Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy Christmas in July!

     It’s never too early to think about Regency Christmas novellas. My personal opinion is that these stories are a terrific invention, and I’m grateful to whoever came up with the concept.
     Again this year, the Cotillion imprint of EC’s Blush line will feature five of these gems – each as an individual e-book, then all of them together in a print collection, tentatively titled A Cotillion Christmas Feast. Indeed!
     Devotées of these stories will recognize some of the authors listed here, many of whom are old favorites. Of course, there are also new names, which is always encouraging. The individual e-books and their release dates are as follows:

10/16/14 - Christmas Fête - Barbara Miller
10/23/14 - Her Very Major Christmas - Saralee Etter
10/30/14 - The Size of the Scandal - Jillian Chantal
11/6/14 - It's Never Enough - Cynthia Moore
11/13/14 - A Christmas Scheme - Vivien Jackson & Christa Paige

     We’ll tell you about three of these stories this month; then the remaining two, plus a small glimpse into team writing, in August.
     First up In mid-October is A Christmas Fête by Barbara Miller, who tells us: A Christmas Fête is a search for the magic of Christmas. As a kid I was always trying to make Christmas perfect. I have since realized this is an impossible mission. For this novella, which I actually drafted during Christmas week 2013, I put my child self in the place of the heroine Dinah so that she could come to that realization that it’s how we handle ourselves when things don’t work that matters more than perfection, that feelings are more important than food and laughter takes precedence over gifts.
     Here is a brief synopsis of the story:  Ross Chandler reluctantly offers marriage to his despairing neighbor, Ophelia Loukes, only a day before he meets the love of his life, Dinah Claypool. Dinah has actually come to rescue Ross’s intended bride and mother by telling them they may stay at Hammersmith Hall, the property her father has inherited.
     Just as her brother George falls head over heels in love with the ethereal Ophelia, Dinah finds in Ross all the qualities she has ever hoped for in a husband. Sadly he puts off telling her about the engagement until Christmas Eve, then brings all her dreams for a perfect holiday crashing down around her head.
     The scandal of her father’s broken engagement years before keep Ross and Dinah from considering an elopement while they wait for a Christmas Day miracle to save their future.
     You’ll just have to read the story to find out what happens! But it IS Christmas, after all, isn’t it? A time for dreams to come true.

     Her Very Major Christmas by Saralee Etter presents a different kind of dream. Saralee says: I just love the idea of a real English Christmas feast -- the way a tradition pulls together everything that it means to be part of a family, of a community and a culture. But what would it be like for a person who is a bit of an outsider to her own heritage? I think she would be even more aware of the details, seeing a familiar celebration with fresh eyes.
     My family moved to Mexico when I was seven years old, so as I was growing up, things that were typically American were very rare and extra-special to me, my siblings, and my school friends. So I made Rosalind an Englishwoman who was born and raised in India and gave her some of those same feelings about this very English tradition.
     Plus, I just love a man who is a strong, capable warrior but who also needs support from a strong and capable woman. My hero, Major Harry Joslin, is still recovering from the wounds he received in battle, and also searching for a new way to define himself now that he is no longer serving in the military.
     So while the story did evolve slowly, I took inspiration from elements in my own life. I hope that readers will enjoy the story as much as I did while writing it! Here is a brief summary of "Her Very Major Christmas":
     Young widow Rosalind Joslin has dedicated herself to helping others to get over her grief -- she's skilled in making healing lotions and salves, jellies and candies. Raised in India, she's always longed to experience a proper English Christmas with holly and the traditional feast and Christmas pudding.
     Rosalind's late husband's cousin, Major Harry Joslin, is recovering from the wounds he received at Waterloo -- wounds both physical and emotional. A career soldier, he's also dealing with a sudden inheritance: His cousin died unexpectedly and now he has a title and all the trimmings.
     They meet for the first time during this Christmas season, and discover both love and healing.

The Size of the Scandal by Jillian Chantal features a rather headstrong young miss.
     Charlotte Greystone is a disaster waiting to happen. She can't seem to stay out of trouble and when her father betroths her to a man she hasn't seen in over ten years, she decides to run away. Never mind that it's a couple of days before Christmas, bitterly cold and she has no survival skills. She makes a dash for freedom anyway.
     When she's almost crushed by a horde of hunters on horseback, a handsome man on a black stallion comes to her rescue. Not thinking of the scandal of being alone with a strange man, she allows him to assist her in returning to her home. While riding with him, she's indiscreet in her conversation.
     The next day, Charlotte is appalled when the butler announces the entry of her betrothed. The man is the same as the one she shared a horse with the day before. Terrified that he will tell her father of her scandalous behavior or cause an even bigger scandal by breaking off the engagement, Charlotte is knocked off-kilter and remains that way until Christmas night.

     One month from today, we’ll tell you about the other two stories, and maybe even be able to show you some of the covers!
Happy Christmas in July!

Hetty St. James 

Monday, July 28, 2014

HOT ALPHA SEALS: Military Romance Megaset available for 99¢

If you love military romance, you won't want to miss this deal. 12 New York Times, USA Today or Award-winning bestselling Hot Alpha Authors brings you this Military Romance Megaset for your reading pleasure.

Available now! Limited time only!

Top 100 Amazon Bestseller 
#1 Military Romance Bestseller
#3 Suspense Bestseller
Top 100: Contemporary Romance, Collections/Anthologies, Military Romance, Mystery & Suspense and Suspense lists.

THE KISS OF A SEAL by Award-winning Author Anne Elizabeth — Jessa Grainger’s world is rocked by the kiss of a SEAL, SO-1 Link Tyler. It wouldn’t be a problem for an ordinary person, but being a Navy Consultant working on the Amphibious Base as well as being engaged to a SWCC man make the situation very sticky.

NIGHT WITH A SEAL (Hot SEALS #1) by New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Cat Johnson —When navigating military red tape begins to present more challenges than the enemy, it makes SEAL Jon Rudnick question his future. So does Alison Cressly, the one woman he can’t get out of his head.

HOT BAYOU SEAL by Award-winning author Cindy Dees — SEAL Ford Alambeaux is a busted up SEAL on his way out of the teams. Trina Zarkos is being tossed out of SEAL training like every other female candidate…until they’re thrown together on a way off-book mission to see if she can play with the big boys or not.

DELTA: RETRIBUTION by USA Today bestselling author Cristin Harber — Fallen Navy SEAL and Titan Group’s Delta recruit Trace Reeves wants nothing more than a one-night stand to forget that his twin brother was killed-in-action. But when his one-time fling becomes his high value target, the lines blur between her rescue mission and saving himself.

WATCH OVER ME (An Uncharted SEAL story) by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Delilah Devlin — Deke Warrick’s unsanctioned detail is to keep tabs on a congressman’s niece while she vacations in the Caribbean. He’s determined to keep his distance, from the beautiful Nicky Martir—until she’s snatched from their hotel room.

SEAL'S OBSESSION (A Take No Prisoners story) by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Elle James — Mission: Halt pirate activities off the coast of Honduras. SEAL TEAM 10's Jack Fischer goes undercover as a deck hand on a medical boat where he finds himself falling for the dedicated Dr. Natalie Rhoades.

The SEAL (a Sex, Lies & Spies novella) by USA Today bestselling author Gennita Low — Mari Lords is tasked by her father to steal the seal that is an important clue in a round-the-world treasure hunt called The Game. When her opportunity comes during a party, she finds another kind of SEAL, Angel Marcello.

UNBREAKABLE SEAL by USA Today bestselling author J.M. Madden — Maxwell Tate fights against a psychotic dream world, until he no longer knows what’s real. Lacey Adams knows she can’t save all of her cases, but can she salvage the unbreakable SEAL?

MISTER BLACK A Billionaire SEAL Story, Part 1 (In the Shadows) by Award-winning author P.T. Michelle —He is Black: a deadly enforcer and masterful seducer. I am Red: a justice bleeder and willing participant. When our secrets converge in a passionate encounter, stepping out of the shadows just might be worth the risk.

STONE HARD SEAL by Award-winning author Sabrina York —When Ryder “Stone” Maddox’s meets Lily Wilson—a senator’s daughter who is definitely off-limits—he’s determined to keep his distance, despite her irresistible allure. But Lily has plans of her own…to put his heart of stone to the test.

SEAL’S PROMISE by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Hamilton —Navy SEAL T.J. Talbot, SEAL Team 3's bad boy, makes a deathbed promise to protect and care for his fallen buddy's wife and child. The only problem is, she hates him.

BREAKING TIES (a SEAL Team Heartbreakers story) by bestselling author Teresa Reasor — Navy SEAL Oliver Shaker is blindsided when he learns that not only does his wife, Selena, have a life-threatening illness, but she’s also pregnant. Can the SEAL code he follows see them through?

