Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Choosing the Right Setting.

(Or does it choose you?)

At the end of May, AGAINST THE TIDE, the twelfth novel in my AGAINST series is being released. This is the last of three books about the rugged Brodie brothers of Alaska.

Being plot-oriented, I usually work through a story in my head then figure out the best place for the story to take place. Sometimes, as happened with the Alaska Trilogy, AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY, and AGAINST THE TIDE, the setting was an essential part of the stories before they were even conceived.

The concept for the trilogy began with a month-long trip my husband and I took to Alaska--a place that has fascinated me since childhood. Even before we set out, I knew I wanted to write an Alaskan trilogy, but had no story concepts until we set out on the five thousand mile journey north.

It was my second long trip, both of which involved traveling cross-country, staying in a tiny pickup camper. Every day and night spent out in the open filled my head with story ideas. By the time we got home, I had rough outlines for three high-action romantic suspense novels about the rugged Brodie brothers, Dylan, Nick, and Rafe, and the women who loved them.

In AGAINST THE TIDE, Rafe Brodie is the owner of a charter boat fishing company in remote Valdez. Liv Chandler, the beautiful new owner of the Pelican CafĂ©, has fled to Valdez, fearing for her life. Liv can’t trust anyone, not even Rafe, the one man who makes her feel safe.

Rafe finds Olivia an intriguing mystery. He's determined to uncover her secrets, but the woman has a past more dangerous than Rafe can guess. When murder strikes in the tiny town, he begins to believe something terrible is coming. And even in remote Valdez, Alaska, Rafe may not be able to protect the woman he loves.

Though I was comfortable writing Alaska from the months I spent up there and was familiar with the wildlife and mountainous terrain, since I live in Montana, the trip added vistas, sounds, smells, and ideas for some of the interesting characters who appear in the novels.

Setting is always important to a story, in some books more than in others. To help me with the different locales, I use Google Maps extensively. They have street maps, street cameras, satellite views, terrain maps, and still photos, all of which help me see what an area looks like. What an amazing writers' tool!

Going to the location, of course, is the best way to chose a setting. There are places I couldn't write about without having been there. Alaska was one of them.

Driving all the way from Montana through Canada, over the Top of the World road, we took a side trip to Valdez. It was raining there, but the scenery was still spectacular. Valdez is the shipping terminal for the great Alaska pipeline, which gave me the plot line for AGAINST THE TIDE.

I try to choose locals that are fun for readers, enhance the suspense, and give insight into the characters.

I hope you enjoy my Alaskan he-man, Rafe Brodie, along with the mysterious Olivia Chandler in AGAINST THE TIDE.

Till then, very best wishes and happy reading, Kat



When Lane and Dylan work to solve the mystery,
they discover a legacy of injustice and murder.
With danger stalking their every move,
Dylan must risk everything to save Lane and
his daughter and uncover the truth--before it’s too late.
New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.

Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last eleven books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. Both AGAINST THE WILD and AGAINST THE SKY, her latest release, took top ten spots. AGAINST THE TIDE the 3rd book in the Brodies of Alaska series will hit shelves in a couple weeks!



Visit Kat's website at www.katmartin.com

Or look for her on Facebook at Katmartin/author.



Saturday, May 16, 2015

So Cal Bloggers: Are You on Triberr? #blogging #triberr

At a recent meeting, a member said to me, "You're always on Twitter." Well, the truth is, I'm not. But I'm on Triberr and I share regularly.

For those who aren't familiar with Triberr,  the "home of influencers," let me explain. Triberr is a platform for bloggers to come together in tribes to share their posts.

The way Triberr works is every member has a tribal stream of blog posts that they can choose to share on Twitter and/or Facebook. If you have an active stream, it's best to only share on Twitter, as Triberr can overwhelm your Facebook feed pretty quickly. It's very cool when you see your latest blog post being shared all over the Twitterverse.

You start by setting up a Triberr account and then following the tribes that interest you.

For some folks, the most confusing part of being on Triberr is getting your blog set up. Author Tara Quan has an informative video on how to do that:



The other important thing about Triberr is that it only works if everyone shares. So please be courteous and share other people's blog posts. There is a way for them to mute you or hide your posts if you don't share.

