Interview with Christian western romance author Patricia PacJac Carroll

Pac PIc

My author guest today is a prolific writer, who must publish an average of at least six books per year, in numerous romance series. Patricia PacJac Carroll writes historical and western Christian romance at a rate that I find amazing. The books on her Amazon Author page scroll in what seems like a never ending flow. In addition to her own series, which are many, on occasion, she’s invited to participate in series with a collection of other authors, as is the case with her most recent release. Let’s see what she has to share with us today.

Kaye: In what ways is writing a Christian western romance different from writing a western romance?

Patricia: For me, saying it is Christian means at least some of the characters have a Christian world view. Faith and hope in the Lord are evident in their lives. No preaching or sermons or a lot of verses, only faith as it relates to the story and the characters.

Kaye: Your latest book was recently released, Sandra’s Journey. Would you like to tell me a little about the story?

Patricia: Sandra is struggling, she’s walled herself in away from others. Her little brother’s death and the fact that a fiance left for Calfornia the year before and she only received one letter from him, have stolen her courage. She meets a corporal who is escorting the wagon train, and he challenges her to dream. Romance blossoms along the California trail where by trails end she will have to choose between the two men. A story of courage rediscovered and dreams coming alive.

Sandra's Journey

Kaye: Sandra’s Journey recently came out as a part of a historical western series with a wagon train theme, which includes your book and those of several other Christian western authors. Would you like to tell me about the Lockets and Lace series?

Patricia: The Locket and Lace series is made up of several different authors.  I was asked to join in 2018 and wrote Oregon Dreams for the Locket and Lace series for 2018. And then this year again for the Locket and Lace series for this year with Sandra’s Journey.

Every book has a connection to the Bavarian Jeweler in St. Joseph, Missouri. They have a locket that was made in the shop and a piece of lace. We had 9 books last year and 10 this year. They are all wonderful books

Kaye: The Lockets and Lace series books are not the only books you’ve written, by far. You have written several other series, including the Mail Order Brides and The Law Keepers series. How many books have you written? How long have you been writing?

Patricia: I have been writing seriously for thirteen years and began publishing in 2012.  I have 40 books out right now and plans for many more. I have several series ~ Mail Order Brides of Hickory Stick, Montant Brides of Solomon’s Valley, and several others.

Kaye: Tell me a little about your author’s journey, if you would?

Patricia: I began writing and attending critique groups in 2006. I loved it, but my friends would call me the book of the week person because story ideas would attack me. I love the thrill of a new story and still do. Finally, I decided I better finish a book and my first book was Liberty Belle that I published in 2012.

Kaye: Your husband is instrumental in your writing, so much so that you’ve incorporated both of your initials into your author’s name – PacJac. Would you talk about how he enables you to write?

Patricia: My husband is a wonderful prince of a man who gives me the time to do what I love. He let me retire in 2006 so I could write. And now, my writing has enabled him to retire. We are a wonderful team and are enjoying our lives.  I added the PacJac to my writing name because I found there were other Patricia Carroll’s out there in the writing world. It works well though because you put PacJac in Amazon and it will pop up my books.

Kaye: Your female characters of the contemporary strong and independent variety, or do they follow the traditional damsel in distress variety of heroine?

Patricia: I’d say they are a combination. While I want to be historically correct, readers live in the 21st century. I do like spunky women, but I also enjoy writing about a character who grows in courage and strength, too.

Kaye: What part of writing do you find to be the biggest challenge?

Patricia: The self-discipline. I am a seat-of-the-pants writer, and I tend to live my life the same way. I enjoy fun, family, and friends as well as writing so at times the need to balance comes into play.

Kaye: Where does your inspiration come from?

Patricia: The Lord. He gives me the stories. I am amazed at how He has made sure I understand that. One time I had the opportunity to put a Christmas story in an anthology and had a weekend to write it as it was due Monday at noon. Now, I had bragged that if you just give me a name and a place, I will come up with a story. Well, after my haughty attitude, my friends gave me a name and place and my imagination heard crickets. Nothing. Nada. No story. Now, that was a bit scary to me. A writer isn’t much without a story. So I figured I missed the anthology. But then at 5:30 Monday morning I woke up with a picture in my mind of a cowboy on a horse pulling a Christmas tree and knew I had a story. And I wrote it and turned it in before noon. You can find that story in my book Christmas in Texas. The Richest Christmas. So I will give the Lord all the credit for anything good that I do. Any mistakes are mine.

Kaye: Your books obviously are portrayed in a western landscape, based on historical times and events. What kinds of research do you find yourself doing for your books?

Patricia: Documentaries, books on the old west. I have always loved the west and westerns.

