Tuesday, April 30, 2013

End of Night - The Journey Ends

It began with tragedy.

Continued with rebirth.

Intensified with an uncovered past.

How will it all end?

The wait is almost over!  
Storm Sullivan's epic journey comes to an end tomorrow with the release of 


I am thrilled to reveal the stunning new cover created by the brilliant and fabulously talented, 
Tammie Clarke Gibbs.

And, a teaser excerpt.....


Beep, Beep, Beep.

Storm groaned and rolled over, right into PacMan’s back.  “PacMan, you bad boy.”  She halfheartedly mumbled the reprimand and attempted to push his body to no avail.  “Fine.  Be that way.”  Slapping the snooze button to silence the alarm, Storm draped an arm over her dog and snuggled into the short soft fur, relishing the gentle rise and fall of his chest. 

Beep, Beep, Beep.

PacMan snorted and licked Storm’s face.  “Alright,alright, I’m getting up.  I don’t know why you’re so put out, you get to lay around in bed all day.”  Pushing off the bed, Storm reached down and flipped the alarm to off before breaking into a yawning stretch that was highlighted with a serious of soft cracks and pops as her spine realigned.   For a second, Storm swore she heard a baby crying and paused at its closeness.  She mentally chastised herself and shrugged.  Must be the neighbors.  The apartment walls were paper thin after all. 

Stepping into the shower, Storm stood for several minutes under the steaming hot water, washing away the grime from the day before and the vague discomfort following the vision she’d had.  The vision.  It was an ugly one and somewhat painful if truth be told.  She’d made the call to the precinct from her disposable cell and hoped they been able to nab the sicko in time.  Part of her wanted to call Dan and Shane to ask about it but then they would wonder how she knew.  Every time Storm had the same internal argument but ultimately did the right thing and waited for the news story.  She rinsed off and stepped out, wrapping herself in a worn bath towel.  PacMan sat in the doorway of the bathroom staring at her in his usual concerned way.  Storm called him a worry wart because he always appeared to be frowning in concern. 

“I think I talk to you too much, boy.”  Storm turned from her dog and wiped off the mirror.  A man’s face looked back at her.  She blinked, rubbed her eyes and wiped at the mirror again but only saw her own reflection.  “Yes, definitely.  I am losing it.”  Storm grumbled to herself and went about methodically combing the tangles from her hair before neatly plaiting it.  With the towel secured tightly around her body she slipped back into the bedroom and flipped the television on to the morning news.  Sifting through her wardrobe, Storm half listened to the weather and traffic.  By the time the main anchor re-took the screen she’d slipped into a pair of black pin-striped pants and her least ratty white lace camisole.  The story Storm had been waiting for came on just as she was slipping into her emerald green satin blouse.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Working with Professionals in the Publishing Industry

As a self-published author, I've worked with many different caliber people in my industry.  With Romance Book Club, I wanted to make sure it had the best possible debut I could give, so I made some huge decisions.  I have to give credit to my husband for those decisions, because he made a point I just couldn't disagree with.  If you are trying to market something to the public why would you work with people that aren't professionals in their field?  My husband works in the automotive industry, so while he has very little understanding of the publishing world, he's considered a leader in his area of expertise.  That area requires him to made advertising decisions, and financial ones that affect his company, so when he speaks about business I listen.

When he offered to back this project, I knew exactly what I wanted to do if I had the ability to put my book out in the best possibly light.  I hired a professional editor, cover designer, and decided that if I wanted to give the public a product they would be proud to buy, then I needed to have things done by people who knew what they were doing.  After the fiasco with the last series I wrote, there was one thing that stood out clear in my mind.  If I had better prepared, worked with people that do this for a living, instead of a hobby, I would still be selling those works.  The bitterness I had over that situation melted away when that realization hit home.

As an author, you can do things the cheap, easy way, or you can invest time and money and put contracts in place that protect your work.  Writing a book is a labor of love, being smart in your business decisions is just  common sense.  I realize that not everyone has someone willing to back their project, and believe me when I say I know how blessed I am to be afforded that opportunity.  If you can't hire the pro's then at least protect yourself legally with contracts.  Any person not willing to sign a contract stating that the work they are taking on is completely owned by you, is a person I would walk away from and never consider working with in the future.  

Working with a professional editor is an experience that will change your entire attitude about writing.  Having a professional critique of your manuscript is worth it's weight in gold.  It might hurt your feelings, but you discover where you screw up in your writing efforts, and it helps you fix those problems before a book goes to print.  Learning the industry tricks of the trade from those critiques can't even have a price tag put on it!  

I wish you nothing but luck in your career as an author, and hope that my reading friends of Crimson forgive me for talking shop on the blog today!  We'll get back to the fun stuff now!

Eric Northman you will always be "MY" true Love!

For the last twelve years I've loved this man, and called him my fantasy book lover.  Don't judge me I can have a fake book boyfriend if I want one *grins*  My heart was shattered after some person from another country decided to give away the ending to a book that has felt like family since 2001.  This was almost like losing a lover, not that I would know since I'm happily married *giving my sweet innocent face*, but you get the emotion I'm trying to define.

