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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Love Games 
As the Reviews Come–the Good, the Hope and the Returns
By Cynnara Tregarth
Reviews can be a controversial topic on reader boards as well
as writer boards. What’s interesting is that there are many places where both overlap–a
need to thank those who give reviews and figuring out ways to share the review without
violating copyright of review site policies and the like. These days, there are
a lot of hoops to jump and honestly, authors want to give credit where credit is
due. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible, which is a shame. Yet, there are many
ways in which to thank those people who give out reviews, shout out about the reviews,
and give honest thanks to our readers–because without them–published authors are
writing to empty space.
Let’s talk first about thanking those who review us. Whether
they work for a review site, independently review us, or offer to review us–authors
always need to thank that person. It’s not an easy job reviewing a book. I know,
I used to be a reviewer. In fact, I still do reviews from time to time, but not
under my own name. There’s a balance that reviewers must take, even with authors
they love- they must tell the truth about the quality of the story, how it made
them feel, and if they recommend the book to others to read. Often times, you’ll
see reviews where it’s from “Anonymous.” Most authors skip those reviews
because many of them either love or hate the book and don’t explain why. Plus, they’re
wary of anyone who won’t sign their name or even their reviewer name to a review.
I can’t blame them, so if you want an author to respond to you–sign your review.
It’s that important. If you don’t, you can’t expect them to realize you’re taking
your job seriously.
Authors, you need to make sure you take the time once a week
to go over any reviews you receive and to thank the reviewers. It’s damn good policy,
and if you’re a newly published author, it’s the best way to get your name in the
door with established review sites. It’s also good to respond on places such as
Amazon, B&N, ARe, and the like whenever possible. Sometimes, I’ll see a review
and if there’s an email addy, I might write the person to thank them for a review.
Even if I think the review wasn’t the best I ever had, it might point out something
I can learn from it. That alone is worth thanking the reader.
How do you share the joy of great reviews? I think this is where
most authors look at each other and shrug. It’s hard sometimes to know how to effectively
use reviews and the best places to use them. When I thank the reviewers, I ask if
it’s okay to blurb pieces of it for promotion. If it’s a review from a review site,
I know I can as long as I give credit and I don’t use the whole thing. Pick two
or three of the best sentences, make sure you include the reviewer’s name, the review
site and then include it on your emails, put it on your website, and you might even
want to post it on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. Why? Because showing that you’re
getting great reviews for your book will encourage people to buy the book and it’ll
help spread by word of mouth that people like the book, not just you and other authors.
Let me say one thing about Facebook and reviews. I’ve seen bunches
of them over the past year or so. Some are fantastic because they’re not the same
old “Look at what So-n-So said about my book!” Personally, those get boring
fast and people will scroll over them without looking. But if couch the review in
such a way like ‘”Harley was one of the most exciting characters I’ve ever
fallen for in a romance!” – says So-n-So from XXY Reviews Can you believe that
she loved my character in ABC Romance? Check out how much she loved it!’ Then you
manage to both showcase the review and allow the person to go see more of the review.
In turn, you know there will be a link to buy the book. It might result in a sale
for the author or it can grow a readership for the review site as well. This is
a nice thing for both author and reviewer. So please, mix it up out there with announcing
new reviews for books. It’s important to really pump it up so the reviewer’s review
is showcased, not just the book itself. I can’t say that enough. Yes, we authors
want to sell books, but we need the reviews to help us do that. Without them, we’re
basically selling on our own and we need their help to do more.
Sometimes authors get fan mail. It’s exciting. It’s fun, and
occasionally, it can be scary. I think we have all heard the stories both good and
bad throughout the years. In fact, visions of Stephen King’s book, Misery, go through my head when I get fan
mail at times. Authors love corresponding with readers by and large. Sometimes though,
we’re not sure what to say to some of the questions we get asked. I write erotic
romance and once I was asked, “Do you practice all the positions you write
about in your books? If so can you send me detailed descriptions on how to do them,
so I can practice with my boyfriend?”
It took me a couple of days to figure out how to respond to that
email. First, I had to get over the shock, then I had to decide how to answer the
question without hurting the reader’s feelings. This is a big thing to most of us
authors. We’re readers too. We wouldn’t want the authors we enjoy to be rude or
curt when writing us back. But at the same time, there are moments when we’re very
surprised by what we’re asked behind closed emails. Authors try their hardest to
be honest, yet kind to readers who email them, but occasionally, you have to cut
off contact or tell the person not to write to them again, because they’re delving
into an area they don’t belong. It’s not often, but it does happen. It’s sad, because
it makes an author afraid to reach out to the next reader to emails them. So, let
me apologize now, in advance on behalf of all authors who’ve had this happen to
them. We don’t mean to be slow in replying and hesitant in some answers, but please
understand, sometimes there’s a fine line between our author side and the private
side our lives.
Occasionally, authors and readers email each other and from that,
a great friendship grows. Over the years, I’ve been fangirl to many authors. I’ve
been lucky to talk to them online, on the phone and in person at various conferences.
It’s something that many readers dream about. In fact, even authors have other authors
they dream about wanting to meet and become friends with over time. My list grows
exponentially over the years, I think. One of my greatest treasured meets was when
I met Mercedes Lackey in person before I was published. She is one of the biggest
reasons I write. When I met her, I burst into tears, because before me sat the one
woman who I knew made it huge in the fantasy market and made a living in it. She
was my dream made manifest. Over the years, she and I have emailed, I’ve talked
to her husband (come to find out we went to the same high school, just missing each
other by a year!), and she’s always encouraged my writing path, telling me that
I can do it, that the only thing I’m missing is believing in myself to take that
step into submitting my fantasy work to one of her publishers. (She knows me well.)
I think it’s the penultimate of what an author and reader can share together.
Reviews are a way for reader and author to meet and talk about
an author’s work. It’s a chance for an author to thank the reader for taking the
time to read them and discussing what they liked and didn’t like about the story
itself. Don’t forget that it’s also good to let people know that you’ve gotten this
review from this great reader. It shows that you care about the reader and it gives
you a chance to show others just how much readers like the story and what their
saying about it. Remember too, sometimes that contact between reader and author
can go from review thanks to a possible long term friendship. It’s happened to many
people. Just as reviews come in–they show the good, the hope in us all, and the
returns of many more to come.

