Monday, June 26, 2017

The Chef of Love has gone from TV celebrity chef to romance guru!



When I first met Jernard Wells aka The Chef of Love, he was a winner on Cutthroat Kitchen. He agreed  to be the inspiration and the judge for my romance writing contest. 2015 Romance Writing Contest

Then, I saw him last year on Food Network Star. Since he made the Final Three, he made a pilot about Cajun cuisine.

Jernard has written before; 88 Ways to her Heart is a way to win her over by romantic cuisine.

Now, Jernard has taken his role as The Chef of Love to another level - romantic advice.

Here is more about Road Map: A Woman's Guide to a Good Man.

Throughout this book Celebrity TV Chef Jernard Wells will breakdown for women the many different types of men, such as ‘The Cheater Man’, ‘The Commitment Man’, ‘The Solitary Man’, ‘The Needy Man’ and several others. The aim of the book is to help women navigate through some general truths, facts, and ideas about men to help them select the right man for themselves. Wells wants to share his knowledge with women so that their search for love and the right partner will be much easier than if they had to do it on their own, without guidance. Complete at 10,000 words, his eye-opening self-help offering, "Road Map", is a comprehensive guide to finding true love and lasting happiness.
Also known as "The Chef of Love", Wells is a Husband of over 18 years and a devoted father of nine, including five daughters. He is also a bestselling author of "88 Ways To Her Heart: Cooking For Lovers" as well as two motivational self-help books - "Weight Of Expectations: Losing it All to Gain Everything"  and "Breakthrough: Weight Of Expectations 2". For more information about Wells go to www.ChefJernard.com 


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How about a romance? How about three? Affairs of the Heart by Nicola Yeager.


Three romances with a side of comedy!

Featuring: 

Summer Loving

Saskia Lucas is on yet another luxury summer holiday in an exotic location. This time it’s in the Algarve, in the south of Portugal. 

She’s with Franklin, the man that she likes to refer to as her ‘provider’. Or as some might say, her Sugar Daddy.

A wealthy businessman, and close on forty years older than her, Franklin and Saskia have little in common. Apart from a taste for the finer things in life.

Two years into the relationship, Saskia has expensive clothes, the latest handbags, lots of shoes, perfect blonde hair... and new boobs. 

Everything she ever wanted.

Except for love. 

Spa Day

Christmas is a time for pampering yourself.

At least, that is what Holly Nightingale thinks.

A hard-working nurse, she has given herself an early Christmas gift - three days at Willows, a posh health farm in Surrey. 

She's looking forward to day after day of skin treatments, dips in the hot tub, and relaxing sessions with the handsome masseurs. 

But not everything is perfect.

Her fiancé Clive is working in Hong Kong. 

But why does he spend so much time in the Far East? What is he up to?

As Holly sits by the spa with the pampered, unfaithful wives of the Home Counties, she starts to wonder what kind of married life she is about to embark on. 

And maybe Clive will end up spending Christmas without Holly? 

The Spa Day is a sparkling seasonal romantic comedy - a warm, moving tale, that manages to be funny, while also reminding the reader that Christmas is a time to reflect on life and where it is going. 

The Spa Day was previously published as Christmas Without Holly.

It is perfect for fans of Jane Green, Sophie Kinsella...and spa treatments. 

Picture Imperfect

Chloe Dixon is a struggling artist in her early thirties. 

She’s lived with her boyfriend Mark for almost two years and things seem to be going smoothly. 

Then one day Mark unexpectedly announces that he’s going on holiday to Greece for a week with an old friend – and a couple of girls. 

And suddenly the Picture is far from Perfect. 

Mark insists the holiday will be quite innocent. 

And Chloe trusts him.

But can any woman really trust her boyfriend cavorting around a Greek island with another woman? 

And is she being unreasonable to think that this might not be a very nice thing to do to your girlfriend? 

As Chloe completes her latest canvas, she starts to wonder if this is the moment to take Mark out of the picture completely? 

'Picture Imperfect' is a sparkling romantic comedy about trust, holidays and relationships.

For more about the author and her books, click here: Nicola Yeager Amazon Author Page

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What's new in Paradise? Book 11: Lottery in Paradise!


Meet the crime-solving duo of the Florida Keys: Madison who has all the charm of the girl next door, not to mention a deadly aim and Fab, her best friend, a femme fatale private investigator with a taste for danger and stilettos.

When their neighbor is found dead, the headlines read, "It doesn't pay to be a lottery winner." It gets you nothing but an endless line of crazies at your door, greedy relatives and acquaintances. Sleuths Madison and Fab don't have time to be concerned about the latest murder; they have problems of their own trying to figure out why their house has suddenly become the focus of several attempted break-ins. The duo are off on more adventures -- what could go wrong chauffeuring a limousine full of college girls? Or chasing after a custom Ferrari? Along the way, there's a break-up, a wedding, and the usual run-ins with the law.

Excerpt:

Fab hit the steering wheel with a closed fist. "I'm going to run that jerk off the road."