Yesterday I wanted to tear down a sign at one of the book shops that announced the arrival of this book that broke my heart.  As if I weren't already dealing with the issue of not having this series end up where I wanted, I had to stare at that HUGE poster announcing the arrival of the book.  I can only refer to the emotion as PSED (Post Traumatic Eric Disorder).  It took me hours to not feel like crying my eyes out (yes I get emotional over the characters I love), and then a few more hours to come to some rational decisions that needed to be made so I could put this loss behind me.

On the one hand, Harris didn't deserve to have her book leaked to the US before the sell date.  As an author I would be furious if something of this nature occurred.  On the other I wasn't very happy with where she went with the story, so I couldn't feel much sympathy at the time.  Then I had to make myself rethink the reason I was so upset, and I came to a conclusion.  Eric belongs with me, at least in my dreams so him belonging to someone else, well that just isn't going to work.  Even in my dreams I don't like to share, so some blonde waitress didn't deserve to have my dream lover *grins*.

That being said Eric is mine and Sookie can go jump off a cliff, or play with the dogs, she doesn't deserve a viking God like him anyway.  I think I said he was mine back in 2009, obviously I knew what I was talking about!  Using this mind set I can forgive Harris for breaking my heart, because at least in dreams the gorgeous vampire is still available.  I won't give spoilers but that other thing in his life... she can go jump right off the cliff with Sookie!

Now I know this all sounds a little fanatic, and before you tell me I need to seek mental help for my obsession, let me just fill you in on some simple truths.  I have a husband and five kids that I love with all my heart.  Eric is not a real person and while I enjoy fantasizing about being the first lady of Area 5, I'm not sure me turning Vamp would go along with my image *grinning*.  The one thing Harris managed to accomplish was creating an emotional bond between me and her characters.  That is something any author can only hope to do.  So kudos Harris, and I even forgive you for the tears!

Eric Northman you will always be my true love, so don't worry about the blonde bimbo, she never knew what a good thing she had!  And considering that I'm in a generous mood today, I'm sure me and the millions of fans that love you can make you forget she ever existed.  By the way if you ever feel the need to sneak back into my dreams again, I'll leave the window open!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Looking back on Tears of Crimson - #SampleSaturday

Proud to be a supporter of the Virtual Ebook Fair Hosted by Tammie Clarke Gibbs

Looking Back on Tears of Crimson

Surrender to the night with the incredible vampire love story of Rafe and Cara, New Orleans Style

By:  Michelle Hughes

The book behind Tears of Crimson
Originally Released June 9, 2009

What was he thinking?  Normally he would have just sent someone like her away. If he allowed himself to rationalize his decision for giving her this job, he would have kicked her out of his club faster than normal.  For reasons he cared not to delve into, he wanted this girl here and it had nothing to do with the fact that she would make a controllable employee. She had this charming innocence that surrounded her and it was compelling to a monster like him. 

Interviewing for a job in a vampire bar was insane.  She was barely old enough to drink, and the things that went on at Tears of Crimson terrified her,  but there was just something about this man. Her mind told her to run but the thought of leaving him, it physically made her heart ache.  Then she looked into those eyes....

She should have listened to her instincts.  He read her mind, the demon in him roared in pleasure.  She would be his!  The scent of her blood combined with the awakening desire of an innocent, there was no way he could refuse the beast.  Run little girl, the last remnants of his humanity wanted to scream. Forcing her out of his club that night had taken every ounce of restraint he had left.  

The way he had looked at her was almost primal.  Her heart raced as she drove back to her small apartment.  Longing filled her in a terrifying capacity, it was like nothing she'd known in her entire twenty-one years of life. Sleep didn't dim the need, instead he came to her in dreams showing her a passion that could only have been born from the demons of hell.

New Orleans at night hides secrets down every alley.  Welcome to Tears of Crimson, the New Orleans Vampire Bar.

It's still hard to believe it's been four years since the original release of Tears of Crimson. The title has changed, the book has went through major updates, and still it resonates in my heart as my first love.  Rafe will always be my first love, and Cara is more a part of me than anyone will probably ever know.  Even several books later, the love story that is found within the pages still haunts me in dreams.  Currently I'm considering having the books redone with a professional editor or possibly even doing a complete rewrite.  There's still one book left to complete as well, so the possibilities are endless.  I've put off ending this story that speak louder to my heart than any other for long enough.

 Keep up with Michelle Hughes

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Escape - Hot Air Ballooning in Temecula Wine Country

We've been focusing on very active Friday Escapes and this week we wanted to explore something a little different.  Imagine flying high above the ground,  and enjoying the incredible beauty of the scenery all from a private hot air balloon tour.  If you've yet to experience this thrill, it's a treat that you must indulge yourself in at least once in your lifetime.  We're focusing on Temecula, California because the scenery is just so breathtaking it's a must see.  A Grape Escape Adventure has everything you need to journey into this amazing Friday Escape Destination!

