Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Lost Locket is Back

Good News! The Lost Locket is now available at Fictionwise and All Romance Ebooks. No sign of it yet at Kindle or B&N, but they should be coming soon as well.

A casualty of funding wars and an overzealous Defense Department trying to clean up its reputation after several failed experimental programs, the Psychic Warfare Program (PWP) is scrapped in the throes of its infancy. Its participants are transferred to other defense agencies, but a few decide to leave the government behind, knowing full well their freedom hinges on keeping a low profile and living under the radar.

Life on the outside isn’t easy. Without the constant physical, mental and psychic training they’ve become accustomed to, many of the PWPs best break down, losing control of their abilities and their minds. Returning to Uncle Sam’s open arms seems like their only viable option, until one of their own comes up with an idea that just might work… And the Power Up! Gym is born. Trainers, weights and fitness by day, psychic training and investigative work by night.

Ex-PWP agent Keegan Price likes beer, sex, and relaxing after a hard day’s work. He’s looking forward to exercising his telekinetic skills on a real case. Finding a lost locket seems almost too easy, but hey, it’s a job away from the civilian world. When James Foreman tags along, so much the better. Foreman’s a wiseass who loves a good time, and his ability to manipulate fire with a snap comes in handy. Keegan knows they’re overqualified for this simple retrieval, but he figures he and James have earned a working vacation after spending so many hours in that damned gym. Except the case turns out to be anything but simple. The locket’s a weapon, he and James can’t take their eyes off the woman wearing it, and their spiraling sexual attraction for each other and her makes for one hell of a ride.

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Trade Version: NAMESAKE

Today in the mail I received my trade copies of Namesake, from Ellora's Cave. And my, aren't they pretty!

I love seeing the books go from electronic to print, and it's interesting to note the differences in print books between my publishers. I have books in print with Loose Id, Samhain, Ellora's Cave, and Total E-Bound. Namesake is my first through Ellora's Cave, and I'm impressed. It's niiiccceee. :) Loose Id's and Samhain's are stellar as well. I also like Total E-Bound's trade books, but they're a tad smaller than the normal sized trade. (Not sure if that's because they're an English publisher or not.) Still, this has been a great week. And it's barely Tuesday!

Note: I'll be giving one copy of Namesake to a lucky winner next month, as part of my 50 books-spring into celebration contest. Stay tuned...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Another Monday: The World of Reviews

This is going to be a Raven's Brew, Breakfast Blend week. Light, full bodied, and satisfying. Yum. I'm using my coffee press because my freaking Mr. Coffee broke. Yep. Another year, another coffee maker down the @##!%%& drain. sigh. At least I've got the caffeine jolting my system. Enough to let me cover this interesting topic: REVIEWS.

I'm not talking reviews from review sites, from folks used to reading and commenting on romance and books in general. And I'm not even talking about my books in particular, though I will mention one or two instances that have made me laugh.

If you've ever read Amazon reviews, you'll find the gamut of honest reviews to those from readers with an axe to grind. I recently read a review done for a friend of mine. She received a one star because the reviewer was ticked off at ALL the books she'd been reading with spelling errors. The reviewer went on to say she liked the book, loved the characters and plot, but she didn't like the many typos (which I still couldn't see, and I read the same book) in my friend's book. So one star. I get that this reviewer is tired of poor editing and that she's trying to make a statement, but at my friend's expense? And trust me, after reading it, she poured over the book looking for the typos. She found two, and she's still baffled at the one star.

I've been dinged for stories where a reviewer mentions characters not in the book. Not misspelled character names, but wrong characters completely. I've also read where readers mention they wish the story they'd read was longer than a novella, when the story is in fact a novel, over 60K words. (??) Recently, I had a reader upset with the "surprising" gay content in a Dawn Endeavor book. Yet in the very blurb on Amazon, it clearly states-- Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, male/male sexual practice, ménage (m/f/m), sex while in shifted form.

