Monday, June 30, 2014

Cheers!



Hello! My name is Terri Austin and this is my first Casablanca Authors blog post. Woot! I’m thrilled to be here and thought I’d take this opportunity to share a little bit about myself and my upcoming release, His Every Need—the first book in the Beauty and the Brit series.
  
When I was twelve-years-old two things happened: I fell hard for all things British, and I read my first romance novel—Marriage Impossible by Margaret Pargeter--which got me hooked on happily ever afters. (Bonus: Crazy Hawaiian shirt alert, y’all!) Britain and romance became lifelong obsessions.

Throughout my teen years I scoured my small, local library for British authors. Not an easy task in the days of yore (before the world wide interwebs reigned and card catalogues still roamed the earth), but I managed. Inhaling books like oxygen, I read everything from Jane Austen to E.M. Forester. Harlequin became my go-to for romance and Agatha Christie gave me an education, not only in red herrings, but in the English perspective.

My fascination wasn’t limited to fiction. When Diana married Prince Charles, I stayed up until dawn to watch the ceremony. I got checked on spelling tests for using the British standard—grey, favourite, dialogue. One year, I watched the Wimbledon finals on the 4th of July. I was a full-blown Anglophile.

So when my hero, Trevor Blake, started talking to me in that droll British accent of his, I wasn’t surprised. He was funny, irreverent and arrogant. And he wouldn’t leave me alone until I told his story. 

Allie Campbell is determined to take care of her family, no matter the cost. But when her father loses their home to British tycoon Trevor Blake, Allie finds herself forced to plead for more time to pay off the loan...and if she has to use her own body as collateral, then so be it.

Trevor isn't moved by Allie's story. But when Allie impulsively offers to do anything to keep the house, he's intrigued enough to raise the stakes: for the next two months, she must cater to his every need, no matter how depraved. To his amazement, she agrees.
Allie has no intention of enjoying her time with the arrogant, domineering Brit, but it doesn't take long before he's got her aching for his touch-and he'll do whatever it takes to make her beg... 

*I’m giving away an ARC of His Every Need. Leave a comment to enter. Good Luck!

As a girl, Terri L. Austin thought she'd outgrow dreaming up stories and creating imaginary friends. Instead, she's made a career of it. She met her own Prince Charming and together they live in Missouri. She loves to hear from readers. Drop her a note at TerriLAustin.com, Twitter, FB, or Goodreads.



Saturday, June 28, 2014

How to Say Good-Bye

You know the saying that's supposed to make change easier?

When one door closes, another one opens

That's a good one and so true, but I need one to carry me through the transition time.

I've lived in southern California all my life (except for two brief periods eons ago). Now, my family is moving cross country. We're excited about this move, yet...

We're leaving the only home my youngest son has ever known. We're leaving with a high school student in the middle of high school. We're leaving a home that has been the longest I've ever lived in one place (13 years).

But, we're gaining a lot in the process.

Our boys have surprised us with their cheerful willingness to roll up their sleeves and pitch in with the undesirable tasks (cleaning a barbeque inside and out...and not a single complaint).

My husband and I have figured out quickly what's important and what's not.

This one makes me laugh: We've also learned out how to argue in shorthand and get over things quickly. There's nothing like having to go through all your stuff to decide what's a keeper and what's not. Those can be eye-opening to individual priorities.

The other big surprise?

I will miss the ocean. There've been some long walks and talks with a writer friend of mine. There've been moments of story inspiration while staring at the water. There've been lots of ocean swims, but I'm selling my wetsuit.

Another pleasant revelation?

I've had some of the longest, deepest conversations with my sons...accompanied by skipping stones with my youngest son in the Pacific Ocean. It's almost like we needed this transition to stop and realize our little boys aren't so little anymore.

Case in point: My husband taught my oldest how to shave this month. But, I promised him I wouldn't post pictures of that.

He wouldn't mind me sharing this latest photo. My oldest son is a blacksmith, and he made an iron candlestick holder that I reference in my next book, The Lady Meets Her Match.

