Monthly Archives: July 2014

My Shelf Monday: Love, in English (a follow up!)

I just spent the last week in San Antonio at the Romance Writers of America national conference. I’m exhausted. I came home with a bounty of books, many of which will become giveaways for you!

And on the plane to and from Texas I read Love, in English by Karina Halle. I loved it! Here a few thoughts:

10150096_10154016138625254_1154722881_n

it is not your traditional love story. The heroine is young, tattooed, and a little wild. While the hero is married, older, and famous.

  • but it is told with care and there is a “happily ever after” that I found satisfying.
  • the book makes you want to move to Spain. Yesterday.
  • I loved the secondary characters (despite wanting them to get out of the way in the beginning).
  • I found the beginning of the book to be slow, but important (keep in mind I’m known for my lack of patience when it comes to romance…)
  • I loved Mateo a lot.
  • and I sympathized with Vera a lot.
  • They were both very compelling characters and if you’ve ever fallen in love (and tried to fight it) or had an enclosed experience with a group of oddly matched people who changed your life and became your very best friends, then this book will speak to you.
  • if you read the paperback version there are some odd typos and missing words, but it didn’t detract from my reading experience (it just make me scratch my head).

If you are looking for a summer read that will take you to another country and make you fall in love with a handsome and famous Spanish hottie, pick up Love, in English. I hear there is a sequel coming next year. Called Love, in Spanish. I can’t wait!

It’s only $3.99. Grab it here! Love, in English

Wonderful Wednesday: What to Expect at RWA!

My RITA dress!

My RITA dress!

First Draught met last night for our video chat series to talk about all things RWA. It was a really good chat full of lots of laughs and great information. Unfortunately lightning struck about two minutes into the chat and knocked me offline for about twelve minutes, but I returned! Via the power of 3G on an iPhone! So if you are a first timer wondering what to expect, or a veteran looking to get ready, take a look at our chat!

And if you’ve ever wondered about Mr. Anne, he helped us out with some tech support before the chat. He’s a funny guy!

My Shelf Monday: Tease 4

This last week was pretty much consumed by two things: Tease 4 and Tease 5. Therefore the only thing I have to talk about on my shelf this week, is my own book (lame!). Tease 4 is publishing as we speak and should be coming up for sale at all the vendors over the next few hours.

I publish all my books to as many platforms as I can because I want as many people to be able to read them as possible. All my books are available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and ARe. I’m not currently on Sony or Google Play because I haven’t had the energy to tackle these last two. I also always make my books available in paperback. Tease will be no exception. After Tease 5 is done and out, I will work on getting the paperback of all five volumes together! I’m thinking Adam from Tease 1 is the obvious paperback cover. Thoughts?

So Tease 5. According the schedule it will publish on August 4th. This is why I have been working so hard to get it done. Normally I take each volume one by one. But next week I’ll be in San Antonio at RWA and I can guarantee you my writing time will be limited. Instead, I’ll be focusing on the craft of writing and hopefully making some fantastic connections to help Tease and The Storm Inside get into the hands of more readers. So I’m working my tail off to get Tease 5 done before I leave. Not published, just written so that when I get back from RWA and my head is in the clouds, all I have to worry about are covers, formatting, blurbs, proofreading, and minor revisions. Not the big creative push that is needed to get a story down on the page. Meaning Tease 5 will release on time (or before!)

So what does Tease 4 look like? You want a peek? Take a look and then scroll down for a pivotal scene and links to get the book. I’ll update the links as they go live. Thanks for reading!! xoxo

 

Tease4png

 

Amazon   Nook   iBooks   ARe   Kobo   Smashwords

I was so lost in thought that I didn’t hear the shower turn off or see Adam, towel wrapped around his waist, come up behind me. Not until I felt his lips on my neck. “I didn’t mean anything,” he whispered, looking up at me in the foggy mirror. His hair was damp and wild.

“I know,” I whispered back. He was reading me again—sensing my moods and thoughts better than I could.

“I don’t think you do. All I meant was that after a week of daily sex I expected us both to feel satisfied.”

“You don’t?”

He shook his head slowly, his eyes locked onto mine. “I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of you.”

My heart skipped a beat and my skin heated. “I’m trying to store up as much of you as I can before you’re gone.”

He kept his eyes on me as his hands rubbed up and down my bare arms. “Is the haunted look in your eyes because I put you back in the news?”

“You saw that, huh?”

He chuckled and pulled my back flush against his firm front, wrapping one arm around my chest and resting his chin on the top of my head. “It was a little hard to miss. My phone rang most of the day. And I had someone tailing me.”

I closed my eyes, remembering the jewelry Roger mentioned. “You can thank my parents for that one. Sorry.”

He shook his head. “Doesn’t bother me. I don’t have anything to hide.”

