Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

Siren ‘M’Renee’ Allen presents….

Warning: Dangerous Curves Ahead

Book one in the Dangerously Curvy series.

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He’s a dangerous criminal.

She’s dangerously curvy.

Together, will they sizzle or will they crash and burn?

Dean Collins wasn’t born evil. This cruel world turned him into the cold-hearted killer he is today. Death and destruction follows him everywhere he goes. So, when he crosses paths with the very sassy and very curvy food truck owner, Rain Delaney, he does everything he can to push her away.

But situations beyond his control keeps pulling them back together. It isn’t long before the darkness in his life seeps into hers and she ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now his enemies are after her. Staying away from her is no longer an option. To keep her safe, he has to keep her near him.

It’s sad that the safest place for her is in the arms of a killer.

A killer who has no intention of letting her go.

https://mreneedramaqueen.com/dangerously-curvy-series/

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Warning: Dangerous Curves Ahead will be available Friday, July 13th. Need a dark romance to fall in love with while you wait? Check out my Going Nowhere Fast series. It’s FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074DXYZWJ

Or, if you’re a paranormal/Sci-Fi romance fan, check out my Siren Allen books. They’re also FREE with Kindle Unlimited: https://www.amazon.com/Siren-Allen/e/B00ELF795O/

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**Be sure to enter Siren’s Newsletter Giveaway for a chance to win a Fairytale charm bracelet: https://sirenallen.com/newsletter-question-of-the-month/

 

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It’s That Time of the Year

It’s that time of the year again! What time you ask? (Okay you didn’t, but let’s pretend.) It’s almost time for the Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Readers.

If you’ve been here awhile, than you have a good idea of what I’m talking about or even if you browsed through my old posts. The 3 day fair is an online event I started last year, aimed at showcasing romance authors from the continent.

This year I’ve searched far and wide for authors to take part, to bring some interesting and entertaining books for us.

Here’s a short description of the fair:

The Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Readers is a 3 day Facebook event that allows readers to shop discounted books, play games, enter to win free books & Amazon gift cards, and engage with authors.

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This year’s event takes place on the 1st of June till the 3rd of June 2018. It starts at 9 AM and ends 10 PM each day. Authors will have a timeslot in which to post their promotions and engage with readers. I’m excited about this year’s fair because it’s new to the fair authors, so not the same authors as last year.

I am updating the list of Authors until mid-May, you can check out those who’ve already signed on for the event here https://www.facebook.com/events/215209169033746/?ti=cl and click ‘Going’ *wink* You can also share the event on your social media, I would really appreciate that!

And that’s it! I will keep you posted on any changes *smile*

#happywriting

 

My Recent Book List

avatar97305_7I read a lot. No, seriously, I do. It’s not the most exciting confession especially from an author. We are after all required to read a lot. Though what makes this confession so special *smile* here is that I’m going to share some books I’ve read recently.

I generally read broadly within the romance genre, but there are two categories I simply can’t help but to return to time and time again. They are paranormal and regency/historical. A close second are science fiction and contemporary. I also have to confess that when I write contemporary I read a completely different category and the same goes for paranormal. I don’t want someone else’s ideas clogging up my creativity, though I’m not reinventing the wheel, I still don’t want someone else’s writing to influence mine to such an extent that I copy ideas. Not cool.

Anyway, back to my book list!

 

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I know I’ve written a review about this book, but I loved the story so much that I went and bought a copy of Landra Graf’s Bona Fide Beauty. I felt like I owed this author because she wrote such an entertaining story and characters. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. Plus, I like supporting authors! *wink*

I also got my hands on a Brenda Jackson novel. I haven’t read a lot of her books, and this one was an interesting choice because she wrote it for one of Harlequins special lines that they create for a limited time. I wanted to see what Mrs. Jackson could do outside of her “comfort zone” so to speak. And I have to be honest; I found the Harlequin brand of editing heavily in this story. It didn’t resonate as much as what I was used to expecting from Mrs. Jackson. But it was still an entertaining read and definitely in Harlequin’s wheelhouse, so check out Strictly Confidential Attraction.

