Writing Samael- Behind The Character

 

Writing Samael- Behind The Character

(Lavender Fields villain)

Writing nice, likable characters with hearts of gold is easy for me. Writing villains, as it turns out, is not. Not because I can’t imagine a character vile enough to make a good villain but because I have a tendency—or so I’m told—to create cheesy villains. In the words of one of my editors (I should be mad at him but he made me laugh so I forgive him) at first, Samael came across as the cartoon villain in The Incredibles. I still don’t agree with this assessment of Samael, but I figured that if even one reader agreed with my editor, I’d be in big trouble. I decided to change it.

Pine

Buddy Pine, aka Syndrome from the Incredibles

I needed Samael to be truly dark, inside and out, the epitome of evil. I wanted the readers to be afraid for my characters. And, if I’m totally honest, I wanted the readers to have some nightmares about this character and what he may do to Caleb and Sky. I dug into my previous experiences writing villains and rehashed the one I felt was the most insidious of all.

This character is from a novel I wrote a long time ago and which hasn’t as yet seen the light of day. It was never edited and rests on my pile of maybe-one-day-I’ll-revise manuscripts. This man—can’t even remember his name right now—was evil because he hated and harmed for no logical reason. He had no other motivation but hate itself. In the original manuscript, he hated the main character because of his race. Samael hated Sky because he was in many ways different from him. Ultimately though he just hated because it gave him pleasure, it justified his existence. Isn’t that the ultimate evil?

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Samael is the character that reflects many of Sky’s fears—his fear of being enlisted by the dark angels, losing his freedom, and ultimately his fear of losing the things and people he loves the most. Just like the boggart in Harry Potter, Samael is the incarnation of everything Sky abhors and fears.

Who wouldn’t be scared of evil that can sneak on you at any time and has the power of angelic magic on its side? Samael made my skin crawl while I was writing him, and yes, I had a few nightmares about him. I think I’ve achieved a truly scary villain but, in the end, the readers are the ones who will decide.

LFFeathers

Lavender Fields-New Release

NEW BOOK RELEASE
Lavender Fields
LAVENDER FIELDS
Natalina Reis
Genre: MM Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Publication Date: July 15, 2017
One Angel To Bind You. One Angel To Save You.
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.

Purchase Links

Available now. Grab your copy today.
Lavender Fields Teaser

An Excerpt from the Book

Take an inside look at Lavender Fields. Read this sizzling excerpt from the book.
When I read Caleb’s name on my mission note, my heart had taken control over my brain. I flew the fastest I ever had to the site where he was to meet his demise, not quite sure of what I was about to do. In the end I didn’t hesitate. I saw his bike as it careened around the curve, heading straight for a semi truck driving the wrong way. Before I even realized what I was doing, I plunged down in front of the truck and swept Caleb off his bike just as it fell and slid sideways under the giant tires.
“What did you do that for?” Caleb asked, surprised. I pointed to where his bike was nothing but a pile of mangled metal. “Fuck! You…. I…. Was I the soul you came to harvest? Am I dead?”
I laughed. A nervous chuckle as reality began to sink in. I had just saved the soul I came to take away. “You’re not dead. I saved you.”
Afraid of being spotted, I flew us into the first sheltered spot I could find and put him down gently.
“Are you supposed to do that?” His eyes were mesmerizing, and I found I couldn’t take mine off them. I nodded, incapable of uttering a sound. “I thought you were supposed to take my soul to—well, hopefully Heaven. Why did you save me?”
I should’ve just flown away and hoped for the best. Instead, I grabbed his T-shirt, pulled him closer to me, and kissed him. This had to be some kind of seraphic madness for which I was in no hurry to find the cure. Caleb didn’t fight me, raising his hands and threading his fingers through my curls while his tongue explored my mouth. Ambrosia. Pure, intoxicating ambrosia.
“This is madness.” His breath caressed my lips, and I had to refrain from crushing him between my craving body and the wall behind him. “Am I dreaming, Sky? Hallucinating, maybe? You’re an angel. A real, honest-to-God angel.”
In the back of my mind there was a foggy idea of his earlier statement about having met another angel before, but the slow burning in my gut quickly convinced my brain to ignore it and focus on the task at hand. My hands had become a force to be reckoned with, moving of their own accord beneath his T-shirt, eager to explore every detail of his body.
It was indeed madness. I had just saved my charge. There would be hell to pay.
With that last thought I came to an abrupt realization. I stopped my hands and detached my lips from his, breathless and suddenly anxious. I was in so much trouble. “As much as it pains me to say and do this, I have to go.” I wanted to stay so badly. “I have to tell Gabriel what just happened. He’s not going to be happy.”
My eyes locked with his and I was flying over those sweet scented fields again. My lips stretched into an uncontrollable smile.
“I don’t know why you did it, but thank you for saving me,” he said, sunshine taking over his face. I may be the angel, but he shone as if enveloped in a halo. “When will I see you again?”
Could I stay and ignore the call of responsibility? I wanted to. God, did I want it. But I knew I couldn’t. Being an angel meant I wasn’t free to do as I pleased. My life was not my own, and if I stayed the Corps would find me one way or another. Easier to just go and face the music. At least Gabriel wouldn’t be able to accuse me of being a coward.
“Soon.” I hope. I touched my lips briefly to his and then, unfurling my wings, I took off, heading upwards toward the clouds and the wrath of the angels.