I'm always fascinated by readers who are angry that the novellas or short stories they buy aren't longer. I'm a reader too, and I buy a lot of books. I don't buy a short story, an Ellora's Cave Quickie or a Lust Bites from TEB, expecting huge character depth, backstory and 300+ pages. I'm not upset when I don't get these things. Yet I see readers time and time again complain about short length, which makes me question, then why buy the book?

Hey, I'm all for a quality story. Sure it's annoying to buy a book, even for a $1.50, and get a story that lacks. But honestly, do you really expect War and Peace in a short story that is barely more than 40 pages long?

And what about scathing reviews? Hateful, mean-spirited commentary on the authors and their books? Perhaps those reviewers feel betrayed that the book they'd hoped to read didn't measure up. I've read more than my share of books that disappointed me, but I haven't trashed the authors. Maybe I'm more sensitive because I'm an author, but I just don't see the point of so much negativity. If I don't like the book, I don't recommend it. If I like it, I tell everyone I know to read this book...

Personally, I don't review a lot of books. So when I do, it's because I'm moved by the material. Which makes me think that even negative reviews must mean that the reviewers were moved--good or bad--by the book in question.

But the real question remains...how many of us buy books based on reviews? I do, depending upon the comments accompanying the review. I think reviews carry weight, and I'm always surprised by people who claim reviews don't mean a thing. I'm not talking about a book by your favorite author, but how about a new author or a new book? Then do reviews count, do you think? Curious...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Cover: STORMING HIS HEART

Wow! Check out the new cover for my Samhain release coming in June. Storming His Heart is a paranormal romantic suspense, part of the Westlake Enterprises series.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chance to Win an Ebook!


Hop on over to Taylor Tryst's blog to have a chance to win a copy of Talson's Wait from Ellora's Cave. I was interviewed, and Taylor's going to pick a winner from those who leave comments. Don't say I didn't let you know...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Battling the Blehs

I don't know if I should blame the weather, blame it on being Monday, or what, but I feel icky.

I have a list of things to do today. Edits, submissions, more edits, and hey, maybe even some writing. But my head aches every time I cough, and I'm still a bit queasy because of Sunday. (I ate too much Saturday night and paid for it dearly all night and part of yesterday.)

It's funny because when I have a schedule I really try to stick to it. I have a lot planned this week, working around a trip to the zoo tomorrow with my 5 yr old--field trip--and an appointment to the dentist later in the week. So I really shouldn't be slacking.

I did plenty of that Friday, when instead of writing, I was playing with Photoshop CS5. And man, is that program friggin' awesome!! But I digress. I'm awake and typing, so that's a plus. Now I'll just have to suck it up, ignore my chest cold, my upset stomach, and my need for caffeine that I'm ignoring, and get to work.

Mondays really do suck.

Friday, March 18, 2011

New in Print:: NAMESAKE

I saw this yesterday on the Ellora's Cave coming soon page but thought I was seeing things. I'm not! NAMESAKE is now available in print. Check it out!

BLURB: In the year 2078, Cross Step, Kansas, is now home to strange portals called Voids. Norms (normal people) and Voiders (those who came through the Voids) all live together, segregated from the rest of the world.

Vicki is a Conduit, a human with the psychic ability to tap into the energy around her. A mistake at a bar puts her under the scrutiny of one very hungry Ravager pack, werewolf-like Voiders who like what they see.

Eric isn’t just any Ravager, he’s Prime, the king of his clan. He takes what he wants, when he wants it—and he wants Vicki. It’ll take more than her sneaking, conniving and seductive ways to dissuade his interest. Because in Vicki, Eric and his packmates have something much more precious than a rare queen…they have a woman to love forever.

To read more, click here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Update on E-Sales re: Enjoying the Show

Last May, I blogged about the realities of what you can make writing (romance) for electronic publishers. I filed my taxes in 2010, claiming a little over $38000 in income for the year. My biggest seller to date, then, was a novella I wrote for Samhain back in 2007 entitled, Enjoying the Show.

