Friday, April 18, 2014

Favorite Hero Friday Free-for-All! #heroes #FavoriteHeroFriday #freepromoday

Image courtesy of Ambro
/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Favorite heroes. Let's face it, ladies. We romance readers love our heroes. They're half the reason we read romance. Or is that just me? ;) So, I created Favorite Hero Friday. If you're a regular visitor or you know me personally, you probably know this, but for those who don't, here’s how you play:

1. Tell readers about a favorite hero you’ve read. Come on. Think about your all time favorite book. What makes that hero so darn sexy? 

I'll tell you mine. Jamie Fraser, of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. I've read that book a dozen times over the years and I swoon every single time. He's imperfect. He's very passionate, gives 100% to everything he does, and he can be hotheaded, but he's brave and strong and he'll fight to the death for the people he loves. He makes personal sacrifices for them without blinking an eye. Yet he's kind and he can be very gentle and he's almost innocent when it comes to love. 

Sigh.

Oh. Pardon me. I got lost there for a moment. Where was I? Oh yeah...

2. Now tell readers about a favorite hero YOU'VE written. And yes, I know. This is like trying to choose a favorite child or a favorite of your pets. It's not really possible. Mine are usually the hero of the moment. But pick one anyway. Which hero stands out in your mind?

I'll share here as well. Jackson Kade, from my upcoming novel Whatever It Takes. I just sent my editor cover art facts on him, so he's been on my mind. I adored writing Jackson. He's a southern gent, born and raised in Savannah Georgia, but I wouldn't exactly call him a gentleman. ;) He's a flirt and he enjoys being just a little risque when he does it. He's also not perfect. He's a workaholic whose never been told he was loved. Raised by parents who were emotionally unavailable, who, as he says, wanted an heir not a child, he doesn't know how to show love, because he's never been shown it. And it cost him the woman he loved. But he's a romantic at heart. He's my most romantic hero and he enjoyed sweeping the heroine, Becca, clean off her feet. I had so much fun writing this book. 

Now, as most of you know already, I usually I schedule authors one by one, but today’s guest had to cancel. So, I’ve decided to do a free for all. Leave a comment and answer those questions. Be sure to include a buy link to YOUR book, so readers can check out your hot heroes! 

Ready, set…GO! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Interview with author Savannah Young #romance #cowboys #countryband

Hey guys! I'm pleased to have with me romance author Savannah Young, here to share a bit about herself and her new release, The Wilde One, book 1 one of her Old Town Country Romance series. Welcome, Savannah!

If you had to describe yourself, what three words would you use?
Tenacious, Caring, Thoughtful

Who’s your favorite author and/or what’s your favorite book?
I would have to say my favorite author is Oscar Wilde. My favorite book is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Before I started writing novels, I wrote stage plays. I would say I felt like a “real” writer when my first stage play was produced.

If you could do your journey to getting published all over again, is there anything you’d do differently?
Everything is a learning experience! Sometimes you learn the most from “failures.” Luckily, I’ve had a lot of “learning experiences.” J

How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
I’ve written 26 books. A few of them haven’t been published yet. It’s hard to pick a favorite but if I had to select one, I’d probably pick Fire on Ice (which I wrote as Dakota Madison).

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
More of a pantser.

What’s one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?
I work as a university professor.

What’s your writing routine like?
I wake up every morning between 4:30 and 5:00 am and write for a few hours before I get ready for work. I also try to write on my lunch hour when I can.

What makes a book great in your eyes?
I love books that make me feel something. I also like strong female characters.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I spend time with my husband and our bloodhounds. I like to read, watch movies and travel.

How about some fun questions. Let’s do some favorites:

Favorite car? Anything that runs!
Favorite scent? Cinnamon
Favorite movie? The Wizard of Oz
Favorite dish? Rice, hummus and black olives
Favorite superhero? Thor
Favorite candy bar? I don’t eat candy.

Blurb:

THE WILDE ONE is the second novel in the spicy contemporary romance series about four sexy brothers, their small-town bar and their local country band. Each novel in the OLD TOWN COUNTRY ROMANCE series can be read as a STAND ALONE NOVEL or as part of the SERIES.

FOUR WILDE BROTHERS...ONE WILDE COUNTRY BAND

Tucker Wilde joined the United States Army right out of high school and was injured in Iraq. But more than just his leg was shattered in the Middle East. The war also crushed his spirit and damaged his soul. When a strange couple arrives at his family’s bar, Haymakers, Tucker can see signs of mental and emotional abuse and is immediately drawn to the lovely but fragile girl seated at his bar.