Love Games

Find Me Here

Divorced, Free, and Single
Rosemary Lynch, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let’s talk
about your book, Divorced, Free, and Single.
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotica
Publisher: Self-Published
Cover artist: Rosemary Lynch
Length: 218 pages
Heat rating: Hot
Tagline: Romance, Sex and Tragedy ~ but not necessary in that
order!
Blurb: Recently divorced, and having just sold the family home,
Jane Archer moves into her new two bed flat. She is 36, and her twin boys, Jack
and Michael, aged 20 are at University. Now finally free of her abusive husband,
Sam, she embarks on a new life of being, divorced, free, and single. Jane then does
something she has never done in her entire life, she has a one-night stand with
a man she meets at the bar of her friend’s engagement party. She has the most amazing
night of her life, with a man that shakes her heart, and shows her what is it to
be loved, as opposed to just having sex. Jane’s ideas about being single and just
having fun are thrown out of the window, when her one night stand unexpectedly reappears
in her life a week later and turns her whole world upside down. He has captured
her heart, and she his, but life is not that simple for Jane and she fights against
their mutual attraction, determined not to be under the control of another man again.
Then Josh arrives to stay for the holidays, a 28-year old Australian, and a friend
of her sons. Now she has two men in her life, and a decision to make, does she want
to be free, and single and just have wild sex, or does she want her prince in shining
armour to sweep her off her feet and love her forever. WARNING ~ Contains scenes
of descriptive sex, strong language
Buy links:
What are your main characters’ names, ages, and occupations?
Jane Archer is 36 and a PA
Alexander Hartley-Stone ~ 40 is a Director and owner of his own
Publishing Company
Josh ~ 28 ~ Australian Student and her son, Michael’s best friend
from University
Sam Decland ~ 45 ~ Jane’s ex-husband
Michael Decland ~ 20 ~ Jane’s son
Jack Decland ~ 20 ~Jane’s son
Elizabeth Hartley-Stone ~ 60 ~Alex’s mother

