the street below in her haste to escape the gentleman. She told those who rushed to her rescue as well as the authorities that St. Germain attacked and bit her.
By the time the police arrived at the home on Royal Street to ask the gentleman some questions, St. Germain had vanished. However the investigators found some peculiar items left in his residence – rugs on the hardwood floors that all covered curious red stains and bottles upon bottles of wine mixed with human blood.
Jacques was never brought to justice, but there are still apparently sightings of the fellow in the French Quarter from time to time.
There is something about that story that I love. I will freely admit that it may have something to do with standing outside the residence on Royal Street as I heard the story and probably something to do with the flare with which the story was first told to me. And though I would never like to meet the comte or Jacques or anyone else in the St. Germain family, the tale does have a bit of mysticism to it. A creature reinventing himself every so many years and starting over.
When Tammy and I decided to write Regency era vampyres, we were able to do the same thing with our heroes. James Maitland, Baron Kettering, in IT HAPPENED ONE BITE and Matthew Halkett, the Earl of Blodswell, from IN THE HEAT OF THE BITE, have both reinvented themselves many times over the centuries. James is from the Elizabethan era and Matthew was a knight from the crusades. To hide the fact that they never age, they spend one lifetime in London and one at the respective country estates. They play both the role of both father and son for each generation, always keeping their fortunes and titles in safe keeping.
We loved creating these gentleman vampyres who are too noble to ever bite a lady without being properly introduced. And we loved setting them squarely in the middle of Regency England with balls, carriage rides, and witches who are their equals.
Which era do you think would create the most interesting vampires? And what would you most like to ask them about their lives?
Originally posted at Vampchix.blogspot.com March 13, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
I am convinced that in an earlier life I was a very well-to-do Regency lady. I can’t simply be this spoiled being brought up in a middle class family, born in the 20th Century, can I? Doesn’t seem likely. Those Regency ladies had it all.
* Gigantic estate(s) in the country
* Beautiful gardens
* Housekeeper – to make certain household chores are complete and satisfactory everyday
* Maids – to do all the menial tasks we have to do ourselves these days
* Cook - to have fabulous meals, teas, and pretty finger food always available at a moment’s notice
*Butler – to be stoic and keep things running smoothly
* Lady’s maid – to dress you and your hair and make certain you are always turned out in your finest
* Nurse/governess – to help watch and care for your children
* Clothes and then some – the finest material, shimmery dresses, kid slippers, pretty gloves *sigh*
* Fantastic social life – Spend the morning sleeping, the afternoon gossiping…er…talking with friends, and the evenings at one gala/soiree/ball or another
* Rides through Rotten Row
* Plays/Operas at the theatre
* Fireworks at Vauxhall Gardens
* Trips to the Continent
* Truly – the list is endless…
I could SOOOO be pampered like that these days. But I have to settle for weekly trips to the nail salon (where my nail lady knows me so well, she has an enormous pillow to place my laptop on so I can write while getting a pedicure.) Bi-monthly trips to the massage parlor. Yearly cruises to one fascinating destination or another.
However, unlike those Regency ladies of leisure, I work a full-time job, write 3-4 books a year, and I’m a single mother of a teenage boy. Whew! Just typing that out, I got tired. So I have to pamper myself, or no one else will, right?
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, and it’s not one I’ve ever heard published authors say. So I might be like the masked magician on the Secrets of Magic Revealed shows. But I’m willing to take that chance.
In November 2010, I released my fourth book THE TAMING OF THE WOLF. There were various book signings set up, and the booksellers who hosted me were more than kind. But on more than one occasion, not only did patrons not approach the table I was at, they also avoided looking me in the eye. Maybe I’m intimidating in person (I truly don’t think this is the case). Or perhaps people are just uncomfortable approaching an author they don’t know. Or maybe they’d rather not have their neighbors seeing them talking to an author whose cover has a naked male torso on the front.
Whatever the reason, I haven’t seen a ton of success with book signings.
Stock signings on the other hand…well, that’s an entirely different matter. I talked to a couple of booksellers who said that if a book in a shelf with an autographed sticker on the front, it has more of a chance of being sold. So my take away was that people do want the signed books, they just might not want to talk to the author to get one.