Gracie Parker has been a victim of abuse her entire life. When her boyfriend, Dex, beats her in the parking lot of Haymakers and abandons her, it’s almost too much for the nineteen-year-old to bear. That is until Tucker appears like a warrior knight from the darkness to save her.

Tucker and Gracie are two broken people who are immediately drawn together. But their relationship and even their very lives are threatened by Dex who will stop at nothing to get Gracie back.

If you like your trucks loud, your beer cold and your men hot...you'll love THE WILDE ONE.

Buy link: 
http://amzn.com/B00JKTX9ZA 

Excerpt:

One
Tucker
“You look different,” Savage says, then downs the last of his pint of ale.
“Different how?” I prod even though I have an idea what he’s going to say. I look more normal. Like I fit into society rather than looking like an outcast.
Savage shrugs. He’s never been a person of many words. We’re like two peas in a pod that way. Even though he rarely says very much, with just one sideways glance Savage can have the biggest and meanest guys on the planet shaking in their cowboy boots.
People say that about me too.
“Do you want another?” I ask, even though I can guess his response. Savage always orders two pints and drinks them at the far corner of the bar. There are worse ways of coping with the past than drinking a few beers every night before he goes home to an empty apartment. I should know. I’m a master of poor coping skills.
“Hit me,” Savage says.
I pour him another pint and take away the empty.
“You look good.”
I’m surprised by the compliment. I’d never use the word good to describe anything about me. But I do look better than I have since I got back from Iraq.
“Drink your beer,” I tell him because I’m not in the mood to explain what’s been going on in my life.
Savage was in Iraq about the same time I was and he’s the closest thing I’ve got to a friend. I’m not one for relationships. Life is too short and relationships are too painful. When you get close to someone, you usually just end up getting hurt.
But like me, Savage isn’t the type of guy who gets too close to people. The most obvious reason is the way he looks: he’s big and scary. Also just like me.
Savage and I lift weights together, and in a fight it would be a close match. Not that either of us would ever start a fight but we would definitely end one if we had to.
It’s a weeknight and the bar is almost deserted except for a few of the regulars. That’s why I’m surprised when I see a couple I don’t recognize walk in and look around. The guy’s wearing all leather and carrying two helmets, so he’s obviously a biker. He looks about my height, six feet two inches and he’s big. The girl looks tiny standing next to him. She’s the definition of the word waif. She looks like a strong wind could pick her up and blow her away. Not a good thing in Old Town where it’s windy most of the time.
The most interesting thing about her, though, is her coloring. I’ve never seen someone so fair in my life. I’m the only blond in my family but I’m not even close to this girl. Her long hair is so light it’s practically white. And her skin is the color of milk. She looks like a princess who just stepped out of a fairytale, as corny as that sounds.
I can’t help but notice that she doesn’t look like she wants to be here. Or maybe she doesn’t want to be with the guy. It’s hard to tell. But she doesn’t look happy. If anything, she looks scared. 
As the couple steps closer to the bar, I can see the girl is shaking. I’m not sure whether she’s shaking because she’s scared, or because it’s January and it’s freezing outside and she’s wearing a tiny spring jacket that barely fits. It almost looks like a jacket for a kid it’s so small on her. Not that she’s much bigger than a kid herself.
What kind of a jerk wears a thick leather jacket while he lets his girl freeze? I’m really not liking this guy at all. And when I see him grab her by the elbow, so roughly she almost comes off the floor, I can feel every hair on my body stand at attention.
Is it possible to hate a guy I don’t even know?
About the author:

Romance novelist Savannah Young grew up in rural northwest New Jersey in a place very similar to the fictional Old Town, which is featured in her books. When she's not at her computer creating spicy stories, Savannah is traveling to exotic locales or spending time with her husband and their bloodhounds.




Monday, April 14, 2014

#Excerpt: Bittersweet Rescue by Coleen Kwan @GoddessFish


Bittersweet Rescue
by Coleen Kwan

Blurb:

She rescued him, and saved herself.

When Ellie Sherwood rescues her boss from drowning, she never anticipates the consequences. For three years she’s existed in an emotional limbo after a catastrophic family tragedy, but now she’s awake and ready to seize life with both hands. And that includes the sexy boss she’s been secretly infatuated with for some time.
Drake Crawford is about to achieve his lifelong goal when a car accident plays havoc with his life. Not only is his plan for revenge delayed, but his once demure personal assistant is now shockingly, irresistibly forward. Drake is against office affairs, and Ellie is vital to his success, but he can’t get her out of his mind, and besides, he does owe her...


