One in a Million Snowflakes Celebration – Oh and My Birthday

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.  Although, I have no reason to cry.  So let’s celebrate my birthday and One in a Million Snowflakes, part of the Winter’s Sweet Kiss anthology.  Cover

The weekend for Winter’s Sweet Kiss was quiet for promotions, so I thought I’d warm things up with a giveaway.  Plus, what better way to celebrate your birthday.

So here are the super simple ways to enter.

Leave a comment about your favorite scene from my story, One in a Million Snowflakes (try not to spoil it for those that haven’t read it yet. Just something simple, like ‘When Angela makes hot chocolate’.)

OR tell me which story you look forward to reading first.  I never read anthologies in order.

Or thirdly, if you can’t make up your mind, tell me what your favorite kind of romance is, such as contemporary.Nuttypam giveaway9

What do you win you ask? A wonderful sampler of Nutty Pam’s granola, handmade right here in Colorado.  It’s cold and currently snowing.  Think it might have had something to do with the setting in the story? Anyway, that’s not all.  You also get Nick’s favorite drink, hot chocolate.  Now that you are all snuggled up with your book you’ll need a bookmark.  I’m also adding an autographed bookmark.  (please note, this giveaway is only eligible to those in the USA for various reasons.  One is international food laws and two, shipping costs.).

So leave me a comment and your email so I can contact the winner.  Happy Holidays and happy reading.  You have until midnight MST on the 24th to enter.

Don’t forget the giveaway for Winter’s Sweet Kiss.  A paper copy of the book and a gift card!

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Shameless Saturday and Reviewers Needed

I’m having one of those days. The kind of day where I feel the need to self promote!

Winter’s Sweet Kiss paper copy is available for pre-order!  If you missed it, Winter’s Sweet Kiss is an anthology with my story, One in a Million Snowflakes.  Who’s excited?  ARCs (Advanced reader copies) are out too!  December 16th is the official release and I can’t wait.   Okay.  I am done.

Have an awesome weekend.

Cover

If you or anyone you know wants to partake in reviewing books, here’s your chance! Roane Publishing is looking for reviewers!  Sign up!  If you want to sign up and don’t think your blog has a big enough following, mention me and the requirement is waved! Roane_Logo_Web

Fun Fact Friday – Is It Really Stalking?

Santa Wears Leathers

Authors like to be stalked!  Well maybe not stalked by its definition, but we love exposure!  So when you see an author you like or even love, follow, follow, follow.  Then pass their name along.


Unfortunately most authors aren’t a household name.  It’s a goal though.

Today though, my own cyber stalking paid off.  I hosted and author who was doing a blog tour.  On one of her stops she had a drawing.  It was for a copy of her newest release.  Guess who won… this girl!  It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas!

So here’s to a happy Friday and winning contests. I can’t wait to read Santa Wore Leathers!

Follow These Authors or leave a comment about yourself or someone you suggest following!

Suspense

History

Humor

Thriller

YA

YA

and

Many more

Blog Tour Opportunity

Roane_Logo_WebDrive traffic to your blog by helping promote a 5 author anthology.  I am one of the authors!
Release date is Dec 16th & tour runs for 2 weeks through the 30th.
There will be author interviews – ONE question for every author to answer. Top Two / Fav Five lists for all the authors instead of a Top Tens list for individuals
Group Giveaway where your Twitter handle will be included
Promotional posts / excerpts
Please head over HERE if you are inclined.  😉
Not sure what a blog tour is?  Well in short, it is a book tour taking place over blogging.  In todays digital world, marketing takes on a whole new form! Please don’t hesitate to ask me about this.  It is a great opportunity to reach out to more readers.
Cover

Fun Fact Friday – Denise’s New Release

casualFor those following my blog you have met Denise several times.  Now it’s time to greet her new release!! An Imposter in Town.

Continue to the end to see where to buy her latest book.  Also, I had a thought.  On days were this post is more promo then ‘fun fact’ I think you have the right to ask the author questions in the comments section.  Dig into their heads a little – then again sometimes you might not always want to know what actually is in their minds 🙂

bio

Denise wrote her first story when she was in high school—seventeen hand-written pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She earned a degree in accounting, giving her some nice skills to earn a little money, but her passion has always been writing. She has written numerous short stories and more than a few full-length novels. Her favorite pastimes when she’s not writing are spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and scrapbooking. She lives in Louisiana with her husband, two children, and one very chubby dog.

