Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I've got the music in me

I love music. I don't think there's anyone in the world who doesn't. The right song can pull you back in time. It can make you laugh, or make you cry. It can inspire you to be a better person.

I've listened to a variety of music over the years and as I've gotten older, my tastes have changed. As a child I listened to whatever my mom listened to (mostly Spanish performers, but for the life of me the only one I can remember isTrini Lopez, although it was actually an English language album). Then I started listening to whatever my oldest brother was listening to, which was what every teenager was listening to...The Beatles! I can still see him at the kitchen table with a box-sized radio, his ear against the tiny speaker, singing along.  Later, when he started buying their albums, he'd lounge beside the speaker of the console stereo system my mother bought. When I hit my pre-teen years I started listening to more of the "bubblegum" pop...Barry Manilow was my all-time favorite and I'm still a big fan. But, for the most part, my music choices were forged by whatever the adults in my family were listening to. Which meant I listened to a lot of country-western and Spanish music and the rock & roll of my older cousins.

Needless to say my music choices haven't changed much over the years. I still enjoy a wide variety of music, mainly because I have teenagers and they listen to what's popular now....and thankfull they aren't big fans of rap with the exception of Eminem....who I can tolerate to a point.  Of course, my kid's taste in music came from both me and my husband (who, being a musician, loves Rock, 'hair bands' and country). Our kids also like the "oldies" (anything before 1990 is an oldie to them.)  and they're also big Beatle fans, so I've done my job well teaching them about music. hah

This past weekend my husband and I took our girls to the Carrie Underwood concert. Hunter Hayes, a 21 year old newcomer, was her opening act and the main reason daughter number one wanted to go. While sitting there waiting for him to finish his set (I really don't see the appeal) I started thinking about the first concert I ever went to. It was.....you guessed it....Barry Manilow. He played in Carbondale, Illinois where my older sister and her now ex-husband, lived. They got the tickets and surprised me with them. Her Ex was a fan but my sister wasn't, she only went because we wanted to go. Of course, once the concert was over, she totally changed her mind about him...it was that good! Anyway, it was my first concert and my biggest idol so you can imagine how excited I was. I was literally like those girls you see on old footage of a Beatle's concert...in fact, the minute Barry stepped on stage I cried....seriously! I never make fun of those girls anymore. haha  I've since seen Barry four times and he's just as entertaining. Of course I don't cry with excitement like I did the first time, but I still get giddy like a school girl.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Call me Invisible

I hate marketing. And I'm not talking about going to Walmart. There is just so much I can do to get the word out about my books...some days I just want to give up. 

Bestselling authors become bestselling authors because of word of mouth....and the occasional write up with the New York Times. Bestselling authors also have help from their publishers who give them publicists to help get the word out. Small publishers, or Indies as they're called, don't always offer that kind of help, although Decadent did, which is probably why my book Forget Me Not was one of their top sellers. But, sadly it's not enough when it comes to my other published works. So, I'm left to do it myself...and as I said...I hate marketing. I'm just not the "look at me" kind of person and when I try I feel like I'm one of those annoying narcistic persons who just have to call attention to themselves. But, if I don't do it, then I stay invisible. Which I'm used to, so why complain.

Okay, now I'm just sounding whiny. Must be my lack of sleep.

So....let's pretend I like doing my own publicity. Today I'm blogging at Romancing the Genres, today...my monthly blog. Romancing the Genres: It's Not a Mystery Where Ideas Are Born:  Feel free to swing by. I even posted an excerpt of my newest release House of Cards...which is my best book to date, but no one will ever know it......okay, I should just go back to bed. :-/

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Cuz, I Won't Give Up

It’s hard for me to believe that in less than a week I’ll be launching my new book, House of Cards. It took me  f o r- e -v e r  to complete this story...don’t ask why. Suffice it to say, I just got in my own way.  But, what’s really mind-boggling is that this will be my third published book in less than a year.  Of course, with electronic publishing, I guess that isn’t too hard to believe. Technology has made life so much easier...makes me glad I was born in the middle of the twentieth century. I mean, what would I do without my microwave popcorn?? 

Anyway, as I was saying, my new book will be out on Monday, October 15th....the same day my oldest child turns 25!! (Happy Birthday, Adam!) But, what’s different and crazy about this release is....I’m self-publishing it.  Why is that crazy? Because for the longest time, I’ve been against the whole self-publishing thing...mainly because I’m of the old school of thought...if you can’t get a publishing house to consider your work, then it’s not good enough. I even felt the same way about electronic publishers...until I published my novella Her Will His Way.  Of course, even after publishing that I still set my sights on the Big 6 (as they’re known) because I wanted the prestige and respect of the publishing world. But, as much as they gushed over my work, they didn’t believe it was good enough to warrant them printing it out and shipping it to retailers. So, on a whim, I sent my beloved novel, Forget Me Not, to a new online publisher....and, well....I welcome me to the twenty-first century.  I’m very pleased with those results. My novel became one of their highest sellers, especially considering how long it was (83K words as opposed to the 60K preferred by e-readers--according to demographics). So, with those numbers I decided to sell my next book, Dark Obsession, to another online publisher. Those sales didn’t do as well....which is not because the book isn’t good...it’s awesome!...but...well....I won’t go into that...let’s just say, I’m disappointed.  Anyway, despite that, I was still not so sure about doing the whole self-pubbed thing.  I had just finished House of Cards and I knew this novel was going to be my breakout book because it’s that good! I planned to start querying agents and editors, especially after the first chapter took third place in the TARA contest for best romantic suspense.
On the referral of another writer, I submitted it to the senior editor at Harlequin Intrigue. Thankfully, she rejected it. (Talk about a BIG SIGH OF RELIEF!!! I don’t really like their books and never wanted to write for them. Call it a lapse in judgment and desperation that I even submitted.) After that rejection, this same author suggested I self publish. He’d recently published one of his novels and was so very happy with the process he became a poster child for it. Hah  But, still, I wasn’t sure if that was the right move for me because I still had the doubts of self-publishing at the back of my mind.  Then I thought, did I really want to go through the whole submit and wait forever with the big six?  While I was in L.A for the RWA conference this past summer, I got interest from a couple of the editors there (although I doubt they’re sitting at their desk waiting for the email..haha). Then, I spoke to Jayne Ann Krentz (big fan!) during a book-signing and mentioned I was considering self-publishing. She told me it was one of the best moves she made---self-publishing her backlist---then she handed me her card with the name of the company she uses. So....I made up my mind. Self Publishing World....here I come!
Like with any release, I’m both excited and terrified! I know there will be many who love the book but there will also be those who hate it....such is the life of an author. This is my fourth published work so I’m not so neurotic about the critics anymore...to each his own. I will say if you base the book on its cover, you’re in for a thrill!  Special thank you to Robert Gregory Browne for the design!
And, because you’ve made it this far into my blog post, here’s a sneak peek at my book, House of Cards.
The needle wavered at sixty-five miles per hour. The engine gunned and the car shuddered seconds before the tires left the pavement. Metal crunched against metal, sparks igniting across the highway. Jesse squeezed her eyes shut and braced for the impact. Her body bucked against the backseat as the car rolled, the seatbelt strap pinning her against the vinyl and cutting into her neck. Glass shattered against her skull as the car tumbled to a stop in a shallow ravine. Jesse struggled with her seatbelt, fighting to unclasp the latch.  The burning odor of gasoline stung her eyes. 
Outside a shadowed figure stepped forward and crouched beside her door.
“You should have left it alone,” the voice said.
Even through her petrified fear she heard the unmistakable scrape of a match. The figure took a step back and tossed the tiny stick into the car. 
Her scream woke her. 
Jesse bolted up on the sofa, her arms flailing, fighting the restraints of the chenille blanket tangled around her. The soft glow of light from the laptop on the coffee table caught her attention and it took her a moment to realize it had been a dream. She wasn’t that helpless child anymore. She wasn’t trapped in a burning car with her parents. She was at home, in her apartment where she’d lived for the past five years.
She shoved the blanket off and pressed the heel of her hands to her eyes to push back the burning tears. She was safe. She was fine. She was alive. She tried to repeat the mantra but the images from her nightmare continued to play in her head. 
“Damn it.”
After giving herself a moment to steady her pulse she slapped the computer closed and staggered into the kitchen. She didn’t need to look at the clock above the sink to know what time it was. Three o’clock in the morning. Same freaking time every night for the last two weeks.  With a frustrated sigh she yanked open the refrigerator and grabbed a water bottle.  She took a long drink, the cold liquid soothing the rawness of her throat.  Outside lightening flashed, followed by the sonic boom of thunder. She jolted, her heart slamming against her breastbone like a sledgehammer. The dream flashed in her mind. The car tumbling across the highway. Her mother’s terrified screams. The explosion that turned her parent’s flesh to bones and ash. 
Jesse closed her eyes and held her breath, counting against the thump of her pulse. After the accident the doctors had told her she’d lead a normal life; that her injuries, though life threatening at one time, wouldn’t keep her from doing whatever she wanted to do. She slowly exhaled and slid a look at the orange pill bottle on the window sill. They just didn’t say anything about her mind debilitating her.
She took another pull from the bottle, her gaze shifting to the blinking light on the old answering machine buried under a newspaper. The calls she’d ignored earlier. She mentally ran through a list of possible callers–her boss at the paper, a student from her computer research class wanting her notes again, or her friend Amy dying to tell her about her latest date. Most days she enjoyed living vicariously through Amy’s erotic encounters, since Jesse hadn’t had a serious relationship in over three years but, thanks to her nightmare, she was no longer in the mood.
“Whoever you are can wait.” She finished the bottle and tossed it in the recycle bin before leaving the room.
After a hot shower, where she stood for half an hour to let the beating spray massage the tension in her muscles, she poured herself a glass of wine then pressed play on the answering machine. A soft rustling sounded before a voice came on the line.
 “Jesse. Are you there? Pick up. I know you must hate me and I’m sorry. You were right. I should have believed you. I’m so sorry I didn’t listen. Please, pick up the phone. Mierda. Where are you?  I need you. Ay, dios mio, I don't know what to do. Please Jesse, you have to help me. I think he’s going to kill me.”
Look for the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or ITunes beginning October 15th!
I also wanted to mention, from now until the end of October, I will donate $1.00 of every book sold to the Texas EquuSearch Organization. Just click on the link to learn more about them.

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews