Saturday, January 30, 2016

Win It before You Can Buy It! Rhythm and Blue #Giveaway #MM #gayrom


Rhythm and Blue releases in less than a week! Are you excited? I know I am.

To celebrate the arrival of the second book in the Blue Series, I'm giving away 5 copies and you could win one of them!



What's a little treachery among friends?



Blurb

Blue's career is gaining speed, shaking up his almost quiet life. The unexpected success brings international recognition and sparks jealousy in a once trusted friend, shifting the precarious balance of ego and amity.

The increasing demands of Blue’s schedule prompt Brady to make changes of his own, trading the comfort of his obsessive routine for something less predictable.

Blue needs stability. Brady needs time to adjust. Can they pull it together before success creates more casualties?

Don’t miss the gripping sequel to the best-selling novel Blue!






Excerpt

Blue woke to classical music on Brady's clock radio. The music stopped. The bedside lamp snapped on, and he rolled to his stomach to hug his pillow. He smiled when Brady kissed his shoulder, and drifted in the space where dreams and reality blended, waiting for the sound of the shower.

The normal routine had Brady clean and dressed for work before Blue got out of bed. He had nowhere to be at three-thirty in the morning. He could lounge under the covers until something as important as a craving for coffee or a full bladder lured him into the day, living the life of a largely kept man.

He didn't know how much Brady made a year or what he had in the bank. He didn't think he had the right to ask those questions. He only knew Brady was good at spoiling him. 
He drifted near sleep before the smell of coffee coaxed his eyes open. Brady stood by the bed with a breakfast tray and a smile.

"What's this?" He pushed up on one elbow.

"I thought I'd bring you breakfast in bed." Brady set the tray on the nightstand.

Blue plucked the steaming mug from its place near a plate of sourdough toast with a generous dollop of Mary’s homemade strawberry jam.

"You thought you'd bring me breakfast in bed because...?" He sat up and took a sip of coffee, eyes on Brady.

"No reason."

Blue watched him over the top of his mug, waiting for the truth. Brady was romantic and lived for random surprises over nothing. However, his favorite bread, favorite jam, and coffee at four o'clock on a random morning felt too much like buttering him up.

"Except?" he prodded.

"I'll tell you that part later. Enjoy your breakfast."

He raised his chin to accept the offered kiss and tracked Brady when he strode back out of the room. He took a bite of toast and tried to guess Brady's news while he chewed. There were too many possibilities. He put down his half-eaten toast, tossed back the blankets, and crawled out of bed. 

It was chilly without covers to warm him and he stepped into the closet to pull on one of Brady's rarely worn sweatshirts and a pair of jeans. He padded barefoot down the hall to Brady's office.

"I think I want to hear whatever unpleasant thing you're trying to break to me in phases," he said.





Enter to win a free copy!


a Rafflecopter giveaway









Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Social Media for Introvert Authors #marketing #authorprobs


I'm over at BTS Book Reviews today talking about how introverts can enjoy social media. 
No, seriously.
See, when I first dreamed of becoming an author, I aspired to be Thomas Pynchon. I could sit in my office, churn out stories, and let my publisher handle the public relations. I might occasionally go on a book tour after a new release, but day-to-day interaction with readers would only happen through the mail.
I know several authors who had the same vision and would gladly hand over all royalties from their latest book to anyone with a time machine that could transport them back thirty years to the era of the recluse author.
It’s always sad when a dream dies, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, the 21st Century demands the opposite of new authors. Social media is mandatory. If you’re one of those people who loathes the superficial drama and has no skill for dealing with strangers, check out my blog post, over on BTS Book Reviews for alternatives that can help you keep your sanity.




COMING SOON
What's a little treachery among friends?



Sunday, January 10, 2016

6 Secrets Every New Author Should Know. #writerprobs #publishing


January is here!

With it comes a chance to make 2016 your year. For many authors, that means finishing the manuscript you've fiddled with for months (years?) and submitting it to publishers.

If you're one of them this blog post is for you.







The publishing world holds numerous secrets unpublished authors seldom hear. The pressure. The marketing demands. The steadily-growing competition. How the wrong publisher can kill your career before it starts.

I know several people who learned that last one the hard way. The problem is until you begin associating with published authors you seldom hear any of these necessary bits. So I'm going to give you a few things to keep in mind before you dive into your new career.






1. Don't choose publishers by their genre representation alone. That's antiquated advice that doesn't apply in the current market. There is no governing body in the publishing industry. Anyone can set up shop as a publisher regardless of their experience just as anyone can self-publish a novel. If you don't know what to look for, you could sign with an imprint that lacks the ability to sell your book.

For example, in one of the romance sub-genres, a group of beta readers created a publishing company without any formal training in editing, cover design, marketing, or even business management. How would a new author know this company offering them a contract was a bunch of average readers posing as experts? 

They wouldn't.

The lesson here is always do your research! Even notorious publishers will have a stable of authors who write the same stories you do. That doesn't make them reputable or worthy of the manuscript you worked so hard to finish. Before you sign, make sure you can answer these questions:   
  • How do their covers look? 
  • Are their books well edited and well written? 
  • How many of their authors have reached NYT Best Seller status or won national awards?

If the answer is bad covers, lazy writing, and a lack of notable success, keep walking. That combination is a clear sign of a short-sighted publisher. If they're not working to build a solid reputation for their own imprint, they won't care about building one for you as their author. 


2. It's okay to change publishers.  Don't be afraid to submit to a different publisher mid-career. You're not in this to further the reputation of an imprint. You're in this to build your career, and if a publisher isn't working for you, it's okay to find one that's a better fit. No one will think any less of you.  


3. Be realistic. Contracts don't guarantee sales. Publishers have a limited marketing budget, even more so these days with fewer authors submitting manuscripts (making publishers less money in turn). Even with a contract, you will still have to do 100% of the marketing yourself. Anyone who tells you differently is probably selling a DIY book promising short cuts. 

There aren't any.

Be prepared because promotion will take at least as many hours as your writing. Unfortunately, it's not optional. If you don't want to promote your book, don't expect it to sell. In today's market, Amazon releases over 200 new titles every week. You have to compete with that deluge, and few readers will find you by accident.


Side note: NEVER NEVER NEVER reach out to another author and ask them to read or promote your book unless you know them personally. They don't owe you that courtesy and asking is extremely rude. When you wade into the center of the publishing pool you'll understand how outlandish that request is. Between marketing, writing, and editing, few authors have time to read for fun, let alone to do you the favor of spending precious hours reviewing your novel when they could be working on their own. 


4. Yes, you need a social media presence. You're at least a decade too late for the era of the reclusive author. An established social media network is vital to your marketing effort and can also help you land that first contract. Smart authors begin building one before they're ready to publish.





5. Be aware of the rules. You probably know publishers have rules about not contracting a manuscript that has been published somewhere else. Did you know posting chapters online is considered publishing? 

It used to be common practice for aspiring and newbie authors to post rough chapters online as a teaser before the book was officially published. Many of them learned too late that doing so means no one will contract the manuscript. Unless they are merely excerpts and represent a tiny percentage of the whole, most publishers won't put out a book people have already read for free. There's no money in it, and profit is the law of publishing. 

If it won't sell, they don't want it.


6. Your writing career does not get easier after the first contract. If you hate editing, can't take criticism, and loathe books about the writing craft, publishing is not for you. Every book you write (that isn't part of a series) will follow the same path as the first one. You have to submit it and hope the publisher offers a contract. If your first book didn't sell, they're not likely to take a chance on a second.

This is the point where your consuming hobby becomes a job and you learn the stark difference between the fanfiction world and writing as a professional author. They're nothing alike. The expectations out here are greater, the expenses larger, and the criticism harsher. Once you cross that line, you lose the ability to write only when the mood strikes and with only as much energy as you want to give it. Careers are built on consistent, determined effort to create an author platform. 

Publishing, whether traditional or Indie, is a long-term commitment that doesn't payoff for a majority of authors until they have well over a dozen titles on the shelf and several years of relentless effort behind them. The smaller your sub-genre, the longer it will take to reach a point of supporting yourself with your writing.



photo credit: via photopin (license)



WTF, man? I'm not telling you this to discourage you from publishing. If that's your dream, then welcome to the community! There's always room for another dedicated author, but knowing what's ahead can spare you the discouragement and depression of realizing that for the first several years, publishing pays in bragging rights rather than cash.

Yes, Tami Hoag and Stephen King rocketed to stardom with their first book. That was a different era. If you think 50 Shades was one of those 'overnight success' stories, you should research the author's aggressive marketing strategy. She started long before the book went to print. 

So take your vitamins. Organize your writing space. Start planning your schedule and we'll see you at your first book signing!








Coming Soon!
What's a little treachery among friends?
Book 2 of the Blue Series





Thursday, January 7, 2016

Calling All LGBT Authors: Sign up for the VDay Blog Hop!


Don't miss your chance to join the 2016 LGBT Valentine's Day blog hop!






Dates: February 12 - February 15, 2016
Sign up deadline: February 6, 2016
Grand prize: $30 gift card
Other prizes
ebooks donated by participating authors

If you want to do your own blog post, any topic related to Valentine's Day is acceptable. If you're short on time, HTML for a generic post will be provided for a 'plug-and-play' post.

If you want to join the hop, click on the link below to sign up. More 
participants mean more exposure to readers so feel free to forward this email to anyone you think might like to join.

Book bloggers are welcome with no ebook donation required.













What's a little treachery among friends?
AVAILABLE 2/5/16



Monday, January 4, 2016

COVER REVEAL: Rhythm and Blue #gayrom #MM


I've been sitting on this new pretty for weeks and am thrilled to finally be able to share it!


Cover design by AJ Corza



AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE FEBRUARY 2016




What’s a little treachery among friends?

As Blue's career gains speed, Brady finds it harder to keep up with its demands. Pulled between loyalty to his job and loyalty to Blue, he struggles to balance them without destroying his relationship.

Meanwhile, Blue’s unexpected success earns him international recognition and costs more than he expected. When jealousy turns a trusted friend against him, Blue learns the price of fame and the precarious balance of ego and amity.

Can he repair the damage or will friendship be the first casualty of his success?


Don’t miss the gripping sequel to the best-selling novel Blue





Excerpt:

Blue woke to classical music on Brady's clock radio. The music stopped. The bedside lamp snapped on, and he rolled to his stomach to hug his pillow. He smiled when Brady kissed his shoulder and drifted in the space where dreams and reality blended, waiting for the sound of the shower.

The normal routine had Brady clean and dressed for work before Blue got out of bed. He had nowhere to be at three-thirty in the morning. He could lounge under the covers until something as important as a craving for coffee or a full bladder lured him into the day, living the life of a largely kept man.

He didn't know how much Brady made a year or what he had in the bank. He didn't think he had the right to ask those questions. He only knew Brady was good at spoiling him. 

He drifted near sleep before the smell of coffee coaxed his eyes open. Brady stood by the bed with a breakfast tray and a smile.

"What's this?" He pushed up on one elbow.

"I thought I'd bring you breakfast in bed." Brady set the tray on the nightstand.

Blue plucked the steaming mug from its place near a plate of sourdough toast with a generous dollop of Mary’s homemade strawberry jam.

"You thought you'd bring me breakfast in bed because...?" He sat up and took a sip of coffee, eyes on Brady.

"No reason."

Blue watched him over the top of his mug, waiting for the truth. Brady was romantic and lived for random surprises over nothing. However, his favorite bread, favorite jam, and coffee at four o'clock on a random morning felt too much like buttering him up.

"Except?" he prodded.

"I'll tell you that part later. Enjoy your breakfast."

He raised his chin to accept the offered kiss and tracked Brady when he strode back out of the room. He took a bite of toast and tried to guess Brady's news while he chewed. There were too many possibilities. He put down his half-eaten toast, tossed back the blankets, and crawled out of bed. 

It was chilly without covers to warm him and he stepped into the closet to pull on one of Brady's rarely worn sweatshirts and a pair of jeans. He padded barefoot down the hall to Brady's office.

"I think I want to hear whatever disappointing thing you're trying to break to me in phases," he said.








Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sick of Resolutions? Try a New Year's Adage! #writing #inspiration


I don't know about you guys but for me, New Year's resolutions lost their appeal years ago. I never made small goals. I picked the big, life changing ones.


Get out of debt.
Find a new job with a better boss.
Run a marathon.

The problem was life never followed my plans, and I got sick of the sense of failure.






This year, I'm trying something new: a saying instead of a goal.

Doing research for my last release, Blue, gave me the opportunity to strengthen a few connections in the music industry. Aside from learning more about creating music, I learned songwriters and novelists have a lot in common. They both face the challenge of getting their work noticed among a sea of submissions, and they're both prone to anxiety over the masterpieces they create.

Sound familiar? 

I don't know about you guys, but with every book I worry I'm fooling myself when I think it's worth publishing. It turns out songwriters have the same fear.


photo credit: Reeboks via photopin (license)



Several months ago, a group of us were sitting around discussing our common woes and someone tossed out a comment that has become my adage for 2016.



"All creative people worry their stuff is garbage. It's as much a part of being an artist as wondering how the hell some hack's obvious piece of crap made it to the top of the charts."


In other words, it's okay to worry. Fear is a crucial part of the creative process that will push you to work harder. Let it do its job and then put it aside. Some people will love your work. Some will hate it. That's the way it goes. If you're afraid of the public's reaction, congratulations. It means you're a true artist with a passion for your work. 

The only time you need to let fear slow you down is if you start using the 'hack's obvious piece of crap' as an excuse to publish things you know aren't as good as they could be. If 'good enough' ever creeps into your editing process you should probably pay more attention to the fear.








One ultimatum cost him everything.
AVAILABLE NOW