Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Genre Hopping

We all have certain genres we like to read. And certain genres we like to write. Sometimes those are the same and sometimes they're different. Just because I like to read first person POV New Adult books once in a while doesn't mean I'm writing them.

Which brings me to my Question of the Day:

Can an author write in different genres under the same author name? or does that confuse readers?

Some authors use two different names - like Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb. Same author, different genres.

Or Bella Andre and Lucy Kevin. Same author, one spicy and one sweet. In fact, with some of the stories, Andre gives us the same version with one "cleaned up" and one with all the "naughty bits." Something to please every romance reader.

Stephanie Meyer was a huge success with her TWILIGHT series - but her adult book HOST, which she penned under her same name, was castigated right and left. (I actually read all her books when they each first came out, yes in hard cover, and liked them, including HOST.)

J.K. Rowling made a fortune on the Harry Potter series, but again, when she tried to break into adult fiction with A CASUAL VACANCY, readers rebelled. She's since written a critically acclaimed detective series for adults, but under another name - Robert Galbraith.

But then there's Carl Hiasson - he writes quirky fiction for both teens and adults, both under his one and only name. The same guy who delights middle school readers with HOOT, a story of triumphing over bullies, also writes stories like SKINNY DIP, where a bale of Jamaican weed figures prominently into the plot.

Dave Barry writes decidedly adult humor in his columns and books, but also co-wrote the PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS series for young teens.

So is it only men that can get away with genre hopping?

The question has come up a lot lately for me because I write romance AND young adult. Is that confusing, or should a reader be able to read the blurb and know what the story is about and whether they'll enjoy it? Similar to sweet versus spicy romance - another author was recently laughing about a bad review she received because there was *gasp* sex in her romance novel. Really? I've received a few of those myself - but now I wonder if it's my own fault for muddying the waters.

I'm really interested in what other authors think about this.

I know tomorrow is the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., but if you've got a minute, chime in.

Happy Writing - and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Monday Book Review: Breaching His Defenses, by Allyson Lindt

Breaching His Defenses: A #GeekLove Contemporary Romance (Love Hack Book 1)
by Allyson Lindt
Published February 2015 by Acelette Press

About the Book:
What happens in Vegas… can break hearts and destroy careers.

Years ago, heartbreak corrupted Jared Tippins’s outlook on love. He spun the betrayal into a rapid climb up the corporate ladder, and swore off any relationship with a morning after. Luckily, the playful siren who rescues him from singing a duet alone in a karaoke bar doesn’t want anything long term. If only he could stop fantasizing about ways to make her moan. Sure, she could’ve mentioned he works for the competition. At least she’s not behind the security concerns that have plagued his company for almost six months.

If she were, he’d be screwed on a whole new level.

Mikki Elford is determined to have the fun she missed out on when she fast-tracked her way through college. But school had its upside, too. She’s qualified to legally hack corporate networks. Best job ever. She also gained an appreciation for the legends in computing — Gates, Jobs, and Tippins. When she meets Jared Tippins and realizes he’s sexy and fluent in programming languages older than she is, no consequence will dissuade her from an impromptu fling. Fortunately, he doesn’t mind that six months ago she compromised his network to land her job.

Oh, crap. He doesn't know.

My Take:

My day job includes tech writing about encryption and computer security, so when I figured in the first few pages that this was going to remind me of work, I almost put it down like a hot potato.

I'm glad I didn't.

Fun and fast-paced, Allyson Lindt knows her way around both contemporary romance and the high tech world she's writing about. Her characters are both believable and sympathetic, and the sex scenes are sizzling. The Las Vegas setting is not well utilized, serving more as an it-could-be-anywhere backdrop for the tech convention to be held, and although she tries to add touches of place when the characters walk around town, it fell a little flat if only because I've been to Vegas and the setting didn't feel true.

Luckily, most of the action happens inside the convention center and their hotel rooms, which are interchangeably ubiquitous. Written in alternating he said/she said third person POVs, the character interactions and conversations are well written and spot on, and the sex scenes sizzle. The main conflict is an event that happened six months prior to the start of the story, and the main characters have totally different understandings of the issue. As in, Jared has no idea that Mikki hacked his company's security during an interview for a rival tech company.

The author makes the story accessible to all but adding little touches and inside nods to her techie readers that slip by the average reader (thus, the "insider" nature, I guess.) (i.e. the reference to dreaming in two hundred and fifty six bytes) (which stuck with me because I got it. I'm sure I didn't get all of it, which almost makes me want to go back and read it again.)

Fast paced, I started and finished this book Saturday, and almost clicked back to Amazon to buy the second book in the series so I could keep reading these characters. Alas, feeding the family won out over reading a second book, but I would definitely read more from this author.

Grab the first book in this series on AMAZON.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Book Launch Parties

So... my next Young Adult mermaid book releases next month, and I'm all about trying to prepare for the launch. Yeah, I know I'm not great at promo - it's on my list of resolutions for next year, but the book comes out December 15 so I need to institute some of this NOW.