Kaye: Do you feel you draw pieces from your own life into your stories? How so?

Patricia: Yes, and I tell my friends anything may be used in a story. I know I often have my characters state “How hard can it be?”  That is all me.

Kaye: What is the most fun part of writing western romance for you?

Patricia: I enjoy the characters and the things they get themselves into. Plus horses, I love horses and they have always been part of the draw to westerns for me. I also love the idea of the wide open wild country.

Kaye: What is something many of your readers wouldn’t guess about you?

Patricia: For twenty years, I owned and ran a pet store. Sea Horse Pets in Arlington, Texas. As you can guess I love animals. And people. I love to write, and my heart is that readers will enjoy my stories and be strengthened and encouraged by reading them. I enjoy making readers happy.

I want to thank Patricia for joining me today to share her thoughts with us. I don’t know about all my readers, but I am astounded by the sheer volume of her works. You can learn more about Patricia at the links below. Stop in and see if you too are not awed by the books she’s produced within the span of the past seven years.

Links

Author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Patricia-PacJac-Carroll/e/B008R9JCN2/

 

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/PatriciaPacJacCarrollAuthor/

 

Website: http://www.pacjaccarroll.com/

 

Newsletter sign up http://eepurl.com/bpPmbP


Like this post? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.


On “Writing to be Read”: Romance is in the air in April

romance

Romance is one of the most popular genres around, not because everyone is reading them, but because romance readers read a lot. Romance comes in a wide variety of sub-genres: contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, fantasy romance, western romance, Christian romance, adventure romance, dark romance, and of course, erotic romance, just to name a few. Each type of romance can be very different, because they are after all different types of stories, and there are romantic elements in many types of storiest a romantic subplot has strong emphasis, such as romantic thrillers, romantic mysteries, romantic fantasies, or romantic time travel novels.

So, why is romance so popular? I think it is due in part to the fact that romance is such a vital part of life. Most people have experienced romantic relationships, and if they haven’t, they are searching for such a relationship, because we all need to give love and feel loved. But, romance readers aren’t just love starved singles whose dreams lay just beyond their reach, they also include plenty of happily married people, (mostly women, both married or single), who just like to relive those positive feeling they get from a good love story. Romance is something we all can relate to in one way or another. Romance novels offer a way for us to satisfy our inner longings viscareally or relate and relive our own experiences.

Every romance story or subplot has three things in common: two flawed main characters and a happily ever after, or at least a happily for now. In between, the characters must overcome many obstacles and conflicts. Sometimes these are external, such as others trying to keep them apart, but often they are internal, trying to convince themselves that they should be together, because they won’t admit that this is what they want, even to themselves. In the past the two characters were a boy and a girl, or a man and a woman, but in these changing times it is acceptable, perhaps even desirable, to write or read LBGT romances, where the characters may be of the same sex, or even questionable gender. Today romances may also be rated by the how much and how graphic the sex scenes are, from sweet to steamy to downright hot, and everything in between.

Romance is the genre theme for April, with interviews with “Chatting with the Pros” guest author historical romance author, Maya Rodale, and paranormal romance author Chris Barili (A.K.A. B.T. Clearwater). This month also featured reviews of an historical erotic romance, Ripper, by Amy Cecil, and a science fiction time travel romance, The Christmas Cruise, by Tammy Tate. As a special bonus, Jordan Elizabeth talked about writing her paranormal western romance, Treasure Darkly on her segment of “Writing for a Y.A. Audience“. Two reviews is hardly enough to be examples of all of the wide variety of forms and sub-genres which romance takes, so below you will find links to other past reviews of the romance genre, both good and not so good,  to allow you to explore a wider variety of romance. As you can see from the varied selection, even though each contains the basic romance elements, all romances are not alike.

For my reviews of contemporary romance novels: Destiny’s Detour, by Mari Brown; Freedom’s Mercy, by A.K. Lawrence; Leave a Mark, by Stephanie Fournet; Ice on Fire, by Amy Cecil;

For my reviews of inspirational romance: Once – Ask Me Anything, Not Love, by Mian Mohsin Zia; Wrinkles, by Mian Mohsin Zia

For my reviews of an historical romance novel: Blind Fortune, by Joanna Waugh

For my reviews of a science fiction romance novel: Ethereal Lives, by Gem Stone

For my review of a LBGT science fiction romance novel: The Hands We’re GivenThe Hands We’re Given, by O.E. Tearmann

For my reviews of YA romances: Rotham Race, by Jordan Elizabeth (dystopian, apocalyptic); Runners & Riders, by Jordan Elizabeth (steampunk); Bottled, by Carol Riggs (romance fantasy); Treasure Darkly, by Jordan Elizabeth (dark western steampunk fantasy romance)

