Launching Romance into the stars.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Guest Post: What Makes a Great SFR story by Jenna Bennett, author of Fortune's Hero

Sometime last year, I was asked if I’d care to give a quote about “the duality of Science Fiction and Romance that make SFR such a great mixed genre,” for an article the wonderful Heidi Ruby Miller – herself a science fiction romance author – was writing.

There are a lot of great quotes from a lot of great authors, most of them a lot more eloquent than me. My quote – “space guys are hot” – makes me sound rather more shallow than I like to think I am, to be honest.

I actually had some pretty deep thoughts on the matter.

The way I see it, science fiction has traditionally been a male genre, with more male writers and more male readers. Please note that I’m not saying “only,” because there are certainly some fantastic female science fiction writers out there, and quite a few female science fiction readers too. One of my favorite authors in the entire universe, who just happens to write some excellent science fiction, is Lois McMaster Bujold. She’s female, and I’d venture to call her one of the great SF writers of our – or any – time. Those five Hugo awards speak for themselves, I think, along with the additional six nominations. So do the three Nebulas (and five nominations) not to mention the three Locus awards.

If I can grow up to write half as well as she does, I’ll be a happy camper.

But Lois notwithstanding, and others like her (Ursula LeGuin, Anne McCaffrey and Andre Norton – who, yes, was female), I think the genre is more heavily weighed toward men, possibly because of the science aspect. And the weapons. Boys like their weapons.

In that respect, science fiction is a lot like the old-fashioned western, only with spaceships instead of horses and with laser blasters instead of six cylinder Colt .45s. 

(And don’t get me going on the phallic-shaped spaceships thrusting through the blackness of space. Just... don’t.) 

In both westerns and SF you have the traditional outlaw hero, larger than life, gun on his hip, chasing down the bad guys and restoring order to lawless territory. But in science fiction, the scope is so much bigger: it isn’t about saving the ranch, or even the town, hell, not even the country—the hero can save whole worlds!

So what makes a great SFR story?

There’s the hot space guy, of course.

I mean, Han Solo? We’ve all been in love with him for so long we don’t even realize how much he’s done to shape romance heroes over the past thirty years, just by being himself.

There’s the kickass space girl.

Not that she always has to be kickass, but she can be, and that’s nice. It’s the future, after all, and women don’t have to abide by 19th century rules for proper behavior. Not like the old damsel in distress tied to the railroad tracks. In SFR, a damsel in distress can rescue herself – and her guy, while she’s at it.

Having a bad guy – or guys – help. Someone to juxtapose the hero and heroine. Something to overcome.

Throw in a few otherworldly critters – flesh-burrowing worms, spider-scorpions, poisonous water-snakes, and lizards that make you blister when they touch you – and you’re golden.

It’s like anything else, you know. Boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy saves the world and gets girl back.

Amid phallic-shaped spaceships thrusting through the blackness of space. 

So what about you? What do you think makes a good story, in science fiction romance or elsewhere?


Excerpt from Fortune's Hero:

Quinn Conlan was bleeding to death.

Slowly, steadily, one drop at a time. One big-ass drop. He could feel the mechanism at his wrist working, opening and closing the artery to let the blood ebb and flow. At this rate, he calculated, it would take him about an hour to bleed out.

Down on the floor, a few of the drops turned into a trickle, and he watched as it made its slow way to the big drain in the middle of the room. And down it went, soon to be followed by others. Many others.

He put his head back and closed his eyes.

It wasn’t a bad way to go. It wouldn’t be quick, but it was mostly painless. A slight burn in his wrist every time the mechanism opened to let another few minutes of his life hit the floor. But compared to the other things that had been done to him in this room, it was nothing. The med tech had made sure of that. They weren’t trying to hurt him. Not this time. By now, they must have realized that pain wouldn’t make him talk. Been there, done that. Kept his mouth shut. So they’d decided to let him sit here instead, perfectly still, perfectly conscious, perfectly unable to move, as he watched his life drain away, drop by drop by drop. An hour from now, when his limbs were weak and darkness started to descend over his eyes, they’d expect him to call for help. That he’d start babbling, and tell them what they wanted to know.

Fat chance.