We all know that WRITING and reaching "THE END" are only the beginning of the publishing process. The book launch party is not quite the "real" end but it is a celebration of getting your book baby from conception to its first public appearance.

* Cue the champagne! *

Even a YA book deserves a little bubbly, but I'm thinking it should probably be sparkling cider at the launch party instead of actual alcohol. At least for the readers under 21.

For the launch of the first mermaid book, I held more than one launch party (I was pretty excited to be a new author!) I held the first one over Memorial Day weekend at an indie bookshop on Main Street in Chatham. My sister the chef provided mini cupcakes and my entire extended family came from as far away as Colorado. (well, they were in town anyway.) All the cousins each got a copy...
I had a few other "book launch" parties that summer at various locations around the Cape (Harwich, Hyannis, Provincetown, Brewster, Dennis....) Like I said, really excited.

This time around, I'm trying to be more realistic, as well as realizing there are fewer people on Cape Cod this time of year, so I'll probably sell more online than in person.  I did schedule a "party" at a local indie bookstore in Orleans, and asked about bringing food/treats into the store.  My YA publisher, who is also an author, will be coming with me and signing her own YA series as well.

7 Party Essentials:
1. Copies of the New Book 
2. Copies of Other Books in Series (if it's a series, which mine is)
3. Tablecloths, table decorations that fit story theme (so for me it's mermaids)
4. Postcards, rack card, bookmarks... something for readers to take with them that has your name and book cover on it... even if they don't buy book. Especially if you also have ebooks available online.
5. Candy, pens, some kind of little giveaway to draw in passersby. (good ideas welcome...)
6. A favorite pen to sign with
7. Your smile.
But now that I've been at this awhile and done lots of booksignings at various locations over the last 5 years, I'm wondering how to make this more EXCITING. What sets a Launch Party apart from a regular book signing?

I know a lot of authors stick with Facebook and Twitter launch parties these days - I've participated in several, including for Hunks to the Rescue, and while it can be fun, I also like the hands on visceral experience of being there IN PERSON with readers.

Have you held physical in-person launch parties for the public? What have you done that's different, exciting or drew new readers? Or do you swear by the online variety, because it makes more sales for less investment of actual promotional dollars?

Would love to get some new ideas and conversations going - the holidays are coming up and even if your book isn't brand new, hosting a book signing party might be a fun way to get out there in your community and boost your sales and your author profile.

Happy Writing - and Party-ing - to All!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday Book Review: Going Down Easy, by Carly Phillips

Going Down Easy, Billionaire Bad Boys Book One, by Carly Phillips
Published by CP Publishing, July 2016

About the Book:
Meet Kaden Barnes.

Alpha-licious in the most unexpected ways, Kaden Barnes always gets what he wants.

Enigmatic and exacting, he's unable to keep an assistant for long. Until Lexie Parker arrives. She's no-nonsense, efficient and all business… She’s also hot as sin and soon starring in Kaden's dirtiest fantasies.

When their passion for each other reaches a boiling point, Kaden may think he’s calling the shots, but for this billionaire bad boy, going down easy has never felt so good.

My Take:

Carly Phillips is a master at sexy, steamy contemporary romance, writing series after series of alpha males and the strong women who love them, tantalizing readers for over a decade. I've been reading her books for years, and she is one prolific writer, with over 50 contemporary romances to her credit as well as the monikers of both USA Today and NYT Bestselling author. After starting her career being traditionally published, she made the leap to indie pubbing her own work, which means she's able to put out many more books each year and keep her price points low.

While some of her books are more sex than storyline, this was a really great read, with a strong heroine whose largest problem is not an ex but a bipolar twin sister - talk about a unique twist! Going Down Easy is the first of a 4-book series set in the high tech world, with corporate espionage mixed in with the sizzling sex scenes. Unlike many of her other book series (The Wild Boys, The Dare Boys) these are not intertwined stories of brothers from a big family but rather four college friends who came up with an idea and worked hard to bring it to fruition and hit the big time.

Kaden Barnes and his three best friends came up with a killer app that "changed the face of social media" and are about to take their company public, but there are complications. Kaden may be a tech genius, but he's also demanding and hard to work for, hiding his anxiety and ADHD behind a gruff exterior and scaring away his last three PAs.

Lexie really needs this job, having lost her last few because of her sister's mental health issues, and having gotten this one because her dad is one of the company's financial investors. She's not about to let Kaden run her off with his bossy behavior and exacting demands about how hot his coffee should be or how his desk should be properly arranged, or how many slices of avocado should be on his sandwich. She's well versed in caring for those with mental health issues, with a depressed mother and bi-polar twin, and realizes her new boss has issues but is able to work with and around those issues, surprising the hell out of Kaden.

Things heat up quickly, as they often do in a romance novel, but it never feels forced or untrue. As I said at the beginning, Carly Phillips is a master of this genre. Well paced, well plotted and steamy as hell, this is a satisfying contemporary romance with just enough intrigue in the plot to keep the pages turning fast.

Grab your copy on AMAZON.