Tag Archives: Self Published

Release Day Guest Author: Sophie Barnes!

It’s that time of year when I start to turn to holiday themed romance novels to help put me in a cheerful holiday spirit. Today ALBTALBS friend <3 Sophie Barnes is joining us to share how her new Christmas novel almost wasn’t and what she did to make sure this story got into the hands of her readers. And I for one am thrilled that Christmas at Thorncliff Manor is out today!

Christmas at Thorncliff ManorMy road to becoming a published romance author began in 2009 when I made my first attempt at writing a novel. Once finished, I submitted it to every publisher I could find and received more than fifty rejection letters in return. It wasn’t easy being told my story wasn’t good enough, but being the determined sort, I wasn’t about to give up either. So I put that story aside – re-reading it now I’m glad it never saw the light of day – and went to work on a new one, the one that would turn me into an established author. Continue reading

Guest: Tawny Weber

Hey Chickies! (I’m just going to assume there are no dudes. And you know? Good! :P) Today as you see we’ve got Tawny Weber visiting with us! My apologies for the delay – along with all the regular stuff, there’s holiday madness too! … Has it hit any of you? 

But – this isn’t about me and my questions, it’s about Ms. Weber!

Making Magic

I believe in magic.  There are all kinds, I’m not picky.  I love them all.

I believe in the magic of the holidays.  This time of year makes me think of wishes and wonder, of traditions handed down over time, and the spirit of Santa.  It doesn’t matter how old I am (yeah, I tell myself that a lot), I love to imagine a workshop at the North Pole, filled with merry elves and flying reindeer.

I believe in the magic of intuition.  I’ve been reading the tarot since I was in my late teens, turning my fascination into my profession for a number of years.  I’ve seen the cards proved right time after time, enough so that I know intuition is a powerful thing.  I believe in that little voice inside that tells me if I’m on track or off, if I should be careful or bold, if someone’s telling the truth or not.

I believe in the magic of storytelling.  Of losing myself in a story, in the world of an author’s characters as I root for them, live through them and ride along as they earn their happy-ever-after.  I love the process of writing (okay, so I just tell myself this, but if I say it enough…  I’ll believe!) and discovering the world of my own characters as they come to life in my mind. I also believe in that feeling that tells me if a story is working or not.   And when the story clicks?  Now that’s magic!!!  I love the idea that I’m bringing that story magic to readers like so many fabulous authors have brought to me.

Most of all, I believe in the magic of love.  Okay, I’m a romance author so this was probably a given.  But even before I started writing, I’ve always been a believer in romance.  I’m a card-carrying, rose-colored-glasses, love-conquers-all romantic.  My entertainment choices all revolve around the idea, from the movies I see to the TV shows I watch to the books I read.  Whatever I focus on has to include love.  Or magic.  Or, preferably, both.

Which was why I was so excited to start my own indie series that focuses on my favorite things… Love, magic (and sweets – which I figure do have a sort of magic going for them if I can indulge all I want and somehow not gain weight).  I figured that since I am essentially my own publisher, I could bring together everything I love best in writing–Contemporary romance, hot sex, continuing characters and a sprinkling of magic to tie it all together.  I came up with the Karma Café novella series.  Karma Café is ran by three magical women-maiden, mother and crone (although she prefers to be called Grandma).  The Karmanskis come from a long line of special women, each gifted in a particular way.  When the series kicks off with Sugar and Spice, Natalia, the mother, is determined to use her matchmaking skills to marry off her daughter, Anja.  Anja is just as determined to foil her mother’s sneaky plans – instead matching her mother’s choice of the perfect hero with his own true love.  And, sure, it takes a little magic in the form of a very special chocolate treat to make it happen, but alls fair in love and avoiding matchmaking, she figures.  Thanks to Anja, Dedra and Paul get their happy ever after–and a lot of great sex!

What kind of magic do you believe in?  And do you like a little sprinkling (or a big heaping) of magic in your love stories?

Tawny Weber has been writing sassy, sexy romances since her first Harlequin Blaze hit the shelves in 2007.  A fan of Johnny Depp, cupcakes and color coordination, she loves spending time shopping for cute shoes, scrapbooking and hanging out on Facebook.

Come by and visit her website for hunky contests, delicious recipes and lots of fun.

I’ve included the book blurb of Sugar and Spice for you, in case you were curious. 🙂

Hot kisses, sexy shoes and a midnight rendezvous – the perfect recipe for Happy Ever After. Throw in a fairy godmother with a personal agenda, a midnight deadline and a marriage-of-convenience and you have a hot and sassy twist on a modern day Cinderella story.

For over a hundred years, the Karmanski women have been cooking up delicious treats, and a little magic. But now their business, Karma Café, is in trouble and each of the Karmanskis has a different opinion on how to save their livelihood. The matriarch, Odette, is old-school, and more than ready to rely on magic. Natalia is sure if she can just marry her daughter off to a wealthy suitor, all their problems will be solved, and she has just the suitor in mind – the gorgeous CEO of Chastain Shoes. Anja’s just as determined to foil her mother’s plans and stay single. She cooks up a scheme to serve up the perfect match for this prince of a guy. With the aid of a little magical help, she’s going to put a Happy Ever After twist on her mother’s matchmaking.

Administrative Assistant, Dedra Hanson has three addictions. Gorgeous shoes, yummy treats and her sexy boss. Her credit card balance and bathroom scale do a pretty good job of keeping the first two addictions in check. And the third? Love of her job has always kept her from acting on her passion for Paul Chastain. But now she’s leaving her job because her playboy CEO boss is about to become engaged to a chilly socialite to save his business. Paul Chastain is fair game.

All she needs for one wild fantasy night? The nerve to seduce her boss, and a little bit of magic. The only question left is, can she leave when the clock strikes midnight?

What do you think? Has Tawny convinced you about magic?

Calling All Indie/Self Published Authors!

Hi everyone! So you know that I love doing new things. I mentioned it a little bit ago, but finally I’ve got the comment form and ideally a few more things with the new site figured out. Accordingly, I’m doing a new blog feature starting in 2013.

A quarterly post where I spotlight an author who has self published. Either exclusively so, or whatever. I’m not picky. (And I want to be as inclusive as possible.)

I don’t know which to go by – Indie Author, Self Published, whatever. Frankly I think it’s for the person to decide what they prefer. As a non-author/writer, I don’t see one over the other as being preferable or “lesser.”

Anyway! If you’d like to participate, please email me. I’ve got that handy dandy contact form. 😀 And… I promise. You can call me Limecello. Really. I won’t mind. (I prefer that to “hey!” etc. Sidenote: I’ve got a lot going on, so I might not get to your email immediately. I ask that you have patience.)

But I’m excited about this and I hope you are too!

For those of you who are readers – anyone in particular you’d like to see spotlighted here? Any questions you’d want to ask them?

Not to spill the beans but >.> … the first person  – the special author who will be kicking off this feature is none other than the awesome Bella Andre! Whee!!!

Review: Crushed by K.C. Blake

Liz’s Review

Crushed by K.C. Blake
Young Adult fiction published by K.C. Blake on July 30, 2011

The Noah sisters rule Titan High with their beauty, brains, and magical powers.

Each year they play a secret game: Crushed. The girls pick their targets carefully and blow enchanted dust into the boy’s faces, charming them, but this year Kristen makes a grave mistake. She chooses the wrong boy and almost dies that same day. Coincidence? Maybe.

But something isn’t quite right about Zach Bevian. He doesn’t behave like a boy who’s been Crushed. He goes from hot to cold, from looking at her with contempt to asking her out on a date. She doesn’t know what to think. Does he hate her or is he truly falling for her? Is he trying to kill her, or is he trying to save her?

This YA novel is set in the hallways of fictional Titan High, where three witch sisters – Kristen, Brittany, and Cindi – walk among mortals who are none the wiser to their powers.  The puppy loves spell allows them to control their choice, and they increase their power over him by asking him to complete tasks.  Each completed task draws him further under the girl’s control.  The winner at the end of the semester is the one that has the boy under the most control, and the girl’s aren’t shy about having their choices do ridiculous and humiliating things to test their power.  Kristen has plans to be the winner this year so she can afford a spectacular prom dress, when Brittany dares her to “crush” the baddest bad boy in school – Zach Bevian.  Suddenly, the boy she hates is under her power, or so she thinks.

Kristen is older than her teenage years, striving to be the “good girl” and living up to the hard expectations that her father has leveled onto her since she was a child.  She’s one of the unfortunately beautiful girls, who is smart and witty but floundering socially.  They live with their father during the year and mother during the summer, and as the book moves forward we find that Kristen is feeling the noose of adulthood tighten around her neck while she is still young.  So what’s a girl to do?  Rebel, of course!

Zach Bevian is a young man with a secret, who harbors great resentment for the Noah sisters and their queen-bee behavior in school.  Typical bad boy, Zach has the hot car, the hotter motorcycle, and the splendid body that girls drool over.  His autistic sister Morgan is all that is left of his family, and he takes great care to not upset their home life.  The book switches to his point of view at times, and the reader is given a glimpse into the burdens that weigh him down.  I enjoyed that although he’s strong, he’s vulnerable with his sister.  It gave his character depth.

Sisters Brittany and Cindi dress identically although they are triplets with Kristen.  Cindi is the softer spoken of the two, but when tricked by Kirsten early on in the book, she proves to be just as much a wildcat as Brittany.  Brittany is the ultimate bad-girl, skipping school and causing her father and sisters grief, while scheming to get back at Kristen for breaking the rules in the crush game.

I had only two real complaints with the way the characters were drawn in the book.  First, the reason for Kristen’s deep hatred of Zach isn’t very clear.  Although she knows him and he knows her, they don’t appear to hang in the same social circles, so the hate and the disgust at having to “crush” him seemed tacked on.  We know why he doesn’t like her or her sisters, we just don’t know why she doesn’t like him.  The other issue I have is that during the book, Kristen and her sister Brittany get into a supernatural standoff and begin attacking each other.  Kristen says on more than one occasion that Brittany is going to kill her, but the statements are hollow.  If I were in Kristen’s shoes and my sister wanted to kill me and could do it easily with magic, I’d be freaked out.  Especially as a teenager.  Although Kristen seeks help from her witch grandmother for a protection spell, the spell goes unused.  The lack of urgency, teen angsty drama, or genuine fear left me wondering why I was worried about her life…if she wasn’t.

When I expected a simple “I’m not as bad as you think I am” romance between the two main characters, Blake added suspense to the budding romance, giving Zach plenty of opportunities to appear the knight for her.  There were times when I didn’t really know who was causing trouble in Kristen’s life or what Zach’s many secrets were.  The magic/fight scenes were fast paced and engaging, and one of my favorite parts was Kristen’s first real date.  When she had Zach pick her up at the library so her father wouldn’t know, it took me back to my early dating days when the “bad boy” and I would meet somewhere besides my home so we could go out.

I haven’t picked up a YA book since I hopped on the bandwagon and read Twilight several years ago.  While I definitely would have devoured this light supernatural romance as a teenager, I also enjoyed reading it as an adult.  I’d be comfortable recommending it to my 14 year old niece, as well as any adult that enjoys a little suspense mixed in with a trip down memory lane to what it felt like to really like that first boy in high school, to anticipate that first kiss that played so perfectly in your mind.  The world that Blake created was unique, from the witch council that everyone feared to the way the girls wove their spells.  I found Crushed to be an enjoyable read overall and look forward to reading more from this author.

Charming and fun, but strictly for a specific audience, i.e., light romance (no sex as the characters are underage), paranormal aspects, suspense and for those that enjoy sarcastic teen witches and brooding boys finding love in the locker covered hallways in high school.  This book is available on both Smashwords and Amazon.

Grade: C+

You can read an excerpt here.