An Imposter in Town

Peyton Chandler hides some dark secrets behind her false identity. She’s been using her dead sister’s identity for years, hiding from multiple threats from her past. When Sheriff Brian Parker receives a note claiming there’s an impostor in town, he doesn’t know where to start his investigation. What will he do when he discovers the woman he longs for isn’t who she claims to be?

Excerpt

Peyton Chandler entered her house through the carport door and dropped her purse on the kitchen counter. A pile of unwashed dishes awaited her in the sink. Tackling the housework would have to wait another day. Every muscle in her tired body groaned.

She glanced at the envelope in her hand postmarked New Orleans. Johanna’s letters arrived twice a year without fail. The return addresses were always a post office box—the zip codes from all over the country. She ripped the envelope open with a shaky hand. A picture of Jake nestled between the folds of a short note. I need four thousand dollars. J. She would have cut the woman off years ago if it weren’t for the boy.

Her eyes riveted on Jake’s likeness. He had slate gray eyes, sandy brown hair, and attractive Powell features like his biological father. Trim and tall. Handsome already. Nothing about Jake resembled her husband, but then Jake wasn’t her husband’s child. She was already pregnant when Mason Osborne married her.

Thoughts of Mason sent shivers down her spine. She wondered if he was still looking for them. His anger with her when he discovered her pregnancy by another man was only the beginning of his animosity toward her. Mason’s abuse only grew harder when he discovered Jake’s biological father was his nephew.

She left Mason before Jake was born, but he’d found her and dragged her back to the ranch with him. He had promised her he’d kill her if she left him again. Worse yet, he’d take her child away from her. She couldn’t let that happen, so she took the chance, got some help from Johanna, and ran anyway.

She counted the years. Jake would be eleven years old now. It’s been so long since I’ve seen him. He was so young when we left Albuquerque. She trudged down the hallway to her bedroom and laid the picture on her nightstand. The photo would go in the album with the others—an album she didn’t dare show anyone.

Guilt pressed down on her psyche. She needed a shower. Running the water as hot as she could stand, she scoured her skin until it was raw and allowed the cleansing liquid to sluice over her body and wash her remorse down the drain. But no matter how hard she scrubbed, there was still plenty of regret to stain her conscience.

She stumbled out of the stall and tripped on the surround. The heat dizzied her. She wrapped her robe around her and leaned against the bathroom counter, unwilling to face her reflection in the mirror.

The phone rang in the other room. She raced to catch it before the last ring, but picked up a second too late. Out of breath, she dropped onto the edge of the bed and clutched the comforter. Her skin throbbed from the abuse in the shower. She grabbed a bottle from the nightstand and smoothed on lotion to soothe the abuse. With a weary sigh, she gazed out the window. The nearby mountains rose in the distance, but the scene’s usual therapy provided no comfort. Jake’s picture beckoned her to take another look.

Thoughts of her baby snatched at her heart. She wiped a stray tear from the surface of the photo. Everything she did, she did for him—to hide him and protect him from the evil men that would destroy her by destroying him.

author

www.denisemoncrief.com

www.denisemoncrief.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/DeniseMoncriefAuthor

https://twitter.com/dmoncrief0131

http://www.amazon.com/Denise-Moncrief/e/B007Y6Z1CU

Where to Buy:

Still Moments Publishing eBook Store
Smashwords
CreateSpace for POD Print
Amazon kindle

The Editor and the Author-and What Your Beta Readers Didn’t Say

So you’ve had a story accepted for publication now what? The editing process could seem a little scary or exciting depending on who you are and how crazy you might be.  Well I am happy to be learning from this process, so for me, I go with exciting for now.Hit the Nail Head

Your first step towards officially being published is to meet your editor! What do you expect an editor to do?  Do expect them to look at your work day one and think you are a literary genius?  Well, that would be nice, but not realistic.  Why do I think that?  Well most likely the beta readers you had missed something.  Or what if you didn’t have beta readers?  You will defiantly missed something.  Being too close to your own work you will miss some crazy detail, but having beta readers isn’t always the 100% surefire answer either.

My first official request was to rewrite a few pieces of my manuscript and I have beta readers. None of them caught something the Editor did.  When I got her initial response , the first thought in my head was “where have you been my whole life.”  Of course I really mean for the writing part of my life of course. None of my readers told me that I had a character that actually made the story emotionally unsatisfying.  Let me clarify.  In a Romance almost always, all relationships are resolved in the end.  A romance by definition needs to have a happily ever after ending, but that doesn’t stop at Mr. Right.