"No. You. Are.Not. And you're not going to shoot out his tires either." Though there was a zero chance of that happening. As talented as the hot, sexy woman was, she couldn't steer and shoot at the same time. "We'll act like normal people and call the police." Normal, I laughed to myself. I hadn't heard myself described that way in a long time. Mostly, I heard "weird" bandied about. An over-exaggeration - I'm familiar with weird, and that's not me.
          
"You better come up with something better than that." Fab pulled up alongside the truck on the driver's side.

I powered the window down and hung my head out, my hand in mid-air, ready to flag the man down, even though I knew that chances were slim that he'd pull over. Pulling my head back in the window, I said, "Change of plans." I pushed my red hair back into place, smoothing it down, certain it was a wind-whipped mess. "The fancy tow truck is one of Brick's."

Brick and I had a tenuous relationship; it was hard to trust him when I knew he never put Fab's safety first, or mine either. He opposed our relationship, knowing that several times I had convinced my daring friend to calm down and rethink her plan. As backup to Super PI Fab, there were few jobs that didn't include flying bullets and running for our lives. I was happy for the respite. So were our boyfriends,who'd had a face-to-face with Brick, laying down the rules: no more withholding details, and if it came out after the fact that he knew there was a high chance of danger, it would be the last mistake he would make. My boyfriend followed that up with a right cross to Brick's eye.

Fab made an outraged sound. "I don't believe you."

 Here is the Amazon link where you can check out the previous 10 books: Lottery in Paradise + 10 Paradise books.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Introducing Tales from Behind the Counter - Free on Amazon Kindle!

Product Details

After getting a liberal arts degree, I worked as a sales clerk in a high end department store. I know there are countless people who see things from the customer's point of view, no matter how unreasonable. They expect sales clerks to be perpetually smiling doormats who will even risk their jobs to please a customer. These people expect sales people to smile when juvenile managers throw them under the bus just to play the hero or take another step up the corporate ladder. 

This book is from the point of view of a minimum wage sales clerk who survived two Black Fridays and frequently watches three departments and is scolded for not being in three places at once among other things. 

For those of you who respect the retail sales clerks who do their jobs, but still get in trouble for politely following the rules, take a look at this book!

The Amazon link: 


The author's Amazon page:


Facebook page:



Thursday, June 1, 2017

On Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen and Pop Foods TV - Danushka gets the laughs!



Remember the tall, blonde, sassy  Danushka Lysek from Food Network Star Season 9? If you've been watching Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen, you've probably been laughing at her many one-liners. Here are some of her funny moments:

In the Food Network link, you have to select Casting: Danushka Lysek. I tried to get the actual video link for you, but the website slapped my hand. You can't copy and paste them.

Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen - Main show link.

And here is Danushka, just as entertaining, in Pop Foods TV Season 1 hosted by creator, Chef Russell Jackson.

Culinary Rorschach

Dinner Dates

Servitude

Pop Foods TV has a second season. See and hear more about it here:

Pop Foods TV - Season 2

No matter what happens on the Comeback Kitchen, I really think Danushka has a gift for comedy. Did you see her question and answer session while she was demo-ing her food on the latest episode? She was funny as Hell! If anybody could fuse stand-up comedy and elegant cooking then make a successful career out if it, Danuskha can!

I'll be looking for you on TV, Danuskha!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

What have we here? ebook Soda offering many free books!

eBookSoda

Since I don't want to be put in a genre "box", I am taking a break from blogging about romance novels for a while. Instead of love stories, I wanted to share my latest ebook deal find with you.

Presenting, ebook Soda.
Look at how many free and 99 cent ebooks this site has to offer!
Link: http://www.ebooksoda.com/ebook-deals/
I counted nine free ebooks and 18 ebooks you can download for 99 cents on the first page alone.

If you are an author, click here to list your ebook: http://www.ebooksoda.com/authors/

You can even get ebooks tailored to your taste. Check it out here: http://www.ebooksoda.com/about/

Friday, May 12, 2017

I've got a taste for some culinary lit - How about Good Enough to Eat by Stacey Ballis?




Melanie Hoffman was on top of the world. After a lifelong struggle with her ever-ballooning weight, and a decade spent loathing her job as an attorney, with the support of her loving husband Andrew she finally decided to take control of her life. Two years later, Melanie has lost half her body weight, gotten a culinary degree, and opened a new healthy gourmet take out café on the North Side of Chicago. She has a great staff that she loves, a beautiful home, and a business that seems on track to become a success. With her fortieth birthday on the horizon, she feels as if all of her dreams have become reality.
And then Andrew announces he is leaving her. For a woman twice her size.
Just when she thinks it can’t get worse, a financial bombshell threatens to pull the rug completely out from under her. Enter Nadia, a quirky twenty-something with calico pink hair and dreadful taste in men who is suffering from a temporary state of homelessness. Under normal circumstances, these two women might never have met, but in their current unmoored states, they become roommates, and eventually, friends. And right on Nadia’s heels, Nathan, a documentary film director whose romantic attentions are both exhilarating and terrifying for Melanie. In her new reality, Melanie must face her relationship demons and learn how to live and love in her new body, and how to be good to her friends, her employees, and most importantly, to herself, and to remember that life can indeed be delicious.
*********************************************************
Talk about making lemonade when life hands you lemons. Like what you see?
Click here: http://www.staceyballis.com/books/


Saturday, May 6, 2017

What would you rather do? Compete for a bachelor or grow grapes?

Picture

Here's a new twist on the traditional romance novel: take another try at love or grow grapes.
What if your twin sister ropes you into it?

Synopsis: Sabrina Kerrigan is a sassy, independent woman whose fiancé ditched her a week before they were to be married. Since then, she gives all her attention to a backyard filled with flowers and a spindly grape arbor. Her meddling twin, Lilith, thinks Sabrina’s had enough time to grieve the relationship that wasn’t meant to be. Lil registers her to be one of twenty-one bachelorettes who will vie for one guy’s heart in an event called Pick Me. Sabrina is furious at Lil for immersing her in what is sure to be three weeks of nonstop chaos. The only reason she agreed to take part is because the entry fee goes to charity. The minute Sabrina arrives at the hotel a case of mistaken identity sets the chaos in motion. 

Millionaire winery owner, Beau Reinholt has had the worst luck with women. He seems to pick those interested in his money not him. His best friend, Marco Santaguida, the director for Pick Me, cons Beau into being this year’s bachelor. Beau agrees on one condition - the women aren’t to know his true identity until he either falls in love or finds extreme-like with one of the candidates. Everything goes smoothly until he meets Sabrina Kerrigan. She ticks him off right away. She also turns him on. The more Beau tries to focus on the twenty other women the more he’s drawn to the one who says she doesn’t want any part of him. 

Decisions, decisions. Do you want to see more of what author Jan Romes has to offer?
Here is her website:
 http://www.authorjanromes.com/bookshelf.html

Saturday, April 29, 2017

These Blue Genes never go out of style!


Take the plunge with Beth Parker and be ready to fall headfirst Into the blue …
“I promise. Wherever you are, Beth, I will always be with you," ~ Ayden
Blue Genes is the continuation of the bestselling trilogy, The Story of Us.

 Handsome, media magnate, Ayden Stone came into Beth Parker’s life like a bolt out of the blue, introducing her to an extravagant lifestyle filled with promises, new experiences and sensual pleasures. Possessed by love, they have fulfilled a childhood dream to be man and wife, believing nothing can come between them ‘until death us do part.’

Having been tortured by tragic events involving angels and demons from their past, these star-crossed lovers are ready to start a new chapter in their lives. Now, family comes first.
But which family?

Time is running out! Difficult decisions must be made that will stretch their fated bond to its very limit. Unforeseen enemies are conspiring and about to test the very foundation of their relationship: trust.

Blue Genes is an emotional, adult fairy-tale that transcends the ordinary: a sensual, suspense filled story overflowing with love, laughter and a longing for a happy ever after.
But sometimes, longing just isn’t enough …

Want to try on Blue Genes?  Here is the link to Sydney Jamesson's website: 

And what do I do for an encore? How about a free book?

Follow any of these links to download Touch Stone for Play - the first book in The Story of Us Series: 

Amazon: bit.ly/AmazonTSFP
iTunes: bit.ly/iTunesTSFP
Nook: bit.ly/NookTSFP
Google Play: bit.ly/GoogleTSFP
Kobo: bit.ly/KoboTSFP
Amazon US: bit.ly/TSFPUSA
Amazon UK: bit.ly/TSFPGBR
Amazon AU: bit.ly/TSFPAUST
Amazon CA: bit.ly/TSFPCAN

Saturday, April 22, 2017

What's free on Kindle? Plenty on Kindle Free Books!

Kindle Free Books

Do you want to download a classic thriller, like The Thirty-Nine steps? Or do you want to give an unknown indie author a try? I've got a website for you and it is user friendly for people out side of the United Kingdom, too.

Here is the website:
 http://www.kindlefreebooks.co.uk/2011/02/welcome-to-kindle-free-books.html

And here is the Twitter link: https://twitter.com/kindlefreebook

Happy downloading!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Catching up with Lady Justice!


Lady Justice has been busy since I last blogged about her. What's this about a spy and a killer clown?

Walt and his senior sidekicks match wits with a killer clown, and an assassin hired by Big Pharma to murder a holistic physician working on a cure for cancer.
    Things were going bad when a mysterious government spy appeared to save the day, but this spy had an ulterior motive, and it involved a member of Walt’s entourage.
    Chemtrails, conspiracies, and clowns are a recipe for disaster, but Walt and Lady Justice prevail.


And for you cat lovers...The Kindle download is free April 20-24:
http://amzn.to/2ohYCJ3


A treasure hunter is murdered and his discovery is stolen.
    Members of a terrorist cell which have plans for a devastating attack, recognize Sara Savage, a retired CIA operative, kidnap her, and hold her for ransom.
    And who does Lady Justice send to help private investigator Walt Williams save the day?
    Clarence the Cat!
    Walt forms an uneasy alliance with the feline crime fighter to solve the mysteries and bring the bad guys to justice.
    It’s a laugh a minute as Walt spars with his new furry partner and the forces of evil.

And - the books are autographed by Bob himself!

Click here for the Lady Justice series and Rainbow Road children's books: 



Saturday, April 8, 2017

Reflecting on the author and the book - The Magic Mirror in the media!

The Magic Mirror by [Askham, Roy]


Roy Ashkam, author of the illustrated YA book The Magic Mirror, is the subject of an Australian  news article. This article is about Roy's boyhood in post-war England and starting a new life in Australia. As they say over there, have a look.

Link: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/4582757/the-magic-mirror-reflecting-on-a-life/

What is his book about? 

Abigail has a chance to go back in time and undo her bad deeds from the past. She is an old recluse who has used magic to hurt people. This magic mirror offers her the chance to be young and beautiful again if she goes on this journey. She jumps at the chance, but only for reasons of vanity. The mirror presses her to undo her hurtful deeds for less selfish reasons. Will she? Can she? 

Check out The Magic Mirror here: http://amzn.to/2fTdLNO

Or in the U.K., click here: http://amzn.to/2fBDDg5

Or in Australia, click here: http://amzn.to/2gzh0uR



Saturday, April 1, 2017

A famous German born explorer disappeared in the Australian Outback...

On Leichhardt's Path Kakadu 1845: Reflections Bushwalking a Time Tunnel by [Baschiera, Dan]

The famous German born explorer Ludwig Leichhardt disappeared in the Australian Outback in 1848. He has been described as a polymath and Australia's most enigmatic European explorer of the colonial era. Leichhardt left his mark with Australia's first scientific journal, in unpublished letters and on tree blazes as he made his way across the lands of the 'Dream time' where and when Australia's Indigenous peoples were at the epoch of their civilization. His was the only 'colonial' work that described the ancient civilisation of Aboriginal Australia before the coming of the 'Silent War' and all the violence of colonial subjugation that went with it. This happened as a new 'White Colony' stole Aboriginal lands through an implied 'Terra Nullius'. 

The book bravely asks many questions such as what was 'first contact like'? In asking its questions however many others appear from Australia's intrinsic Silent War and as such we see an unravelling of Australian Colonial History and a terrible conspiracy emerge of its own volition. 

The book also asks "What happened to Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt"? On its cover it raises further questions, was it the desert, the natives, or a social geography far more sinister? 

The author believes that Leichhardt may have been assassinated by a colonial government trying to hide the butchery of its massacres and the Silent War from a British Parliament and the ethos of Humanitarianism of the time - this led by another German, Prince Albert consort and husband to Queen Victoria. 

On Leichhardt's Path Kakadu 1845: Reflections Bushwalking a Time Tunnel 

Just the title alone was compelling enough to check it out on Amazon Australia. 

And you can by clicking here: http://amzn.to/2nJdIJ2

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Touch Stone for Play - Book 1 in The Story of Us Trilogy - Free on Kindle!





And WOW! What a storyline!

Charismatic and sexy Ayden Stone is a multi-talented media mogul by day and playboy by night, seducing and discarding women, seeking only sexual pleasure without commitment. He is looking for the love of his life, but is settling for stand-ins—then Fate intervenes.

A chance meeting with shy school teacher Elizabeth Parker triggers a passionate reaction in him that he cannot explain. Unable to help himself, he is drawn to her by a kind of gravitational force. Up close, he recognises her charm and beauty and is consumed by the idea that they have met before.

Unschooled in the art of seduction, Elizabeth begins her journey of sexual awakening, allowing Ayden to steer her towards deep and dangerous waters, unaware of their fateful connection. 

With great passion comes heartbreak, threatening their relationship and testing its limits. A dangerous figure from Elizabeth’s past returns, desperate to take back what is 'his'. 

Elizabeth Parker is about to be found, but will she be bound by her destiny or by her demon… 

The Story of Us is an epic story of love, loss and redemption. A modern day fairy-tale full of passion, unspeakable secrets and suspense.

Note: These books have been written by an English author and, as such, some spellings and some grammatical structures may seem unusual or incorrect to American readers. 

148,000 words of seduction and suspense.

And who can resist a steamy romance written by a lady Brit, anyway?
So, are you looking for the link to download it? Here it is: http://amzn.to/2mDLUDF

And for more about the author, click here: http://www.sydneyjamesson.com/

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

There's always something eye-catching at Best Books - 2 Thumbs up!


So, what's your pleasure? A well-crafted detective novel? A set of Geek romances? Love in the Sixties? Alicia Huxtable's book review page has it all. Kind of like going to a candy store.

Here is the link - See for yourself: http://bit.ly/2mpS9uR

Monday, March 6, 2017

No Cost Marketing that Works: Basic P.R. on Social Media by Henry Roi.

