Monday, December 10, 2018

Audio On Sale

If you're an Audible member (or have been thinking about subscribing), there's a big sale right now. Nearly all books, including the entire Royal Scandals series, are 50-70% off. There's never been a better time to give them a try.

If you're unsure about the experience of listening to a book rather than reading, you can listen to excerpts on my website. Actress Hollis McCarthy narrates the entire series and does an incredible job bringing the characters to life. To hear her performance, go to the books page for the Royal Scandals title of your choice, click on it, then look for the audio sample button underneath the cover.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Bowen Bride

Every so often, when a writer types The End, they know the pages hold magic. I experienced one of those moments when I finished The Bowen Bride. Even better, I'd planned it as the launch for a new series, one set in a charming fictional town in Nebraska.

I sent the book off to my editor, who felt the same magic I did (whew!), and I got to work plotting the next book.

Then the wheels of New York publishing turned, as they inevitably do, and the publisher decided to close the imprint that was publishing the book. As a result, the book had a tiny print run and readers had a difficult time finding it. On the bright side, those readers who did find and read The Bowen Bride loved it, and it was named a finalist for the RITA Award, which is the highest honor given to romance fiction.

I told myself that when the time was right, I'd find a way to republish the book and continue the series. Fortunately, that time has come. Updated and with a brand new cover, The Bowen Bride is now available at retailers everywhere, in both ebook and print (with audio in the works!)

The Bowen Bride tells the story of a man certain he's missed his shot at love, a woman who's adjusting to her hometown after time spent away, and a bridal shop with its own special secret. You'll meet neighbors and friends, and experience the magic that makes certain small towns endlessly fascinating.

I can't wait to hear what you think. As you read, I'm hard at work on more stories that take place in the wide world of my Royal Scandals series, and in the new, intimate setting of Bowen, Nebraska.

Friday, November 23, 2018

An Early Holiday Gift

Heads up! For a very limited time, the novella collection A Royal Scandals Christmas is available FREE in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It's never been on sale, let alone free, so get it while you can.

Already read it? Share this link with a friend, which will enable them to download from the country and retailer of their choice: A Royal Scandals Christmas

This collection contains the full text of all three Royal Scandals holiday novellas:

Christmas With a Prince
Christmas on the Royal Yacht
Christmas With a Palace Thief

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Five Ways To Find The Time To Read

 When I meet someone new and they learn that I’m an author, their first response is often, “cool!” followed by a lamentation on their lack of reading time. They tell me how much they love books and that reading relaxes them, or they’ll share a fond memory of a favorite book. Occasionally, they’ll say they’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to read more.
They’ll ask how much I read, and how I find the time to do it.

In answer to those questions: I read around fifty to sixty books a year. This year the number will be higher. It’s Halloween, and a check of my reading log shows I've completed 76 novels and four novellas. I started book number 77, Gregg Hurwitz's Hellbent, last night. There were also three books that I didn’t—and likely won’t—finish.

So how do I find the time, given my workload and family obligations? Simple: I make it. The investment is well worth it. Not only does reading make me a better writer, it lets my imagination fly and offers a respite when I’ve had a stressful day. 

If you want to make more time for reading, here are five easy tips:

Carry A Book At All Times. It doesn’t have to be bulky. If you have a phone with you, you have books with you. There are several apps available for reading, either via your phone’s app store, such as Apple Books, or by checking out Amazon’s Kindle App page, the Kobo App page, or Barnes & Noble’s Books App page. Have a few minutes of downtime? Instead of playing Minecraft or solitaire while waiting to meet a friend or to catch your bus, open your book and read. Prefer not to read on a phone? A Kindle, iPad, Kobo, or other device works, too. Then there are good old paperbacks. (Those still work!)

Consider Audio. I admit, I wasn’t sure I’d like audiobooks. On the recommendation of a friend, I did a free trial at Audible and was hooked. Now I listen in the car, while walking the dog, and while doing yardwork. If I’m at a particularly good spot in a story, I’ll forgo music while I run to listen. It’s amazing how a great narrator can bring a book to life. Audiobooks are less expensive and more accessible than in the days of tapes and CDs. You can listen on your phone and through many car speakers, either through programs like Apple CarPlay or via Bluetooth or by using an Aux cable. Now lulls in my day can be filled by a good book, even when my hands aren’t free to hold one.

Don’t Like It? Don’t Read It. No matter how many people rave about a book, if you aren’t enjoying it, it’s fine to quit reading. It took me years to allow myself to dump a book without finishing it. Silly, maybe, but there are thousands of wonderful books in the world. Why waste your precious reading time on one that doesn’t fire your imagination or entertain you in some way? Why slog through a horrible-to-you story when you can race through two or three great ones in the same time frame? Apologies to the late Aldous Huxley, but for me, reading Brave New World felt like trudging through ankle-deep mud in a cold headwind. I quit about a third of the way through, then read a fantastic romance novel and a thriller in the same amount of time it had taken me to slog through that third of a book. Lesson learned.

Keep a Log. I started keeping a log in 1999. It’s fascinating to look back on what I’ve read and enjoyed. Seeing the breadth of titles keeps me from getting in a reading rut. It also reminds me of authors I’ve enjoyed in the past so I can search for what they’ve written recently. There are several websites and phone apps that can manage a reading log for you, or you can go the old school route, as I do, with pen and paper. It’s a legit reason to buy a Moleskine or that cool notebook you’ve been eyeing on Etsy.

Share. Book clubs in my neighborhood tend to be more about the wine than the books, but some balance social time with meaty discussion. If you’re interested, ask your friends and neighbors if they belong to a book club, and ask them how it runs to see if it might be a good fit. If you can’t find one, why not start one? If book clubs aren’t your style, consider joining a site like BookBub or Goodreads, where you can discover new books and authors, read or write reviews, and discuss your favorites on message boards. Many authors have profile pages where they answer reader questions and make book recommendations.

The more you read, the more you’ll want to read. You’ll discover your own ways to fit reading into pockets of otherwise wasted time in your day.

Have great ideas of your own? Share them in the comments. In the meantime, go forth, find a great book, and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Two Reader Treasure Troves: Goodreads and BookBub

Many of you have heard of Goodreads, a site that offers readers a central location to peruse books, leave reviews, read and participate in book discussion groups, and find information on all your favorite authors. It’s a great website, as it encourages readers to make new discoveries. 

Goodreads also allows you to save lists of the books you’ve read or those you want to read, and to add your own commentary. If you take advantage of this feature, it serves as your personal online reading diary. I keep a virtual bookshelf on Goodreads. If you'd like to see the books I've rated as four or five stars, check them out right here. They're also listed in a column on the right hand side of this blog.

If you love reading, but are more interested in finding deals on books and authors that are new to you rather than utilizing the social bells and whistles of Goodreads, give BookBub a try. BookBub focuses on scouting out deals on the books that are most likely to appeal to you. When you sign up, you can choose which categories of books you wish to hear about, whether it’s fiction reads such as contemporary romance (my fave!) or thrillers, or nonfiction subjects from cooking to parenting. If you like, you can also receive notices of new releases or deals from authors who are already your favorites. For instance, those who follow my page receive a notice whenever a Royal Scandals title goes on sale. You can change or update your preferences at any time, allowing you to tailor the information you receive.

Have you used Goodreads and/or BookBub? What are your favorite features? If you’re in a book club, has your group taken advantage of either site? What would you recommend to other readers?