Interview

How did you get your start in the industry?
I started writing about
three years ago after I had an amazing dream. That was how my epic fantasy ‘Kainan’
came about, and I have been having these dreams/images and writing ever since.
If you could change something about your first book, what
would it be?
I think I would probably
split it into two parts, as it is quite a big book!
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Bringing characters to
life that would not had lived without you. As I write about them, they become so
real, so intriguing, and I love it!
If you could give the younger version of yourself advice what
would it be?
To take a steady breath
and do not rush. Absorb as much help and advice as you can, and ask for it too.
Some of the facebook groups I now belong to have some great people on them, and
I have learned so much through them. In general, other authors are happy to help,
support and offer you advice.
What is your work ethic when it comes to writing?
Just to enjoy it. I do
not set a timescale, I write as it flows and I tend to have at least two stories
on the go at once, so I can break from one, if I need too.
How do you cope with stress as an author?
I do not find being an
author stressful; it is all the other stuff! Advertising and trying to get your
book out there to the public, as it is so difficult. I find a bar of dairy milk
also helps!
Do things your family or friends do ever end up in a book?
Erm, yes, but don’t tell
them! In truth, my characters Kainan and Arweyn in my fantasy trilogy, are a lot
like my husband and I, soul mates and best friends.
After a few glasses of
wine, and some giggles with my sister-in-law, I promised her I would write her an
erotic, sexy, heartwarming romance book, and so here, it is, Divorced, Free, and
Single.
What are some jobs you’ve done before (or while) you were
a writer?
My line of work is secretarial
and administration. I have taken this year off to finish my trilogy, which went
so well that I have had time to write Divorced, Free, and Single.
Which of your books would you recommend to someone who doesn’t
normally read your genre, and why?
I definitely think if
you are new to fantasy, then to check out my trilogy, The Deragan Sword Prophecy
~ it is a nice, romantic adventure fantasy that is not too deep or dark.
What kind of books do you read when taking a break from your
own writing?
Anything and everything,
I am currently reading and enjoying Jackie Weger’s Beyond Fate
What was the proudest moment of your life so far?
Seeing my children grow
into happy, responsible young adults. For myself, opening that delivery box and
seeing my first book in print ~ you cannot describe how great it feels.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Disneyland Paris ~ We try to go every two years as a family,
it was the only time when my girls were younger that we managed a holiday without
any squabbles! Everyone just loves it, but we only go at Christmas time, as we are
a real Christmas, twinkly light family.
What do you like to do when you’re bored?
Bored! I do not have time for bored! I write, read, paint, bake,
and walk the dogs ~ and somewhere in between there I have my teenage daughter and
my young son, as well as my husband. There is no time to be bored!
If your life became a movie, who would you want to play you?
Kate Beckinsale ~ She is gorgeous, and I would like to pretend
I had her figure.
Please underline which statement is more like you:
“I am a vacation spa because I am laid back and relaxed.”
“I am a ten-countries in ten-days tour vacation, because
I do things as fast as possible.”

Please complete the sentences

I love pizza with coleslaw.
I’m always ready for bed (don’t know why I said that!)
When I’m alone, I dream.
Rosemary Lynch
You’d never be able to tell, but I am completely bonkers.
If I had a halo it would be spinning
above my head
.
If I could teleport, I’d go and see my mum in Scotland.
I can never give up because I am determined.

Previous Books

Kainan ~ Deragan Sword Prophecy ~ Book One ~ Romantic Fantasy
Meladrom ~ Deragan Sword Prophecy ~ Book Two
Analise ~ Deragan Sword Prophecy ~ Book Three
Katlin ~ Romantic Fantasy
Divorced, Free, and Single ~ Contemporary Romance/Erotica ~ New
release

Books Coming Soon

Raven ~ Romantic Fantasy
As of net unnamed paranormal/horror/romance

Find Me Here

Beyond Fate 
Jackie Weger, Welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let’s talk about
your book, Beyond Fate.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Cover artist: Amanda Kelsey
Length: 232 pages
Heat rating: Sweet
Tagline: Heartwarming, emotional, funny
Blurb: 
Raised by her grandmother, Cleo has lived her life in
the shadow of her mother’s sin. When she falls in love with a fellow camper in the
tumbled-down fish camp in the Okefenokee Swamp
she struggles to cast off the shadow and comes to terms with her past–and her future.
Buy links:
What are your main characters’ names, ages, and occupations?
Fletcher Fremont Maitland, mid-thirties. Attorney.
Cleo Anderson, thirty, children’s book writer.
Big Mamma Freeman, camp owner. Ageless, but in her seventies.

