Sunday, November 20, 2016

#MFRWauthor-to-author: Benefits of Self Publishing @gemwriter Claire Gem

Why Claire Gem Chose Self Publishing
I began my published author career with not one, not two, but three small publishers. My experience with them taught me many things, the least of which was patience. Which I don't have a lot of.

The first publisher did an awesome job editing, gave me the cover I asked for, and then nothing else.

The second did a crappy editing job but gave me a wonderful cover.

The third did outstanding edits, but forced me to change the title and sprung a cover on me I still have nightmares about.

Which is why I created Erato Publishing, published HEARTS UNLOCHED in eBook, Paperback, and Audiobook, and will never, ever look back. I am a control freak who also happens to be lucky enough to have a sister who is a graphic designer (and loves designing book covers) and a husband who is patient (and smart) enough to stay out of my way when I'm struggling with formatting issues.

My new release, HEARTS UNLOCHED, is a story that came to me, quite literally, already written. My husband grew up in the area of the Catskills in New York where the book is set: Sullivan County. We were visiting the area last fall when he began reiterating the urban legend about Loch Sheldrake—a lake so deep nobody has ever found the bottom.

So deep, it was the perfect place for the mob to dump bodies back in the day.

Sullivan County is littered with abandoned hotels, resorts, and convention centers. Back in the 50s and up until about 1970, the area enjoyed a prolific tourist trade from folks who lived in nearby NYC, only about two hours away. But after plane travel became more affordable, the tourist trade dried up and died. Many of the hotels were taken over by Jewish religious organizations, burned to the ground, or still stand forgotten and rotting.

As we drove around the lake, I began a ""what if"" conversation with myself. What if there was an abandoned hotel on the shores of the ill-rumored lake? What if there was a Jewish interior designer from Manhattan who owned a weekend house on the lake? Who was also psychic?

What if a sexy Italian investor bought a crumbling hotel on the shores of Loch Sheldrake? What if, after bumping into each other and producing some rather impressive sexual sparks, the investor hires the designer to renovate his hotel? But what if there's a ghost—a poltergeist—connected with the property who has a very personal interest in the psychic designer? Kate's aunt disappeared from the place fifty years ago.

Hearts Unloched

Interior designer Kate Bardach loves her single girl’s lifestyle—living in Manhattan and spending weekends at her lake house. She’s passionate about her career, reinventing old buildings. But there are some projects she can’t take on because of the spirits trapped there. Kate is psychic—she sees dead people.

Marco Lareci is one of Wall Street’s most successful investment brokers who’s achieved all of his life’s goals—except for finding his soulmate.  His latest project, an abandoned resort on Loch Sheldrake, needs a savvy designer to transform the crumbling complex into a boutique hotel. When Marco meets Kate, he can’t believe his luck. She’s the perfect match for his business and his heart.
Marco’s body excites Kate even more than does his renovation project. But the haunting there, a bonafide poltergeist, affects her on an intensely personal level. Kate’s aunt disappeared from the place fifty years ago.

Will the spirit doom Kate and Marco’s love, or drive them closer together?

ABOUT Claire Gem
Claire turns the paranormal romance genre on its ear by combining the elements of gothic horror, mystery/thriller, and romantic suspense—in present-day settings. It’s a genre she calls New Gothic.

She also writes intensely emotional contemporary romance with a touch of humor under the Claire Gem Contemporary line.

website  |  blog  |  facebook  |  pinterest  |  amazon  |  goodreads

Sunday, November 13, 2016

#MFRWauthor-to-author Tips: Writing Resources @ColleenSMyers

Writing Resources I Found Helpful
I  thought about all the things I ended up stumbling onto as a new writer and decided to try to make a decisive -yet somewhat short- list of things I found useful as I was getting started.
If anyone has any resources they want to share, please add in the COMMENTS.

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
William Strunk and E.B. White,  The Elements of Style
Debra Dixon, GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

Writers Digest – It really is the one stop shop for classes and information.
Romance Writers of America – Membership, contests, and writing groups support. Truly amazing. This is romance specific.
Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America -- Organization that supports Sci-Fi/Fantasy writers.
National Novel Writing Month--- Sign up and write a novel each November.

Agent Querying Resources:
Query 101: The Basics: Where Do I Begin -- A nice article to get you started. Resources for writers.
Query Sharkor Nathan Bransford’s Query Forum -- Both let you post queries, get feedback.
Twitter – I’m serious, there are a bazillion places to connect and get critiques.

Twitter hashtags:
#amwriting,  #askagent,  #tenqueries,  #querytip,  #pubtip
#MSWL (manuscript wish list)
Contests:  #pitmad,  #pitchmadness,  #qeurykombat,  #pitcharama
#writeclub – someone always doing word sprints here -- or #1k1hr

Twitter peeps to follow:
@brendadrake – She runs pitmad/pitchmadness – Awesome lady
@MKDB – Margaret Bail, literary agent, queen of tenqueries
@michelle4laughs -- Michelle Hauck, author and host of Query Kombat
@sc_author -- Blogger, founder of #WriteInclusively.

Special mention to Brenda Novak’s Diabetes Auction where there are unlimited donated treats for authors for a good cause!

Critique groups:
Yes, you do need one. There is #cpmatch done about every 6 months. Always get a second pair of eyes looking at your MS. My group is full of awesome people: @patchi_writes, @earthrelic,  @chellewrites,  @ainsleywynter
Facebook also has a lot of resources for this. Check it out.
Go local. Yahoo has lots of groups where you can find local groups or meet ups. I moderate my local RWA chapter Three Rivers Romance Writers.

When writing your first novel, I recommend you get an editor. Mine was Mary Harris.
Another editor I had look at my query letter and synopsis was @Cslakin

And, of course, all things MFRW are a necessity!

This is a work in progress as I learn more. I deliberately kept it short so it would one page anyone can reference but if you have anything to add, please contact me.
Happy writing!

ABOUT Colleen S. Myers
Colleen plays many roles. Not only is she a veteran, a mother, and a practicing physician, but she is a writer of science fiction and contemporary romances. Colleen’s dreams include surviving her son’s teenage years, exploring every continent on this planet, except Antartica, cause that’s way too cold, and winning the Nobel peace prize. Dream BIG! Currently she is working on Whole Again, a contemporary romance that she hopes to see published in the future.

Colleen's latest book is Can't Forget with Champagne Books.
Is it better to be safe or loved?
Winner of the New England Readers Award!
Four months have passed since the E’mani—those pale alien freaks—destroyed the Earth and scooped up the remains. Elizabeth “Beta” Camden was one of those taken. But she escapes and confronts her prior captors successfully with the help of their enemies. Yet she knows the Imani won’t forget about her. She should stay vigilant and ready. Her heart refuses to listen. Beta falls in love with Marin—he of the hot hands and slit eyes.

Too bad she was right.

This time the E’mani don’t come in force. This time the E’mani slip in silently. And any hope she had of a peaceful life is lost. Beta knows what she has to do and it isn’t play house. She leaves in the dead of night to find the E’mani stronghold and end them once and for all. But love is a tricky bitch. And Marin refuses to let her throw her life away. It takes a threat to his safety to make her realize, if she can’t forget her past, she won’t have a future.

Connect with Colleen

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Quickie...No Not THAT Kind #MFRWAuthor

 Do we ever have enough time? I sure don't. So sometimes I put off posting to some blog sites or other promo opportunities because I needed to set up my link. Or else I used the link itself, like this:
And isn't that pretty much icky? I found out I could remove a lot of the link, like this:

But still it just didn't give the impression I knew what I was doing.  Well, because I didn't. The nice people at Exquisite Quills had directions on how to make that link look a lot more professional. So every time I put in the link I very carefully typed in or copied all the HREFs and <> a and so on. Again, time consuming and way too easy to mess up. Especially when I redid it every time. Yikes.

Then an ah-ha moment. Why not...set up those links ONE TIME and save them. Like this:

<a href="">Mona's Fun Place</a>
<a href="http://">Amazon Author Page</a>
<a href="">Black Opal Books Author Page</a>

so they look like this: https:Mona's Fun Place and so on. This is obviously not necessary everywhere but when you need it often, it's so much easier to have it ready to go

Sadly, it took me a while to figure out how to set this up and save it instead of redoing it. Hey, I was in the middle of a romance...vicariously, of course. It might be almost everyone who reads this post has already figured out this shortcut. But if only one person is was worth the time it took to share this month's quickie.

Mona Karel is the writing alter ego of Monica Stoner, who can be found running her Salukis around the dog show ring, elbows deep in garden soil, and not often enough in front of her computer, searching for that perfect phrase to convey deep emotions. Her recent books include the Stormhaven Love Stories, Romance with a bit of suspense, a bit of humor, and a lot of love.
She helps out MFRW by moderating posts and answering how to questions. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Find A New #Author To Love on #MFRWauthor @MFRW_Org Retweet Day

Retweet Day for #MFRWauthor - Join the fun

For this month's Retweet Day on Twitter, we'd like to invite all Marketing for Romance Writers to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet . Make sure to use #MFRWauthor or MFRW_Org

Once the tweet has been posted. Click on the ... (three dots) in the right hand corner.

This will give you the option to (copy link to tweet). Copy this link and put it in the comment section of this post.
Remember to visit the blog on November 9 and retweet everyone on the list.

Also in an effort to help people find tweets to share of yours, click the ...(three dots) again and pin your tweet to your profile page. This will give you a count of how many people retweeted your post.

Don't forget the Rules

1. Have #MFRWauthor or #MFRWorg in the tweet. (This retweet day is to promote each other and our group.)

2. Do not use profanity or sexual explicit graphics. Keep it clean for all age groups.

3. Return on Retweet Day and click each link and share everyone's post on twitter.

4. Click the G+ symbol on the tweet so you can see where you left off, and to add a little more visibility to the post.

Here's to a great day of retweets,

Tina Gayle

Sunday, November 6, 2016

#WWoW 1% Inspiration/ 99% Perspiration @Jill_Blake_ #MFRWauthor

I’m a planner. With a full-time job and three small kids, I wouldn’t survive if I didn’t plan ahead. This approach carries over to my writing: what I call the 1% inspiration/99% perspiration model.

The inspiration comes from fragments of real life and issues that would otherwise keep me up at night. Since I really need my sleep, I transform these "problems" into fodder for my books.

The 99% perspiration starts with carving out dedicated time for writing. That’s when I do the "foundational work" of research and outlining. I prepare character sketches, chapter-by-chapter outlines, timelines (on an actual calendar!), and individual files for background information (aka research)–all before I even begin chapter one.

My latest book, A Matter of Trust, is the third book of my Silicon Beach Trilogy. I wanted to tell a story about the younger siblings of characters from the previous two books. The problem was that my hero, Vlad, was kind of a jerk when he first appeared in book two. The need to rehabilitate him led to the central conflict of the story. Klara witnesses Vlad’s bad behavior, and this makes her doubt his integrity. Layer on a murder in which he becomes a suspect, and all of a sudden it becomes quite interesting…

I write romance because I enjoy exploring the relationships between people. I love throwing together seemingly incompatible characters and making them work through their differences. In my books, nothing comes easily, but the happy ending makes it all worthwhile—for me, and hopefully for my readers as well.

A Matter of Trust

(The Silicon Beach Trilogy, Book 3)
by Jill Blake

Venture capitalist Vlad Snezhinsky excels at two things: making money and being a dad. Still struggling to get over a disastrous marriage, he has zero interest in starting a new relationship. That is, until he meets Klara Lazarev.

Klara’s done living in her older sister’s shadow. Determined to forge her own path, she completes a prestigious fellowship program before returning to college. Now scrambling to fulfill her graduation requirements, she has no time for distractions like Vlad and his daughter. Especially after an unfortunate first encounter leaves Klara doubting Vlad’s integrity.

But when a shocking murder throws their world into chaos, can they trust each other enough to uncover the truth and embrace the possibility of love?


Vlad hunkered down at the edge of the mat. "Okay, let's try this again," he said, stretching out his hand. "My name is Vlad. And you are…?"
"Klara. Anna's sister." She withdrew her fingers as quickly as possible, but not before he felt the slight tremor.
Nerves? Attraction? She averted her eyes, focusing on the baby. The pulse at the base of her neck fluttered.
He swallowed a smile. "So, Klara. Why haven't we met before?"
That got her attention. And not in a good way. Her brows drew together and she narrowed her eyes. "We have. A couple years ago, at your brother's wedding."
"Oh." He blinked away the unpleasant memories that threatened to swamp him. It was unfortunate that he'd forever associate Leo's wedding with the beginning of the end. That's when Vlad and Oksana started on a long downward spiral, culminating in an acrimonious divorce that was still dragging on today.
He studied Klara more closely. Something stirred at the back of his mind.
A brief impression of thick black curls swept up in an elegant twist, the body poured into some barely-there excuse for a dress, the lips smiling at him. And then—
Oh, God.
The red lipstick smeared, the eyes dripping mascara-tinged tears, his cheek stinging from the impression of her hand.
And then—nothing.
He couldn't recall a goddamn thing until he woke up the next morning, head pounding like an entire battalion of jackhammers doing demolition work.
ABOUT Jill Blake
A native of Philadelphia, Jill Blake now lives in southern California with her husband and three children. By day, she works as a physician in a busy medical practice. By night, she pens steamy romances.

Friday, November 4, 2016

#MFRWAuthor-to-Author Tip: Selecting A Publisher @DianaLRubino

MFRW Author Diana Rubino shares her thoughts on choosing publishers.
Diana Rubino’s passion for history and travel has taken her to every locale of her stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, and New York. Her urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband Chris. In her spare time, Diana bicycles, golfs, plays her piano and devours books of any genre.
website  |  blog  |  facebook  |  goodreads  |  twitter

Author-to-Author Tip
Small Presses vs. the “Big Houses” – Something for Everybody
Writing for a small press can be a stepping stone to a career leap—or it can be your entire career. Since no author can plan on a best-selling career with a big house, pitching to the small presses can be your ticket to publication.
The independent “indie” publishers are much more willing to take chances on new writers and cultivate their talents. Sure, their bottom line is important, as it is to any for-profit business, but they don’t have the time constraints the big houses have. This gives their editors the luxury of taking more time to work with authors, and spend much more one-on-one time with them on technical details such as point of view, character consistency, and basic grammatical and style issues. Small presses also accept unagented material, so authors can avoid the Catch-22 of not being able to land an agent because they’ve not yet established a track record.

Most likely, your small press book will be POD (print on demand) which means copies will be printed only when a customer orders one. It’s up to the author to visit his/her local bookstores, and some stores will order a few dozen copies, arrange for a signing, and give your books a valuable promotional push. But most small presses run on tight budgets, and the author must take the necessary time and funds to finance a promotion; i.e., costs of designing a website and keeping it current, ads on internet sites such as BTS Book Reviews and BookDaily,, business cards, bookmarks and other giveaways, travel expenses to signings and conventions, etc.

I always like to inspire aspiring authors by telling my unique story: 
I received my first publishing contract 18 years after writing my first novel. I believe it was my ninth written novel that became my ‘first novel’ – the first that got published, with British publisher Domhan Books (a small press). At the time I signed my first contract, it was the fastest-growing publisher in the U.S. Unfortunately, the owner suffered health problems and could no longer actively run the company, but my five-year tenure there earned me many rave reviews and a Romantic Times Top Pick award.