If you are a member of Marketing for Romance Writers, you might want to join one of their tribes. I'm on two.

Last fall, right before my life fell apart, I became the tribal "chief" of the Southern California Writers of Romance tribe started by Skylar Kade. The tribe is about half full, so if you have a blog and want to join, please let me know.

Linda McLaughlin aka Lyndi Lamont

Email: lyndilamont@gmail.com

Website: http://lindalyndi.com

Twitter: @LyndiLamont

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Slipper fits…the fairytale come true about how my Kindle Scout book “Love Me Forever” was selected for publication by Jina Bacarr



Hi, everyone,

Wonderful news: my Kindle Scout book, LOVE ME FOREVER, was selected for publication!

What is Kindle Scout? you ask. How does it work? Is it right for me?

The best way I can answer that is to tell you my story. Adding tips and observations along the way that I hope will help guide you, whether you’re a reader or a writer…so here we go!

Once upon a time I had a book of the heart, a story I loved like a comfy, fave pair of jeans. I just couldn’t throw them away...

That book is LOVE ME FOREVER, a Civil War time travel novel that takes place from 1862-1863. It’s a big, family saga with two feisty heroines and the military men they love, coming in at 140,000 words. But as everyone knows, trad pubs don’t want Civil War...no problem, I’ll self publish it, right?

Or—and here’s where temptation comes in, like circling the pastry case at Starbucks, should I try Kindle Scout? The Amazon publishing venture where readers pick the books they publish: 
https://kindlescout.amazon.com/about 

So I did...and for thirty days I was on a wild rollercoaster ride during my campaign for LOVE ME FOREVER. I’d check the “Hot and Trending” List all hours of the day and night on my cell phone—fretting when I wasn’t on the list and cheering when I was.

Bonus: if you nominate a book and it’s selected for publication, you receive a free advance copy before it’s published.

Here are some tips re: submitting to Kindle Scout:

1 – Format your book as if you’re going to self-pub it. I renamed my original .doc and then took out the copyright page and TOC, links to my other books, no header needed (you can add the copyright, links, and TOC back in later if you're selected). I left in the page numbers (not needed for self-pub), but they don’t show up on the excerpt. If your book is selected, you’re ready to begin your final read-through. If not, you have your original .doc if you decide to self-publish your m/s.

2 – Don’t wait until you’re ready to submit to Kindle Scout to answer the questions, write your bio, description, etc. It took a lot of preparation to answer the questions in a way that highlighted who I am as a writer (3 questions), bio, description, logline—all have character length restrictions. I’d recommend getting that out of the way before you finish your book or do a final read-through.

3 – Cover: I did a dreamy Civil War lady cover with a beautiful rendering. It says “romance” right away so you can attract that reader. Also, keep it clean and simple with a strong focal point to grab the eye, but not confuse it. Be sure to adhere to the required size: 4500 pixels high and 2820 pixels wide (or a 1.5 height/width ratio). PNG (.png) or JPEG (.jpeg or .jpg) format, no larger than 5MB.

4 – Read the contract carefully – the percentage is 50 percent royalties instead of 70; you have to ask for your book back in writing if they don’t publish it after the 45-day exclusive; the $1,500 advance is against royalties; Amazon owns the exclusive digital and audio worldwide rights for 5 years in all languages—renewable.

Your book is published by Amazon Kindle Press in e-book, not print. Here is the breakdown from the Kindle Scout website:

Royalty Table:
E-Book: 50% of Net Revenue
Digital Audio: 25% of Net Revenue
Translation in e-Book format: 20% of Net Revenue

I believe they have 6 months to publish it or you get your rights back (you have to ask in writing).

5 – I see Kindle Scout as a new, exciting venture that combines both self-pubbing and traditional. You write, edit, copy edit, format your book and submit your own cover, but if you're selected, you have Kindle Press as your publisher with an additional copy edit, PR, etc.

For me, it was also the opportunity to put my story out there during the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. I blogged every day with stories and excerpts about the Civil War. I added graphics I did myself with Royalty Free stock I bought a while ago. I enjoy designing the graphics, so that’s a plus. You can see my graphics on my blog:
www.jinabacarr.wordpress.com 

6 – All in all, I’m extremely happy with the professionalism at Kindle Scout. I submitted my package online (very easy to fill out and submit) and my book was accepted within 2 hours and went live 2 days later.