Here is what she meant.  I had a supporting character that was crazy.  Not crazy like she had a millions cats, although I could see that happening, but she was the reason why my main character couldn’t allow herself to be with the man she dreamed of.  I had to step back for a moment and look at this supporting character. It dawned on me, I write romance and romance readers expect resolution for all parties in a positive manner – except in paranormal YA.  That’s another issue.  Anyway, in the end my main character has to move past her issues with the crazy supporting character and just ignore the problem.  Well, since the ‘crazy girl’ is supposed to be the main characters BFF it is emotionally unsettling to have this relationship left hanging.  I 100% agree.

So what do you do when looking for beta readers?

  • Find readers who know the genre you write.  If someone reads Romantic Suspense and you write Romantic Comedy the odds are you will only get half helpful feedback.
  • Find readers who know a little about the craft if possible.  Do they understand the basic parts of a book in your genre?
  • Is the reader a member of the target audience?

If you can say yes to one of the above you have a reliable source to start with. Your editor will still find holes and gaps, it’s what they are good at.  The difference is that you will start with a quality story that might have fewer issues than it might have had if you didn’t have a few outside pairs of eyes.

Be aware that Beta reading isn’t for the faint of heart and in the end you still need to trust your gut.  Also realize that family, although trustworthy, may not always be brutally honest.  The best gift a writer can get is some really harsh CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.  You aren’t perfect and therefore neither is your story.

What is your experience with beta reading or are you still working up the courage to branch out?  We’ve all been there!

Related Posts:

Rachel Gardner

 

Fun Fact Friday – Vonnie Davis and the Men in Her Life

And the winners are: Kiersi and Nona!! Congratulations.

Have you ever wondered where the men come from in stories?  I know I often wonder about the brain behind the hunk and today we have a huge treat! Vonnie Davis, a very entertaining woman, is talking about the men who have popped in and out of her life – on paper that is.  Kleenex might be necessary to keep drool off of your shirt or to wipe away tears as you laugh out loud at her experiences.  Stick around to the end of the post and comment.  Vonnie is giving away copies of her short story A Taste of Chocolate.

Get your comments in by Saturday the 9th at Midnight!!!!  You don’t want to miss out your chance to win A Taste of Chocolate.

Take it away Vonnie!

********************************

VonnieI’m thrilled to visit with you today on Michelle’s blog. Who on earth is Vonnie Davis, you’re probably asking? Well, I’m a retired technical writer and an extra-fluffy grandma who also writes sweet to steamy romances. And I’m here to tell you the men just won’t leave me alone!

My heroes come to me at night when I am in that fragile, fluttery state between wakefulness and sleep. With them, they bring their stories. Take the cowboy who strutted into our bedroom wearing nothing but a Stetson, cowboy boots and a go-to-hell sneer. My snoring husband never noticed, but I was certainly all eyes. This “sighting” became the beginning to my award winning, debut novel, Storm’s Interlude.

One night a man on a Harley roared into our bedroom. When he uncurled his frame from the bike, I somehow knew he was wearing a prosthesis to replace the leg he’d lost in Iraq. He removed his helmet, sat on the edge of our bed and introduced himself as Win. He’d met a woman, you see, and wanted their story told, and it was in Those Violet Eyes.

 Imagine my shock the night a tumbleweed blew into our bedroom followed by a huge man on horseback, a little boy settled on the saddle in front of him. His horse prancing and turning, the rider tipped his cowboy hat. “I need a mother for my son and a woman to warm my bed.” And Tumbleweed Letters was born.

I’d been tossing around the idea of writing a romantic suspense trilogy set in Paris, my favorite city. While I loosely plotted, I hoped my subconscious would once again be open to nocturnal male visits. One night when I was especially tired, our bedroom door slammed. I sat straight up in the bed. What was that? Thinking I was dreaming, I snuggled against hubs and was almost asleep when the door slammed again.

This time I saw the rascal—dark, wavy hair like a GQ model and mega doses of sex appeal. Niko told me he was second-in-command of the French counterterrorism unit and would do whatever he could to keep the women in his life safe—even me. Alrightie, then, one hero down…two to go. A couple months later, a man slowly coasted his motorcycle around and around our bed. He was dressed totally in black with alabaster angel wings flowing down his back. Jean-Luc flashed me a slow sexy-as-hell grin, and I was lost. Hero number three? Oh, he took longer to form. Until one night a man with a blond braid sat on the edge of our bed and plaid soulful notes of jazz on his saxophone, his eyes closed as he poured his soul into every note. Then Derrek opened his eyes—cobalt blue rimmed in black. “I’m here for you, Vonnie.” His voice was deep and gravelly as if he gargled with razor blades.