Since then, I’ve made it a point to tour all of the bookstores in my area whenever a new book comes out and sign every copy they have on hand. And now, I do the same when I travel. Over the holidays, I visited my family out west and spent one whole day visiting all of the book stores within a 30 mile radius. And yesterday, I visited bookstores in the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas and did the same thing.
More importantly than signing books for readers, is talking to booksellers while you’re standing at the information desk signing the stock. If you’re pleasant and gracious, they might remember you when someone asks for a recommendation. Or they might even point out that an author was recently in and signed books. Talking to bookstore staff is one of the most important things an author can do, in my opinion.
Next Tuesday, my latest release IT HAPPENED ONE BITE will hit shelves. And you can bet that I’ll be making a grand tour around all of the Raleigh/Durham area bookstores to sign whatever stock the store has on hand – giving readers a note and signature and getting the chance to talk to booksellers.
Originally posted at LadyScribes.blogspot.com 2/25/2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Neither of those scenarios are true for Dashiel Thorpe, the Earl of Brimsworth, and Caitrin Macleod, our hero and heroine in THE TAMING OF THE WOLF…
On bare feet, Cait padded along the hallway and down the main staircase. The last place she remembered having her book was in the duke’s study.
She turned the corner into the study and stopped short. Standing behind the duke’s desk was a tall man, one she’d yet to meet. Most of him was hidden in shadow, but his face was lit by the moonlight that filtered through the drapes. He was a blond Adonis, tall and lean. A vague memory of him, maybe from one of her visions, created unease within her.
A small gasp escaped her throat when he turned his amber gaze her way. “I’m sorry. I dinna ken anyone was up at this hour.” She turned to leave.
“Don’t go,” he said. Then he closed his eyes tightly and took a deep breath. “You needed something in Blackmoor’s study?”
“Aye, I left a book in here yesterday when I came ta find Her Grace.” She glanced quickly around the room, though she didn’t immediately see her copy of Maria Edgeworth’s Patronage. “Perhaps I left it in the library.” Perhaps I should run quickly from this room.
“Having trouble sleeping?” he asked, his tone amazingly familiar. As though he’d known her for a lifetime.
“Aye. At times, I canna get thoughts out of my head.” Why had she told him that? He probably didn’t care to hear how her visions played in her mind at all hours of the day and night, preventing her rest.
He walked around the desk and perched a hip on it. His hips were narrow, his shoulders broad. Stop ogling the man’s body, Cait. His eyes narrowed at her, as though he knew she had a secret. She closed her eyes and tried to get a vision of him, something to tell her who he was. But her mind was blank, which was more than disconcerting. Her mind was blank? That had never happened before.
“I canna tell yer future,” she muttered under her breath.
“Pardon?” He raised an eyebrow at her.
“Ah, there’s my book,” she said, smiling at him, hoping he’d believe she hadn’t a care in the world. She picked up a small, black leather book that lay on the desk behind him. It wasn’t hers, but it would have to do.
Before she could turn around, he reached out and grabbed her by the waist. She couldn’t even utter a gasp as he drew her body flush against his. Her breath stilled.
“What are ye—” she began, but he covered her mouth with his, his lips hard and urgent.
She shouldn’t let a man she’d never met before take such liberties. But he smelled so good. Felt so good. Tasted so good.
Her tongue rose to meet his as a whimper of pleasure left her throat. Her heart beat wildly as he tilted his head and deepened the kiss.
Cait had been kissed before, but never like this. Never so thoroughly that she couldn’t think straight. Never so expertly that her legs threatened to buckle. Never with enough passion that she could drown in it.
A tug to her hair sunk into her consciousness. He pulled her head back and looked into her eyes. He gently tugged, guiding her head until it leaned to the side, exposing her neck. She nearly jumped when his lips brushed feather-light down the side of her jaw as he trailed a kiss down her throat. He pulled at the neck of her wrapper and night rail until they opened, baring her shoulder to his gaze. She shivered.
When he reached the place where her neck met her shoulder, he sucked at the tender spot and then nipped her gently. It was the most sensual thing she’d ever experienced. Light-headed, she heard a moan escaping her throat. More. More, please.
He nipped her again, then opened his mouth wide and bit through the tender skin of her shoulder, jerking her instantly from the passion-induced haze.
“Ow!” she cried and smacked his shoulder. “That hurt!”
Unbeknownst to both Cait and Dash, that first meeting, first kiss, first bite – has sealed both of their fates. And what follows next is a mad dash (no pun intended) across Britain, into Scotland, complicated by other witches, werewolves, and an old suitor who still carries a torch for the beleaguered Caitrin.
Have you ever kissed someone without having been introduced?
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Charles Caleb Colton said “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
With that in mind, I’m going to borrow the idea for this blog from the Editor of Vogue magazine, of which I am not a usual reader as my fashion sense would scream if you were to meet me in person. However in the salon this week, I picked up the January edition because Natalie Portman was on the cover, and I’ve been a fan of hers ever since she was twelve in The Professional. I would tell you the editor in question’s name but the message was signed with a signature that I couldn’t quite read. I’m sure if I was a regular reader, I would know the editor’s name, but we’ve already addressed my lack of fashion sense. So I digress...
Anyway, here goes – paraphrasing the Vogue editor – instead of writing a message about the beginning of the year and resolutions, she talked about the ten things of 2011 she was most excited about. My blog today is supposed to be about “beginnings”…. So I’ll start my Ten Things I’m Most Excited About in 2011 list beginning with…
1. Lydia Dare’s presentation TODAY at Heart of Carolina Romance Writers
That’s right. TODAY. So, if I don’t comment on the blog as much as I would normally, you’ll know it’s because Lydia Dare (the writing team of Tammy Falkner and Jodie Pearson) are presenting Team Writing : Are Two Minds Greater Than One? Or Do Great Minds Think Differently? Together we’ll discuss tips for writing with a partner as well as the ups and downs of team writing. If you're in the Raleigh NC area, stop by!
2. The March release of It Happened One Bite
2011 is the year of vampyres. At least for Lydia Dare, anyway. We have a new Regency vampyre trilogy out this year starting with IT HAPPENED ONE BITE, set in a picturesque crumbling castle in the Highlands.
3. RT Convention in April
After attending RT last year, missing this convention seems unthinkable. Faerie Balls and Vampire Balls. And lots and lots of readers.
4. My agent, Melissa Jeglinski, speaks to my local chapter in May
Anytime we get the opportunity to listen to Melissa is amazing. I can’t wait to hear what advice she’ll impart to the group!!
5. RWA Conference in June
I love the RWA Conference. It is the one time of year that I get to see all of my critique partners in person, or most of them, including Samantha Grace who will have her debut with Sourcebooks later this year. Being an online group, we have members in every corner of the country and even as far away as Australia. AND... Of course, there's always the opportunity to bond with our fellow Casa authors.
6. The July release of In the Heat of the Bite
The second book in our trilogy hits shelves in July and we are super excited about each one – however IN THE HEAT OF THE BITE offers a unique vampyre hero – an earl who at one time was a real knight in shining armor.
7. Authors After Dark Conference in August
8. The September release of Never Been Bit
Our final vampyre book will be released in September. I can’t reveal anything about the hero at this point, as it will be a spoiler alert. But I will say that writing this particular character’s story arc has been one of the highlights of my writing career.
9. Heart of Carolina Romance Writer’s October Workshop with Cherry Adair
Every year I look forward to my local chapter’s all day workshop in October. In fact, it was at one of these workshops that the two of us who make up Lydia Dare first decided to collaborate on a project. This year’s presenter the enchanting Cherry Adair is always fascinating and listening to her is always inspiring.
10. Finishing up a wolfish trilogy for 2012
Finally, the last thing I’m looking forward to this year is completing a new wolfish trilogy that is contracted for 2012. The three Lycan heroes have been rumbling around in our brains for quite a while and it will be nice to have their stories completed. And only then will we be able to decide what is next for Lydia Dare.
I’ll end this blog with a great big thanks to the editor of Vogue for giving me such a wonderful idea to borrow! And now I'll ask you - What are you most looking forward to this year?