For my reviews of paranormal romances: Love Me Tender, by Mimi Barbour; Smothered, by B.T. Clearwater; Don’t Wake Me Up, by M.E. Rhines; The Demon is in the Details, by Harris Channing

For my review of a science fantasy romance: Gyre, by Jessica Gunn

For my review of supernatural romances: Bait, by Kasi Blake; Wolves for the Holiday 1.1, by Josette Reuel

For my interview of a comedy crime romance: Bailin’, by Linton Robinson

For my review of a contemporary sports romance: A Slapshot Prequel Box Set (Slapshot Prequel Trilogy Book 4), by Heather C. Myers

For my reviews of contemporary erotic romance: Bullet, by Jade C. Jamison; Everything Undone, by Westeria Wilde; Tangled Web, by Jade C. Jamison

For my review of romantic comedies: Behind Frenemy Lines, by Chelle Pederson Smith; Dream Job: Wacky Adventures of an H.R. Manager, by Janet Garbor

For my review of a romantic thriller: Freedom’s Song, by A.K. Lawrence

I hope you enjoyed our exploration of romance this month, and I hope you will join me in May for a closer look at Westerns. My “Chatting with the Pros” guest will be western author Juliette Douglas, with a supporting interview with Patricia PacJac Carroll, who writes Christian western romances. My book reviews will be on Chance Damnation, by DeAnna Knippling and Not Just Any Man, by Loretta Miles Tollefson. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope you are, too.

In April, we also had a special Saturday bonus interview with Shiju Pallithazheth to celebrate the release of his new book of magical realism stories, Katashi Tales. We also talk about the work he is doing to aknowledge contributors to world literature. We need more stories which spread love and acceptance of one another. I hope you’ll drop by to catch that one, too.

Remember, tomorrow is the deadline for the WordCrafter paranormal story entries. So, submit your paranormal short now, before it’s too late. I’ve already received some good ones, but there’s room for more. Winner gets a spot in the WordCrafter paranormal anthology and a $25 Amazon gift card. Other qualifying entries may get invitations to the anthology, as well. It’s only $5 to enter, so you really can’t go wrong. Full submission details here.) Send me your story while there’s still time. Hurry!


Like this post? Let me know in the comments. You can be sure not to miss any of Writing to be Read’s great content by subscribe to e-mail or following on WordPress.


Chatting with the Pros: Interview with romance author Maya Rodale

chatting with the pros

Today on “Chatting with the Pros” my guest author is a historical romance novelist, Maya Rodale. She writes strong female characters who stand up for themselves and still manage to maintain their feminity. Her books have appeared on the USA Today bestselling list and have been published in several languages. Her novel, The Wicked Wallflower won the RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for best historical hero, and What a Wallflower Wants was labeled as a romance novel for the #MeToo movement. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to chat with her today and learn her thoughts on romance, female authors and women’s place in the world.

Maya Rodale Framed

Kaye: Your stories favor strong heroines for your main characters. Do you think romance is usually a female domain?
Maya: Romance has been traditionally a female domain, though 18% of readers today are men! I would love to see more men openly reading romance, but I also hope it never loses it’s focus on the female experience and the empowerment it brings to so many women in publishing. 
Kaye: Perusing your website and checking out your book covers, one gets the impression that your romances are a bit risqué. How steamy can you get before you cross over into the land of erotica? Do your books cross that line?
Maya: Romance Writers of America provides the best succinct definition of erotica: “Romance novels in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline.”
So it’s not a matter of how much sex is portrayed but how the sex engages with the plot. My historicals definitely have some steamy sexy times on the page, but I wouldn’t classify them as true erotica.
The Tatooed Duke
Kaye:  How do you decide the titles for your books? Where does the title come in the process for you?
Maya: A title needs agreement from both the publishing team and myself; sometimes the title I pitch is the one we go with. Sometimes the story is nearly done and we’re frantically brainstorming at the last minute to find something that works.
Fun behind the scenes story: I wrote The Tattooed Duke thinking the title would be Brave New Lord which I LOVE but my pub team thought The Tattooed Duke had better sales potential, so that’s the one we went with.
Kaye: Your books feature strong female heroines, who stand up for themselves and what they believe against the men around them and societal beliefs. Why do you think your readers relate to them?
Maya: I think this is the experience for most women: we are constantly having to stand up and assert our humanity. I like to think that my heroines help real women have the courage and confidence to do this. And for those readers who don’t feel it’s necessary, I hope they see that it is.

Kaye: What are some tips for writing strong female characters in a time period when there weren’t many to be found, and making them believable?