They’d brought him within a hairsbreadth of death before and revived him each time. Always their choice, never his. And this time would be no different. He wouldn’t call for help, and they’d wait until it was almost too late to save him—almost, but not quite—and then they’d bring him back. Again.

Damn Rhenians. Never satisfied.

Quinn never thought there’d come a day when he’d welcome death. Always figured he’d fight to the bitter end. Beat death, or die trying. But when it came down to it, it hadn’t taken long. Just a few months in the prison camp on Marica-3, and weekly sessions with the camp’s medical team—the best in the galaxy, both when it came to bringing a prisoner to death’s door and to making sure he didn’t walk through it—and here he was, ready and willing to die.

Hell, scratch ready and willing. Try eager. He’d die now, this hour, this very minute, if he could cheat them out of being able to revive him again. If he could will himself stone dead right now, he’d do it.

A sound at the door brought his head up. The exsanguination must be happening more quickly than he thought, because it was already a little harder to move, and a little more difficult to make his eyes focus.

“Good afternoon, Captain Conlan.”

A woman. They’d sent him a fucking woman.

And not just any woman. He recognized this one. She’d been at his earlier sessions, standing in the background taking notes while the doctor injected him with something that made him feel like he was being boiled alive. She’d watched out of those cool, green eyes as he writhed in pain and screamed until his voice was gone. Writing on her goddamn clipboard. With not a flicker of emotion on that perfect alabaster face.

Ice bitch.

Quinn wet his lips and cajoled his rusty vocal chords into cooperating. “Come to watch the big finish, sweetheart?”

Her eyes flicked to his, the clear green of glacier ice under brows the shape of bird wings. “It doesn’t have to end this way.”

Her voice was lovely, as cool and clear as those eyes. And as devoid of emotion. If he’d had the strength, Quinn would have laughed. As it was, all he could manage was a smile, and a weak one at that. “Sure it does.”

She monitored the progress of the blood flow from his wrist between glances at his face. “You could tell them what they want to know.”

Them. Like she wasn’t part of the same unholy alliance.

Quinn shook his head. “Sorry, sweetheart. Not gonna happen.”

One of those exquisite eyebrows raised. “You would rather take the whereabouts of the rebels to the grave with you? I’m not so sure they would return the favor. Are you certain you aren’t sacrificing yourself for nothing?”

It would be almost laughable if he wasn’t twenty minutes from bleeding to death.

“I think we both know that ain’t gonna happen, sweetheart. Ten minutes from now, just when I think it might be too late to revive me, someone’s gonna run in here and pump me full of synthetic blood. And next week I’ll be back in this room with high and mighty Doctor Sterling and his toys again. We both know it, so let’s just stop pretending.”

He looked away. Down to the floor in time to see another sizable trickle of blood head down the drain.

For a second, nothing happened. Then he heard her heels click on the floor, a quick, angry rhythm. At the door, she turned for a final salvo. “You think you’re so smart, Captain Conlan. But we’re smarter. You’ll see.”

The door opened and shut with a slam.

“Yeah, yeah,” Quinn said, and closed his eyes again to wait for the darkness. With any luck, he’d be unconscious for a day or two before he woke up and realized he was back in hell.



Fortune's Hero by Jenna Bennett: 

To ensure their survival on a hostile planet, an escaped prisoner and his hostage must forge a partnership that changes them from enemies to reluctant allies and – eventually – to lovers.

Last year, space smuggler Quinn Conlan was on top of the world. He had everything a man could want: a fast ship, a great crew, a gorgeous girlfriend, lots of money, and adventure and excitement around every corner.

That all changed when he agreed to ferry a shipload of weapons to the beleaguered planet Marica, currently under siege by Rhenian forces. Now he’s stuck in a prison camp on the moon Marica-3, subjected to weekly sessions with the camp’s “medical team,” and praying for a quick death before he breaks under the torture and spills everything he knows about the Marican resistance.

When the opportunity presents itself, Quinn takes a Rhenian med tech hostage and heads into the inhospitable interior of the small moon. There, he has to keep himself and Doctor Elsa Brandeis safe from the deadly flora and fauna, as well as hidden from the prison guards searching for them, all while formulating a plan for getting his crew out of prison, his ship out of impound, and everyone out of orbit.

But when Elsa professes her love, can Quinn take the beautiful doctor at her word, or will trusting her—and his heart—condemn him and his crew to an eternity on Marica-3? 


Author Bio 

New York Times bestselling author Jennie Bentley/Jenna Bennett writes the Do It Yourself home renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and the Cutthroat Business mysteries for her own gratification. For Entangled Publishing, she writes a variety of romance, from contemporary to futuristic and from paranormal to romantic suspense. Her most recent release is Fortune’s Hero, first in the Soldiers of Fortune series of science fiction romantic suspense novels. For more information about the Fortune series or any of her other books, please visit her website,   

Saturday, November 24, 2012

We have a winner.

Thanks to all for stopping by during the blog hop. My winner today is Tina B. I will be sending your gift certificate shortly.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Welcome to the Decadent Black Friday Hop


Happy Black Friday. As we all recover from our turkey hangovers, we have time to sit back and reflect on our year. This year has been a rather busy year for me. I had six releases. I also have one to be released the day after doomsday, December 22nd.
Which is what I’m dying to tell you about. When my publisher mentioned an idea for a Prepper series, I wasn’t sure at first what I'd write. It sounded like fun, but what did I know about preppers? The way my muse works, she takes a while to chew on an idea before she spits it out and slaps me upside the head, as was the case with Finding Mercy. I realized a lot of us are preppers already, in one manner or another. We prepare for bad storms, for the loss of power, or our jobs. We stock up on food and water. Grow gardens and put the food away. So, I researched and was caught up in it.

I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I spoke to my publisher on the phone for about an hour to find out more about what she wanted to see. By the end of the conversation, Evans Point was born and I was off and running.
Not only did my publisher give me a chance to write one of the launch stories for this new line of romances, she allowed me to build a world, a town to be more specific, and populate it with all kinds of people, who have all kinds of skills. People like us. Everyday people who use the skills they've aquired from jobs, the military, school and even experiences they've lived through. Then she let me invite my friends to play. Arlene Webb and Barbara Elsborg have also written stories in the Evans Point mini-series, Falling for Water andThe Princess and the Prepper.
Now, first I have to tell you this town wasn’t spun out of thin air. I had a lot of great inspiration. Evans Point, my fictional town, was modeled after the real town of Alliance, Nebraska. This little town on the edge of the Sand Hills has everything a prepper community could dream of.  In the 1940s, the United States Army built an airfield to train fighter pilots. The town’s population exploded overnight. Seeing a need to keep the military and their families safe, the Army Corp of Engineers built a bomb shelter under the town. This massive shelter takes up space under several blocks of the downtown area, and is a little known fact to people passing through. It has sat unused for over seventy years.
What if....
A town devastated by tornadoes decides to rebuild and refurbish, not only the town, but the shelter below, in hopes that they will never be caught unprepared again. This is the premise behind the community of preppers and their stories in Evans Point.
So, on December 22nd, after we’ve all weathered doomsday, I hope you’ll check out my latest release, Finding Mercy.
You’ll die in three minutes without oxygen, three hours without shelter, three days without water and three weeks without food. But could you live a lifetime with a broken heart?
Mercy Evans has come to Evans Point hoping to collect herself and find a way to resurrect her career as an anchorwoman for Cheyenne’s news station. Sergeant Justin Redway has come to Evans Point to try to forget his past and survive what he’s done.
When two worlds collide, one of a battle damaged veteran, the other of a desperate woman who will go to any extreme to get his story, sparks fly and old wounds open. When the chasm between the fated lovers widens, will it be too big to cross?
One town, two lovers, and a second chance at finding mercy.
And here’s an excerpt: 
Fingers pressed against his throat, feeling for a pulse.
“This one’s alive.” Someone hoisted the weight of large chunk of wreckage from his torso. Two sets of hands slid under him. “On the count of three. One. Two. Three.”
They moved in unison, rolling him onto a stretcher.
“No,” he begged. He wasn’t alive. This couldn’t be real. Another protest gurgled from his throat and he began to convulse, unable to hold his limbs still.
“Hold him down so I can sedate him.” Hands grasped his wounded limbs. Bone cracked and shifted under their grip. He tried to arch up, but remained restrained by several soldiers. He yelled and thrashed his head side to side. They grabbed both sides of his face, holding him still.
Justin screamed. The sound was so inhuman, if he hadn’t been the one who’d made it, he wouldn’t have believed it came from a man. A stick with a needle. Burning.
As the seizure eased, they released their hold. He turned his head toward the medic who’d drugged him. The man blurred in and out. Justin’s vision came back into focus as a burnt picture of a woman and baby caught the breeze and tumbled across the baked earth next to where the medic kneeled. Justin swallowed and his eyes blurred with tears. Williams hadn’t even gotten to hold his daughter.
“You’re going to be okay.”
Let me die. Please. Let me die. Pain rode his nerves like an electrical wire, sending jolts of agony to the tips of his fingers and toes. He opened his mouth, but nothing came from his throat. Boom, boom, boom. His heartbeat slowed as the sedative did its job.
“Get him on the chopper.”
Regardless the drug, every step the medics took hurt as they hauled him toward reprieve. Broken bones, burns, but nothing compared to what played through his head. He’d killed them all and survived to see his handiwork. Nothing could be worse than that.
Thanks for stopping by, and make sure to check out the other stops on the hop to get in on the great prizes. For a chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate, leave a comment under this post. I’ll draw a name on Saturday and announce the the winner. And don't forget to mark your calender for December 22nd, for the triple release of the Evans Point Prepper series.

