Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Road Tripping With Romance - Adventures of Two Romance Writers

So several months ago, fellow Sourcebooks Casablanca author Sara Humphreys came up with this idea of the two of us going on a road trip to promote our new books - Always My Girl and Trouble Walks In.  Both books are contemporary romances that have a friends-to-lovers trope and really, it sounded like fun.  So I was on board immediately and we had to come up with a plan to convince Sourcebooks to back us on it.

This is the original design I did to introduce the idea to them:

And this is what the professionals put together for us.

Let's just say that I have no future in graphic design.


We worked up a plan and set the dates and on August 16th, Sara arrived here in North Carolina (where I live) and we kicked off our tour. 

Our first stop was at Page 158 Books in Wake Forest where we did a Q&A with readers and our hosts were amazing - there was a chocolate fountain and fresh fruit and then afterwards, one of the ladies who was there - who owns a candy store - invited us over to the candy shop to get truffles.

I believe my face in this picture says it all.

Thank you, Sweeties Candy Shop!!


It wasn't all about the candy.  Sort of. 

The next night we were in Raleigh, NC, at the Barnes & Noble at Brier Creek and had a great turnout.  One of the local book clubs came and they were so much fun!  Sara and I took turns reading excerpts from our books - something I've never done because I hate reading out loud - but everyone seemed to enjoy it. 


 We also incorporated stops that had to do with our heroes.

In Always My Girl, my hero - Quinn Shaughnessy - is a former NASCAR driver.  So of course, we stopped at the Charlotte Motor Speedway here in NC and did the tour.  Now I'll admit, his history was really just a quick mention in the book so I didn't do any research on the racing industry but had I needed it, this was definitely the place to go!  We had a GREAT time!  We ate lunch at the club which had an amazing view of the track and then we got on the tour van and drove all around the complex (there are multiple tracks) and we did 80 mph on the drag strip (max speeds are usually around 300 mph) and then drove on the NASCAR track and did the 24 degree turns (which makes you feel like you're going to tip over in the 15 passenger van!  It was so informative and even if you're not a race fan, it's interesting.  We took pictures in the winner's circle and toured the press box and the executive suites...if you're ever in Charlotte, NC, you should totally go!


 That night we signed at Park Roads Books (an indie bookstore in Charlotte, NC) and got to meet some super nice readers! It was a smaller event than the previous night, but that didn't stop us from having fun.


 Next stop was Greenville, SC, and we started the day at a K-9 training facility because Sara's hero in Trouble Walks In, is a K-9 cop.  Sara did a Facebook Live video while interviewing three different officers (who were incredibly gracious and sweet) and while I was loving being there, I was dealing with my own K-9 issue at home in the form of a 16 year old boy who wouldn't wake up and let the dog out.  My sweet little Maylene was still in her kennel when she should have been up and out!  We got it worked out but I was watching the training examples from a distance.  At the end, we gave the officers copies of our books to say thank you. 

 Are we a riot or what?



The signing that night was at Fiction Addiction in Greenville and we had a small group of ladies come out - including a mother/daughter (I love seeing that!) - and we answered questions and just chatted and it was nice to get that one-on-one time with readers.  Plus we had an amazing dinner beforehand - I introduced Sara to the wonders of BBQ in the South.

 Our last stop was in Newnan, GA, at the Barnes & Noble at Ashley Park.  So many amazing shops there that I was almost distracted by it all.  We had readers waiting at the table for us when we arrived and we had a steady flow of people stopping by all day.  No Q&A here.  It was strictly a table for us to sign books and it was fun people watching as they all came and went throughout the afternoon.

Once we were done signing, we grabbed Flat Norman - Sara's traveling companion - and took him to his people.  Or should I say we took him to Senoia where they film The Walking Dead.  He owns a restaurant there called Nic & Norman's and we went there for dinner and let me say this - if you're ever in Senoia, GA, GO THERE.  I don't watch The Walking Dead so I wasn't sure what to expect but it's not a restaurant themed for the show.  It's just an amazing place to eat with great food, amazing service and an awesome atmosphere. 