Here is the link to my Kindle Scout page: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1EBUHZH3PWQRK

=========
The selection process:

I was on the Hot list more than half the time during the 30-day campaign. I would get on the list, jump around for a few days from first to last (about 10 books average are on the list at any one time), drop off for a day or two, then pop back on.

I blogged, tweeted, etc. every day, which helped me get the message out on a consistent basis, but I believe support from good people like you was very important to staying on the Hot list. Again, thank you.

I’m not sure what other criteria KS uses to make their selection. I submitted the cleanest m/s I could. I spent a lot of time checking it after it was written and giving it a thorough copy edit before I submitted it, checked the timeline, looked for inconsistencies, etc. It’s vital to give them the best book you can.

==========
The next step:

After my 30-day campaign ended, it took only two days for me to receive word my book was selected. My book cover was up on the KS header almost immediately along with the other selected books. I have 30 days to make any changes. I’m going over my manuscript again for content, punctuation, spacing, etc. I also print out a hard copy and give it a quick read-through. You’d be surprised what you see on paper that you don’t see on a computer screen.

Next, after you submit your Final m/s, your book receives a Kindle Press copyedit. I’ve heard fabulous things about the Kindle Press copy edit from KS authors—everyone is pleased about the entire process.

The contract becomes active as soon as you receive their email. It also indicated the accounting team will contact me. I’m already self-pubbed with Amazon, so I have an account with bank numbers, tax info, etc. in place, but I believe this may be a different entity. I’ll report back on that aspect.

============
What I would have done differently:

I wouldn’t have waited so long to reach out to groups for help and support. I’ve always been a shy kid and still suffer from good girl syndrome after attending numerous parochial schools, but I credit the Sisters of Mercy with teaching me good tradecraft re: writing. I can diagram a sentence with the best of them and that’s helped me as a writer.

=============

That’s it for now. I’m here for questions about Kindle Scout and anything you’d like to ask about the process. I really enjoyed writing LOVE ME FOREVER, about two very different women, Liberty Jordan and Pauletta Sue Buckingham, who are thrown together in a mad, crazy scheme of spying, lost love, and passionate desire for what they can’t have.

The men they love.

Do they get their men?

Well, it is a romance, but it’s also a wild dramatic journey based on actual events in the Civil War. Liberty and Pauletta Sue will make you cheer, then cry, then hold your breath when it looks like all is lost…

Thanks for stopping by and check out Kindle Scout!
~Jina

www.jinabacarr.com   
blog: www.jinabacarr.wordpress.com
www.facebook.com/JinaBacarr.author
https://twitter.com/JinaBacarr
www.pinterest.com/jbacarr
https://instagram.com/jinabacarr/


Love_Me_Forever_500x798

LOVE ME FOREVER

She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.

LOVE ME FOREVER is on Kindle Scout — you can read the first 5,000 words HERE.

You’ll meet both my heroines and both my heroes in the excerpt. It’s a saga of love and romance and war. Believe me, I walked every road, fought every battle with my characters, even walked around in a hoop skirt to “get it right.” Any questions? Please ask!!

~Jina

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Never Stop Learning and Trying New Things by Kitty Bucholtz

It has been a crazy few weeks for me! I decided it was high time I put my class, "Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing," on its own web site instead of teaching through Yahoo Groups. I wanted to add more content like videos explaining each step, worksheets and checklists, interviews with other professionals related to self-publishing like cover designers, time management experts, accountants, attorneys, and so much more!

This week I finally got all 479 pieces together that were required to do this "simple" task of creating a new web site. (Wanna see? I really want my friends to go ooh and ahh over it because even though it's not perfect, that's what friends do. Haha! It's at WriterEntrepreneurGuides.com.) I've attended about three dozen free webinars in the last six months, bought into several programs to help build the site and create the videos, and listening to innumerable podcasts collecting information I want to share with my next group of students.

It has been exhausting but exhilarating! Lots of things didn't work as easily or as quickly as I expected and my April 27 class start date has been pushed back to June 1. But the experience has reminded me of how frustrating it can be to learn new things without anyone to help you, and that compassion is going to be a focus of my class. So I'm excited about that!

I'm in the process of making lists of things I've done so I can share them with all of you. Remember the last time I did a promotion and I told you what ads I bought, how much they cost, how many subscribers they went out to, and how many downloads I got? I just spent most of yesterday buying ads for a free promotion the week before Memorial Day for Little Miss Lovesick. I've done some things the same and some things differently, so I'll share the results as soon as it's all tabulated.

All that to say - writing is the most important thing a writer can do, but there must always be room for learning how to change with the times, learning how to do new things that will add to your bottom line (i.e., money). The added benefit of that - and I'm not sure that it isn't of greater benefit than the increased revenue - is that your mind is constantly pushed when you learn new things. This is good for your physical and mental health!

So when you're done writing today, go learn something new about how you can improve your business. It just might improve your health! :)

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding and Unexpected Superhero, and the free short story, "Superhero in Disguise," are now available at most online retail sites.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Loving Multiple Genres

 
Those of you who know me also know that I write in multiple genres, which currently include paranormal romance, romantic suspense and cozy mysteries.  And I'm not the only one!
 
Last weekend I attended Malice Domestic, an annual conference held in Bethesda, Maryland, for readers and writers of cozy mysteries.  It was delightful, as always.  I was on a panel about pets in mysteries, and also participated in Malice Go Round, where readers sit at tables while authors, two at a time, sit down with them and get to talk about their work for two minutes apiece.  Exhausting, but fun!  That was in addition to parties and hanging around at the reception area talking with people and more.
 
One of the fun things I also got to do was to meet with several of the people who will be fellow panelists with me at July's RWA National Conference!  Yes, we're all attending both kinds of conferences this year.  Our RWA panel topic will be From White Collar to Red Herring, and we'll be talking about our non-writing professional experiences not only for plotting, but also for managing our writing careers.
 
Come see us if you're at RWA National this year!
 
Linda
 
O?
Linda O! Johnston
www.LindaOJohnston.comBITE THE BISCUIT, A Barkery & Biscuits Mystery
May 2015
LOST UNDER A LADDER, a Superstition Mystery
LOYAL WOLF, an Alpha Force Harlequin Nocturne

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

My First Blog Tour

I’ve been preparing for my first Blog Tour…yes, I’m very excited. I have to admit, I had no idea how much work was involved. I have a lot going on and at one time, I thought I could set up my own blog tour. Stop laughing those of you who know how difficult it is to undertake such a daunting task. Hey, hear me out. I come from the school of, Do what you can to save money and farm out the rest to save time. So maybe, that really didn’t apply to this situation. Okay, I’ll be honest with myself, it didn’t apply.

I am swamped. I have two books coming out this Summer, another in the revision stage and another about thirty-five percent from finishing. I know that because I’m doing the RWA The End challenge and tracking my progress. Plus, I have to complete the second installment to my first book GENERATIONAL CURSE.

As an indie writer, I do a lot of the work myself, except, editing and eformatting. Thank God. If I didn’t have those deadlines I don’t know where I’d be.

Anyway back to the blog tour. I thought, if I can design a cover, then I should be able to set up a blog tour. I’m laughing at myself. I made a list of possible blogs and reviewers and that was the extent of that. I got so bogged down…did I mention I own an online lingerie store and our house is under construction. I think I got tired reading that statement. When I looked at what I wanted to accomplish, I just didn’t have the time.

I remember hearing about Goddess Fish Blog Tours at an OCC meeting as well as from some other sites. So I contacted them.

I write a genre that’s not too common so I was little apprehensive about a blog tour because of that. So before I agreed to book their service, I submitted a couple of chapters of my book to make sure there wouldn’t be a problem. Let’s be real, I wasn’t about to pay for something that might night work or only yield a couple of blog stops. [Remember, I write Christian Fiction with Faith and Sex]. Thank God, that didn’t happen. After they reviewed my excerpts, it was determined, they would market my book as a Contemporary Romance with Faith Elements and a little heat. I can work with that.

So how does this all work? About a month ago I received a slew of emails from the tour promoter. I remember it was a Friday night, and I was standing in line at Panda Express trying to decide between the ribs and the teriyaki chicken when my phone started dinging. I looked at my phone and my email was full of requests from the tour promoter. Wow. I was on a roll. The messages kept coming. About a week later the last one came in and I got to work.

Here’s the ironic part. I wrote the book, now I had to talk about the book, which seemed relatively easy. Man, reviewing the questions made me start to question myself. How is it I can push put eighty thousand plus words without a problem, but ask me to sum up my book in one sentence and I draw a blank? Or tell you why you should read my book without sounding arrogant? And don’t get me started on the character interviews, [don’t tell my promoter, but these turned out to be my favorite posts] or the “tell me about yourself” question. On paper, I think I read a little boring…I should work on that.

Back to the tour. The promoter gives you access to a site so you can chart your progress. I was a little nervous about this. What if there were no takers for my book? When I checked the site, I was excited and overwhelmed. My tour was completely booked. Praise God! Now I had to get to work.

I printed all the requests, reviewed them and that overwhelming feeling came back. It may seem like I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. What I thought happened was you answered a few questions, submitted an excerpt, the cover and that was it. Not so. In my list of procedures, I was reminded, no duplicate posts. Oh man, that meant all twenty blog posts had to be different. After the initial shock, I realized this was a good thing. It allowed me the opportunity to reacquaint myself with my book and my characters.

As writers, once we complete a book [i.e., send it to press] we’re removed from it, at least I am and on to the next project. This process helped me to enjoy my book again. It also reinforced my theory, do what you can and farm out the rest.


When does the tour begin? May 11th - June 5th, I’ll be on a blog tour. Am I expecting big things, of course I am.

Tracy Reed

readtracyreed@me.com
www.readtracyreed.com

Fiction for Women Who Love God, Couture and Cute Guys

Friday, May 01, 2015

President's Message

Hello OCC!

April was a wonderful time spent with friends and listening to our delightful speaker Lisa Burstein. In the morning session, she talked about “Intensifying Sexual Tension in YA” and in the afternoon “Being Social on Social Media.”

This month we have Sakada the creator of the Write Your Book program speaking on “Activate My Writing Super Powers” in the morning and Agent Rachel Brooks from the Lori Perkins Agency speaking on “How to Query Smarter, Not Harder” as well as taking pitches in the afternoon session. Please be sure to sign up with Liz Scott so as not to miss this great opportunity.

The board has come together and decided on a theme for this year’s October Birthday Bash! The theme will be Once Upon a Time. We’re hoping everyone will join us in costume with his or her favorite fairytale character. In that vein we also need someone to chair the decorating for this event and volunteers to serve on the committee. Please feel free to come up to any board member if you would like to do this. More information will be shared later.

I’d like to take this time to remind you all that the only way to have a well running OCC we need members to volunteer. There are plenty more positions that need to be filled and can be made into committees so that one person isn’t doing it alone.

Decorating Committee (Programs), Ways and Means (Programs), Welcoming Committee (Secretary and Membership), and Online class moderators contact Mary Kozlowski @ onlineclass@occrwa.org.

I’d like to send a thank you to Marie Loggia-Kee (Louisa Bacio) who has volunteered to run the pajama parties for the birthday bash and Tari Jewett who not only stepped up to take over the Pro program and has agreed to do the decorating for the bash! Thanks you two! The two of you along with our other volunteers are what makes OCC/RWA run smoothly.


We’re also looking for fresh new articles on craft and the business of writing for the blog and the newsletter. In addition, we’d like to celebrate special days with you such as your birthday or anniversaries. If you’d care to submit those items please send them to Annette Macias. You can contact Annette Macias (communications@occrwa.org) for articles for the newsletter and Marianne Donley (occblog@occrwa.org). If interested please get hold of anyone on the board and we will steer you in the right direction.

Once again, my fellow authors thank you for all that you do and your commitment to OCC/ RWA where our motto is: “One hand reaching forward, one hand reaching back, in a continuing chain.”

Best,
Nichelle Scott-Williams
Aka Nikki Prince