Monday, September 26, 2011

Book News Aplenty

It's been an interesting week here at Casa Ellwood. After the release of Sheer Bliss this summer, I worried that I'd have trouble getting back into the swing of writing. I'll admit, I'm not the type to immediately bounce back after finishing a project. One can compare writing and publishing to giving birth in this respect - I need time to recuperate and plan the next attack. This summer, after Bliss bowed, I unearthed a project I had shelved and, in the spirit of adhering to "No Sexy Story Left Behind," started chipping away. I had no immediate plans for the story, other than to finish it. About halfway through, I received an e-mail from Lori James of All Romance eBooks asking if I would be interested in participating in their second annual Perfect Strangers series.

Last year, ARe published 13 stories for a Valentine's Day promotion, with each romance featuring a couple who meet and instantaneously hit it off/get in on...whatever your pleasure. :-) Just my luck, my story happened to fall within their guidelines, so I finished it and offered it to ARe for their 2012 catalog.

I am therefore happy to announce that in February, 2012, my M/M short Odd will be included among the new stories in Perfect Strangers. This will be the second story I've done exclusively for ARe, the first being GPS, which was part of their 28 Days of Heart campaign. I understand, too, there will be more stories this time around, so that's great news for readers as well.

Here's a bit of blurb to get you ready for the release:

Greg Hargrove has a ticket to the hottest party in town: Drew Bradley's annual Odd Ball. Dressed for the theme as one half of a popular sitcom duo, Greg doesn't expect to meet his match and engage in a secret night of passion while the festivities rage on. When handsome Rick Wade falls on his radar, however, Greg decides to partake of more explicit party favors. Is Rick more than a one-night stand, though, or can Greg look forward to many passion-filled reruns?

If you're old school like me, you know the TV show referenced here. If not, I'll have more clues soon.

Second item: I have an October release with Phaze Books. It is actually a re-release of the Midnight Passions novella I did for the Phaze Fantasies series. If you did not pick up a copy of the now defunct Fantasies Vol. 1 this is your chance to get my MFM paranormal menage. Cover and details coming soon on that.

Lastly, I will have some more re-release news soon, but I am waiting on official word before I make the blog post. In the meantime, I'm working on another Dareville work, taking the town in a slightly different direction. More news later!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Relics of a Damned Good Bygone Time

On Monday night the family made one final trip to the Virginia Beach Borders, which formerly anchored a shopping center in the Hilltop area. You would have wept on seeing the place - it had literally become a shell supported by bare walls and empty built-in shelves. What fixtures that hadn't been carted away were pushed to the far ends - some with markdown stickers, others noted by SOLD designations. We learned before we left that the Chesapeake Library had purchased many of the tables and shelving for a new facility, so it's nice to know some of this stuff will be used in a literary setting.

The books, though...they'd been picked over in the last weekend. On this last day there were about 25 books in the entire store, all for a quarter. They'd already taken down the whimsical posters and art in the children's section, the comfy couch from the employees lounge rested in the back of the store, and piping jutted up from the ground where the cafe counter once stood. My husband had patronized the cafe daily, either to relax or grade papers. He pointed to a splotch on the ground and said, "So that's where all the pens I'd dropped behind the counter ended up."

In the one section I held most dear, nothing.

Borders was the first store to stock Truth or Dare. I'll never forget the day I walked into this store and saw my book on the shelf. I had finally made it, and romance readers could browse this section and find me alongside so many wonderful writers. I think the only thing that made me happier was walking in and not seeing the book, and finding out there had been no returns.

Well, I don't know that I'll ever be shelved in a store again. For the record, you'll find some of my books in Washington Heights in a pop-up store that is trying to become permanent, so that's a start. I can tell you, too, that the Romance sign above also has a new home - mine. I bought it as a reminder of what I had achieved, and hopefully I'll achieve something greater next time, like two titles on a shelf.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Do Free Reads Work? They Must!

I recently received the news that my BBW romance short, Daringly Delicious, made the Top 20 in August at Phaze Books. I have to tell, nobody is more surprised than I am, and it's my hope everybody who bought the story enjoys it. It is, of course, part of the Dareville series, and you will find a spreadsheet here which lets you know the order of all the Dareville books. I am rather attached to this story and the H/H couple because I am somewhat of a big girl myself, and I believe of all the Dareville stories I get more feedback on this one.

I should mention, too, that Delicious is also in audio format for your MP3 and iPod. If you prefer to listen to books, consider downloading it. Be careful while driving, though, you remember what happened on Family Guy.

Anyway, I was wondering how this story in particular ended up on the bestseller list more than a year after its release. I'd like to think, well, the story's just that damn good (hee), but then I remembered recently I had submitted a Sizzle read to All Romance eBooks for their newsletter. "Daring Delights" was actually a sequel of sorts to Daringly Delicious, and the story was sent out to ARe's e-mail subscription database - over 72,000 people!

Now, I'd like to say that I sold 72,000 copies in a month, but the short sold modestly well for a backlist title. This event has me convinced there is merit in the occasional free story, especially if it's tied to an existing series. Something to think about it you're looking for promotional opportunities.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'm Breaking Up With Myself

This is probably one of the more difficult posts I will write. It's heartbreaking for me because I am a romantic optimist - when I hear news of an engagement or wedding I get all mushy-happy inside and feel as though love has conquered all. That ending scene in Sense and Sensibility where Marianne strolls from the church on Colonel Brandon's arm? I could watch it over and again - I love that stuff. Yes, I like looking at Alan Rickman in period attire, too, but that's beside the point.

Really, it upsets me to hear of splits and divorces. I didn't like it when Ken and Emma broke up, and although public opinion doesn't sway toward Heather Mills I was initially happy that Sir Paul had found love after Linda. The ensuing years of that marriage changed my mind greatly, but I still hold out hope for the third Mrs. Macca-to-be.

Anyway, I am going somewhere with this rambling. No, I'm not divorcing my husband - check the title. I am splitting up with myself. Rather, Kat and Leigh are going their separate ways. Each has become too large to fit inside one blog, and as Kat and Leigh write on opposite ends of the fiction spectrum, it makes sense that each has a home to better promote her works.

Therefore, you will find Kat's new blog available elsewhere. Eventually, many of her things will gradually disappear from this site so that she may be able to establish a stronger presence on her own. Don't worry about them, though. Kat and Leigh remain a huge part of each other and will share custody of their love for Rush and the Beatles and books and Angry Birds. They may even visit each other's blogs on occasion, we're still hashing out the details.

In short, here you'll find the sexy goodness, there you'll find the snarky goodness. Will the twain ever meet again? Well, Liz and Richard reunited once...