Image result for images for crime wave press

I read this article and got inspired. I Tweeted about my ebook under the pen name of Liz Meegan - Recycled Prisoners http://amzn.to/2m8yZep . I thought my original marketing blitz was over, but I got some good replies.

Book marketing articles tend to be a little dry, but this one is an engaging read.

Basic PR on Social Media for Authors: no-cost marketing that works

by Henry Roi

Here's the deal: You have a published book and you need to get sales. And you're full of questions.

What's the best way to promote a book? Do I need to hire a social media marketer or spend a lot of money advertising? How do I get book reviews and author interviews? Where do I start?

Finishing a book is a momentous event. All that work, the research and brainstorming, the writing and rewriting… and rewriting. The edits and queries and simultaneous submissions and rejection letters… and more rejection letters. Then, ding ding ding, you hit the Literary Lottery and sign the coveted Publisher’s Contract. Or, after the first couple of rejection letters, you completely freaked out and embarked on a different venture, studying every article and pro tip you can find on the very excellent alternative: self-publishing.

However you achieved it, you are done, and with a glance can walk past your bookshelf and snatch a taste of euphoria like a chocolate lover doing drivebys on a bottomless jar of M&Ms.

You can kick back, relax, enjoy the accolades and plan to spend your royalties in a place where your fame won't interfere with your privacy.

So, yeah. That's a bunch of (BLEEP). I'm glad you caught on. Since you're still rooted in reality (or recently returned…) let's get out our note pads and discuss a few things that will help you get yourself rocking - and your book rolling! - out there in the brutally competitive book market.

The best way to sell your book is by promoting yourself. A well-written, professionally edited book with a sharp cover graphic is important, of course. But no matter how good you write or how attention grabbing your book design is, if you aren't likable or don’t put in the work to make yourself available, your target audience will never discover you. You won't make sales. Your publisher won't, either.

Making you, the Author, marketable, is vital.

Let's say you aren't the type to go on book tours or can't afford it. You don't have an agent or anyone familiar with the business to pitch for you. You have social media accounts, though you aren't sure how to best use them. And even if you were an expert FB user, you have no idea how to sell yourself.

Shouldn’t I let the publisher handle all the PR?

No. You have to make yourself available to readers and genre fans. To do that you have to create content and get it circulating on social media, blogs, and in the search engines where your audience goes to hunt books. You want them to give a flip about another book (yours) in a market bursting with them.

Your publisher will appreciate the help. I've yet to hear of a publisher denying one of its authors marketing content. Always use their graphics and digital files, except when sharing your work from blogs or Amazon. Any posts, tweets, interviews, etc., your publisher has generated can be recycled. Keep a document for logging down the links and periodically re-publish them. If you are self-published, you can create high-res graphics on free-to-use websites. My favorite is:


Another good source is:

Shop there for royalty-free, high-res graphics.

Don't ever use low-res graphics for promotions.

If you don't already have an Amazon Author Page, have a look at some from bestselling authors as references and set up your own. A polished bio no more than three paragraphs, a sharp, punchy book description, and upload your author photo. Just the one. No cars, siblings, spouses or pets. This is about you. Be sure to update the events section and share updates on your Facebook Author Page and Twitter account.

Yep. You need those, too. New ones. Again, have a look at the bestselling authors, see how their FB and Twitter accounts look before you do yours. Add your Amazon Author Page link in the caption of your cover banners. When someone clicks to view it, they'll see your link. It's also a rich spot for search engine indexes.

Let's assume you have the basic social media accounts ready for business. Now that you have them, when will you have time to work on them? Take a breath. Developing a search-and-share routine is the key to running multiple sites without ruining your eyes from screen time.

Stay off Facebook! You won't sell very many books there. You have to establish a daily routine, though, right? That takes time. Once you get faster, have your search-and-share spots mapped out, and know where to find friends lists to request-bomb, get through your routine and leave. Ignore all the fun stuff until you finish working.

Post daily. At least one post (don't spam your Author Page) about you, your personal interests - arts, hobbies, inspirations, etc. - excerpts from your book, and, of course, book reviews and author interviews. Don't use hashtags on FB book/author posts. Keep those clean with double spaced paragraphs and no typos.

Whoever likes or shares your posts or Page, reciprocate. Go to their Page or personal account and like or share something. Doing so will put your content - your future book promotions - in their news feed. Respond to all comments you receive. At least the bare minimum. If someone shares your post, say thank you or share one of theirs. Cultivate share/tag partnerships with as many as fifty friends, preferably ones that get a lot of traffic on their accounts. Tag them when you post promotions. They tag you in their promos. Quid pro quo.

A couple times a week invite friends to like your Author Page. On your personal FB account, begin growing your friends list so you have people to invite to your Author Page. Avoid porn accounts and unstable people. Drama is fine for your fictional characters, though has a tendency to run off readers and bloggers, and sales and your reputation poof on their unfollow buttons. Find reputable people such as known authors and bloggers and scan  their friends lists. Friend request away.