For more information about my books and buy links, please visit my website: You can find all my current works in the bookstore.
D L Jackson

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I want to wish all of my American friends 
a very Happy Thanksgiving!

© Kimmytn | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

I am thankful for my publishers, my critique partners, 
my author friends, my family, and my fans. 

Thank you for all of your support this past year!

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for the Decadent Publishing Authors Black Friday Blog Hop
where you can win all kinds of prizes by visiting all the participating authors.

Okay, is it just me, or does that turkey look a bit alien? LOL

Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I'm pleased to have Gracen Miller reveal her latest cover to her Road to Hell series here on Backward Momentum. Please give a great bit welcome to Gracen, and check out this beautiful cover. They don't get any better than this, folks.

Genesis Queen Blurb (book 3 Road to Hell series):

Victory is hollow when fate maneuvers one as a pawn.
Madison’s mission is complete. Nix is rescued from Hell and her son safe from his dark destiny. But in the safe harbor of Nix’s love, her demonic husband warns of a murderous plot. Can she trust that it’s the truth and not another scheme to claim her for Hell’s throne?

Sometimes internal struggles can house our biggest demons. 

With allies divided and prophecy heralding defeat, Madison gambles on Micah’s tenuous honor to keep their son protected. Torn between her heart’s desires and her dark requirements, Madison worries her hellish fate cannot be avoided. When betrayal comes from an unlikely direction, all their futures may be damned. In the darkest hour of Madison’s life, an undeniable providence will transpire. Who can she trust? And how far will she fall to defeat her foes? 

Amid the rubble of defeat will Hell’s Genesis Queen dawn?

Previous books in the Road to Hell Series:

"Pandora's Box"

Book 1 in ROAD TO HELL series



Praise for Pandora’s Box

Gracen Miller has definitely added spice and intrigue in to a genre that can somewhat be monotonous with the same story lines about demons, angels, succubi, and other paranormal creatures.”

~ Kathryn Grimes, Tsk Tsk What to Read

"Hell's Phoenix"

Book 2 in ROAD TO HELL series


Praise for Hell’s Phoenix

It blows J.R. Ward out of the water!”

~ Dawn Hagan, I Love Books


About the Author

Gracen is a small town girl who was transplanted to the big city almost ten years ago. She describes herself as a hopeless daydreamer masquerading as a “normal” person in Southern society. When not writing, she’s a full-time basketball/football/guitar mom for her two sons and a devoted wife to her real-life hero-husband. She’s addicted to writing, paranormal romance novels and movies, Alabama football and coffee…addictions are not necessarily in order of priority. She is convinced coffee is nectar from the gods and blending coffee and writing generates the perfect creative merger. Many of her stories are spawned from these coffee highs. To learn more about Gracen and her writing or to leave her a comment, visit her website at


Where you can stalk me—not really!—but I would love to meet and interact with you:



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Win a Nook & more this month from Decadent Publishing!

Today begins the Give a Reader a Reader Blog Hop. You can WIN a Nook loaded with 45 ebooks for a friend, plus 45 ebooks for yourself!

There are a few science fiction romance titles amongst the 45 ebooks you can win:
An Unexpected Return by Jessica E. Subject
Courtesan Boot Camp by D.L. Jackson
Contagion by Graylin Fox
Absinthe Forever by Azura Ice
Mile Below Peep Show by Nishi Serrano
Plus may other fabulous titles!!

So, hop on over to the Decadent Publishing blog to enter, then follow along everyday for more chances to WIN. And the blog tour stops here on the last day, December 15.

AND the Decadent Publishing Authors Black Friday Hop is on November 23, 2012. Each participating author will be hosting a giveaway on their blog. Prizes include print books, ebooks, gift certificates, swag, and more. More information here. See you then!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Coming Home, a Military Love Story

I'm participating in the Veterans Day blog hop and I'll be giving away a tee-shirt (open to US residents only) (M/L/XL)  and an e-copy of Cinderella Wore Combat Boots (Open to all). I hope you'll stop by and help me salute our Vets. Leave a comment on the post Sunday through Wednesday, and you'll be entered to win. It's that easy.

Click to Visit Other Posts
I've had people ask why I write military romance, and why I often incorporate it in my other genres. My anwser will always be the same. I've been there. I'm a female veteran and the military is a big part of my life, past future and present.

In my popular 1 NightStand novella, Cinderella Wore Combat Boots, I decided to write a story about change, but I  also wanted to tell a story about the military brother and sisterhood, a bond that you have to experience to truly understand, something that I love to share. So....

When asked to write about military romance for this Veterans Day, I had to go back to my past. My military romance started nearly twenty-three years ago, when I met my husband. We were both in the Army and stationed at Ft Drum, NY.  I believe things happen for a reason. My romance wasn't an easy one. Months into my love affair, I was pregnant, and had orders to deploy to the Gulf 45 days after I gave birth. At the time, my husband was already deployed to the Gulf. I spent my Christmas alone, with letters home from my soldier to keep me warm.

The Gulf War ended two weeks before I gave birth. My husband was sent home with the advance party, barely making it back in time to see his son born. I remember our reunion, a parking lot out front of the barracks at zero one hundred hours. It's so different now than when I was in. There were no crowds, three or four vehicles with family members. When my husband climbed out of the back of that five ton, emotions crashed in around me. Here he was, home safely after so many months. I can not describe the way I felt in that moment, but I can show you in the face of my daughter-in-law when my son, the one I carried at my husband's homecoming, came home from his deployment in Afghanistan. It speaks of the way I felt, better than I ever could.

Now, she hates this picture. Sorry, Cate, but I love it. The tears, the red face. But you know the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, if that is this case, this one is a novel. Before I post it though, I want to tell you a bit about Cate's story and take you to the point this photo was taken.

Cate and James had just met before he went to boot camp. In true Jackson Fashion, and I don't know why this seems to happen every time, but when someone in our family goes into the military, someone gets pregnant. The tradition started with my mother-in-law the Marine, who gave birth to my husband, to my pregnancy with my oldest son, to my daughter-in-law Cate, to my youngest son's girlfriend of over three years, who is now carrying my second grandchild. Yes, I can honestly say I've been there, done that. I can honestly say I know what my boy's sweethearts are and have gone through.

Getting back to Cate's story. Cate moved in with us for her pregnancy to save some money for the baby's arrival, but also to feel secure while James was away. It's hard being alone and pregnant while your guy is called to duty. Because of this, I saw a military romance as it bloomed. Unlike my own letters home that I still have, Cate was able to Skype and talk on the phone to my son. When he was deployed a few months after his daughters birth, she could face to face chat on the computer, something I never had, and to be truthful, made me a bit envious. But she still didn't get to see him often, and the separation between them was hard to witness.