Maya: The more I dig deeper in my research of history the more I believe that this is a myth. Women have always gotten out of the house and done great, wonderful, terrible things; but it hasn’t been recorded, or their stories haven’t been told, or (male) historians deemed it unimportant. Women have never been boring, silent bystanders to the world. 

I think we’ve been (maybe deliberately) shut out of history books and as a result we don’t know the long and full history of women being active participants in the world. Start with a look at the New York Times Overlooked Obituaries, for example. 

The problem isn’t that strong historical female characters aren’t accurate, the problem is that we have been made to believe they are. And in the name of “historical accuracy” we unwittingly perpetuate that in our novels. 

My tip for writers: find those stories, write those stories! And then explain your research in the author’s note. And my advice for readers: check your biases and preconceived notions and let yourself get swept up in the story. You may just learn something new about history too. 

Kaye: What’s the biggest challenge in writing romance for you?
Maya: Protecting my time! It’s my day job and still there are so many demands on my time and energy that make it hard to focus on my books.
Dangerous Books for GirlsKaye: You wrote a nonfiction book titled Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained. Can you explain briefly why romance has a bad rep and it is justified?
Maya: Romance novels have a bad reputation because they’re so powerful—they are the only art that consistently portray women triumphing in a world that doesn’t want women to triumph. Mocking them as “trashy books” or just “mommy porn” or “unrealistic” is a way to diminish their power. If we valued women and women’s work more, we’d value romance novels more!
Kaye: How many different countries and languages are your books sold in?
Maya: Many! A list of covers for foreign editions is on my website at www.mayarodale.com/books
Kaye: What’s the most fun about writing romance?
Maya: I do love being the all powerful Goddess of fictional worlds. And not having to get dressed up for work 😉
Kaye: What do you think is the single most important element in a romance story?
Maya: The development of the romantic relationship! And the happy ever after, of course.
Kaye: Where does inspiration for your stories come from?
Maya: Story inspiration is everywhere if you open your heart and mind to it! Right now I’m finding the New York Times “overlooked obituaries” of historical women to be a gold mine of story ideas for historical romance. I just need more time to write them…
Some Like It ScandalousKaye: You have a new book in your Gilded Age series coming out in June, Some Like it Scandalous. Would you like to tell us about it?
Maya: Longtime enemies embark on a sham engagement and end up falling in love! The only way for society darling Theo Prescott to survive his most recent, unspeakably outrageous scandal is marry someone respectable. Someone sensible. Someone like Daisy Swan. But she has plans that do not include a loveless marriage to anyone. Instead, she aspires to sell cosmetics that she has created. But this brainy scientist needs a smooth talking charmer’s flair for words and eye for beauty to make it a success. Before long, Daisy and Theo are trading kisses. And secrets. And discovering that despite appearances, they might be the perfect couple after all.
Read more at www.mayarodale.com/scandalous
Kaye: As a romance writer, what kind of research do you find yourself doing for your stories?
Maya: I do A LOT of research. Everything from reading biographies, non-fiction, histories, other novels to trips to the library or visits to museums. Or just googling. There’s general research to do about the time period—for example, I had to learn all about the Gilded Age (1860-1900) in Manhattan for my new seriesThe Gilded Age Girls Club.And then there’s research necessary for each particular book. For the next book in the series, Some Like It Scandalous I had to do a deep dive into the invention and popularization of cosmetics, since the heroine launches a cosmetics company with the hero.
Kaye: What advice do you have for aspiring romance authors?
Maya: My best advice I think comes from Nora Roberts: “Ass in the chair. Words on the page.” Also, my friend once told me “If you’re not getting a rejection once a week you’re not trying hard enough.” Brutal, but effective. 


I want to thank Maya for joining me today and sharing her views with my readers. I think some may walk away with a different perspective on the romance genre. You can learn more about Maya on her very creative website: http://www.mayarodale.com/ and on her Amazon Author page, her Goodreads Author page, or on her Fantastic Fiction Author page.


Like this post? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.


“Ripper”: Not your typical historical romance

Ripper

Romance author Amy Cecil writes both contemporary and historical romance, but her latest release, Ripper, is like no historical romance I’ve ever read. Set in London, during the times of the Jack the Ripper roamed the streets of White Chapel, this story explores possibilities and throws in more than a few surprising twists.

Life is looking up for Marie, with a new client turned lover, it looks as if she might be able to leave behind her life of poverty. But Jax’s behaviors cause suspicions she can’t ignore, suspicions that, if proven true, might make it impossible to follow this dream life she’s found. What’s a girl to do when she learns the man she loves might be Jack the Ripper?

A cleverly-crafted tale that will keep readers guessing until the last pages. I give Ripper five quills.

five-quills3

 

Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.