Interview

Tell us about your story’s world. What is it like in this
period or place?
The Okefenokee is a fragile,
magical place full of alligators, bears, snakes, mosquitos, wild orchids, thousand
year-old Calusa Indian mounds, mangrove swamps and mystery.
The area was settled
in the 1700’s by runaway indentured servants and slaves and just plain independent,
ornery folks who wanted to live outside society and government. For two-hundred
and fifty years the swamp fed, clothed and sheltered the inhabitants–until the Forties
when the Federal government moved them out onto the edges of modern society–but
the old people held onto their habits, their myths and their language–Old English.
What inspired you to write this book?
I once found an elderly woman sitting on a bench outside a bus
station in Midland, Texas. She knew where she was from, but not where
she was going. I took her home with me until I could locate her family. She was
from the Okefenokee and entertained my kids with stories of her early life. Her
stories hung in my mind, but not her name. Ten years later I was camping on the
Suwanee River in the Okefenokee and thought: What
if?
Which character in your current book do you think readers
will like the most?
In Beyond Fate I think
readers will adore Big Momma Freeman who is based on the elderly woman I found on
that bench outside a bus station. But, there is also eleven-year-old Katie, and
between the two they almost stole the book out from under me.
Why?
Big Momma Freeman is the epitome of those early settlers. She
was born deep in the Okefenokee, speaks old English and is an independent woman.
She wouldn’t know a feminist if one climbed into her apron pocket, yet she asserted
herself, owned her own business and brooked no nonsense from anyone. Big Momma is
a writer’s dream. I never had to scratch around for dialogue or action when she
was in the scene.
Why do you write?
Same reason I breathe.
Who has helped you the most in your career as an author?
Actually, I never had
a mentor. I didn’t know one could have a career as a writer. I participated in a
small writer’s group. Most of us wrote non-fiction for trade or travel magazines.
Someone snidely challenged me to write a romance novel. So I did.
When you write, what things do you want close at hand? (Coffee,
water, chocolate… pictures of gorgeous hunks for inspiration…?)
Coffee, pots of it. If it’s late at night, chocolate wine is
nice. I don’t have pictures of hunks hanging on my walls. The men in my books are
man to the bone with lived in faces, lived-in bodies and they own a good sense of
self. They have good jobs, stamina, know about women and when they drop their drawers,
their tinker toys don’t have to take a back seat to any muscle-bound, gym-built
boy-toy.
When you’re not writing, what would we find you doing?
Reading.
If I’m stumped or need a break, I head down to a little fishing camp, Indianola—which
is all that’s left of a town after a hurricane washed the rest of the city into
the bay. Other times I might camp out on the beach in Matagorda. I love Friday night
Bingo. More than anything, I adore destination travel. My passport is always up
to date. One of my granddaughters graduated from Temple
University in Philadelphia
in May and e-mailed me with her travel plans—which included Paris
and Stockholm. Last
line was: You coming? I had just signed a five book contract with Liquid Silver.
Broke my heart to decline her invitation.
Are you a plotter, or do you prefer to make it up on the spur
of the moment?
I’m not a plotter as in creating story boards or anything like
that, but I know the gist of a story before I sit down to write. I usually know
my characters strengths and weaknesses before I start. I know the setting, a few
bits of dialogue, what annoys a character and what doesn’t.
Looking back at your first book, what do you wish you had
done differently?
I still like that story.
It’s a bit over-written—which back in the day was acceptable and now falls under
Retro. I’d clean up some dialogue tags.
What’s your writing schedule like?
It depends. If I’m in an emotional scene I may stay at my keyboard
twelve or fourteen hours. Other times I spend five or six hours at my desk.
Any advice for new authors?
I don’t. New authors
today have far more sense about the publishing industry today and how it works than
I do.
What aspect of your life do you write into your books?
Family–with quirky characters,