Join Facebook Groups that cover your genre. At least twenty. Share your book promotion posts in your Groups a few times a week. Find popular authors in the groups by looking for posts with numerous likes and comments. Like, then share those on your personal account. Everyone that liked or commented on that post will receive a notification with your name on it. Getting your name out there is pointless if you don't maintain the circulation; old content gets buried under a mass of news and becomes irrelevant.

It sounds like a lot, and is at first. You're doing all this to build your friends list, get your posts in their feeds, and invite them to your Author Page. Keep it rolling and you'll have thousands of people on your list who read books.

So, why do all that work if there's no sales? Even with five thousand friends, your posts would only reach a few hundred. Reciprocate likes and shares to increase the numbers reached. On your Author Page, let's say you've been established a few years and have tallied up two thousand followers. That doesn't mean your posts will be seen by all two thousand. FB limits reach to only a small percentage of your followers. You have to pay FB to “boost” posts if you want more reach.

Don't pay them. You won't sell enough to get your money back. If you boost a post, it should be a newsletter (you should research reasons for having a newsletter) signup post, and don't spend more than $1/day. Stay away from China, Mexico and the Philippines when selecting countries to reach.

Then what's the point of establishing myself on FB?

Authors need to start thinking of themselves and their works as one package, a brand that needs a public face in a central hub of resources. There’s no better platform for that than FB.

Okay. I'll quit screwing with you and tell you why you just went through all that tedious mess to establish a search-and-share routine and missed all the cat videos and SNL parodies of the president. The reason: to build a list of book reviewers.

Out of your (eventual)  thousands of friends, only a small percentage will accept your invite to like or follow your Page. Reciprocate, then send them a private message and offer them a free digital copy (PDF or Mobi) in exchange for a review on Amazon.

Write and polish a brief form letter you can send to everyone that follows you or likes or comments on your posts (well, not everyone. Most everyone). Start your letter by thanking them for their interest, and say you would like to include them in a special offer: a free copy of your book. Ask them to show their support of indie, self-published, etc., authors by leaving a review on Amazon. Provide your email address (a new, author/book stuff only one) and ask them to contact you when they post the review so you can share it on social media. If they agree, get their email address and send them the digital book.

[The form letter I send to new Crime Wave Press followers is included at the end of this post. Read it.  The special offer stands good for anyone on The Creative Writer's Boost]

It's important to keep the reviewers’ names and email addresses. A spreadsheet or docx works fine. Over time you will grow a list of emails you can send promotions to.

So all that for Amazon reviews?

Absolutely. Imagine seeing your book on Amazon with forty reviews. Not bad for your first year out, right? It appears to be selling. If it only had five reviews, well, guess what? Customers shopping for books in your genre will pass your book over, searching for a higher number of reviews. In marketing, it's called “social proof”: If everyone is doing it, then it must be the thing to do. Amazon kicks everyone’s ass in book sales. Higher number of sales gets your book ranked higher in the category your book is listed in. Do customers buy books ranked in the two hundred thousands? Hell no. They buy the books with the best rankings.

More reviews = more sales = higher rankings. Once you have fifty reviews, Amazon will automatically include your title in their promotional catalogs that are seen by shoppers everywhere. Every few months, schedule a book giveaway or $0.99 sale. Not for royalties. To generate sales and climb the rankings in your category.

Several websites offer free hosting of giveaways and $0.99 sales. Utilize them. Schedule a sale, list it everywhere, and hope you push a couple hundred or more in forty-eight hours. Keep an eye on your ranking. A hundred or more sales in two days will jump you way up there. But only briefly. During that time shoppers of the high rankings will finally see you, and you can share screenshots of your category ranking on social media, showing everyone that Amazon ranked your book in the Top 5, next to the BestSellers. Take full advantage of the attention.

Twitter should be used for the same purpose: adding to your reviewer list. Although, you can actually sell books on Twitter; they don’t limit the reach of tweets or require you to pay them. Google search for a list of hashtags used specifically for selling books. Don't use more than two, sometimes three, hashtags per tweet. Use full sentences when possible. Find catchy lines in your Amazon reviews to quote on book tweets.  Using graphics with tweets gets more responses. Gifs work great, too, and there are plenty book related Gifs.

Find reputable people on Twitter and look at the people they follow, not who are following them. Go crazy with the + button. People will follow you back. Send your form letter to new followers if they look like potential reviewers.

Doing author interviews are the most effective way to sell books. The only expense is the effort to answer questions. And author interviews are generally hosted by bloggers with followings of serious readers. Your reviews on Amazon will be seen by millions of shoppers. Your author interviews will be seen by hundreds (or even thousands)  of readers, people who visit and follow book blogs to read reviews, interviews and other features published by  bloggers they trust.

You can find listings of book blogs that cover your genre. Contact the blogger directly with your form letter, though customize it for each blog. Do they only do book reviews? Offer a freebie for a review on their blog. Do they host interviews or guest posts? Those are what to shoot for. Pitch your work but let it speak for itself. Read author interviews. A lot of them. Familiarize yourself with the type of info bloggers want to learn about you and your book. Then pitch yourself.

