I’ve Got My Reading and Writing On!

So, #boutofbooks started today (at midnight) and I’ve done some reading. I have had a stack of books to choose from that I’ve been collecting for just this week. I won’t get all of them read, but I’ll get a few of them finished.

This is what I’m reading:

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero (I started this last year, but I’m determined to finish it this week)

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

and

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Did you join Bout of Books? Have you ever participated in a readathon? If I organized one, would you participate?

The other part of my post title… About Getting My Write On? Yeah, I’ve been doing that, too. I have started Mac, Simple Need, book 4. Vinter will re-release later this week, with the other Simple Need books coming out every 3 weeks until Mac is finished and released!

I’ll have a cover for you soon!

Have a great week and stay warm!

~lissa

How Do You Find The Books You Read?

Library room with books

This story is already known to some, but when I started reading romance, it was because of the library and a woman I met there. I was looking for a different type of book, but it ended up being near the romance section. She was there browsing their collection, looking very intense, and when I’d grabbed the book I was there to get, I took a few steps in her direction. I wanted to see what had her so riveted.

I had never picked up a romance novel. I’d always read crime thrillers or non-fiction. I looked casually at what held her interest and we started up a conversation. That led to me leaving the library with not only the book I came to get, but with 4 romance novels. Julia Quinn. Jayne Ann Krentz, Linda Lael Miller, Judith McNaught.

I. Devoured. Them.

And I went back for more. This time I left the library with double what I’d left with before. The time after that, doubled, tripled, quadrupled. I left with brown paper grocery bags full of romance novels. I was reading 1 or 2 a day. I had a full time job. I had a toddler. I was always reading every spare moment I could find.

It took several months, but I eventually exhausted all the romance books the library had. The woman and I had become fast friends over the reading of romance. We met up at the library weekly. Then we met up at bookstores.

I started writing not long after that. I have two unfinished novels, one contemporary and one historical, sitting in a box somewhere in my closet. I never thought I’d be a published author, not anywhere near as incredible as those I’d been reading.

But, the bookstores have gone away. For the most part. There are a few left, but… There’s a local one here that caters to local authors, but not romance authors. They don’t even have a romance section. I find that incredibly sad and short sighted.

The landscape for finding books has changed somewhat. I used to ask the bookstore employees when the new Julia Quinn book would be available. Now, I just look it up on her website or on Amazon or her Facebook page. Something has been personally lost in that, a connection has been severed with other book lovers anticipating the release of the same book.

A discussion was had yesterday about marketing and books. I see authors pouring thousands of dollars into Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Pinterest ads, ads on book websites, all pushing their books into what they hope are the faces of their target market. There’s a lot of connection through social media with authors now, but there’s also a disconnect…

Do you pay attention to the ads on social media? Are you this or that author’s target reader? Are you swayed by the push? It works for those authors who get it right.

How do you find books to read? New authors to try?

I was a reader before an author. I listened to what my friend had to say. I looked at books that were housed on the same shelves or nearby to my favorite authors. And I checked the new release shelves to see what might pique my interest. I didn’t read with the trends. I liked what I liked and I pretty much stuck to it. I’m still that way a lot.

On Amazon, I look at the Also Boughts of my favorite books and authors. I don’t take as many chances on new authors as maybe I should. I don’t fall prey to the ads I see, but then I’m also apparently not the target market for a lot of my go to authors. Then again, a lot of them don’t even bother with ads.

There’s so much noise in the book world that it’s hard to sit quietly. It’s always changing. New books are coming out daily. And the competition for limited shelf space is astronomical… And I’m talking virtual shelf space. It should be endless, but in order to be seen… It takes something that I haven’t yet been able to tap into.

So, tell me, readers, how do YOU find your next book to read? Your next favorite author? Is it through ads you see on social media? Is it a book group? Is it a friend? Is it random? And as a reader, what works for you when it comes to YOU wanting to try a new book rather than an author wanting you to try her, or his, new book?

~lissa

Glad to be home…

No truer words were ever spoken. Okay, well, maybe truer ones, but at this moment, nope.