Again, I know how this is and I'm eternally grateful I was able to help her through this difficult time because of my own experiences. Still, as the days went by, Cate grew blue. Her baby daughter kept her busy, but she was missing something in her life. Being held. Knowing the man she loved was safe beside her when the world seemed to be falling apart. Oh, how I knew that feeling.

As a veteran, I understand the deep commitment to country, and your brother and sisters in arms. You are a family, you want to be there with them, to help watch their backs. You train together, fight together, and yes sometimes during those deployments, your friends and members of your military family, are killed in combat. My son is infantry, and front line. He sees heavy combat. A lot of it.

At home, when a Marine was killed, the phone would ring, and a message would go out, initiating a phone support chain. They never said who, we only knew that one of the Marines was killed when that message played. We'd scramble for the computer, desperate to know who, even though we knew if it were our loved one, we would have already been notified. Still, we had this horrible sinking feeling, this gut-wrenching pain that somewhere out there a family mourned a great loss.

Several times during those long months that phone would ring and that message would play. When the day came for their return, I can not tell you the storm of emotion that surrounded us. Joy, pain, sadness, all wrapped up in this ball, ready to explode.

The day James came home from his last deployment was hot. The outside temperature was 106 and humid. We stood in the heat for six hours waiting for the buses to pull up, talking to other families, walking around nervous, on pins and needles. We set up awnings and chairs. Unpacked our coolers and chatted with the other families, anything to settle our nerves.

It was during one of these chats I met an extraordinary woman, the mother of a fallen Marine. I did not know it at the time, but they call them members of the Gold Star Sisterhood and Families. She'd traveled halfway across the country to the homecoming knowing her son would not be climbing off that bus. When I asked her why, she simply said, "I needed to see the other sons come home safely." The strength. The courage. I can not imagine what it took to be there for this event and watch them step off that bus.

In yet another spot, a young Marine waited for his brothers to come home. He sat silently in a wheel chair, both his legs and one arm completely gone. The trip had been painful for him I'd been told, but there was no place he'd rather have been.

So, by the time the buses were spotted, the crowd was in a frenzy, barely contained. As the buses drove around the barracks and pulled up in front of us, this picture of Cate was snapped.
This girl loves her Marine.

So, this Veterans Day I celebrate a lot of things. My time served in the Army, my husband's service and our family's, going back to WWII. I salute my sons while they currently serve, and my oldest as he gets ready to deploy again.

Thank you heroes, past, future and present. God bless our military and their families, and preserve the love that keeps them going. It is love like this, that holds us together and makes this country strong.

To learn more about my books, please stop by my website and visit the Book Store. Click on the covers to be taken to the buy links.
Unusual Worlds You Want to Get Lost In.

In closing I'd like to thank all Veterans for their service, for keeping our country free and safe from enemies foreign and domestic.

Hu-ah and Oorah!

D L Jackson

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Video Trailers - What do you think?

With the rise of social networking, authors have resorted to many different ways to promote their books, one of them being video trailers to give an inside peak into their stories. What do you think? Do book trailers influence you to buy a book?

Take a look at these science fiction romance book trailers:

So, tell me, did any of these make you want to go buy the book? What did you like best about the trailers? What would you like to see different?

Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm participating in the Veterans Day blog hop and I'll be giving away a tee-shirt (M/L/XL) of Cinderella Wore Combat Boots and the e-book. I hope you'll stop by and help me salute our Vets. Leave a comment on the post Sunday through Wednesday, and you'll be entered to win. It's that easy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Author Reviews are Called Blurbs

One of the biggest complaints I hear, seems to be coming from readers who are angry writers review books. First, before I jump feet first into this, I need to state that any writer worth their salt, is also an avid reader. It takes a great deal of skill to pen a engaging story, and you have to know what's good and what's not, to do that. That being said, there are some authors out there committing no-no's that are turning readers against authors in general. Let's review a couple of reader's biggest complaints.

