Thursday, March 26, 2015

Royal Date Review And Giveaway!

I am SO EXCITED to tell you about this book.  I first heard about it when the author asked me to help her with her back cover copy.  It was honestly one of the most fun I had writing back copy (the subject matter intrigued me) and then the book got picked up by the Kindle Scout program and Amazon mostly kept what I had written! Yeah, I loved that.

So, when I finally got my copy of the book I delved right in.  I wanted to know more about the characters that we'd been teasing on the back cover!  And it didn't disappoint.  Kat is such a fun, witty, sarcastic character that has such a great dose of realism around her.  I loved how she interacted with the prince from the beginning to end. Nothing felt contrived and I was laughing out loud at some of their scenes and sighing in contentment as her relationship with the Prince progressed.  Of course there's some pretty awesome obstacles for them to overcome, but I was totally rooting for them the entire way through.

The prince is described as "Superman's hotter Italian cousin" and I could just imagine.  I loved how he handled his relationship with Kat from the very beginning.  Getting down to who he really is and if he can actually have Kat in his life was quite the journey.  I loved his family, as well, and they rounded out a great secondary cast.

This is the kind of book that you stay up reading for.  It has it all---romance, wit, and a couple that makes you want to believe in happily-ever-afters. I highly recommend this one.

Here's the (amazing) back cover copy:

This Cinderella didn’t plan on a prince . . .

Kat MacTaggart is a girl who has a plan for everything—including her holiday ski trip to Monterra with her best friend. Everything is going according to plan until she finds herself careening out of control down a mountainside and being rescued by a guy who looks like Superman’s hotter Italian cousin.

HRH Prince Nico is intrigued by the woman he saved on the slopes and her refusal to date him. He offers Kat a deal—let him show her his country and he’ll pay her to write articles that will help Monterra’s tourism industry. Kat agrees, but given her past and lingering distrust of men, she has one condition—absolutely no kissing.

Thanks to the claims of a jealous British noblewoman and the schemes of a meddling paparazzo, Kat’s rule doesn’t seem to be a problem at first. But the more Kat gets to know Nico and the people around him, the harder it is to remember her keep-your-distance plan. Should she stick to it or risk everything for a chance at happily ever after?

You can find it on Goodreads here
And you can purchase your copy herefor $3.49 (but I understand you get 50% off if you use the discount code ScoutOne)

And scroll down for your chance to enter a giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Writer Goal Wednesday And A Cover Reveal!

photo credit: plnaugle via photopin cc

I had some really awesome things happen this week that threw off my goals!  But that's okay. Writers have to be flexible, right?

The first thing is, I got my new cover for On The Edge.

*drum roll*


Don't you love it? The details of the little bio-hazard symbol in the eye of the camera really appeal to me.  And that guy means business!  Here's the back copy for that book:

Dylan Campbell, a CSIS officer, has been undercover hundreds of times before and is ready to get out of the game.  But before he can tell his bosses at the Canadian spy agency, he discovers a terrorist plot that could take him―and millions of others―out permanently.  Getting the information up the chain of command proves complicated, though, when Dylan's cover is blown and he's captured and thrown in an African prison. Will he be the first test subject for the new and deadly virus about to be unleashed on the world?

American CIA officer Elizabeth Spencer is undercover for one reason―to find the virus being weaponized at a private hospital in Africa.  When she meets Dylan, a Canadian photojournalist, she uses him to strengthen her story that she's only there to help.  But the more she works with Dylan, the more the lines between professional and personal get blurred. She knows better than to get involved with someone while on assignment and the reason for that rule hits home when the terrorists’ move up their timetable and Dylan is put in grave danger.  Can she stand by and watch him die?

 With everything on the line, Dylan and Elizabeth have one chance to stop the terrorist attack before it reaches North America―but they have to make it to Greece. Can they break Dylan out of prison and stay alive long enough to prevent the release of the virus? Or will one or the other be called upon to offer the ultimate sacrifice?

The second thing was that I had two reviews come in for my novella Falling Slowly!  

Aimee at Getting Your Read On said, "In Falling Slowly we get a follow-up on Rafe and Claire's romance. I loved it." You can read her entire review here.

Julia Lance at Book Reviewing Rocks said, "This story is such a great one and so sweet."  You can read her entire review here

So, as you can imagine, getting new covers and new reviews has kept me busy.  The print version of On The Edge should be available today and I worked really hard on that!