So I thought I'd update. With Kindle and Nook now garnering huge sales, it makes a very large difference to a writer like myself, who makes a living primarily selling ebooks. To date, I have nearly 50 titles through Amber Quill, Ellora's Cave, Loose Id, Samhain, Total E-Bound, Whispers, and in April, Carina Press. I also have over 20 books in print, or a few less, if you consider some of them are no longer available from the publisher.

I write for smaller presses and make most of my money from electronic sales. But lately, I've been seeing a real boost in royalties thanks to Amazon.

Here's a new breakdown of my Enjoying the Show royatlies...
This is what I wrote back in May of last year about the book on my post, Just How Much Money Can You Make Writing Ebooks?:
I submitted the story, was rejected, made the improvements suggested (thank you, Laurie), and received a contract from Samhain in January 2007. The book released from Samhain nearly a year later, in December 2007. It’s a vanilla, m/f contemporary romance with an awesome cover. The novella cost $3.50.

In 2008 (to include my Dec 2007 take), I grossed: $3670 and sold 2672 copies.

In 2009 I earned: $3901 and sold 2790 copies

And so far, in 2010, I have grossed: $1496 and sold 1069 copies.

In total, just from this one book, I have made $9067. Now, that’s over the course of two and a half years, but that’s not bad for one novella, especially since if folks like it, they might go back and purchase my other books, all of which are still listed and available through all my publishers
Today, I have new figures. To date, I have sold a total of 16,132 copies of Enjoying the Show. The book has been on Amazon's Top 100 Paid Contemporary Romance books and kindle books for months, though is showing some decline lately. But to this point, all in all, I've grossed $22,584.80 for my novella which came out in 2007. I get a royalty check every month from my publisher, who's seeing a nice return on a fun novella that came out over three years ago. A win-win, for all concerned.

So why share this nugget of detail? Because I think now, more than ever, ebooks sales are booming. It's still vital to have a good story, a decent price point, and edits (yes, EDITS), but the overall thought that if you aren't New York published you aren't a real writer has gone to the wayside. Granted, I'd still like to branch into the big leagues of print publishing, but I don't intend to stop writing while I'm waiting for lightning to strike. :) And I'm happy to say I was taxed substantially more this year than last, but I was smart enough to pay quarterly through 2010, so it hasn't hit me as hard.

With ebooks on the rise, writing for a living becomes more of a possibility for those willing to invest long hours and continual hard work. FYI, and one to grow on. If you have writing questions about anything I've written, I'd be happy to answer them. Just shoot me an email at marie_harte@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Getting To Work

Granted, I'm not driving anywhere, but I do try to start my day off right. A walk around the block, which is a mile and a half, just to get my blood pumping. Then a quick breakfast, where I finish by making my daily pot of coffee.

When my schedule is off, I'm off. Today it's a bit chilly and foggy outside, and I just don't feel like walking. Yesterday I was exhausted and slept an extra two hours. And yeah, my production was way off for a Tuesday.

Today I have an agenda. And it's to finish Talson's Test so I can get to my other--languishing--Cougar Falls story. But a sneaky, sly part of me keeps urging me to return to my bed, to get just a tiny catnap and recharge my creative juices. The BS flag rises in protest. I can't catnap. Nope. A "tiny" nap will turn into sleeping the morning away, and I just don't have time to do it, no matter how much I might wish I could.

Sometimes commuters have it best. Having to work away from home takes you away from temptation. My bed is calling to me. A doughnut is calling to me. The Internet is calling to me. But I'm NOT going to cave. Not until I've finished writing my story. Then I might reward myself with a nap. If I get done before my kids come home from school. Sigh. No rest for the weary.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday...It's Back

Feeling it all over again. But at least I'm somewhat focused today. Unfortunately, I haven't started writing yet, and it's nearly 11:30 in the morning.