I’d read about an open anthology at Still Moments Publishing regarding a bit of magic and a matchmaker. Could I write something so “short” being the wordy soul I am? Declan came to me that night, holding purple roses. “They signify love at first sight,” he told me. “I’ll show you how to write my story in under twelve-thousand words.”

“Can’t be done.” I mean, it would take twelve-thousand words just to describe the magnetism of this ex-SEAL. Quite often my characters teach me valuable lessons. Declan taught me how to write short.

giveaway

I’m giving away two copies of this short story, A Taste of Chocolate, to two lucky commenters. Just tell me your favorite color of roses and leave your email address.

final_taste

BLURB: 

Hope Morningstar has the worst luck with men. One boyfriend wrote her a “Dear John” letter while serving overseas. Her latest romantic interest broke up with her in a text. When a traffic detour puts her in an unfamiliar neighborhood, she stops at Freya’s Coffee Shop where she gets more than directions. She gets another chance at finding love.

Declan Fleming, scarred by a cheating ex-wife, has given up searching for love. He’s taken the route of a few other men and engaged the services of Freya, the matchmaker. Still, he’s been waiting for a year and he’s just about given up hope. Then Freya sends him Hope.

When feelings of insecurity and trust issues come into play, can finding love stand a chance? Can the magical influence of this matchmaker create a happy ending? After all, finding that one special love often involves a bit of special magic, does it not?

“A man’s kiss should taste like chocolate, dark flavor melting, doing sensual things to you.” Freya, the Matchmaker

Excerpt

Her stomach cramped, and she couldn’t seem to take one deep, complete breath. She eyed the paper bag she kept in her purse. If she hyper-ventilated, she’d need it. Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God, I am freaking insane.

Once he came, if he came, she’d give him ten minutes, and then she was out of here. She didn’t care how good looking he was. Wait, she’d decided to go for content of character, not looks. This change in priorities would take time. Old habits were hard to break. Her gaze swept the area. With any luck he wouldn’t show.

“Don’t turn around.” A deep voice behind her sent chills up her spine. “I’m Declan, the man Freya sent. I know you’re scared, but don’t be. There’s no need.”

Why couldn’t she look at him? Was he butt-ugly? Short and fat? What? Remember, I’m not going to concentrate on his looks. I’m making wiser choices this time. I’m looking at the man on the inside, not the hunk on the outside. She exhaled a long, slow breath. “Okay.”

“Close your eyes for just a second.”

Oh, this was just too weird. Even so, she closed them. Something satiny soft rubbed over her cheek and she jerked. Roses. She smelled roses. Velvety softness caressed her chin.

“Rose petals are very soft, aren’t they?”

“Yes.” They were also very sensual when rubbed over her face. “I’m opening my eyes now.” Enough playing games. Every person in the food court had to be watching them.

“As you wish.” He held a small bouquet in front of her. “Purple roses are for love at first sight. Purple irises are the flower of hope.”

There were two purple roses and two irises snuggled in a bed of baby’s breath and tied with a pink ribbon. What a charming gesture. Don’t weaken. Be strong. Don’t let him suck you in.

“And the baby’s breath?” She’d yet to look at him, but took his sentimental offering from his calloused hand. “What does that flower mean?”

“Sincerity.” He stepped to her side, and her gaze lifted. “Hello, Hope. I’m Declan Fleming.” He extended his hand and she placed hers in his for a handshake. Something swift and searing zinged to her heart.

He had the most incredible blue eyes she’d ever seen. Not pale blue or sky blue, but cobalt.

Declan settled in the chair across from her. “Thank you for agreeing to meet me on such short notice.”

Something about his voice set her insides to trembling. She lifted the small bouquet to her nose and inhaled their heady fragrance, giving her nerves time to settle after that handshake—as if they could settle with those cobalt eyes taking her in. “Thank you for the flowers.”

“I thought if I showed a measure of gallantry, you wouldn’t be so scared of me.”

“Gallantry?” Who used that word anymore? She shook her head. “This is very kind of you, but I’m not scared.” One of his dark eyebrows arched. “Okay, yes I’m nervous. Scared spitless, actually.”

