Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review for Blame It On the Mistletoe by Lily Graison


When Macy Carter’s parents order her to bring her live-in boyfriend Sean home with her for Christmas she has no idea that her little white lie is just about to snowball into a fabrication of monstrous proportions. Sean isn’t her boyfriend, he’s her boss. Now she has to reveal the lie she’s been telling her family for the past two years or hastily concoct an elaborate ruse to fool them instead.
When Macy tells Sean Mathis of her predicament he does what any gentleman would - he laughs and then agrees to help her out. Little does he know that one misplaced word in their little scheme will backfire and land them both in the hot-seat.
Secluded in the mountains, surrounded by snow and good will, Sean and Macy can’t help looking like the perfect couple. So perfect that the family decides a Christmas wedding will make it a holiday none of them would ever forget!

While this book was first published in 2009, I had the opportunity to review it recently and I have to say, the classic holiday magical tale never gets old. There is just something about holiday stories that make me say 'ahhh' and Graison's Blame It On the Mistletoe is no exception.

Macy's belief, and lie to her family, about being involved with her boss of two years starts to unravel during a BIG holiday gathering. Between the silly antics of her siblings, her blunt-I-want-a son-in-law mother and her boss, Sean's, realization of being in love with Macy, made this quite an enjoyable read.

Graison's characters connect, the story premise is absolutely believable and the story flows onto the pages. I highly recommend Blame It On the Mistletoe for any romance fan who is looking for a quick read with a traditional HEA ending.

Buy Link

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other publishing person(s).

Review for Cowboy Heat: Hell Yeah! by Sable Hunter

An Erotic Romance - Aron McCoy has sworn off women - except for sex. When Libby Fontaine arrives at Aron's Tebow Ranch, she is determined to cram a lifetime of living into a few short months. The doctor has told her that she can't count on her remission from leukemia being a permanent one. Their attraction to one another is instantaneous and overwhelming. But when Aron finds out that Libby is innocent - he backs off. He has nothing to offer a girl who deserves white lace and promises. Then Aron catches Libby pleasuring herself in his stock tank and hears her cry out his name - and the heat is on.

While this is NOT the first book I have read by Hunter, I have to say, it was one of the best. The way she weaves the characters and their connection, how she builds the anticipation and how she develops the premise, I was, as always with Ms Hunter's writing, pleased and applauding the hero and heroine. Not wanting to spoil the ending, let's just say Hunter knows how to tell a story with words and how to delve into a GOOD story line.

Her superb writing and attention to detail does not disappoint with Aron McCoy and Libby Fontaine's blossoming romance. Lovers of romance and erotic will love this self-published book and want more of Hunter's writing.

Buy Link

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other publishing person(s).

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Soapbox- Think Before You Speak

Before I get the official Soapbox started and rolling, let me point out the disclaimer at the bottom of this blog.
<<thank you for reading and understanding>>

Lately I have seen a tremendous amount of, how shall I say it, authors putting out their works and promoting it as 'smut' (which as a published erotic romance author, I consider degrading and a jab at my writing). Now, let me first start by saying, I am all for promoting and finding new fans and readers... but what I have witnessed is outright demeaning to some authors' talents, credibility and reputation.

Over the last few weeks I have seen advertisements (paid for by the author) to promote his or herself as a "writer of smut". Now that may be fine and good for him or her, but now you have categorized me and other romance (whether sweet, sensual or erotic) with you as 'smut writers'.

My prolific writing style has allowed me to be a published author in many sub-genres of romance from sweeter than sweet to four flame erotic. So my sweetest romance, without a single kiss until the final page of the 37k book, may be looked upon as 'smut'. Association as an erotic romance author with so-called 'smut writers' advertising their talents in this fashion is disrepectful in my mind.

"I have had the same reaction. Really? You call your work smut? Not mine. I work hard plotting, writing, rewriting and I'll be DAMNED if I'm going to have my work called smut," adds romance author Jean Joachim. "People who don't respect themselves, don't deserve respect from others. And then they complain other people call their work porn or treat them badly."

If you put yourself, your career, your writing and namesake out there as a 'smut writer' and turn around when someone else says the title in a distasteful way, you get up on your soapbox ranting and raving, adding fuel to the ever popular erotic romance novels' fight for reverence and value among the romance industry. So, which is it? Author? Or smut writer?

