new release

Misty Evans Interview + Giveaway!

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Welcome to my guest blogger today, author Misty Evans, here talking about writing and the writing life. Her book, Soul Suvivor, released June 21st.

One lucky commentor will win a copy of Soul Survivor and five others will win one handmade custom bookmark for Soul Survivor.

Misty, tell us about Soul Survivor.

Joan, thank you so much for having me on your blog today! Soul Suvivor is a dark paranormal romantic suspense published by Carina Press. Here’s the blurb:

Haunted by tragedy, FBI profiler Rife St. Cloud is driven to find the person who brutally attacked six women. Unfortunately the only survivor, Keva Moon Water, has no memory of what happened, and the evidence makes her the prime suspect.

Keva cannot die. She has waited a thousand years to be reunited with the man she loves, whose soul sleeps within Rife. Though he refuses to believe her claims of immortality, there’s no denying the passion that burns between them. Keva desperately hopes their sexual connection will be enough to awaken Rife’s memories of the love affair that started a war and bound their souls together for all eternity.

But when Keva’s own memories come trickling back, she realizes that a future with Rife depends upon confronting the mistakes of the distant past…

Soul Survivor is the first of your Lost Worlds Series. Can you tell us what inspired the series and what is in store in the sequels to Soul Survivor?

My twin sons have long been fascinated with lost civilizations, both real and mythical. Their interest sparked a similar interest in me, especially about North American civilizations such as the Anazazi and Hopewell groups. For my fictional series, I created a lost tribe of Native Americans of which my hero and heroine were members of a thousand years ago and was destroyed because of their love for each other. In the second book, Soul Protector, my archeologist hero discovers the bones of the lost tribe and releases a bunch of angry ghosts.

The story’s heroine is a shaman and ghost whisperer, so she’s against him digging them up in the first place and then must get the ghosts to cross over before they destroy her, him and many other innocent people in their quest for revenge. Even though there’s a new hero and heroine for this book, Keva and Rife from Soul Survivor will make an appearance. The third book in the series, Soul Walker, is still rattling around in my head.

Can you tell us a little about your Witches Anonymous series and what inspired it?

Witches Anonymous is one of my most loved series by fans. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s light paranormal or because the heroine’s torn between Lucifer (definite bad boy) and Adam (the original Adam who’s on Earth for a redo), but my readers love this series. Which is great for me, because I love writing it. There are three novellas published so far in the series and a fourth coming out late summer. The series was inspired by my Baptist upbringing and my God complex. I’ve always wanted to rewrite a few biblical stories, and in this series, I get to do that.

What is your writing routine?

I write for several hours in the morning M-F, and then promote, edit, do interviews, etc., in the afternoon. Weekends I try to save for family and fun and recharging my muse.

How does your family view your writing career?

Most of my immediate family supported it from the beginning. A few outliers are starting to warm up to it. There are always moments when it feels like my writing and my family life are at odds, but only because of time constraints and the fact I can completely immerse myself in writing and forget to come up for air. That’s when the kids, my husband and my friends do an intervention and return to me to the real world for awhile. I find it difficult to maintain a healthy balance!

How do you keep in touch with your readers?

Readers are absolutely the best part of being an author. I love writing stories, but if I didn’t have fans who enjoy reading them, I’d question my abilities as a storyteller. They send me emails, post nice messages on my Facebook author wall, and chat with me on Twitter. Some are even gracious enough to join my Yahoo Group and sign up for my newsletter. I try to make it as easy as I can for them to contact me and I love hearing from new fans as well as tried and true ones. Knowing I have readers makes me show up to the keyboard every day.

What authors do you like to read?

Currently, I’m on a Meg Cabot kick, so I’m reading both her adult and YA books. I love so many authors, it would take weeks to name them all. Consistently I enjoy Jodi Picoult, Edie Ramer, PJ Alderman, CE Murphy, Rachel Hawkins, Jennifer Estep, Cassandra Claire and Stacia Kane.

What are you reading now?

Fiction: Insatiable by Meg Cabot and Ghost Ship by PJ Alderman; and nonfiction: A Writer’s Journey by Christopher Volger.

What is in your TBR pile?

My TBR is always a mile long, both in physical books and ebooks on my Kindle. Galaxy Girls by Edie Ramer and On Any Given Sunday by Marilyn Brandt are up next.

Do you have a second career? If not, what did you do before you became a full-time writer?

