An RT Memoir of Sorts

It’s been crazy since I came back from RT Atlanta. I haven’t quite got my bearings back and I have sat a million times–forgive the literary liberty–to write this blog without much success. But I am here now and this post WILL be written.

In case you don’t know RT stands for Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention, a huge affair for both writers and their readers–not to mention the oh-so-lovely male models.

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This was my first time at the convention and, even though I was only able to attend for one day, I loved it. I was there Wednesday only, so I missed most of the fun, but I did manage to attend a few panels that day and meet my Hot Tree clan (awesome bunch).

I focused on panels dedicated to marketing, branding, and advertising because–well, I would like to sell my books. So far, and after three published novels, my author’s income wouldn’t feed my feral cat much less my family.

Some of the panels were very good and helpful, others not so much. I will be writing a series of blogs to share the information I gathered from the ones that were indeed great and useful. As you know I’m a pantser so the following might not pan out quite as I planned 🙂

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  1. Finding balance. Or how not to go bonkers trying to make it as a writer.
  2. The next best thing. Or is being a hybrid author better than it sounds?
  3. Marketing versus selling. The very non-identical twins.
  4. New markets. Or how to reach readers who feel left out.
  5. Successful scripts for ads. Or how to make those few words work for you.

Well, that’s the plan. I can’t promise I’ll stick to it. Come back for the next few weeks to find out if I do (wink, wink) and to get some useful information about the business of writing (romance edition). It’s going to be epic(ish).

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Lavender Fields-Cover Reveal

 

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by Natalina Reis

 

Print

TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34497411-lavender-fields

One angel to bind you, one angel to save you.

 

Blurb

Sky Heavensent, an angel of death, is charged with the collection of souls of the recently departed. Known to his peers and immediate supervisor, the archangel Gabriel, as the liability, Sky puts his heart and soul into everything he does.

When he meets Caleb Pierce, Sky is immediately smitten. The problem is Caleb is the soul he came to earth to harvest, and saving him means breaking one of the most sacred angelic directives.

Already in too deep, Sky pushes aside the consequences and follows his heart. Danger and mayhem follow, but he will do everything in his power to protect his lavender-eyed man.

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Pre-Order Links

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Gay Paranormal Romance

#ChickLitMay Book Boyfriend Blog Hop

VOTE FOR JEM–YOU KNOW YOU WANNA!

Hiya! I’m JEREMY PETER but please call me Jem. I’ve always hated my name. That is until my best friend–and love of my life–began calling me that to annoy me, lol. I don’t mind so much now because every time I hear it I’m reminded of her. I get this funny fluttering in my stomach and I’m lost. Love that woman!

But I digress. Why should you vote for me for CLC HQ’s Book Boyfriend 2017? Let me count the ways:

  • I’m good looking–in a boy-next-door, not-really-aware kind of way. Emily Rose claims that her favorite hobby is to run her fingers through my curls and stare into my ocean-blue eyes. You be the judge 😉
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JEREMY PETER

  • I’m not perfect, not even close. I messed up big with Em but I fessed up to it and will do anything to be forgiven. Even put my life on the line–or go to yoga with my love.
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Emily Rose (Em)

  • I will eat just about anything, so my sweet Em will never have to worry about cooking for me. I’ll be just as happy going through the drive-through at McDonald’s as eating a gourmet meal. I love food. Period!
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Celia (Em’s sister)

  • I always support my love to the best of my abilities, even if it means looking like Confucius in drag.
  • I have a great sense of humor. I can make light of any situation. Ask Emily Rose if you don’t believe me. I laughed my way to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
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Marcy, the witch

  • I’m so the best choice for CLC HQ’s Book Boyfriend 2017! Even magic couldn’t keep me from loving and fighting for my Em.

Vote for me, JEREMY PETER!

You know it’s the right choice.

Print

To buy click here

Send your vote to:  traciebanister@gmail.com

To enter for the Grand Prize

Hop to all the blog stops, collect the candidate’s name at each stop, then submit all 30 names to the address above  in order to be entered in our Grand Prize giveaway. This giveaway includes a Kindle Paperwhite + 30 e-books, one from each of the authors participating in the hop. I will be giving away an e-copy of Loved You Always . Entries for the hop will be accepted until Sunday, May 21st at midnight E.D.T. A winner will be chosen on Monday, May 22nd. This Grand Prize giveaway is open internationally.

