Tuesday, June 28, 2011

RWA Nationals! And...we're off!

I'm about to board the train for Penn Station. A four hour ride with WiFi and no children, no husband, no distractions. Ahhhhhh....

This is going to be quite an adventure. More than 2,000 romance writers, editors, publishers, etc. all at one convention in Times Square. Book signings, workshops, critiques, bar pitches, orgies (OK, not really. Right? RIGHT?), and all sorts of other mayhem.

Good luck to any man at the RWA trying to find a bathroom. I'd suggest the Starbucks nearby.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why No eBooks for Goodreads Giveaways?

I adore Goodreads. Love it. But unlike LibraryThing, I can't offer a giveaway until Legs is out in print (that's a fall project). Anyone know why? If it's because readers just plain old want a print book in their hands, I'm surprised -- most rabid readers don't care how they get a book. eBook, PDF, whatever. They just want the damn story!

If it's to cut down on a rush of indie publishers, that I understand, though I think there are a few babies being tossed out with the bathwater with such a policy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

1 million Kindle eBooks sold by self-publishing author

According to this Publisher's Weekly article, John Locke, author of nine mysteries on the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, is the first self-publishing author to join the 1 Million Club on Kindle.

Congratulations to him. How is he celebrating? By writing the eBook How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months. Enterprising fellow, eh? I bought the book. At $4.99, I couldn't resist. Anyone savvy enough to sell 1 million Kindle eBooks should have some decent advice for others, and even if I never follow his advice (or already *do* follow it), it's worth learning more about what fellow writers are doing to drive sales.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sample Sunday! Legs Excerpt

So it's Sample Sunday -- just go to Twitter and type #samplesunday and read to your heart's content as writers provide samples from their published and unpublished works.

Here's a taste of Legs, from Chapter 5:

Her comment about the professor who received the grant for Japan was a gut punch. He knew that Jill viewed anyone who didn't earn his way through the maze of professional academia as a lightweight. “It's not what you know, it's who you know” infuriated her, and so he'd kept his mouth shut for months, applying for his grants to do overseas research without telling anyone that he had a secret weapon.

He couldn't tell her that his ex, Claudia, worked for a corporation that held critical archives for his research. A few emails and a phone call or two and he'd been able to get her help to do pre-dissertation research, documenting exactly which records he needed. When Seth and Jill had struggled through “grant season,” tweaking statements of purpose and getting letters of recommendation at the last minute--often sprinting to the post office to send a thick application out in overnight mail to barely meet a deadline--he'd stayed silent about his connections. She would view his work as less, his intellect as wanting, if she knew he used an old girlfriend to get ahead.

But there was more. Even his advisor was in awe at Seth's uncanny ability to find the exact records at the right moments as he navigated digital archives and handled research the old-fashioned way. When Seth needed a critical set of government ministry records he had picked up the phone, called the right official and spent an hour on the phone, guiding the young clerk through a maze of card catalogs, paper files and computerized databases to secure the location of a set of mining maps that perfectly illustrated a portion of Seth's project. When his advisor questioned him he had no honest answer. The records were laid out in his head like a mindmap, and as he'd sat down to write proposals and outlines he just knew the next step, as if it were programmed into him.

Deciding to apply for the Fulbright to spend a year in Chile had been a smart career move. He'd been destined to apply for it, just as he'd been inexplicably drawn to the exceptionally tedious topic of saltpeter mining interests. Even fellow social science and humanities grad students found his research interests a snorefest; compared to studying the bat shit fertilizer industry in 1880s Peru or frozen food technology and its impact of the 1940s ice industry, though, Seth's topic was Hollywood material.

He'd also handled the good-natured teasing that came with picking such an odd topic. Saltpeter was a fertilizer and food preservative, and a very popular export that propped up the Chilean economy in the early 1900s. It was also an anti-arousal agent that killed erections in men, the subject of urban legends and myths. G.I. during WWII claimed the U.S. Army laced their food with saltpeter to reduce sexual impulses during basic training and in combat. This was a myth, but most of his professors and fellow grad students knew only the myth and he was the butt of ongoing jokes.

When he'd first met Jill and told her he was studying the sodium nitrate industry in early 20th-century Chile, she got the same glazed-eye look he saw so many times. Miles had leaned in and stage whispered, “That's a soft topic there, Seth. I can't quite get it up for such a boring project,” the other grad students had laughed.

“Am I missing something?” Jill had asked, uncomfortable with being out of the loop.

“Sodium nitrate is a fertilizer and a food preservative commonly found in hot dogs,” Seth had started to explain.

Miles had interrupted him. “It turns hot dogs into cocktail wieners,” he chortled.

“It's known as saltpeter,” Seth had sighed, and Jill bit her lower lip, trying not to laugh, now getting the joke.

“Ah,” she said slowly. “Well, it sounds like an impotent–I mean, important topic.” She'd patted him on the back while the other students howled.

Seth had leaned in and whispered, “You know there's no scientific basis for the connection between saltpeter and impotence.”

Jill had shrugged. “Never let the facts get in the way of besting Miles at a joke.”

Buy Legs for just $2.99 on Amazon or Nook. Or -- get it FREE! I'm still offering free copies to folks who email me at aromanceofthebody@gmail.com with your email address for a free Kindle copy.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm a Kindlevangelist -- Are You?

