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Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Blog Hop



This New Year's Blog Hop was organized by 
Carrie Ann's Blog Hops!

From January 1st thru January 6th, I'm participating in the New Year's Blog Hop hosted by Carrie Ann's Blog Hops! And to one lucky Follower, I'll be giving away a 
$10 Amazon Gift Card!

Details:
One (1) $10 Amazon Gift Card to the winner of the Hop!
Open to International Entries.
Drawing for the Giveaway will be held on
January 7, 2013, and the winner will be announced on
January 7, 2013.
To be eligible to enter the Giveaway, use the Rafflecopter Form below!

 But that's not all....

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yup, you can enter over 200 times!

Now for the GRAND Prize! Drum roll please...

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $300 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Large Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, bookmarks, cozies, and more!

Hop and enter the other giveaways!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gifting Books - A Christmas Giveaway Hop!

You can't go wrong with the gift of reading! From the time my boys were babies, and now with my grandson, I always tucked a book in with their other presents . . . because there's nothing like getting lost in the pages of a romance or an adventure or a fantasy. And now, it's even easier with gift cards that bring the choice of that escape right to the recipient. Wrap yourself up in words this holiday as a gift from me!!
The Gifting Books Giveaway Hop was organized by 
Nat at Reading Romances!

From December 20th thru December 27th, I'm participating in the Gifting Books Giveaway Hop hosted by Nat at Reading Romances! And to one lucky Follower, I'll be giving away a 
copy of Betrayed by Shadows and a $5 Amazon Gift Card!

 Available at:
Barnes & Noble 

Details:
One (1) $5 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of Betrayed by Shadows to the winner of the Hop!
Open to International Entries.
Drawing for the Giveaway will be held on
December 28, 2012, and the winner will be announced on
December 28, 2012.
To be eligible to enter the Giveaway, use the Rafflecopter Form below!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Release Day!!!


BETRAYED BY SHADOWS

Book 7 – “By Moonlight” series

A good man buried in bad deeds . . .

Balancing a criminal empire and a preternatural clan war, reluctant front man Giles St. Clair doesn’t need a problem like Brigit MacCreedy . . . How much trouble can the head-strong and manipulative Shifter beauty get into in two weeks? Plenty when her schemes range from kidnapping to fleeing the retribution of her dead lover’s clan.

A bad girl denying a good heart . . .

With her family’s lives on the line, Brigit is willing to do whatever it takes to save them. The only thing standing in her way is an immovable stone wall of a man she can’t bully or beguile . . . a human, no less, who has promised to protect her from the secrets and dangers she conceals. Risking her own safety gets complicated when an honorable and annoyingly desirable man puts himself between her and her powerful enemies in a battle he can’t win.

“I really liked Giles as a hero! He's exactly what I look for in my alpha males (even when they are human) - sexy, confident, strong, a bit cocky, different, and slightly damaged. The two of them together as a leading couple are frustrating, heartbreaking, sexy as sin, and ultimately perfect.

In Giles and Brigit's action packed quest to make the world safe again for themselves and those they love, lots of secrets are revealed, unlikely alliances are forged, some new friends and relationships are discovered and solidified and things majorly change in the whole outfit of the clans. I absolutely LOVE the St. Clair dysfunctional family.

LITERAL ADDICTION gives Betrayed by Shadows 4 1/2 Skulls and most definitely recommends it to all fans of Nancy's MOONLIGHT series as well as Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Shifter fans.”

Literal Addiction


"From the very first chapter this book caught and held my attention. Giles turned out to be so different from the person I’m used to seeing. How have I never noticed what a hottie he is? He and Brigit are more alike than they think. These two have to fight tooth and nail to finally have a happy ending. Betrayals, misunderstandings, and secrets, but they do get there.

It seems that Nancy Gideon has woven a more in depth world than I realized. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed these two characters and by how much I still enjoy this series. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I am anticipating the next book, Prince of Shadows."

Fiction Vixen

For the next four weeks, BETRAYED BY SHADOWS is specially priced at $1.99! One click and you’ll be reading!


Amazon          Barnes & Noble

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2 Days to New Release Day: Let the Music Play


I love all kinds of music: metal, opera, bluegrass, rock, oldies, movie themes, pop - anything with a tune. For me, music equates with emotion, mood, time and place. Ever hear a certain song and immediately think of that high school breakup or your first ride in a convertible? It’s a vital part of the creation process for each of my books to have a soundtrack. What kind of music my hero or heroine listens to tells me a lot about their personality. What type of music I listen to puts me in the mood for my story – a sultry blues beat to conjure the feel of New Orleans, the restless, yearning rhythms of a love song, aggressive guitar licks to stimulate the adrenaline of a good fight scene. I remember my oldest son groaning, “Why can’t you write a horror novel,” because of the wailing country ballads I was playing as a backdrop for my Western historical series.

For BETRAYED BY SHADOWS it was a step away from the more eclectic mix of SEEKER OF SHADOWS to the Cajun heart of Giles St. Clair (with a couple of blasts from the rock ‘n roll past to tie him to his memories). Brigit’s playlist was more glitzy and contemporary but at the same time held a hint of lonely sadness. The musical themes toy with loss, with trust, with hope, and I can picture some of them, like “Our Last Time”, as a summary of the scenes. When you read the book, see if you can guess which one. Plug in, close your eyes, and get a feel for BETRAYED BY SHADOWS.




As a sidebar, my son was thrilled while I was writing my next book in the series, PRINCE OF SHADOWS and came to him to ask what kind of metal music he’d recommend for my rowdy, tattooed rock ‘n roll prince Cale Terriot. I certainly got some funny looks driving downtown to work with the windows open, head bobbing, radio blasting Eisbrecher, Megaherz, Chrome Division and Five Finger Death Punch along with my favorite AC/DC. Mama’s rocking on.

Tomorrow is Day One – RELEASE DAY!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

3 Days to New Release Day: Behind the Scenes with Florence Price




I’ll be the first to admit, I’d rather say it in words than try to create it in pictures. I’m not an artist, but I know what I like. I have a very strong sense of what I want (okay, I’m fanatical about it!) I can picture it clearly in my mind and know it the minute I see it. Having ideas isn’t my problem. I have tons of ideas for promotion. I love to think outside the box. But building it from the ground up . . . I don’t know where to begin.

Sometimes, you can learn the skills. Sometimes, especially those times when you HAVE no time, you need to trust in the talents of others. And you need to learn how to express what you want and understand what is . . . and what isn’t possible. A lesson learned from graphic and cover artist pal Patricia Lazarus who would just smile serenely when I was being difficult as she designed the banners and do-dads for my website.

Social media isn’t for sissies. It requires time . . . lots of it . . . and ability. I’d just reached the point where my “want to” was clashing with my “can’t do” when I met an author’s dream come true. Someone who could take those random ideas and bring them to life in an organized fashion when I say ‘Make it so’ . . . and smile serenely when I ask if I’m being difficult.

It’s my pleasure to introduce Florence Price . . .




Hi everyone and thanks for such a wonderful welcome today, Nancy!!!


What motivated you to become a virtual assistant?

I’d worked as a daycare provider for eight years at the time I started MGF, wanting to stay home with my kids when they were little. But as my kids got older, I started thinking I wanted to get out of daycare and into something else. It was actually one of my fellow Mid-Michigan RWA members and very good friend, Margo Hoornstra, who said she’d read an article about virtual assistants in the Romance Writers Report. We were at a meeting, and she said, “You could do that!” I’d done some things for our chapter that were sort of on the techy side, and as soon as I got home from the meeting, I pulled out the copy of the RWR, read the article, and said, “Yeah, I could definitely do that!”

What prior experience did you have?

Before working as a daycare provider, I worked as a paralegal, so I felt I had the organizational, research and clerical skills needed to be a virtual assistant, but I had no real social media or computer programming skills that I would need for websites design, graphic design, book trailers, promotion, etc., just an aptitude and a high learning curve.
Over the last two years, all the skills I've acquired have been self-taught through a lot of trial and error. I found that I like, no love, working with computers and figuring out how something works.

How did you learn about the romance industry and the ins and outs of graphic design?

I’ve been a member of the MMRWA since 2008, and that was my foot-in-the-door to the romance industry. It’s a fantastic group, full of wonderful, generous people, and I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of the chapter.

My big introduction to graphic design was when I was hired by you to design your Romance Trading Cards for your By Moonlight Series, using the book graphics designed by the mega-talented Patrish Lazarus. This was something I learned how to do as I went along…They’re still one of my favorite designs!!! 




How did you find clients?

I started working with the authors in the MMRWA group, then it snowballed. Word-of-Mouth is a great promotional tool. Most of my fabulous clients will refer their friends to me.

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve been asked to do for a client?

Ha! Nancy I have to say it was your Haunted Open Houses, both the 2011 and the 2012 versions, but mostly the 2012 House. There’s a lot of work that goes into decorating the rooms to the house, and for some reason this year Blogger (the site is hosted on blogspot.com) was having a rather severe nervous breakdown. But I’ve been told I’m somewhat stubborn, and I wasn’t going to admit defeat just because blogspot was twitchy. I tweaked and worked around the problems until I got it finished.

What’s the most fun?

Again, your Haunted Open Houses! I don’t know how many people said, “How fun!!!” When they visited. You really know how throw an awesome party!

Where are your go-to places for the ‘tools of the trade’? i.e., music, stock photos, apps, etc.

My favorite site for images is BigStockPhoto. They have a huge selection and the prices are very reasonable. For music I like to use NEO Sounds, again good selection and great prices. The design app I use is Gimp, which is free and very similar to Adobe Photoshop. My preference for blog hosting is still blogspot.com, even with the occasional twitch. I’ve found that, as opposed to WordPress.com (another free platform), blogspot.com is much more fluid when it comes to unique designs and the ability to work with the HTML of the site. WordPress.com is somewhat rigid, and is more difficult to work with design-wise. There’s absolutely pro’s and con’s to both platforms, but if I have the choice, I’ll work with blogspot.com.

You’ve branched off into a new venture with Buy the Book Tours. What prompted this expansion?

One of my very best friends, Christine Warner, and I were talking one day about the tour she was currently participating in with her most recent book, and it just took off from there. Christine and I are very similar in the way we think about things…We have a lot of those, “I was just going to say that!” moments, so it’s been a lot of laughs and a real pleasure working with her. She’s got super mad promo skills, so she handles a lot of those tasks, and I’ve got the techy know-how, so I design the banners, maintenance our website, post the media pages that go with the tours, etc., then we split some of the other tasks that we can both perform.

How do you find a good fit between client’s with new books and blog stops?

The way our BTB system works is we send out a tour invitation to the over 240 sites we have participating in the tours via a MailChimp mailing, which includes the tour banner, a link to the author’s website, information about the schedule of the tour, the blurb, an excerpt of the book and the link to the sign up page. Then the hosts decide, based on that information, whether they would like to promote and/or review the book. As soon as we receive the required number of “host sign-ups” for the tour, we then close it. And that's how we handled your tour that begins January 4, 2013, which, by-the-way, filled up in a matter of hours - It was an awesome thing to watch!


Click Image for Schedule

What's the average day like for a VA?

Oh, my goodness I don’t have average days! Every day is something different, which is another reason why I love working as a virtual assistant…It’s never boring, especially with you as a client!


Where can authors find out more about your services?


I have a My Girl Friday website, where information about my services and links to my work can be found, and Christine and I have a website for Buy the Book Tours, where all of our information on tours packages and what we’ve currently got going on can be found. 

Thank you so much for having me visit today, Nancy! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop


I confess . . . I’m a Christmas-aholic! I love the holiday season: the decorating, the music, the smells of baking and pine needles, the traditions, the familial unit gathering, the calendar filling up with events, and especially, gift giving. This year, with a new book, BETRAYED BY SHADOWS, coming out the week before Christmas, I’ve been in a HUGE rush to get everything done on time. So, instead of spending precious minutes jockeying for parking spaces at the mail, I’ve done a lot of my buying from the comfort of my office chair. Oh, the power of the “One Click”! So, I’m passing along that ease of shopping by offering an Amazon gift card for the Blog Hop giveaway with an encouragement to give (or enjoy!) the gift of reading. Did you know you can give e-books as gifts? How cool is that!