But what were my goals from last week?  Let's refresh our memories.

Continue working on my press kit.
Do another pass of On The Edge
Finish up details for Falling Slowly and All Fall Down audiobook blog tour.

Well, I finished my press kit and it looks beautiful if I do say so myself.  You can see it here

Obviously I finished On The Edge and am so happy with how everything turned out!

I am still finishing up some minor details on the blog tour, but will have some announcements for you soon.

Whew!  No wonder I'm tired! I did a lot this week.  

My only goal for next week is to launch the audio book for All Fall Down and my novella Falling Slowly.  

How did you do on your goals this week?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Castle's Ryan Episode

Last night's Castle shows what a gem we have on the team---Kevin Ryan.  A family man, trying to earn a little extra money for his daughter's college fund when everything goes sideways.

We start off the show with Ryan in a bathroom, pacing back and forth, his shirt obviously bloody. He looks in the mirror and then punches it.  Flash back to six hours before.  The team is in the bullpen and Castle is chiding the boys for telling him that the training session they sat through was going to be interesting when it wasn't.  They all make plans to go to the Old Haunt, but Ryan says he has another security gig and can't go.  They ask him who he's guarding and and he says he can't tell them. (That's a bad sign.) Castle asks if it's One Direction because he likes them and that made me laugh.

Ryan is talking to his brother-in-law Frank, the owner of the security company, while they drive Congressman Lopez to a fundraiser. Frank is chatting up Ryan, saying how security is safer etc. etc. They go over the pictures of protesters and people who might want to crash the party and embarrass the congressman. Ryan is ready for anything.  He gets a little introduction to the Congressman, his wife, and his chief of staff. They head into the event and Ryan actually sees one of the protesters in the crowd that they were supposed to be on the lookout for. Ryan takes away a vial of blood from the guy before he can do anything.  The party heads backstage to get the Congressman ready for his speech.  Before Ryan knows it, shots ring out and the fundraising lady is shot and so is the Congressman. Ryan sees a guy running and gives chase, but NYPD stops Ryan since he's got his gun out and is wearing a bloody shirt. The guy gets away and Ryan is feeling mighty guilty because the fundraising lady (Carolyn) dies.

Beckett calls him to see how he is and Ryan isn't doing great.  He wants to be in on finding the shooter.  He's the only witness and is trying his best to remember any details he can.  He does recall a blue press pass, so that gives them a starting place. They interview the congressman who gives them a description of the guy that Ryan saw running away from the scene.  He was one of the protesters. Espo and Ryan go to his home, and they're waiting for the tac team when the guy appears and recognizes that there's police in a car in front of his house. He runs. Ryan chases him down and they bring him in, but he isn't talking.

Tori the tech pulls up all the pictures from the fundraiser where the protester guy appeared in it. There was a five minute time gap while he was near a storage room.  And there was also a hotel worker near it, so they go to question him. The hotel worker says he hid when the protester came in and was seen talking to a little grey-haired man. A billionaire who hates Congressman Lopez. Caskett try to interview the billionaire for more info or an alibi, but get nowhere.

Espo finds Ryan standing in front of the murder board after everyone has gone home. Ryan says he thinks that something isn't adding up and Espo encourages him to go home and get a good night's sleep.  Next scene is Kate looking at her ringing phone and realizing Castle isn't with her in bed. She goes to the hotel where Ryan has set up a ballistics scenario. Apparently he has a theory and texted Castle about it. Kate says why didn't you text me and Ryan is all, um, you don't call the voice of reason when you have a crazy theory. Haha.

Ryan thinks his test proves the protester guy wasn't the shooter.  Ryan wants to go talk to the shooter in lockup.  He tells the protester (I forgot the guy's name!)  that he knows too much now and whoever set him up is going to take care of the loose end. (Seamus Dever is so good in these scenes. He's deadly and earnest and plain awesome.)  The protester finally cracks and tells Ryan how he got the press pass delivered to his mailbox with the info on how to get backstage. Tori pulls up footage of the mailbox and the guy who delivered the press pass is . . . Frank, Ryan's brother-in-law! Twist!  (I didn't see that one coming!)

Unis try to bring Frank in, but he runs.  Ryan goes to see his sister to get her to tell him where Frank is and she does.  (They had a great brother/sister scene, too.)  He goes to visit Frank near an underpass and Frank says he didn't kill anyone, he just makes extra money getting people backstage. He doesn't want to go to prison and walks away, but Ryan pulls his gun and the police pick him up anyway.

Kate goes through Carolyn's purse and finds some texts revealing that Carolyn and the Congressman were having an affair.  They piece together some fingerprints off the envelope that Frank got with the money in it, and it belongs to congressman's wife. They confront her, but she has an alibi. Who else has access to that account and that stationery? The chief of staff girl.  She was about to be let go from the congressman's staff on Carolyn's recommendation, so she took care of Carolyn, and catapulted the congressman into the national spotlight when he was shot.  Double whammy.  (And I totally called the killer from the beginning. Go me!)  (Also, the guy playing the congressman had the weirdest look on his face while the girl made her confession.  Like he was suddenly at a loss of how his face should be reacting. haha.) They already searched the girl's apartment and found her coat with gunshot residue on it, so Ryan arrests her.

Back at the precinct Kate is putting away the pictures from the murder board and Castle sees the study guide for the captain's exam. She's going to take it and see where that goes.  Cut to Ryan with his brother-in-law outside his apartment. Frank is scared to go in and face his wife, but she opens the door and hugs him.  It's going to be okay, they'll figure it out together. Aww.

A great Ryan episode. I was on the edge of my seat, loved the way he played the suspects, and then we had the bonus of meeting his sister and seeing a bit more of Ryan's background.  So awesome.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Double Book Review--This is Jesus and Loving Helen

Today I have two books I want to tell you about.  The first is to help us get ready for Easter and is called This is Jesus.  It has chosen scriptures from the events preceding the atonement and crucifixion and selected events immediately afterward.

It is simplistic in its approach, but the beautiful artwork in it by J. Kirk Richards makes this book special.  His artwork reminds me of art I've seen in museums before, where the subject's face is sketched in, but not really clear, leaving room for the viewer's imagination.  The thing that sets this apart for Mr. Richards, however, is that he clearly portrays the emotion of those near Jesus during this time, as well as the Savior Himself.

I was glad that I could read this book with my children and enjoy the artwork, answer their questions about a certain person in a picture, or talk about something the scripture brought up while we were reading.  Even my youngest child enjoyed the time we spent reading it.

This definitely added to our Easter preparation and is sure to become a treasured family book.

You can buy your own copy for $24.99 here

Here is the back copy:

The life of the Savior is portrayed in stunning fine art pieces by award-winning artist J. Kirk Richards. These striking new images were created by the artist exclusively for this book. Accompanied by a harmonized account of the Saviors ministry, Atonement, and Resurrection, these exquisite paintings reflect a deep reverence for Christs mission and sacrifice. Each page is beautifully designed to complement the unique style of the artist. A perfect reminder of the true reason we celebrate the Easter season, this handsome volume will be treasured by the entire family for years to come.

The second book I want to tell you about today is Loving Helen by Michele Paige Holmes.  This is the second book in the Hearthfire Romance series and is a companion novel to the first one, Saving Grace.  This is definitely not a stand-alone book and in order for it to make the most sense, you really have to read Saving Grace first since this one takes place at the same time.

That said, I really enjoyed the romance between the main characters in Loving Helen. There were just enough misunderstandings to build the tension and the addition of Helen's relationship with Beth really showed off the real Helen---the one who's not jumpy and afraid.  I loved that Helen is fleshed out as a real character who has overcome so much in her life to bring her to this point and that Mr. Preston doesn't feel an insta-love for her.  It made it very realistic, even through their faux-engagement when those tender feelings are beginning to take root. I loved Mr. Preston in the first book and loved him even more in this one.  This is a clean romance, of course, but I have to say there is one "kissing scene" that was totally sigh-worthy. Since I don't want to give away any spoilers, however, I'll stop there.  I also thought the author did a great job with the secondary characters and really made the entire cast relatable and believable. I'm excited to read the third book in the series!

You can download your copy for $3.99 here

Here's the back copy:

Eighteen-year-old Helen Thatcher grew up under the protection of her older siblings, Grace and Christopher. Living in their shadows and keeping to herself suited Helen just fine—until she met widower Samuel Preston. Watching Mr. Preston care for his young daughter and seeing his concern extend to her own family, Helen felt her reserve slipping away, as she learned first to trust him and then realized she had fallen in love with him. But instead of returning—or even noticing her affection—Mr. Preston developed his own tender, and unrequited feelings, for Grace.

