Friday, February 21, 2014

Random Thoughts on Writing

You know how when a horse walks into a bar, the bartender asks: "Why the long face?" When an idea walks in, an author never asks why. You sit that idea down, pour it a drink, and listen to everything that idea has to tell you. An author should listen more than she writes. You listen to your ideas, and you entertain your ideas. Maybe you get them another drink to get them tell you more than they'd intended. Give them your rapt attention.

Never say, "Well, that's not the sort of thing I normally write." Don't get stuck within your self-imposed borders. Don't get stuck within borders that others impose upon you. In writing, as in many other careers, once you get good at something, the temptation to stay there in that place is overwhelming. That's the level you know. That's the level that pays the bills. That's the level where publishers, or whatever industry you work in, make money off you. The people who make money off you will work to keep you in that place. The requirement becomes to do what you do over and over. Experimenting takes time away from producing. Experiments can fail. Nobody wants the downtime. Nobody wants the dead-end streets that eat up energy. Yet look at nature. In the spring when I go outside to check on our trees, I look for new shoots. If I see no buds, I know that tree had died during winter. Only where there is new growth does life exist.

Have a fleeting, runaway idea? Run after it. Chase it even to the ends of the world. Expand your world. Expand yourself. Our most important ability in this life is to grow.

Friday, October 18, 2013

DANGEROUS ATTRACTION -- Box Set

10 Award-winning, bestselling authors – 10 Hot Heroes – 10 Romantic Suspense Page Turners

99c right now :-)

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE AUTHORS UNITE ̶ KICKING BUTT AND HAVING FUN DOING IT!

Jill Sanders and Dana Marton met online by chance and realized they were author twins, forming an instant friendship. They were both on the verge of breaking out, both regularly putting books in the #1 spot on Amazon's romantic suspense bestseller list. When an author is ready to break out in traditional publishing, the publisher will often put them into an anthology with a NY Times bestselling, big name author, to introduce them to a wider audience and launch them into stardom. As Jill and Dana talked about their indie novels, they realized they could do something similar. A multi-author boxed set was decided on and more author friends invited to the party. Readers fully approved! The feedback on the boxed set is fantastic so far, with pre-orders pouring in. But all the authors agree that the best part of the project is the new friendships formed and old friendships strengthened.

Interview with the Authors

THE BUSINESS OF MURDER AND MAYHEM

Q: You’ve got a boxed set of some of the best romantic suspense authors out there. Can you tell us a little about how this project began?

Dana Marton: Jill and I met online and became instant friends. We have a scary amount of stuff in common. I swear, we’re like author twins! We were both looking at ways to take our writing careers to the next level and the idea for a boxed set came up. Things moved with lightning speed from there. We invited a few more friends and DANGEROUS ATTRACTION was born in the matter of weeks. I’ve never seen a more focused group of people who not only write great books, but really have their act together. I can’t believe I’m in the same set with some of my favorite authors! Every time I look at that cover, it makes me smile.

Jill Sanders: Well, I suppose it all started when I jumped of a cliff. No, not a real cliff, but a metaphorical one. I decided to put myself out there and expose my weaknesses as an author. I decided to contact all the top authors from the Amazon's romance lists and ask for help cross promoting each other. I had some good responses, some not so good ones, and a great one. Dana Marton! Dana had been toiling over doing a boxed set, just like I'd been thinking about, but with both of us not sure how to approach other authors about the subject. So, we teamed and haven't regretted a minute of the ride.

Q: Are all of you indie-authors or are there a mix of traditional and indie in this set? Can you tell us a little about how some of you started?

Rebecca York: I started long ago as a newspaper feature writer and gradually transitioned to writing fiction. My first book was a kids’ Science Fiction novel. Then I discovered romantic suspense and knew that was where I belonged. I’ve written for many traditional publishers including Harlequin, Sourcebooks, Tor, and Kensington, but I could see the market was changing. I wanted to try my hand in the indie arena, and I love the freedom of not writing to a publisher’s specifications. If I have an idea that’s perfect for a novella. Or I can write a longer book if that fits the story. I also like getting the covers I want.

Lori Ryan: I am a straight indie-author and so far, I love the experience. I began writing last year and was lucky to work with two freelance editors who really helped me develop as a writer. I love the ability to be creative in my work, to work from home, and also to connect with my fans every day. Hearing from readers is without a doubt the best part of this job!