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Photo credits:

Picture of Parker Gregory by Mario Testino

Jessica Lu (photographer unknown)

“Celia”‘s picture by Pupulandia

Miss Pandora by Gardrop Kedisi

BLOG STOPS

Tracie Banister 

Becky Monson 

Hilary Grossman 

Glynis Astie  

Jayne Denker  

Jennie Marts  

Barbara Valentin  

Beth Labonte  

Victoria Cooke  

Holly Kerr  

Meredith Schorr 

Stacey Wiedower  

Laurie Baxter 

Jennifer Farwell  

Natalina Reis  

Celia Kennedy  

Beth Carter 

Ellyn Oaksmith 

BJ Knapp  

Lizzie Lamb  

Sylvia Ashby  

Karen M. Cox 

Lindsay Detwiler  

Kirsty McManus  

Melissa Baldwin 

Geralyn Corcillo 

Cassandra O’Leary 

Cat Lavoie 

Kate O’Keeffe  

Monique McDonell  

 

An Introvert In The Crowd

My New Year’s resolution was to be more outgoing and challenge myself to attend lots and lots of writing-related events.

Let me explain why this is important and difficult to me. I’ve always been an introvert. I love people and I do like socializing, but when that involves crowds bigger than two or three it all becomes too stressful for me. Even in small groups, socializing always requires at least a few hours (a few days being ideal) of decompressing and quietness afterwards. I lack the self-confidence that would allow me to feel comfortable hanging out with people I don’t necessarily know very well. My anxiety makes me question everything I say or do constantly (it’s exhausting) and if I decide to just be silent–which I do more often than not–then I chide myself for being unsocial and unnoticeable. Such is the life of a true introvert; we don’t want to be noticed but also don’t want to vanish into the background–and we envy those who always seem to so effortlessly steal the limelight.

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I have challenged myself all my life in this arena. As a young woman I chose a profession that wouldn’t give me the option of NOT being around people and speak in public. I was a tour guide, in charge of large groups of people. I not only had to “herd” them from one place to another but also deliver long, detailed speeches about the places we were visiting, often in more than one language. I loved it, but everyday I had to go home and bury my head in the sand for a while.

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Before that, I worked in a ClubMed-type resort where I had to crawl out of bed super early and–oh the horrors–sit and make small talk with the guests during breakfast (in French). I also had to get on stage every night and perform some kind of skit–sometimes a lip-synced musical, a mime, or a comedy skit. So out of my comfort zone.

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I’m used to being always uncomfortable in social situations–doesn’t mean I have to like it–but I now fear it is hurting my writing career. So I challenged myself again and booked myself into various writing-related events. I just came back from RT Atlanta, one of the biggest romance writers and readers convention in the US.  I had a lot of fun meeting and getting to know my publisher and all the ladies that work for her–editors and writers. What an amazing team I’m part of.  I’ve been back for three days and my neck and shoulders are still recovering from the tension of meeting new people.

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Yesterday I attended an outdoors book sale where I met two other romance writers and in spite of my lack of confidence I actually interacted with the public and even sold a couple books.

In August I’m sitting on my second panel of the year. It’s not an easy thing for me to do even if I will be talking about one of my favorite things in writing–world building–but I’m hoping to put myself “out there”, make myself recognizable and network.

I have signed up for meetings, workshops, book signings…I’m doing the branding, marketing “thing”. It’s exhausting and gratifying all at once. Take my word for it; it’s not easy being an introvert in a very extrovert world.social battery

How many introverts out there? Do you ever challenge yourself? Share your experiences with us.I’d love to hear from you.

 

Wounded Love-New Release

WOUNDED LOVE by Marianne Rice
A Rocky Harbor Novel #3
Limitless Publishing
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Ten years ago, Ellie Fairfield left Rocky Harbor brokenhearted and pregnant…

Trying to take care of her son the best she can, the single mother returns to the town close to her heart to run a local inn. Ellie knows it will be tough moving back to Rocky Harbor, and that old memories will haunt her. But the last thing she expects to find on her doorstep is the man who abandoned her when she needed him the most.

Angry at the war, the world, and himself, Colton Riley’s homecoming isn’t a pleasant one…

Being medically discharged from the Marines is one of many disappointments Colton has suffered over the years. A decade ago, he lost a chunk of his heart when the love of his life betrayed him. A year ago he lost his leg. Now, half the man he once was, Colton tries to put back the pieces of his life by accepting a construction project at the local inn, but he didn’t count on finding Ellie standing on the front porch.

The more time they spend together, the more they realize the love they shared years ago hasn’t died…

Even though Ellie is still hurt and angry, she knows her heart belongs to Colton. It’s not easy letting go of the past, especially with the secret she’s hiding from everyone. But when an illness puts her little boy’s life in danger, she has no choice but to tell Colton the truth—a truth that threatens to destroy their love once and for all.

With a past spun together in a web of lies, will Colton and Ellie be able to mend their wounded love?

*** KINDLE *** PAPERBACK ***

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Marianne Rice writes contemporary romances set in small New England towns. Her heroes are big and strong, yet value family and humor, while her heroines are smart, sexy, sometimes a little bit sassy, and are often battling a strong internal conflict. Together, they deal with real life issues and always, always, find everlasting love. When she’s not writing, Marianne spends her time buying shoes, eating chocolate, chauffeuring her herd of children to their varying sporting events, and when there’s time, cuddling with her husband, a drink in one hand, a romance book in the other.

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The Heart of Betrayal-Review

 

The Heart of Betrayal

by Mary E. Pearson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles, #2)

After reading “The Kiss Of Deception” and loving it, I was weary about reading its sequel. Could Mary E. Pearson really write another book as good and surprising as the first one? Well, apparently she can. I loved the surprises she threw at the reader in the first book in the series and she didn’t disappoint again on the second. She keeps you on your toes through most of the story, she makes you hate and love the characters at the same time, and in the end you thirst for that next book. Pearson has a knack to write characters who are lovable and strong as much as they are uncomfortably imperfect and to describe a cruel and hopeless world with heart. I also love that the women in the story are strong and never give up,no matter what their circumstances may be. Pearson gives her female characters a sense of sisterhood that I truly appreciate and hope holds true in real life. Another amazing read. Looking forward to the next (already in my Kindle) one.

View all my reviews

Their Confession-New Release

S.Valentine – Their Confession – OUT NOW!

Their Confession, book #3 of The Black Door Trilogy is out NOW in eBook and paperback format.

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Blurb:

Gabriella Woods eventually wants it all: love, passion, marriage, a family. With the sale of the club, she feels closer to Darion Milano, and believes his dark sexual desires are behind him.

A reunion at The Black Door to celebrate the opening awakens the past.

Gabi and Darion remember where and how they fell in love. Gabi is pleased to see Darion in touch with his old friends, in particular Gina.

Until their confession changes everything.

The news shatters Gabi’s world.

Can she and Darion get through it?

Will the link to his past sway him from a life he now leads, to a life he once led?

A world of decisions, desires and deepest fears.

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Purchase links for book #1 His Confession & book #2 Her Confession:

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2oZ1vCe

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2iLtiEZ

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Author Bio:

Sophia Valentine

S. Valentine grew up in England. Studying English language and literature, as well as law, she worked in a solicitors for many years before moving to Spain. She does however still visit the UK, which in a way, will always be home.

Returning to her lifelong passion of writing books, she’s also a weekly columnist for The Ibizan newspaper on: lifestyle and fashion. Her other interests include reading, shopping and a nice glass of wine to shows such as Sons Of Anarchy, Dexter, Gossip Girl and SATC. She’s a social media addict, and loves connecting with new people.

For more information, please visit: www.s-valentine.wix.com/books. If you join her newsletter, you will be the first to receive sneak peeks of chapters, teasers, news, giveaway prizes and more!

www.s-valentine.wix.com/books

www.facebook.com/SophiaValentineAuthor

www.twitter.com/SophiaVAuthor

www.instagram.com/SophiaValentineAuthor

www.pinterest.com/SophiaVWrites

www.goodreads.com/SophiaValentine

www.lifestyleandliterature.wordpress.com

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The Vexing Issue of Time

The great J.K. Rowlings once said, “Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.”

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It’s heartwarming and validating to know that even the great writers of our time, those who have met with immeasurable success and I would kill to have as my best friends (well, most of them) and/or mentors still struggle with the same problems a writer of little or no renown like me. Unfortunately it doesn’t make the issue any less vexing to the likes of writers who like myself have to actually fight for a few minutes of sacred writing time in a world that demands your attention 24/7. And when you do stand up like “a Hungarian Horntail” to defend that time you are viewed as selfish and/or neglectful of your responsibilities (even when those so-called responsibilities comprise of watching your husband sleep in the recliner with the news blaring on the TV) .

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I know I’m preaching to the choir, but I had to vent. I have had one week of what should have been blissful free time while my students are enjoying their Spring break, and for the most part I did manage to write a bit (and edit), but I was looking forward to a great many days of having nothing else to do but catch up on my long overdue reading, great TV shows and movies, and yes, time to indulge in my two WIPs without guilt. It didn’t happen quite that way.

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I had family over for most of the break. Don’t get me wrong: it was great to see and get to interact with these ladies. I had fun. Just not the writing “fun” I so yearn for–you know, those peaceful moments when you can write without feeling (or made to feel) guilty you are not being the good host, or washing the dishes, or cooking a healthy meal. The moments when you can reach out to your laptop the minute you get an awesome idea, or that instance when you figure out that character who’s been bugging you for weeks.

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Tomorrow I go back to my day job and my sweet (however energy-sucking little creatures they may be) students which leaves me with a very short daily window to get any writing done and no time or energy to read or do other activities that inspire me to write.

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I’m already looking forward to Memorial Day Weekend! Who’s with me?

Gallowglass – Cover Reveal

✦ ✦ #CoverReveal✦ ✦
Gallowglass by Jennifer Allis Provost
Series: Gallowglass #1
Genre: #UrbanFantasy #ParanormalRomance
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Bellatrix Press
✦ SYNOPSIS ✦

Karina didn’t set out to free the Seelie Queen’s gallowglass. Now she’ll do anything to keep him.
After Karina and her brother, Chris’s, lives fall apart in separate yet equally spectacular ways, they leave New York behind and head to the UK. Karina buries herself in research for her doctoral thesis, all the while studiously not thinking about the man who broke her heart, while Chris—who’d been a best-selling author before his ex-fiancée sued him for plagiarism—drinks his way across the British Isles.
In Scotland, they visit the grave of Robert Kirk, a seventeenth- century minister who was kidnapped by fairies. No one is more shocked than Karina when a handsome man with a Scottish brogue appears, claiming to be the Robert Kirk of legend. What’s more, he says he spent the last few hundred years as the Gallowglass, the Seelie Queen’s personal assassin. When they’re attacked by demons, Karina understands how dearly the queen wants him back.
As Karina and Robert grow closer, Chris’s attempts to drown his sorrows lead him to a pub, and a woman called Sorcha. Chris is instantly smitten with her, so much so he spends days with Sorcha and lies to his sister about his whereabouts. When Chris comes home covered in fey kisses, Karina realizes that the Seelie Queen isn’t just after Robert.
Can Karina outsmart the Seelie Queen, or is Robert doomed to forever be the Gallowglass?
Preorder here - http://amzn.to/2nxpF7L

✦ Cover Designer ✦
Deranged Doctor Designs
http://www.derangeddoctordesign.com/

✦ About the author ✦
Jennifer Allis Provost is a native New Englander who lives in a sprawling colonial along with her beautiful and precocious twins, a dog that thinks she’s a kangaroo, a parrot, a junkyard cat, and a wonderful husband who never forgets to buy ice cream. As a child, she read anything and everything she could get her hands on, including a set of encyclopedias, but fantasy was always her favorite. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior.

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/…/…/2975887.Jennifer_Allis_Provost
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/copperraven
WEBSITE: http://authorjenniferallisprovost.com/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/parthalan

Becoming a Writer- A Journey of a Lifetime

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Or maybe just wiser. But I found myself philosophizing my path into becoming the writer I am today and what I hope to be in the future.

I have always loved writing. And I do mean always. I have been creating stories and characters since I first learned how to write. I think I was probably making up stories in my head even before I knew how to put them down on paper (I’m ancient. There were no computers back then).

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Many years ago (I won’t say how many but it was before the advent of the electronic mail) I decided to try the publication route. Until then I had written for fun, for myself. But I wanted to share my stories with the world, as terrifying as that was. So one day, when my oldest son was still a newborn, I wrote a novel, went to the library to check out a copy of the Writer’s Market, and began spending the little money we had on good quality paper, copying, and stamps. I still have the records from back then when the rejection letters came one after another, ripping my heart and my dreams to shreds.

I know now I wasn’t ready. I really wasn’t. I realize in hindsight that my whole life has been a long practice run for what was ultimately that moment in time when I decided to submit something during a PitMad on Twitter and got published.

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My childhood years when my father took me and my sister on road trips around my country, visiting different places and learning new things were all research trips. Those years that our family lived in different places in Africa, learning new languages, new ways, news perspectives on life? Research. My days as an animateur at a Club Med-type resort were nothing else than groundwork for characters and plot twists. The earthquakes I lived through, the hurricane, the tornado scares…fodder for stories. Losing my dad, my grandmother’s many strokes, my c-section, yoga lessons, medieval re-enactment events, being bullied as a kid and as an adult, having a son with a mental illness…you get the point. Every step of my life is now a piece in a rather vast bank of ideas and resources for my writing. I feel blessed I had such a rich life so far (even though I always thought it was a boring life) and I pledge to use it in all my stories.

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Some people take years to finish one novel. Others take years to gather enough material to write many stories. Which type of writer are you?

P.S. -Here’s a poem I wrote a while back about the sounds of my life (I’m almost sure I have posted it before but I’m too lazy to go look for it) that sort of summarizes the sources of my inspiration. I’m no poet so I apologize in advance. I hope you enjoy it at least a little bit.

The Sounds of My Memories

How does a memory sound?

My memories sound like ocean waves breaking against the sand,

Christmas songs sang out of tune,

Hail Marys and Our Fathers whispered at night.

My memories sound like my father saying goodnight

Or the last time we said goodbye.

They sound like my mother’s voice calling us to the table,

Teaching us to be kind.

My grandfather doubting men ever walked on the moon

And my grandma reminiscing about her honeymoon.

The sound of the Chestnut Man yelling

Quentes e boas!” in the cold of the street.

The whistle of the Knife-Sharpening man,

Early in the morning, drawing us in.

An old pop song playing in the background,

The sound of pots and pans in the kitchen,

The national anthem playing on TV at midnight,

What’s up doc?” and “I tawt I taw a putty tat”.

My memories sound like jet planes

Landing and taking off,

Tighten your seat belts” and “Please, don’t smoke.”

My memories squeak like airport dollies

And old airplane rolling stairs.

They are thunder and wind of an African storm,

The roaring of the fast waters of the Congo River,

The incessant bartering of women at the market,

The pleads of the beggars in the streets,

The moaning of the sick and the lonely.

My memories whistle like the wind on Scottish muirs,

And growl like the Puffins at Dunnottar.

The crystalline sound of my baby son’s laughter

And the Scottish accent of my four-year old.

Carolers singing throughout the night,

A medieval tune played out of sight.

Whistle and “Captain Aboard”,

Crowds of Navy families crying goodbyes,

Or celebrating hellos.

The silence of a Pacific Mountain,

The peace of the Puget Sound.

My memories have so many sounds.

They whisper in my ears,

Quietly, soundlessly sometimes.

They yell at me,

Loud and piercing other times.

They are echoes of my past,

Little souvenirs of feelings, thoughts, impressions,

Tiny mosaics that made me strong enough to last.