Alissa Woods, Wildling Pack Wolves Book 1 & Book 2: Wild Game & Wild Love. Both books are roughly 150 pages and immediately after I read the first one I wanted to get my greedy little hands on the second one. Hence both books landing in the same paragraph *laughs* If you love shape-shifters, especially werewolves, than these scrumptious novels are for you. Yes scrumptious because the heroes are utterly delicious and you just want there to be more story about them. The heroines are realistic. And by that I mean they are relatable. They are savvy and smart. They have their weaknesses and flaws (and with book 1 I literally jumped out of my chair because the heroine just made me so mad! *ha* which is also why I love her by the way). I love books that get under my skin sometimes, but also leave me deeply satisfied after I’ve read them. I’ve definitely gotten into this series. There are six books, and I’m very happy about that.

Stephanie Rowe isn’t new to my social feeds. I think I mentioned her on here as well. I’m working my way through her catalogue and like Alissa Woods; her Order of the Blade series packs a punch. It’s right up there when it comes to paranormal action and romance. It has a raw viciousness about it that makes the subject matter real. I’ve gone through Darkness Possessed and Inferno of Darkness.

Up next is the historical romance, Unmasking Miss Appleby by Emily Larkin from her A Baleful Godmother series. Let me tell you, these faerie godmothers are not the conventional kind you grow up watching in Disney movies. *nervous laughter* They are tricky and out to trick you. And that was what made this story such an appetite cleanser. It is filled with humor, drama and definitely romance. I’d recommend this story to anyone who wants to unwind for an afternoon with a quirky story and characters.

Secrets of Midnight by Miriam Minger was also such a delight. I’m in love with The Man of My Dreams series now. I love cheeky heroines that find love in unexpected place and people.  This regency novel was read on my lunch breaks, and I would have a ridiculous grin on my face because of the heroine’s antics. She’s so flawed, so strong and independent. Pride and prejudice is not something that’s just reserved for wealthy people, a theme that runs through the story. Again, a book I’d recommend for someone who like to laugh and love their heroines on the bold side of life.

And that’s a wrap!

Though it would be remiss of me not to include the names of books I’m currently reading (yes I read multiple books at once, like I mentioned before, I got greedy little hands *grin*).  First is Vanessa Riley’s The Bittersweet Bride (historical), Eve Silver’s Dark Desires (historical), Carole Mortimer’s The Duke’s Mistress (regency), and Leila Haven’s Royal Playboy (contemporary).

What’s on your book list?

Book Review: Bona Fide Beauty by Landra Graf

When I finished reading Bona Fide Beauty I had to make sure I read right the first time, that it was Book One which meant a second was on its way. That’s how much I love this story, these characters and Landra Graf’s writing style.

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I received a review copy of the book, but unlike other times when I’ve received a review copy in exchange for a review, I forgot that I had to look at the book ‘critically’ and just laid back on a Sunday morning and inhaled every word. I wasn’t in reviewer or author mode, but full on reader mode. Many books I’ve reviewed had either all three elements or at the least, two. As an author it’s tough to review a book without looking at the technical aspects we know editors highlight in our own work. The highest compliment here is that the characters gripped me, pulled me, made me root for them and ultimately close the book with satisfaction after I read the last page.

*Grand Prize Raffle at the end of post. Enter to win!*

But before I get further into my review, here’s the blurb:

She’s going to lose her house.
Kathleen Baum has four months to complete the city’s required code changes to her grandma’s home. Otherwise, she loses it. Strapped for cash, Kat’s only way to get the funds is to bargain with her devil cousin. She agrees to an unwanted makeover, but she’s not good at taking direction, pretend or not.

He’s going to lose his business.
Devid Esposito has worked all his life to build a successful image consulting company, but if he doesn’t start bringing in new clients the business will be bankrupt in three months. The board is ready to oust him when his partner, Kat’s cousin, enters with the opportunity to get his mojo back; all he needs to do is help Kat, with a makeover. Unfortunately, Dev doesn’t take on female clients anymore since the last one broke his heart and used his tips against him.

When they find out they have a common enemy, his heart-breaking client is her code-breaking-whistleblower, and the easiest way to bring the foe down is to accept the other’s help. Losing their hearts to each other was the one thing they didn’t plan for.

 

Here’s what I loved:

Kat’s a tomboy; she’s confident, brash and accepts herself for who she is. Does she have flaws? Yes. And those flaws make the plot so great. At any point Kat could’ve been turned into a whiney heroine whose insecurities suck the life out of the story, but Landra Graf has a good grip on human behavior and character development. I took the make-over journey with Kat and found her relatable.