Keep all contact info and links to your book reviews and interviews on your spreadsheet. That will be a single source you can work from to post on social media. Utilize apps like Buffer to schedule tweets, and schedule posts for your Author Page on FB, too. If you aren’t able to be on FB and Twitter daily, you can schedule content publication for a couple days or more at a time.

Some days I don’t have an hour or two for search-and-share. What should I do? It's one or the other, not all.

Don't sweat it. Spend a little time searching for good book blogs to send your pitch to. That is far more important than Facebook or Twitter. The reviews bloggers publish on their sites are usually posted on Amazon (request it specifically in your pitch) and Goodreads. And interviews that get sales usually result in reviews on Amazon.

What if my book is listed in Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books and other stores? Should I use links from those stores in promotions?

No. Forget about those. Direct all traffic to Amazon. Don't even share from your publisher's book page. Always share from Amazon. Sales elsewhere take away from your category ranking.

Here's the bottom line: you have to get Amazon reviews. Use FB and Twitter to get them. Getting reviews on blogs (hopefully) earns sales and Amazon reviews. On blogs, author interviews get more hits than book reviews. The quality of the blog and the number of followers is the deciding factor. Radio blogs that host authors are a great way to reach large audiences. I recommend Authors on the Air:



Set up a Google Plus account. It operates like Facebook, though you don't have to worry about growing a following and cultivating share buddies. The sole reason is to post your book and author content in a place where it’ll be indexed in Google’s search engine. This is where you go hashtag crazy. Tag everything - author name, book, genre, sub genres, and anything else you want.

That should get you started. And you didn't even have to hire a  PR person for assistance.

Henry Roi
PR Manager, Crime Wave Press

Follow us on Twitter:

@crimewavepress
  

We are currently expanding our list of reviewers and we'd like to know if you are interested in being part of the Crime Wave Press review family.

Reviewers can get free review copies (mobi or pdf) of any of our titles they like to review. Furthermore we will contact our reviewers offering pre-release review copies of new titles when they become available.

We have just published 4 new books and we are hoping you'd like to review one or more of these titles:

Brace yourself for HEIST, the sequel to our prison escape thriller SHANK, written by Roy Harper, who gained nationwide notoriety for two highly publicized prison escapes, HEIST is the second novel in a two-part series that centres around David "Tool" Roney, a dangerous man who is doing life for armed robbery and consumed by only one thing – escape.

SAIGON DARK by Elka Ray is the gripping, frightening story of a mother who loses her child and picks up a street kid in its place. A decade later she receives a note: 'I know what you did'.

Benedict J Jones, author of Skewered and other London Cruelties and Pennies for Charon, both featuring anti-hero with a heart Charlie Bars is back in THE DEVIL’S BREW. Expect horse mutilation, dog fighting and a family of maniacs in the bleak Northumbrian countryside.

Tom Vater republishes his second acclaimed Detective Maier thriller with Crime Wave Press. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN MIND takes the former conflict journalist turned detective to Laos, against the backdrop of the CIA’s secret war in the country in the 1960s and 1970s.

Thank you for your interest. Do let us know if you’d like to review any of our titles (new or old) and we will be pleased to send you the relevant file(s).

Please contact:



Or you can check out the titles at: http://www.crimewavepress.com

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Of prison and boxing - Shocking Circumstances.

Pulp Fiction writer Chris Roy talks about creating action scenes and his trilogy Shocking Circumstances.

Action scenes are intrinsic to the Shocking Circumstances trilogy. Without the innumerable mental and physical lessons instilled in him by his boxing coach, Fred Williams, Chris wouldn’t have the knowledge to pen his exciting fight scenes.

Below is a true account from the author about how a chance meeting in the MDOC developed into Chris' passion for weaving inspiration into action.

***

"The protagonists in Shocking Circumstances and Sharp as a Razor possess their own unique talents and learned abilities. The one thing they all possess, though, is world-class boxing skills.

"Feedback from test readers and reviewers have been very positive. Encouraging. Some of the most memorable scenes, I’m told, are the chaotic, knock-down-drag-out fist frenzies, where the only thing in control are disciplined minds and perfectly thrown punches.

"Readers will experience scenes in Shocking Circumstances with Clarice teaching the fundamentals of the jab and straight-right.
In Sharp as a Razor, she teaches mental lessons of the Sweet Science. Just as she drills those lessons into other characters (and hopefully readers will get up and try them, as well), my coach drilled them into me.

"I was 19 then. It’s been a lifetime since, but I’ll never forget how I met that old, rude SOB.

“ 'Hey. Uh… When you have time, will you teach me a few things?' I said something like that to Fred not long after learning who he was.

“ 'No. Go bother somebody else,' he replied from his seat at the dayroom table. He ignored me, working on a newspaper crossword puzzle.

"The jail’s administration had just let me back into general population after over a month in lockdown for attempted escape (I managed to cut four bars on a skylight before the snitches wrote the major. One guy was awarded a bond). I felt fortunate to land on a zone with a world-renowned boxing trainer. I had years of experience in Tae Kwon Do and some in Kickboxing, and each of those disciplines contain a fair amount of boxing, but I had yet to experience training from a bonafide pugilist guru.