His solution—a two-week break with Ellie at his wilderness hideout. They’ll indulge in a scorching, private affair, and when it’s over they’ll return to their normal lives. But as Drake discovers more about Ellie, he realises her quiet exterior hides a backbone of steel. When she asks him to walk away from his ultimate goal, he knows it’s time to let her go.

Exclusive Excerpt:

Up ahead he saw a bus pull over, blocking the entire road, and with another curse he swung the car into the nearby reserve, a strip of parkland which ran along the harbour front.

“The speed limit’s forty,” Ellie said, clutching her seat.

Reluctantly he eased off on the accelerator. A drizzle had set in, turning

the wintery evening even gloomier. He flicked on the wipers as the black tarmac glistened like oil in his headlights. Usually the road snaking through the reserve would have a few joggers at this time of day, but the cold and the rain appeared to have kept them away. He tamped on the brakes as they approached a tight bend.

Ellie’s briefcase slipped off her seat. She bent to retrieve it, lifting one leg slightly. As her skirt pulled up, out of the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of her inner thigh and couldn’t help staring. In the dimness her tender skin gleamed like the petal of an ice-berg rose.

She tugged at her skirt, and his gaze lifted to her face—cheeks pink, confusion in her eyes—goddamnit, she’d caught him checking her out. She ducked her chin down, her hair fanning over her face.

“Ellie—”

Three seconds can change a man’s life. A second to look up at the road ahead. A second to recognise the danger. A second to react.

Three seconds. That’s all it took to change his life.

Author Bio:

Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her

favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After
many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.

Coleen lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching Criminal Minds.





Buy links for Bittersweet Rescue


Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1brqiUL

Smashwords:  http://bit.ly/1brqIKC


Giveaway info:
Coleen will be awarding a $10 Amazon giftcard to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

The more you comment, the better your chances of winning, so be sure and follow the tour, found here: 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Keep it Simple: Some tips on helping your readers connect to you. #FRWST

Image courtesy of graur codrin/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Okay, I’ve decided to blog about something that’s a pet peeve of mine: keeping things simple. Or, on the opposite of the spectrum, being forced to do things the hard way. I’m a simple kind of girl. I like relaxed and laid back and easy to do. Mostly because when I’m in, I’m all in. I’m not that person who gives half of myself, or whatever energy I happen to have left. When you get me, you get all of me. 110%. And I expect the same in return. I’m idealistic in that way. So, when I put my energy into something, it better be worth it to me.

I know that sounds really harsh, but really, it’s about self-preservation. I’ve learned over the years that people and things that are worth doing or having…will come easily to me. Those that make jump through hoops always prove to be unbeneficial. Though, to be honest, I usually end up disappointed or hurt by those who make me jump through hoops. I’ve come across some things over my time as an author that are really small nitpicky things. These are things that are, really little more than tiny annoyances, but they made me stop. I realized recently that if the other person had chosen to do things a little differently, I might have made more of an effort.

So, I thought I’d pass on the information. There are things you can do to make connecting to you as easy as possible on your readers.

The one exception I have to this…the CAPTCHA, the word verification at the end of a blog comment. I’ll apologize now. This is the only hoop I’ll make you jump through and I’ll even tell you why. I know this makes some people crazy and you often have to type it more than once. But it makes my life so much easier. I notice the difference immediately whenever I turn it on or off. Without that word verification, my blog was getting eaten alive by spambots. I’m talking having to find and delete over 20+ messages a day. At first I thought, it’s such a small thing to have to put up with that I’d just deal with it, in order to make my blog more accessible to those who have trouble with the CAPTCHA. But it’s like mosquitoes buzzing around your head. One bite you can live with. Twenty or thirty and you start to go a little insane. They actually managed to get one in, and now the stats for my blog are all screwed up. Those little bots create false “hits” on the blog. Mine has been pulling in over 400 a day. And because I have my blog set to notify me whenever someone posts, these are all pinging into my email inbox as well.

