Monday, 30 September 2013

Coming Soon: Murder In Moscow

Murder in Moscow, the sequel to Wildcat in Moscow is back from the editor, so now I'm just checking through it one more time before I put it up. Sooooooooo excited!


Friday, 20 September 2013

Tom Conrad: That Russell Brand strategic marketing plan… or how NOT to market your ebook?


Today guest blogger Tom Conrad reveals his hilarious PR strategy that's built for an epic fail...   

In an attempt to sell my latest novel on Amazon, I’ve adopted a new sales strategy. It’s twofold.

Onefold:  Tweet Russell Brand.

Twofold: Tweet anyone who has a reputation as being a bit of a coxpert or altogether coxom.

You see, my new ebook: That Coxom & Blondage Affair is all about internet dating. It’s a little bit cheeky and a little bit wayward – much like English comedian Russell Brand: a silver-tongued cavalier/coxom chap if ever there was one. In fact, Russell is so cheeky and so coxom, this week saw me bombarding him with a barrage of hopefully amusing tweets (I sent 3, but for the purpose of this post allow me to descend into complete hyperbole). My plan was to forgo the strain of having to tackle my twofold option: sending 500 tweets to other random strangers; those who had a similar swashbuckling “coxpertise”.

And so I tweeted Russell.
TomConrad1980: @rustyrockets I’m not a charity; I’m not particularly worthy; I might not even be a good writer, but… US: http://amzn.to/18HFYvf  #coxom
Admittedly, and even as I composed my first tweet, I knew this unruly approach wasn’t exactly a plan of Hannibal contrivance (A-team, not the military commander or man-eater), and yet I guess I momentarily thought Russell would read my self-deprecating, but ultimately intriguing tweet, further clicking the link as he began to rather like the overall sound of That Coxom & Blondage Affair:

Russel Brand checking his @connect page:
‘Cor blimey, this Tom Conrad fellow has something ‘ere?! And you know what I’ll do, because I’m basically a generous sort of guy; one who believes we’re all unified beings of light and consciousness… well, I’ll put a tweet out to my 7 million followers, one for them to check it out. If even one per cent clicks and buys That Coxom & Blondage Affair, this ‘ere guy Tom Conrad (also originally from the dirty grey streets of Essex) will pocket £70,000, that is assuming he’s making 70% royalty on his ebooks.’
That’s kind of what I hoped Russell Brand might say and do.

Unfortunately… he didn’t. At least not yet. So far there’s been no RT success of viral proportions, and it very much seems – regretfully for me and my dreams of notoriety – the world and their tweeting blue bird have a similar strategy for celebrity endorsements: clogging up celebrities’ pages with similar pleas. Of course, I remain ever a naive optimist at heart and so I’ll stay naively optimistic, preparing to bombard other cheeky coxperts who might see the jolly humour in my book’s title.

Actually, perhaps I’ll see what Steve Coogan is up to?

You can buy That Coxom & Blondage Affair by Tom Conrad on Amazon USA and Amazon UK:
Follow Tom Conrad on Twitter: @tomconrad1980
Like Tom Conrad's page: https://www.facebook.com/tomconrad1980

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Broken Heroines and Heroes: The Stuff Of Romance or Disaster?

I enjoyed writing all my stories but Chocolate: An Erotic Romance in Siberia was a real challenge because it's pretty much outside the scope of standard stories.


Most authors craft their books so that the reader can immerse herself into the tale.  This means identifying with the heroine and falling in love with the hero.  In Chocolate, that's probably a bit of a leap for most people.

Star, my heroine, is a victim of childhood abuse who has embraced a career as a call girl.  Alexei, my hero, is totally switched off emotionally.  He's not nasty; he's just not very human. The two are very unlikely to elicit immediate sympathy or inspire any sort of empathy - and that's what made it such fun to write.

What I love about Star is that despite everything,
she has maintained a sense of humour, as well as a capacity for love.
What I love about Alexei is that he is such a challenge. He rescues Star from a very nasty situation simply because he sees her as a project where he can fix her up, enjoy her professional services for a few months, and then move on.  He's certainly not a nice guy; but that's what makes him interesting.

At the start of the story, both Star and Alexei see their relationship as one based on commerce. Of course, it doesn't work that way.  Along the way, these two broken people heal each other, develop a strong mutual bond of trust, and finally fall in love. And that's romance, right?

PS To learn about Alexei's deep secret, and to find out why these two learn to trust each other, you'll have to read the story!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Debbie Manber Kupfer talks about NaNoWriMo

Ever since I was small I’ve always written. As a child I filled notebooks. At one time I had a whole series of school stories each in own exercise book. Somewhere in my basements these books still and along with these childhood “books” is my first attempt at a novel. It was a kid’s fantasy. I remember it had a rather cool ogre in it.

I wrote it in my twenties in exercise books. At the time I was living in Israel in a tiny one-room flat. I scribbled away in those notebooks, but somewhere along the way I got lost. Life took over and I stopped writing.

I moved to America, got married, had two children and finally found a career I love (I write puzzles for puzzle magazines). In the back my mind I knew I still wanted to write a novel, but thought I had plenty of time. When the kids are grown perhaps.

Then about two and half years ago I found a lump in my breast. Cancer. I was terrified. But it is amazing what you get used to. I went through chemo, surgery, and radiation and today I’m happy to report that I’m cancer free. But my cancer taught me something, if you truly want to do something you shouldn’t wait. You never know how long you have.

Last October the idea for “P.A.W.S.” came to me in a flash. I clearly saw a young girl being passed a silver cat amulet by her dying grandmother. I knew her story and that of her grandmother was important and something I had to tell. I told my daughter the story, who said “Mom, you have to write that.”