Patricia Rosemoor: I'm definitely a hybrid author, have my fingers dipped into every option I can. I started with traditional publishers -- Dell, Silhouette, Harlequin, Harper, Del Rey -- but when the opportunity presented itself, I got reversion on part of my backlist and started Indie publishing them. Plus, I have one original Indie, SKIN. In addition, I have backlist with a writing partner at Samhain and I have sold new projects to Carina and Entangled Ignite.

Kaylea Cross: I started out with a digital company called The Wild Rose Press and then Harlequin’s Carina Press before making the leap into indie waters at the urging of my buddy, Katie Reus.

Q: Self-publishing is now very easy to do, but it’s not so easy to make it out there in the self-published world. Can you tell us some of the things that worked for you guys as indie-authors?

Marie Astor: There are multiple marketing strategies that authors swear by, but I think that the most important thing a self-published author (or any author for that matter) can do is write a good book. It may sound like a pretty simple answer, but it’s far from it. There are tons of books out there for readers to choose from. Now that e-books are becoming more and more common, I often see titles from well-known published authors go on sale for $2.99 or less. Why should the readers take a chance on a self-published author when they can buy a published author at the same price? The answer is simple: only if a book draws the readers in so much that they simply can’t stay away. I strongly believe that no matter how great a marketing strategy, if the book isn’t good, it’s not going to sell. The advantage of being an indie-author is that there’s less red tape to go through: the reading public and not a publisher decides whether you’re an author worth reading, and if you have a good book to offer, the readers will find it.

Toni Anderson: I’m a hybrid author (Montlake Romance and Harlequin’s Carina Press) and I strongly believe that has helped my self-publishing endeavors. But Marie is right, regardless of self-publishing or traditional publishing, you do have to write a good book! Social media is great for forming personal connections with readers and getting the word out about a new book. I love getting to know readers :)

Sharon Hamilton: I have a Street Team, and also have been somewhat of a blog ho. BookBub has helped as well.

Q: You’re pooling some pretty amazing resources with all ten of you in this book and I’d imagine your readers are getting to meet some new authors through this. Do you see yourselves doing this or something similar again in the future?

Toni Anderson: Why not? It’s a win-win situation for authors and readers. Authors get greater exposure and the chance to reach new readers, and hopefully find new fans. Readers get great books at bargain prices.

Debra Burroughs: Yes, I’d love to do this again. It gives the readers a great opportunity to sample new authors at an irresistible price and it gives the authors a chance to promote each other rather than ourselves.

Q: Do any of you have new books coming soon that we should keep an eye out for?

Debra Burroughs: Book 6 in my Paradise Valley Mysteries will be out in January. However, the first book in my brand new series is coming out very soon, entitled THE LAKE HOUSE SECRET, Book 1 of the Jenessa Jones Mysteries. If I had to compare it, I’d say it is something like The Gilmore Girls meets Nancy Drew—smart and sassy women, along with hunky men and family drama in a small town, all caught up in solving murders.

Kaylea Cross: I have the 4th book of my Titanium Security Series, EXTINGUISHED, coming out near the end of November.

Dana: DEATHBLOW will be a December release, a brand new book in my amazon bestselling Broslin Creek romantic suspense series.

Lori Ryan: I won’t have another book until next year. I’m working on a novel right now that is not part of the Sutton Capital Series. It may be a stand-alone novel or it may be part of a trio. I’m not entirely sure yet. I do plan to revisit the Sutton Capital series again next year as well, though. There are still a few characters whose stories have yet to be told!

Toni Anderson: I just got the rights back to HER SANCTUARY and plan to re-release that in November this year. I’m also planning to release the follow up to that book, HER LAST CHANCE before Christmas.

◊◊◊

New York Times bestselling author Rebecca York's novella, Christmas Captive, is the latest in her Decorah Security series, which focuses on a detective agency where the agents have paranormal powers or take on paranormal cases. Each book focuses on a different hero and heroine who fall in love against a background of suspense and danger. The agency is run by a crust old navy SEAL, Frank Decorah, who works behind the scenes to match up men and women he thinks belong together.

New Release: DANGEROUS ATTRACTION (Box Set) With 9 full-size novels and a brand new Christmas novella from New York Times bestselling author, Rebecca York, this boxed set can’t be missed. Sexy, steamy heroes to heat you up and twisting plots to keep you turning page after page well past midnight! Visit our Fan page for contests and giveaways: https://www.facebook.com/DangerousAttractionBoxedSet

Order Today!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/18Ya4Oc

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1ahU8nO

Smashword: http://bit.ly/1bOocy8

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Strange Little Story

Here is a strange little story that came to me in the middle of the night. What do you think?

--

She stayed sane by keeping track of the experiments. They took her to a different observation room for #627. There were never windows, but this room didn’t have the glaring neon lights either. The men who watched her through the two-way mirror must have worn night vision goggles. The steel security door closed behind her with a clang as she drew in moldy air. She stepped forward and sank up to her knees into something soft and wet.

It came at once, slithering up, gripping hard, tasting, licking. “Feed me,” it whispered.

Her heart thrilled. After endless months, after endless torture, they’d made a mistake. This one was sentient.

“Patience, friend,” she whispered back. “I’m taking you to a feast.”

The muscles gripping her body spasmed. “A great feast? With blood and bones?”

“With blood and bones,” she promised.

“Where?”

“Behind the walls.”

“The walls can’t be broken,” it hissed. “We are hungry.”

We? she thought even as she felt a new ripple in the swamp.

“Can you get me to the wall?” she asked through laughter.

The grip tightened for a second before loosening. She didn’t have to hang on. She just had to relax her body, let them wind around her, float her on top of the muck.

The foul smell gagged her, her clothes and hair soaked, even her head bobbing under once, but only for a second. Then she hit something hard, and she scrambled to straighten.

Was it the right wall? She searched the flat expanse for a seam, for the different texture of the glass. She had to move forward, fall, be held up, before she found it.

She could feel them on the other side. They could certainly see her. She laid her hands on the glass and smiled at them.

The guards who’d brought her worn protective clothing. No rips in the rubber this time. They knew better. But there were things they didn’t know. And when the tall one shoved her into the room, she’d stumbled close enough, had raised her head for long enough for him to breathe on her.

A quick breath, not much, but all she needed was a starter spark. Drawing what she needed from him would have been easier through touch, but she could do it from a breath. She’d swallowed it, kept it, had it still inside her.

She focused on that little ball of air in her lungs until it glowed. And then the rest of her ignited. The glass simply melted under her hands, flowed into the cold swamp with a hiss of steam.

Men screamed on the other side, scrambling for the door, but hunger made her new friends fast. The scent of blood filled the air first, then the sound of bones cracking, before the emergency sirens came on and drowned out all sound.

Better not go forward. Something might mistake her for being part of the feast. She stuck to the perimeter of the room and found a stubby ledge, just enough for a toehold, and she shuffled back to the door.

She lay her hands on the lock, didn’t have enough to melt it, but warped the metal enough so that with all of her weight pulling, she could yank it open. Her ears rang from the sirens that were louder out here. Red emergency lights flashed down the length of the stainless steel corridor, blinding her.

Around the corner boots slapped on the floor, guards running. She fled the other way, found a utility shaft and pressed both hands hard against the grate. Frustration mixed with desperation inside her when she couldn’t work up the heat.

“Good feast,” it said behind her, making her nearly jump out of her skin.

It was twice as long as she, one long thick muscle the width of her thigh, ash-gray with four short but powerful legs, talons longer than her fingers, small black eyes that didn’t blink and a double row of razor teeth. She had no idea whether it was natural or man-made.

Half a dozen more came behind it, some darting forward on the walls, one on the ceiling. Blood dripped from their jaws. She rattled the grate.

“Will you feed us tomorrow?” it asked.

She thought of her sisters locked away in the dungeons to be experimented on, to be driven crazy, to be killed. It’d take an army, if she had an army, a year of siege to free them. If she saved herself, then at least one of her kind would survive. That was the primary directive. Yet now that her chance was at hand, she found she couldn’t run. “I will.”

“Blood and bones?”

“Blood and bones.”

It twisted, raised its powerful tail and smashed the grate.

She dropped down into darkness and it came on top of her, followed by the others, all wiggling and shoving.

“What are you?” it asked as it slithered by her in the narrow shaft.

“Nothing.” A queen without an army. The queen of the damned.

“Not nothing. You lead, we follow. There will be feasts.”

“Yes.” She reached bottom and she picked a shaft at random, hurried forward as they slithered and scurried behind her, her new royal guard. Better to be their leader than their dinner, she thought, and pushed forward into the darkness.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tortured Heroes

Some writer friends and I have been chatting about tortured heroes lately, and since my last hero was the most tortured man I've written yet, I thought I'd blog about the subject.

What is it about heroes with a tortured past that draws us to them? They're snarly, lone warriors who steal our hearts anyway. Who doesn't like a Beauty and the Beast story? It's been the theme of dozens of movies and TV shows.