Another aspect I loved was that both Kat and Dev (Devid) are underdogs. Though not the type of underdogs to be pitied, but rather ones you admire for their resilience. Dev also has issues needs to work through, he’s not the perfect man. What I liked about his character

Needless to say, but I will here, the chemistry is off the charts. It’s instant attraction but don’t be fooled, it’s not instant gratification. It’s a slow burn that fans into flame at times when the story requires it. And yes, I loved this.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

That the story came to an end! Yes was ready to jump into book number two and binge my way through the series!

And that’s why I’m giving Bona Fide Beauty 5/5 stars.

 

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Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Afterglows Publishing

Bona Fide Beauty  ~ Book 1 in Bona Fide Series

Buy Links: Books2Read ~ Kobo ~ Amazon

ASIN: B07B52R528

Rafflecopter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/86fdd2f82/?

Grand Prize: A goody basket with – $25 Sephora Gift Card, 2 Contemporary Print Books, a pair of LulaRoe Tall and Curvy leggings,  Delicious Treats and more.

 

Landra

Author Bio: Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

Social Media links (including newsletter signup):

FB: https://www.facebook.com/LandraGrafAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LandraGraf

Website: http://landragraf.com/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bdKi9H

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/landragraf/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7847192.Landra_Graf

Book Spotlight: Blood Bond by Susan Leigh Noble

 

 

Blood Bond

Book Blurb

Man severed the alliance with the dragons fifty years ago. But now an invading army marches north destroying everything in its path. The dragons believe only together can the invaders be defeated. They need an emissary.

Womanizer. Drunk. Failure. Soren is many things. A leader isn’t one of them. But, Dex, the dragon that saves him from a cliff, believes different. Thrust into an adventure he never wanted, Soren’s life changes forever when during a battle Dex’s blood mixes with his blood creating a mystical blood bond – forever linking them.

As the bond strengthens, Soren must decide whether to return to his old life or accept the bond and embrace his role in the battle against the invading army.

Amazon purchase link – http://a.co/4nIdtYK

 

Excerpt:

Soren scrambled to his feet as the golden dragon, Rakkah, landed near him. For a moment, they stared at each other.

“You shouldn’t be bonded to Reddex.” Her voice reverberated within his head as she flicked her tail.

“It wasn’t by choice,” he said, speaking directly into her mind.

He didn’t like the feeling of being trapped with the tree behind his back and stepped away from it. He carefully kept Rakkah in front of him as he moved.

“That matters not.” She walked around him. “Definitely not worthy to be a dragon rider.”

Pride had him lifting his chin. “Maybe not but Dex said I was the one to help bridge man and dragon.”

“Is that what he told you? Did he tell you about the others?” She studied him, before chuckling. “I can tell by the look on your face, he didn’t. You weren’t the first one he approached you know. There were others. He settled for you.”

Soren shook his head. “No that isn’t true. He said he had a feeling I was the one.”

“A smooth line if I ever heard one. I’ll let you in on something. If he said that, it was him manipulating you. There were others who turned him down. He was under time pressure, so he settled for you. And it is only by accident he is now linked to you. I am sure he would rather not be. I know I would.” She flicked her tail. “Take Warnox up on his offer. It will be better for everyone.”

He shook his head. “I don’t…”

Before he could continue, Rakkah’s words sunk in and his bewilderment turned to anger. His heart pounded, and his shoulders shook. And then Dex was there. The red dragon faced Rakkah, slashing his own tail. Soren couldn’t hear anything but was sure words were exchanged between the two as they circled each other, their eyes locked. Suddenly, Rakkah leapt into the air and flew back to the other dragons. Dex turned to Soren.

“I don’t know what Rakkah said to you, but I could feel your confusion…and your anger.”

“Tell me the truth,” he said, his fists clinched. “Was I your first choice?”

“My first choice? Choice for what?”

“To help you approach the King.”

Dex stared at him for a moment before looking down. “You weren’t the first I approached, but Soren…”

He didn’t wait to hear any more. Soren walked over to Warnox. With each step, his anger grew. He could still hear Rakkah’s taunting voice. She had been right. He wasn’t Dex’s first choice. He had lied to him about being the one the dragons needed. He shook his head as if to clear the thoughts away. But they persisted, and he quickly covered the distance to the other dragons and to his freedom.

“Take me back to Ballinger,” he said to Warnox.

The brown dragon regarded him for a moment. “You can ride on Barth. Mount up. It is time to go.”

Soren briefly recoiled at the thought of riding without a harness but reassured himself it would only be a short distance. Barth bent down, and he scrambled onto his back.