So, if you come to my blog, please forgive me and please bear with me. The mosquitoes are eating me alive. Consider the word verification a safety net. Lol Otherwise, I try to keep things as user friendly and simple as possible. Every once in a while, I’ll try taking it down to see how it goes, but I invariably end up putting it back up. Those damn bots! Lol

Now, I’m a host for a couple of blog tour companies, plus I host my fellow romance authors whenever they need a place. Because of my screwed up blogger stats, I haven’t a clue how busy my site really is. Though, I suspect I’m just small potatoes. But…as an author and a blogger, I’ve come across some things that are really small, but can make my life a whole lot easier. And thus, make it easier for other people to reach and want to connect with you.

Like I said, they’re all really small things that in the grand scheme of things, are more of an annoyance when, like me, you have to do more than one every once in a while. Sometimes, I have four and five blogs to format and put together and I’m often sitting here for an hour doing it. I can’t imagine being a bigger blog. But you’d really be making the lives of the people you’re connecting to a whole lot easier. And to me, simple is good.

TrueTwit—that service that makes you verify that you’re not a spambot by signing in. First off, I’ll fully admit when I first wrote this post, I was a bit irritated. I had to do at least ten of these the other day in order to connect with people from a group I’d joined. I’ll be honest. I almost didn’t, but I did it because I respect the author I was doing them for. It took twice as long as it should have to connect to all the people I needed to. Now, I’ll admit. I don’t see the point to this one. It doesn’t hide who you are. People can still see you, still access your page. They just can’t follow you. Which, really, just makes it harder on them. Which is the point, right? Except that a lot of people who aren’t bots might not bother. Any other time, I probably wouldn’t either.  

Though, if you use this service, please feel free to explain it to me. I’d love to know what, exactly, it does, and if you actually see a difference in using it. All I’m seeing is the outside of it. I’m that reader trying to connect and being asked to prove myself. I get it, but after about ten of them in a row, I was frustrated. For me, on Twitter, spambots are easy to spot, so it’s just a matter of not following them. I’d love to know if, like with the CAPTCHA, there’s more to this than meets the eye!

Made it even harder when I got a really odd message from one of the authors I’d followed. I’m assuming it was an automated message and that she was attempting to be humorous, but what it did was make HER sound like the very spam bot she was likely trying to protect herself from. It didn’t help that she had over 20,000 followers, but wasn’t following anybody back. Or that she sent me a private message, but I couldn’t send her one to answer the question she’d PM’d to me.

See what I mean? Too many hoops. So I unfollowed her. Not worth the headache I ended up getting from this that day.

And if you’re visiting a blog, there are some things you can do to make your host’s job a little easier. I can’t tell you how much time I have to put in just straightening out a post. It can take me upwards of fifteen minutes sometimes just for a single post. Imagine if I’ve got three or four to do in a row? I’m an author, as are many of the sites I visit. I’ve also got my own promo to do, my own books to write, my own street team to run, etc. We all have jobs and kids and families and laundry that’s not getting done.

In other words, people often do this stuff in their spare time. So, help them out a little. The absolute best thing an author did for me once? Sent me the HTML of her post. All I had to do was copy and paste. I didn’t have to adjust or reformat the excerpt or make sure the page looked pretty. I just copied and pasted. I wanted to kiss her. And I told her so.

So, here are those tiny little things that as a blogger can make my life really hard. It’s honestly to the point that I think once the year is over, I’m going to drop being a host for those tour sites. They’re very wonderful, professional sites, by the way. If you’re thinking of doing a blog tour. Goddess Fish and Literary Nook are great sites. They’re both very professional. I’ve enjoyed working with each of them. But as an author hosting, it’s become more headache than anything. I don’t get much out of it.

Okay, my list. Again, small things that I just think would just be appreciated by your hosts.

--Please take the time to make sure your links are active. In Word, all that requires is hitting the space bar at the end of the line. Word will take care of the rest.

--Amazon links: find and use the short link to your book. Long links are messy and Amazon’s are HUGE, often three lines in length.

How do you do this? Go to your book’s page, then look on the right side of the page, just under where you click to buy it. There are “share” buttons, one of which is an envelope, to email your book’s page to someone. Click on the envelope and a box will pop up with the short link within. Just copy and paste.

--If you have to use long links (Barnes and Noble doesn’t have short links), set up a hyperlink. That’s a link contained within one or two words. It looks like this: Her Knight in Black Leather

How to do this in Word: Type the word you want viewed (like the title of your book). Then highlight those words. Right click. In the menu that pops up, select “hyperlink,” then paste your URL into the box that pops up. Click okay.

This creates a simple link that transfers to things like blogs.

--Excerpts. Please please please take out the formatting. Blogger won’t accept it. It screws up my post, sends the whole rest of the post wonky and makes inserting pics very difficult. I have to go through, line by line, and reformat your excerpt or the HTML sends your words screaming across the page. Please help your blog friends out by reformatting them. Instead, format it the way you see this page: no line indents. Instead, skip a line between paragraphs.

Also, if you’re including a lot in your post, I personally think it’s best to keep your excerpts short. Not everybody will read a long post. As a short attention span kind of person, long posts get skimmed. If an excerpt is short, though, I often take the time to read it.

--Visit on the day you have scheduled. I don’t get a lot of comments. I’ve noticed a distinct lack of participation lately. It’s also hard that I often don’t know enough about the books I’m posting to do a chat of my own. Not that I’m a chatty persona. And I’ll be honest. I don’t know if I’m doing something different, or flat out wrong. So, if you’ve been to my site and you have a suggestion, I’m all ears. In fact, please don’t hesitate. BUT…I also notice a distinct lack of participation on the parts of the authors I’m hosting a lot of the time. I’ve noticed that authors who took the time to chat…got the most responses. I’m bad at this myself. I’m not a talker, and I honestly don’t know what to say to people. Some people are just better at it. So, I’m talking to myself here as well. But it’s something I’ve noticed I thought I’d pass along. Though, most authors I know make the effort, and I can tell you, from a host point of view, it’s appreciated. :)

On your websites—don’t clutter them. Keep them simple and easy to access. Don’t clutter the page with all these things you want people to look at right up front. And don’t get fancy with page heading names. I’ve seen some sites with people trying to get cute and I can’t find out where their books are, so guess what I do? I X out the page and don’t bother. Keep the page headings simple (“About the Author”, “Books” or “Bookshelf,” etc).

These are really small things. It takes you a minute or two to do most of them, but can mean the world to the people you’re trying to connect to. Like I said, I’m not complaining. These are just things I’ve noticed that I thought I’d pass along. I know for me, it would often mean the difference between whether or not I make the effort to connect. So, keep it simple and make it easy for people to connect. J

Hope this is helpful. And please, whether you’re a reader or a writer, if you have anymore, feel free to leave a comment! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Favorite Hero with Katherine Grey

Hey guys! For Favorite Hero Friday, it's my pleasure to have fellow Wild Rose Press author, Katherine Grey! Welcome Katherine!



To pick only one favorite hero to write about when there are so many that I've met and enjoyed their stories was more difficult than I expected it to be. I actually started this post three different times, writing about three different heroes whom I consider a favorite.

In the end, I decided to write about one of my favorite heroes outside the Romance genre. He is Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I first read this novel as a school assigned reading project when I was 16 years old. To me, Atticus stood out among all of the other characters in the book. He took on the defense of a black man at a time when white men wouldn't (during the depression in Southern Alabama). He took the case and defended Tom Robinson despite threats to both himself and his family. And he did it, not for notoriety or for money, but because he believed in Tom's innocence and because it was the right thing to do. He stood up for what he believed in, what he felt was right and just rather than go along with everyone else in the town. To an impressionable teenager, that had quite an impact and helped me withstand peer pressure to do something I knew wasn't right. To Kill a Mockingbird became one of my all time favorite books that I go back and reread on occasion and I believe it's because of the character of Atticus Finch.

The funny thing about this post is that I also had a hard time picking one of the heroes of my own novels to write about. In the end, I chose Lazarus also known as William Prescott from An Unexpected Gift. Lazarus leads a group of thieves and cutthroats, but he too stands up for what he believes is right. He metes out his own brand of justice to those who abuse the helpless and the weak, not caring if the perpetrator is a member of the aristocracy or not. He looks out for women, caring for and protecting them when necessary at a time (Regency England) when women were viewed as property or something to take advantage of. Lazarus is loyal to a fault and will put his own life in danger to save those he considers family. He suffered a terrible childhood, but didn't let it keep him from attaining what he wanted in life, though it did shape him into the man he became.

Blurb:

Known only as Lazarus to the band of cutthroats and thieves he leads, William Prescott will do anything to find his missing sister, even blackmail a fragile young woman into helping him. But he never plans to fall in love with this mysterious woman with a troubled past.

Haunted by the memories of war, Olivia St. Germaine wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But when her brother, a doctor, suddenly leaves town without a word, she is forced to use her medical knowledge to help an injured man who puts her life in danger. Can she keep herself safe as she tends Lazarus, or is her heart more vulnerable than she realizes?

You can purchase a copy of An Unexpected Gift at any of the links below.