This week I introduced 7 people to the joy of the free Kindle app for iPhone/PC/Mac/Android and -- yes! -- even Ubuntu. These are folks who said they couldn't read my book, Legs, because they didn't own a Kindle.

All have gone on to read my book and to download free and paid eBooks from Amazon, all because I spread the word and taught them how to use the free apps. One person even bought a Kindle (she'd been on the fence and I tipped her over).

This got me thinking about the fear that Amazon will somehow close the doors (or create significant barriers) for self publishing. I don't think it will happen, precisely because of "Kindlevangelism." Whether you publish and sell 10 books a month, or publish and sell 10,000, every single writer who published on Kindle will, at least once, teach a person how to download the free software for Kindle, thus opening Amazon's customer base.

Amazon pays nothing for our marketing their products for them. We do it out of self interest. Even if we don't sell a single eBook, the new customer we introduce to the Kindle technology represents business development. So why would they cut off their own unpaid force of authors who do this for them?

Amazon might add a small fee (a few dollars per title, for instance) or take other measures to weed out true spam books. But the brilliance of making eBook publishing open to all is that Amazon has turned us all into Kindlevangelists, converting non-eReader users one person at a time.

I haven't become a Nookevangelist, however, because somehow that just sound dirty. What's a good word for spreading the good word about the free Nook app? Leave your ideas in the comments. Best name wins a free copy of my book ;)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Free romance eBook giveaway! Get your copy of Legs!

Legs is now live on Kindle and on sale for $2.99!

If you're reading this and want a FREE copy, email your Kindle email address (your Amazon account email under which you buy and download Kindle eBooks) to aromanceofthebody@gmail.com.

I'll gift you a free copy of Legs. All I ask in return is an honest review posted on Amazon :)

The first 25 readers who email me get a copy!

New blurb for Legs

Legs will be fully live on Kindle sometime today. Here's my new blurb (description):

A chance encounter on a mundane morning bus commute leads history scholars Jill Knowles and Seth Hines into a spontaneous, uninhibited romantic encounter that leaves both reeling -- and destined for more.

Determined to become a respected historian in her field, Jill's entire career path is thrown off by a love that seems like deja vu. Meanwhile, Seth has wanted Jill since the first day they met, nearly two years ago. When she makes the first, unexpected move he leaps -- and falls far harder than he ever planned.

But Seth has a secret that will keep them apart, and when Jill finds out she turns her razor-sharp mind against him by day, yet channels her anger into passion-filled nights. Archives in Toronto, Canada and Santiago, Chile hold the key to their reunion, but Jill and Seth may be too late when each discovers the same century-old secret that could bring them together -- or tear them apart forever.

Fans of "Dead Again," "Somewhere in Time" and Possession may enjoy the ride as as Legs covers three continents, two centuries, and one fiery journey of two souls destined to make history together.

Legs is a full-length novel of 50,000 words with two excerpts at the end: a preview of a prequel for Legs, and a section from Arms, the next book in the "A Romance of the Body" series.

What say you? Comments, praise, and rotten tomatoes all gratefully accepted.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Crunch, crunch, crunch...

Legs is now crunching through the grinder, making its way into a Kindle eBook right now. Within 24 hours or so it will be officially up and ready for purchase. Stay tuned! Pisco sours on me!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sample from Chapter 8 of Legs

So here's a nice sample from Chapter 8 of Legs:

She was so tired – tired of holding it together, tired of all work, no play, tired of second-guessing how she handled things with Seth, and just tired of carrying the weight of the Munson grant on her shoulders, the expectations it brought with the award. In a quiet voice she spilled the whole story, going back to Joe's leaving her, Seth's interest, their bus encounter, the two months they spent together, his omission, and her disappearance and move to Toronto. When she mentioned Seth's moving to Chile Toby had started to say something, then stopped and let her resume her story.

“Damn, Jill, you're hardcore!” he said when she was done, his baritone resonating in his chest, her ear pressed against his neck. He pulled back from her and she could see he was surprised and a bit befuddled, as if she'd destroyed an impression he had of her.

Toby shifted in his seat, hugged her again, and asked, “How's that? Feeling better?” She nodded and he placed a gentle kiss on her cheek. The affection startled her and she pulled back, suddenly aware of the physical change in their relationship. Faltering, she started a sentence a few times and then finally blurted out, “I can't, Toby. I can't.”

A confused look filled his eyes. “It's just, you're really wonderful, but I'm not looking for anything-”

He held his hand up in a gesture that said 'stop' and answered, “If you think I'm hitting on you, then let's just get this out of the way. I'm more your ex-fiance's type than yours, honey.” He crossed his arms and let the words sink in.

“You're gay?” she asked.

“Yes, Captain Obvious. I am. But apparently you're not, and I was getting a little Gold Star lesbian vibe off you, you know? What good is a gay man with broken gaydar?”

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rock Hard, sequel to Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning, only $.99 on Kindle!

Ah - if you LOVED Backstage Pass like I did, then you'll squeal with delight and push the 1-click button on your Amazon account lickety-split to get Rock Hard, the second book in Cunning's 4-book series on the rock band The Sinners.

It's only $.99 as part of the Amazon.com Kindle Sunshine sale. GO BUY IT NOW.