Is that what his or her business card states? Jane Doe, Smut Writer and Author? Or does it state Jane Doe, Erotic Romance Author? People need to remember that their name is their business. Just like Mrs. Fields' Cookies... or the Ford Motor Company. You are selling not only your talent but your namesake. So, please tread carefully with titles and think of others in the same business.

It doesn't matter to me what sub-genre you write in, whether GLBT, hard-core BDSM or three to five flame erotic, I enjoy reading and reviewing all those genres but I get a tad bit disheartened and foremost offended by having the word 'smut' attached to my name and career.

When people ask me what I write, I respond with "romance of many genres. I have a book for every taste." Let the readers decide the category and level of romance in my books. If they choose to call it smut, than that is their view and opinion, just as this blog post is mine.

Care to share your feeling and thoughts?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other publishing person(s).

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Debut- The Romance Marketplace Soapbox

I have decided to start a weekly blog (up on a soapbox) about certain little personal irritations I see within the publishing industry. Each week a new 'pet peeve' of mine or an incident that raises temperaments will be posted. Keep in mind some of the posts may offend authors and readers, but these are little moments that will affect all of you some time in the future, if not already in the past. This will be a sounding board for all to either agree, voice his or her personal opinions or just read and soak up the information.

No names will ever be given.
No 'finger-pointing'.
No spamming allowed.
No flaming.
Nothing but my personal opinion (please keep this in mind).

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other publishing person(s).

Monday, July 30, 2012

Promo Monday- Author Induced Loss of Sales

I hear this all the time from authors (especially when monthly royalty statements are sent out from their publishers)- "what can I do to make my sales increase?"... "My royalties weren't what I thought they would be, what can I do?"... and my favorite, "why do I even bother writing?".

Well, to the first two questions, my immediate response is this...

What have you done do far?
I can't tell you what you, the author, needs to do without knowing your past promoting and marketing plan, nor can I tell you how to increase your sales if you're not willing to listen and take a chance with the advice I will offer. You, the author, has to be committed to your career, be determined and patient as well as willing to understand sales do NOT happen overnight.

Sales of books like 50 Shades of Gray or Twilight are unusual, freakish and happen every blue moon to unsuspecting authors with a dream. This in itself should keep every author with a career dream rolling and persistent to succeed. Do you think E.L. James or Stephenie Meyer told potential readers and fans NOT to buy their books? Do you think either author discouraged a fellow author or fan that their writing genre wasn't for them? Well, this does happen- sad but true. So let's see how authors can subconsciously ruin a sale.

Offer a free read-
This was a topic of conversation recently between me and two other authors. What better way to let potential new fans get a taste of your writing style and characters. Even if it is only a 2-3k short read or prequel to another book, let readers peruse your writing. Giving an impending reader a glimpse of work can lead to sales of your published works.

You can offer the free read on your blog or website, or better yet for complete exposure- hit up Kindle Select (KDP). Offer your short read for five days every 90 days with a KDP contract. I did this for one of my self published books, and the first weekend I had the book up for 'free', I had over 2,000 downloads. The book (prequel to one of my already published books)  made it to Amazon's number 61 of the free read in that specific romance category and, in return, meant sales for my published book for the next few months. The published book had already been for sale for over one year and the sales were MORE than they had been when it was first released. So, for a 8k free read, I accumulated more sales and revenue for my other book. I also am hoping those who bought that book purchased more of my published works. I am thinking of this in a positive light because my other books' sales increased for a few weeks.

Think you know your readers-
Never, ever (I can NOT stress this enough) think you know readers' preference in genres to read. If you're writing style is as prolific as mine- which ranges from sweet romance all the way up to erotic romance with a little suspense thrown in for good measure, readers may enjoy the diversity of your writing abilities.

So, before you open your mouth and risk losing one sales (with probable sales on your other published books), hold your tongue and let the reader decide.

Loss of interaction- 
Readers and fans want to know you are human. They want to relate to you. So if you post promotional blurbs and buy links in forums, make sure to check in at those locations for replies. All it takes is a few seconds to log-in and check up on. By neglecting this simple task, a future fan may have asked for more information or a link, but when you don't respond, they will move on. Most readers want instant gratification and will proceed to the next prospective author if you delay or never answer.

