Thursday, July 20, 2017

Marketing - Is It or Isn't It?

A few years ago I attended a workshop at RWA with author, Bob Mayer. One of the things he said was if you’re self-publishing don’t even think about marketing until you have at least three books published, four or five, even better.
I thought this made sense and marketing scared me. (It still does) So I kept writing and publishing books. Life threw a few curves and I didn’t publish the books quite as quickly as I had planned. Last year I planned on marketing but with selling and moving, twice it didn’t get off the ground. This year I’m beginning to market, and researching the best ways to market. 

It occurred to me that maybe I have been marketing. When we finish writing a book and write the blurb – is that marketing? We get a great cover – is that marketing? What about choosing the metadata? We join Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Triberr. We get a blog. We post the book on our blog, or website if we have one. We may send a post to a few loops we’re on that we have a new book, or post it on our facebook page.  Are we marketing?  
Does marketing have to be active like taking out ads and doing blog tours, etc. or can it be the simple things we do when we self-publish. I didn’t consider what I did, marketing. But I’m rethinking it. What about you, what do you think marketing involves?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Going to Conference

I’m getting ready to head off to Orlando, Florida for the Romance Writers of America (RWA) National conference.  Anyone else still a member of RWA?
One of the reasons I continue to be an RWA member is because of my online chapter, Kiss of Death. I can’t be a member if I’m not part of RWA. Also, RWA does provide some good workshops for writers and Indie authors at t he National conference. I’ll talk about those later.

Kiss of Death (KOD) has its own event preceding the National conference. This year our speaker is a former member of the elite US Air Force Combat Search and Rescue team and a pararescue jumper, Jarrod Honrada.  Other special forces call the pararescue jumper to rescue them. He excels at bringing in the personal and character building side of our heroes and will give us great insight into what makes a Special Forces soldier special. We have him for the morning and it will be a lot of questions and answers.
And in the afternoon the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will be sending a forensics analyst and a Special Agent to talk about DNA, Chemistry, Crime Scenes, Digital Evidence, Firearms, Latent prints, Toxology, and Trace Evidence.  And we’re also having a certified Ethical Hacker talk to us. You have to admit, it sounds like a fascinating and information packed day.
I’m hoping to take good notes and I’ll try and pass on a little of the information to you next week. I’d love to hear your thoughts and maybe some questions about the speakers.

And I'll be talking more about the RWA courses later.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Daryl Devore Discusses Settings

This week we’re going to find out a little about author Daryl Devore. July’s theme is ‘Settings’ so Daryl will be talking about settings. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Daryl Devore (@daryldevore) lives in an old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, a large salt water aquarium full of fish, a black cat named Licorice and some house ghosts. Her daughter is grown and has flown the nest. Daryl loves to take long walks on her quiet country road or snowshoe across the back acres, and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She has touched a moon rock, a mammoth, and a meteorite. She’s been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flown high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life’s an adventure and Daryl’s having fun living it.