I swallowed and took a deep breath before saying what I knew needed to be said, but still scared the crap out of me anyway. I had bigger problems than how vulnerable the adoration of a wonderful man made me feel. I would deal with the consequences of letting Adam into my life later, after I was done managing the chaos of my past. “I think we need to talk.”

Adam nodded, moving my head along with his. “We do. But not naked, wet, and starving. Let’s get dinner and come back up here to get whatever we need out into the air.”

Part of me wanted to bare my soul while naked in the bathroom with Adam. It seemed right somehow, but I also knew these types of confessions changed things. It might be best if I were clothed when I offered Adam my heart—just in case he rejected it. “Downstairs?”

“I can go down and grab takeout. You look tired.”

I shook my head. If I stayed home in a t-shirt cuddled up on the couch I would get stuck in my head. The isolation and darkness would start to creep in on me. I needed to get dressed and get out. It always helped me bounce back from a day like this if I could see the world still moving. Seeing people, even strangers, somehow forced me to put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

I wouldn’t if I stayed here. Even with Adam. “No, let’s go eat. I could use the fresh air.”

He watched me carefully as I dressed. I could tell he was worried by the soft look in his eye and tick in his jaw, but he didn’t ask any questions.

My hunger got the best of me and I pulled Adam behind me on the way down the stairs. Apparently my half-eaten lunch, followed by exhausting phone calls and fabulous floor sex, wasn’t enough to get me through the day. At the landing I heard a strange sound. Something in the back of my mind went on alert. The sound wasn’t normal and I needed to pay attention. But I was hungry, so I ignored the quiet little warning.

It wasn’t until I opened the door to the street and was greeted by a wall of photographers that I fully registered the sounds of paparazzi. I, brilliantly, stood there like an idiot with my mouth hanging open and the door in my hand, before Adam stepped in front of me, removed my hand, and slammed the door before anyone could push their camera inside.

“What the fuck is that?” Adam ran his hand through his hair and then guided me backwards from the door.

I swallowed, still staring at the door, as I fumbled for my phone. Roger was making sure I followed through on my plans. He’d called in the press. He was going to make my life hell until the interview and photo shoot were done. “Andres, I have a situation at my apartment.”

“I’ll be there in five. Go back inside and stay there.” I slid the phone back into my pocket and looked at Adam.

“Who is Andres? What the hell is going on?” He looked so confused.

“My security.”

Adam jerked his head back. “Why do you have security in town?”

Only my eyes moved as I tracked Adam’s movements. “I told you we needed to talk.”

He stopped in front of me and put his hands lightly on my arms. “Elizabeth, I know we hit the news hard, but this… we shouldn’t have twenty photographers waiting outside your door. We’re not that big of a story.”

“Unfortunately we are, thanks to Cybil and Roger.”

I swear I saw steam come off of Adam’s head. His eyes widened and lips thinned as he grappled with how to reply. “Your parents are doing this to you?”

I nodded once. It was a little easier confiding in Adam now that I knew who he was. His easy confidence with security and publicity came from a lifetime of his own experiences. I briefly wondered if anyone ever tried to drag his name through the papers and I realized that being a McKinley and a Callaway was completely different from being a Hope or a Lawrence. Just as rich and famous, but totally different worlds.

**********

Don’t miss a single sexy release! Sign up for my Tease, Please newsletter for updates on each new release in my sexy Tease and The Storm Inside series!

Wonderful Wednesday: How to Pack Like a Pro

dklswlhw

DUDE! In two weeks we will be in San Antonio! RWA is right around the corner and packing is kind of important unless you want to walk around naked for five days. I mean, I wouldn’t mind… and probably most of us would use you as a case study for our next book, but… yeah, probably not the best plan.

So that brings us to two fundamental questions: what do you need to bring and how are you getting it there. Last year I packed everything in a carry-on. It worked, but left me little room to bring anything home. If you are packing light, remember to bring a pre-paid USPS “If it fits it ships” box for your swag and books. You can also ship home from the conference (but check prices, it can get expensive!), so no need to worry about fitting fifty shiny new books and swag into your little suitcase!

You can fit five days worth of conference gear into one little suitcase (I promise!). If you need video assistance on how to do this, please visit this link and watch Erin Knightley do it with style!

What do you need?