But how? For me the answer was NaNoWriMo where writers take on the challenge of writing 50,000 words of fiction in one month.

I set myself a daily target of 2000 words and just sat down and wrote. No editing, no distractions (I forced myself NOT to go on the internet each day until I was done with my daily words.)  

You can do it too! November is coming. Join me!

Check out Debbie's blog and Amazon author page.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Jenn Roseton: How To Make A Simple Ebook Cover in Picmonkey For Free

If you’re an indie writer, you might be wondering what to do about the cover for your book.  Should you hire a cover designer (cost ranges from $40-400 or even higher), hire a provider on Elance.com or Fiverr.com (cost ranges from $5-40) or try to do it yourself?

Whichever path you choose, you’re going to need an image for your cover.  If you hire a professional cover designer, they may choose an image for you.  But if you’d like to see what kind of images are available, here are some sites you can browse:

www.dreamstime.com
www.123rf.com
www.hotdamnstock.com
www.romancenovelcovers.com
www.shutterstock.com
www.fotolia.com
www.morguefile.com - free images

There are plenty more stock sites out there, but the above should get you started.  If you purchase an image from a stock site, make sure you read the license carefully, so you know you can legally use it for your ebook cover.

I’ve made a couple of my book covers myself, and I’ve found the easiest tool to use is www.picmonkey.com.  It’s a free online photo editor.  To make your cover, just click Edit Photo and upload your image.   You can choose from cropping, resizing, adjusting the colors, and even overlaying one image on top of the other.  You can also add text, a frame or textures.  While a lot of features on Picmonkey are free, some cost a fee such as themes and certain fonts.  Once you’re happy with your cover, you can resize it to Amazon’s specifications and save it to your computer.

You can also create collages, memes or pins (for Pinterest).  I’ve found Picmonkey a lot easier to use than Getpaint.net as it’s basically just point and click.  If you’re not sure how to apply a certain feature to your image, just google what you want to do and you’re sure to find either a helpful Youtube video or written step by step instructions.

Jenn Roseton believes that romance and happy endings go together. When she's not writing sexy contemporary romance, she indulges in delicious gourmet chocolate.  Her last book, Curves for the Sheriff, was a Top 10 Western Romance bestseller on Amazon.  You can find out more about her books, including two free reads, at her website.  

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Jayne Lockwood: Erotica vs. Romance – My Battle Between the Sheets

Jayne Lockwood is the author of The Cloud Seeker, a romance with twists and turns.  I recommend it!

First of all, many thanks to Storm for allowing me to appear on her wonderful blog.  It's a great opportunity and I hope I don't blow it.


As a former erotica turned contemporary romance writer, I've often struggled with the above conundrum.  It would be easy to put in gratuitous sex scenes and slap an erotica tag on any book I've written, but without sounding like a pompous arse, that would comprise the integrity of the story.  In some cases, as with The Cloud Seeker, it would be distasteful, considering the other themes of 9/11 and grief.  But at The Cloud Seeker's heart is a passionate romance between two awkward people, and the sexual frustration that Max feels as he fights his feelings for Cat, the wayward woman whom everyone else thinks is a bit "odd."

And in Closer Than Blood there is also a theme of frustration and denial that eventually is resolved in a very sensual way, but I would be reluctant to stick an "erotica" tag onto the book because sex isn't the main theme.  That privilege belongs to desire, which isn't the same as making like rabbits for the hell of it.

But erotica has come a long way in the last twenty years.   Most of it is read by women and on the whole they expect a romantic element, imaginative sex scenes and, heaven forbid, a plot!  Oh and, crucially, excellent writing.  This does not mean the artsy, dusty erotica of years ago, but well-crafted and fun to read stories by any number of gifted authors.  Unfortunately, only a few of them receive any credit and, gallingly, some have only become successful through clever media marketing, even though the product really isn't fit for purpose.  But that's the subject for another blog post!

Women are no longer afraid to say they enjoy reading rip-roaring sex, as long as it's consensual and believable.  No multiple orgasms just by looking into his baby blues.   Other issues have to be tackled first.  A credible plot has to develop along with the couple's relationship.  The characters have to become three dimensional so the reader actually cares about them before they get down and dirty.  And when they do, it has to mean something.

So you can have romance without erotica, but I'd argue that you can't have erotica without a splash of romance, because if it wasn't there, it would be porn.  As an author reluctant to pigeonhole myself, I would say that my fiction is contemporary, romantic, erotic and unpredictable.  Over the years the lines have begun to blur between the two genres and I'm happy to say I live in both camps. My only insistence in my own writing has to be a happy, or at least satisfying, conclusion.   It is romantic fiction after all!

To find out more about Jayne's work, visit her blog 
Or find her on Twitter, FacebookSmashwords Goodreads Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk:  


Monday, 2 September 2013

If Lost Weekend Is So Great, Why Aren't I Selling More?

A total stranger last week said that Lost Weekend was, "What a wonderful erotic love story with lots of twists and turns that I didn't see coming .... Couldn't put the book down ...." and another said, "This is a hot little story that packs a big punch. If you want to try erotica, but are slightly intimidated by the choice, this is a great starting place."

As a matter of fact, Lost Weekend is rated a 4 over 11 reviews on Goodreads too - and I'm including "Arnellie Abella" a hollow reviewer with 0 friends who appeared for a flash, rated a bunch of erotica romance stories with a 1 star and then vanished.

So why aren't I selling more?  Is it because it has the phrase "erotic romance" in the title?  Or aren't I getting out there enough?

I suspect it's the latter more than anything else so I'm talking to publicists to see if I can raise my profile.  And I'm looking for blog tours in September.  Let me know if you have a space to offer me!

Check out Lost Weekend: An Erotic Romance in Wales and connect with me on Facebook.

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