Does motherhood count as my second career?  Before I decided to become a full-time writer, I was in the business world as a marketing manager. My last job was working in the public health field and I did everything from edit newsletters to manage a breast and cervical cancer program. During my writing career, I’ve also taught creative writing and been a substitute teacher.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Strong voice and stronger characters.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

Characters come first, plot second. I don’t have a set formula for writing per se, but since I write series that are in different genres from each other, I do follow a loose formula for each series that works for me. For the Super Agent series, I do a lot more research and plotting. For the Witches Anonymous series, I let my muse direct the story. The Lost Worlds series is a sort of in between…some plotting and some pantsing.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Coffee, thesaurus, creative imagination and an undefeatable attitude.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

I hold writers in the utmost regard, so becoming an author and being allowed to tell my stories is an honor. To have the kind of fabulous readers I do, and to know my stories lighten their day, is the best dream come true I could ask for.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I write in bed. I have a bad back, so it’s the only way for me to type.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, grow herbs, hang out with my family and friends. I also make silver jewelry, homemade cards and I love to bake. I’ve been decorating cakes since high school. All those things are great stress relievers and provide me with creative outlets different from writing.

Where can we find you online?

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Goodreads
Yahoo! Group

Thanks for being with us, Misty!
Remember to comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Misty’s Soul Survior or one of five bookmarks! (International)
*MUST* leave contact email to WIN!

>Misty Evans Interview + Giveaway!

>

Welcome to my guest blogger today, author Misty Evans, here talking about writing and the writing life. Her book, Soul Suvivor, released June 21st.

One lucky commentor will win a copy of Soul Survivor and five others will win one handmade custom bookmark for Soul Survivor.

Misty, tell us about Soul Survivor.

Joan, thank you so much for having me on your blog today! Soul Suvivor is a dark paranormal romantic suspense published by Carina Press. Here’s the blurb:

Haunted by tragedy, FBI profiler Rife St. Cloud is driven to find the person who brutally attacked six women. Unfortunately the only survivor, Keva Moon Water, has no memory of what happened, and the evidence makes her the prime suspect.

Keva cannot die. She has waited a thousand years to be reunited with the man she loves, whose soul sleeps within Rife. Though he refuses to believe her claims of immortality, there’s no denying the passion that burns between them. Keva desperately hopes their sexual connection will be enough to awaken Rife’s memories of the love affair that started a war and bound their souls together for all eternity.

But when Keva’s own memories come trickling back, she realizes that a future with Rife depends upon confronting the mistakes of the distant past…

Soul Survivor is the first of your Lost Worlds Series. Can you tell us what inspired the series and what is in store in the sequels to Soul Survivor?

My twin sons have long been fascinated with lost civilizations, both real and mythical. Their interest sparked a similar interest in me, especially about North American civilizations such as the Anazazi and Hopewell groups. For my fictional series, I created a lost tribe of Native Americans of which my hero and heroine were members of a thousand years ago and was destroyed because of their love for each other. In the second book, Soul Protector, my archeologist hero discovers the bones of the lost tribe and releases a bunch of angry ghosts.

The story’s heroine is a shaman and ghost whisperer, so she’s against him digging them up in the first place and then must get the ghosts to cross over before they destroy her, him and many other innocent people in their quest for revenge. Even though there’s a new hero and heroine for this book, Keva and Rife from Soul Survivor will make an appearance. The third book in the series, Soul Walker, is still rattling around in my head.

Can you tell us a little about your Witches Anonymous series and what inspired it?

Witches Anonymous is one of my most loved series by fans. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s light paranormal or because the heroine’s torn between Lucifer (definite bad boy) and Adam (the original Adam who’s on Earth for a redo), but my readers love this series. Which is great for me, because I love writing it. There are three novellas published so far in the series and a fourth coming out late summer. The series was inspired by my Baptist upbringing and my God complex. I’ve always wanted to rewrite a few biblical stories, and in this series, I get to do that.

What is your writing routine?

I write for several hours in the morning M-F, and then promote, edit, do interviews, etc., in the afternoon. Weekends I try to save for family and fun and recharging my muse.

How does your family view your writing career?

Most of my immediate family supported it from the beginning. A few outliers are starting to warm up to it. There are always moments when it feels like my writing and my family life are at odds, but only because of time constraints and the fact I can completely immerse myself in writing and forget to come up for air. That’s when the kids, my husband and my friends do an intervention and return to me to the real world for awhile. I find it difficult to maintain a healthy balance!

How do you keep in touch with your readers?

Readers are absolutely the best part of being an author. I love writing stories, but if I didn’t have fans who enjoy reading them, I’d question my abilities as a storyteller. They send me emails, post nice messages on my Facebook author wall, and chat with me on Twitter. Some are even gracious enough to join my Yahoo Group and sign up for my newsletter. I try to make it as easy as I can for them to contact me and I love hearing from new fans as well as tried and true ones. Knowing I have readers makes me show up to the keyboard every day.

What authors do you like to read?

Currently, I’m on a Meg Cabot kick, so I’m reading both her adult and YA books. I love so many authors, it would take weeks to name them all. Consistently I enjoy Jodi Picoult, Edie Ramer, PJ Alderman, CE Murphy, Rachel Hawkins, Jennifer Estep, Cassandra Claire and Stacia Kane.