  • Business casual clothes for three days. This can be anything from comfortable work clothes to suits. You will see it all at RWA! Since so many of us spend our days in pajamas and workout clothes, RWA kind of becomes an opportunity to dress up and get fancy. Personally, I wear pencil skirts, colorful blouses, and low heels all week. They are comfortable (to me) but also pretty and fun. You can get away with jeans, if that’s your style. If you prefer comfortable shoes or sneakers, go for it! The reality is that you will be spending a huge chunk of your time sitting quietly in packed rooms while listening to speakers. Dress however makes you feel professional and comfortable!
  • A cocktail dress. Even if you don’t know a soul or have a single plan outside of workshops, bring a dress just in case. There are lots of parties and you never know when you might find one to join. If you don’t, sit in the hotel bar and have a drink! It’s a great time to strike up a conversation with another writer.
  • RITA dress. The RITA’s are a chance to get as fancy as you want. This year we’re getting super fancy and wearing evening gowns, but a nice dress is more than enough. There is a lot of sitting and clapping and then drinks and socializing afterward.
  • Clothes for any special events or sight seeing you have planned.
  • Pajamas
  • Comfortable shoes
  • A sweater (some workshops get cold!)
  • Underwear (you know it is easy to forget in the shuffle!)
  • A pair of emergency cold-feet socks

Other items to bring:

  • Notebook and pen/iPad/note taking apparatus
  • business cards
  • cash (tips and emergencies)
  • power cords

Things I worried about last year:

  • Breakfast. The continental breakfast wasn’t much. If you need food to start your day (like me!) then plan on eating elsewhere. The free breakfast is great for killing time before the first workshop, getting an extra jolt of coffee and a danish, or meeting someone. But a substantive start to your day? Not so much
  • Lunch. The way the day is structured this year may make it difficult to stop and eat. Make sure you have snack food on you in case the day gets away from you. Scout out places nearby, or in the hotel shop, that you can grab a quick lunch.
  • Dinner. I was totally freaked out be the idea of dinner last year! I didn’t know anybody. What if I ate alone every meal? Well, guess what? I never ate alone. Not once. For one lunch I joined a group of complete strangers and we got to know each other. It was fun! (SIDE HINT for NEWBIES: all RWA ladies will stand out like a sore thumb. We have badges, bags, and more that identify us from a block away. Don’t be afraid to walk up to someone, or a group of someone’s, and introduce yourself.) The nice lady I met at the First Timer Orientation and then accidentally ate lunch with the next day? She texted me asked if I had dinner plans. She’s now one of my very best friends! So the bottom line? Dinner (and any meal) is a great excuse to make connections and get to know new people. Take people up on their invitations and if you don’t get one, invite someone else to join you. We’re all writers just there to talk about writing!
  • After hours socializing. Again, I didn’t know anybody. I was really worried about sitting in my hotel room from 5pm-7am alone every night. The hotel bar is a great place to socialize (even if you don’t drink anything but water!) It will probably be packed at all times with writers. If I sat alone someone usually came over to say hi. One time I sat at the bar and got to know a librarian who looked like she was about on her last leg, just like me. We commiserated over exhaustion and overload. It was nice. Another time I accidentally wound up in a conversation with two RITA nominee’s about the future of publishing. Put yourself out there, it really is worth it at an event like this.
  • Making it count. I just spent all this money on the conference, a plane ticket, a hotel room, business cards…I needed to make it count. I worried about making connections and learning. I think worrying is helpful up to a certain point, but too much worrying is counterproductive. This conference is worth it. Whether you are going for the workshops, the appointments, or to find your people and make business contacts, it is an event packed with opportunity for writers at all stages of their career.  Don’t worry about making it count.
  • Supplies. It is a convention hotel–they’ve got this covered. There are also plenty of shops nearby. Don’t feel the need to pack everything. You can always buy something if you need it. You aren’t stranded alone on a desert island. I promise.
20130720_121736

Write Club eating lunch before a workshop

Things I didn’t expect and wish I’d known about:

  • There are fifty-gajillion books for free at RWA. All those book signings on the agenda? Free books. All you have to do is show up and ask the author to sign it. Some will be paperbacks, some will be cards with codes for downloading later. But there will be books everywhere if you want them! (I will be at the Indie book signing with a mix of both. Come see me!)
  • Goodie Room. It’s actually pretty cool. There is a mix of all kinds of stuff from paperbacks and samplers to bookmarks and business cards. There are lip balms, coozies, rubber bracelet thingies, luggage tags, key chains, and anything else these creative ladies came up with to give away for free. Be careful though. A few things here and there add up quickly. Make sure you are planning to pack and/or ship home accordingly!
  • Conference recordings. Many of the workshops are actually recorded! The recordings are available for purchase. It sounded weird and expensive to me last year but if you have a track you are following and some important workshops you really wanted to attend are at the same time, or overlap something you can’t cancel, get the recordings. It can invaluable. I’ve heard they make great listening in the car and in the background while working. The investment is something that feels like too much at the time, but it extends the value of the conference and it is something you get to keep and listen to whenever you need it! Pretty cool.