Sock puppetry:  An author posing as someone else and posting reviews for their own books or having someone else post their reviews. Unfortunately many good authors, who are giving honest reviews of books, are getting lumped in with these sock puppets. I have stopped posting reviews of books I've loved on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for this reason. I post on my website and on my blogs and I post them as "Author Blurbs". Now this is as much for the author whose book I loved as to protect myself. I know reviews are important, but if you are posting honest reviews,  readers may think you are trying to be sneaky, even when you are not. It might come back on you, and you could find yourself labeled a sock puppet or author behaving badly. This is a choice you have to make, and I'm not saying authors are wrong to post reviews (I appreciate anyone who takes the time to do an honest review), but please be aware of the climate on Amazon and Barnes and Noble right now, in regards to authors doing reviews.

Spamming:  In America, we have been dealing with the political spam now for over a year. If you live in the United States, you can't avoid it. The guilty parties are everywhere, outside work with clipboards (bothering us on our short, supposed to be stress free, lunch hour), in the mall (again while we are out trying to enjoy our day), calling us on our phones, posting on the Internet, emailing, or standing around with signs chanting on every block and intersection. We can't get away from it, and we don't like being told who we should vote for. It's a personal choice.

Now, swap politics for book promo and this is what we have been doing to our readers. Before you get mad, realize that I believe an author must promote their work, but there are ways to do it, and ways not to do it. Blogs, websites, interviews, conferences and book signings, are great ways to get out and meet readers and tell them about what you write. But please stop spamming on social networks with blurb after blurb and excerpt that will chase them away. Much like the political spamming, readers are sick of it. It's a big reason why I've backed off on my social networks. I might post a link to a blog post and tell them what I'm talking about, or if I have a book giveaway, but I also leave the option to visit up to them. Please give them an option. Never force your promo on your readers or they will run.

Under the same topic, I'm going to talk about self promotion and the expectations publishers have of their authors. No one is going to know you write books unless you talk about them. So what can you do to put your work out there? Websites are a big tool in your promotional bag. Here's mine:  Unusual Worlds You Want to Get Lost In.

You should keep it simple, easy to navigate. Post not only your books and excerpts, but every cover you place on that site should have a buy link(s). Click and buy. Make it easy for the readers to find and buy your books. When the readers visit your blog or site, it's because they want to know more about your books. This is the time to shake those tail feathers and promo, promo, promo. One last thing, be sure to tag all your posts. This helps you when readers do searches. The search engines will grab the things with the most tags first and you get placed higher to the top, when you do this. Tag, tag, tag. It's not just for Amazon.

How are you ranking on a search engine? Type your author name in and find out. First page and you're doing good. You're goal is to dominate that first page, be it title or name. Go forth and conquer!

Next, keep your blogs and websites up to date. Up and coming? Have a tab at the top that lists future releases, blurbs and covers if you have them. Projects, sure if you can talk about them, do. Readers love to know what you are working on next. And yes, post your reviews of books you loved. In the literary business, they're called blurbs. Even better, ask authors you admire if they will read your book and give you a blurb for promotional purposes. This is a great way to help fellow authors without pushing readers away or looking like the dreaded sock puppet. A lot of publishers will put these on your covers or inside your e-books. If a reader likes a particular author, they may be inclined to try your book if their favorite author loved it.

I invite fellow authors to ask me to read and blurb. I won't promise I always can, but I will give your request serious consideration and do my best to help you.

Word of mouth is your friend. Make sure what your readers are saying are good things. People are more likely to remember the bad things and talk about them, than the good things. Don't give them bad things to talk about. Be professional whenever you are online and in public. Some readers and reviewers may not like your books, taste is varied, but they will respect you if you remain professional.

So in a nutshell, write a damn good book, then set up shop on a website, post blurbs of books you've loved and help others, talk about your projects, your upcoming releases and keep the site up to date. Visit it at least once a week and change something.

Then start writing your next book. The best seller of a first book, is a second.

Have a Great Weekend!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

What's new with me?

Designed by Zee Monodee
This last week has been super busy with all kinds of things going on. One of them was finishing writing, and getting edited, my short story, LAST MINUTE CUSTOMERS. I wrote it for a Halloween event that I participated in, but I am still offering it as a FREE read on my blog. If you would like to read it (Halloween erotica MFM menage), you can check it out here.

Also, I'm gearing up for the print release of Intergalactic Heat, which is a collection of my 1Night Stand stories with Decadent Publishing. We're hoping to have it out before the end of November.

So, what are you up to this month?

Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.