Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Writing Wednesday: Getting Out There and Meeting Readers

It's almost July and Summer is definitely here - if not in consistently warm temps, then at least in spirit. School is out, people are hitting the beaches, lakes and pools... and reading for pleasure is back on the agenda.

I've posted before about doing book events and signings - and I know the chatter on my author groups always kicks up around now with newbies asking questions and looking for advice. It's not hard, but it can be daunting to think about putting yourself out there.I know I'm horribly shy most of the time, preferring email over phone calls, and reading a book over going to a party. It takes a lot of effort to put myself out there. But if I can do it, so can you.

So here are my top 5 tips for Authors Doing Book Events...

1. Put yourself out there.
Ask at the local bookstore or gift shop. Go in with a few of your books and your calendar to book a day. Be professional, but be positive. Most shops are happy to host you if you're flexible about dates and times. But work out the details up front. Do they want to buy the books from you, on their own, or let you sell them yourself? Figure it out, and what discount they may want. (Most bookstores demand 40%, other shops are more flexible.)

Take a deep breath and go ask. What's the worst that will happen? They might say no. So what? It's not personal. Say thank you and move on to the next shop.

2. Get professional-looking  posters, postcards, etc.
Vistaprint is short money for the impact of having professional looking stuff at your table. Upload your book cover to make a variety of promotional items. Postcards are great giveaways, to remind people to order the ebook if they claim to be a Kindle-only reader. Make banners and posters that can be reused at more than one event. DON'T use handmade signs, not even for prices or anything... You're a published author. Look professional. Act professional. Be professional.

3. Network with Other Local Authors
An event that has more than one author has greater pull - and casts a wider net on social media and friend networks. Plus, if there are more than one of you walking into shops, that's more potential gigs in total. And there's the added plus of someone to chat with during the setup and the inevitable lulls between chatting with readers. Strength in numbers is a real thing.
4. Invite Your Friends!
Even if everyone you know has already purchased your book, invite them to come visit you at the shop or bookstore or festival tent. It's always amazing to see a friendly face in a crowd, and it's even better if the event isn't crowded, to show the shopkeeper that you help draw people into their store.

5. Smile and Chat with Everyone
Be friendly with everyone who comes within shouting distance. I'm not saying drag them over to your table, but definitely smile and say hello, be approachable, draw them into a conversation and be friendly. Not everyone you talk to will buy your book, it's true. But when I was a Girl Scout leader, I always stressed to the girls that the number one reason people don't buy cookies is that NO ONE ASKED THEM TO BUY. Put away your phone and engage with people.

Plan to smile so much that your cheeks hurt by the end of the event, because no one is going to want to chat with you if you're frowning or busy on your phone. 
Be available. Be friendly. Be smiling.

SO that's it. See? Easy peasy. You can do it. Go forth and have an awesome book signing event.

Questions? Comments? Or do you have a TOP TIP you need to add? Go ahead  and share - I know I have a full summer of events lined up and I can take all the advice I can get!

Happy Writing - and Signing - to ALL!


Monday, June 25, 2018

Monday Book Review: Next to You, by Daisy Prescott

Next to You, by Daisy Prescott
Published 2016

About the Book:
I added my friend Sage to my rugby club's annual list of women who are off limits thinking I could protect her from the gorillas I play with.

Never did I think I'd be the one to break the code and date her.

Even if it's all for show. A wager between friends. An excuse to hang out with her.

Nothing more than that.


The man-bun-sporting South African rugby god next door is my fake boyfriend

Who agrees to date their best friend over a green smoothie? Apparently this girl right here.

I need to rebuild my confidence after some poor dating decisions. Who could be better to fluff my ego than Aspen's hottest bachelor? 

This situation is a win-win.

Next to You is a friends-to-lovers standalone Romantic Comedy/Sports Romance set at high altitude.

My Take:
Fast paced and well written, this is a definite welcome addition to anyone's summer reading list. The Colorado vacationland setting is beautiful, the sex scenes are scorching and the he said/she said back and forth is totally fun to read.

Last summer, my reading list included Ready to Fall, also by Daisy Prescott, which I also loved. Her writing style is so natural and her dialogue witty and spot on. She's definitely an author to watch for.

The main character Lee is a rugby player, a bartender, the male model face of Aspen's tourist campaign... And oh yeah, he comes with a mouth watering accent.  His father is a wealthy Chicago businessman without much of a heart, and every time Lee mentions some bit of fatherly advice or guidance, it makes you cringe and want to give the poor kid he once was a huge hug.

I love how the author depicts the "other side" of Aspen's vacation world, showing us the transient 20somethings who work behind the scenes in a tourist destination like this. I grew up in Killington, Vermont and now live year round on Cape Cod --two more top vacation land spots --  and appreciate how she writes the interactions of the characters, and reminds us that you never know the full story of that bartender or shop girl you meet on vacation, and you shouldn't make assumptions.

The chemistry between Sage and Lee hit you from the start, making the reader wonder how this pair have been next door neighbors for two years without anything like this happening. And yet, the fact that they've been neighbors and friends, and know so much about each other already, really enhances the romance. They aren't random people pretending to suddenly date, like so many books with similar premises. They're already best friends, and the "green smoothie bet" is Lee's subconscious way of trying to see if any of his feelings are reciprocated before truly putting his heart on the line.

This is a standalone romance, told in he said/she said first person POVs, with totally likeable characters and a satisfying ending that will leave you smiling but doesn't tie everything up in a bow. Life doesn't put a bow on everything in that kind of time frame either, so deal with it, lol. No seriously, I loved this story and recommend for your summer reading pleasure!

Grab a copy on AMAZON

Monday, June 18, 2018

Monday Book Review: Playing With Her Heart, by Lauren Blakely

Playing with Her Heart, by Lauren Blakely
Published 2013 by Lauren Blakely Books

About the Book:
He's sexy, sophisticated, possessive...and my boss. 
I'm trying to resist him, I swear. I'm good at resisting, and at playing pretend too. It's what I do for a living. But as Davis Milo directs me in my first Broadway play, I'm having a harder time pretending that I don't want him to take me. On the piano. In the limo. In the dressing room. Anywhere and everywhere. And the more he guides me through staged kisses, the more I want them to be real. 
I damn well know the first rule of directing: Never fall for your leading lady. But I'm captivated by her raw talent, and fighting this desire grows harder every day I spend with her. Keeping things professional isn't an option. I want all of her. Soon we're staying late in the empty theatre, our private rehearsals spiraling into new, forbidden territory. I swear I'm not playing with her heart, but how can I be sure that what she feels is real, and not a part of the play?

My Take:

Hot, sexy romance set in New York City's theatre district, between a young Broadway hopeful and the Tony award winning director who sees something irresistible in the younger woman. Lauren Blakely is a New York Times #1 bestselling author, having hit the bestseller listings more than 100 times. She knows her way around contemporary romance.

He said/she said points of view help give the story depth and perspective, especially in this #MeToo era of casting couch accusations.

This is not that. This is a romance and the reader can see both sides of the equation, and how perfect these main characters are for each other, even before they realize it themselves.

Well paced and well written, this is another great story to add to your summer reading list!

Grab a copy on AMAZON

Monday, June 4, 2018

Monday Book Review: Goody Two Shoes, by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Goody Two Shoes, by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Published 2014
About the Book:
Take one American singer who doesn’t believe in falling in love…

Josh McInnes’ biological clock is ticking and he wants to get married—now. After 20 years singing soppy love songs, he knows that there is no such thing as romantic love. There’s only hormones and lust. At thirty-five, he’s tired of his playboy lifestyle. He wants a wife who isn’t interested in fame, money, or romance. A sensible wife, who values commitment. He wants a partnership, a friendship, and none of the craziness that goes with falling in love. As far as he can see, there’s only one way to get exactly what he wants—he needs an arranged marriage.

…add a Scottish librarian who has given up on ever falling in love…

Caroline Patterson terrifies men. With her no-nonsense attitude, and ice queen demeanour, she’s in control of everything—and everyone—around her. Her sensible shoes and grey skirt suits act like a force field, repelling male attention. At thirty-one, she can’t remember the last time she went on a date and is beginning to think she’ll never have a family of her own. When an American stranger approaches Caroline with a marriage proposal that resembles a business contract, she quickly accepts. She doesn’t expect romance. But she does expect to control each and every detail of their lives together. Because as life has taught her—if you aren’t in control, bad things happen.

…and you get romance Invertary style!

Josh and Caroline learn the hard way that falling in love isn’t something you can avoid. And it definitely isn’t something you can control. Their well laid plans are about to degenerate into chaos, as they fall in love the Scottish way.

My Take:
This is my second book by Janet Elizabeth Henderson, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first. Quirky characters in a small Scottish town, this fun romantic comedy kept me turning pages as fast as I could. The characters who were introduced in the first book still populated the background, but the new main characters dominated the story lines, with a subplot of second chance romance that added dimension to the main story. I had no idea this was a series, or I would never have waited this long to read the second book!

This is a standalone romantic comedy, and you don't need to read the first book or any of the subsequent books to be satisfied and smiling. Everyone is introduced in the context of this story, without background explanations needed. However, of you find you enjoy the authors voice and style, I can wholeheartedly recommend book one as well, Lingerie Wars, which gives us Caroline's best friend Kristy's story.

Josh McInnes is famous for singing ballads and love songs, but doesn't believe in love.  He decides he wants - no needs- an arranged marriage in order to protect himself from gold diggers and women trying to use him to further their own careers.

Caroline Patterson lives and works in the small Scottish town of Invertary where Josh has recently purchased a castle as a vacation home and recording studio. Headstrong Caroline heads multiple committees around town and is the one who organizes and gets things done.

Stubborn Josh has decided Caroline checks all the right boxes to make a suitable wife, and an arrangement is agreed upon. A commitment where love is not involved.

This may not sound like the setup for a romantic comedy read, but the clashing of the strong-willed main characters is fabulous and  the circus of secondary (mostly geriatric)characters are sprinkles on this sundae of fun. The subplot of Josh's parents and their marital troubles shows a softer and totally different angle to finding and keeping love alive, enhancing the situation the main characters find themselves in... When they actually begin to fall in love.

Tons of fun, well written, and totally recommend for your summer reading list! Grab a copy on AMAZON