For more & reviews: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22591884-hot-alpha-seals

About Sabrina York

Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Courageous #Women: Know any? I have 22,000+ for you and novel for $1.99

Available everywhere for 1/2 price in digital and print
for only 5 days!
Amazon links: 

August 3 and 4 we begin the Centennial Commemoration of the start of World War One. Although the "lamps go out all over Europe" as the Europeans remember the start of that tragic conflict, in USA we don't start until April 1917, our 100th Anniversary.

Here is a novel about 22,000 women you most likely have never heard of: The American women who volunteered to serve in the Army Nurse Corps.

HEROIC MEASURES tells the story of a group of young women who:

Uniforms, Fort Sam Houston Medical Museum

  • signed up to serve until the end of the war, whenever that might be;

  • received HALF the pay of an Army private, $50 per month;
  • were segregated into separate Corps, one for American Caucasians and another for African-Americans

  • worked at first 12 hour shifts and then as the war intensified, 24 and 36 hour shifts;

  • hundred served a mile behind the advancing line to work in surgical tents (because the faster a wounded man gets aid, the greater his chances of surviving his wounds);
  • hundreds of women died from ear infections, colds, pneumonia and influenza

  • hundreds are buried in France where they served and died.

I hope you will read HEROIC MEASURES, a well-reserached novel that is praised by PW, Joint Forces Journal, Nurses.com and many readers!
It is available for half price for only a 5 days to mark the Centennial of the start of the war.
Website: www.jo-annpower.com
Blog: http://theyalsofought.blogspot.com 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

RWA 2014 in San Antonio: Daily Highlights

It's hot. Really hot. So much so the natives warn you to carry water with you because you can so easily become dehydrated. Fortunately, I don't have to walk that much outside. Two blocks to the hotel where the conference is being held and a mall where food is available. I can do that much.

Wednesday: The Beau Monde Conference

The Beau Monde is an online chapter of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) specifically for authors of Regency romance. Our 350 members are located literally all over the world. Once a year we have our own conference the Wednesday prior to the beginning of the RWA Conference.

This year we had sessions including the Battle of Waterloo, English stately homes (have my to-visit list made for the next trip, thanks to Cheryl Bolen), book promotional strategies, and women in politics in the Georgian era. In the evening many of us dressed in Regency costumes for the soirée, where dances were taught and food (not Regency, alas, but the Texas-shaped cookie was fabulous) was served. The best part was sitting and chatting with other like-minded authors.

Oh, and my friend and critique partner, Cora Lee, won the Royal Ascot, the Beau Monde writing contest. She deserves it!

Cora Lee, 2014 Winner of the Royal Ascot

Thursday: The Management of Multi-Author Indie Collaborations

Several of us are planning to put out a self-published boxed set of Waterloo-themed stories just prior to the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo on June 18, 2015. This session was so helpful in giving me tips on how to organize such a project.

  • Determine your goals ($, exposure to new readers, increased author rank, etc.) 
  • Have a marketing plan. 
  • Setting up the financial aspect. 

Overall, I felt energized by what I had learned and am even more enthusiastic about the project. My roommate and I brainstormed until we nailed down specific details necessary to get the ball rolling.

Friday: Indie Success With No Publishing History

Author Melody Anne, Kathleen Brooks, and Liliana Hart became New York Times bestselling authors without having gone the traditional route first. Well, in a way they were lucky, because 2011 was the “magic” year when self-published authors started to hit it big. Things are different now; the market is saturated with books and you have to be smarter than the competition. These three ladies are not geniuses; they made lots of mistakes and learned from them. Here are some of their suggestions for success:

  • Writing comes first. Don't allow the social media to get in the way of writing. Writing is your best promotional tool. 
  • Don't release just one book. Write a series of five novellas and release them all at once, making the first one free. 
  • Make your mailing list a priority. Caveat: not a good idea to “force” people to sign up for your mailing list. You want people to want to read your mailing list so they will actually read it when it comes. Have the newsletter sign-up pop up when readers visit your blog. Offer a giveaway for premium prize in your newsletter so that subscribers want to open it when it comes and find out what it is. Note: Katherine Brooks only does newsletters when she has new releases. Liliana Hart does one monthly. 
  • Form a street team of super-enthusiastic, super-committed fans from all over the world. Not a huge group. Send them boxes of books, cards with ebook coupons, swag, etc. and offer them special giveaways. Ask them to tell you why they like your books. These fans are worth their weight in gold to an author! 
  • Get your books in every format possible, including other languages. One Italian fan on your street team can make a huge difference in your Italian sales. Best languages: German, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, French, Spanish (in order). 
  • Try to release or re-release something every 30 days to keep up your Amazon presence. Short stories and novellas count as much as books. Writer faster! 
  • Advertising is a waste of time and money. Writing is your best promotional tool. 
  • “Don't leave money on the table.” (Liliana Hart) Don't pay someone to do your formatting when you can do it yourself. 
  • However, these authors all emphasized getting professional covers. They did not have them when they first started. Yes, they succeeded anyway, but that was 2011. 2014 is a different story. 
  • Why would you need an agent? Definitely to deal with foreign rights and sales. 
  • Do you need an LLC? Depends on your situation. Some states make it an easy process; others not so much. Check with a lawyer if you're not sure. 

Saturday: Only a Fortuneteller Knows For Sure

Although I have things marked in the program, I don't always end up doing what I planned. Here are the sessions I have starred:
  • Motivation: the Glue That Holds Stories Together 
  • Mastering the Art of Great Conflict 
  • The Villain's Journey 
  • Why Your Book Should Be On Every Retail Platform, In Every Form, Around the World 
  • Easy E-Books With Scrivener 
  • Book It, Danno! 
The 2014 Rita and Golden Heart Awards Schedule: I'm really looking forward to this because my good friend Piper Huguley is a finalist in the Golden Heart competition…for the second year in a row. So I'll be cheering her on tonight hoping she'll be called up on that stage!

Piper Huguley, Golden Heart Finalist

Wow, Have Things Changed!

Sylvia Day mentioned in her keynote speech that the publishing world has changed exponentially since she first joined RWA ten years ago. I've seen a huge change just in the last two years, since I attended my first RWA in Anaheim. Self-publishing sessions existed in greater numbers than in the past, but there was still a predominant idea that traditional publishing is the “legitimate” road to success. Indie publishing was still very much the “red-headed stepchild” of publishing, for authors who didn't want to “pay their dues” (i.e., suffering years of rejections and discouragement before some benevolent editor bestowed on you a book contract to validate your hard work).

This year, self-publishing is everywhere! Not just sessions, but an indie book signing, a trade fair with specialists who can help you with book covers, formatting, promotions, and just about anything you might need.

Who knows what another year will bring? How many big New York publishers will be left? Will people still be reading print books? Will Amazon rule the world? What do you think?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Timeless Historical Romance - Coming Soon!

We just received the formatted copies of our historical romance boxed set and I am getting so excited for its release!

I am equally excited to be included among these authors. I just got through compiling the advanced praise for our Netgalley listing and just look at the places some of these reviews come from!

Praise for Virginia Ford:  
Virginia Carmichael is a bestselling author of inspirational fiction and a Romantic Times 2012 First Series Romance Nominee.

"Four and a half stars!" RT Book Reviews, Season of Joy.

"Nice to read about a strong woman from this time period. Her ability to overcome her obstacles and stand up for herself was refreshing..." --Amazon reader.

Praise for Keta Diablo:
Sky Tinted Water: "Diablo takes the eternal love of a husband and wife and expertly weaves in the horror of war and death." Our top award, Red Crown Review, Ind'Tales

Praise for Aileen Fish:
“My heart swells at the way love blossoms here. Take a moment and let the lives of Joanna and Mr. Lumley take you away.” ~ Amazon reviewer

Praise for Linda Ford:
I love Linda Ford's books. You will not be disappointed in her work. Never read a Linda Ford book that I didn't love!”

Praise for Sarah Jae Foster:
Sarah Jae's western series has been an Amazon bestseller, going on 10 weeks now.

A Mile Apart -
“Recommended for anyone that enjoys good clean historical romance. ”

"Broken Identity is a powerful story.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it emotional but a good read."

Praise for Regina Scott:
Five Stars!” I enjoyed this enchanting romantic suspense tale which was full of twists and turns throughout. I found this novel hard to put down and was up into the wee hours of the morning reading.” – Affaire de Coeur

“I loved this book. The Colonial Upstart of an earl paired with a lovely art teacher is a brilliant stroke and the writing matches her plot . . . . This is a page turner, and I defy a reader to put the book down until finished.” – Noted Regency author Emily Hendrickson

“Regina Scott’s irresistible characters will win your heart.” – Eloisa James, New York Times bestselling author, on Regina Scott’s Starstruck

Praise for Brenda B. Taylor:
Brenda B. Taylor crafts exciting historical fiction stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people. One reader wrote, “Leann and Ralph’s story is simply beautiful. The characters are amazing, each one with their own identity that is so recognizable. Well done.”

Working with multiple authors on a boxed set is complicated, but the results are usually amazing. A beautiful collection of wonderful books.

As a reader, I am growing fonder of boxed sets, especially the ones with full novels. What about you, do you like taking advantage of boxed sets to fill your ereader?

Timeless: Historical Romance Through the Ages releases August 12 at the main ebook retailers.  You can watch for announcements at my Facebook page.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What's a Twitter Chat? Who Can Go? #MFRWauthor #authors @kayelleallen

Twitter Logo  
Twitter chats are public conversations that take place on Twitter at a scheduled date and time. There are chats on every theme you can imagine. Here are several currently active chats that are of interest to authors and readers. The list is sorted by day.

Chats (by day of week)

  • Sunday 8-9 pm EST, #fantasychat -- Weekly chats for writers of fantasy.
  • Mon/Wed 4-5pm EST, #LitChat -- Connect Readers with Authors
  • Wed 9pm EST, #YALitChat -- For Young Adult Writers
  • Thur 9-10 EST, #kidlitart -- Weekly chat for illustrators, authors and author/illustrators. Topics announced in advance via @kidlitart
  • Fri 2-4 pm EST, #scifichat -- Science Fiction / Fantasy film, books, gaming. Moderated interactive format. Follow @scifichat for schedule changes and announcements.

How do I sign up for a Twitter chat?

  • You do not need to register.
  • Type the assigned hashtag (#) into the search bar on Twitter.
  • Under "Results for #(your hashtag)" click "All" to see everyone's tweets

How do I get started in a designated chat?

There are several ways:
  • Go to http://twitter.com sign in, and enter the hashtag in the search bar at the designated time.
  • Use the site http://tweetchat.com to follow along (instructions on site).
  • If you use a service such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, set up a column with the hashtag.

How do I participate?
Twitter symbol 

  • Anyone can participate by reading and/or writing tweets.
  • Writing tweets is not required; participants can simply read.
  • To take part by writing tweets, reply or tweet a message in 140 characters, including the chat's hashtag.

How do I find other chats?

Not all chats are registered. Some spring up over time as hashtags and interests evolve. But you can find registered chats on these sites.

Follow me on Twitter. I follow back authors and readers. http://twitter.com/kayelleallen

What chats do you attend? Feel free to leave the hashtag, day, and time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Egypt, Steampunk Style by Maeve Alpin

The release of my new Steampunk/Time Travel Romance had me thinking about the Victorians' love for ancient Egypt. I wondered why the Victorians were so fascinated and influenced by ancient Egypt. I came up with seven reasons:
1. The British seized over 5000 relics Napoleon’s Egyptologist collected. They sent them to the British museum for people to view in London
2. The Rosetta stone was translated in 1822. The meaning of the hieroglyphs were lost for so long but now their mysteries were revealed.
3. Cleopatra’s Needle, the obelisk Egypt gave England in 1819, was finally shipped to London in 1878 and erected along the Thames.
4. The Victorians enjoyed travel to exotic destinations. Egypt was a key spot they loved to visit.
5. 1882 -Egypt became a protectorate of Britain. The British defeated the Egyptian Army at Tel El Kebir and took control of Egypt.
6. The Egyptians obsession with the afterlife interested the Victorians due to their obsession with death. The Victorians observed seven stages of mourning with different types of clothing for each. They had a mandated two year mourning period for a deceased spouse. During the mourning period they draped mirrors with black crepe, wore lockets or brooches with a lock of the deceased’s hair inside, and they even had mourning dolls and tear catcher bottles. 
7. Formaldehyde was commercially produced in the 1880’s. Used as an embalming agent–deceased bodies were preserved much longer. This tied into mummification. 

So those are some reasons the Ancient Egyptian culture had a major influence on the Victorian era and also modern Steampunk. As indicated by the titles, two classic Steampunk novels include strong Egyptian influences: The Osiris Ritual by George Mann and The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. I highly recommend them both. And if you like hot romances, take a look at AsTimeless As Stone

Blurb: Little does Ricard know when he sets the broken head of an ancient Egyptian statue onto its body, the stone figure will transform before his eyes into the most beautiful flesh and blood woman he’s ever seen.
Seshat, an ancient Egyptian Priestess is newly awaken in 19th century Paris, after centuries as a stone statue. Though enchanted by the wondrous inventions of steam-servants and a steam-carriage, she is enthralled by the inventor, Ricard. He ignites her sensual desires and in a steamy night of carnal magic, Seshat transforms Ricard’s life forever. But how far will he go to secure her happiness? Is Ricard’s love for Seshat powerful enough to transcend time?

   ~          ~         ~

Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus. Please visit her pinterst board for As Timeless As Stone.