During this transition, we had to make sure we connected our boys with their passions in the new community. In one enthusiastic moment, we even said we'd build a forge on the new property!

And skipping stones? We'll give one of the Great Lakes a test run.

By embracing this change, I've learned what little I need to be truly happy. To my husband's chagrin, I own a lot of books...keepers...all of them. Memories at least are easy to pack and warm your heart.

Thanks for letting me share this.

Now it's your turn. Have you gone through any changes or transitions lately? What wisdom carried you through that time?  And did you have any surprise revelations you want to share?




Thursday, June 26, 2014

Editor Deb Werksman with the BEA Report

Each year at Book Expo America, I think that we can’t possibly top last year, but I’ll say once again that we had the best BEA in the history of Sourcebooks. 

BEA 2014

In past years, agents have sometimes expressed surprise at Sourcebooks’ breadth (“I didn’t know you published Romance and Children’s Books, and Women’s Fiction, and Study Aids, and YA…”). This year the agents were thoroughly familiar with Sourcebooks and how successful we are.  We met with so many literary agents and other industry professionals who pitched many promising projects that we are actively pursuing. Everyone was very excited to meet with us and stay a while in our exceptional booth.

Melanie and Suzanne Brockmann

I saw that the agent community is working hard to keep abreast of and understand the numerous changes in the marketplace. Across the board, we all agreed that a robust and multifaceted publishing industry is best for everyone. This includes the importance of:

·         Open communication across all channels: author, agent, and publisher

·         Marketing, marketing, and more marketing: authors doing their best to promote their work through social media with emphasis on the promotional opportunities their publishers get them with the retailers
Miranda Kennealy signing

·        Face-to-face networking: Only 8% of word-of-mouth marketing is done online; nothing does more to break out an author than promoting in person

This is shaping up to be another year of extraordinary promise and opportunity, and I can’t wait to see where we go from here!

Author Sara Humphreys and Marketing Director Valerie Pierce


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Value of Summer Camp by Grace Burrowes

I'm just back from my fourth visit to Scotland, where I gathered inspiration for new books, had some fun, and yes, I did drink me some fine whisky. Did you know there's a Scotch Malt Whisky Society, and they vet samples from distilleries all over Scotland, choosing the finest of the finest for our delectation? Prior to this trip, neither did I.

I also didn't know how to hear the difference between a Glaswegian Scottish burr (from Glasgow), and one from Edinburgh. These cities are about 45 miles apart--an hour's drive at most--and the people sound entirely different to each other. Each city has stereotyped the others' inhabitants (Glaswegians are friendly but they're all named Jimmy, the folk from Auld Reekie are reserved), and while Glasgow is twice the size of Edinburgh, Edinburgh has the busier airport.

I didn't know that you can camp anywhere in Scotland legally. Anywhere. Go ahead, Occupy Scotland--plenty of people do.

I didn't know that the northwestern part of Scotland is an entirely different hunk of geology from the rest of the country. It wandered loose for eons until banging into the larger British island, and thus has its own topography, flora and fauna.

Some words have different meanings here. Many hotels advertised themselves as homely, meaning friendly. To get to the first floor you can take the (usually very small) lift or the steps. What confuses me is heid-picklin' (head pickling) to my cab driver.

I research as much as I can with source materials (I'm on my third biography of Robert Burns), I troll the internet, I listen to Scottish music, and pore over maps of Scotland, but none of that compares to being here. I am so very, exceedingly, wonderfully lucky to have had these two weeks in Scotland.

Wikipedia can't give me the experience of comparing a peated with an unpeated whisky; it can't teach me what the scent of whisky malt is when it's had a day or two for the yeast to work on the wort.

YouTube isn't the same as watching Paul Anderson perform in person, when his fiddle music resonates through you bodily, and his foot tapping thumps the floor beneath your feet.

I didn't want to make this trip. Because of family concerns, I haven't had two consecutive weeks at home since the end of March. I'm tired, I'm not writing enough, and this time next week, I'll be back on the road, heading for a stint with the Age'd P's (another stint with the Age'd P's), in San Diego.