We had a bit of a wait so we sat at the bar and had a drink to celebrate our successful tour and we were talking with the manager and seriously, she was the nicest person ever.  We ate crab cakes while we waited for our table and had everyone laughing at our antics and Sara's story of why she was carrying around Flat Norman.

The short version?  She interviewed Norman Reedus about his show "Ride" and he offered her a ride on his motorcycle.  And since that didn't seem like it was ever going to happen, she made a Flat Norman and took him for a ride on our road trip.  Everyone loved it and got a kick out of it and honestly, they entire staff could not have been nicer.  Our dinner was awesome, we were treated like rock stars and then we almost OD'd on dessert.

Totally. Worth. It.

We gave books to our waitress - Cedar (how cute is that name?) - and to the manager Jessica.  Seriously, this place was amazing.


Sunday was our day to fly home BUT...we did stop and do a Walking Dead Walking Tour first. 

And you can say it...I'm a really good friend.  LOL!

It was a two-hour tour around the town to see where they shoot a lot of the show and even though there were no celebrities around - and I had no idea what our guide was talking about like ever - look how happy my girl was!  A great ending to a great trip and we are seriously hoping that Sourcebooks lets us do it again in the Spring!  I'm thinking the Northeast this time!

Thoughts???


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Beware Mercury retrograde!


Mercury retrograde, oh no!

Do you believe in the stars aligning or miss aligning and that it affects you? A lot of people do. I’m not saying if I do or I don’t. But be warned, Mercury goes retrograde today.

You may notice a change in the way mechanical devices and electronics behave, or rather misbehave, and communication between people may break down. Oh, joy. Like we don’t have enough going on in our lives.

To be honest, I’ve been experiencing Mercury retrograde symptoms for the past two weeks… And the quick little planet was even traveling in the right direction! I tried to self-publish something, and Murphy stepped in, making everything that could go wrong, go wrong. Ugh. But it's finally out there.



This is just one of the reasons I really appreciate having a publisher. And why I don’t mind giving up some of my royalties to them. They earn those royalties as far as I’m concerned. They hire and pay the editors, cover artists, formatters, and printers. They employee ad wizards… They arrange for distribution and release it into the wild, sending it further than I could on my own. And they take all that frustration away from me.

I’ve been published since 2004, before self-publishing was a thing. I’m glad I was part of the e-publishing movement, despite being considered the redheaded stepchild by my peers at the time. Yes, going through an e-publisher was considered cheating. And self-publishing at the time was considered worse than that. In fact, RWA didn’t consider a member published if he or she paid a cent to publish their book.

It’s hard not to resent RWA, for being so resistant to e-publishing for years, and then quickly embracing self-publishing like it’s the best thing that could’ve happened to our profession. At least with an e-publisher you had to submit your manuscript for consideration, find someone who felt it had promise, and then subject your ego to editing. I’m just voicing my opinion here. Don’t shoot me.

No, I don’t know everything. Believe me, I learned that lesson early. And maybe Indies are right in believing they don’t need outside help. Some of them are making more money than I am, but does that make them better writers? I know some who think (pardon me) 'their shit don't stink.'

It’s not a contest. The person with the biggest paycheck doesn’t necessarily win. In my opinion, some authors have forgotten why we write. Our job is not to pump out a giant volume of books and make a ton of money. Our job is to entertain readers.

I hope Mercury retrograde doesn’t mess up my message here. I’ve wanted to say this for a long time. If by saying it I offended anyone, I’m sorry. I’m not sorry for having these feelings, but I’m sorry if I hurt yours. That’s not my intention. I will admit that sometimes, I’m stupid enough to give advice, unasked for. I have this bad habit of wanting my friends to succeed and trying to help them.