Hop along the way-
One of the best ways to get new fans is to participate in a blog hop. It doesn't have to be a HUGE hop or tour either. One as simple as 20 authors is enough to get a few dozen new fans traipsing through your blog and website, reading your works. Of those few dozen participants, if you get ten sales, or even two more sales, how much effort did you really put into the hop/tour?
Think about it. You set up the blog (3 minutes), you post on social networks (as well as having the other authors do the same - 4 minutes) and you interact with the posters with a quick comment (1 minute each). So you have invested a minimum of eight minutes and perhaps that resulted in two new sales for one book. To continue on, those two sales expand into more sales because those two readers liked your work and went in search of other books by you. The authors sales domino effect has worked!

These are all simple tasks you can offer to readers without much 'grunt' work and time. So, before you get down about sales, remember these tips.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Promo Monday- Errors made in blurbs

Recently I have come across blurbs on websites, authors posting on social networks and on amazon that have left me scratching my head and asking "who would possibly buy this book? I don't understand it and I refuse to pay my hard-earned money for it." The blurbs tell part of the story premise and touch on the conflict or important twists necessary to sell the book.

Remember, the blurb is a main selling point of every novel. Order of sequence generally is-
Author name/reputation
First few pages

I have seen authors omit and/or add wording to a blurb that is not a good selling point, just as I have seen authors create a 1,000 word blurb naming every secondary character as well as the main H/H and every event in the book. *cringe* I just recently saw a blurb that had dialogue in it. Now, this is not taboo by any means, but dialogue has a place in a blurb but the way this author set it up, it confused me. The section of spoken words had nothing to do with the premise of the book. Almost like a filler- which I refer to as when you're filling empty space and prolonging the book. 

So, my questions today are... how much is too much and where do you draw the line when writing blurbs?

Key points- 

  • Do NOT paraphrase every moment-
By this, I mean, please do not just copy and paste sections of the book or a particular scene in the book just because you, the author, feel it was well written. Take the entire novel and simplify it. Break it down, hit the key events and points that are relevant to the premise and show what is inside the book. 

  • Use of dialogue-
Dialogue has a place in a blurb, when used in the correct way. But please make sure it is pertinent to what you are trying to show, say and sell. If the novel is about a love affair gone bad and a crumbling marriage, is it appropriate for the characters to say loving whispers to each other or carry on in a love scene? Maybe use dialogue showing a fight moment. Perhaps dialogue with one partner questioning the others motives. Keep the dialogue applicable to the blurb. 

  • Always add the conflict-
This is crucial in a blurb. Readers and potential buyers need to know the H/H may experience some difficulties in their relationship and on the way to a HEA ending. no romance, fiction or real life, is without issues, roadblocks and contradiction from an outside source- so show it in the blurb. 

When reading a book flap or blurb on amazon/publisher's website, I look for the twist that may keep the H./H apart, even if only for a few chapters. This adds to the readers' fantasy, delight and chance to root for the H/H's reunion. Add this to the blurb to show the reader that the book has it. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Introduction to Marketing and Promoting Yourself... And Your Books

I have had my series on Promo Monday and have decided to emphasize and expand on this venture. The demand from authors is great about where to find readers and a new fan base. The success of this little endeavor has made me realize the market romance authors are seeking out. The influx of romance, of every sub-genre, has exploded over the last three years and finding readers is becoming difficult- this was the premise of starting Promo Mondays- and from there the idea expanded to other promotional and marketing techniques many authors, new or veteran, are seeking or have forgotten.

How will I open this project? 

By offering reasonably priced online workshops for marketing, promoting and answering the most sought out questions authors and writers have in the industry.

After in-depth conversations with a few mentors in the industry and brainstorming for the last week, the idea came into focus.

From learning where to find the readers to a step-by-step checklist of how to market your newest release to finding a reader fan base and building off of it. Participants can ask questions throughout the classes and there will be a Q&A within ten minutes of the class ending. 


Each course/workshop will be conducted on skype as a group conference call. Participants will be added by instructor/moderator only. Classes/workshops will be approximately one hour in length. Night (EST) and weekends will be scheduled for classes with the potential for PDF summaries being offered to those who cannot attend or participate.

Cost: $10 USD paid via paypal account. Payment must clear 48 hours prior to start of class. NO refunds given.

Six classes/workshops will be conducted. Topics will be announced soon.

Participants can pick one or all classes/workshops. $10 each / $25 for any three / $50 for all six. PDF versions are free to attendees and can be purchased by authors who cannot participate at the cost of $7 per class. NO reduced cost per class PDF copy if purchasing all six classes.

All genres of the industry are welcome, as this information can be used.

For more information, please contact me at dawne dot prochilo at