But then I hear Paul wringing tears from that fiddle, I see the redwoods that thrive all over central Scotland--huge, majestic trees that take my breath away--I get a whiff of a good peaty Isla single malt, and I can't wait to pack up and head back to Scotland, maybe some day for good.

Have you ever been dragged, grumbling and muttering, to a concert, a vacation, or a book, only to find a wonderful time despite what you anticipated?  Tried a dish you thought you couldn't possibly enjoy and now you love to order it? Dated a guy you thought was all wrong for you....?

To one commenter, I'll send a $25 Amazon gift card AND Paul Anderson's latest CD of fiddle music (Land of the Standing Stones) AND my favorite Jim Malcolm CD, (Acquaintance) a collection of songs by Robert Burns.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Meet Were-Snake Sarah in ENCHANTING THE BEAST, By Kathryne Kennedy



A letter from Sarah Pluckett, companion to the infamous ghost-hunter Lady Philomena Radcliff, dated August 2, 1861:

 
Dearest Mama:

We have arrived at Grimspell castle without too many misadventures, which as you know is the usual case when my mistress travels.  Despite having to walk from the village of Trollersby and a stickman attaching itself to my lady’s skirts, we arrived to find the baronet, Sir Nicodemus Wulfson, frolicking with his hounds.  My protective instincts could not be denied, and I found myself shifting to my were-form to protect my mistress from the beasts, although in hindsight, it proved to be quite unnecessary. 

Sir Nico appears to be a gentleman, despite his predatory nature, and much to my surprise, dearest Mama, he does not abhor my were-shape.  Indeed, his entire staff consists of shape-shifters, which is quite unusual, and despite their instincts to fear my snake-form, I feel more accepted here than I have ever felt before.

I do not want you to worry, but I must confess that Grimspell castle is a queer, haunted place, and the members of Sir Nico’s family are perhaps a touch…eccentric.  But as you know, this is exactly why the baronet hired my mistress and I have the most absolute confidence that she will ferret out the mystery behind this family and their ghostly visitations.

Indeed, Mama, my only worry is that Sir Nico--despite the disparity of their ages--is intensely attracted to Lady Philomena.  I feel it my duty to discourage the handsome young man, and I fear that I will have to rely on all of my were-senses to stay one slither ahead of him in his pursuit of my mistress.

Despite the strangeness that surrounds me (or perhaps because of it?) I find myself most content here, and have even made friends with many of the staff.  So rest assured that I am safe and well, and will protect and serve my mistress as faithfully as I ever have.

Your Loving Daughter,
Sarah

PS. I should mention that there is a footman named Cheevers, who, despite being a were-duck (do not laugh, Mama) is quite an extraordinarily charming young man. 



Read more about Sarah and her mistress in ENCHANTING THE BEAST, which earned a Top Pick rating from Romantic Times BOOKreviews, Night Owl Reviews, and Romance Reader at Heart! http://www.KathryneKennedy.com

Monday, June 23, 2014

RAGT 14 Goodie Bag Giveaway! by Cheryl Brooks

I didn't make it to RT this year, but I did attend Lori Foster's Reader and Author Get Together in Cincinnati earlier this month. If you've never been, I highly recommend you put it on your calendar for next June. Space is limited, so you have to be ready to sign up as soon as registration opens, but it's worth it for the chance to mingle with authors and readers alike in a relaxed, comfortable, fun atmosphere. This was my fourth year, and I had a fabulous time seeing old friends and meeting new ones. The event raised over $17,000 to benefit One Way Farm this year, which means a lot of dedicated readers were buying an amazing number of raffle tickets.

This was my first time putting together a gift basket, and I had a hard time figuring out a way to cram in all of my books plus a few other goodies. I spent ages in Michael's craft store picking out ribbons and bags and a nifty little butterfly pin that I was afraid might get lost, but I thought the finished result was quite pretty. Thanks to fifteen books and a bottle of wine, it was also very heavy!


I thought I was being so cool by including an ARC of Rebel front and center in the basket. That is, until I went into the onsite Barnes & Noble bookstore to make sure the books I'd ordered were there. This is what I found!


At the time, Rebel's release date was a month away, and my "Holy shit! How did you get those? I don't even have them yet!" comment made the bookseller's day. She had somehow managed to get her hands on thirty copies, even before I received my author's copies, which I still don't have. I was very happy with the number of sales. By the end of the event, there were only six left, and I bought them myself!

I attended several panel discussions, and I participated in a Q & A for Erotic Romance authors, which was pretty funny. It's supposed to be on YouTube at some point, but I couldn't find it. Sorry!

Since I've been working on a romantic suspense novel with an Indian hero, I was excited to see this historical fashion show so I could learn how to put on a sari. The costumes were all beautifully handmade, and some were even stitched by hand.


The signing went better than usual. I signed several copies of Rebel, and I even sold out of the print copies of my indie-pubbed Unlikely Lovers series, which surprised the heck out of me. Granted, I was selling them at cost, and you could get all four for $20, but still, I was pleased. I was also sitting beside a debut author who thought it was so cool to be seated next to Cheryl Brooks. That was definitely a first!


During the signing some of my buddies came over and provided me with a screaming fan girl moment. Wish I'd gotten a picture when they were jumping up and down and cheering, but I was laughing too hard!


Of the 250 or so baskets in the raffle, mine was one of the last to be given away on Saturday night. By that time, my phone was dead, so I couldn't get a picture of the winner. *:( sad
Fortunately, someone else took a picture and I was able to snag it from Facebook. Doesn't she look happy?


For once, I remembered to get my goodie bag signed by the authors. I strolled around the indie signing on Friday, got quite a few signatures, gathered more swag, and bought some books. Then I had one of my friends take the bag around during the traditional pubbed signing on Saturday, and she got everyone to sign it, including Lori Foster herself! You wouldn't believe how long it took me to set all this stuff up and get a decent picture. There are several books in there, along with some pretty nifty gadgets and my last ARC of Rebel.


And now, I'm giving it all away! Post a comment below for your chance to win big! You get bonus points for liking my Facebook Author page and signing up for my mailing list (you can find the signup form by clicking one of the links below). Please include your email address so I can contact the winner.  


Blog: http://cherylbrooksauthor.blogspot.com/
Facebook:
 https://www.facebook.com/cherylbrooksauthor

Due to the size and weight of this package, 
the contest is limited to USA addresses only.

Good Luck!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

RWA National Conference: What NOT to Do in San Antonio

I'm pretty excited about the RWA National conference in San Antonio. It's only a month away! If you're a reader, you should attend the huge multi-author booksigning on Wednesday, July 23 at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter Hotel in the 3rd floor ballroom. Admission is free, and all proceeds benefit literacy programs.

If you're an author, get out of the hotel and see some of San Antonio. It's a fabulous city. It's only three hours from Houston, so I've been many times. The Riverwalk is always fun. There's lots of shopping, lots of history, and fun things for the kids too like the Alamo and the Children's Museum.

But you know what's not fun? SeaWorld. If you're going to San Antonio and bringing the family, think twice before going to SeaWorld.

I've never been a fan of SeaWorld. Whales and dolphins weren’t put on this earth to dance in pools to synchronized Christmas music. You don’t even have to believe in God or a higher power to realize that we demean these beings when we imprison them or make them perform like humans.

Recently, I watched the film Blackfish. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. It’s not graphic or incendiary. It didn’t make me cry, and it didn’t make me furious. It did make me determined.

The film is basically interviews with former SeaWorld trainers, and they discuss an orca named Tilikum, who has now killed three people. It’s a fascinating look inside the culture of SeaWorld as well as an education about orcas—their natural behaviors and lives in the wild and captivity.

Tilikum has been sentenced to a life in what amounts to a bathtub. Maybe smaller than a bathtub since his tail and nose can touch.

Aeriel view of Tilikum's "home"


That's not fun for the whales, and it's not what I want my child to think is how we should treat animals. But form your own opinion. Watch the movie Blackfish and then take action.

I look forward to seeing you in San Antonio and meeting readers at the literacy signing. Let's promote literacy, not cruelty.