I am very glad to be home from Authors After Dark. I am very glad to not be living out of a suitcase. I am very glad to have my own shower and bedroom. I am very glad to be relaxed and not running everywhere from the second I get up. And, I am glad to be eating home cooked, real food again. Man, oh man, am I glad of that!

I’m gonna tell you, it’s miserable going from whole wheat, whole grain, natural foods to processed and eating out a lot. However, there was strawberry cake one night that I might kill to have a slice of again…

I met some fabulous people at Authors After Dark though and I am very glad to have gone and met them. Melissa Schroeder (straight shooter and I love that), Kris Cook (just so fabulous beyond words), Joy from Joyfully Reviewed (who welcomed me with such open arms and a smile), and Cat Johnson (who gave me valuable branding/marketing ideas). I spent a lot of time with Samantha Kane and Mari Freeman. We laughed, we went sightseeing, we journeyed to Starbucks! I met people who (when they knew who the hell I was) have loved my books and people who have in the past ragged on them and ripped them to shreds. I met people with ginormous egos and others who were so down to earth and kind and sweet. Larissa Ione was one of those down to earth people and I caught her as we were both standing off to the side at one point. We struck up a conversation and she was easy to smile and laugh and talk. I had not read her books before but because of that one moment, I will try them now. Others, not so much.

I got to spend some time talking with Delilah Devlin. I had met her at Lori Foster’s Reader and Author Get Together. I learned a lot from talking to Delilah and she’s so kind. I also met Sidney Ayers again. She’s very quiet but easy to smile and told me that her books are funnier than the covers appear so, I bought the first one, Demons Prefer Blondes and am going to give it a try!

The tattoo artist tagged me within seconds of meeting me as submissive (which is true). Kinda caught me off guard though and I left my friend Kendra alone with him and her tattoo shortly after that. She’ll forgive me…lol.

I met people from Twitter whom I just wanted to hug and cuddle with… @esmerose1977 and @juju221.

And I hung on the ever fantabulous Dakota Cassidy because I truly can’t get enough of her! She’s very gracious to tolerate me.

Look at me name dropping! LOL. As if, right? However, these are people I met and who stood out to me. Of course, I cannot forget Jen B. and Susan, two readers who actually knew me, actually looked for me. Those were awesome moments.

Aside from Lori Foster’s Get Together, Authors After Dark is only the second con I’ve attended. It was interesting, busy, however it was more busy for others than for me. I was more a tag-a-long than anything. I was a late sign-up, which was fine. Not being in the mix and middle of things, allows one to observe and listen and even find time to connect. I didn’t have to be here or there or in two places at once and that was nice. Very few people knew me, but, in the grand scheme of things… One of my roommates, Eliza Gayle… Now everyone knew her and some were falling all over themselves to get to her. Readers, and bloggers, and authors alike gravitated toward her. She was truly in her element and that was cool to see. Whereas me, I was like a fish out of water…

Authors After Dark 2012 is in New Orleans. I won’t be going to that one. August? New Orleans? Off-season? No… But Philly, that was amazing. It was so different than the Southern cities I’m used to. The atmosphere was hurried, lively, loud. I loved walking around the city, seeing the sites, the architechture, the history. The history was fabulous. And the cheesesteaks. I have to say y’all, the cheesesteak thing… There’s a bit of controversy there. Is it best with Wiz? With provolone? With American? Hell if I know! The one place we went, they said provolone. The people we talked to outside that place said wiz. I do believe after trying both, I’d have to go with wiz. Are you wondering what wiz is? Cheese Whiz. It melts into the steak better and is just more delicious. I am however cheesesteak’d out. I’m actually tired of eating out all together and as I said earlier, I’m glad to be able to eat home cooked, real food again.

I came home with two new book ideas, one I need to write on today and one I need to get started on very, very soon. The whole time I was there, I couldn’t wait to get back to writing and so, I think I shall do that now. And today will be an Elvis Presley listening day… Do you have a favorite Elvis song? Mine is Moody Blue.

Hope all of you had a great weekend and are on your way to a great week.

~lissa