But is there such a thing as a hero too far gone? What if our protagonist crosses all the lines? Can a hero be past redemption?

Jack Sullivan, the hero of DEATHSCAPE, comes pretty close. He's an obsessed detective who's been following a serial killer across the country for most of his career. His only goal is to finish the man who kidnapped and killed his sister fifteen years ago. It's the darkest suspense I've written to date, and the one hero I wasn't always sure would make it. He's been so focused on the killer, he is becoming nearly as ruthless as the man he is hunting.

Maybe the smart thing to do would have been to write a heroine who is very strong mentally and has a super nurturing streak that could lift Jack out of his darkness. Ashley Price, however, is far from that ideal. She's recovering from an accident where a child has died. She's broken and struggles with major anxiety issues. Yet somehow, these two broken people ended up being perfect for each other.

Who is your favorite tortured hero in fiction? I'll be raffling off free books, as well as a $25 Amazon gift certificate among those who comment.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Covers That Sell?

The amount of agonizing an author spends on a cover cannot be underestimated. For DEATHSCAPE, I started with the four numbered options, then ended up with the one that has the all blue background.



Thank God for my wonderful FaceBook friends (and my fabulous cover designer) who steered me in the right direction!!!! Fine, I admit, I'm clueless about what makes a selling cover.

Romance covers went through so many trends over the years. I remember the sexy embrace covers where everyone's clothes were constantly falling off. Then came the cartoon covers with shoes when chick lit hit. The word of wisdom was, if you had some stilettos on your cover, the book would sell. Then we had the head shot only, people staring off the cover. Followed by the object only covers that came with no people at all. And now the trend seems to be the 'people with head cut off' covers.

I've been told never to have a green book cover as readers will not pick it off the shelves. I've been told never to have cats on the cover (as some readers have cat phobias) or children (as small kids are seen as an interruption to romance).

Is it a wonder that authors can become neurotic about their cover art? I even had dreams about the despair of trying to pick the right font. (Why, oh why, couldn't it have been a dream about picking cover models??)

So some friends and I just put up a web site to ask readers about covers. Clue us in! Pretty please???

All you have to do is vote for which cover you like. To show our gratitude, we're raffling off a $25 amazon PLUS $25 B&N gift cert on Valentine's Day.

Thank you for your help!
Dana

Monday, January 14, 2013

Who's in the mood for a quickie?

LUNCH TIME READS

Some friends and I are participating in Lunch Time Reads with dozens of wonderful quick reads that are perfect for a lunch break or to start after the dishes are done in the evening. Wonderful, fully developed stories from your favorite authors, and you can finish them without having to stay up until 4 a.m. I instantly LOVED the idea when I was first approached with it. I'm always excited when something new comes along regarding books and reading. I might be a little obsessed with the subject. LOL

I love the participating authors, and the best news is, the stories are just 99c each.

What a great chance to try new authors. I've been sampling last week, and loving it so far. I thought I'd share this newly discovered fun site. If you check out LUNCH TIME READS, please let me know what you think. I have one 100 pg novella up, Guardian Agent. Should I put up more? I'm always trying to figure out what readers are looking for.

Hope your New Year is fabulous so far!
Dana

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
2012 brought some good and some bad, but we survived it, and that's better than the alternative. Any big plans for 2013?

I always write a list of New Year resolutions. Some years my success rate is pretty abysmal, at other times I do fairly well. It's a good time to remind myself to go back to the basics and to look at the things that are truly important. It's too easy to get caught up in the rush of work and have my whole focus on sales numbers and amazon rankings. Reaffirming my true priorities from time to time helps me not to go loopy over things I can't control.

I spent way to much time in 2012 worrying about work and giving up rest and family time to try to push my new release DEATHSCAPE onto the bestseller lists. I didn't make it to the NY Time's list, but the book did hit the #1 spot on the Amazon romantic suspense list and stayed there for a full week. 20 years from now, will this still be as important as I thought at the time? Or will I wish I did other things with my time?

I know I spent waaaay too much time in 2012 worrying about politics and following our elected loafers (oops, representatives). So with one last brief prayer that the lot of them get taken by aliens, I'm letting that go.

MOVE YOUR FOCUS TO WHAT IS GOOD AND BEAUTIFUL AND POSSIBLE IN THE WORLD, AND AWAY FROM WHAT IS DISMAL. I'm going with that in 2013.

How about you? Any plans?

Wishing you all the very best!
Dana