The Shadow Unveiled now available!

The Shadow Unveiled releases today from Liquid Silver Books! πŸ˜€ I’ve blogged about this before, but in case you haven’t caught it, the blurb and excerpt are available here (or, poke around the website, and you’ll find it too).

This book was one of the most difficult I’ve written to date. The story is darker than The Twilight Deception, as Arielle and Jackson address deep emotional issues and things that never had time to come up in the first story. Balancing that darkness with Arielle’s light humor was difficult, to say the least. Additionally, I had a lot going on myself behind the scenes, so … yeah, very difficult.

I’m ecstatically happy to see TSU make it to release. I worked hard on this, and I hope y’all love it as much as I do. πŸ˜€

Writers, what is the most difficult thing you’ve written to date and why? Readers, what’s the most difficult story you’ve read? (Or, conversely, if you’d like to answer what one of the hardest things you’ve done in your life in general, that’s fine too!) Commenters will be entered in a drawing to win a free copy of The Shadow Unveiled. I’ll leave the contest open for about a week. πŸ™‚

New cover! and new site!

Firstly, I want to thank y’all for the comments made on Monday’s excerpt. I had a blast writing that book, and I’m glad that other people seem to like it as much. πŸ˜€

Secondly, I have a new website design! If you’re reading this by RSS, please click over and check it out, because it’s gorgeous. I owe major thanks to Ilona Andrews for the header design, and to Rowan Larke for all the work she did getting the theme worked out and colored. Kudos and everlasting gratitude, ladies!

And best for last… *drumroll* I have a new cover!

Isn’t it gorgeous? Christine Griffin did an amazing job! If you’d like to see the full size version, click here. I know what’s going to be my desktop wallpaper for awhile! πŸ˜‰

Yay!

Final edits turned in, and I believe The Twilight Deception is off to the copyeditor’s. I think we’re waiting on cover art because there was a snag that took some time to sort out, but hopefully I should have a release date soon. πŸ˜€

Now, to work on Book 2…

I’ve been Snarked

Okay, not really. For all that people have quivered over the prospect of submitting to Miss Snark’s Happy Hooker Crap-o-meter, she really hasn’t been that snarky, outside of the hooks that seriously deserved it. (A good majority of the commenters, though, are another story entirely.)

What Miss Snark said about mine: “This is unfocused and a recitation of events. Use the XYZ to get the important factors on the page, then start over.”

I appreciate the time and effort Miss Snark has taken to run the Crap-o-meter and comment on everything, but I’m not sure how useful this has been for me. I haven’t read all of the hooks, but there have been others she’s said were unfocused and unsuitable that bear a striking similarity in structure to “winning” queries posted by other authors and agents–ones specialising in romance, fantasy, or other genre fiction.

The “hooks” that she’s liked (that I’ve seen) … I was not at all impressed by, and probably would not have given a second look. But, then, I don’t like the vast majority of literary mainstream fiction. I find it boring.

I’m not sure what to take away from this. I’ve had the query critted by several different people, who have liked it. It seems to be in line with what I’ve seen on SF/F blogs and such. I think I’m going to chalk this one up more to taste… and that’s not a bad thing.

But I think it’s something important to keep in mind. One person’s trash is another’s treasure and all that. πŸ˜‰

Whee!

So, I officially have a release date for A Passion Draconic:

January 22nd, 2007.

Yay! πŸ˜€

The Twilight Deception released today!

The Twilight Deception releases from Cobblestone Press today!

Here’s a brief blurb, if you’re interested:

When the FBI receives word of vampire-related murders, they order tough-as-nails resident witch Arielle Thompson to investigate. But the last thing Arielle expects is to have her butt saved by a friendly vampire who claims he’s tracking the master vamp responsible for the murders.

Despite her wounded pride, Arielle can’t help her inexplicable attraction to this sexy-as-sin vampire who calls himself simply “Jackson.” He reluctantly informs her that their enemy is far more powerful than reports said — and his powerbase is only increasing.

Arielle and Jackson must team up to stop him, before he grows too powerful to defeat.

Click here to read an excerpt.

Wanna buy it? Click here.

In celebration of the release, I’ll be holding a contest for a free copy of The Twilight Deception. Comment to this post with a number from 1-30, and the person closest to the number I’m thinking of wins. πŸ™‚

When Promo Backfires…

This has been bugging me for awhile, but I haven’t said anything because I understand why writers do it. But, speaking as a reader, it annoys the hell out of me.