Pack accordingly! At the end of the day it isn’t about the clothes you wore or how you took notes, it’s about the things you learned and the connections you made. Check out our First Draught Google On Air chat about RWA here. And check back on Tuesday when First Draught will have a Google Hangout on Air all about packing and getting ready for San Antonio! You can RSVP here and leave questions for us to answer!

springpad-photo-48

Write Club before the RITA’s!

My Shelf Monday: Love in English

I’ve been doing lots of reading…but not the kind I can share here (yet!) I’ve gotten my hot little hands on an absolute deluge of beta copies, critiques, and early work from my friends. It is awesome for me, but less awesome for you, since I can’t exactly share unpublished books!

Collage 2014-07-07 11_55_42

However! (You knew there was more to this than bragging about all the cool books I get to read, right?!?!) I did go to Book Bash last week and came home with a haul of new and exciting stuff to read. The first one I’m cracking open is “Love, in English” by Karina Halle. I have heard great things about this book and the description has be chomping at the bit! Check it out:

He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three. 

He speaks Spanish. I speak English. 

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada. 

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos. 

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter. 

I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything. 

Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the damn truth. 

*** 

To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love. 

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Spanish charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more. 

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time. 

Something that can never, ever be. 


 

I have no idea what to expect, other than the unexpected and a really good time! I have a massive girl-crush on Karina Halle and I’m always excited to read her stuff. Have any of you read it yet? What did you think? If you haven’t, grab a copy ($3.99) and read along with me!

iBooks    Amazon    Nook

10150096_10154016138625254_1154722881_n

Wonderful Wednesday: Swag and Business Cards

Conventions, conferences, walking down the street…if you are in business for yourself (as all writers are) then you need junk to hand people when they ask who you are and what you do. So, with our biggest convention of the year less than three weeks away, it is time to make sure my swag is ready to go.

Last night First Draught sat down and did a quick 40 minute rundown on last year’s conference in Atlanta, what we got out of it, and why we’re returning to San Antonio this year. There is a hilarious giggling fit at the very end you simply cannot miss. You can check it out here:

So, what are the must have items to take with you? Business cards of course! The more unique to you, the better. They are your calling card. When people try to remember your name and what you do hours or days later, you want something that left an impression. It can be anything from colors to the material of the card.

My card printer of choice is Moo. They make a really high quality card that feels different to the touch and stands out in a stack of cards. And you can print different images on one side (meaning for an author, you can make one business card, but put a different book cover on each one). Here are my cards from this year (top) and last year (bottom).

swag2

This year I have all three of my book covers on one side and my contact info and a picture on the other. One thing to keep in mind at massive conferences like RWA is that there are a lot of people. Your picture can help them remember who you are versus the other two hundred people they met that day. Also include your Twitter handle since so many writers live and die by the Tweets. Many attendees will sit in their room at night and go through their stack of cards “liking” and “following” everyone they met that day, then toss the cards. If you don’t have that info on your card, you may get passed over.

Last year I didn’t have any books out. So I picked sayings and meme’s that exemplified the type of stories I was writing. I included a saying and my contact info on the back. It worked out well. So no matter what stage of your writing career, get some cards and make them stand out!

Other options to consider (especially if you have books to promote!) are bookmarks, rack cards, lip balm, USB sticks, bags, nail files, makeup bags, key chains, and luggage tags. Keep in mind that most people are flying in to this conference and don’t want large or junkie things to lug back home. If you are going to spend money on swag, make it count. I couldn’t zip my luggage last year and left a pile of swag behind on my hotel bed.

swag4

The only things that made the trip home with me were the things I loved. Like this amazing lip balm I kept all year. I liked it so much that I ordered some for me this year from WithLogos.com!

swag3

 

In the past I’ve ordered bookmarks from Next Day Flyers and business cards (that I use as info cards) from Uprinting.com. I also plan on ordering foam posterboards of my covers from Uprinting for my reader-cons and signings later this year. I need/want to order rack cards for the signing at RWA but I haven’t made up my mind what I want them to look like yet.

swag1

 

One last thing to think about. You can hire someone to design all of this stuff for you or you can design it yourself. The trick to the DIY is being able to create the images in the correct dimensions. You can use something like Powerpoint (which is how I created the back of my current business cards that have my picture on them) by going into the slide size and adjusting it to the size specifications of the cards you are making. The dimensions and bleeds will be in the information for every card you are designing, regardless of the website. You can also use Paint to resize existing images (like book covers) to the correct dimensions.

Another amazing option is Canva. Click on the “Use Custom Dimensions” in the top right corner and plug in size of the card you are creating, then start designing! They also have pre-made templates for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, business cards, promotional items, and even book covers! If you haven’t checked on Canva yet, do it! They are invaluable!

canva

 

What other options are out there, guys? What else can we recommend to future conference goers? Let’s do this!

%d bloggers like this: