Monday, February 28, 2011

Guest Author: Lori Devoti - Why NY pubbed authors are self-publishing

I'm thrilled to have Lori Devoti here today to chat about her reasons to start self-publishing original work...that's right folks, not just her backlist titles but original work!  Go Lori!  It is still pretty uncommon to see NY pubbed authors willing to take the indie leap beyond their backlist titles so when I saw this book pop up on Smashwords awhile ago and then saw the author's name, I was very excited.  After confirming with Lori that this book was actually an original work (much to my delight) I just had to beg ask her to stop by and chat with us about her reasons for going indie.  Be sure to check out Lori's March Madness sale info at the end of the post!



Lori says....

Michelle asked me to write a post on why, after ten novels plus a number of shorter works with New York, I decided to self-publish my new young adult urban fantasy novel, Demon High

The answer is both simple and complicated. 

The simple--after a dozen or so submissions to NY, both on my own and through my previous agent, the book didn’t sell to NY. 

However, when I made the decision to publish the book myself, there was a request in my inbox from a small, but very reputable print publisher to read the full. 

I knew this publisher would do a good job publishing the book, meaning I knew they took pride in their product and would do what they could to get sales. I also knew that this would give me a “real” book that I could take to upcoming conferences and for my family to show others. I knew in many people’s minds this paper product would make me “legit” as a young adult author. 

But even knowing all of that, I decided not to send the full. Instead I sent an email saying I’d decided to go another direction...I had decided to self-publish instead. 

There was a time not so long ago neither I nor probably any other author would have sent such an email.
But times have changed and I think for the better—both for readers and writers. 

I had, at this point, already played a little with self-publishing. My vampire short story, Lost, had been up for a number of months with both great and terrible results. The great—it was selling like crazy. The terrible—readers felt it was too short and the ending too incomplete. 

In other words I had made some mistakes, but I was learning, and despite my bruises (and one and two star reviews) I liked what I saw as the possibilities for both readers and writers. 

Readers were unhappy with Lost and they told me that. If the story had been published with NY that would have been the end of it—too bad for the readers, too bad for me. But since I put the story out, I had a number of options open to me. 

I liked that. I liked that I could actually change the product in what would hopefully be a way to satisfy readers. (I did this by writing a second story that is now bundled with the first at the same $.99 price, and early feedback has been great.) 

So, reason #1 that self-publishing is good – readers can give feedback and authors can act on it relatively quickly, sometimes immediately. 

Personally, I think this is one of the most important reasons, but it is far from the only one.
Here are a few others.

Loss of the gatekeeper. 

NY is a system of gate-keepers. We all know this. Some people get downright angry about it. I never have, because I’ve always recognized that publishing is a business and when an editor or agent rejects a book, what they are saying is “I don’t think I can make money off this.” And really, that is their right. 

However, what NY needs to make money off of a book and what an author in this new world needs to make money off of a book are FAR from the same thing. 

My print runs have all been in the tens of thousands. A book needs at least that kind of possibility of sales for NY to take a chance on it. And it has to be what they think is a good chance because with the old print model there was a lot of non-recoverable costs if the book didn’t sell. 

But guess what? As an author selling my books directly to readers, I don’t have to sell anywhere near the same amount of copies to make what I think is a fair dollar amount for my work. 

So, what happens? 

Books that would not make it in the old NY model get a shot. (And I am including authors who were never published by NY in all of this. There are many, many great writers who never sold to NY and now are finding success, or should be finding success, self-publishing.)

This means books that NY gave up on and genres NY gave up on get a shot. 

Which means readers whose favorite genre got dropped as not feasible now can find that genre or author again.

So, reason #2 Choices for readers and Freedom for writers to write what calls to them, not what is “hot” at that exact moment. 

Need more reasons? How about information? As an author this is huge. 

Authors have always wanted more information and publishers seemed to cling to it tighter than Ebenezer Scrooge to his gold.  

But with digital publishing, authors can log into Amazon or Pubit’s dashboard and see how many books they have sold hour by hour. They can be on a blog and see instantly if that effort sold books. 

They can use this information to give them more (responsible and responsive) control over their own product. They can run sales. They can change the cover, the product description and even the book as much and as frequently as they like. 

And then there is, of course, money. 

This is the hardest part to predict. I know authors doing really well with self-publishing, as well or better than they did with NY. And I know authors not selling enough to buy a latte. 

But for any and all of those authors the possibility of making more money exists because they retain their rights. With NY this isn’t true, and if your book doesn’t sell well in its first few months, its chances of making more money are slim—unless you get a foreign sale or movie option, etc. But with self-publishing, authors can at any time redo their cover, reprice the book, or rewrite the back cover copy. They can even rewrite the book. They can do whatever they want to make that book more appealing to readers and that, people, is now what it is all about. 

Writers writing to entertain readers. 

You may think that is what it has always been about, but I’d argue that somewhere along the way this writer to reader connection got lost. And, having been a NY author, I understand why. I know this sounds strange, but when you are working and reworking a book to satisfy your agent or your editor it is sometimes really easy to forget that ultimately this book is for a reader—and not just that one person with the power to tell you “no”. 

Well, not any more. :) 

And p.s. one last plus of self-publishing for readers? Price. Authors don’t have the overhead of publishers and thus don’t have to price their self-published books as high. Looking for a bargain, but also great read? Check out something indie.

And check out my books right now! Through the month of March all of my self-published fiction, including Demon High is just $.99 (digital edition only). I certainly couldn’t do that with NY.

Lori Devoti



Find Lori Devoti online:

Find Lori Devoti's Books:

Don't forget about Lori's March Madness Sale!!  All her self-published digital titles are $0.99 in March.  

Note:  To get Demon High on Smashwords for the sale price just use coupon code MD28J at checkout.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lori Devoti worked for three different newspapers in two different states before deciding to stay home with her children and begin writing fiction. The multi-published author of urban fantasy, contemporary romance and paranormal romance, Lori has been a finalist for many awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award. Her books have received numerous Top Pick designations from Romantic Times and appeared on Bookscan’s top 100 selling romances. As an instructor she has taught at the University of Wisconsin Write by the Lake program, various writing conferences and conducted online workshops. For Lori's current online classes visit http://www.howtowriteshop.com

She lives near Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and children as well as two dogs.


 Thanks so much joining us today Lori! 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Releases: January / February 2011

A sampling of  some recent releases to tickle your paranormal taste buds...


Demon High
by Lori Devoti
Published: January 7, 2011

Lucinda Dent never planned to call demons. She saw what the addiction did to her mother. But when she needs money to save her home, who can blame her for using the only talent she has? Now Demons are loose in Caldera High and Lucinda may lose everything--her home, her new love and her soul. This novel contains swear words and sexual situations.











Read a 20% Sample  at Smashwords

Get the Book!





Angel Fire
Fallen Angels, #1
by Valmore Daniels
Published: January 20, 2011

I am cursed with a dark power: When I’m in danger, my subconscious summons elemental fire. I cannot control this. One night I was attacked. The fire raged. I survived but the power killed my parents. I went to prison for ten years. Now I'm out and want to rebuild my life; but the man who attacked me is back. I can sense the power growing. If I can't control it, it will destroy everyone I love.











Get the Book!





Save My Soul
Preternaturals, #2
by Zoe Winters
Published:  January 24, 2011


After buying the antebellum home she’s fantasized about since childhood, Anna Worthington discovers Luc, a dangerously seductive incubus who has been trapped in the house by a fifty-year-old curse. All she has to do is resist him long enough to break the spell so they can go their separate ways. If she doesn’t, she could die. And that would be the best case scenario. 










Read a 30% sample at Smashwords

Get the Book!






A Night of Secrets
by Lori Brighton
Published:  February 7, 2011

When Grayson Bellamont finds his sister murdered and his seven-year-old niece missing, he sets out to uncover the truth and locate his niece before it’s too late. All leads point to Meg James, a Vicar’s daughter. Instinct tells him Meg is innocent, but the clues he uncovers warn she’s guilty. One thing is clear, Meg awakens a warmth inside of him he thought long dead.











Read a generous 40% Sample at Smashwords!

Get the ebook!





Dragon Blues
by Edie Ramer
Published: February 15, 2011

Once a dragon… Saxophone player Noah Long shifted from dragon to human 2500 years ago, but the dragon blood still coursing through his veins has kept him healthy and virile. Now his secret is out, and the man who discovered it will do anything to make Noah’s blood his own. Noah’s only ally is martial arts expert Lila Fox, who heats up the fire in his belly…and his heart.











Read a 20% Sample  at Smashwords

Get the Book!




Devil's Descent II: impure
Dark Love, #2
by Claudia D. Christian
Published: February 11, 2011

Sequel to Devil's Descent I: purgatory Volume I sees Julian Douglas, a Pureblood Vampire among other obsessive, psychotic things, finding Lily Walker, an unstable wreck of a girl among other pitiful, lamentable things, before abandoning her in an uncharacteristic moment of conscience. Volume II takes us two years before to when their twisted love affair began...


Warning: Erotic






Read a 20% Sample at Smashwords

Get the Book!
Amazon Kindle





Glimmer
by Vivi Anna 
Published: February 16, 2011

Although Nina Decker’s father is one hundred percent human, her mother is not. She belongs to an ancient and rare race of people called the fae. But these fae are not those written about in fairytales, with pretty gossamer wings and fairy dust, no they are sinister, malevolent and unkind, dwelling in another realm called Nightfall. And Nina does everything she can to hide that part of herself.











Read a 20% Sample at Smashwords


Get the Book!




Bitter Demons
Peachville High Demons, # 3  
by Sarra Cannon
Published: February 24, 2011

So far, life in Peachville has been tough for Harper Madison. She's survived attacks on her life, learned how to control her magic, and met the most gorgeous boy - who also happens to be a demon. Things become more complicated when a future Prima from a nearby demon gate is abducted, and Harper finds out the attack was meant for her.











Read a 20% Sample at Smashwords

Get the Book!







Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Finds: Sweet Indie Deals - Feb 25, 2011

Friday Finds is a way to share super sweet deals for indie paranormal ebooks.  All Friday Finds are priced from Free ~ $3.00 and represent an awesome deal for the word count. 




  • Books listed in Friday Finds have not been reviewed unless indicated below with a link to the review.  
  • It's up to the reader to determine if the ebook is a good fit for their reading tastes.  
  • Follow the links for more details and to download a free sample (if it's not already free) to see if you might like it. It's a great way to "test drive" a book.
  • If a coupon code is listed below, it is publicly available or was provided to me by the author specifically for sharing on the blog. 

Prices are valid at the time of this post but they can change at any time, so get 'em while the gettin' is good!







The Finding
Law of the Lycans, Book 3
by Nicky Charles

Word Count: approx. 163,260 
(Novel Plus)

FREE! at Smashwords
 FREE! at Feedbooks

She discovered a dark secret, witnessed a murder and fled into the night fearing for her life. Three years later, Cassie is still hiding from her past, haunted by a dream lover and fighting to control a terrifying beast that seems to grow stronger each day. When Bryan, pack Beta, appears to claim her, Cassie is forced to face the truth of her existence. Innocence, betrayal, greed and love collide with ancient werewolf laws in The Finding. Third book in The Law of the Lycans series by Nicky Charles.




The Uncertainty of Death
by Y.K. Greene

Word Count: approx. 74,640
(Novel)

Something is wrong with Death, an immortal being who has stood by the dying since before the dawn of time. The only clues lie in two appointments gone horribly wrong with two seemingly unrelated mortals. Is this a mystery that can be solved or the beginning of an unwinding destiny?




 Honor Bound
Witchblade Chronicles, Book 1
by C.J. Archer

 Word Count: approx. 81,799
(Novel)

Isabel Merritt's quiet life as an assistant to one of London's famous apothecaries hides a deadly secret. A secret that could see her put on trial for witchcraft if the authorities, and her husband, uncover the truth.

When royal spy Sir Nicholas Merritt stumbles upon his estranged wife during an investigation, he can't believe his luck. He's been searching for her for seven long years and now he has her again, in his bed and his life. Except she's resisting all the way. Worse still, she's somehow tangled up with a plot to assassinate the queen. To hold onto her this time, he must find out why she left him while hiding a secret of his own that could tear them apart forever.




 Dark Passages
The Brethren, Book 4
by Sara Reinke

Word Count: approx. 41,581
(Short Novel)

$1.99 B&N Nook
Tristan Morin is a vampire on a mission: to not fall in love with Karen Pierce. To do so would prove that humans and Brethren were meant to be physically and emotionally bound to each other -- something he, as a full-blooded Brethren, refuses to believe. It would be so much easier if Karen wasn't beautiful. And if there wasn't something about her that draws him like a moth to a flame, damn near impossible to resist.

Karen has always felt an inexplicable attraction to Tristan. More than just the fact he's strikingly handsome, it's as if being with him is something natural, comfortable and right. But soon a brash choice on his part leaves her heartbroken and confused, and a sadistic new enemy will put their tentative love -- and their lives -- to the ultimate test.




A Touch of Greek
Out of Olympus, Book 1
by Tina Folsom


Word Count: approx. 84,720
(Novel)

$1.99 B&N Nook
SPECIAL PRICE for LIMITED TIME!
Note: if you don't have a Nook and need a different format, Tina will send you the choice of  kindle, epub, or pdf version of this book with proof of purchase from B&N.  Details on her blog HERE.

Selfish and gorgeous Greek God Triton is cast out of Olympus after seducing Zeus’ mistress and can only gain reentry if he finds a woman who loves him for his kindness and selflessness, not his beauty. When the mortal Sophia – recovering from an eye operation and virtually blind – needs a home healthcare worker, he takes on the role, hoping she will be his ticket home.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Whatcha Reading? Bob Moore: No Hero by Tom Andry

Tom Andry is joining us today to give us the scoop on his debut book Bob Moore: No Hero.  I first saw this book come up as a Free Read on Smashwords and it has been racking up some great reviews in the short time since it was released.  It is now available on multiple venues. I read the first chapter and was intrigued enough that I asked Tom to stop by and tell us more about his book. 



Bob Moore: No Hero
by Tom Andry
Super powered humans started appearing 30 years ago. Now, they are everywhere. Bob Moore, Private Eye, dares to investigate those who could incinerate him with a thought. When he is called to help a super from his past, however, he'll be pushed to his limit. When supers and the police think there is no crime, can he get to the truth? Will he want to for the man that destroyed his marriage?




What’s the basic premise of Bob Moore: No Hero?
Bob Moore is a non-powered private eye in a world full of super-powered humans. Supers started showing up about 30 years ago and have become more and more prevalent. Now they have their own government, their own country (it's borderless but it is theirs) and they pretty much run the world. Bob? Well, he doesn't much like supers. He is one of the few that specializes in investigating them. He stays alive through a few defensive gadgets and by keeping one step ahead of the supers.

In No Hero, Bob is hired by a super to investigate a series of reported disappearances. No one, not even the cops or the other supers, believes there was any crime. Problem is, this super and Bob have a history. When supers and the police think there is no crime, can he get to the truth? Will he want to for the man that destroyed his marriage?

Who is the audience for this story?
I find this to be a hard question. The themes in Bob are a bit serious but there isn't much cursing and really very little sexual material at all. I'm 39 and I wrote it so that I'd enjoy it. I don't enjoy reading about sex so I don't write it. In fact, the excerpt below is the raciest part of No Hero. It wasn't tailored for any specific age group but I'd think it would be fine for 16 and up. I've had a number of people from all the way up to 60+ comment that they enjoyed it even though it is not the sort of thing they normally read.

What inspired the idea for this book?
I was on the phone with an aspiring webcomic who was telling me about his most recent project. He asked me if I'd ever considered writing a webcomic (he knows I can't draw). I hadn't but said if I did it'd probably be about... and came up with the basic premise of Bob on the spot. As I say at the end of No Hero, after reading a bunch of free eBooks I decided to write one. The first idea I had that included an entire story was Bob. After having a couple of false starts at novels, I wanted something that I knew I could finish. I finished the first draft of No Hero, in 25 days.

Is this book a stand alone or part of series?
Both? I wrote the book thinking I'd write another but it wasn't meant to be any sort of trilogy or continuing story arc. I'm big on realism so anything that happens in a previous book (chronologically) will affect later books. But every book will be standalone. Those that have read the previous books will "get" more of later ones but new readers won't be forced to go back and read the whole catalogue.

Who did the cover art for your book?
James Riot. He's a webcomic I've been following for years and I knew he'd be perfect for the cover. I couldn't be happier with it. I've also convinced him to start providing covers with special pricing for eBook writers. Together we priced what was out there and he's pretty much undercutting everyone. I think a book cover should be dictated by the flavor and tenor of the content not by the quality of the artist. I've seen amazing covers that have no connection at all to the interior of the book. James is obviously very talented and his style fits Bob to a T.

What sets this book apart from other books in the genre?
Are detective stories set in a world of superheroes a genre? :) One thing I've strived to do with Bob is to ensure that not only does the world make sense and is consistent, but to keep Bob grounded. It is very tempting as an author to have your main character be the most powerful person (aside from perhaps the antagonist) in the story. With Bob, I wanted a character that was obviously inferior to most of the other characters. I didn't want to write a Harry Potter or Neo, I wanted Bob to be just like the rest of us. Well, maybe a little bit better prepared.

I guess if I had to pick a direct comparison to Bob it would be Steven Brust's Vlad character (though I hadn't thought of it until just now). But, unlike Vlad, you'll never see Bob get superpowers or even carry a gun. The idea is that Bob is a normal guy up against supers with little more than his wits, some careful planning, and a bit of luck. I'm really not much on detective books in general but I set Bob down as one because it was the perfect vehicle for a non-powered character to interact with supers.

If you could have a superpower, what power would you choose and why?
This is going to sound weird but I'd like the power of universal translation. I know that flight, super speed, and invisibility are the most popular and if I had to choose one of those three I'd take flight. But my wife is half Turkish and we've traveled a lot to many different countries (Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, India, and Nepal with Thailand, Vietnam, and a few other Southeast Asian countries on the to-do list) and I always thought how cool it would be to speak every language. And not just speak the language, but be a true universal translator in that you understand the culture as well. And yes, there is a good bet that there will be a character in a future Bob book with that power. Probably a villain.

Where can readers find your book?
You can find it on Amazon either in print or for the Kindle. You can also find the physical copy on CreateSpace or digital ones at iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. If I could find a place to carve it into stone tablets, I'd have it available there as well. Pretty much everywhere.

Is there anything else you would like readers to know about Bob Moore: No Hero?
The sequel is in the works. Set about six months after the events in No Hero. The new book, Bob Moore: Desperate Times (working title) will deal (partially) with the aftermath of the end of No Hero. This book is shaping up to be twice as long as No Hero (which is a 35k word novella). One thing I've always found annoying about detective stories in general is that there is often no continuity. Sure, reoccurring characters are introduced but traumatic, often life changing, events are usually glossed over as things the characters got over during the time between the books. That's not me. I like to make my characters suffer. Not needlessly but realistically. That means that while you won't have to read No Hero to understand Desperate Times, it will make it more enjoyable.

How can readers contact you?
I have too many email addresses these days to count. There is a contact form on www.tomandry.com plus links to all the different social media forms that I use.




Excerpt from Bob Moore: No Hero
Copyright 2011  Tom Andry

"Mr. Moore," his voice sounded of years of drinking and smoking, "what did you find out?"

"Go ahead and take a seat, Mr. O'Malley," I replied, motioning to a chair in front of my desk as I returned to my seat.

The guest chair was heavily reinforced for some of my heavyweight clients and was bolted to the floor for some of my hot-headed ones when I got tired of replacing windows and chairs. When I looked up, Shawn was rooted to the spot, his eyes wide and face flushed.

"Oh, please, Shawn, you must have heard of me or you wouldn't have come."

"How did you..." Flamer stammered. The muscles in his neck and shoulders started to ripple. His pecs and lats convulsed as he clenched his fists unconsciously.

I never understood why supers insisted on being half-dressed all the time. Aside from just looking like a dork, their body language gave away way too much if they weren't careful. In the thirty year history of supers, you can count the "careful" ones on one hand.

"Calm down, Mr. O'Malley, I have no intention of ever revealing your identity to anyone. Ever." I picked up a piece of paper off my desk and pretended to look at it, "I just like to know who I'm working for."

Slowly the tension drained from the super.

Silently, I exhaled. With the "brick" types, you never knew what to expect. Those guys (and sometimes girls) loved to lose their tempers. Now that he realized that I knew who he was, we could continue.

"You had a question you wanted answered," I began. "But first, there's the issue of my payment."

Shawn leaned forward, "You followed her?"

I nodded.

"You saw what she was doing?"

I nodded again.

"Tell me!" he practically shouted.

"Please, Mr. O'Malley," I leaned back in my chair, "let's dispense with the formalities first."

He grimaced and reached behind him.

What I thought was a belt was, in actuality, a fanny-pack. I coughed into my hand, covering my smile.

"There," he practically threw the other half of the money at me. "Now tell me, is she cheating on me?"

"In a word, Mr. O'Malley, no." I gathered up the money and pressed the comm button on the phone. "Khan, bring in the pictures, please."

Flamer looked shocked, "What do you mean, no?"

"Well, I can't say for sure, but you asked me to follow her for a night and see what she was doing."

Khan entered with the pictures and handed them to me. In return, I handed him the money. On his way out, he noticed Flamer's fanny-pack and practically ran out the last two steps.

"I can tell you, she most definitely isn't out sidekicking with someone else."

"What? Well..." he stammered. "What the hell is she doing?"

I smiled and waited a few moments locking my eyes with his, "Having sex."

It looked like I had slapped him. I couldn't help but smile. He looked away, processing what I'd just told him.

"Wa... wa... with who?"

"Now, Mr. O'Malley, that wasn't part of our agreement."

He started to stand, face and chest flushed with emotion.

"Now, don't argue, Mr. O'Malley. You were convinced that whatever she was doing last night was what she'd been sneaking off to do for the last few weeks. You wanted to know what she was doing and I told you."

"But she could still be sidekicking with someone else!"

"If you'd like me to continue following her, I'd be happy to discuss with you a new contract."

"But I paid you a fortune!"

"Let's be reasonable, Mr. O'Malley, you paid me a small fortune. You had to because you wanted me to drop everything I was doing and run after her." I stood as well, "You see, what you super-types fail to understand is that out here, in the real world, you don't go off half-cocked. I did that for you because you offered me enough compensation to make it worth my while. What I got for it was a car that may have to be completely scrapped, the ire of a super much more powerful than you, and I almost lost my life. Now, if you feel you've been unfairly treated, I suggest you take it up with The Bulwark. Perhaps they'll come to your aid."

Flamer sat back down with a plop. Finally taller than him (though only barely) I watched as he seemed to deflate. He knew The Bulwark would never side with him, not when I had a signed contract. Plus, with the work I'd done for half of them, they'd need an ironclad case before ever moving against me.

"No, that's okay," O'Malley squeaked, "you're right, I was just caught a bit off guard."

I sat back down, "I understand, Shawn. I get this all the time."

"I bet you do," he muttered, quietly.

"So, do you want me to keep following her?"

It was pointless since Samantha had already confirmed Cindar wasn't sidekicking for her, but I wasn't about to turn down additional money. Plus, she could be sidekicking with someone else. I doubted it, but maybe.

"Well," he thought for a moment, "hey, don't I get to see the pictures?"

Honestly, by this point I would have bet that he'd forget to ask. I had already shuffled the raciest picture that didn't include a clear shot of Whisper's face to the top of the pile. I handed it over.

Shawn's eyes got wide. "But... but... that's a..."

"Yes, Mr. O'Malley," I smiled watching the emotions run across his face, "a girl. She was having sex. With a girl."

He shifted in his chair. After a moment, he opened his mouth.

"And no, you can't keep the picture," I replied before he could ask.

He carefully lowered the picture and set it on my desk. He stood slowly and I averted my eyes.

I really don't understand why they insist on wearing spandex.

He turned and walked out of my office without saying a word. From the ajar door, I heard O'Malley say, "Bob Moore? What kind of name is that for a PI?"

Khan's voice, "He gets that a lot." A moment later and Khan was back in my office occupying the chair recently vacated by the pink spandex-wearing super. "Oh. My. God." Khan could barely contain himself, "Did you see him? He’d better get that under control or they'll pick him up for indecent exposure.” 





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tom Andry is the Associate Editor of Audioholics.com and host of the AV Rant podcastHe's been writing mostly reviews but has lately returned to his prose roots. He has written many unpublished short stories, poems, and a few screenplays that may still be produced. He's the father of three boys affectionately nicknamed Punkalicious, Captain Evil, and Neo. He's happily married and currently resides in Perth, Australia. His background is in drama, creative writing, and research psychology which basically means his kids are in for a pretty rough time. His wife, Tanel, doesn't have it so easy either.




Thanks for stopping by today Tom! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: Gabriel's Mate by Tina Folsom

Gabriel's Mate
by Tina Folsom
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Formats avail: ebook & paperback
Publication Date: December 2, 2010
Word Count: 96,940 (Novel)
Print Length: 270 pgs
Kindle Locations: 4353
Source:  book provided by author

Scanguards Vampires, Book 3


Description from Goodreads:
After Maya is turned into a vampire against her will, vampire and Scanguards bodyguard Gabriel is charged with protecting her and finding her attacker.

Gabriel has never guarded a body as perfect as Maya’s. But while the sexual tension between them rises and the rogue vampire closes in on them, Gabriel can’t allow himself to give into the desire he feels for Maya. He fears to fully show himself to her despite the intimacies they share - afraid she will react like all other women when she discovers the horror he hides.

Will she run from him when she discovers his secret, calling him a monster, a freak, a creature not worthy of her love?

Caution: graphic and explicit sex scenes - not for the faint of heart.


My Thoughts:
The third book of the Scanguards Vampires series follows Gabriel, physically scarred from an incident when he was still human and emotionally scarred from a physical affliction that severely affects his love life. We first get a very brief and distant introduction to him in the first book of this series. He then shows up as a more prominent secondary character in the second book.  His character never really appealed to me much, so I was curious how I would feel about his story. I did end up liking him more by the end, but he still isn't one of my preferred characters.

At times the story was predictable. I guessed Gabriel's "issue" before it was revealed and it actually reminds me of another paranormal series that uses this same, um...attribute. I also guessed the bad guy very early in the story. If you are looking for a story that has tons of intrigue and suspense that keeps you guessing until the very end then you might be disappointed, but if you prefer an emphasis on the paranormal and romance elements with a little suspense to keep you interested then this book is more up your alley. I'm in the latter category so even though I quickly guessed who the culprit was, I still found the story enjoyable overall.

I did have a couple of "huh?" moments -- small details of the story that didn't make sense to me.  One was where a vamp gets staked (and no, I'm not telling who it is!) the vamp turns to dust and all the inanimate things like cell phone and pocket change fall to the floor amongst the dust...except the clothes.  Where did the clothes go?  If there is a reason for the clothes to disappear that was explained in the previous books then I don't recall it.

I can't say that I felt the romantic connection between the main characters as much as I did in the previous two books and I'm not sure why that is. The focus on building the connection between Gabriel and Maya was evident, but there was also a lot of internal angsting that I felt went on too long at times so maybe that cut into my sense of connection.

Samson and Amaury don't play a big role in this story. The reader gets a little of Samson at the beginning and a little of Amaury towards the end.  The bulk of the story’s secondary characters mostly focus on Yvette, Zane, and Thomas, which makes sense since their stories will be coming up. Yvette's book is next and you do see some of her story being set up. There is one particular aspect that I'm quite curious about and eager to see how it plays out – it involves dogs but that’s all I’m saying ;)

If you are already a fan of this series and invested in this universe, then you will likely enjoy Gabriel's Mate.  If you are new to this series, I suggest starting with the first book, Samson's Lovely Mortal as the characters do carry through in varying degrees and you will get a better feel for Gabriel and the Scanguards world by reading the earlier books first. I do enjoy this world and the characters so even though I had a few squabbles with some aspects of the story, I did enjoy it overall and it kept me turning the pages. Tina spins a good story and I always look forward to what is coming next.

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Heat Level: Smokin’ Hot -- This is an erotic romance and contains explicit and graphic scenes. Frequency of sex scenes is low but some scenes include rear-door activity and the nature of Gabriel’s condition may also be objectionable to some readers.

Rating: 4

Typos found: 17



This book is available in both paperback and ebook versions.  You can find Tina Folsom on the web at:

Website: http://www.tinawritesromance.com
Blog: http://authortinafolsom.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/tina_folsom
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorTinaFolsom
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3425403.Tina_Folsom


Find Gabriel's Mate on Goodreads HERE

Read the Prologue and First Chapter HERE

Get the Book!




Some other books by Tina Folsom

Samson's Lovely Mortal (Scanguards Vampires #1) 
**IPBR REVIEWED**

Amaury's Hellion (Scanguards Vampires #2)
**IPBR REVIEWED**

A Touch of Greek (Out of Olympus #1)
**IPBR REVIEWED**

Venice Vampyr (Venice Vampyr #1)

Venice Vampyr: Final Affair (Venice Vampyr #2)

To see all of Tina's books, visit her goodreads page or website


Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Finds: Sweet Indie Deals - Feb 18, 2011

Friday Finds is a way to share super sweet deals for indie paranormal ebooks.  All Friday Finds are priced from Free ~ $3.00 and represent an awesome deal for the word count. 




  • Books listed in Friday Finds have not been reviewed unless indicated below with a link to the review.  
  • It's up to the reader to determine if the ebook is a good fit for their reading tastes.  
  • Follow the links for more details and to download a free sample (if it's not already free) to see if you might like it. It's a great way to "test drive" a book.
  • If a coupon code is listed below, it is publicly available or was provided to me by the author specifically for sharing on the blog. 

Prices are valid at the time of this post but they can change at any time, so get 'em while the gettin' is good!



Fresh Blood
by Jennifer Colgan

Word Count: approx. 39,274 
(Novella)

FREE! at Smashwords
The deal is one life for another. Will Erica Talbot give her body, her mind and her soul to a vampire to save her sister one last time?  (Warning: Erotic)




 Breathless
by Heather C. Hudak

Word Count: approx. 83,163
(Novel)

$0.99 B&N Nook
When tall, dark, and mysterious Chaseyn Lear arrives in the small town of Evergreen, Colorado, high school senior Lia Jameson’s life is turned upside-down. An unexpected twist of fate unravels a long-time family curse that puts Lia in the center of a supernatural drama and threatens her life. 




Blue Amber
(Apocalypto, #3)
by LK Rigel

Word Count:  approx. 20,436
(Novella)

$0.99 Smashwords
$0.99 Amazon Kindle
$0.99 B&N Nook

SPECIAL PRICE for LIMITED TIME!

When Mallory visits Allel on her way to Red City, she and Edmund meet outside the proper formal channels. The forbidden encounter sparks feelings in Mallory which chalices are denied by law to entertain.  Neither could imagine their friendship would threaten the delicate balance of world power.




Little Sister: A Vampire Novella
by V.J. Chambers

Word Count: approx. 26,370
(Novella)

$0.99 Smashwords
$0.99 Amazon Kindle

Ever since Jane Cassidy's big brother was killed in a car accident six months ago, she's been taking solace in watching cheesy vampire movies and yelling at the characters on the screen when they do stupid things. She can't control the tragedy in her own life, but in the movies, the characters can find ways out of the grip of death.

A chance meeting with Bailey Westfield, her brother's best friend and her childhood crush, catapults her out of her cocoon of grieving. Bailey's kiss makes Jane feel tugged under a rushing waterfall of cold, sweet darkness. She only sees him at night, and she longs to feel his icy fingers trace the outline of her jaw.

Jane doesn't realize that she's been (literally) sucked into the plot of a vampire movie. And she's not so snarky when there are teeth in her own neck.




Under Witch Moon
by Maria E. Schneider

Word Count: approx. 92,315
(Novel)

$2.99 B&N Nook
Under Witch Moon is the first in an urban fantasy series: When dead bodies start turning up Adriel has no choice but to talk to White Feather, an undercover cop. Unfortunately, Adriel is a witch and White Feather isn't convinced she's innocent of wrongdoing. She's going to have to talk fast--and set spells even faster if she expects to survive.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Guest Author: LK Rigel - Killing Your Babies’ Names – Why I Changed Space Junque’s Title and Cover

LK Rigel is visiting us today to discuss the importance of choosing the right cover art and title.


LK says...

As I was working on this post, I saw a new review for Hero Material. It’s by MamaKitty, posted over at Goodreads. It begins:    

“I’m not normally into Sci-Fi type books.”


Gah!

I loved the title Space Junque, and the cover too. Space Junque is the name of the hero's orbital shuttle, and it plays a huge part in the story’s action. Jake, the pilot, has withdrawn from the public life he could have had, and he identifies strongly with his ship. One character, Rani, has an SJ tattoo.

But recently I had to admit that this might be the worst cover and title ever.

The problem? Instead of telling potential readers why they might want to pick up the book, it tells them why they may not want to.

Science fiction readers saw the cover and thought “romance – run!” Romance readers saw it and thought “science fiction – run!”

So many of the book’s reviews include a similar comment, something like I don't usually read this genre, but I'm so glad I did!

As the weeks and months ticked by after the book came out, I felt like I was always fighting with the title, always having to explain – no, no! It’s not what you think!

Hero Material is a prequel, the story of how the paranormal world in the Apocalypto series replaces the old unmystical normal world. The series proper is a paranormal fantasy, and all the action is definitely on earth or within the realm of the gods.

In fact, when the paranormal elements of Hero Material nee Space Junque kick in, it’s been a shock to a lot of readers, not expecting such things in science fiction. I blame myself for too-light foreshadowing. But I blame the old cover too.

It’s been like bringing a fiancĂ© home to meet the parents, and he’s dressed like a Hell’s Angel. My parents know me well enough to get past the shock and discover he’s also a corporate lawyer and trust fund baby. But as a new author, readers have no idea what to expect – and no reason to trust me as a writer.

The cover is one of your best marketing tools, probably the best – especially when nobody knows your name. More important than being gorgeous or dramatic, the cover needs to tell the reader with images what she’s getting into if she reads the story inside. It needs to convey, not obscure, genre.

Both covers were designed by fabulous Robin at Robin Ludwig Design. I used to adore the Space Junque cover, but the more I look at Hero Material, the more I love it better.

What do you think?

And by the way, what did MamaKitty think of the book? At the end of her review, she says:

“I've received the sequel to Hero Material, and I'm sorely tempted to skip through my requests list to read it.”

With the old cover and title, she – and a lot of readers – might never have been interested in trying it in the first place.