I never gave up on my dream of that ‘big house’ contract, but continued submitting to small presses, eventually landing contracts with Dreams Unlimited, Stardust Press, Eternal Press, The Wild Rose Press, Solstice Publishing, and Sarah Publishing. Although my agent is currently submitting my most recent works to the big houses, the small presses have been very good to me. I’ve had my backlist republished with Solstice Publishing and The Wild Rose Press, and I do promotional offers such as offering my Ebooks at discounted prices on significant dates, i.e., the anniversary of the Lincoln assassination or the end of Prohibition. The promo I do with Twitter, Goodreads and the author/reader groups on Yahoo have brought me reviews and sales that I’m happy with. My editors at The Wild Rose Press and Solstice Publishing are among the best editors I’ve ever worked with. They make my work sparkle. There’s a lot of talent out there in the small press world, and I advise any aspiring author to submit to them, because they offer great opportunities to start your writing career on the right path.

A few caveats to look out for are the vanity presses, which require that authors pay to have their books published. Some writers decide to go this route and self-publish. Of course some of these books have become best sellers. But make sure you choose a royalty-paying publisher if you don’t wish to go the self-published route.

Small presses have always been around, but with the miracle of the internet, many more are thriving, and authors have the choice of a great variety of outlets for their work. Some specialize in certain genres. You need to do your research to find the best fit for your work. But never before have authors had such a wide range of publishers; something for every taste. Now that the Kindle and other E-book readers have come down in price and their sales are increasing, E-book sales have exploded. E-books have been around since the 90s, but never before have they been so popular.

With the outlets that small presses have to offer, so many more writers than ever before can now share their talents with the world, which shrinks more and more every day!

Diana Rubino's newest book is From Here to Fourteenth Street, Book One of the New York
Saga with The Wild Rose Press.                                               
Buy Link!

It's 1894 on New York's Lower East Side. Irish cop Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo fall in love despite their different upbringings. Vita goes from sweatshop laborer to respected bank clerk to reformer, helping elect a mayor to beat the Tammany machine. While Tom works undercover to help Ted Roosevelt purge police corruption,

Vita's father arranges a marriage between her and a man she despises. When Tom’s cousin is murdered, Vita’s father and brother languish in jail, charged with the crime. Can Vita and Tom’s love survive poverty, hatred, and corruption?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Piracy: Do the math, and then Blast it @kayelleallen #MFRWauthor #authors

Piracy is the act of plagiarizing; taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own. When you sell someone else's property as if you had the legal rights to do so, that's piracy too.
There's a difference between giving away a paperback versus an eBook. When you give away a paperback, you can only give it to one person at a time, and you no longer have it. You can give away an eBook indefinitely and still keep your copy. With each download, the author, publisher, cover artist, and editor each lose a percentage of the value of the book, known as royalties.

Yeah, but it's good advertising, right?

Go into a department store at the mall, take a few things without paying for them, and if you get caught, just tell the store owners it's good advertising. After all, you liked their products better than anyone else's. You took the best. They should be proud they were chosen instead of the store next to them.
They wouldn't have you arrested then, would they? Yeah, right.
Or how about "It's just part of doing business" as a reason to ignore the problem?
Theft might happen and there might be work involved in stopping it, but mall security is still in place. There are locks on the doors. There are cameras watching. Thieves get prosecuted. Authors who think "You can't stop online pirates; shut one down and another pops up" are fooling no one but themselves.

Things have changed.

Because I lead Marketing for Romance Writers, I'm privy to inside information from author-victims. In the beginning, most small presses simply did not see the danger of piracy, or understand how serious the loss of business was not only to their authors but also to them. That's changed. Why?

They did the math of piracy.

Let's say a small press has 50 authors in its stable. For the sake of argument, let's suppose in each quarter, each author has only one eBook pirated, at an average loss of $1.75 per unit. That loss seems like little. However, on the pirate site, suppose 100 units per author are downloaded without payment. Here's the math:

$1.75 (royalty) X 100 (units) X 50 (authors) = $8, 750 (loss of royalties per quarter, or $175 per author, average)

Consider the average royalty is 30-45% (depending on contracts). That means each pirated book represents a 55-70% loss of sales for the publisher. Assuming the eBook sells at the publisher's site for $5, and the author's royalty is 35% there is a loss for the publisher of $3.25 per unit pirated. The math for that is even more alarming.