“Soren?” Dex asked, his voice cautious.

He didn’t respond or even look at Dex as Barth took off, following the other dragons into the air. He grabbed for the harness before realizing it wasn’t there. His hands searched for something to hold on to but found nothing. As Barth leveled out, Soren resisted the urge to look at the ground far below.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” Barth asked.

Soren hesitated. “Yes. It is for the best. I am not meant to be a dragon rider.”

“Can you sense Reddex from here?”

Soren felt unsettled but couldn’t determine if it was his own feeling or if it came from Dex too. As he concentrated, he could feel Dex’s anxiety.

“He is worried,” he admitted reluctantly.

You shouldn’t be able to connect with him at this distance. He told me how far apart you two have been when you have communicated. It is farther than any other linked pair.”

Soren watched Warnox and the other dragons disappear before his eyes, Blinking back to the City of Ballinger. He knew Barth would follow suit in a moment and felt a twinge of regret.

“You shouldn’t be doing this,” Barth said.

Suddenly, he dove toward the ground, flipping over in the air. Soren’s fingers tried to grasp onto Barth’s back but there was nothing to hold. He fell through the air. He saw Barth above him and then nothing but the blue sky as Barth Blinked.

 

Author Bio:

Susan Noble has always loved dragons and magic, so it is no wonder that she became an author of fantasy novels. As a cat lover, she also had to throw in a telepathic cat to the mix in her The Elemental trilogy. In addition to her trilogy, she has published The Search, a short story prequel to the trilogy and The Heir to Alexandria, a full-length standalone fantasy adventure. Her latest fantasy, Blood Bond, was released February 6, 2018.

When she isn’t writing, Susan is an active volunteer in her neighborhood and at her children’s schools. She lives with her husband, two children, three cats and two Cocker Spaniels in Texas.

You can find out about Susan on her blog Into Another World – http://susanleighnoble.wordpress.com/

35 Authors 35 Winners!

Enter the Raffle below to stand a chance to win Gift Packs, GCs, Signed Books, Swag, etc.

I am also one of the 35 authors, so you’ll stand a chance to win one of my ebooks if you enter.

Here’s the link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ec8aae6726/

The Raffle ends on the 24th of February!

My Books!

You’ll be able to choose the one you’d like most to read 🙂

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I am Grateful

I haven’t written a blog post like this one in awhile. A recent Facebook status update on my book page reminded me of just how grateful I am to be able to write, to have books contracted with a publisher, to have people buying those books and leaving reviews. I’m still at the start of my writing journey, by no means an expert or long in the publishing world, but I can’t help but be thankful for the strides I’ve been allowed to make.

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Because it is tough. Like anything worthwhile doing and having is. It doesn’t come easy. And I’m so grateful to be able to have this outlet and write the stories I like to write. To form part of the romance community. To feel liberated enough to say I am a romance author and even if people judge that, to still not care *laugh* because romance writers are AWESOME! *smiles*

I’m grateful for the people who’ve encouraged me and shaped me on this journey. I’m grateful for the countless writing advice gurus who give their advice for free on the inter-webs through articles and video tutorials, for all the authors who write on their blogs about what they’ve learned and who share that knowledge, and also for writing groups on social media…groups who are accessible, open and do not discriminate for whatever reason…you are amazing. And you help people like me who live in a small town, in a third world country, who don’t have a clue on how to approach her dream of becoming a published romance author. It’s really amazing how many willing people are out there, sharing what they know without expecting anything in return. I’m awed. I’m grateful. I’m thankful and am working on paying it forward.

And to my readers (all three of you…Hey Mom! *laughs*), you inspire me, push me and always make me want to give more than a 100% with every story I write. Your support humbles me. My latest book have placed me in front of readers who didn’t know who I was until they picked up my book as part of the Black Hills Wolves series and I’m grateful for you because you gave an unknown to you author a chance. Thank you.

It’s humbling when you think that there are so many people all over the world who do not get to live out their passion. Who do not have the freedom to venture into any career path. For many years South Africa was that type of country. Recently my mother again reminded me on just how tough it was when she was in high school. The then Apartheid government would literally come to Coloured and Black schools and tell students that they couldn’t study certain subjects at grade 11 level. Usually those subjects would be Mathematics, Accountancy, Physical Science and Biology…they didn’t want doctors, lawyers, accountants to come from Coloured and Black groups. In fact there was a quota placed on how many could be allowed into those types of university courses each year. Imagine you’ve spent years doing Mathematics only to be told you couldn’t take it again in grade 12 because you, according to a rigged system, didn’t qualify? And guess what, having a B in those subjects disqualified you. *snorts* Yeah, I also didn’t get straight A’s.

According to the Apartheid government I would be as dumb as a doornail.

I am grateful that I get to do what I do. That I live in a time in the world’s history where as a person of color I can write the stories I like and have people from every ethnicity enjoy them *smile*

And as strange as this sounds, I want to say thank you for all the ‘likes’, the reviews, ‘shares’, ‘follows’, ‘subscribing to my blog’, buying my books, ‘liking my book page’, having me on your blogs, tweeting, and generally coming along with me on my writing journey.

I still have a way to go, but I’m truly grateful for what the journey so far has taught me and how much support I’ve received.

#HappyWriting I know I am because of you.*smile*

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Buy Links:

Amazon: Kindle Store https://t.co/gipdx4OYiZ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/za/en/ebook/the-wolf-s-choice

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/711816

 

Like my Facebook Page: Books by Inge Saunders: http://bit.ly/1defI54

And I’m also on

Twitter: @saunders_inge

Instagram: @ingesaunders

 

On Novel: My Writing Process with JC Layne

On Novel: My Writing Process

By

Author JC Layne

 

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You know that quote from a poem by Robert Burns that says, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry?” For me, this quote says it all!

The following diagram explains my writing process:

JC High Level Writing Process

Usually, the story comes first and then the characters develop as I write. The story may begin as a passing thought or idea and then it grows; i.e. I knew a production studio could be a wonderful setting for character interaction. Don’t be surprised if some characters take on a bigger role than planned!

I start with a high level outline of the story line, jotting down ideas like major scenes, ideas or events that I want to happen in the story. I don’t use any specific structure when I write, I’ve found that everything flows better if the story organically develops. I’m very left-brained about things and if I have a strict outline, I feel like I have to force the story into that box. The result SUCKS!

My characters guide my story to where they want it to go. None of my books have ended up like I expected. Initially, I fought where the characters were taking me when writing Perfect Timing, but ultimately, they won out. That book and Missing a Beat turned out much darker than I intended. Parts were difficult to write, but I think the stories ended up better than my original ideas!

I like readers to know characters’ quirks, humor, their habits, etc. Most start with a blank slate, but for certain characters, I may have a strong idea of what they will look like. For instance, Mitch in my Back on Track series looks like a particular musician that I love.

I keep a list of all characters and their details. Physical attributes like hair color, eye color, height, etc. Then, other attributes like nervous habits, laugh, facial expressions. Finally, anything I’ve mentioned like parents’ names, birth dates, ages. I learned the hard way that not keeping track as I go causes a lot of wasted time to find details.

People ask if there are specific places or times when I write or if I have rituals or quirks. I write when the creative juices are flowing, whether that’s at lunch on my day job or in the evenings. Some days, I couldn’t write a sentence if I had to. I just walk away, rather than get frustrated. When I write, I do talk to my characters…and yes, they talk back. So, either I’m not very stable, or my characters are pains in the ass!

Advice for new writers:

  • Don’t force anything, let your imagination work.
  • If you’re blocked, walk away, then come back to it. Again, don’t force it.
  • Just get it down on paper! Don’t leave it in your head. Getting something down is better than forgetting the idea. It doesn’t have to be good…it just has to be captured.
  • Pay the money to have your work edited. Not just read through, but edited. You’ve put your heart and soul into it…let it be correct. Books that have typos and grammar issues detract from the story. There are some reasonably priced editors out there. (If you need an editor, please shoot me an email and I’ll give you my editor’s info.)
  • Find a great cover artist! Covers are the first things the reader sees. (If you need a cover artist, shoot me an email and I’ll give you the info for mine.)

 

I am an indie author. I haven’t ventured into the world of publishing companies, sadly because I’ve heard so many horror stories. Perhaps one day I’ll give that a try, but right now, I’ll stay self-published. Whatever you choose, be true to yourself. This is your baby…don’t forget that.

 

Feel free to message me on Facebook or email me if you have questions. Good luck on your future venture! Kick ass!!!

 

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Author Bio:

J.C. Layne is a relatively new author with three books under her belt so far. A bit of an author conundrum, she has a very left-brained degree from the University of South Carolina and spends her days swimming around in numbers. But, her right brain demands to be heard…and now it is! For 12 years, J.C. has interviewed bands and written articles and CD reviews for various music publications. Her love and knowledge of music combined with her love of books led her to write fiction about hot rock stars and falling in love.

 

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Buy links:

https://www.amazon.com/Face-Crowd-J-C-Layne-ebook/dp/B0743LHK7T/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504721354&sr=8-1&keywords=jc+layne%27

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35914392-face-in-the-crowd?from_search=true

https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=j.c.+layne

Website/blog:

www.authorjclayne.com

Social media handles:

www.facebook.com/authorjclayne

www.twitter.com/authorjclayne

www.facebook.com/jclayne

 

*Thank you Jennifer, I really enjoyed reading your article. There are real diamonds for any author, aspiring or published.

Writing Sizzle (When you’re used to Sweet)

*This was an article I wrote as a guest post on another blog, but thought I’d share it here again 🙂

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As with all things in life, trying something new does bring its own set of challenges. And going from writing sweet contemporary romance to more spicy paranormal romance wasn’t the exception.

I remember at one point I did a post on my Facebook Author Page on the research I’d done on ‘how to approach writing a love scene’. Don’t worry I won’t do a recount here *smile*

But what is the challenge of writing sizzling instead of sweet? Romance is romance after all. There can’t be much difference between the two. And right there, I would lose my reader. Because a sweet romance reader is looking for something different than a reader who prefers a more sizzling read. As an author with a deep respect for readers (because I’m a reader myself) I sat back and dug deep to understand the complexity of the challenges I’m going to face as I tell the story.

The Wolf’s Choice is my first foray into romance that sizzles. It also forms part of a bigger world, The Black Hills Wolves, created by Heather Long and Rebecca Royce for Decadent Publishing. So I had to keep the requirements of the series in mind and stay true to what the creators had in mind of for it. And since the inspiration for the novella started off in my imagination with these two innocent teens meeting at the local Swimming Hole, I knew that I’m going to have a problem if I kept to my ‘old’ style of sweet romance writing (even though the scene when read on its own is sweet).

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I think it’s good to note at this point that I don’t just read sweet romance. The romance books I buy range in heat levels, but I usually gravitate towards the stories that contain a happy medium. And that’s the crux for an author who’s going from a ‘clean’ read to a much hotter one. The first challenge you’ll face is to ask yourself, where’s my comfort level with the hotness-factor? Once you’ve established this, you’ll know whether you’ll be able to write a romance that sizzles or have to completely abandon that writing path.

The second challenge, I found, has to do with language, what words to use? Do you want to be graphic? What do your favorite authors use when they tackle a love scene? And most importantly, what type of language is used by the authors contracted for the series/line you want to write for? If the language is an issue for you, then don’t. To force is a crime *smile* and no one likes to be forced to do anything. I’ve read authors who use the words dick, pussy, etc. in such a jarring way that I stopped reading the story. To me, they are out of sync with their characters. If your heroine has never throughout the book even thought of sex or referred to her body parts in her mind or in the dialogue in erotic terms, then goodness why are you now suddenly having her using those terms? The language becomes jarring.

That’s something I had to study in The Wolf’s Choice. A woman with sexual experience wouldn’t necessarily be coy about sex. Though we all know it’s not that cut and dried, characters, like people are complex. (And this you’ll find out about my heroine Rebecca, when you read the story). But there are certain universal things we all accept and don’t about characters in novels.

So language is a definite challenge when writing a sizzling romance.

Don’t lose the plot. No seriously, don’t. Essentially you’re telling the story of two people falling in love and the obstacles that keep them from doing that. As a romance writer that’s your first priority. Don’t get bogged down by how hot your book’s supposed to be. Or by what page number your characters should have, at least, kissed. Or made love.  And don’t write love scenes as fillers.

Some publishers might compromise story because sex is the subject of that imprint. But you have to keep in mind that at the heart of every romance is the emotional bond between the hero and heroine. The emotional bond adds layers to theDance-of-Love300x450 sizzle and the sizzle in your story should advance the plot.

The important thing to acknowledge is that you’ll face challenges as you go along, but to not allow them to keep you from telling your story.

 

*What challenges have you faced writing a love scene?

 

Feedback: Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Books

Africa Online Book Fair Facebook Cover 2 (2)(1)

As the founder and one of the organizers of the #AfricaOnBookFair Romance Authors & Books, to say my nerves were fried when the weekend of the fair (2nd of June) arrived, would be an understatement.

The hosting of such an event on Facebook was a first for me, though not participating in one. Being a reader and getting to know authors, is the much preferred role of the two. But I was also extremely excited.

Here was an opportunity to bring people together, for authors to network with each other, for readers to discover new talent and for African romance authors to have another platform to showcase themselves. When you set out to do something like this you should 1) take a lot of deep breaths 2) give yourself room to make mistakes 3) surround yourself with positive people 4) surround yourself with people you can count on 5) check your resources 6) do your research and 8) set out to have fun!

Yep those aren’t very technical things except numbers 5 & 6, but they do help you to keep perspective.

That’s from a hosting perspective of the weekend.  Now as an author who also showcased their books for the weekend *smile*

Blog tours and Facebook parties rarely give earth shattering sales. Literary services will tell you that blog tours mainly create exposure and that’s what an author should focus on. Sales that do come from a blog tour are great, but the focus should be connecting with or creating a readership for your book(s).

Now Facebook book parties are a bit tricky, they’ve worked in the past to generate sales. But only when you diligently market your participation in the event. Facebook book parties are not as effective as they used to be. The ‘shine’ has worn off and some literary services don’t recommend having them.

So why did I as an author thought attending a Facebook book event will help me? Why participate in an online book fair? For the simple reason that online book fairs, according to my research, are still at the beginning phase of online book events and authors and those in the publishing industry has caught on that creating a comfortable and accessible space for both readers and publishing professionals seem to be the way forward. Attending an event like this annually creates relationships, networks and consistency that you won’t necessarily find at a Facebook party.

So I had 1hr to put my 4 posts up, and then for roughly a 1hr 30min I got to interact with anyone who responded on my posts. For me the time flew by, I thought the gap between me and the author after me might be too wide, but as the host of the fair *smile* I knew the time had to be allocated to slow down the social media for each author on our networks. That way you won’t have authors infringing on each others time.

As a bit of an experiment I put both my books for Decadent Publishing’s Ubuntu line on sale for the weekend. I offered nothing else. No gift cards, free books, swag, etc. because I wanted to test something. But not just my books. Authors who also write for the line and who took part in the fair, the publisher offered to put their books on sale as well.

I knew that the experiment would be skewed because all of us promoted ourselves differently and one of the Ubuntu line authors pulled out  a day before the event started. This would and probably did, affect the results.

I had invited some of my Facebook friends and also used my other networks to spread the word about my slot at the fair. During my hour, I also sent out private messages via Facebook inviting a few friends and reminding others. I posted in my publishers Facebook groups and also tagged DP on twitter. I thought of running an advert on Facebook or Twitter, but since I was hosting 2 out of the 3 days of the fair, I didn’t come around to doing it.

A few days after the fair I emailed my publisher and asked if the fair had in anyway hiked up sales for the Ubuntu line, and me, and she said it did. *smile* I’ll have to wait till my next royalty statement to see exactly by how big a margin.

One thing I’ve learned about online events the same as with physical events like say, a music concert. You have to tell people about it. Where you are going to be at, at what time, with who (if you’re not alone) and what they can expect from you. And not just once or twice, but multiple times before and, if it’s possible, during the event. Goodness, I got so sick of the Justin Bieber adverts promoting his concerts in SA, but I knew exactly where and when it was happening. (Thanks for the earworms after each advert Justin *raises eyebrow*)

So a heavy dose of marketing is definitely part of the plan next year for me as an author.

The experiment was a success, because I wanted to see if an event like this on a 99c book sale, for two of my books and other books of the Ubuntu line could bring in sales. And it did.

And this is the last thing I want to point out as a positive for an event like the Africa Online Book Fair: Romance Authors & Readers.

I’ve made some lasting connections with authors and readers during the fair. I was pleasantly surprised at an attendee (a Facebook friend) who I didn’t think would be interested in a romance authors event, show up with questions and engaging right up till my time was up. I got another writing buddy; I’m keen to hook up with. And as an organizer of the fair, two romance publishers already offered support us for next year.

I’ve already thanked the guest authors for the weekend via email, as well as my co-host Kathy Bosman, but I’d like to say another thank you. Without you the fair wouldn’t have been possible.

*bows head*

Link to the Africa Online Book Fair: https://web.facebook.com/groups/137410896799580/

Twitter: @AfricaOnBookFr

Instagram: @africaonlinebookfair