Interview with Paranormal Romance Novelist Lilly Rayman

L Rayman

I’m pleased to welcome romance author Lilly Rayman as my guest here on Writing to be Read. Lilly is an Australian author who writes both paranormal romance and historic romance, and has short stories featured in several anthologies. I recently met Lilly during a Facebook book event and I’m looking forward to reading her work. (Watch for my review of An Unexpected Mating in future reviews.) Today she’s here to share the details of her writing and give us a glimpse into her upcoming release, An Unexpected Revelation, the second book in her Unexpected Trilogy, which is scheduled for release the end of this month.

Kaye: Hi Lilly. Would you share the story of your author’s journey?

Lilly: I would write when I was a teenager, stories that were a collage of my favourite books that I had read at the time. But then after I left school, I stopped writing, although I did keep reading. After my first daughter was born, I was reading a lot, and I found Wattpad, allowing me to read freely. But after reading a lot of amateur stories that all had the same cliché storylines, I found myself with a whole new story in my mind that avoided those cliché’s. I used Wattpad to write it, and it got great feedback. I was encouraged to add my story to an online writing competition, and it won best work and most popular work. The prize money allowed me to get it edited, and then I published An Unexpected Bonding, book one of the Unexpected Trilogy. I was hooked, and storylines came flowing out of me. I’ve since published a pair of short stories that challenge the concept of HEA, called Mated Hearts, and my first Historical Romance, Red Wolf, which is a story that has been with me for 13 years or so, and I was so pleased to finally be able to write it. I also have an anthology story connected to my trilogy published, and a permafree short story companion novel to the trilogy.

Kaye: When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Lilly: I think I’ve always wanted to be an author, it just took me a while to actually get to this point in my life. I used to write a lot as a child, and then as a teenager I wrote to escape from bullies that tormented my school life. Then life after school got in the way, although I would still read. When I had my first daughter, I found myself once more wanting to sit down and write again.

Red Wolf - Mine

Kaye: Is Red Wolf the only historical romance you’ve written?

Lilly: Red Wolf is currently the only historical fiction at present that is published, but I have another historical in progress at the moment.

Kaye: What is it that appeals to you about historic fiction?

Lilly: Red Wolf, the prologue was a scene that has been in my mind since I was 19, and beside the strengthening of my use of words, tense ect, it hasn’t changed. The following story that centres around that scene has, and honestly it is a far better story than it ever would have been had I followed the original immature story idea I originally had.

As for why it appeals? I’m not that sure. It was simpler time, if not sometimes more violent or harder. But men were men, chivalry wasn’t dead and there is a romance to historical eras that has always appealed to me as reader from a young age alongside all my fantasy books.

Tas TLC Mated Hearts

Kaye: You describe your two story combo, Mated Hearts, as a paranormal romance with a western flair. How did you end up with such an unusual genre combo?

Lilly: Paranormal with western flair, means my shifters are cowboys or country folk. My Unexpected Series is set in Texas, and The Last Centaur is set in Montana. As for how I ended up with the unusual genre combo? I guess because I’m married to an Aussie stockman, which is basically a cowboy, and the life we’ve lived, in the stock camps, mustering cattle, catching bulls, attending rodeos, it gave me some experience to draw on. I just couldn’t rationalise a wolf pack running around Australia, so settled for Texas as my setting instead.
Kaye: Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?
Lilly: Reading, spending time with my family, and working on the farm, which includes feeding cattle and horses, as well as branding time.
Kaye: If you have a blog, how did that start and what is it about?
Lilly: I only have a basic blog on my website, which is to try and keep an online presence when I decided to publish as an independent author.
Kaye: Tell us about your Facebook readers group, Lilly’s Lycans.
Lilly: Lilly’s Lycans is a reader group with style. I’ve been working at building up my group since March, and slowly its building in numbers. I try to have an active schedule of fun posts and encourage other authors to participate twice a week to introduce my Lycan’s to a variety of authors. I also run a reader rewards program, which is a special surprise treat, something different, at the end of every month for the most active member of the group.
Kaye: Which author, dead or alive, would you love to have lunch with?
Lilly: Anne Maccaffery. She was the most talented wordsmith who created the world of Pern, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with every one of her Dragon’s their riders, and all the holders or journeymen.
Kaye: What’s the most fun part of writing a novel or short story? What’s the least fun part?
Lilly: The most fun is creating a story that people can fall into and float through it rather than simply read it. The least fun is when you’ve got two books scheduled to come out in the near future.

Kaye: How do you decide the titles for your books? Where does the title come in the process for you?
Lilly: Some titles come to me with the initial concept of the story. Other titles come to me as I work through the story.