My office was a mess. I've since piled up my to-be-filed stack, recycled old magazines and newspapers, thrown out a ton of crap, swept the monstrous balls of dust, lint and doghair from my floor, and have made myself a nice pot of Wicked Wolf. (That's my coffee presently.)

This past weekend I organized my releases planned for 2011 and 2012. And boy, I didn't realize I was supposed to be so busy! haha But I do think this year is one of the last I'll be reissuing older material.

Today I'm working on Talson's Test, the second in my Talson Temptations series for Ellora's Cave. Stupid me thought I'd just revise this previously released title, since this was an 11K word book when I originally wrote it. Wrong. I'm redoing the whole thing again, because it really needs it. Same concepts, just better, cleaner writing. Whew.

Now back to work, not throwing away trash and dusting, but actually WRITING.

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Today I'm at Here Be Magic


Come on over to Here Be Magic to see some hot pictures of cowboys and Western landscapes. And I'll tell you Why I Lean West.

:) Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm Not Your Daddy, Dammit

Ever had one of those songs embedded in your mind? My kids have been chanting this for days, and finally I just couldn't take it anymore. So I looked it up, and this is what I found for their inspiration.



Geico is just killing me. I'm trying to edit and write, and all I can hear is, "I'm not your daddy, I'm your grandpa... whoop whoop." ARGH.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New Cover: JOURNEYMAN'S RIDE

I've been wanting to share this one for a while, but there were a few adjustments to be made. Now I'm happy to show off my cover for my debut Carina release which comes out April 25th, during Carina's Steampunk Week. Hold on, there are a lot of descriptions for this book. It's an erotic, steampunk, western, romance. And it's a novella. Whew. Anyway, here it is.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Took the Plunge

I did it. I plunked down some cashola this morning at the Augusta State bookstore and purchased Adobe Photoshop CS5. Man, I am SO excited about this software. I'm taking a class at the university, a test to see if I can handle Photoshop. I'd like to be able to manage my pictures and perhaps get creative making my own covers--a few projects in mind for the future. In just three classes I'm in love. So this morning, I got off my duff and purchased the program. Expensive, yes, but better to buy as a student than the full friggin' price.

That's been my morning so far. That and doing some writing administrative details. A cover and blurb request, polishing the rough for another story, and staring balefully at the folder containing documentation for tax year 2010. sigh. I'm going to have to finish that before the government comes calling. bleh. Happy Tuesday.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Rainbow Studio Spotlight


I'm up at TRS Rainbow Studio for the month of March, I think... Anyway, they did a small interview and spotlight on Wolf Wanted, a m/m shapeshifter romance I wrote for Total E-Bound. So check it out...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Funny for Sunday

A friend of mine sent me this. Too funny. Thought I'd share.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Killer Friday


Killer writing day! I feel like her, this lady to my left, right now. It won't last, but hey, I gotta have some enjoyment in life. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Just for Fun

This has nothing to do with anything, but I laughed out loud seeing it. This is why you shouldn't overindulge near police OR cameras. hahaha


video

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Release: TALSON'S WAIT

Domineering, dangerous, and downright huge, Roarke Talson owns Jamie for the next three years. It’s 2109, and the government has found a way to deal with the national debt. Indentured service. She might have been duped into debt, but she’s not stupid. Jamie made sure to put a no-sex clause in her contract. There’s just one problem. She can’t stop thinking about her boss. Sexy and commanding, he’s the face of her ultimate fantasy, and a nightmare employer. She’s met every challenge he’s thrown at her and refuses to drop, no matter how hard he works her.

When Jamie does the wrong thing for the right reason, she assumes Talson will throw her in jail and not think twice. In an effort to escape, she ambushes him and flees, but not before taking a kiss and a bit more from the man.

She hadn’t counted on him getting free so quickly, that he might be half alien, or that he’d hunt her down with more than vengeance on his mind.


Now available from Ellora's Cave.