Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Writing/Reading Changes

Last week I talked about Writing Changes, focusing mostly on the publishing changes and the effect on writing. Many of the publishers were reluctant to accept the ebook.  Back about 2000, the readers were on small devices like the Rocket and the Palm reader.  They were small and difficult to use. People didn’t understand the concept and the early ebooks were more of a novelty. There weren’t that many available and they were expensive. The marketing wasn’t that good.

Then Amazon brought out the Kindle in 2007, marketed it, and ebooks went wild, which was good for Amazon. Everyone wanted one. Kindles were a big seller and Amazon had a large selection of ebooks, easy to find and purchase. Other book sellers developed and brought out their own e-readers.  Kobo in Canada developed one and bought and sold ebooks. Barnes and Noble developed the Nook but it was originally not available in outside the US.

Since Kindle the ebook market has opened up and continued to grow.  Writers sold to small publishers and moved away from some of the larger publishers.  And then realized they could publish their own books.

Today we have the hybrid author. They publish in both regular publishing and e-publishing.  The options for writers have changed over the years and now writers have multiple options and the freedom to write in mixed and multiple genres. It’s an exciting market. Who knows what’s next?

Where do you think the writing and publishing market is going?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Stacy Juba and Aurora Rose are My Guests

Stacy Juba got engaged at Epcot Theme Park and spent part of her honeymoon at Disneyland Paris, where she ate a burger, went on fast rides, and threw up on the train ride to the hotel. In addition to working on her Storybook Valley chick lit/sweet romance series, Stacy has written books about ice hockey, teen psychics, U.S. flag etiquette for kids, and determined women sleuths. She has had a novel ranked as #5 in the Nook Store and #30 on the Amazon Kindle Paid List. When she’s not visiting theme parks with her family, (avoiding rides that  spin and exotic hamburgers) or writing about them, Stacy helps authors to strengthen their manuscripts through her Crossroads Editing Service.                 
Character Interview
Beverley: What’s your name?
Aurora: Aurora Rose Callahan, but I prefer to be called Rory. My parents named me after Sleeping Beauty, so you can understand why I prefer Rory. . .
Beverley: Where did you grow up?
Aurora: I grew up at the Storybook Valley fairy tale theme park in the Catskills of NY. My family owns the theme park and it was a daily part of my existence. Although I love it, I wanted my own identity and spent a lot of hours in dance studios.
Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?
Aurora: It takes place in present day right around my twenty-fifth birthday.
Beverley: What’s your story/back story?
Aurora: I’m a dance instructor for one of the most competitive dance schools in the region, and come from a quirky family obsessed with fairy tales. I’ve been dancing most of my life.
Beverley: Why would someone come up with a story about you?
Aurora: Let’s see…my grandmother dresses up as Fairy Godmother, my grandfather is obsessed with liberating garden gnomes, and my parents name their kids after fairy tale characters.  I’m one of the only normal Callahans, so maybe that’s why there’s a story about me as I bring some normalcy to the chaos.
Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?
Aurora: I suppose that I have a couple of goals. The first is to figure out my mess of a love life. I’ve been seeing this medical resident who seems perfect for me, but then I met this guy, Kyle, who works for the local zoo. Our grandfathers are arch rivals. Kyle is everything I’m not - confident, easygoing, and spontaneous. My other goal is to figure out my mess of a career. I hate my job as it’s constant pressure and takes the fun out of dance. My boss only cares about winning.
Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?
Aurora: If I go out with Kyle, my family will be upset with me due to the longstanding feud. I don’t even know if a relationship with him could work as we are so different. I also have been thinking about opening my own dance studio, but the idea scares me. What if it fails? I don’t like my current job, but I’m doing well there and it’s safe. Well, maybe not safe for my sanity.
Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?
Aurora: Eventually, but it takes a while! That’s why I’m Sleeping Beauty. I need to wake up and come to my senses.
Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Aurora: If you could use some laughs and are in the mood for a funny and sweet beach read, then I hope you’ll check out Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty. I think you’ll also enjoy reading about my brother Dylan in Fooling Around With Cinderella, though I still have trouble picturing him as a Prince Charming...

Blurb: Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty (Storybook Valley #2):

Dance instructor Rory Callahan, named after Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, likes to play it safe. When she meets Kyle, he’s impulsive, persistent, and her exact opposite. He’s pushing her to tango way past her comfort zone and keeping Rory on her toes more than twenty years of dance teachers ever had.  Kyle wants to change her whole life, but Rory doesn’t like the stakes. After all, perfect princesses are the ones who get the happy endings. . .aren’t they?

Buy Links for Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty

You ca find Stacy at:                                                                                     Website:http://stacyjuba.com/blog/ 

Writing Changes

I did a blog on what started me to write.  (And that was a long time ago). Over the years many things about writing have changed. There used to be maybe seven or eight big New York publishers. Many of those are gone and others have been bought out. Now, we have many small publishers. Most of them are e-publishers or do both.  It’s opened up the market to self-published authors. Is this a good thing?
I think it is. It gives writers a chance to get the book of their heart published. It may not fit in a particular genre, or it covers three of four genres. The large publishers aren’t open to many of these books and some of them are great books. It also gives an author a chance to bring back their backlist, which has been sitting there dormant for years. And it opens up opportunities for editors, copy editors, cover designers and formatters.

The negative is that not everyone who self-publishes puts out a polished book. They write it in a couple of weeks, read it through or have their friend read it through, maybe design their own cover and put it up for sale. Often the readers feel cheated because of poorly developed plot and characters, multiple spelling and grammar mistakes and even poor formatting.

Writers who want to publish a well-written polished book spend the mony on editors, cover designers, formatters and maybe also pay to get a hard copy.  These provide the reader with a good read and meet the promise the writer puts on the back cover.
There have been other changes too – new genres, new book size and new e-readers. What about changes in the basics of writing itself? That’s another blog. Check back for that one.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about the changes in writing and publishing.

Friday, August 17, 2018

What Started You to Write?

I hope everyone is having a good summer. Rhobin has come up with another interesting topic for this month’s group blog. What started you to write?

I look forward to seeing what the other authors have to say and if any of us are similar.
I hope everyone is having a good summer. Rhobin has come up with another interesting topic for this month’s group blog. What started you to write?

I look forward to seeing what the other authors have to say and if any of us are similar. 

What started me to write? I honestly don’t remember. I think maybe I was born with a writing gene in my makeup. When I was four or five I used to make up stories about anything. In my teens I started to write plots. I loved the locked room murders and I would plot how someone could die in a locked room. It was great fun figuring it out. I had a folder filled with story ideas, chapters and plots.

Then I became a nurse, got married, had a family and kept thinking about stories. I’d see something or see a person and start thinking about what their story might be, but I didn’t write that book. No time.

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer and thought maybe someone was trying to give me a wake-up call. I bought my first computer and learned how to use it. I looked at the books I read and decided I’d write a romance. I started to write this lovely romance set in Vancouver, BC and then moved to San Francisco wine country. Somehow I found myself adding details on accidents and murder and mayhem. It turned into a romantic suspense. That book is hidden under the bed, but I kept writing romantic suspense books. Once I got my wake up call to start writing, I can’t stop.

Now I’m going to check out the other members of our group and see what started them to write. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Learn About Kelli Wilkins' and her Writing Process

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.
Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

Kelli’s writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

Her historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past, was published in June of 2018. This full-length Gothic novel is set in the kingdom of Hungary in 1723 and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense.
Look for more romances, horror stories, and an online writing class coming later in 2018.

An Inside Look at… Redemption from a Dark Past
Hi everyone,
Today I’m sharing a look at the making of my latest historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past.

When I sit down to write an historical romance, I never know where (or when) my story will take me. I’ve written romances set in the Old West, the Minnesota wilderness, Colonial Pennsylvania, and Celtic Scotland. Redemption from a Dark Past takes place in another unique locale, the Kingdom of Hungary.
For me, the setting conjures up images of brooding castles perched on treacherous mountaintops, tiny villages, medieval stone cities, vampires, and Prince Vlad. Although the book does not take place in Transylvania specifically, this atypical location appealed to me. It seemed like the perfect place for a Gothic novel filled with secrets, danger, deception, and superstition.

I enjoyed creating the cast of unusual characters and setting the stage for the drama that’s about to unfold. Right from the start, we meet Lord Sebestyen Adrik and learn that he’s a troubled hero who has hidden himself away in his isolated castle. He’s depressed, guilt-ridden, has an unsavory reputation, and is the subject of nasty rumors spread by superstitious villagers.
The heroine, Katarina, is feisty, clever, and anything but superstitious. She dismisses tales of evil spirits and ghosts, and doesn’t have time for old wives’ tales. She’s ambitious and wants to leave her pathetic job on the goat farm for better things. When she learns that she’s about to be forced into marriage to a much older man, she jumps at the chance to be Lord Adrik’s companion—despite all the terrifying stories she has been told. Katarina’s boldness and intelligence make her the perfect person to free Sebestyen from his dark past.

When I set about creating the mysterious Lord Adrik, I wanted to make him a flawed and sympathetic hero. He has two physical ailments (one most romance heroes never have) as well as several psychological scars. And as if they weren’t enough problems, he also has a reputation as a murderer (among other things). At the start of the book, he has just about given up on life and any hope of being happy. By giving Sebestyen all this “baggage” I made him vulnerable and provided him with lofty goals to reach.
As I wrote, I added layers of secrets, built suspense, and created numerous plot twists and turns. Readers follow Katarina’s adventures and are not sure what—or who—to believe. Can Magda the surly, gossiping cook be trusted? How did Lady Adrik die? Is the castle really haunted? What happened to Lord Adrik’s previous companions? Are the rumors about him true? Katarina is left alone with Sebestyen every night, should she fear for her safety? Everyone says she should!

Over the course of the book, Katarina draws Sebestyen out of his shell, and just when she thought she knew him, she uncovers a disturbing secret he’s been hiding from her. Katarina tries to make sense of it all, while following her heart.
Not everyone in this story is exactly what (or who) they seem to be, and this adds another level of mystery and intrigue to the book. Combining all these elements into a sensual, Gothic romance was a lot of fun, and I hope readers will enjoy this trip into “the Dark Lord’s lair.”

Blurb from Redemption From a Dark Past
Lord Sebestyen Adrik has an unsavory reputation as a madman, murderer… and worse. Lonely and searching for love, he seeks the companionship of local young women, hoping one of them will ease his torment and bring him the happiness he longs for. Katarina is his last chance—but will she fear him like all the others? Or is she the one who can lift his curse?

Desperate to avoid a forced marriage, Katarina agrees to become Lord Adrik’s latest companion, despite the rumors she has heard about him. She discovers the “Dark Lord’s” secret past and realizes he’s not the monster everyone thinks he is.
As their love blossoms, she renews his passion for life—yet they cannot escape the ghosts of the past.

When a meeting of the nobility goes horribly wrong, Sebestyen’s world unravels, and his enemies plot to destroy him. As all seems lost, a mysterious stranger arrives at the castle. Sebestyen must decide if he is a friend or a foe…and if he can find redemption in his love for Katarina, or lose her and everything else that he holds dear.
Excerpt from Redemption From a Dark Past
     Sebestyen winced as he propped his right leg on the padded footstool. He had a crackling fire before him, his belly was full, he’d drunk almost an entire bottle of wine, and yet he was not content.

Another girl had arrived. He had another chance to find happiness, but he didn’t dare get his hopes up. She would probably be another sour disappointment like all the others. Each failure drove a dagger deeper into his heart, and yet, he persisted.
But why? Why did he put himself through the pain, the hurt, and the humiliation of buying another companion? Perhaps it would be best if he accepted the fact that he was cursed. He’d never be happy, never know love again.
He watched the flames and sipped his red wine. The rumors about him had spread throughout the countryside. Lukacs was right when he’d told him that the villagers would not allow their daughters to come here, no matter what enticements he offered. He’d almost given up, but then Lukacs had written with the news that Katarina had volunteered to be his companion. Why? Surely she knew the stories about him.
Despite the tales circulating in the villages, he had never harmed any of the young ladies who came to the castle. If anything, he was generous. He bought them new clothes, fed them, and paid them well. He certainly wasn’t a rapist or a drinker of virgin blood as he was portrayed in the stories.
“But am I the monster they say I am?” he wondered aloud.
He stared at a painting on the far wall. Two boys in formal dress, one with light blond wavy hair, the other with black hair, posed with a black and white dog. He raised his glass in a silent toast to Tristan. The portrait was commissioned when he’d been, what? Ten? And Tristan was nearly fifteen. Those were good times, when life was easy.
Now he was all alone, trapped in this miserable castle and forced to suffer with the boring duties he had inherited from his despicable father. It wasn’t fair. He’d had different plans for his life, plans that included travelling, marrying a woman he loved, and being happy. Instead, he sat here every night drinking himself into a stupor, hating his life, hating his very existence.
He closed his eyes and leaned back in the leather chair. Perhaps Katarina could redeem him and lift his curse. If she did, she would earn riches beyond her wildest dreams. If not, he would suffer bitter disappointment yet again. “Why do I even try?” he whispered. “I’m doomed.”
Buy Links for Redemption From a Dark Past
Link to all other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/3R1aYD 

You can contact Kelli at:
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Top Selling Genres

I am editing my latest book, which is a little complex. So how should I list it? It could fall into more than one genre. I decided to check out what are the top selling genres.

The top selling adult genres in order are General Fiction, Romance, and Suspense Thrillers.

According to query Tracker the top ten requested genres by agents are:

1 Young Adult
2 Fantasy
3 Literary Fiction
4 Children's
5 Science Fiction
6 Thrillers/Suspense
7 Middle Grade
8 Romance
9 Historical
10 Women's Fiction

Which Genres Make the Most Money? 
Romance and Erotica are #1 in sales. That figure includes self-published romance as well. According to Bookstr, Crime and Mystery novels come in second, Inspirational and Religious books are third. Fantasy and Science Fiction come in at fourth and Horror fifth.
I gathered this information at https://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2017/11/what-are-most-popular-literary-genres.html Check out the whole article.

So romance is #8 requested by agents, suspense #6 and women’s fiction number 10. But romance sells best followed by crime and mystery (maybe that includes suspense). So I guess I’m eliminating women’s fiction and sticking with romantic suspense.
Any comments on where you place your books and how you decide?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Meet Barbara Monajem and The Redemption of the Shrew

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young, then moved on to paranormal mysteries and Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa).

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups. She used to have two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. Asparagus pudding proved to be pretty horrible, and she is too fumble-fingered to make socks. Now she just sticks with writing books. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

Excerpt from The Redemption of the Shrew
A clandestine meeting, particularly where nakedness is involved, is best arranged for a moonless night.

Or so Gloriana Warren told herself, for her mother would never have uttered such a scandalous dictum. Unfortunately, it was tonight or never. Tomorrow, the man she had sworn to love forever would leave Lancashire and return to London—without her. They wouldn’t be able to marry for years because of his stupid scruples about money.

Men and their tedious pride! She and the Marquis de Bellechasse loved one another. They shared the same lofty ideals. She had a substantial dowry. Marrying now made sense. Not only that, her mother would die happy.

So Gloriana was taking matters into her own hands. She had planned the upcoming encounter in glorious detail—every word, every gesture. As she emerged from the summerhouse to greet him, he would stand and stare at her, transfixed by her beauty.

“Darling Philippe,” she would say, reaching for him, offering herself without reserve. “Love is eternal. It cannot, must not be denied!”

“Ah, ma belle,” he would respond, his hand on his heart, his voice throbbing with desire. “I adore you. What a fool I was to think we could wait for years. Even another minute is too long. Tonight, I shall make you mine!”

She would fling herself into his waiting arms, swept away on the tide of his passion.

She wasn’t sure exactly how it would go after that, apart from plenty of kissing, but judging by her previous experience of Philippe’s kisses, it would be the most thrilling experience of her life.

She sneaked out the French doors, arms full of blankets, and glanced back up at Garrison House. Not a glimmer of candlelight showed in the windows. She hurried through the rose garden and skirted the lawn, keeping to the bushes and out of the moonlight. In the secret room under the summerhouse, she and her darling Philippe would be safe. Tomorrow they would announce their engagement to Mama. They would send for a special license and be married within a week.

Ten minutes later, she had set up a makeshift bed under the summerhouse and removed all her clothes. Shivering more from excitement than from the chilly night air, she waited for Philippe to arrive.

Tonight would be the most perfect night of her life.
The Marquis de Bellechasse left his horse in a convenient copse and made his careful way forward, pausing at the edge of the trees. Garrison House was reassuringly dark, but moonlight reflected off the ripples on the lake. The summerhouse gleamed white on its little knoll, exposed on all sides. He paused, listening. No sound disturbed the darkness except a nightjar complaining from a nearby oak. He hoped and prayed no one else was up and about tonight. He couldn’t afford to get caught with Gloriana Warren, but nor could he bring himself to ignore her passionate plea to see him once more before they parted.

He loved her—to the point of folly, judging by his current behavior. He had already said farewell, and yet here he was, trespassing on her brother’s estate at midnight to say it again. He dreaded her inevitable tears.

The door to the summerhouse stood wide open, which meant Gloriana was here already. Fine. Best to get it over with now. He took a deep breath and set out across the lawn.

He had almost reached the doorway when she came into view, rising from out of nowhere, her face pale, her hair loose around her bare shoulders. He halted, staring, his heart thundering. She continued to rise, her breasts round and luscious in the light of the moon. His eyes slid helplessly down the curve of her hips to the darker patch at the apex of her thighs . . .

Mordieu. He shook his head and began to back away. “No, chérie. We must not do this.”

She set her feet on the floor—she must have emerged from a trapdoor—and beckoned with those sweet arms, smiled with those lush lips. “Philippe, my darling, please come to me. I love you so much.”

“No, ma belle, I cannot.”

“But love—” She faltered, then continued toward him, arms wide. “Love is eternal. It must not be denied.”

Sacrebleu, she was declaiming like a shoddy actress on the stage. The thought revolted him. Surely his idealistic Gloriana could not cheapen herself so. Anguished, he put up his hands to fend her off. “It is not possible, Gloriana. Not yet. It would not be right.”

She hurried forward, her breasts jiggling enticingly. “Truly, we mustn’t delay. My mother may not have long to live, and seeing me married well is her dearest wish.”

He didn’t care in the least about old Lady Garrison, who was the worst sort of snob. He shook his head. “No. To wait is best.”

“Philippe, I cannot wait. I need you now.” She reached for him, her nakedness inches away.

He gritted his teeth and took another step backwards. His imbecile cock was reacting to her, but he had long ago gained control over its demands. “I am sorry, but I must go.” He turned away.

She wailed, a sharp, keening sound, and immediately a shout came from nearby. Her brother? No, he was in London. A gamekeeper?

Whoever the man might be, he was lurking here on purpose. So much for love, Philippe thought. Gloriana was just another lust-crazed woman trying to trap him into marriage. He turned and ran. Pursued by shouts and then shots, he reached his horse and galloped away.

Buy Link for The Redemption of the Shrew
Amazon Buy Link

You can find Barbra here:
Facebook: facebook.com/barbara.monajem
Twitter: twitter.com/BarbaraMonajem
Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/3270624.Barbara_Monajem
Website: BarbaraMonajem.com

Barbara has some wonderful prizes to giveaway during the tour. Please be sure to enter with the Rafflecopter below. There is an opportunity every day to enter for your chance to win one of the fabulous prizes. So join us for a fun blog tour journey and be sure to enter every day for your chance to win. You may find all the blog tour locations here.

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