What are you reading now?

Fiction: Insatiable by Meg Cabot and Ghost Ship by PJ Alderman; and nonfiction: A Writer’s Journey by Christopher Volger.

What is in your TBR pile?

My TBR is always a mile long, both in physical books and ebooks on my Kindle. Galaxy Girls by Edie Ramer and On Any Given Sunday by Marilyn Brandt are up next.

Do you have a second career? If not, what did you do before you became a full-time writer?

Does motherhood count as my second career?  Before I decided to become a full-time writer, I was in the business world as a marketing manager. My last job was working in the public health field and I did everything from edit newsletters to manage a breast and cervical cancer program. During my writing career, I’ve also taught creative writing and been a substitute teacher.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Strong voice and stronger characters.

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?

Characters come first, plot second. I don’t have a set formula for writing per se, but since I write series that are in different genres from each other, I do follow a loose formula for each series that works for me. For the Super Agent series, I do a lot more research and plotting. For the Witches Anonymous series, I let my muse direct the story. The Lost Worlds series is a sort of in between…some plotting and some pantsing.

What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?

Coffee, thesaurus, creative imagination and an undefeatable attitude.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

I hold writers in the utmost regard, so becoming an author and being allowed to tell my stories is an honor. To have the kind of fabulous readers I do, and to know my stories lighten their day, is the best dream come true I could ask for.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I write in bed. I have a bad back, so it’s the only way for me to type.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, grow herbs, hang out with my family and friends. I also make silver jewelry, homemade cards and I love to bake. I’ve been decorating cakes since high school. All those things are great stress relievers and provide me with creative outlets different from writing.

Where can we find you online?

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Blog
Goodreads
Yahoo! Group

Thanks for being with us, Misty!
Remember to comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Misty’s Soul Survior or one of five bookmarks! (International)
*MUST* leave contact email to WIN!

>Laurie London Talks Writing & Her Latest Release–Embraced By Blood!

>

Laurie London’s EMBRACED BY BLOOD begins with immediate tension and ends with a race to the finish and all that conflict is sparked with sexual tension between the hero, Alfonso, and the heroine, Lily, throughout.

Deep within the forests of the Pacific Northwest, two vampire coalitions battle for supremacy— Guardian enforcers who safeguard humanity, and Darkbloods, rogues who kill like their ancient ancestors.
Alfonso Serrano is a hunted man. For months he’s managed to elude the Darkbloods, vengeful foes who won’t rest until he’s dead. But he still craves one dangerous temptation: Lily DeGraff, the sexy Guardian agent he’ll risk anything to protect.
Lily is a wanted woman. Her talent for tracking Sweet—a rare blood type that’s addictive to vampires—makes her a prime target for enemy capture. Her only hope is the stealthy vampire operative who stole into her bed…then left her in despair. Danger aside, Lily won’t let Alfonso near her heart again—until an irresistible hunger threatens to draw them back together… and into an assassin’s snare.

Several elements give EMBRACED BY BLOOD a freshness that often snags the interest agents and editors. While this is a vampire novel, Laure gives her hero and heroine unique twists. Alfonso and Lily are not just vampires, but Guardians to humans, protecting them against another type of vampire called Darkbloods. DBs don’t just feed on humans for sustenance and leave them alive; DBs hunt humans, drain them of blood and life, and sell that blood on the black market. And the DBs are particularly interested in one rare human blood: Sweet, a type which all vampires crave, but one which is addictive.

I immediately saw the multi-layered distinctiveness of this characterization: 1) Vampires protecting humans. 2) Vampires protecting humans against other vampires. 3) A Civil war of sorts, vampire against vampire, a fight which is based more on principle than on the human element. 4) Alfonso and Lily aren’t just trying to hide from human detection, but also hiding from Darkblood detection.

I was immediately intrigued by the premise of a vampire blood which is addictive. It struck me like methamphetamine for humans. A very fresh concept.

Q: Laurie, you’ve designed intricate conflict into your plot with the complication of vampire against vampire. Do you plot your conflict or does it grow naturally as you write?

A: A little of both, actually. The over-arching conflict is planned out ahead of time and I usually know the villain’s immediate goals, but some of the finer nuances of the inner conflict between the hero and heroine come as I’m writing the first draft. I expand on it when I go back and revise.

Q: The idea of Sweet, a type of human blood that is addictive to vampires reminds me of how prevalent and addictive methamphetamine is in our present society and what length people will go to the get it. Where did that idea come from?

A: As I wrote the first scene of the first book, Bonded by Blood, I was trying to figure out why Dom, the hero, would attack Mackenzie. He was one of the good guys and I knew he didn’t want to, that it was against his beliefs, but he was overwhelmed by his baser instincts. As I dug deeper, I knew it had something to do with her blood. This formed the basis for the whole series, where Darkbloods, the bad guys, sell this addictive blood on the vampire black market.