Beverley: How important are settings to a story?
Daryl: To me – settings are very important – just under characters. Think of the difference between -
A dark, January evening, snow falling, wind howling and a lonely farmhouse with a light shining from one window.
A billionaire's super yacht sailing on the Caribbean with the sun shining, music blaring and bikini clad women dancing on the deck.
Both of those settings could have a similar plot line running through – a budding romance or sinister murder mystery, but there is a different feel to each and the story would reflect that.
Beverley: When you think of settings what do you think of? (locales, houses, rooms, weather)
Daryl: I'd say locale is the first thing I think about. In book 1 of the Two Hearts One Love trilogy – What Happens in Bangkok - I set it in Bangkok, Thailand. I used the exoticness of that locale – the people, the names and the food.
Beverley: Do settings contribute to the mood of the story? (romance/ conflict/tension) If yes – how?
Daryl: Yes. Definitely. Some settings seem to ooze romance (a Caribbean beach at sunset), others instill fear (a post-apocalyptic prison). My guess is because we all have an impression of what it should be like and we put that impression onto the scene. In the horrors of a post-apocalyptic prison, a passionate romance can still be written, but it'd be a challenge to overcome the feeling of the setting.
Beverley: Do you have any examples of the great use of settings in books you’ve read?
Daryl: Part of the reason I love Agatha Christie mysteries is when I read them I settle into that era. The mansions, the clothes, the dialect; all of it wraps you into the book.
Beverley: How do you use settings in your books? Or do you?
Daryl: I love changing the settings of each of my stories. I like taking my readers on a world tour. In my first books, I used contemporary New York City, Chicago, Miami, Indonesia, Alaska, Detroit and then shifted to medieval England.
In this trilogy, the reader is taken to Bangkok, Thailand, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, Goa, India, Paris, France and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Beverley: Can you share an example from one of your books?
Daryl: The crowded plaza was filled with people milling about, johns talking to prostitutes, food vendors hawking their meals, booths where you could buy knock-off anything, and people holding large drinking cups, begging for money. A mother holding a baby stuck the cup out, holding it in front of a group of men. They walked around her. A young boy, Darien guessed he was about three, dressed in a Spiderman shirt and dirty green shorts, held out a cup and danced. People walked around him, ignoring him. A rotund businessman bumped into the child, knocking him down. The man did not stop or even acknowledge the existence of the little beggar. Darien gripped Erika's hand and pulled her toward the boy. Before he got there, the child popped up onto his feet and continued to beg.
The boy grinned, pointing at Erika. "Pre-e lae-e."
Darien looked at Erika. "Yes, she is a pre-e lae-e." He reached into his wallet and pulled out a small bill and dropped it into the boy's cup.
The boy tilted the cup, peered inside, then grinned. "Korb kun krup."
Darien nodded. "Mai bpen rai."
Erika leaned closer. "You speak Thai?"
"Just enough to get around."
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Daryl: Writing towards being published – 5 or 6 yrs – I think.
Beverley: What genre do you write in and why?
Daryl: There is an evolution going on in what genre I write. I have 2 pen names. This one, Daryl Devoré, is an erotic romance writer – except that's not what I am any more. People often confuse erotic with fetish or alternate lifestyle and that's not what I write about. I write super-hot romances where the sex scenes are detailed, but not pornographic. My other pen name, Victoria Adams, writes sweet contemporary and NA contemporary romances.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Daryl: Nobody. I've been writing since I was little. My stories got longer as I got older. The benefit of being an only child – there is the time and the silence to let creativity flow.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Daryl: Nothing. I sat down and started typing. Honestly, it was a simple as that.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Daryl: No idea. I think my muse sits around somewhere in the back of my head and then decides it's time to write. For What happens in Bangkok, I was in the car, riding down to NC to visit my daughter. I picked up my laptop and wrote 3 chapters of a book that I didn't even know I was going to write and that book morphed into a trilogy. It actually tried to be 4 books, but I put my foot down.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Daryl: My self-confidence taking a dip. It can do that at the drop of a hat and it takes a bit for me to get it back. What causes my self-confidence to dip – oh, just about anything. But mainly, edits. I feel like an idiot after I get them. My pride really gets up and in my head I "fight" with the editor on every suggestion. And an unfair review can crush me for a while. I take a lot of yoga to help me get past the muse blocks. There is a yoga saying – get rid of whatever doesn't serve you. An unfair review doesn't serve me, so I meditate on making the irritation of it dispel into the ether.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Daryl: It changes every day. I could make pancakes tomorrow then have yogurt and granola the next day.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Daryl: It changes every day. I could make pancakes tomorrow then have yogurt and granola the next day.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Daryl: In a chair – laptop on lap – by a window overlooking the side fields.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Daryl: Road Runner. No idea why. I just find him hilarious. Beep. Beep.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Daryl: Queen Elizabeth. I'd loved to get her to sit back, take her crown off, put her feet up, hand her a beer and then just chat. I'd ask her all sorts of things like – have you ever had take-out pizza? And then I'd order one.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Daryl: Winter – snuggle down with a good book, next to the woodstove. Summer – go putz around in my garden. It's one of my happy places.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Daryl: The edits of book 3 in the trilogy arrived the other day. Notice I am writing this interview and not working on edits. They really do throw me for a loop. Also, I have a Christmas short that is at the publishers and am waiting on those edits any day now. I expect both of those books to be released in December.
If I do get down to writing there is an erotic medieval fantasy – dragon included - that needs to get finished. And a time travel romance that needs rewriting. I went a bit off course and it needs to be reined back in.
Two Hearts ~ One Love Trilogy

Blurb - Book 1 – What Happens in Bangkok
To save Darien's life his brother asks, "Can you walk in high heels?"
Erika Bailey, owner/manager of a drag queen club in Bangkok, Thailand has happily settled into all aspects of her new life, except for her lack of a love life. When a new diva auditions, Erika is bewildered over her instant attraction to the blond God, Apollo.
Darien Scott is on vacation after a world tour and mistakenly figures the safest place to be is at The Black Dragon with the head of a Triad. When the club is hit, Darien is the only person to get out alive. Now   he's running from the police and a Triad. Mistake number 1.
Disguised as a drag queen, he's hired by Erika, but falls hard for his new boss, then struggles with not coming clean with her. Mistake number 2.
Can he fix his mistakes and find a life filled with love or is he headed straight for mistake number 3?

Blurb - Book 2 – Darien's Desire You loved What Happens in Bangkok and want to know what happens next….
It's complicated is not only her relationship status, but the definition of Erika Bailey's life. She loves managing her drag queen club in Bangkok, Thailand, but her rock star boyfriend resides in North Carolina. And to top it off, her father threatens she must stay away from Darien or lose the Pink Flamingo. Does she protect her club or her love?
Darien Scott, Grammy award winning international superstar, wants nothing more than to wake up in the arms of Erika, the woman he loves, but contractual obligations force him to exotic video shoots and an isolated movie set with one of Hollywood's sexiest stars.
With the feeding frenzy of social media trending every aspect of Darien's life—real or not—it's hard for Erika to know the truth. Will she be able to see through the lies and trust Darien? Or will evidence from damaging Internet rumors condemn their relationship? 

Blurb - Book 3 – Title not released yet.
Concerned for his fiancée, Erika Bailey’s safety, rock star Darien Scott races to Bangkok to protect her, only to discover his brother is missing. Fearing the worse, he contacts his nemesis, Gan, and makes a repulsive deal that will free his brother and protect Erika’s club, The Pink Flamingo. Or so he thought. When a python and Gan are involved, things go sour, and Darien sinks into a deep depression.
Erika is disheartened by the betrayal of her parents. Her father's destruction of her club, and the humiliation of her mother’s drunken behavior have her feeling down, but those are the least of her worries. She has a wedding to plan, but won’t. Having been betrayed too often, she’s scared to trust Darien.
How can Erika prove to herself and Darien that she loves and trusts him? Simple. All she has to do is jump out of a plane.

Excerpt from What Happens in Bangkok

He pointed at the food vendors. "Do you want to get a snack before we hit the club?"
   Erika glanced at the various booths. "Which one? The smells from each are just mouth-watering."
   "Easy choice. That one." Darien pointed. "The lady's wearing purple. You love purple, so we get food from there."
   An elderly lady, wearing a purple silk Thai dress, smiled a toothless grin. With broken Thai, he ordered. Turning to Erika, he pointed at the row of soda cans. "Drink?"
   "Diet Coke, please."
   The lady scooped sticky rice into two takeout containers, then sliced pieces of roast meat, from the chicken hanging by the side of the booth. The pieces dropped onto the containers of rice. She pointed at the sauces. Darien nodded and she plopped a few Thai chilies and ginger on the top of the chicken. Erika pulled out her wallet.
   Darien placed his hand on her arm. "No, I get to pay for something. This I can afford. Seats three rows from the front at the National Theatre, not so much. Chicken and rice from a food vendor, I got this." He handed over a few bahts, refused the change, and accepted the containers, chopsticks and drinks. "Korb kun ka."
   The elderly lady smiled and bowed.
   Darien held out one of the containers. "Want to find a spot to sit or wander around the plaza?"
   "Let's play tourist. Check out the souvenirs. See the sights."
   "Wow, you really have been locked in the club for too long. See this." He waved his chopsticks in the air. "This is the outside world. It's very large. Some of it's ugly, but a lot is nice. Like this chicken." He shoveled some into his mouth.
   Savoring the food, neither spoke as they walked among the booths. One would stop, point at something and laugh, then move on. They paused by a busker on a unicycle juggling flaming batons.
   Erika leaned close. He caught the scent of her perfume above the smells of the food and crowd.

Buy Links:
eXtasy Books
Amazon - Paperback
Amazon Canada
Book Strand
Barnes and Noble

You can find Daryl at:

Facebook -
Twitter -
Google+ -
GoodReads Author Page -
Amazon Author Page -
LinkedIn -
Pinterest -

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and more discussion of settings.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Blogging on Marketing Tips

The topic for this month is marketing. I’d love to hear from all of you, your thoughts on marketing.

I can’t speak to those published by traditional publishers but my understanding is that you need to do most of your own marketing.
I’ve attended several workshops and the general message I got was don’t worry about marketing was if you only have one book published, don’t worry about marketing. Write the next book and the next. Then with at least three published books, consider marketing. I followed this advice, but partly because I didn’t want to do any marketing. J

The next point about marketing – establish a budget. How much can you afford to spend?

Blog tours that you do yourself are free – except for the books you might give away.

Facebook parties are again free.  Many loops you may be a member of, have free promos for the member’s books.

Newsletters are one of the best ways to promote your book.  And if you can get a street team, that’s relatively free. You can give them small gifts to help promote your books.

You can buy ads on Facebook and Twitter. BTSeMag has a full page premium ad in their online magazine, which is quite well done, for $70. There is a charge to design the ad, but it also is reasonable and you can have as much input as needed to finalize. Fiverr Bookbub (which is great but can be a challenge to get one)

Check back on Thursday for more information on marketing.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Website and Photo Reveal

I hope everyone had a great holiday, be it the 150 Canadian birthday or the American July 4th.
My website is finished. I think it’s a little over the top for me, but they did a good job. Now I have to figure out how to use it. I’m so not techie.
And my new photo is up, as you can see.                                                                                                                        I’m not a person who likes being photographed and I have dragged my feet on both getting the new website, and getting a new photograph taken, for many years. The older you get the less you want your picture taken. The photographer did a great job with touch-up. And I’ve had the same webmaster for many years and loved working with him. I’ve already posted about this last week.  
Now I’m dragging my feet about letting people know the website is live and my photo is posted. You can check the website at
I’d love to hear any comments on the website – positive and negative, ease of navigation, whatever.  I can always get them to make changes.

Monday, July 3, 2017

It's a Big Holiday Weekend

This weekend, sort of, we have two big holidays.
Saturday was Canada Day. And it was our 150th Birthday. So Happy Birthday Canada.
We celebrated across the country, big cities and small and most involved fireworks. And speeches from our political leaders. I think we're a little more subdued than our US neighbors. Canadian, eh?

Tuesday is the American July 4th Day. It also involves fireworks, and lots of speeches, but also big bands and lots more spectacular events. Happy July 4th!

Where ever you are - Have a wonderful day holiday.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Special Guest Author

Our special international guest author today is AnneMarie Brear. Australian born AnneMarie  Brear writes historical novels and modern romances. Her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, dragging her poor husband around historical sites, buying books and gardening. She is currently living in England.

Here a blurb from her latest book, Where Rainbows End.

“I’m not a man, but that won’t stop me. Just you wait and see.”

It’s 1850 and the Noble family have arrived in Australia to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Headstrong Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plans for a successful stud farm a reality.
Pippa is immediately spellbound by the untamed outback landscape, although she learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush – sometimes with devastating consequences. When circumstance leads to Pippa tending the new farm alone, it is the steadfast friendship of neighbouring country estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.
Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land and make her mark, even if it means losing everything else …

Excerpt from Where Rainbows End:

Pippa rode until she coughed and her eyes smarted. The roar of the fire drowned all other sound. Smokey baulked at every movement as his terror mounted.

Pippa called for her father again and again. She waited for a few minutes, willing him to burst through the dense smoke. When it became so thick she couldn’t breathe, she wheeled Smokey back the way they’d come. With every yard they took, her sense of unease grew. Then she saw it. A torn scrap of material caught on a branch. Wrenching it free, she studied it. It was the same brown colour as her father’s tweed jacket.

Scrambling off Smokey, Pippa screamed for her father to answer her. She ran into the scrub, stumbling in haste, pulling Smokey by the reins behind her. The horse, frightened, pulled back, throwing up his head and trying to pull the reins free from her grasp. ‘No, no! Smokey. Calm down!’ But the horse half reared, snatching the reins from her hands and once free bolted away.

Distraught at losing the horse, she turned in a circle, looking through the white gloom. ‘Father! Can you hear me? Where are you?’

She darted to the right, peering around large boulders and tree trunks before running to the left where the ground steeply sloped away. She skidded down a few yards, searching the landscape for any sign of him. Her foot dislodged a rock and she tripped, landing on her knees.

‘Father!’ For a moment she knelt on the ground, exhausted. Despair waited to claim her, but she refused to give up. With a frustrated sigh, she stood and wearily wiped a hand over her eyes. Where was he?

A flock of white cockatoos screeched above the trees. The sound of what seemed like thunder came again. Abruptly, a kangaroo bounded down the slope, nearly crashing into her before it jumped to the right and away. Then another came thumping over the top and down beside her, and then another. It hadn’t been thunder at all, but hundreds of kangaroos fleeing. An opossum scuttled by, followed by a large fat wombat and smaller kangaroos and wallabies. Lizards of varying sizes and the odd snake slithered past and Pippa stared in fear as a huge goanna charged its way over a boulder and skimmed past her skirts.

Pippa stared at the exodus of animals and birds all headed east. From the west she heard the splintering of wood, followed by a loud whooshing sound. The fine hair on the back of her neck rose.

The fire was close.
Rushing back to the track, she caught her skirts on a bush and paused to unhook them. The snap and crackle grew louder. Straightening, she tore her skirts free and reached the top only to stop and stare at the small circle of orange flames licking the dry grass a few feet from her. Ash and embers floated in the air like snow; where they landed, they started spot fires.

She looked for Smokey, only he had gone. Fear closed her throat.

Lifting her skirts high, she ran down the track, heading for the entrance down into the valley. Thick smoke blanketed the countryside and crept into her lungs, slowing her down and making her cough. The roar of the fire urged her to keep going. A stiff, hot wind thrashed at the treetops, swirling the ash and embers about her head. The air seemed sucked dry and, apart from the crackle of flames, the bush was eerily quiet.

Pippa ran, the sound of her laboured breathing noisy in her ears. Her eyes smarted and streamed, while her lungs felt as though every breath would be her last. She tried to ignore the encroaching danger and concentrate on getting into the valley. She had to outrun it.

Buy links:
All Amazon Kindle sites;
Kobo UK:

If you'd like to find out more about AnneMarie or contact her, you can find her at:
Twitter @annemariebrear