“ 'I’ll catch you another time, then,' I said.

“ 'The answer will still be no.' He adjusted his glasses. Didn’t even look at me.

"I learned right away that Fred wasn’t easily impressed. Living with twenty guys in an area designed for eight, it was hard not to know what everyone else was doing. So everyone knew about the grueling, high-intensity workouts I did every day. Several participated. This, along with my enthusiasm and persistence, impressed Fred enough to give me my first lesson.

“ 'Put your hands up,' he said.

"I did.

"He thumped the air next to my face. Then, he thumped my forehead.

"I rubbed it, confused.

“ 'Which one did you like better?'

“ 'That one.' I thumped the air next to me.

“ 'That’s your first lesson.'

“ 'Thanks.'

"It was a lesson I gave others many many times since.

"Punch mitts, hand wraps, heavy bags, jump ropes – basic boxing gear is easy to make. We used doubled up shower shoes for mitts, rolled up foam mattresses for bags, and strips of sheet for wraps and to braid jump ropes. Every morning I got up and did a 50-minute cardio routine as a warm-up. Then came the real workout.

"Endless punch drills to program muscle memory, while listening to him growl about the physics of movements, were a staple of my training in fundamentals. He always combined mental lessons with the physical. Everything was a challenge. Even talking about non-boxing topics – conversations with him were verbal jousting. Still are, although I can hold my own now; in the beginning I used to get so mad because I didn’t have the wit to keep up.

"For seven months we trained. Punishing routines inside, running drills on the yard, and mental and life lessons in the evening in our cell that sometimes carried on until breakfast. He was relentless. Repetition is the key. He would make me do everything over and over, telling me my errors… over and over until I would get mad.

“ 'If you quit on me, we’re done,' he told me.

“ 'I’m not going to quit.'

“ 'Good. Once a fighter quits the first time, it just makes it that much easier to quit again later. If one of my fighters quits just once, I tell them to find themselves another trainer and stop wasting my time.'

"He tried to make me quit. In the numerous gyms he’s opened in Mississippi, and in dozens more around the world, he intentionally tried to run off the guys he trained. I asked him why.

“ 'Because the ones who stay are gonna be champions,' he said.

"He certainly has the credentials to back up this method. He’s had more state champs than any coach in Mississippi, had several national champs and a world amateur champion before coaching Team USA with Roy Jones Sr… then he went to the pros.

"Donald 'Tiger' Stokes is who Fred is known for training in Mississippi, though has worked with everybody, everywhere. The list of training camps he worked on feature boxing superstars such as Thomas 'the Hitman' Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Evander 'Real Deal' Holifield, Oscar de la Hoya, Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker, Lennox Lewis… So, yeah, he wasn’t easily impressed.

“ 'Look at me, boy,' he told me one day on the yard. I was out of gas from a hard run and he wanted me to punch the mitts.

"I looked. I didn’t want to do anything but rest.

“ 'If you don’t want to be a world champion, then quit right now because you’re wasting my time!'

"After that training got harder; every day he’d run me out of gas, and right before I squatted or flopped down to rest, he’d up the mitts and say, 'Uh-uh. That’s right where I want you.'

"I recalled offering to pay him somehow, one day, for training me.

“ 'I ought to slap you, boy,' he said. 'You insulting me? You don’t have enough money to pay me to train you. You’ll probably never have enough money to pay me. I’m training you because I want to. Don’t insult me again.'

"Eddy, Clarice’s coach in Shocking Circumstances, is a character I created based on Fred. I couldn’t possibly have Eddy teach Shocker all the boxing and life lessons Fred taught me – that could be a book all on its own – though I tried to weave in enough to show readers what it takes to become a champion."

- Chris Roy

***
 Grab your copy of Book I of the "Shocking Circumstances" trilogy on Amazon by following the link below. Tell your friends, and please support the author by leaving a review.
https://www.amazon.com/Shocking-Circumstances-1-ChrisRoy/dp/1945734078/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 

About the Author:

Chris Roy was raised in a south Mississippi trailerhood in the midst of ugly Gulf Coast beaches and spectacular muddy bayous, roaming the towns and wilds of the rich and poor, thieving and thinking without a curfew.

Until 1999, Chris lived comfortably with the modest criminal ventures of his youth. But a fistfight ended tragically, his opponent died, resulting in a life sentence for Chris, which he started serving in the Mississippi Department of Corrections from January 2000.

Hard knocks are the best teachers - the author learned this almost too late, though he did rid himself of drugs and violence. Chris' institutional record hasn't been marred by a single fight or involvement in drugs - an incredible feat, considering the brutally challenging prison environment he lives in.

Nowadays he lives his life of crime vicariously, through the edgy characters and fast-paced stories he pens, hoping to entertain readers. When he isn't writing, he's reading, drawing or looking for prospects to train in boxing.