Happy February! Can you believe it’s already the second month of 2010? I can’t. It’s already flying by.
I want to welcome Cat Johnson to my blog today. She’s one of the awesome authors participating in the ARe 28 Days of Heart campaign. I asked her why she wanted to do this, why she submitted a book to this cause and this is what she had to say:
CHARITY STARTS AT HOME…
With the crisis in Haiti dominating the news, primetime television and even the award ceremonies in Hollywood, charity is on all of our minds a lot these days. Not all of us have a private jet to fly down full of much needed supplies. Most of us don’t have thousands of dollars to donate, but we all do what we can. Over the years I’ve done many assorted and interesting things for the not-for-profit community. I’ve even dressed in 18th Century garb in support of our local historic restoration and done everything from leading tours, to playing harp, to performing traditional dances of the period.
Time is something I can and do give willingly and what I get in return is a feeling that even I, a middle class nobody, can make some small difference. That is what motivated me to donate my story, Private Lies, to All Romance eBooks’ 28 Days of Heart charity campaign to benefit the American Heart Association. Just as those singers donated their voices to the relief efforts in Haiti, I can donate my writing. Millions of people may not know what I’ve done, but I do, a small segment of the romance community does, and the AHA will in the form of the money raised. For me, that’s enough.
What can you do? Show your support by checking out the 28 Days of Heart line-up. And while you’re here, enjoy the following excerpt from Private Lies, available in eBook Febrary 19th exclusively from ARe/OmniLit.
PRIVATE LIES by Cat Johnson
Sex. Lies. It’s all in a day’s work.
Jax Monroe is ready to swear off both sex and men forever. Then she meets the new hot bartender Shane Reynolds and the only thing she can think about is sex and him.
Why not have a little fun? After all, she deserves it, and Shane proves he can provide what she needs. Only Jax doesn’t realize something. Shane the sexy barman is far more than just the stud he appears to be.
Excerpt (PG 13)
The depth of Giovanni’s cries spoke his passion.
That didn’t surprise Jacqueline Monroe Scarpelli one bit. Her husband Gio was a passionate man. Sultry, foreign, vibrant, and the most brilliant painter she’d ever seen. His artist’s temperament made him ardent and sensitive, but also sometimes moody and reclusive. Though he’d never stay that way long and would make it up to her in the most incredible and inventive, toe-curling ways.
Jax closed her eyes to fully absorb each and every vocal nuance, recognizing as the volume rose, the resonance that signaled Gio’s impending orgasm.
She should be familiar with the growing crescendo. In their ten-month marriage, and during their short three-month courtship before eloping, she had experienced the symphony of his lovemaking more times than she could count. His progression from the words of love whispered in heavily accented English, which grew into shouts in Italian that she couldn’t understand but still knew instinctively their meaning.
Mouth dry, Jax’s stomach tensed and her heart rate sped in reaction to Gio’s lovemaking.
This time, however, was different than all the others. Very different. Tonight, Jax stood outside of Gio’s art studio, and the feminine cries of pleasure answering Gio’s inside were not hers.
Hand frozen on the doorknob, Jax listened to her husband skillfully screwing another woman while he thought Jax was still at a Junior League meeting. It was obvious to Jax that she was the one being screwed here, and not in a good way. But the main thought dominating her spinning brain, more than anger, hurt, or jealousy, was this—her mother had been right and she would likely never, ever let Jax forget it.
Jax pulled her hand back from the knob. Hearing her husband’s affair was bad enough; there was no way she wanted to see it too. Considering what to do next, Jax ran all ten manicured fingers through her straight, perfectly cut and highlighted blond hair and tried to think. Tiptoeing her designer, kitten-heeled, alligator slides away from the door,
Jax pulled her cell phone out of this season’s hottest new bag and reluctantly dialed the number of the one man who could help her.
When he answered, she whispered, “Daddy? I need your help.”
I appreciate Cat for sharing and for contributing.
Stay tuned in the coming days for more from the authors giving their work for the benefit of others.
I have volunteered my blog for this very special campaign All Romance eBooks has put together. 28 authors. 28 days. 28 books. And all proceeds go to the the American Heart Association.
Please visit ARe and pick these books up and help support a very worthy cause.
Throughout the month of February, I’ll be posting blogs by some of the authors. I have asked them to tell us why they chose to submit one of the their books to this campaign and to provide us with an excerpt. I hope you’ll stop by.
Howdy! It’s again, Saturday and you all know what that means…snippets, snippets, snippets.
Today’s theme is Humorous. Now, I don’t have comedy per se in my books. My humor is sarcastic, smart ass, and snarky. My heroines often need their mouths washed out with soap for their snide comments. But, because they are true to form, some people do find it mildly amusing. Sometimes, the best way to deal with an overbearing man or a situation you want out of, is to either by voice or thought, be a smarty pants.
I’ve chosen a scene out of my Samhain release, Pink Buttercream Frosting. Bailey is sitting at a table with an engaged couple. She is trying to focus on their happiness, but in her mind is Aidn, our hero, that has walked out on her after an amazing afternoon of sex, and the bride who is overly gushy and mushy and Bailey just wants to stab the woman’s eyes out. In a smart ass way, of course.
Pink Buttercream Frosting snippet:
Bailey pasted a smile on her face as she greeted her two o’clock appointment. Just because she hated all things having to do with men and romance and love and sex thanks to Mr. Slink Away Dominant, didn’t mean she couldn’t be sincerely happy for the newly engaged couple seated across the table from her. Did it? No, of course not. She was, after all, a professional.
“So, what’s the date of your wedding?”
“Valentine’s weekend,” the bride gushed, holding tightly to the arm of her very uncomfortable looking groom.
Bailey understood his pain and wanted to throw up, wanted to break her pencil and jab Barbie Bride in the eyes with the jagged ends. “Oh, isn’t that just wonderful!”
“Yes! Please tell me that you have the date open for a wedding. I just don’t know what I’d do if you’re already booked.”
“Let me check the calendar to be sure.” She flipped open her day planner and made a show of checking dates. She was open for anything, everything, and most especially Barbie’s wedding. “Yes, actually, I am still available and that gives us just about six months.”
“Oh that is just perfect. You were recommended so highly that I just had to have you and you did such a gorgeous job with my friend’s wedding cake. I knew you’d be perfect for what I want.”
Bailey was touched, this time truly touched by the kind words. “That’s a great compliment, thank you. What is your color scheme? Red and white?”
The bride beamed. “White with red and pink accents. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, don’t you think?”
Pencil snapping. Jagged ends. Deep breath. All without her smile faltering. “Absolutely. What color pink?”
“I want a really pretty shade and not anything that would clash with the red.”
That feeling of throwing up…it was back. “No, we don’t want anything to clash. I have a variety of cake flavors, do you have a preference?”
“Chocolate. That’s what you made for Angie’s wedding and it was to die for.”
“Great. Chocolate. Buttercream frosting?” Did they see the tightness around her mouth at all or was it just something Bailey was feeling as she looked at them?
“Is that what was on Angie’s cake? I want it to taste just like hers. Can you do that? Make it taste exactly like hers?”
The plea was so earnest that Bailey fought not to laugh. “I’m pretty sure it was buttercream I used on hers and yes, I can make it taste just like that.”
“Oh, good. And I want roses all over it in pink and red.”
“All right. Let me get one of my pattern books and you can see if there’s something that fits the vision you have in your head. I’ll just be a second.”
Bailey stood, walked behind the counter and knelt down, trying to compose herself, trying to get back the professionalism she was quickly losing. She didn’t know why she was losing it, except for the fact that images of Aidn kept drifting in and out of her mind. It wasn’t marriage she was seeing though, it was a collaring, which was dumb as she’d only been with him once and he’d walked away. It was just a feeling, a gut feeling, that he was the one. It was a feeling that pissed her off.
A few deep breaths later, she stood and pasted another smile on her face. She grabbed some wedding cake books and a couple of magazines and set them on the table for Barbie and Ken to begin going through. “I have some cake samples if you’d like to try them.”
“No, that’s fine. I know what the chocolate tasted like and that’s what I want. I don’t need to taste anything else,” Barbie said absently, her eyes and fingers devouring the pages of cakes in front of her. Ken simply sat there, helpless, looking even more uncomfortable in the silence that ensued. Bailey tried to give him an encouraging and kind smile but wasn’t sure she pulled it off.
Bailey looked at the picture that the bride was pointing to and inwardly groaned. The cake consisted of four stacked tiers, with cascades of icing roses from the top to the bottom and gum-paste petals sprinkled along the base.
“And I want alternating red and pink roses.”
“And the scattered, loose petals?”
“Can you make them white? Or would it be better if they were a color?”
“I think either would look lovely, but it’s whatever you want. It’s your big day.”
“Yes, it is,” she squealed.
“And what do you think?” Bailey asked, turning toward the still-silent groom.
“Oh he doesn’t care. He likes whatever I like.”
Sheepishly he shrugged his shoulders and nodded his head. For some reason the gesture caused a small twinge of sadness in Bailey. Her husband had been like that. Agreeing to whatever she wanted, never having much to say about anything. His nonchalant attitude about work, social plans, life and her…it was just more than she could take for the rest of her life. Now that she’d found heat and passion in a whole different personal lifestyle, she couldn’t regret having left him and striking out on her own.
She did wish things had worked out differently with Aidn though, that it had been more than just a one afternoon deal.
After filling out some paperwork and taking a deposit, Bailey walked the happy couple out and then returned to the kitchen. She needed to bake, to play. It helped her forget, to cope through tough times.
Half a bag of powdered sugar later, along with half a pound of butter, some vanilla and cream, she was feeling pretty good. Aidn hadn’t crossed her mind but three or four hundred times. Surely, that was some sort of improvement.
I hope you enjoyed my snippet and that you’re still all comfy and warm and ready to read snippets from these awesome authors:
Yeah yeah yeah I know, but just live with seeing the cover for another day, huh!
It’s Friday. For some that means weekend, no work. For others, it’s just another two days in the week. For me, it’s sometimes no work, sometimes just another two days, other times it’s a combination of both.
When I was kid, Friday night was either pizza night. Homemade pizza. Rarely did we order pizza until I started working at Godfather’s. Then I’d bring home all the pizza we could handle and then some. Man, I loved Godfather’s Pizza. Or, we’d have burgers. Now, I don’t have a ton of good memories regarding my stepfather, but he could make a mean burger. They were delicious, had a nickname and everything.
In my house, we don’t have such ‘traditions’ on Friday night, but right about now, one of those burgers would sure hit the spot.
On Saturdays, we didn’t sleep late. No, it was house cleaning day and if the weather was nice out, yard work too. I didn’t do yard work. Have never cared for it, can’t stand it. I’ll clean the house all day long, but I won’t rake leaves, or mow, or weed, or anything else. I don’t know why. It’s just the way I am. So, my sister helped with the yard work and I turned on the radio and cleaned the house…three bedrooms, two baths, living room, kitchen, dining room, den. My mother was a stickler for neat rooms and clean everything. I’m not so…unflexible. I hated the rigidity, but appreciated the skills I have now to clean my own house, do my own laundry, etc…
I don’t require my kids to keep their rooms tidy and doors open and all. That’s their private space. If they want all their clothes on the floor in a wad…well, okay. I do like the bathrooms clean though. The downstairs and my bedroom are the biggest issues for me. I hate the clutter that has accumulated and I dread looking at it everyday. I keep telling myself I need to just start, one thing at a time until I’m done. And you know what? I will. This weekend, come hell or high..icy slush mix, I am going to clear out and clean out my craft bins. I have at least 4. That’s what I’ve paired down to so far. 4. I will be make a stack to donate and a stack to toss and fit whatever is left, into 1 bin. That will be my goal. By the end of Sunday night, I’ll have 1 craft bin paired down from 4.
On Sundays, if I wasn’t working as a teenager, it was hang around the house day. We didn’t do much on weekends. I wasn’t allowed to have too many people over and though I did spend the night at friends’ houses from time to time, it wasn’t a lot. My daughter has a lot more freedom in that area and I purposely wanted her to have more freedom. My son as he gets older will have the same, though he’s more of a loner like his mom and dad. He can sit for hours making lists and oftentimes my daughter would rather be home away from people more than out with them.
As a grown up, Sundays are sports in our house. Football, baseball, Nascar. It’s all there. I like to use Sundays for no writing, but for blogs and website and misc writing biz stuff. This Sunday though, there will lots of writing. Lots and lots of writing. Next Sunday there will be the Super Bowl (Go Saints!) and the Sunday after will the Daytona 500 (Yay Rowdy!) So, there will be NO writing those days and only minimal other work done.
I clean house throughout the week so the weekends aren’t all about cleaning like they used to be when I was growing up. I would like though a tradition of burgers or pizza on Friday’s through. I think I’m going get the fixings to have my own version of those burgers from all those years ago.
What about you? What are your weekends like? What is your Friday night dinner in celebration of the coming weekend? How many craft bins do YOU have to clean out? grins…
What makes an impact more? The writing or the promo?
I honestly don’t know. I have guest interviewed, guest blogged, blog blogged on my own and on Kiss and Tell Girls. I’ve tweeted, I’ve facebooked, I’ve myspaced! I love my new release as I have loved all my books. Each one is personal to me. Each one carries some mark of something that’s happened in my life.
The title of this post ‘Lone Promo’ is apt, I think. I do the majority of my promo alone. No blog tours, no group of authors on a yahoo group (though this is being discussed with another author). I am part of Kiss and Tell Girls, but we don’t really promo together, though we are all supportive of one another. I will admit to admiration and envy of some of the groups of authors that are always promo’ing together. What draws groups of authors together? Online? Face to face?
I don’t know really. I try to seek out people that write what I do or similar, but at the same time, I’m a very introverted person. I don’t like to insinuate myself into groups and I never want to seem desperate. I talk about all sorts of things on Twitter and Facebook, not just promo of my books. I don’t participate on the yahoo loops and groups as much because well…I don’t have that kind of time. Though, there must be different clocks with different numbers of hours in the day in some parts of the world because there are people that chatter on the loops all day long, write 3K, home school kids or work an EDJ, run here and there with kids, etc… I need one of those days! I need to find the time management system they use to be ‘super writer/super mom’ because when all is said and done, I barely have time for all of it before I’m hitting the bed dead tired.
Then, there are the authors that seem to do nothing at all and yet sell hundreds of books! Wow! And how? These authors you never see guesting, touring, yahoo looping, interviewing, tweeting, but yet they are well known, well liked, and sell hundreds! Personally, I would like to try out that way, too, but, I don’t think it would work for me and my writing.
So, what is the answer? What is the right amount of promo? I’m sure it varies from author to author, from personality to personality. I do try to talk about other things besides my books. I know people get tired of it and I do too. There’s so much more that happens in the course of a day, so… I try to congratulate others on their releases and good news, commiserate with them on bad days and bad news. I should do more of that, not for any other reason than, it’s the nice and right thing to do. I try not to exclude or only choose certain people to talk to, follow, or connect with. But, because I don’t know a lot of people well enough to stick my nose in their groups and because I don’t want to appear like the red-headed stepchild, I keep to myself when it comes to promo.
I have met some awesome people that have given support to me, guidance in my fumbling ways. The Blackraven is one. She’s amazing and promos my books whenever I have a new one. Terry Kate of Romance in the Backseat is another. She’s given me a guest spot on her blog for desserts and I love it. Gives me even more reason to play in the kitchen.
Promo takes a lot of work and effort. Diligence. Time that none of us seem to have a lot of. Sometimes it’s a who you know, sometimes it’s a what you know, and sometimes it’s a lot of trial and error of what works for each individual author. There are promo companies and author virtual assistants, too to hire for help. I don’t have the extra $$. There are also the conventions. You have really expensive like RT, RWA. And well, yeah, I can’t afford those. Astronomical is not even the word for it in my checkbook. RomCon in Denver this year, yeah, again, not something I can afford. But, I can do the smaller cons like Lori Foster’s event and Authors After Dark. Ellora’s Cave’s Romanticon is one I’d love to attend, but not sure I can yet. What would be nice would be if some of these large cons like RT did something regional, something smaller that would maybe drop the cost a bit. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t matter. Probably not.
My choice would be to gather together with some authors a few weekends a year and have a writer’s retreat. This goes on my wishlist. I know authors that do this and will not lie when I say I envy that closeness, camaraderie, support, etc…
I know some authors that are promo gurus and I bow down to their expertise. They get in on every little bit of promo they can, join the blog tours, guest blog, interview, know the right people at the right time, are well liked and well accepted, have a large group of diverse friends and acquaintances to choose from and interact with. I haven’t reached that level yet. I am still in the AWE stage I guess.
What is the right amount of promo for you? What do you do to draw attention to your books, website, blog, and name? How do you connect with other authors to do group promo? Is it important to you? Are you more a solo act? I’m curious…talk to me.