Without having to do all the aforementioned work myself, I had more time to write and my writing improved with every new book, and everyone who weighed in on it. I'm not giving advice here...just sharing my experience.

Do you believe in Mercury retrograde?

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Very Jaguar Christmas Coming Oct 4! And 5 Free Books!!







I'm working on White Wolf Christmas now, and need to decide what's next in the series. Billionaire!
White Wolf? Not sure what else...so have to give it some thought!

In the meantime, getting ready for the release of A Very Jaguar Christmas where the jaguars and wolves' world turn upside down because of one little Arctic wolf pup!

And I'm still gardening, more watermelons and bell peppers on the way. And I'm photographing everything from jaguars at the San Diego Zoo (RWA conference), butterflies at the botanical gardens, or in my own yard, and trying to capture the busy little hummingbirds hovering so fast and zipping about my flowers in shots. But here are a couple of special photos I captured while I was in San Diego, at home, and Scotland last September.

Jaguar, San Diego Zoo
Monarch Butterfly, San Diego Botanical Gardens
Calf having Supper at Sunset, Neist Point Lighthouse overlook, Isle of Skye, Scotland


Skipper Butterfly in my Garden


Have a super great day!!!




Terry
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
Website: http://www.terryspear.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/421434.Terry_Spear
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrySpearParanormalRomantics
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerrySpear
Wilde & Woolly Bears http://www.celticbears.com

Friday, August 26, 2016

What Did You Do This Summer?

It's the first question every kid gets asked when they return to school. What did you do this summer?  It starts off as a fun question and usually ends up being the first essay.

So as summer is winding down, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from my summer.  One of the best events for me was the release of If the Earl Only Knew!  I know I'm biased, but I love this book.  Kate is absolutely one of my favorite heroines.  Yes, I like them feisty!

Our big vacation/work trip this summer was to drive down to San Diego for the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference. It was truly amazing. So much information, so many good people!

Here I am at the Casablanca Author dinner next to Shana Galen and Theresa Romain - both were RITA nominees for Earls Just Want to Have Fun and Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress, respectively. I admit, I was hoping to catch some of the some of the positive mojo from these two talented ladies!



Along the way on our trip I got a chance to visit the new Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. Fabulous! I can definitely recommend the frozen Butterbeer. The huge simulation ride I passed on though - I knew my stomach wouldn't handle it. My DH rode it once and came off a little green. My kids though went on at least three times and LOVED it.

Back at home we had some upheaval as we decided to remodel the bathroom. Our house was built in the era when the "open concept" bathroom was in style. Yup, the bedroom basically opened up into the bathroom, so I could lie in bed and watch my DH floss his teeth. Not good people, not good.  So for the sake of our marriage and to alleviate crimes against decency, we have now enclosed our bathroom.

Here is a before pic.  I know. Bad.

Here it is being framed out.  We did a lot of the work ourselves to try to reduce costs.



My DH sprained his ankle on the weekend we planned to install the hardwood floor in the bedroom so I stepped up to the plate!

So here is a picture of the finished product.  Yes, it's just a wall.  Not very exciting to most folks but see that door to the bathroom?  That's a huge joy for me!



I love my new bathroom.  Love, love, love!!




Soooo, what did you do this summer?



Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sultry Southern Summers

by Adriana Anders

With the blazing heat of summer still lingering and the humidity wrapped around us like a damp beach towel, I can’t help but think about the second book in my Blank Canvas series—By Her Touch. It’s a moody, emotional read, set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When we meet our hero and heroine, they’re in the midst of a midsummer heat wave. Have you ever experienced one of those in the South? If you have, you’ll know that you’ve got two choices. Escape it by heading for cooler climes or embrace it with some of these sultry southern summer pursuits. They may not help you beat the heat, but they might get you to forget it.
  • Slow times with good friends on porches. Ever notice how people down south can spend hours just watching the world go by? There’s a reason for that: they know better than wasting valuable energy trying to move.