Giveaway

WIN $10 GC AND MORE!
Lavender Fields Giveaway Graphic
Prizes up for grabs:
$10 Amazon Gift Card
Lavender Fields eBook copy
Contest runs from July 20 – 26, 2017.

About Natalina Reis

Natalina Reis

Natalina wrote her first romance at the age of 13 in collaboration with her best friend. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes. She’s the author of We Will Always Have the Closet, Desert Jewel, Loved You Always, and Lavender Fields.
After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she’s taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.
Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.
Connect with Natalina Reis on social media:
Lavender Fields Tour Graphic
For more information, visit the Lavender Fields Book Page at Book Unleashed.

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Great Expectations-Not the Dickens Kind

When you give birth to a new book you have certain expectations. One of them is that everyone should be as excited about it as yourself. But alas! You’re not J. K. Rowlings or Diana Gabaldon with thousands of fans anxiously waiting for the local Barnes & Noble doors to open so they can rush in and buy your new book. So you wait and check your Amazon page every five minutes waiting for a review or sales, getting overly excited when your book ranking goes up a few points and crashing into despair when the little arrow dips down.

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I woke up this morning with an upset stomach. Nerves made me ache all over and feel like I should crawl back in bed and sleep. I dragged myself downstairs, drank a coffee and checked my messages. No reviews yet. In fact, being Saturday, cyber space was pretty quiet. Bummer!

After the least restful yoga session ever–couldn’t get my head of my release–I came home to find out I had a review. An awesome review. I could breathe easier now.

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But it was not over. With the ebb and flow of reviews and promotions across blogs, Facebook, and Twitter my stomach had a hard time keeping stable. It was so bad, I gave a stomachache to my MC in the novel I’m writing. Why should I suffer alone, right?

I gave birth to little humans and now to books (this is my fourth one) and I’m here to tell you with each new birth there is this surge of hope, possibility that this is the one who will make you an established name in the book world–maybe even the one who may cause a slight surge of one-clicks when your next book comes out. It’s bliss. It’s agony.

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Writers out there, how do your releases make you feel? What things make you anxious and/or happy? Do you wait around checking your rankings like I do or pretend they don’t exist?

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Lavender Fields-New Release

Title: Lavender Fields
Author: Natalina Reis
Genre: Gay Paranormal Romance
Release Date: July 15, 2017
Cover Designer: Claire Smith
 Add to TBR

 

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

 

 

Author of We Will Always Have the Closet, Desert Jewel, and Loved You Always, Natalina wrote her first romance in collaboration with her best friend at the age of 13. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes.After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.

Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.

 

 Rescue Me Submissions

Heavensent-Behind the Character

My fourth book will be released to the world next Saturday (July 15). If you follow me, you know I’m a sub-genre hopper–like a rabbit or a frog, I hop from one sub-genre to another for no rhyme or reason other than to write the story in my brain. Possibly not the best thing for me as I build up my platform but on the other hand, that’s who I am as a writer. Why not share it with my readers?