So even though I don’t share my BETRAYED BY SHADOW’s heroine Brigit’s love of mall shopping, I’m an advocate of enjoying the virtual experience. I think at the special price of $1.99, BETRAYED BY SHADOWS is going to be popping up in a lot of my friend’s Christmas stockings!

 Available at:
Barnes & Noble 

The Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop was organized by 
Carrie Ann's Blog Hops!

From December 14th thru December 17th, I'm participating in the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop hosted by Carrie Ann's Blog Hops! And to one lucky Follower, I'll be giving away a 
$10 Amazon Gift Card!

Details:
One (1) $10 Amazon Gift Card to the winner of the Hop!
Open to International Entries.
Drawing for the Giveaway will be held on
December 18, 2012, and the winner will be announced on
December 18, 2012.
To be eligible to enter the Giveaway, use the Rafflecopter Form below!

 But that's not all....

We have THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yup, you can enter over 200 times!

Now for the GRAND Prize! Drum roll please...

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Large Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, bookmarks, cozies, and more!

Hop and enter the other giveaways!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

5 Days to New Release Day: Bang for your Buck – Choose Wisely


One of the most daunting efforts in preparing for a new release is putting together a PR plan to get your book noticed. If readers don’t know your novel is out there, how are they going to buy it? If you don’t provide them with a map, how are they going to find you?

The first thing I noticed going from print to e-book was that many of the dependable avenues I’d used in the past were no longer available. Romantic Times Booklovers Magazine didn’t include BETRAYED BY SHADOWS in their upcoming release list for Pocket nor did they review my book in their magazine even though it was the 7th in a series. I didn’t get my cover in time to do an independent ad with them. Goodreads didn’t host giveaways, which had always been so successful for my previous titles, unless the book was available in print. I was panicking. How was I going to let readers know this book existed if I couldn’t get the word out there? Shout “Hey, look at me!” while waving madly?

Well . . . yeah.

Working with e-books required a major shift in my PR approach. I’d previously targeted booksellers to get those cartons from the warehouses to their shelves. Instead of board and mortar space, I was now dealing with virtual space. I already had a fairly decent Internet presence on Facebook and had a modestly traveled website and blog. What I needed to do was get potential readers to visit, spread the word and come back. What could I do to say “Hey, look at me!” without flooding my social media sites with hammering messages to “Buy the Book!”?

Visibility and repetition. Those were things I learned in a university course on advertising and publicity. Get in front of their face enough to establish recognition to bond in a positive way. I asked myself what catches my eye? Things that are 1) fun. Things that are 2) free. Things that are 3) different. Things that are . . . because of my ADD . . . 4) shiny!

I’ve always thought of writers and readers as a community. It takes a village. Time to reach out to those neighbors. The way to be a good neighbor is to invite them over first. So, months before I had a book available, I rallied a group of creative friends as support staff and opened the doors to my Haunted Open House. Over 1,500 friends stopped by to enjoy the games, giveaways, and guests and recipes . . . and got a look at my December title.

I needed to reach beyond my small pond. How about getting invited to someone else’s pond? One thing about the Internet, everyone needs content and most are willing to let you stop by in exchange for a few paragraphs and a reciprocal visit. In return, I love helping out other author friends and get tired of coming up with blog ideas myself. Why not put together a quick and sassy 20 Questions Tuesday to introduce my friends to your friends? Win-Win. Fun, and an ever expanding ripple of new potential readers from one pond to the other.

Everyone likes free stuff. That’s something I learned during the big bookmark craze in the ‘80s. Giveaways (that don’t break your promotional bank!) are a great draw. The quickest, easiest way to bring new guests to your blog is to offer something free (I like to give gift cards. Just a one click away!) and the best way to let visitors know what you have to offer is joining a Blog Hop. Minimal time and cost expended, huge returns. I’ve participated in several and my blog, Facebook and Twitter numbers went wild. Did it result in sales? Hard to tell . . . yet. Kinda like that bookmark thing. But they did bring a new crop of potential where there was little before. The trick is to not continually preach to that same choir. And make sure your message is one they’re receptive to.

A twist on the Blog Hop is the Blog Tour. The ultimate “Look at Me!” I’d done several through my publisher that brought a crop of helpful reviews. This time I’m doing something a little different. I’ve got a promotional company doing a tour for me with dedicated stops all under an eye-catching banner. I’m excited to be visiting with a variety of new hosts and reaching out to a wider-audience. Coming up with content for 25 stops in two months . . . 



Click Image for Tour Schedule
Then there’s the “shiny”. As much as I’m wary of technology, I love flash. I love the concept of lagniappe – that extra on the side that I discovered in New Orleans. The exciting thing about promotion to me is doing the extra stuff: offering extra behind the scenes content, Romance Trading Cards, sending goodie packets to conferences, doing book trailers, putting together a research travel diary, character playlists, events like this one, not because they necessarily sell more books . . . but because they’re a fun way to reach out to people who’ll enjoy them.

Tomorrow I’m turning my blog over to the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop (OooooO! Free stuff!). Make sure you stop back over the weekend to meet a special guest who keeps my “Oh, shiny!” going.

What things have you tried as an author? What things appeal to you as a reader?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

6 Days to New Release Day: It’s All Gre“E”k to Me!


 
Just when you think you know where it’s at, somebody moves it! That’s how I felt about the e-book revolution. I had no problem with e-readers and e-books . . . as long as I had print to fall back on. The feel of a book in hand, the sight of it on the stands, the thrill of opening that box of author copies - to me, that’s what being published was all about. 



That’s not to say that publishing hasn’t changed - massively - since I was first on the shelves in 1987. I’ve seen book distributors and wholesalers shrink for around 500 to 5 or less, bookstores and book chains closing their doors, shelf space devoured by the bestseller list and reprints, and now the Big Six of New York condensing into the Big 5. Like the vinyl platter LPs of music and bulky VHSs of movies, was the paperback becoming the next dinosaur in this digital age?

When my publisher approached me with the idea of writing two e-exclusives for my next contract, I confess, I was cautious. I’m not one to leap on new technology in any shape or form . . . but the advance was a tempting carrot. I like to be gainfully employed. But I didn’t know anything about selling e-books as a product, and the Pocket Star e-exclusive line was a new venture for my publisher as well. Time to weigh the pros and cons . . .

PRO:

  • Money. A nice advance to pad my 9-to-5 income.
  • Faster turnaround. I’d get another book out in 2012 and one in early 2013.
  • My “By Moonlight” series would continue.
  • Money. Over half of new book sales are now e-editions.
  • Space. There was no more room under my bed for boxes of author copies.
  • No pressure to do book signings. I do them but, other than the chance to meet readers and booksellers, they’re not my favorite way to spend an afternoon.
  • Money. A bigger royalty percentage. Bigger is better (unless it’s a pant size!)
  • Easier to do giveaways. The hassle and cost of mailing paperbacks, especially to international winners, would be as simple as my Amazon One Click.
  • An aggressive publisher marketing plan. A new venture for them – more exposure for me.
  • Money. Competitive price points to lure new readers and reward regular fans. Pushing a $7.99 book in a $0.99 download world is tough.
CON:
  • Not everyone has an e-reader.
  • All my PR connections were through print avenues.
  • Loss of dependable review routes like Romantic Times and Publishers Weekly, and no exposure in venues like Romance Writers of America’s RWR.
  • No early covers to make use of advertising opportunities.
  • Going from a print paperback pond into an e-ocean of available books ( I have a fear of deep water!)
  • Disgruntled fans. The minute faithful readers of the series found out Books 7 and 8 weren’t coming out in paperback, I’d start hearing from them. They had all the other books in print and would want the entire series that way.
It was time for me to suck it up and learn new tricks again, and hope readers would follow. 
 
I’m still like an e-virgin. I’m upping my social media game (I’ll be talking about that tomorrow!) and working the digital ropes, which is a good thing since I’ve gotten a big chunk of my old titles reverted back to me and can look toward e-books as a means to recirculate them.


Speaking of money (my shameless motivator), here’s one HUGE perk of having a new e-exclusive: Special pricing!


 
For the first four weeks after my 12-17-12 release, BETRAYED BY SHADOWS will be available for sale at the jaw-dropping price of $1.99! No waiting. No lines at the checkout counter. No shipping & handling fee. $1.99 on Amazon or Barnes & Noble and Shazzam, you’re reading it!


Merry Christmas from me and Pocket Star!