“Understandable.” He had black hair combed straight back and touching the collar of his blue shirt. A closely cropped mustache and beard lent a dangerous air to his narrow face. Oh, my.

“Freya was right. Blue does bring out the color of your eyes.” Gracious, but the man was muscular. Round, firm shoulders and large biceps. His knit shirt stretched over well-defined pecs. What would it feel like to be held against him? Oh, girl, don’t even go there.

Buy through AMAZON 

Visit me at my website

I’d love to see you at my blog: http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com

 

I just want to say I realize now at 3:34pm on THURSDAY that it is not Friday.  I will blame my pregnancy brain, but more then likely it was wishful thinking.  Enjoy a day early.

Fun Fact Friday -2013 Trends

Welcome to the new year.  What does a new year mean?  New beginnings, new resolutions, and new stories of course.  I don’t really believe in resolutions any more – that’s coming out of the mouth of someone who generally forgets I made a resolution and therefore I suppose I fail.  What I do believe in though, is escaping into stories.Prey

So what trends will continue from 2012 or start up?  Hard to say. But here are some trends that will probably continue.

  1. Established authors using 3,4, and even 5 POV’s.  Why is this?  Maybe to write the longer story?  I can’t really decide.  I am questioning whether the books would read better  if they stayed with the traditional 2 or 3 heads.  The push to continue cranking out books for less money might have something to do with branching out and trying to create filler with additional character POV.
  2. Billionaires – Thank you Fifty Shades of Grey and the numerous other billionaires seeking love in  50books.  This is most defiantly going to get worse.  Any why now.  Who wants to be poor.
  3. Apparently Bikers are up and coming due to the TV drama of Sons of Anarchy. I don’t watch this but it’s predicted that more and more romances will be set in bike shops and in the works of bikers.
  4. Thanks to bikers, apparently ink will become a new subset trend? The erotic book publisher, Ellora’s Cave, apparently has a line that caters to this already.
  5. New Adult – translation – younger main characters.  YA age with more sex or sexual energy.  What isn’t to love about this? I think this has been long and coming.
  6. Short Stories and Novella’s?  A few more independent publishers are popping up.  Even large publishers are using Novella’s to promote new and up-and-coming authors.

A few trends we can do without might be the Fifty Shades of Gray Halloween costumes come October and the naysayers who don’t like New Adult.  Some people just can’t be happy.

What trends do you see or have you read about coming up?

References and related articles:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeremygreenfield/2012/12/21/three-predictions-for-book-publishing-in-2013/

http://www.arecafe.com/cafe-news/romance-novel-trends-for-2013-and-beyond/

A Contest – a Road to Nowhere?

Merry Christmas Eve – have you entered any holiday writing contests or submitted any holiday themed stories?  I haven’t, but I got the most random e-mail from a contest I thought was over about two months ago.  Happy Christmas to me- I finished close to not last.

Contests seem like a great option.  The free ones mean you have no risk, but usually come with little  in the way of bragging rights.  The question is, what can we learn from contests and should we actually pay to enter?

I had the notion that a contest or two would give me the publication credits I needed to put on a query.  Something that might just help me catch the eye of an agent.  Some contests even attract agents for you.  These are great benefits, great opportunities, or so I told myself.  The problem is that most contests won’t tell you where you failed.  They won’t tell you why you didn’t make it past round 1, 2, or 3.  So then what?

I suppose this is where finding a writers group is beneficial.  If you failed to finish in a number of contests take a rest. Try something new.  Branch out.  If you don’t have a group with experienced writers perhaps you should look for groups online.

Contests can be great, but when you don’t know what you are doing wrong in the first place they could just be a waste of money.

I had a short story finish in the top 200-should I be bragging about this or not?  I guess I don’t think it is worth much since I still can’t tell you where I went wrong, other than the typo’s I embarrassingly missed.

Do you contest or not?

Fun Fact Friday – We are Still Here and Fun Holiday Reads

I think it is a fun fact that the world did not end on the 21st as promised . I still think that all the dooms-dayers out there need to remember – if the Mayans could predict our end why didn’t they predict their own? So celebrate that there are now officially only 2 days left till Christmas!!

I thought today would be a great day to share some holiday reads. It’s a fun fact that Christmas is celebrated around the world and is one holidays most people share in common.  Now get into the mood by reading some fun and festive stories.

On to holiday reads you may want to check out:
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For the love of Christmas
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Christmas Magic

(Others from Still Moments Publishing)

That Holiday Feeling

christmas magicfor the love of christmasHoliday Feeling