A New Era In Publishing & Lots Of Prizes, Too!

I have a fabulous author guest blogging with  me today.  She’s Joan Swan, and she writes romantic suspense for Kensington Brava.  Her debut book, Fever, has gotten great reviews and received tons of attention.  Trust me – if you like gritty romantic suspense, you will love this book.

But like many authors, Joan is also branching out into self-publishing or, as it’s often called, indie publishing.  In fact, she’ll be releasing her first indie book in May.  You can check out all the details on her website.

Joan and I have something in common.  We’re both members of Rock*It Reads, a collective of print authors who are also indie publishing.  I blogged about it a few weeks ago, and Joan is here to give you the latest update, which includes a very exciting announcement.

Over to you, my friend!

The publishing industry has turned the corner into a fast and furious new era.  The changes are undeniably exciting…and daunting.

For authors a whole new area of choices await—how your cover will look, which editor you’ll choose, what story you’ll write next and in what genre.  But there are also more worrisome concerns, like how you can make your work stand out in this overflowing market.

For readers, this new era gives you an amazing body of work to choose from that would not have been available even just a year ago.  Many talented authors, both previously unpublished and traditionally published, have a new outlet for their work—both new and backlist titles.  The low prices associated with most epublished books certainly helps out in tough economic times as well.  Add to that the portability and flexibility of ereaders and you’ve got a near-heavenly situation.

Why just near-heavenly?  Because you, the reader, have to wade through the millions of books available to narrow down your choices.  Might sound easy, but it only takes a few duds to the tune of $3-$5 to make those “off” choices add up pretty quick.  And I have to admit that’s one of my pet peeves – taking a chance on a book — spending the money, investing my time, my hope…and being let down.  For a romance reader, there is not much less disappointing than this.

This is a conundrum that the authors at Rock*It Reads also found troubling.  Rock*It Reads is a group of NY traditionally publishing authors who are also venturing out into indie epublishing.  The coop we’ve created supports a group of authors who get not only goes into a quality read—editing, design, proofreading, etc., but what it takes to stand out in an ocean of unknown titles.

So when you see the RIR, Rock*It Reads logo on a book cover, you’ll know each book has been professionally handled from cover to cover, by authors who have done this many time before in the professional realm of New York publishers.

As authors who appreciate amazing writing and long for an awesome story as much as the next reader,  we have partnered with Barnes and Noble to bring outstanding self published titles to readers’ attention through a brand new review column: Love Rocks.  At Love Rocks, Rock*It Reads authors will showcase a fabulous Indie read they’ve discovered and review the book.  We’ll be focusing on the lesser known authors and titles whose brilliance has yet to be recognized, which I personally find thrilling.  What reader doesn’t love to find a talented new author to read?

Our very first column launches today!  So, swing by Barnes and Noble Review.com, catch Love Rocks and stay to chat!  We look forward to seeing you there.

Come back here and leave a comment on your thoughts about the Love Rocks column and you could win one of the following fantastic prizes – donated by many of the RIR authors.

Love’s Portrait by Monica Burns

Skin Deep by Pamela Clare (Available May 2012)

Carnal Gift by Pamela Clare

Sweet Release by Pamela Clare

Undone by Lila DiPasqua (Available May 2012)

Hot Number by VK Sykes (aka Vanessa Kelly)

Fastball by VK Sykes (aka Vanessa Kelly)

Hardball by VK Sykes (aka Vanessa Kelly)

His Wicked Revenge by Vanessa Kelly

Claiming Her by Kris Kennedy (Available May 2012)

Stolen Fury by Elisabeth Naughton

Fever by Joan Swan (print copy)

Intimate Enemies by Joan Swan (Available May 2012)

Vanessa, here.  I have to tell you, I’m very excited about LOVE ROCKS.  So what do you think, readers?  Do you like this new world of indie publishing?  What do you think about this leap into the future?  Leave a comment for a chance to win one of these great books!

#SampleSunday: His Wicked Revenge by Vanessa Kelly

For #SampleSunday, I’d love you to read an excerpt from my Regency short story, His Wicked RevengeCaptain Anthony Barnett has roamed the seas for thirteen long years, seeking his fortune.  Now he’s finally returned to London and to the woman he could never forget…

It started with a woman and it would end with a woman.  This women.  The one Anthony Barnett had been dreaming about for thirteen years.  The same one who would now be the instrument of his revenge.

Lady Paget—Marissa, to her close friends and family—studied his somber office, taking in the dark, heavy furniture and the stacks of bound shipping ledgers.  She looked everywhere but at him.

Not that he could blame her.  His summons, directed to her brother, Lord Joslin, had been carefully worded.  But the threat had been clear, nonetheless.  Marissa was to appear in Anthony’s office at Nightingale Trading by noon today or else the entire Joslin family would suffer the consequences.

Anthony maintained his silence, knowing the victory would be sweeter when Marissa finally came to him of her own volition.  Step by reluctant step. She had already made the first one by coming to down to his warehouse on the docks.  The next would be when she worked up the nerve to look him directly in the eye.

The long case clock by the door ticked out the seconds as she inspected everything in the room worth inspecting.  But eventually, like a disobedient child dragging her feet, she slowly lifted her gaze to meet his.  Her pale eyes, the color of a summer sky over the Indies, fixed on him with reluctant attention.  A hint of shame pooled in those cool blue depths.  At the sight of it, a grim satisfaction settled in Anthony’s chest.  She could no longer ignore him, and had now stepped willingly into his carefully-laid trap.

Marissa was finally where he wanted her, or, at least she would be very soon.  And there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it.

“The light is poor in this room, but I think you are greatly changed,” she said in a flat, toneless voice.  “I hardly recognize you.”

He frowned.  What had she expected?  The last time she had seen him, he’d been nothing more than a callow youth, and a weedy one at that.  Years spent at sea had toughened him—hardened him in ways she couldn’t imagine.  But he could say the same for her.  She had changed as well, and in ways he had not expected.

She still retained the feminine power to command his complete attention, of course.  But Marissa had always chattered and sparkled like a rippling brook, full of laughter and mischief.  Now she was subdued, even colorless—a muted reflection of her youthful self.

Reluctantly, he recalled the last time he had seen her, on that night when his life had come to both a beginning and an end.  She had been full of life and beauty—so joyously in love that his heart had well nigh burst with glory of it.  The beauty remained, with her tall, slender figure and hair spun from moonlight.  But the glow that had lit up the world—well, his world, anyway—had faded.  Now her allure had an unearthly, remote quality to it.  Lovely but cold, like an Alpine lake before the spring thaw.

Anthony moved from his post by the window overlooking the docks and his small shipping empire.  He prowled across the room, coming to a halt in front of her, deliberately crowding her against a bookcase.  This close, he could smell her perfume—faint, and scented with jasmine—and the sweetness that was always Marissa.  That, at least, had not changed.  His body recognized the subtle scent, responding with a flash of heat and a quick sharpening of all his senses.  Almost unconsciously he leaned into her, wanting more.

She flinched and took a step back.  Anthony frowned.  Marissa had never cowed before anyone, not even her father when he was in one of his towering rages.

He waged a brief internal struggle to ignore the impulse—long and lamentably ingrained—to protect her.  She had forfeited such a right years ago, and his current plans called for exactly the opposite.

“Lady Paget,” he said.  “Please sit down.  I’m sure you’re as eager to begin our discussion as I am.”

She muttered something under her breath and stepped around him to the hard cherrywood chair in front of his desk.  With a spine as straight as an oak mast, she perched on the edge of the seat, looking as anxious as if she were facing a roomful of Barbary pirates.

Well, he wasn’t a pirate, but he was her first lover.  The man she had sworn to love forever but instead had betrayed—breaking all the vows they had made so many years ago.

His Wicked Revenge is available on Amazon, and at Smashwords and Barnes and Noble for only 99 cents!

We Have A Winner!

The winner of Elisabeth Naughton’s new book, Bodyguards In Bed, is Stacie DM.  Congratulations, Stacie!  I’ll be in touch for your snail mail address.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the blog.  And just so you know, I’ll be running a lot of author features over the next few months, all with great giveaways.  Sally MacKenzie, the acclaimed author of the Naked Series, will be dropping in for an interview on June 6.  And later this month I’ll be featuring Mia Marlowe and Christie Kelley, and even more authors.  Please be sure to check back on a regular basis.

And if you haven’t had a chance to check out my new digital short story, His Wicked Revenge, it’s now on sale at Amazon and Smashwords for only 99 cents!

Have a great day!

Holding Out For A Hero at RomCon

I’m guest-blogging at RomCon today, and talking about the kinds of heroes who inspire us in romance.  The hero of my latest book, My Favorite Countess, is a Regency physician – a bit of a departure from the usual arrogant aristocrat who often figures as the hero in Regency-set historical romances.  You might be interested to know that I based my hero, Dr. John Blackmore, on the lovely Hugh Jackman.

Why don’t you drop by RomCon to join our conversation?  I’ll be giving away a copy of my previous book, Sex And The Single Earl.

And I’d also like to remind you that I now have a short story available as an e-book at Amazon and Smashwords.  I originally wrote His Wicked Revenge for The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance.    You can now download HWR as a standalone story from Amazon or Smashwords for only 99 cents!

See you around the internet, folks!

His Wicked Revenge Now On Sale!

I’m thrilled to announce that my short story, His Wicked Revenge, is now available as an e-book.  It’s a passionate, sexy story about reunited lovers, one of whom is keeping a very big secret.  Here’s the blurb:

Captain Anthony Barnett spent thirteen years plotting his revenge against Marissa, Lady Paget, the woman he once loved and who claimed to love him back. When her aristocratic family almost destroyed Anthony’s life, Marissa married another man and Anthony knew he’d been played for a fool.  Now he’s a wealthy and powerful trader while the widowed Marissa stands on the brink of financial ruin.  Soon, Anthony will make sure that Marissa owes him everything.

When her father and brother drove Anthony away thirteen years ago, Marissa had no choice but to marry another man.  Now Anthony is back in London, and he’s determined to have his revenge by forcing her to be his mistress.  He doesn’t realize that Marissa never stopped loving him, or that she’s hiding a secret that could tear them apart forever.

His Wicked Revenge is available at Amazon and Smashwords for 99 cents.  I’d be thrilled if you checked it out!

I’m also guest-blogging today at one of my favorite places on the web, The Season.  We’re talking about memorable characters, and I’m also giving away a copy of My Favorite Countess

For all my friends and readers in Canada, have a great Victoria Day!