$3.25 (pub profit) X 100 (units) X 50 (authors) = $16,250 (loss of profit per quarter) When looking at the black and white numbers, it's obvious that unchecked, pirates would soon drive the very authors they claim to enjoy (and their publishers) out of business. No publisher, large or small, can afford to ignore theft.

Our readers can report piracy.

Major kudos to readers who email authors when they see this type of site. Authors also advise one another in several ways. One way is to join a group formed called Authors Against E-Book Theft

The Copyright Alliance believes that copyright law promotes creativity and job creation and strengthens the U.S. economy. Those who create, render, and publish copyrighted works rely on the copyright law and its enforcement, for their creative and financial success. Without it, these creators would likely cease to exist, or at the very least, cease to produce these important works that are enjoyed by billions of people around the world. You can join the alliance here: Every person who considers him or herself a creative should join. We need to stick together. 

Fighting piracy is not a losing battle.

Authors and readers are not the only ones out there with a strong view against this crime. Everyone who has a stake in royalties is a victim and those who understand the seriousness of this attack on our financial standing are becoming involved. This includes Interpol's Anti-Piracy Division founded September 8, 1977 (as you can see -- this has been around awhile). It includes pirated videos/CDs/DVDs and Blu-Ray. The Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Crimes Division is becoming increasingly active. Find out more here.

Authors who see repeated offenses should contact the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center). The site encourages members of the public, industry, trade associations, law enforcement, and government agencies to report violations of intellectual property rights through this website. You do not have to own the copyright of an item to report the theft. If you report the crime, they will investigate it. The form is simple to fill out and is found on the site above. 

Good news versus depressing facts: Blasty.

There's a new weapon against pirates, and it's the best I've seen yet. It's called Blasty. Take a look here and watch the two-minute video. It explains the simple process. I tried it with one book, and within 10 minutes had already blasted over 30 pirates.
Blasty works like this. You choose your category (authors use books & audiobooks) enter book content information such as title, subtitle, author name, reference URL (legal sale site, such as Amazon or a publisher), and optionally, upload a cover image. Check the box affirming you own the copyright or are an agent of the copyright holder, and click submit.
Blasty goes to work, using the Google search engine to find any sites where your book or books might be hosted.

Whitelist legal sites.

You'll find some right away that are fine to be there, such as a contest where you gave away a copy back when the book first came out. That's no problem. Click "ignore" next to alert, or place the URL in a section for whitelisted -- safe and legal -- sites. You can put your own domain in there and it won't list any of your own pages. Same with your publisher, Amazon, Smashwords, and so on. Once Blasty "learns" what sites are bad, anytime your book pops up, it immediately Blasts them. You don't have to do a thing. You can click a box in a list of pirated sites, select them all, and then click one button to Blast them. You can go to each site if you prefer. An applet installed in your browser lets you report a pirate without doing a single thing except click once.

Blasty is better than a beat cop.

Blasty is in beta right now, so you can only join by invitation. I extended one in the link Feel free to share it. Join, give them positive feedback, say what works, point out issues, and give them the kudos they deserve. This site is providing a great service for creatives. Right now, it's free. I hope it stays affordable for all authors. Get in now and get rid of as many pirates as you can. Don't wait.
above. Here it is again.

Complacency is the biggest weapon of piracy.

If pirates keep hammering at you until you are too tired to care, they will win. But hey, if you're a mom or grandmom like I am, you know giving in doesn't solve anything. It just makes the behavior worse. Now, you have an ally who can take pirates off the net by making them impossible to find.
Let's kick pirates out and Blast them out of business. They are stealing our work, and profiting from it. It's time to make them stop.
You've worked too hard and too long to let pirates beat you. Stay strong. Go Blast 'em!
Kayelle Allen
Author, Founder of Marketing for Romance Writers