Okay. First off. I follow over 200 blog feeds via Google Reader. That’s not including the people I keep track of on my LiveJournal. That’s a lot of reading, but I skim a lot of the stuff that doesn’t interest me, so it really doesn’t impact my time as much as you might think. (Now, when I have stuff I want to comment on, that’s a different story. ;))

Over the past six months or so, there’s been a growing trend in promotion. Instead of or in addition to shameless self-promotion, get your friends, readers, relatives, whatever, to post your book info on their blog, group, etc.

I understand why writers do this. It’s important for them to get their names out, especially new writers (in the case of print publishing, they need to make a certain number of sales in order to remain published). I’ve posted promo for my friends before, too. (Though I’m bad about remembering to do so… like blogging in general. >_<) But I've seen authors who already have several books out doing it, too. Why does this annoy me? The other day, I scrolled past what must have been over twenty blog posts that were exactly the same thing. All promo for one specific book. Now, it’s a book I intended to pick up anyway, because I liked the first and am very interested in seeing what the author does with the follow-up, but Lord and Lady… when I’m scrolling through some fifty-odd posts, it’s bloody annoying for them to all be the same thing. I’m still getting posts in my Google Reader for it.

Sure, you’re getting your name out in front of people, but I’m not so certain it’s in a “good” way. Speaking as a reader, if I’m annoyed enough at the constant promo spamming (and at a certain point, yes, I do consider it equivalent to “spam”) my feed reader, by the time the book comes out several months (in some cases) later, I may not remember why I was annoyed… but I’ll most likely remember the negative connection. It’s possible I might assume it was a bad advance review I read; my memory isn’t the greatest.

I also have to question the effectiveness of this method of promotion. In many cases, I can point to the vast majority of people posting these stock promotions to a single group of writers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but how many people outside that group are you going to reach? I’ve noticed that the promotions don’t tend to pass beyond the first circle of people doing them; that is, say you have the Original Author posting the request. Circle A (let’s say about 20-40 people) posts them. Unless there is some significant prize for posting the promotion (such as the case of Dear Author’s viral blog experiment a month or two back), it won’t advance to a Circle B.

Certainly, there are exceptions to this, and perhaps I’m wrong. If so, I would appreciate someone pointing out such, along with links. I don’t follow the entire blogosphere of romance writers; I don’t have that much time! πŸ˜†

On the other hand… when J.R. Ward’s Lover Awakened came out, I saw a lot of people blogging about how excited they were about the release, or how much they loved it when they read it. I saw probably as many posts about that as I have with the stock promotions. Again, speaking as a reader, I’m much more likely to pick up a book based on posts by people who have read the book vs. people who are posting for a prize. If there’s that many people getting excited about the book, then there’s probably a reason for it.

Frankly, I’d rather see that sort of promo in my feed reader, both as a reader–and as a writer.

Just my opinionated 2c, as usual. πŸ˜‰

So I suck…

I suck. Like a 25c whore. I can never remember to keep this thing updated. LOL.

Granted, it’s been a sucky couple of weeks, too. The fibro flare hasn’t gotten much better, but thankfully, it hasn’t gotten worse, either. It’s just… there. I manage what I can and let the rest slide; otherwise I’ll drive myself nuts trying to keep up with everything I can’t.

Finished the first round of revisions for The Twilight Deception today. The major thing was expanding the sex scene, which was admittedly short in the first version. Trickiest thing was beefing up the emotion as well as the sexual description, because it’s… a very desperate sort of scene.

Amusingly, I happened to be listening to music at the time, and my player switched to a song that was utterly perfect for the scene’s mood:

Closer my love
Veil me with your warmth
Oh how afraid we are
I hold my breath
I try to hide my pain
Here in your embrace
So this pain would be gone

This time I want you to
Dry all your tears as we makeÒ€¦

LoveÒ€¦for the last time
Replace your heart with mineÒ€¦
Deep inside
Please stay with me through the night

I rinse my face
With your tears
Too many tears for the end
Darling please don’t you cry
You hold your breath
You try to hide your pain
Here in my embrace
So this pain would be gone

Fly without sorrow
In my dreams we meet again
For you I live, I would die for
You’ll stay deep inside my heart

“Closer (My Love)”
by Entwine

I love it when I find songs like that. Especially when I find them at a time they’re useful. (Vs. long after the fact.) πŸ˜‰

Oh well…

Didn’t make it onto the crapometer. Not surprising, since I believe she got over 600 entries in the 12hr open period. Oh well. It’s rather comforting, though, to see the quality — or the lack thereof — of submissions for this. The queries themselves would be one thing, as it’s not easy to condense a novel into a page and a half, but the vast majority of first pages … are in need of serious work.

(Then again, it’s not like I wasn’t submitting crap that was worse back when I was a teen, either, so….)