About the Author:
LK Rigel lives in California with her cat, Coleridge. She wrote songs for the 90's band The Elements, scored the independent science fantasy karate movie Lucid Dreams, and was a reporter for the Sacramento Rock 'N Roll News. Rigel received her BA in humanities from CSU, Sacramento. Her work has appeared in Literary Mama and Tattoo Highway. Her short story "Slurp" will appear in Anne Frasier's 2011 Halloween anthology published by Nodin Press. Her novel Space Junque was edited by USA Today bestselling author Anne Frasier/Theresa Weir.

She is the author of the Apocalypto series: Hero Material (Apocalypto 1), Spiderwork (Apocalypto 2), Blue Amber (Apocalypto 3) -- and Bleeder (Apocalypto 4) coming soon.



Thanks for visiting us today LK! 

See IPBR's review of Hero Material (formerly Space Junque)

and yeah...I was one of those, “I’m not normally into Sci-Fi type books” readers who ended up really enjoying it.  Maybe you will too!

You can find LK online at: http://www.lkrigel.com/ where you can sign up for her newsletter to keep posted on new releases and cool contests.  You can also check out the first chapter of Hero Material.

...or add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE
  
Find LK Rigel's books on:
Smashwords / Amazon  / B&N

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ch- Ch-Ch-Changes...

This blog will soon be going through some changes to how the reviewing system works. I am doing this to address some problems I'm running into since starting to manage the blog. 

Before I started blogging I usually read about 6-8 books a month and thought it would be no problem to split that number between indie books for the blog and my TBR books. I was wrong! I didn't take into account the extra time managing the blog and doing the reviews would suck up. I also get books to review occasionally from LibraryThing or Goodreads, and do judging for a couple of reader's choice contests (which I've had to cut down on). Now I'm lucky to get through 3-4 books and rarely do I touch a book from my TBR. I don't see this changing anytime soon with the current review system and my average reading speed. This is turning into a showstopper for me and I seriously considered passing the blog over to someone else. I don't really want to do that but I am not willing to give up my other books anymore.  My reading speed isn't going to change so the only other alternative is to work with that and revise my review system and blog focus. So here is how the new system will work:

  • I will not be doing a FIFO system anymore. When I receive a review request I will decide if it is something I am willing to review (no change there) but I will likely be pickier about this than in the past.
  • Instead of putting the book in a queue to be reviewed on a FIFO basis, the book will go into a pool of books for possible review. I will pick a book from this list each time I am ready to review. Books will be chosen mostly based on my reading interests and what I'm in the mood for at the time, but other factors may be considered. This is actually better for the author because I am reading something I want to read instead of something I have to read.
  • The key words here are "possible review". No book will be guaranteed a review or a time frame for the review. However, authors I have read and enjoyed previously can assume a review is likely and will probably get more priority. New-to-me authors will still be reviewed and I will be sure to include them in the rotation. As I do now for the FIFO queue, all the books will be shown on the site so the book gets a little PR while waiting. They will be on their own page instead of the sidebar.
  • I may choose to read a sample first before deciding on a book. If it turns out to be something that doesn’t grab me or seems to have a lot of issues, I’ll let the author know that it will not be reviewed and it will be removed from the review pool (but may be eligible for other blog features).
  • I will also be alternating the books I read between review books for the blog and books from my personal TBR, so however many reviews I get done for the month doing it this way will just be what it will be. I may decide to choose an indie title from my personal TBR, in which case, it may also get reviewed. The alternating book system will start immediately, but the book pool (trying to think of a better word for that) will start after the current FIFO queue is finished.

I will also be looking at possibly getting some guest reviewers and it will be much easier with the book pool as they can choose which book they want to review. This also means that anyone submitting a book for review understands and agrees that their book may be reviewed by someone else other than me and they are giving permission for me to send the reviewer a copy of the ebook. In the rare case of a print book, the author would send directly to the reviewer. An author can also request that only I review the book if they prefer but this may also increase the time it takes for the book to be reviewed. Another advantage to the book pool system is that I can take release dates into consideration when choosing a book so it gets reviewed closer to the day of release. Review requests that are not accepted for the review pool may be eligible for other blog features.

I will probably be focusing more on the promo end of the blog with the reviews being a smaller part (yes Virginia, it can be smaller than it already is...) and I invite any authors interested in doing any of the promotional features to contact me.

I realize some authors may not like this new system because it doesn't guarantee a review or time frame...sorry, but I work a full-time job so can only do this evenings and weekends. I don't get paid for it and I don't charge for any promotion I do on the blog. I have to do what will work for me and still be able to maintain the blog, do the reviews, keep it fun, and actually get to read some of my other books.  I'll try this for awhile and see how it goes. 

These are general guidelines and subject to change as I refine the system. If you have any questions, give me a holler at mishcara (at) gmail (dot) com. 

= = = = =
If you are an indie author who would like to participate in one of the blog features (see the Blog Features page for more information), feel free to contact me.

If you are a reader (including bloggers) and would like to do an occasional guest review, please give me a holler too. I am interested in guest reviewers who read primarily paranormal fiction and who currently read , enjoy, and review indie ebooks.