Saturday, April 21, 2018

Self-Publishing on a Shoestring Budget

Big news to share today! The first online session of "Self-Publishing on a Shoestring Budget" is about to kick off in a few weeks!

This week-long class is based on my experiences in the romance fiction industry over the past 25 years. Like many of you, I have been writing for many, many years. Since 2006, I have been small-press published, with several titles. But those presses were not doing enough to advance my career. I wrote Norseman's Revenge between 2014 and 2015, and shopped it around to a slew of agents, as well as the few NY publishers that accepted un-agented submissions. While the book did gain some interest, it did not find a home. So I decided it was time to look into self-publishing.

Cost was a HUGE factor in determining how I would tackle this possibility. I poked around, did my research, took copious notes during a remote Smashwords seminar through my local RWA chapter, and asked for help from fellow writers who had already self-published successfully. Armed with this knowledge, I ran full-steam ahead, prepped the book and even created my own cover! I released Norseman's Revenge in late September 2015, and about a month later, it was the #1 Best-Selling Viking Romance at Amazon UK! (I have the screenshots to prove it! lol!)

Spurred by this success, I wrote and published Norseman's Deception, Book 2 in the Norsemen Sagas, and found both books performing very well world-wide. And I did it all for less than $100!

Since then, I have learned still more, and with all of my small-press published titles reverting back to me, I revised and re-released them, bringing my total of self-published titles to ten, and I spent less than $750 overall to do so.

In talking to several other authors over the last few years, I realized that many who decided to take the self-publishing route were spending more than they really needed to. Most everyone these days has the basic skills to do the editing, formatting and cover creation needed, and can utilize those skills with minimal costs.

Starting June 4, join me as I share all the steps involved in preparing your manuscript for self-publishing. More details to enroll can be found here:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Norseman's Deception is a Finalist!

Some very exciting news came in tonight and what a way to kick off November! Norseman's Deception, Book 2 in The Norsemen Sagas, is a finalist in the historical category of the RWA NYC's Kathryn Hayes When Sparks Fly Contest! Needless to say, I am very thrilled by this news – doubly so because I almost missed the deadline! Literally got it in at the very last second.

Finaling on its own is a very sweet reward, regardless of whether I win or not. To me, it's a sort of validation that my books ARE good, for all the doubts I have when sales are slow, or if I get a bad review that literally takes the breath out of me.  Reading is, of course, subjective, and I fully understand that my books are not everyone's cup of tea, but sometimes the folks leaving a bad review can be positively cruel. That does sting, because as most writers will agree, our books are like our babies. We bring them to life, nurture them and help them grow to their fullest potential, just like I do with my real children – though truthfully, seeing my kids happy and successful is obviously tons better than having a book received well by readers. I'm a mom first, after all.

I'm still very excited, though! :D Who wouldn't be? This is praise from my peers and colleagues, and I thank all who read and judged Norseman's Deception to be worthy of finaling. Check out the shiny finalist badge I received:

Isn't it pretty? :D I will find a nice permanent home for it here on the blog and on my website.

Here's more about Norseman's Deception, along with an excerpt and links where you can find it:

* He Saved Her from Outlaws – Who Will Save Her from Him? *

Fearing an arranged marriage, Thora Korisdotter flees her village, vowing never to return. With her two pet wolves beside her, she is confident in her safety, protected by the loyal animals. But outlaws attack, wounding one of her beloved pets. Only a mysterious stranger saves her from certain death. Now in his debt, she must repay him as he asks – with her body.

After being cast out of his clan as an outlaw, Ari Hugisson has wandered for years. The time of his banishment is nearing its end, and Ari has the proof he needs to clear his name and unmask the real murderer – his brother. His journey is delayed when he comes across a beautiful woman under attack. Compelled to save her, he also knows exactly how to claim the debt she owes, using the passion lurking under the surface of her fiery nature.

Betrayal cuts deep with the revelation Ari has lied and knows well the man Thora was to wed. But the passion he stirs is unlike anything she has ever known, even if he insists on treating her as little more than a slave.

When Ari confronts those who would see him killed, will Thora stand beside him, even at the risk of losing her family – and her heart?

** Contains explicit love scenes featuring A Kinky Twist on History! bondage, spanking and more!

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Here's that excerpt, when Thora tells Ari the reason for her flight. Enjoy!

"So you are to wed him, then?"

She nodded. "My father has made the agreement. After The Thing, he was to bring Hersir back to Grindafell for the wedding."

"You fled before they could return."

She nodded. "I won't go back. And I can't go to Tingwalla."

"An impossible dilemma." Ari leaned back against the log once more, his thoughts racing with ideas. "But I must be compensated. Don't you agree?"

Again, she nodded. "I've given your demand some thought. If I were to… offer myself to you, then afterward you can continue to Tingwalla, and I will go my way. But I will no longer be valuable as a bride. I would ask that you take a message to my father and perhaps he will stop searching for me."

Ari sucked in a breath. The wench was cunning and his admiration for her grew even more, as did his yearning. He shifted, his cock now hard and uncomfortable. He cleared his throat.

"Aren't you worried your father's honor will be ruined? You place him in a difficult position by refusing a marriage he's agreed to."

Thora shrugged. "I know. But I have no choice. My father married my mother for love, and when she died, he found another, and their love is strong. I only want the same for myself."

Ari nodded in understanding. Thora was like most other women, wanting a love match, rather than an alliance to ensure the strengthening of both families and clans. He also knew full well that she would never have that while wed to Hersir. But Ari had no intention of letting Thora leave his side. She'd likely be furious when she realized his lies, and again the idea of binding her so she couldn't flee poked at him. Hel, once she learned the truth, he'd have no choice. He held back the eager grin and thought carefully on his next words.

"Very well, Thora. I will accept your offer of payment, however, there are conditions on this agreement."

Her lips pressed together, her eyes flashing with suspicion. "What are your conditions?"

"I decide when it is time for us to part ways."

She nodded. "What else?"

"You will obey my every order. Please me and you shall be rewarded."

"And if I don't?"

He shrugged. "You'll be punished."

Only the crackling of the flames broke the abrupt silence. Even the creatures of the forest had quieted, as if all waited to hear her reply. He held her stare, daring her to refuse.

She didn't. In fact, he wasn't sure he managed to completely contain his surprise when she nodded again.

"Very well. I accept your terms." She looked away for a moment, then leveled her dark stare on him once more. "When… I assume you want…"

He chuckled. "Yes, Thora, I want you. And I will have you. Tonight."

Saturday, September 30, 2017

In the Pureblood's Arms Release Day!

It's Release Day for In the Pureblood's Arms! Available everywhere now in e-book and print!

While technically Book 4 in The Magiste Chronicles, In the Pureblood's Arms is an origination story of the Magiste, a magical race of people who have inhabited the Earth with mere Mortals since the beginning of man. Think Harry Potter, though these nooks are much more ... adult. ;-)

Check out the smoking hot cover by Winter Bayne, featuring Micahel Foster as Henri Marchand:

This is the first book where I've combined my two favorite genres, historical and paranormal/fantasy. It was fun playing in reality with a fantasy twist – I love losing myself in the medieval era, and mixing it up with my love of the idea of wizards, witches and general magical people allowed me to twist not only history, but reality. Technically, writing fiction is already messing around with reality, but infusing paranormal and fantasy elements into historical settings seems to blend perfectly, at least from my point of view.

Here's the thing, I usually have at least two WIPs going at any given time, sometimes even three, just because I'll throw down a scene that's really poking at me. It's just the way I operate – and I am currently operating with two projects that are brand new for my other series. But with In the Pureblood's Arms, I wrote it exclusively from beginning to end. I had no other projects at all while I was caught up in this tale. The entire story came together from the start, clearly and concisely, pretty much with the very first words I wrote. I can't say why, but I do wish every other book I write would do the same!

Like the other books in The Magiste Chronicles, this story has been revised and cleaned up, and some of the more subtle elements grew stronger. One of the things I like best about reworking a story I already love is that I can adjust the story where my brain raced faster than my fingers could keep up. I think every writer has something in each of their books they would like to change, and going through this book again sparked a lot, including the start of the next book in this series, which dives deeper into the creation of the new Magiste nation.

And don't miss your change to get Book 2 in the series, In the Mage's Arms, for only .99! Hurry, this sale is only for a limited time. Here are the links for both books:

In the Pureblood's Arms:

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In the Mage's Arms:

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Here's an excerpt of In the Pureblood's Arms:

Henri sat before the hearth, staring absently into the flames. Between his fingers, he swirled a glass filled with Bordeaux flambé. Even after his third glass, the bite of the spices felt good, reminding him he lived.

Again, his thoughts drifted to the woman in the next room. In his bed. The manacles on the bedposts alarmed and confused her. Yet, he'd also seen a hint of curiosity. Or had he convinced himself because he wanted to believe her amenable to his…preferences?

He had no right to think of such things, but the inborn darkness of his magic forced its way through. The image of her secured in his cuffs by her wrists and ankles seared his brain and he closed his eyes in an effort to shut out the vision. He failed, his cock stirring insistently, protesting the last months of celibacy. Idly, the debate of whether Chantal would fight or submit arose. A half smile tugged his mouth. She would fight. No one with hair that shade of fire would be meek and subservient.

But he couldn't touch her, not yet. Once word spread her family had been killed, the Tribunal would demand she be turned over to them. They'd use her lands to make political alliances, use her bloodline to enhance their magical might. They had no intentions to truly protect Chantal, only themselves, and gain whatever they could at her expense. The very idea turned his stomach.

She'd mentioned cousins, but did they still live? He needed answers before he decided how best to protect her. And he needed those answers now.

He stood and paced, developing arguments that prevented her being sold off to the highest bidder. With the knowledge of cousins, Henri could hold the Tribunal at bay for a time. Should the cousins fail to be found, another choice could save her. For the first time since he'd learned of the ritual, he understood the reason for the spell's creation. That it addressed several of his own newly-recognized selfish reasons as well was simply a happy addition.

Henri did not want to see Chantal's future decided by the Magiste nobility's court games. He could claim her for his own. Use the Possede Puissant. Besides the advantages the spell gave him over Chantal, infuriating his parents might prove an entertaining aside. Claiming her was his best chance to stop the nonsense he should marry the Fontenot daughter. He wanted no part of that shrew.

Now, unexpectedly, he found all he wanted was big green eyes that shone in the lamplight. Fiery hair that slid like silk through his fingers and lips that melted under his. He squeezed the glass of spiced wine so hard, it shattered.

"Merde!" More annoyed at his carelessness than the sting of a shard slicing into his finger, he waved his other hand over the mess. It vanished from sight, then he turned to his cut finger.

"Helavoir." His stone warmed when he cast the healing spell, and the cut opening his skin slowly melded back together until the wound completely disappeared. He clenched his fingers and summoned another glass, which instantly appeared on the table beside him. Eying the decanter, his ring heated again. The bottle rose in the air, pouring a steady stream of liquor into the glass, stopping at his chosen portion. Lifting the glass between his fingers, Henri leaned back in the chair.

A knock came from the sleeping room. He'd wondered when she would find herself incapable of sleeping, despite her exhaustion. Most likely, her power ran wild through her body, making slumber elusive. With a twitch of his fingers, the door unlocked.

Now dressed in the clean nightdress, the soot and forest dirt washed away, she was truly lovely. The earlier attraction returned with a force that nearly stole his breath. She moved hesitantly toward him. He motioned to the chair beside his.

"Would you like some Bordeaux flambé?"

She shook her head and settled herself into the chair. "Merci, Non."

"It might help you sleep."

Another quick shake of her head. "I find I don't want to sleep after all."

He leaned over, any excuse to touch her, and caught her chin in his fingers, forcing her to look at him.

"What is it?'

She blinked, tears welling. "Every time I close my eyes, I see…."

He let her go, noting the way the stone in her pendant glowed. Did she realize she channeled her magic, or were her emotions so chaotic she was unaware of her gathering power? Powerless to stop himself, he reached for her hand, pressing his thumb against her inner wrist. The craft pulsing with her blood was fairly strong, though nowhere near his strength. Despite its potency, something about her power seemed immature. Untrained. The need to remedy that situation surprised him with its sudden manifestation.

Suddenly, her eyes sparked, the scent of anger rising around her. She jerked her hand away, jolting out of the chair to take several strides across the room. A moment later, she faced him again.

"You said you came to save us."

Her quiet statement unnerved him momentarily, though he couldn't say why. Perhaps because he expected more outrage. Or maybe because the contempt in her simple statement cut deeper than any hysterical screaming. He hesitated, searching for the answer that might prevent the hellfire he sensed lurking underneath her calm demeanor.

"I did. As soon as I knew —"

"You weren't in time."

Her fury was leashed only by the remorse he read in her eyes. He knew part of her anger was directed at herself, as much as was directed at him. Understanding took root. He shook his head, his own remorse at arriving too late leaving him unwilling to respond with words.


The sharper note in her simple question added to the welling uneasiness. He couldn't blame her growing anger; after what she'd endured tonight, her emotions remained raw, searching for a target to lash into.

"I honestly cannot say. I received the message …" He paused, searching for the right words he knew didn't exist. "I departed for your home the very moment I received word … but it came too late."


The hurt and anger in her voice drew a sliver of remorse. Yet, it also roused a hint of annoyance. He'd done the best he could with the information he had at the time. While he comprehended her need to place blame for the attack, he was not at fault. His compassion didn't extend to allowing her to condemn him.

"I am sorry, Chantal. The attack was not of my doing."

Her green gaze pierced him. The desperate anger faded. She nodded. "I know. I... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to..."

The moment her words drifted off, she slumped back into the chair, another sob breaking free, despite her obvious attempt to contain it.

"I know it's not your fault. I just… who would do this?"

Again, he resisted the urge to reach out to touch her. "Evil men, more evil than any of the darkest Magiste has ever known."

She didn't respond, and the silence was broken only by the crackling flames of the hearth.

"I wish…" her words trailed off.

"Maybe it will help if you can tell me who raided your home. Was there anyone you knew, or recognized?"

She remained silent for several moments, holding his gaze with her tear-filled stare. Her lower lip trembled and he fought the urge to lean over and steal another kiss. What was he thinking? He'd been sent to save her, yet once he had her in his home, all he could think about was getting her into his bed. Would she resist if he attempted seduction? He could subdue her easily enough, he supposed, but he'd rather she wanted him. She'd not refused his kiss, in fact, had responded to him, eagerly, but he recognized her fragile sentiments. While he'd never hesitated to use anyone else's weakness to his advantage in the past, the idea of compelling this woman to his desires somehow seemed inappropriate, at least for now.