Kaye: What is the working title of your next book?
Lilly: Which one? Lol. I have two dragon stories in progress, Dragon Scorned and Heartstone of Dragons. I also have an historical romance called Roping Her Duke on the Go. I’m also working on An Unexpected Hellhound, which is the final book in my trilogy, and I will be a part of a collaboration and a couple of anthologies in 2019.

AUR Death of Me

Kaye: Can you tell us a little about An Unexpected Revelation and An Unexpected Hellhound? When are they scheduled for release?
Lilly: An Unexpected Revelation is the second book of my Unexpected Trilogy and is due for release on the 30th June. An Unexpected Hellhound is the last book of the trilogy, and I am hoping to have it ready for a 2019 release.
Kaye: What is the one thing in your writing career that is the most unusual or unique thing you’ve done so far?
Lilly: Probably “Love Hurts”. It was a very short story that was published in the Love Sucks: An Anti-Valentines Day Anthology that was released in February 2018. It was a challenge to me as a romance author to actually write something so anti-romance. I am rather pleased with how well it turned out.
Kaye: What do you think is the single most important element in a story?
Lilly: Avoiding the cliché of other books in the genre.

Kaye: With that in mind, can you tell me what makes your books different?

Lilly: The main complaint I had with werewolf stories was the weak knee heroines needing to be rescued by an aggressive alpha who was fated to the complete opposite (who in reality would never work with that sort of personality, they would be beaten and downtrodden). Or the whole element of mate rejection, and the mess that ensues that is the whole basis of the story that just has a reader growling.

The alternative to the weak knee heroine is a finger raised, crass mouthed, kill them all bad ass. Or at least these were what I was reading a lot of when An Unexpected Bonding was first conceived.
An Unexpected Bonding has a pair of leading characters who are both heart broken from losing the loves of their lives. They are attracted to each other when they meet, but have to work past their own heart ache of grief to see what is in front of them. Mate bonds aren’t necessarily instantly recognised, unless the wolf is open to finding their mate, and when they are, the bond is seen and the mate wanted.
My story might be paranormal, but it is still filled with the normal issues of every day life, and dealt with in the same way. Liv is a strong character, yet she is not a bad ass, crass mouth. She also has her weaknesses and her flaws.
The history of my vampires and wolf nation is steeped into mythology in such a way that readers comment on how believable it makes it feel, that they can read (as a normal contemporary reader) and accept without question the magic and power of the supernatural and their characters.

Kaye: What do you do for cover art? DIY, or hired out, or cookie cutter prefab?
Lilly: I have the most amazing cover artist who does the most awesome cover art for me.

Livvie - Lupa2

Kaye: What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
Lilly: It wasn’t advice per say that was given personally to me, but rather a book I downloaded by Rayne Hall, The Word Loss Diet. The contents of that book have held with me from the moment I read it and applied it to my first book, An Unexpected Bonding. I try and keep those rules and the advice in the book, at the forefront of my mind whilst I write, and again while I edit. It allows me to present, what I believe is a more professional polished book, since the advice gives authors the chance to lift their work up from the amateur level of writing to a more professional feel.

Kaye: Would you like to share links to your books and website, etc… so that readers who are interested will know where to find you?

Lilly:

Website: http://lillyrayman0007.wixsite.com/lillyrayman

Goodreads Author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9866872.Lilly_Rayman

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Lilly-Rayman/e/B00X5CR5QC

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/LillyRayman0007/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lillyrayman0007

Books – Buy links and blurbs:

Red Wolf (FREE in KU / $2.99)
BUY LINK: Books2read.com/RedWolf
By royal dictate, Lady Jacqueline, tempestuous Duchess of Wolvarden and tall, dark and dashingly handsome Prince Leopold of Mercia, are to be married, whether they want to or not.
Although their first meeting is less than promising, they eventually reach an understanding, but what began as a discharge of duty for Leopold, quickly becomes his most fervent wish.
The only obstacle to Leopold’s desire seems to be Red Wolf, resident champion knight of Wolvarden. Will the only knight able to defeat Prince Leopold stand in the way of his quest to win his duchesses heart?
Meanwhile, danger stalks Wolvarden, and Leopold may find Red Wolf is not the enemy after all.

An Unexpected Bonding: Book 1 in The Unexpected Trilogy (FREE in KU / $2.99)
BUY LINK: Books2read.com/AnUnexpectedBonding
For centuries there has been hatred, bloodshed and killing between the vampire and wolf nations.
Livvie
After the death of her mother, she was now the only wolf-less member of the Romulus pack, and found it almost impossible to live with them. With the Alpha’s permission she left to travel the country. When she fell in love, she found her place in the world and settled with the man of her dreams on his cattle ranch in Texas. But after nearly a decade away from the pack, Livvie’s life is about to change. Will she embrace this change or fight it?
Darius
The vampire, son of the Egyptian Sun God Ra, is wandering. His heart is aching, and his soul is restless. Eventually he finds himself in Texas, working for a beautiful woman with a magnetic pull he does not understand. It’s only when she is taken from him, that he recognises a bond that is stronger than all others. The truth of that bond will shake him to his core.
Will the unexpected bonding between wolf and vampire be enough to overcome the centuries of hatred and bring peace and unity to all?
Will the wolf and the vampire overcome their own heartaches to accept their bonding and let romance evolve?
Best Work and Most Popular Work in the iParchment writing rally 2014.

Mated Hearts (FREE in KU / 99c)
BUY LINK: Books2read.com/MatedHearts
Mated Hearts brings together two short stories from Paranormal Romance author Lilly Rayman. The Last Centaur has Lilly’s “Western Flair”, and StarCrossed is set in Lilly’s home country of Australia and brings a paranormal twist to everyone’s favourite Shakespearian tragedy.
The Last Centaur
Tasunke likes to keep to himself on his modest property on Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Breeding horses are his life and livelihood, after all, he understands horses better than people. One day, Tas finds his quiet existence on the remote plains at the foot of the Rocky Mountains being disturbed when he stumbles across a beautiful young woman in need of help.
Paisley is on the run. An abusive boyfriend threatened to kill her. When she overhears him planning to kill someone, she knows he will make good on his threat. In an attempt to make it back to Canada before he can kill her, she finds her car tumbling off the roadside.
Just when she thinks she is about to die, she is rescued by a rugged cowboy. Can Tas keep them both safe from a murderous boyfriend?
StarCrossed
Julie Capaldi; senator’s daughter and Roman Montana; bikie bad-boy find their eyes meeting across the crowded dance floor of the Verona bar. Their love is instant, their mating forbidden.
StarCrossed is the tragic story of two young wolves destined for each other, yet having to fight their warring families for the chance to be together forever. Both stories contain mature content, which includes but is not limited to sexual scenes, swearing and violence.

An Unexpected Mating: Companion Novel to The Unexpected Trilogy (FREE EVERYWHERE)
BUY LINK: books2read.com/AnUnexpectedMating

AUM Blurb

Will the love of his children be enough to give meaning to his life?

I want to thank Lilly for joining us today and sharing her writings and her thoughts with us.

Like this post? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.


Book Marketing – What Works? (Part 5): Interview with Romance Author Amy Cecil

Amy Cecil and Books

So far in this Book Marketing – What Works? series we’ve heard about: social media marketing vs. face-to-face marketing methods form dark fantasy author, Cynthia Vespia in Part 1; digital marketing strategies from co-authors Mark Todd and Kym O’Connell Todd in Part 2; social media marketing and street teams for reviews from YA author Jordan Elizabeth in Part 3; and branding and free promotions from author Tim Baker in Part 4.

Today, I’m pleased to bring you a chat with contemporary and historical romance author Amy Cecil, who is a self-published author, who uses book blog tours and street teams to promote her work. I met Amy when I interviewed her for her book blog tour through Full Moon Bites Promotions for the release of the second book in her Knights of Silence MC series, Ice on Fire. So, without further ado, please welcome Amy Cecil.

Kaye: In addition to your Knights of Silence MC contemporary romance series, you write historical romance. Would you like to talk about those books a little?

Amy: Of course I would!  I have two historical romance novels published that are variations of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.  You know, the kind of stories that you always wonder, “what if?”  Well I did and I decided to create my own “what if” story in Jane Austen’s world.  I am currently working on a third historical romance, also a Jane Austen variation, titled On Stranger Prides.

Kaye: What made you decide self-publish?

Amy: At first, I really didn’t have a choice.  The publishing companies that I originally contacted were not interested or were not taking new authors at that time.  I didn’t know that self-publishing was an option until I did some research.  Self-publishing was the only chance I had to get my stories out there.  I have no complaints with the self-publishing world, but I do believe it requires a lot more work on the part of the author.

Kaye: How much non-writing work, (marketing & promotion, illustrations & book covers, etc…), do you do yourself for your books?

Amy: Originally, I did everything myself.  But as I got savvier, I have since hired a professional editor and cover designer both with Creative Digital Studios. And marketing, well, I never did anything in the early days.  I never realized how important it was until I decided to hire a PA.

Kaye: How much work do you contract out? Book Covers? Editing? Marketing? Etc…?

Amy: Creative Digital Studios does all my promotional materials, however I may do a teaser or two myself.  My two PA’s Alicia Freeman and Monica Diane do all my marketing and promoting.  I do a little myself when I am not trying to meet writing deadlines.

Kaye: How do you feel about the marketing tasks you have to do? Do you embrace them or loath them? Why?

Amy: That’s a trick question.  LOL… I’m just kidding.  Sometimes I am all excited about doing some marketing of my books, other times not so much.  It really all depends on my mood and what else I have to do.

Kaye: You and I met through Full Moon Bites Promotions, when they hosted your book blog tour for Ice on Fire. For that tour I did a review of your book and we did an author interview. Is that the first book blog tour you’ve done? What kind of results did you see from it? Was there a rise in sales? Do you feel it was a successful marketing venture?

Amy: It was the first blog tour I have ever done – and I assure you, I will not release another book again without one.  I really can’t say that I saw a rise in sales, but what I did see was my new release ALL OVER SOCIAL MEDIA!  And if I saw it, then I am sure millions of others saw it.  So, yes, I feel it was completely successful.

Kaye: You recently did your first book signing at Barnes & Noble. How did that go? How successful do you feel that was, as a marketing strategy?

Amy: That was freaking awesome!  For an indie author like myself to actually get into a major bookstore is huge!  I met a lot of great people that day, including the B&N staff.  On the marketing end, I believe it was very successful.  It’s definitely opened up a lot of doors for me.

Kaye: You have a street team who help you promote your work, Amy’s Amazing Street Girls. Can you talk a little about what your street team does and how you build a street team?

Amy: I can definitely talk about my street team, but a little – not so much!  My street team is amazing!!  I didn’t realize when we named it Amy’s Amazing Street Girls, that I would continually use the word “amazing” to describe them.

This team is my safe zone.  I go to my team when I need someone to bounce ideas off or to get me through a rough writing patch.  When I need something shared or a contest voted on I can always count on my team.  I host several giveaways in my team and we even have a weekly SWAG giveaway that we do.  They help me promote my books everyday.

In return, we (my PA’s and I) entertain them.  There is activity in this group every single day.  Some days are themed others are not, but we have a lot of fun with whatever we happen to be doing on that particular day. We currently have over 470 members and we add new members every day.  Just to show how much I love my street team, my latest release, Ice on Fire is dedicated to them.

Kaye: You have a P.A. who helps promote your work, too. How much of a help in your marketing is this?

Amy: No, I don’t have a PA – I have two, Alicia Freeman and Monica Diane.  These ladies are my biggest support in all aspects of writing.  They promote my stuff, they run my street team, they do Author Takeover Events – they do everything.  I would be lost with them and still don’t know how I survived as an author before them.

Kaye: Do you pay your P.A.s or your street team?

Amy: I do pay my pa’s, but not members of the street team.

Kaye: So what is involved in building a street team?

Amy: I believe that you need to constantly be recruiting new members – keep them engaged daily and offer lots of perks for them to be a member of the team.  My PA’s have worked really hard in building the team and I am just along for the ride.  LOL.

Kaye: You promote a lot on social media, including book release parties and the like. How effective do you find social media marketing to be? Do you feel they increase your sales or are the biggest benefits in gaining new followers?

Amy: I’m not really sure if social media has increased my sales, as I believe people are buying books like they used to.  Indie authors have got them self in rut by giving away free books that I believe a lot of people on social media are looking for the freebie. But on the flip side of that, social media has definitely given me exposure. To me, the exposure outweighs the sales because I am a firm believer that eventually that exposure will lead to more sales.

Kaye: What other marketing strategies have you used?

Amy: I have done Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon ads and giveaways.  I have also done advertising in Inks and Scratches magazine and have attended several signing events.

Kaye: What would you say works best to sell books, as far as marketing goes?

Amy: Me.  I know that sounds odd, but I find that I sell more books if I am physically in front of the person telling them about my book.  I have done a lot of signings this year and that face-to-face contact between me and the reader makes a huge difference.

Kaye: What advice would you give to new authors trying to get their work out there?

Amy: Don’t be afraid to spend some money.  First and foremost hire a good cover designer and editor.  It is so worth it in the end.  And definitely hire a PA!  Their rates are reasonable and their value is priceless!

Thank you so much Kaye Lynne!

No thank you Amy, for joining us on Writing to be Read, not once, but twice. And thanks for sharing some of your marketing experiences with us. If you’d like to learn more about Amy or her books, visit her Amazon Author Page, her Goodreads Author Page, or her website.

Don’t miss next week, when my guest will be hybrid author, Chris Barili in Part 6 of the Book Marketing – What Works? series. If you don’t know what a hybrid author is, you’ll have to check back in to find out.

 

Like this post? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress.