Sunday, August 28, 2011

Get your free sizzle while it's HOT

Don't you just love free stuff? I do. My delicious new novella THE LADY AND THE LOCKSMITH is out now, and for a limited time (my husband says it's important to use that phrase, sorry!) it is completely FREE.

She’s a prisoner in her father’s house.
He’s a locksmith, and he could set her free.
But if he does, he’ll pay the price, and when her father finds out, so will she.
A sensual romantic adventure
about a pair of young lovers who were never meant to meet
and their struggle for love and liberty.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I love Book Bloggers

Book Bloggers are creative, intelligent people who spread the word about great books. Earlier this year, when my debut book SCANDAL AT THE FARMHOUSE came out, book bloggers became my new best friends. Why? Because many of them were willing to give up their precious free time to read and review an unknown author, and luckily, most of them liked my book and helped me to make the transition from 'aspiring author' to yes-I-really-am-a-writer-now, just like I always wanted to be. Bloggers consistently pick the winners. This week I'm reading Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, which has received rave reviews all round.

I absolutely LOVE some of the ingenious names people dream up for their sites:
'Sniff Books Not Drugs' and 'Attack of the Book' and 'Stiletto Storytime' and 'Fictitious Delicious' to name but a few. Then there's Forever Young Adult - 'for YA readers who are a little less Y and a bit more A'!!! Erm ...that would be me.

Review blogs come in all shapes and sizes - from tiny start-ups with just a handful of followers to giant mega blogs with a readership in the thousands. The presentation is sassy and clever, and many sites are works of art in themselves.

Many publishers send ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) directly to their favourite bloggers to get critical feedback before the book is released.  The bloggers are amazingly efficient at timing the release of the review to coincide with the release of the book. It is harder to get a review from one of these giants - because they  receive thousands of requests, but it you do, it will instantly boost sales. Some even post a weekly VLOG on youtube showing off their haul to the world. It's worth pointing out that small blogs grow very rapidly into big blogs, too. I've seen the list of people following Laurie Here quadruple in a few short months!

The reviews are often witty and insightful, very rarely hurtful - but if you follow a lot of blogs (and trust me, I follow a few) you soon get a clear idea of what's hot and what's not.
Some like to use Net Galley to grab the hottest books before they even hit the shelves. But many of them will review a book that is already in print - great news for authors who are learning to promote their own work. 

More and more bloggers are accepting Indie books now.  Some bloggers estimate that twenty-five percent of their To Be Read pile is self-published. But others are very fussy about what they will and won't review. Authors need to check their review policy carefully (if you can find it - bloggers, take note!).

Book Bloggers are a force to be reckoned with. They network. They go to conferences. They are organized. They also have some very cute buttons you can grab:

Candace's Book Blog

So, support book bloggers. They are great for readers and great for writers. 
Here's a short list for you to sample - and be warned, this is just the very tip of the iceberg!

Please leave a comment - especially if you can recommend a great book blog - I love finding more.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Emotions Ran High at Romance Writers' Conference

Every year writers in my part of the world look forward to the RWNZ conference, which is always exciting and full of opportunities to meet amazing people, to rub shoulders with big names like Tess Gerritsen and Bob Mayer, and to schmooze with agents and editors like Jessica Faust, Sue Grimshaw, Lucy Gilmour and Angela James. It's a chance to form valuable friendships - the kind of friendships that help writers stay (even moderately) sane during the year. It's also a place where A-HA moments about our writing tend to happen, and where careers can take a whole new direction. This year all of that was overshadowed by the death of Sandra Hyatt, a warm, witty romance writer, a mother and a wife. Everybody loved her. One minute she was there - having a great time - the next day she was in hospital - and not long after that, she was gone. She is mourned by many, many people. She was such a fun person to be around.
The conference had to go on, people still needed to pitch their books, to listen to great speakers, and to try to concentrate on honing their craft. But we were all struggling to make sense of what happened to Sandra and reflecting on how short life can be. It has made me really stop and think - am I living life the way I really want to live it? Am I writing what I really want to write? Do I have time to do everything I want to do? Some hard questions and I don't have many of the answers. All I know is that Sandra was a person who lived life to the full. She was full of life.
Goodbye Sandra.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Six things I wish I'd known sooner about being a writer

  1. Getting rejected doesn’t mean your book is bad. It could be a case of wrong place, wrong time. I once submitted a history book about Liverpool shipping to a publisher that specialized in the history of Liverpool  - the football team, that is.  It was not a match made in heaven. Careful, up-to-date research before you submit is essential.

  1. When it comes to improving your book - there are things that make a book ‘better’ and there are things that make a book sell, and it is not always easy to tell which is which. Go look at the books in your genre that really, really sell, and base your decisions about ‘honing your craft’ on them.

  1. Getting an agent for your book doesn’t guarantee you’ll get published. I’ve seen several writers sign up with great agents, and a year or two later they still haven’t got a deal. With so much change going on in the industry, this is hardly surprising. Agents are not fortune-tellers (though they do try). They take on books they HOPE will sell. If you think an agent is the answer to your every prayer, you may be in for a surprise.

  1. A publisher can get out of a contract to publish your book remarkably easily, and if your publisher ceases to exist, you haven’t got a legal leg to stand on. Don’t waste time trying to fight battles you can’t win. Put your energy into writing – you’ll do brilliant bad guys and hypocrites for a while!

  1. The blurb on the back of the book is NOT supposed to tell people what it is about. If it does that, they don’t need to buy the book. It is supposed to grab the person’s interest so they take it to the counter and pay for it – or read the whole thing right there in the shop. You could apply these observations to the dreaded synopsis … if you dare.

  1. The old rules do not apply. Everything you thought you knew about ‘real books versus e-books’ and ‘traditional publishing versus self-publishing’ – it is all up for grabs. Agents are dabbling in publishing. Indie authors are getting book contracts. Big name authors are going indie, and senior citizens are getting e-readers for Christmas. For some, it’s a cultural renaissance. For others, it’s a catastrophe. The next five years will be a wild ride for people who read, write and sell books, and I’m so glad I’m going to be part of it. How about you?
 Leave me a comment – I’d love to hear YOUR take on all this!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another Gorgeous Cover

I have to blog this! Scandal at the Farmhouse disappeared from Amazon pages yesterday - following the demise of Embrace Books, UK. But it has been re-released today with a brand new cover - and it's AVAILABLE NOW!!!!  It looks like this:

SCANDAL is available in all e-formats on Smashwords - at the irresistable price of 99 cents. Soon it will also be available on Amazon and in print. Yes - in print! I will blog it up as soon as I know the release date for the print version.  Here are the details from the back cover:-

A seductive romantic adventure; A headstrong Victorian virgin plans to rid herself of all men, only to find that she’s fallen for a charming but completely unsuitable one. 
Nineteen-year-old Clara never meant to try to ensnare Ned, but she's fallen into a trap of her own making. The dangerous kiss that was meant to set her free now holds her tight. Should she try to escape? 

This SWEET, sweet story captivated me …. I probably should let you know that I read it on one sitting, why would I stop?? I challenge you!

‘Ms. Young does an outstanding job of telling the story of young Clara's complex life - in a time where women are seen as property that can be bartered over like livestock.’

‘Cody is an excellent writer .... Her lovers, Clara and Ned, are delightful.’

'this novella is fast paced and great for an evening treat.’

'Great characters and a fast paced plot – if you’re into those things, you should really get your hands on this book!’
I love Cody Young's writing style! This historical romance is one you will not forget! 
(Goodreads review by Tiffany)   
I'm also delighted to say that American Smile is now available through Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Diesel and has been submitted to Scrollmotion, Sony, Apple, etc for approval. It's been getting some great reviews too - but I can always use more, so if you've read it - please put a review on Amazon or Goodreads or Shelfari. Or be the first to post one directly to the Smashwords website - that would be great!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hot New Cover!

My new series starts in OCTOBER!
The first book of the trilogy will be called Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne - and here's what it says on the back cover:-

I’m seventeen and he’s twenty-one.
That’s okay … isn’t it?

He drives a Lamborghini.
So what?

He was born in 1462.

He seeks revenge, but there is one person standing in his way.

On a high school trip to London, Madison Lambourne meets seductive stranger Johnny De Vere, who believes he knows her already, and is torn between love and revenge.
Eager to learn more about this beautiful, lonely, young man, Madison agrees to go with him to a re-enactment at the Tower of London. Dressed as a highborn medieval lady in a black velvet gown, she accidentally slips through a doorway that leads to the past. Knowing she will not last long on the streets of medieval London, Johnny must follow her … with devastating consequences for them both.

A wild time-travel adventure full of love, lies, mystery and betrayal.

NB: If you have a review blog and you'd like to receive an advanced reader copy of this book to review - please contact me and I will be in touch!