Print

Lavender Fields is a M/M Paranormal Romance and had strange beginnings. Not unlike most of my books, this story started as a flash fiction piece written from a picture prompt, but took a whole unexpected life of its own.

Sky Heavensent was to be a girl alien at first (don’t laugh), but–pantser that I am–as I wrote the story she turned into a he, and the alien became an angel. By the time I was finished, the angel in my story grew to mean something much larger than just a character in a book. Thus the decision to turn a few pages of writing into a full-length novel.

LFFeathers

Sky was born of some very deep beliefs I carry about humans and the way we relate to each other. It also embodies a lot of my hopes, fears, and emotional baggage.

As a character he’s not perfect. In fact, among his kind he’s an outcast ( know, I know. Another one), a very clumsy angel who seems to be an expert at making his boss, Gabriel, irate beyond what should be possible for an angelic creature.

But he is perfect in so many other ways. He’s color-blind, gender-blind, difference-blind. Like all angels he’s made of pure love but unlike the others he actually practices what he preaches. Sky is willing to do just about anything for what’s right even if that places him in all kinds of danger.

He has a big heart and he’s not afraid to use it.

This KissLF

Writing Lavender Fields was an amazing experience because it came from the depths of me, those corners of myself that remain under wraps most of the time. I’m a terrible introvert who is incapable of participating in a conversation involving more than two people. So, a lot of what I think, of what I feel, of what I believe stay buried deep inside. Writing this story was in so many ways a release because the characters (all of them but Sky in particular) spoke for me.They all have a little bit of myself in them (including Caleb’s foul-mouthed younger sister) but I dare anyone who knows me to figure out what.

In fact, I believe that Sky was indeed heaven-sent. Have you ever written a character who meant a lot more to you than all the others?

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Author Interview with Natalina Reis

An interview I did a little while ago. Go visit this new blog 🙂

Site Title

Authors We Love

natr3Natalina Reis stops in for a visit on our porch this week to discuss writing, books and publishing. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

What inspires you to write?

Pretty much anything; music, something I witnessed at the coffee shop, something that happened at work, dreams, pictures, words…there is an infinite source for writing inspiration in the world around us.

Tell us about your writing process.

I’m a pantser who plans the bare minimum (and even that is often changed as I write). I just sit at the computer and let my brain and my fingers take me where they may. It sounds weird but it works most of the time. I seem to be very productive when I write at my favorite coffee shop. I think the noise around me, the human ebb and flow just stimulates my imagination.

Do you listen (or talk to) to…

View original post 651 more words

Successful Scripts For Ads. Or how to make those few words work for you.

Successful scripts for ads.

Or how to make those few words work for you.

During my very short visit to RT in Atlanta I had the opportunity to sit in a BookBub panel that aimed at demystifying a good, successful script for an ad — or what should be included in a book ad that will assure sales.

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It was a good panel even though both young reps seemed to have had way too much coffee for breakfast. They spoke a million miles an hour and were super bubbly. That said, the information they imparted was interesting and hopefully useful once I decide to try my hand on an ad.

Here are some pointers deriving from their own A/B Tests:

Accolades sell. But some more than others. Author’s quotes sell more than a publication quote (i.e. An adventure to remember-J.K. Rowlings vs. An adventure to remember-The New Yorker)

Editorial reviews and ratings help.

Using comparable titles and/or authors are sellers (i.e. This book is a delight for fans of–  or Perfect for fans of –)

Ending with a positive statement seems to be highly effective (i.e. a sexy, uplifting read or a powerful, captivating tale)

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Identifying the hooks and the tropes also seem to be of major importance (i.e. best friend’s sibling or cowboys)

Absolutely NO violence in the blurb (yes, even if there is some in the actual book)

The use of adjectives also make a difference but only if it refers to a character trait, not a physical (i.e. the devilish duke vs. the handsome duke)

Location, location, location. Even in the world of book advertising the setting of the book is a seller, so do mention that the book is set in Maine or the moon in the script.

Buy my book

And that’s all folks for today’s blog. Feel free to share any tried and proven trick to successfully advertise books.

Here is the BookBub link with the RT presentation and a couple more helpful and interesting resources.

GIRL ON THE VERGE BY PINTIP DUNN RELEASE WEEK BLITZ

Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for

Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn!

Check out the excerpt below, and
be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

Congratulations Pintip!!

 

 

 

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Kensington

Google Drive | BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

 

 

A fish swims beneath the open staircase in my Khun Yai’s house. A real live fish, with its translucent fins fluttering in the water, its belly gold-scaled and bloated from regular feedings. If I part my knees, I can catch long glimpses of its lazy swimming through the gap in the stairs.

Of course, I’m not supposed to part my knees. It’s not ladylike for a twelve-year-old girl, not here, not in Thailand. The land where my parents grew up; the place that’s supposed to be my home, too. That’s what the banner said, when my relatives came to pick us up at the airport. “Welcome home, Kanchana.”

Never mind that I only come to Thailand every couple years. Never mind that I don’t look like anyone else here, with my American build and my frizzy, out-of-control hair. Never mind that I don’t look like anyone in my hometown, either, since I’m the only Asian girl in school. Never mind that the only reason we’re here now is because my father’s dead and my mom can’t keep it together.

For a moment, pain lances through me, so sharp and severe that it might as well slice my heart in half, like in one of those video games my friends like to play. I squeeze my eyes shut, but that doesn’t keep the tears from spilling out. Neither do the glasses sliding down my nose. And so the tears drip down, down, down, past my unladylike knees, through the gap in the stairs, into the fish basin below.

The drops scare the fish, who swims away with its tail swishing in the water, no longer languid, no longer lazy. So, even this creature wants to get away from me—from my grief, from my strangeness—as quickly as possible.

“There you are, luk lak,” Khun Yai says in Thai, coming down the stairs. She is my mother’s mother, and since we arrived, she’s used the endearment—child that I love—more often than my name.

“You’re up early.” She pats her forehead with a handkerchief. It’s only seven a.m., and already sweat drenches my skin like I’ve taken a dip in the basin. No wonder they take two or three showers a day here.

“Couldn’t sleep. Jet lag.”

“I’ve been up for a couple hours myself.” She eases onto the step next to me, her knees pressed together, her legs folded demurely to one side.

Immediately, I try to rearrange my body to look like hers and then give up. My legs just don’t go that way.

“What do you want to do today?” Khun Yai asks. “More shopping?”

“Um, no thanks.” I make a face. “Didn’t you hear those salesgirls at Siam Square yesterday? They rushed up as soon as we entered and said they didn’t have anything in my size.” My cheeks still burn when I think about their haughty expressions.

She sighs. “The clothes there are just ridiculously small. We’ll go to the mall today. They should have something that will fit you.”

I stare at her diminutive frame and her chopstick legs. “One of the salesgirls asked how much I weighed. Another grabbed my arm and said I felt like a side pillow.”

“They didn’t mean any harm. It is just the Thai way to be blunt.” She catches my chin and tilts up my face. “You are so beautiful. I wish you could see that.”

I could say so many things. I could tell her that I’m ugly not only in Thailand but also in the United States. Even though I’m not big by American standards—far from it—I could confess how the boys call me Squinty. How those Thai salesgirls snickered at my poodle-fuzz hair. I could explain how I’m from two worlds but fit in neither.

But I don’t. Because my words will only make her sad, and there have been enough tears in our family.

 

 

 

 

Pintip is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.

Pintip’s first novel, FORGET TOMORROW won the RWA RITA® award for Best First Book. Her other novels include THE DARKEST LIE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the novella, BEFORE TOMORROW. She is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

 

 

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New Markets

New Markets or How to Reach Readers Who Feel Left Out

We all know that the market is fickle and fluctuates all the time. For example, dystopian was huge just a couple of years ago but now agents will not touch it with a ten-foot pole. In the romance genre we are lucky because romance has been a steady market for as long as the genre has been around (don’t believe me? Shakespeare wrote romance and so did Austen and the Bronte sisters).

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It’s the sub-genres that fluctuate a lot. Right now it appears there is a huge market demand for cowboy romance (don’t look at me. The only thing I know about cowboys is that they herd cows, wear boots to bed, and you can never see their faces because of those damn Stetson hats), M/M romance (hot right now), and in the paranormal sub-genre, shifter romance (I’m not even sure I know what a shifter is. Will have to read on that).

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So what’s the real new markets out there? Something that has never before been explored because the publishers and agents were not interested? I was surprised and pleased all at once to find out that some of the big romance publishers are currently interested in later-life romance.

I sat through a panel hosted by Entangled, a small-going-big romance publisher, and was floored when they told us that the publishing house is opening a new imprint called August which will target romances for women who are anywhere between 30-50 years old.

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They want to see no stereotypes (divorcees looking for a husband) but strong women who have put off love in favor of careers, or for whatever other reasons, and stumble upon love late in life. They are asking for 45-60K word manuscripts and, according to the spokesperson, they are rather anxious to test the waters. Their reps at RT told us their market analysis shows there is a huge demand for these stories. So there you go. What are you waiting for? Get busy writing that story you’ve always wanted to write and prove that older women can still cut it in romantic pursuits.

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Branding Yourself- Or How To Endear Yourself To Readers

Branding Yourself

Or How To Endear Yourself To Readers

Branding does not–contrary to popular belief–include a hot iron, but sometimes it can feel kind of like that.

Tara Lain and Poppy Dennison made it sound so simple. I suppose for some writers it really is. Not for this writer who cannot figure out what exactly to pick as the one thing her readers will remember and recognize her for. You know, the thing that will make a reader one-click anything that carries her name.

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In a previous blog I’ve mentioned shoes and I kid you not, there are a couple of romance writers out there that have done well with this thing. A writer I know added a really cute and catchy tagline as her brand and I can guarantee you people remember her–I know I do and not because we’re FB friends.

No one remembers me. Not only I have a name that no English speaking reader can pronounce (it’s pronounced like rice but you have to roll and emphasize the R, sort of like a cat purring) but I write across many sub-genres. I’m sure my books have something in common but I’m still not sure what that is. Not in a way that I can use it for my commercial benefit.

Newsletter (1)

The two speakers suggested a couple of exercises to help find your thing. One of them in particular resonated with me. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get anyone to help me with that. My friends are all too busy and my family either doesn’t read fiction or can’t read English. I hope you have better luck with this because I thinks it’s pure genius, lol.

  1. Have a couple friends read the reviews you have so far and jot down common words, feelings or reactions. For example I know that several of my reviewers say my stories are sweet and have twists and turns. If that seems to be a common thing across most of the reviews, that’s what you want to use to brand yourself. Lately I’ve began using the tagline of sweet and sexy when I speak of my books because they kind of fall between those two characteristics.

  2. Make a list of everything you identify with you and your writing. Then post it by your computer and look at it often. Eventually you will see a pattern of some kind that you can use as your brand. Easier said than done. My list include everything from coffee to humor but only a couple of things seem to be even remotely fit for branding. Thus my recent brush with the tagline “Romance with a touch of magic”. Catchy? No idea.

Before I leave you today I want to tell you what these great ladies shared about their own brand and how they pinpointed it. One of them said that her readers identify her with T-Rex arms–I know, right?– because one time she made a joke during a book signing or workshop about her short arms and, much to her surprise, it stuck. The other said that even though she writes M/M romance with a lot of hot sex, her readers kept referring to her stories as sweet. Even though she didn’t see it that way, she went with it and that became part of her brand.

Last but not least, foster those relationships with readers–yes, even if they haven’t read any of your books. Use social media to share and interact, go to signings and talk to people–yes, even if they don’t buy any of your books. Someone at work the other day told me she was so excited to meet a real author. She had never met anyone famous. I giggled–actually I metaphorically rolled on the floor laughing my heart out–since I am not even in the same galaxy of  any one famous, but thanked her and handed her my card. I may just have won a new reader.

If you have any tagline, motto or any kind of branding examples, share them here. I would love to hear from you guys.

Next week we will talk about new markets you may have never thought of. I know the publishers didn’t until very recently. See you then.

Magic Romance