  • Sittin’ and Sippin’ Mint Juleps, Sweet Tea, Bourbon or Sour Mash. It’s just a matter of taste what poison you choose. 


  • Catchin’ light. There’s nothing like waiting out those early evening hours (beverage in hand) just waiting for lightning bugs (fireflies to many folks) to show. It’s that slow, sweet crawl into nighttime that makes mid-summer so special. 


  • Watching sweaty hot men at work and at play. Shirtless carpenters roofing a house, big bearded men throwing a football under a blue sky, men in the vineyards (yes they grow a lot of grapes in the foothills of Virginia) with work-busted hands, farming the red clay.


  • Late night skinny-dipping down at the creek (nekkid crick swimmin’, if you’re from around here).  Invite the neighborhood boys along and call it a party. 


  • Bluegrass on a blanket. How do you know your picnic’s in the south? It’s the tunes that’ll tell you. If the grass is blue, you’ve probably crossed the Mason-Dixon line, where the banjo is king and vocal harmonies take you to heaven. 


  • Gettin’ sweaty between the sheets. When the festivities end for the night, but it’s too hot to sleep, there’s always a way to keep busy with your man.


What are your favorite hot-weather activities? How about sultry summer reads? 

Adriana Anders has acted and sung, slung cocktails and corrected copy. She’s worked for start-ups, multinationals and small non-profits, but it wasn’t until she returned to her first love—writing romance—that she finally felt like she’d come home. Today, she resides with her tall French husband, two small children, and fat French cat in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she writes the dark, emotional love stories of her heart.
Visit Adriana: www.adrianaanders.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Musical Inspiration

Music has always played an important role in my life as it has for many people. If books are my refuge then music is my foundation. So when I sat down to write my first novel I was told over and over to use what I knew and since I know marketing and music I chose to write about marketing set against a backdrop of heavy metal and rockabilly. My taste in music is fairly eclectic…I like a little of everything (except country, the only country I like is Sam Hunt and the Mavericks, but that’s another story).

For me, music is a family affair. In my teens and early 20s, I spent a lot of time seeing bands: punk, rockabilly, ska, rock, metal, you name it. Before kids, my husband and I spent a lot of time in blues clubs and going to festivals. Once our children started developing their own interest in music we expanded our musical road trips to include Taylor Swift, EDM, death metal (I still shudder a little when someone mentions the Black Dahlia Murder), Imelda May, George Ezra, Purity Ring. Anyway, you get the point.



When I write I often need to block out the real world while I dive into my pretend world with my pretend people and their pretend problems. The music I listen to helps create a type of magic that allows me to tap into that special well of creativity we all have buried deep inside. Below are the first 20 songs on the playlist for my debut Beautiful Crazy (out November 1). For the complete list and play links to Spotify and Google Play Music playlists, check out my website at www.kaseylane.com/bcplaylist.

  1. Light a Way by Volbeat
  2. Big Bad Handsome Man by Imelda May
  3. World in Flames by In this Moment
  4. Alias by In Flames
  5. Collapse Zeds by Dead (Feat. Memorecks)
  6. What's Mine Is Yours by Sleater-Kinney
  7. Sound of a Revolution by Sonic Boom Six
  8. Can't Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley
  9. 11:11 by Rodrigo y Gabriella
  10. The Bleeding by Five Finger Death Punch
  11. Dear God by Avenged Sevenfold
  12. Into the Ocean by Blue October
  13. Lullaby for a Sadist by Korn
  14. The Outlaw Torn by Metallica
  15. Top Yourself by The Raconteurs
  16. Grow Old With You by Matthew Mayfield
  17. Over and Over by Tim McGraw and Nelly
  18. Moondance by Van Morrison
  19. Last Rockers by Vice Squad
  20. She by The Misfits
I’d love to hear what music does for you or what kind of music you can’t live without.



If you're interested in winning a free ARC or receiving excerpts for Beautiful Crazy or my other upcoming novels, please sign up for my newsletter on my website.

She’s a rocker with attitude and ink…
He’s a sexy suit who gets what he wants


Kevan Landry is trying to keep her life on track and her brother in rehab. If her fledgling marketing firm can sign the hot new band, Manix Curse, it will make a world of difference. Mason Dillon heads the most successful music PR firm in Portland. He’s desperate to breathe new life into the company by signing Manix Curse.

The last thing either one needs is a one-night stand with a smoldering stranger…

The stakes are high when a battle for the band—in the bedroom and the boardroom—becomes a battle of the heart. But if these two can set aside their differences, they may find they’re the right mix of sexy savvy to conquer both their worlds.


Pre-order Beautiful Crazy:

About Kasey:
Award-winning author Kasey Lane writes sexy romances featuring music, hot guys with ink, kick ass women, and always a happily ever after. A California transplant, she lives with her high school crush turned husband, two smart, but devilish kids, two dumb-as-rocks Papillons, and a bunch of bossy chickens in the lush Oregon forest. Visit her website where you'll find her swearing too much and talking about the San Jose Sharks, tattoos, and Jack White.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My WTF Job



Be sure to check out the Coffee Mug Pre-Order Offer at the end of the post!


It started at the interview…

I interviewed for a job at small gift shop in my town. I enjoyed going into this shop because they had unique items that I couldn’t find anywhere else. One day I noticed they had a help wanted sign up. So of course I applied! I had just graduated with my BA in psychology and had decided to take a year off before returning to grad school.

During the interview the owner of business told me that I’d be working only twenty hours a week—twenty-five max. She told me she needed someone to learn how to make the unique, one-of-a-kind gift baskets that the store was known for. I told her that I was more than willing to learn. That sounded fun!

On my first day of work, the owner told me to go upstairs with one of the employees so she could teach me how to make gift baskets. So I spent a few hours learning the basics of gift baskets. You wouldn’t think they were complicated, but they actually kinda were. Or maybe they were just super-picky.

The next day when I went in to work, the owner called me into her office. “I didn’t hire you to make gift baskets. You need to be down here on the floor working at all times.”

WTF?

I was so dumbfounded I was speechless. She told me in the interview she wanted me to learn how to make gift baskets, and she was the one who told me to go up there and learn how to make the gift baskets.

I decided to stay the hell away from gift baskets.

A few weeks later the owner called me into her office again and told me she was very disappointed that I hadn’t learned how to make gift baskets. That gift baskets were an essential element to my job and she thought I understood that from the interview.

WTF?

Another of my job duties was to price the new merchandise that came in to the shop. I was told to take the price that was paid by the shop, multiply by 2.5 and then round up to the nearest .99 cents. So I did. It wasn’t hard. After all I was a college graduate.

One day the owner wandered around the shop picking up some of the new merchandise that I’d
priced a few days before. She looked at a price and called me over. “Why did you put this price on here?”

“It’s 2.5 times the price, rounded up to the nearest .99 cents.”

“Well, you can just look at this and see that it’s worth more than the price you have on it. I want you to raise the price by six dollars.”

WTF?

She went through the store telling me the new prices she wanted on ALL the merchandise. I had to reprice the entire store! Just when I finished a new shipment came in. I went to her with a new item we’d gotten in. “2.5 times rounded up to the nearest .99 cents is this price. What would you like me to put on this?”

“That price.”

Okay. So I priced all those items and went to her with a new item. “Here is 2.5 times the price, rounded up to the nearest .99 cents. What price do you want me to put on this?

“Uh. That price.”

I finish pricing all those items and went back to her with a new item and the same question. “2.5 times the price, rounded up to the nearest .99 cents is this. What do you want me to put on here?”

“I don’t understand why you can’t get it. You price everything at 2.5 times the price and round up to the nearest .99 cents. This isn’t hard. You are a college graduate.”

WTF?

I confess, when a situation hits me out of left field, I’m not a think-on-my-feet kind of girl. I was absolutely dumbfounded at her statement. She’d just made me reprice the entire store two days previous, because she didn’t like the 2.5 times rounded up to the nearest .99 cent price.

The holidays were approaching and my hours in the store jumped from twenty a week to fifty a week for a month. Most days I opened and closed the store. I worked fifty hours a week, while she and her friends only came in a few hours a day. And it wasn’t like I was sitting around when they weren’t there. I had to check in all the new items, display all of it, keep the food and drink station stocked and pretty, check out customers, sweep, dust, clean the bathrooms.

The owner called me into her office. “I’m disappointed that you’re aren’t contributing enough to the business.”

WTF?

She said I wasn’t contributing enough?!

WTF?

I’d never walked off a job before and I never have since, but that day I think I was close to a limit: the throat-punch her or leave limit. I left. Walked out and never came back. And never gave that store my business ever again.

My only glee came from knowing that the owner and her friends were actually going to have to show up and do all my work since I wasn’t there.

What about you?

Have you ever had a WTF job?





Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for more than three hundred pages.

Cursed with a terrible gift
Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you—he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night—the voice of a woman begging him to save her.
A gift that threatens to engulf them...
Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.



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Monday, August 22, 2016

Sail Like a Viking (by Asa Maria Bradley)

One of the best things about being a writer is that your all consuming interests are called research instead of obsessions. While writing my Viking Warriors series, I can bury my nose in books about Norse mythology and nobody can fault me for not working. It's so awesome!

Most of my research comes from books and the internet, but during a visit to my parents' house a few years ago, I took a side trip to the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum in Denmark. The museum houses five original Viking ships from the 11th century. These ships were used in a blockade in a natural channel close to Skuldelev, which is 20 km north of Roskilde, the Viking age capital of Denmark. During the scrimmage, the ships were purposely sunk. In 1962, they were excavated in thousands of pieces. An unbelievable feat of underwater archaeology. Each piece of timber had to be conserved and then painstakingly puzzled together to recreate the ships. Each ship is a different type and together they give a unique insight into Viking shipbuilding techniques and skills.

Skuldelev Ship 3: The Coastal Trader

In addition to the ships and a myriad of exhibitions on Viking culture and customs, the museum has a boatyard where you can watch craftsmen reconstruct prehistoric boats in full scale, using only the tools available at the time. They'll even let you try out the tools. And then they sail the ships across the Roskilde Fjord! And you can go with them!

School and books taught me what outstanding strategists, navigators, and craftsmen the Vikings were, but it’s a whole other thing to see how something is actually done. The extreme precision involved in building a waterproof vessel is mind boggling. Imagine fitting plank by plank together without glue or nails. And the teamwork necessary to sail the ships is amazing. One miscalculated pull on an oar or a rope, and the whole exposed vessel could flip over in open ocean.

After hours of pestering the builders with questions and watching the sailors navigate their authentic vessels across the bay, I visited the museum shop, which is a goldmine of research material. It wasn’t until I remembered my return flight’s weight limit that I was able to drag myself out of the store.

If you ever have a chance, join one of the 120 000 people who visit the museum yearly. Here are my two very special guides: my nephew Eric and my niece Ellen, Viking and Valkyrie in training.

Swedish Conquerors of the Sea
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Asa Maria Bradley grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology. She arrived in the US as a high school exchange student, which is when her ongoing addiction to ranch dressing and crime TV series started. Asa currently resides on a lake deep in the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest with a British husband and a rescue dog of indeterminate breed. Her debut novel, VIKING WARRIOR RISING, was a double RITA finalist and RT Book Reviews gave VIKING WARRIOR REBEL 4.5 stars and Top Pick! status. Visit Asa at www.AsaMariaBradley.com and @AsaMariaBradley