subtle humor. Foremost is my love of nature, water and simple living. When I think
back on it, I somehow manage to plot a way to get my characters on a pond, a lake,
a creek, a swamp, a river, an ocean, an island or a beach.
Even a ditch with tadpoles
blooming will do. I think I was water sprite in a past life.
When an idea hits you, what do you do to capture it?
Nothing at first, but
if the idea or character keeps showing up, I make a note, write down what I’ve discovered
or what the character is telling me. I don’t keep diaries, but I have notebooks
filled with tidbits of info that interested me at the time. And still do.
If you knew it would be a bestseller, what book would you
write that you might not write otherwise?
I have one book that
I think would be received nicely. I’ve done pounds of research, the characters are
well-defined, the setting is in place, the plot thickened, but the story intimidated
me. After a couple of months, I knew I had to better my craft before I told the
story.
What’s keeping you from writing that book?
Other books right this minute. I recently contracted with Liquid
Silver to bring out five novels on backlist in digital format. I’m learning indie
publishing and have just brought out another of my backlist. But the backstory is
I thought all of my research and notes were lost in Katrina. I had stored it with
a friend while I was living abroad and her house was destroyed. They showed up in
a plastic tub last November when she and I were sorting through some debris in a
storage shed which had somehow survived.
What other jobs have you held besides writing?
I was a department manager in large hotels. I worked as manager
and Food and Beverage director for hotels and restaurants.
Which of your books was the hardest to write and why?
The most difficult book for me to write is always the one I’m
currently working on. I’ve slogged through two hundred pages–know I have story–but
really won’t know the final structure or who in the cast of characters might get
cut until I finish the first draft. Usually after that, it’s smooth sailing. But
the characters in this book are eccentric, mouthy and misbehave. Each wants to be
front and center. They are driving me mad.
What are you currently reading for fun? I’m re-reading Randy Wayne White’s The Man Who Invented Florida. Naturally,
the main character lives in a stilt house in Dinkin’s Bay on the East Florida
Coast. It’s all about water.
What’s the best gift you ever received?
I really can’t name the
best, but I can tell you one that changed the direction of my life. I was packing
to return to the tiny jungle village I called home in Central
America when my daughter gave me a Kindle, which introduced me to e-books
and renewed my writing career. I unpacked.
Do you believe in luck?
I do believe in luck–good,
bad and indifferent. Good luck when I’m winning at Bingo. Bad, when I’m not.
What’s your favorite movie?
My all-time favorite movie is the African Queen. I’ve watched
it dozens of times and it never fails to thrill or chill–especially the scene in
which Charlie Allnutt is covered in
leeches. “Arhh! The beasts!”
Are you the eldest, middle, baby, or only child?
I’m the oldest and only
daughter–which played havoc with my life.
What’s the strangest job you ever had?
Oh, boy. I once was briefly
a single mother. I held down two jobs. The evening job was cleaning dressing rooms
for headliners in a night club. I was getting a dressing room prepped for
Jayne Mansfield when my boss stepped in and said, “Jayne’s not coming for ten
days. Her son was mauled by a lion. You’re going to take her place.” Jayne
was a famous pinup during the War and after–very shapely. She could sing and dance.
I could clean and change diapers and was so thin I’d have to borrow a mop handle
to show up next to a toothpick. My boss ordered costumes from New Orleans–padded front and back with lots of
shimmery threads. The pay was wonderful. So I shook my false bosoms and booty for
ten nights. The audience thought I was comedy act.

Fill in the Blanks

I’m always ready for a game of Scrabble or a trip to the beach.
When I’m alone, I read, daydream, and read some more.
You’d never be able to tell, but I’m profoundly deaf.
If I had a halo it would be hung
around my neck
.
If I could hook rugs I’d
recycle plastic bags into scatter rugs for my kitchen.
I can never sing because
I can’t carry a tune.

Find Me Here

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