In the midst of each silently nursing their broken hearts, Helen and Samuel are faced with a daunting task—reuniting Grace with her fiancé, Nicholas Sutherland. Now it is Helen who must look out for her sister and sacrifice her own fragile heart, as she and Samuel pretend to be engaged. Helen finds the role surprisingly easy to play, allowing herself to imagine that Samuel’s loving remarks are sincere. As the time for their charade to end draws near Helen must summon her courage and tell Samuel the truth of her feelings, or risk losing him forever.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Nearly Freebie Friday

Today's Nearly Freebie Friday is The Fortune Cafe by Julie Wright, Heather Moore, and Melanie Jacobson.  (It's a novel in three parts and I loved this book!)  You can read my review here

And then you can download your copy for only .99 cents here!

Here's the back copy:

The Fortune Café
A Tangerine Street Romance
(a novel in three parts)

Welcome to Tangerine Street

Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with a colorful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and exclusive bed-and-breakfasts. The Fortune Café, situated in the middle of this charming collection of shops and cafés on Tangerine Street, is a Chinese restaurant unlike any other because, well, to be honest, the fortunes found in the cookies all come true…

MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Café will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the café, Emma accidentally cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.

LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky . . . until her parents meet her fiancé’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Café, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brave, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered it lucky how she met her fiancé. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiancé dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows.

TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Café, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?

Other books in the Tangerine Street Romance series: The Boardwalk Antiques Shop

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Press Kits For Authors

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm working on a press kit.  A couple of people have asked me what a press kit is, so I thought I'd write about it!

A press kit is a one-stop shop for the media to find out about you and your books.  (So you're not writing for readers now, your press kit is to convince bloggers, journalists, etc., to take a second look at your work and help you promote it.)  It's convenient for when you are contacting bloggers for a blog tour, or perhaps a radio or TV station is looking at you and your books, then they can click on your press kit and find everything they need. (And it looks really professional for the author to have that available.)

Here is what you should include in a basic press kit for authors:

  • An author photo--provide a high resolution photo of yourself to add a little personal flair to your words.

  • A short bio--something about you that could be used on social media, like a little info blast about three sentences long.

  • A long bio--this one tells a little more about you, your accomplishments, things that let readers get to know you a bit better. A few paragraphs at least.

  • Book covers--provide high-resolution images of your book covers.

  • About the books--give short summaries of your books.

  • Awards and praise for your books--who has endorsed your book?  What awards have you won?

  • Media Appearances--have you appeared on television or radio? Been interviewed by a magazine or newspaper? Tell about that here or provide the video/audio!

  • Interview Questions--you can provide sample interview questions with your answers.  Sort of like a little Q&A with yourself.  Great info for bloggers.

  • Contact information--this is critical to have up-to-date contact info. No one can ask you for interviews if they can't get in touch with you!

And just FYI, most professional press kits are available as a PDF on the author website.

So, that's what I'm working on this week.  I know press kits can be a great marketing tool when they are done right and that's my goal!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Writer Goal Wednesday

photo credit: plnaugle via photopin cc 

Boy these weeks are flying by. It feels like we were just discussing my goals for this week! And yes, it was another busy week for me.

I got the new cover for my book Ashes Ashes. Did you see it?

I love this one. But, with a new cover, that meant I had to update all my sites, my social media, and the vendors, so that took some time.  But it was sooooo worth it. I've gotten a lot of great feedback on this one.  

I also finished negotiations with the narrator for Through Love's Trials. He is so dedicated, he's already submitted the first fifteen minutes for my review, made the tweaks, and gone on to start the first few chapters. I know you will love his voices for Emma and Kenneth. I can't wait for you to hear it!

I finally finished all the metatag updates for my books. Whew! That was a bigger undertaking than I thought, but I'm interested to see if it really makes a difference in sales or not.

I started on a press kit this week and I'm having a lot of fun with that. I'll keep you posted!

Okay, what were my goals from last week and how did I do?

My goals were:
  • Finish negotiations for Through Love's Trials audiobook. CHECK! Finished this one.

  • Keep updating metatags.  CHECK! Finished this one.

  • Do another pass of On the Edge Did not finish this one.  It's definitely going to be a process to get this one done I think!

  • Work on the blog tour for Falling Slowly and All Fall Down's audiobook.  I worked on it but am not finished. It will go on my list for next week.

So, what are my goals for next week?
  • Continue working on my press kit.
  • Do another pass of On The Edge
  • Finish up details for Falling Slowly and All Fall Down audiobook blog tour.
How did you do this week?