Q: The sexual tension between Lily and Alfonso is strong and immediate. The conflict their relationship history and their attraction add to the story is palpable. I’m a sucker for reunion stories, but they are fraught with emotion and difficult to manage within a complicated plot, and you do it seamlessly. Do you find this added element more challenging to write or does it flow with your plot as the other conflicts do?

A: Thank you! The chronology was very tricky for me to write. Some of the timing and framework of their relationship was set in book one and I had to work within those boundaries. I had calendars and spreadsheets of major events, when and where they took place in book one as well as in their backstories. Because I only loosely plot the stories ahead of time, when I was struck with an idea, I had to ask myself if it was even possible given what we already knew had happened.

Q: I believe paranormal writers choose nether creatures who appeal to them in some way. Why do you write about vampires?

A: Ever since my sister and I saw the old movie Fright Night eight times in a row in the theater, I was hooked on vampires. Shortly afterwards, my aunt gave me an old, beat up copy of An Interview with a Vampire. It’s that deadly mystique that haunts me. He’s that guy you should stay away from but you just can’t.

Q: Every book has something unusual in its history—the origin of an idea, a particular character who keeps trying to take over, a villain who didn’t turn out to be the villain afterall. What is most unusual or memorable about EMBRACED BY BLOOD?

A: I had planned to kill off Alfonso, the hero in Embraced, when he showed up briefly in Bonded. Thankfully, he wouldn’t let me do that.

Q: In what setting do most of your ideas and/or resolutions to problems come? For example, Elisabeth Naughton get a lot of “a-ha” moments in the shower or bath. I get mine while I’m driving. Is there a location or activity where you are most enlightened?

A: I’m with Elisabeth! There’s something about the movement and sound of water and the feel of it against my skin that gets my ideas flowing. Thank goodness we live on a well, otherwise our water bills would be really expensive!

Q: Your setting in EMBRACED BY BLOOD is very well done, a solid modern world where vampire live and roam and fight. World building is one of my greatest challenges. How do you approach your world building for paranormal romances?

A: As a reader, I’m drawn to paranormal worlds that take place in our contemporary world, that exist in secret, just beyond our knowledge. Not only do I enjoy it better as an author because many of the constructs are already in place for me (like writing a historical romance set in Regency England), but as a reader, I like to feel as if I’m a character in the book. If the story is set in a city or world that’s familiar to me, it makes it easier to suspend my disbelief and step into that character. For a brief, brief moment, I did consider making the world open, where humans knew about the existence of vampires, but this went against some of the reasons I find the sub-genre so fascinating as a reader, so I squelched that idea quickly.

Q: Zoe, Lily’s daughter, is a charming surprise in EMBRACED BY BLOOD. I personally enjoy writing and reading children in novels as long as they play a part in the story’s conflict and/or enrich main characters, which Zoe does well. How do you feel about children in romance fiction?

A: I actually don’t like reading romances with children, if you can imagine that. I just don’t find those kinds of stories all that sexy. Heartwarming? Yes. But sexy? No. If things are heating up on the page, I’m always worried where the kids are. The next room? Upstairs? Will they sneak in and spoil the moment? Maybe because that is too much like my real life, I don’t like reading about it. LOL But this was Lily’s story and she came onto the pages as a single mother. I couldn’t NOT write her story because of that. I tried to handle it in such a way that this wasn’t an issue. Zoe was never under the same roof when Lily and Alfonso got romantic, so I, the reader and the author, could relax.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I just finished page proofs for the Sweetblood story I wrote in the anthology A VAMPIRE FOR CHRISTMAS, which comes out in October. And I’m also working on Tempted By Blood, Jackson’s story, which will be out early next year.

Fantastic interview, Laurie!! Thanks so much for coming and sharing your process and
Lily and Alfonso with us!



Be sure to leave a comment or ask Laurie a question to be entered
to win:

1 copy of EMBRACED BY BLOOD
1 copy of BONDED BY BLOOD
1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
**Books US/Canada only; Bookmarks International**
**MUST leave a contact email to be eligible to win!**

A graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in Business Administration and a former tester/programmer for a Fortune 500 company, Laurie London now writes from her home near Seattle where she lives with her husband and two children.

BONDED BY BLOOD, A Sweetblood Novel comes out February 2011 from HQN. EMBRACED BY BLOOD, the second book in the series, is coming July 2011.

You can find Laurie:
Website
Facebook
Blog
Twitter

Laurie London Talks Writing & Her Latest Release–Embraced By Blood!

>

Laurie London’s EMBRACED BY BLOOD begins with immediate tension and ends with a race to the finish and all that conflict is sparked with sexual tension between the hero, Alfonso, and the heroine, Lily, throughout.

Deep within the forests of the Pacific Northwest, two vampire coalitions battle for supremacy— Guardian enforcers who safeguard humanity, and Darkbloods, rogues who kill like their ancient ancestors.
Alfonso Serrano is a hunted man. For months he’s managed to elude the Darkbloods, vengeful foes who won’t rest until he’s dead. But he still craves one dangerous temptation: Lily DeGraff, the sexy Guardian agent he’ll risk anything to protect.
Lily is a wanted woman. Her talent for tracking Sweet—a rare blood type that’s addictive to vampires—makes her a prime target for enemy capture. Her only hope is the stealthy vampire operative who stole into her bed…then left her in despair. Danger aside, Lily won’t let Alfonso near her heart again—until an irresistible hunger threatens to draw them back together… and into an assassin’s snare.

Several elements give EMBRACED BY BLOOD a freshness that often snags the interest agents and editors. While this is a vampire novel, Laure gives her hero and heroine unique twists. Alfonso and Lily are not just vampires, but Guardians to humans, protecting them against another type of vampire called Darkbloods. DBs don’t just feed on humans for sustenance and leave them alive; DBs hunt humans, drain them of blood and life, and sell that blood on the black market. And the DBs are particularly interested in one rare human blood: Sweet, a type which all vampires crave, but one which is addictive.

I immediately saw the multi-layered distinctiveness of this characterization: 1) Vampires protecting humans. 2) Vampires protecting humans against other vampires. 3) A Civil war of sorts, vampire against vampire, a fight which is based more on principle than on the human element. 4) Alfonso and Lily aren’t just trying to hide from human detection, but also hiding from Darkblood detection.

I was immediately intrigued by the premise of a vampire blood which is addictive. It struck me like methamphetamine for humans. A very fresh concept.

Q: Laurie, you’ve designed intricate conflict into your plot with the complication of vampire against vampire. Do you plot your conflict or does it grow naturally as you write?

A: A little of both, actually. The over-arching conflict is planned out ahead of time and I usually know the villain’s immediate goals, but some of the finer nuances of the inner conflict between the hero and heroine come as I’m writing the first draft. I expand on it when I go back and revise.

Q: The idea of Sweet, a type of human blood that is addictive to vampires reminds me of how prevalent and addictive methamphetamine is in our present society and what length people will go to the get it. Where did that idea come from?

A: As I wrote the first scene of the first book, Bonded by Blood, I was trying to figure out why Dom, the hero, would attack Mackenzie. He was one of the good guys and I knew he didn’t want to, that it was against his beliefs, but he was overwhelmed by his baser instincts. As I dug deeper, I knew it had something to do with her blood. This formed the basis for the whole series, where Darkbloods, the bad guys, sell this addictive blood on the vampire black market.

Q: The sexual tension between Lily and Alfonso is strong and immediate. The conflict their relationship history and their attraction add to the story is palpable. I’m a sucker for reunion stories, but they are fraught with emotion and difficult to manage within a complicated plot, and you do it seamlessly. Do you find this added element more challenging to write or does it flow with your plot as the other conflicts do?

A: Thank you! The chronology was very tricky for me to write. Some of the timing and framework of their relationship was set in book one and I had to work within those boundaries. I had calendars and spreadsheets of major events, when and where they took place in book one as well as in their backstories. Because I only loosely plot the stories ahead of time, when I was struck with an idea, I had to ask myself if it was even possible given what we already knew had happened.

Q: I believe paranormal writers choose nether creatures who appeal to them in some way. Why do you write about vampires?

A: Ever since my sister and I saw the old movie Fright Night eight times in a row in the theater, I was hooked on vampires. Shortly afterwards, my aunt gave me an old, beat up copy of An Interview with a Vampire. It’s that deadly mystique that haunts me. He’s that guy you should stay away from but you just can’t.

Q: Every book has something unusual in its history—the origin of an idea, a particular character who keeps trying to take over, a villain who didn’t turn out to be the villain afterall. What is most unusual or memorable about EMBRACED BY BLOOD?

A: I had planned to kill off Alfonso, the hero in Embraced, when he showed up briefly in Bonded. Thankfully, he wouldn’t let me do that.

Q: In what setting do most of your ideas and/or resolutions to problems come? For example, Elisabeth Naughton get a lot of “a-ha” moments in the shower or bath. I get mine while I’m driving. Is there a location or activity where you are most enlightened?

A: I’m with Elisabeth! There’s something about the movement and sound of water and the feel of it against my skin that gets my ideas flowing. Thank goodness we live on a well, otherwise our water bills would be really expensive!

Q: Your setting in EMBRACED BY BLOOD is very well done, a solid modern world where vampire live and roam and fight. World building is one of my greatest challenges. How do you approach your world building for paranormal romances?

A: As a reader, I’m drawn to paranormal worlds that take place in our contemporary world, that exist in secret, just beyond our knowledge. Not only do I enjoy it better as an author because many of the constructs are already in place for me (like writing a historical romance set in Regency England), but as a reader, I like to feel as if I’m a character in the book. If the story is set in a city or world that’s familiar to me, it makes it easier to suspend my disbelief and step into that character. For a brief, brief moment, I did consider making the world open, where humans knew about the existence of vampires, but this went against some of the reasons I find the sub-genre so fascinating as a reader, so I squelched that idea quickly.

Q: Zoe, Lily’s daughter, is a charming surprise in EMBRACED BY BLOOD. I personally enjoy writing and reading children in novels as long as they play a part in the story’s conflict and/or enrich main characters, which Zoe does well. How do you feel about children in romance fiction?

A: I actually don’t like reading romances with children, if you can imagine that. I just don’t find those kinds of stories all that sexy. Heartwarming? Yes. But sexy? No. If things are heating up on the page, I’m always worried where the kids are. The next room? Upstairs? Will they sneak in and spoil the moment? Maybe because that is too much like my real life, I don’t like reading about it. LOL But this was Lily’s story and she came onto the pages as a single mother. I couldn’t NOT write her story because of that. I tried to handle it in such a way that this wasn’t an issue. Zoe was never under the same roof when Lily and Alfonso got romantic, so I, the reader and the author, could relax.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I just finished page proofs for the Sweetblood story I wrote in the anthology A VAMPIRE FOR CHRISTMAS, which comes out in October. And I’m also working on Tempted By Blood, Jackson’s story, which will be out early next year.

Fantastic interview, Laurie!! Thanks so much for coming and sharing your process and
Lily and Alfonso with us!



Be sure to leave a comment or ask Laurie a question to be entered
to win:

1 copy of EMBRACED BY BLOOD
1 copy of BONDED BY BLOOD
1 of 5 custom handmade bookmarks
**Books US/Canada only; Bookmarks International**
**MUST leave a contact email to be eligible to win!**

A graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in Business Administration and a former tester/programmer for a Fortune 500 company, Laurie London now writes from her home near Seattle where she lives with her husband and two children.

BONDED BY BLOOD, A Sweetblood Novel comes out February 2011 from HQN. EMBRACED BY BLOOD, the second book in the series, is coming July 2011.

You can find Laurie:
Website
Facebook
Blog
Twitter

A Novel Approach To Marketing = Authenticity

>(Comment for a chance to win a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card)

Even before I sold my first novel to Alicia Condon at Kensington, even before I contracted with my agent, Paige Wheeler, I was angling for market share as an author.  As a pre-pubbed, pre-agented writer dreaming of that “someday” call, I would walk down the aisles of WalMart thinking to myself, how did they get here?  Then asking myself, how do I get here?

For years I didn’t have the answer.  I looked to everyone else for tips, tricks, advice, direction.  One writer says blog, another says don’t bother.  One author says promote out the wazoo, another says, I never promote and I’m NYT.  One agent says, your premise isn’t unique enough, another says the same premise is far too “out there”.

I did the website, the blogging, the facebook, the twitter.  I took the dozens of classes on craft and storytelling and promotion.  I read.  I wrote.  I submitted.  I queried.

About 8 years later, by the time I signed with my agent, I realized what all published authors realize at some point…most before they even sell:  there is no shortcut, no trick, no “magic beans” as Lauren Dane says.

In the last six months, as I’ve struggled to cultivate clever marketing strategies in preparation of my upcoming release, I’ve watched the industry and the changes within.  Like so many other authors, companies and entrepreneurs out there, I’ve wondered just how to gain the attention of the customers (read: readers) I hope to cultivate soon.  Ultimately, I sat back, frustrated, disheartened and dazed, doubtful there was really any way I could make a dent in the attention deficit that has become our target market.

Taking that break from what felt like an upstream swim helped me settle.  I found myself able to look at the whirlpool from a different perspective and I discovered what I was doing that was holding me back: focusing on myself.

When I decided to dip my toes back in the water, it was with a stronger sense of who I am, where I fit and how far I will allow myself to be drawn into the pull of it all.

I’m a giver at heart.  Even as a kid, I’ve always enjoyed giving presents more than getting them.  I’m absolutely positive this is some personality disorder that is documented in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but in the end, it’s just me–good or bad.  So when I waded back to the waters edge, I suppose I did it more authentically.  I utilized twitter and facebook and blogging as a way to give to others — information, advice, technique, antidotes, gifts, thanks, whatever I felt I had/have to offer.

Not only did it feel good, it felt right.  I felt as if I’d found my groove.  In this economic slump, an environment of dwindling audience and growing competition for said audience’s attention, simply giving without expectation of return on investment isn’t generally thought of as the first or best plan of action, but it fits me.

The best part is that I’ve discovered it fits a lot of other people out there, too.  I’ve had a tremendously positive response and feel like I’m finally settled where I want to be…right on the edge of all the fun where I can watch and participate without getting run over or worn out.

Today I came across an article that validated my search for marketing authenticity.  I want to share a few quote from the article, as I could not illiterate my point of view any better.  The piece was written by Michael Stelzner, co founder of Social Media Examiner and you can find the complete articleHERE — definitely worth the read.

But here are a few passages that spoke to me…intimately:

  • Have you noticed that everything is changing? Your industry advances, ideas expand, products morph and your customers move on. Similar to space travel, everything’s hurtling forward. Nothing remains still. Just when you think you have everything figured out, it all changes!
Um…yes! This is why I stopped trying when my head was spinning 90mph.

  • We’ve been treating people like fish. We’ve been taught to simply crawl into a boat, paddle out to where the customers are, grab our reel and cast out on top of customers. Then just jiggle that bait the right way and you’ll be able to force a customer into your boat.
As a customer, I recognize this tactic.  And, no, I don’t like it.  It makes me feel…ordinary, forgetable, disposable.
  • If you want to connect with customers and attract raving fans, the solution is very simple: Focus on people.

I LOVE this!!

  • You can meet the needs of people by helping them solve their problems at no cost. When you help people with their smaller problems, many will look to you for their bigger issues.
  • Great content PLUS other people MINUS marketing messages EQUALS growth!
  • When you offer great content—such as detailed how-to articles, videos—that focuses on helping other people solve their problems, you’ll experience growth. Why? Because this type of content meets the needs of people. It doesn’t focus on you, your products or your company. It is a true gift to your audience.
  • Once the marketing messages are caged, the focus of your company shifts from “What can we sell you?” to “How can we help you?” You shift from pitching products to boosting people.

Now there’s a concept — boosting OTHERS, not just YOURSELF!! Wow, how novel!

  • With the old forms of marketing, you pitch and sell. People ignore you and your business is at risk. With the new method, you give gifts, people trust you and you become indispensable.
  • The result: You no longer need to sell! Instead, you demonstrate your expertise by the content you produce, the ideas you showcase, the stories you share and the people you attract. By creating a platform for others, you can also build strategic alliances, quickly grow a large following and dominate your industry.
  • You have the chance to own the place people go to for help, eliminating your reliance on traditional marketing channels. You can become the center of your industry, niche or local market. And when that happens, you’re launched on an unstoppable trajectory that will take you places you never imagined possible.

Well, there you have it…in theory anyway.  IMO, I love the theory, it works for me, it feels good and I’m going to stick with it.

I’m a big believer in karma.  How about you?  What are your thoughts on this theory?

Comment for a chance to win a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!

>A Novel Approach To Marketing = Authenticity

>(Comment for a chance to win a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card)

Even before I sold my first novel to Alicia Condon at Kensington, even before I contracted with my agent, Paige Wheeler, I was angling for market share as an author.  As a pre-pubbed, pre-agented writer dreaming of that “someday” call, I would walk down the aisles of WalMart thinking to myself, how did they get here?  Then asking myself, how do I get here?

For years I didn’t have the answer.  I looked to everyone else for tips, tricks, advice, direction.  One writer says blog, another says don’t bother.  One author says promote out the wazoo, another says, I never promote and I’m NYT.  One agent says, your premise isn’t unique enough, another says the same premise is far too “out there”.

I did the website, the blogging, the facebook, the twitter.  I took the dozens of classes on craft and storytelling and promotion.  I read.  I wrote.  I submitted.  I queried.

About 8 years later, by the time I signed with my agent, I realized what all published authors realize at some point…most before they even sell:  there is no shortcut, no trick, no “magic beans” as Lauren Dane says.

In the last six months, as I’ve struggled to cultivate clever marketing strategies in preparation of my upcoming release, I’ve watched the industry and the changes within.  Like so many other authors, companies and entrepreneurs out there, I’ve wondered just how to gain the attention of the customers (read: readers) I hope to cultivate soon.  Ultimately, I sat back, frustrated, disheartened and dazed, doubtful there was really any way I could make a dent in the attention deficit that has become our target market.

Taking that break from what felt like an upstream swim helped me settle.  I found myself able to look at the whirlpool from a different perspective and I discovered what I was doing that was holding me back: focusing on myself.

When I decided to dip my toes back in the water, it was with a stronger sense of who I am, where I fit and how far I will allow myself to be drawn into the pull of it all.

I’m a giver at heart.  Even as a kid, I’ve always enjoyed giving presents more than getting them.  I’m absolutely positive this is some personality disorder that is documented in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but in the end, it’s just me–good or bad.  So when I waded back to the waters edge, I suppose I did it more authentically.  I utilized twitter and facebook and blogging as a way to give to others — information, advice, technique, antidotes, gifts, thanks, whatever I felt I had/have to offer.

Not only did it feel good, it felt right.  I felt as if I’d found my groove.  In this economic slump, an environment of dwindling audience and growing competition for said audience’s attention, simply giving without expectation of return on investment isn’t generally thought of as the first or best plan of action, but it fits me.

The best part is that I’ve discovered it fits a lot of other people out there, too.  I’ve had a tremendously positive response and feel like I’m finally settled where I want to be…right on the edge of all the fun where I can watch and participate without getting run over or worn out.

Today I came across an article that validated my search for marketing authenticity.  I want to share a few quote from the article, as I could not illiterate my point of view any better.  The piece was written by Michael Stelzner, co founder of Social Media Examiner and you can find the complete articleHERE — definitely worth the read.

But here are a few passages that spoke to me…intimately:

  • Have you noticed that everything is changing? Your industry advances, ideas expand, products morph and your customers move on. Similar to space travel, everything’s hurtling forward. Nothing remains still. Just when you think you have everything figured out, it all changes!
Um…yes! This is why I stopped trying when my head was spinning 90mph.

  • We’ve been treating people like fish. We’ve been taught to simply crawl into a boat, paddle out to where the customers are, grab our reel and cast out on top of customers. Then just jiggle that bait the right way and you’ll be able to force a customer into your boat.
As a customer, I recognize this tactic.  And, no, I don’t like it.  It makes me feel…ordinary, forgetable, disposable.
  • If you want to connect with customers and attract raving fans, the solution is very simple: Focus on people.

I LOVE this!!

  • You can meet the needs of people by helping them solve their problems at no cost. When you help people with their smaller problems, many will look to you for their bigger issues.
  • Great content PLUS other people MINUS marketing messages EQUALS growth!
  • When you offer great content—such as detailed how-to articles, videos—that focuses on helping other people solve their problems, you’ll experience growth. Why? Because this type of content meets the needs of people. It doesn’t focus on you, your products or your company. It is a true gift to your audience.
  • Once the marketing messages are caged, the focus of your company shifts from “What can we sell you?” to “How can we help you?” You shift from pitching products to boosting people.

Now there’s a concept — boosting OTHERS, not just YOURSELF!! Wow, how novel!

  • With the old forms of marketing, you pitch and sell. People ignore you and your business is at risk. With the new method, you give gifts, people trust you and you become indispensable.
  • The result: You no longer need to sell! Instead, you demonstrate your expertise by the content you produce, the ideas you showcase, the stories you share and the people you attract. By creating a platform for others, you can also build strategic alliances, quickly grow a large following and dominate your industry.
  • You have the chance to own the place people go to for help, eliminating your reliance on traditional marketing channels. You can become the center of your industry, niche or local market. And when that happens, you’re launched on an unstoppable trajectory that will take you places you never imagined possible.

Well, there you have it…in theory anyway.  IMO, I love the theory, it works for me, it feels good and I’m going to stick with it.

I’m a big believer in karma.  How about you?  What are your thoughts on this theory?

Comment for a chance to win a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card!

Surprise Made My Day

>So my partner in crime at work, Joanna, came in today and said she brought a book to work.

WHAT? was my first reaction. You see, Joanna is uber superstitious, plus she was on-call tonight, which is like a double-whammy. She believes that if you bring in reading material (among other things) the department will be his with a shit-load of patients and we’ll be running our butts off all night, but that if you don’t, it will be slow. Kind of like Murphy’s law…kinda…sorta.

So she pulls my CP’s latest release from her bag! *I* hadn’t even gotten a copy yet!

She wouldn’t let me take her picture with the book, so we put it on one of our ultrasound machines and took a pic.

Elisabeth says, “Theron is really getting around. Now he’s in the hospital distracting the ultrasound techs.”

MARKED at UCSF! Squeeeee!

>Surprise Made My Day

>So my partner in crime at work, Joanna, came in today and said she brought a book to work.

WHAT? was my first reaction. You see, Joanna is uber superstitious, plus she was on-call tonight, which is like a double-whammy. She believes that if you bring in reading material (among other things) the department will be his with a shit-load of patients and we’ll be running our butts off all night, but that if you don’t, it will be slow. Kind of like Murphy’s law…kinda…sorta.

So she pulls my CP’s latest release from her bag! *I* hadn’t even gotten a copy yet!

She wouldn’t let me take her picture with the book, so we put it on one of our ultrasound machines and took a pic.

Elisabeth says, “Theron is really getting around. Now he’s in the hospital distracting the ultrasound techs.”

MARKED at UCSF! Squeeeee!