The Flights are 60-75 minutes, and when you find the ground once again, you celebrate your landing with orange juice and champagne! If you schedule your trip from May 31st- June 2nd, you can also experience the Temecula Valley Wine and Balloon festival, making it an even more spectacular get away.  There's nothing quite like it!

Lodging for your stay can be found in great resorts or quaint bed and breakfast inns, depending on your preference.  Outside of the great balloon adventure, there are activities to keep you entertained such as bike trails, golfing, wine tours, musical concerts, and so much more you'll want to extend your trip.  You can get a list of events happening in the area for your vacation time here.

Book Your Accommodations by Clicking the Photo Above or..

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Behind the Book with Karen Vance Hammond #WW

  Karen Vance Hammond

When did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

The very first time I realized I wanted to be an author is when I started writing Shoe Marks a paranormal inspired by true events that took place in Texas. When I sat down to write the incredibly true story that is when I knew that writing and creating novels is my calling.

Tell us about your life when you're not writing?

 My life is not any different from any other mother. I play taxi driver, cook, boo-boo kisser, dry tears and of course try to be the best wife that I can be to my husband. The only difference is my work is writing just like your work maybe a teacher or a doctor.

What's the one thing people don't know about you?

I guess the one thing that people don't know about me is that I used to be a runway model as well as compete in beauty contests. In fact, I was a contestant in the Miss Arkansas pageant.

If you weren't an author, what would your other career choice be?

I would want to be a special education teacher. Many people know I suffer from dyslexia as well as a reading/learning disability. Placed in special education classes all of my scholastic career, including college, I would want to give back to those that helped me. After all, if it wasn't for them, I would not be an author today.

Was there any one person that helped you decide to pursue this path?  If so who?

That's a really tough question. There's not just one particular person that helped me decide to pursue writing.

I think it was a collection of people who encouraged me. After I wrote the first draft of Shoe Marks, I sent it to several friends for their opinion. Every one of them told me that Shoe Marks was incredible and that I had the gift of storytelling.

How do you come up with the stories you write?  

I come up with the stories I write through people that I meet, or dreams that I have. In fact, the fifth novel I am writing, a high school teen gave me the idea, and I went with it. I have also been contacted another family who would like me to write their paranormal true story. This novel will be entitled The Stone.

What's the most frustrating part of being an author in your opinion?

Oh, that's an easy one! Being dyslexic is probably one of the most frustrating things I have to endure when writing. Going back and correcting can get very frustrating. However, last year I gave myself the best birthday present, which was the Dragon speech to text software.

What's the most positive part of being an author in your opinion?

The most positive part about being an author is the feedback that I receive. When I hear that a reader enjoys what I write, it pleases me. It makes me happy and I am encouraged to continue this path.
What category do your books fall under?

The well-known Kimberly Huddle Brouilette and my self have teamed up in completing ‘Secrets in the Shallows’ from The Monastery Murders series, part 1 which is now on the market and my first novel, Shoe Marks falls under the genre of Paranormal, Suspense and thriller.

Have you ever considered writing outside that category?  If so which one and why?

Yes, I have. In fact, I will be writing my autobiography entitled Karen's story: How a young woman with dyslexia combined with a learning disability becomes an award-winning, best-selling author. Readers are intrigued by my life story. I hope it helps people and encouraged them to do what they love and to strive for success.

What advice have you followed that has made a significant change in your perspective? 

When I was struggling through high school and in college barely making it because of my dyslexia and disability, the number one thing that was drilled into my head is this: Never, ever give up for if you have a dream and a desire to do something; otherwise the answer is always going to be a 'no'.

If a new author came to you and asked for advice, what advice would you give?

Never edit your own work. The reason; Writers are too close to their manuscripts. Just like a mother is too close to their baby. They can't see the mistakes. It is always best to have a fresh pair of eyes, especially from an editor.

Would you rather be a self-published author or signed to a major publishing company? 

When I first started the writing process, I knew that I did not want to be self-published. Therefore, I chose to go the traditional route and find a publishing company who believed in me. Anyone can self publish. Unfortunately, many self-publishing companies will give the good writers a bad rap. There are several self-publishing companies who just want your money and they don't care about the quality of the work.

What's the difference between your online personality and your personal life? 

I have to honestly say that my personality does not change. Not even when I'm doing a television/radio interview. What you see with me, is what you get.

When you think about writing, do you consider this more of a professional career or a hobby? 

Well, it's a hobby and a career combined. When I sit down to write, I lose myself in the characters of the manuscript. It is something I relish and enjoy!

What was the first story you wrote?  Did you publish it?

The first story I ever wrote was Shoe Marks, a paranormal inspired by true events that took place in Texas. Synergebooks, a traditional digital and paperback publishing company believed in my work and me and wanted to publish it. It was a hard road but I got there.

How have you changed as an author since your book was published?

The only thing that has changed in me about being an author is the confidence that I have. When I sit down to write or create, I'm not afraid anymore. I don't question myself, "Can I do this?" which is exactly what I did when I sat down to write Shoe Marks. Once I knew that i had it in me the creative juices flowed and hasn't stopped.

Do you consider yourself a sociable person in real life or more private?  

I am a social butterfly! Lol.. my family tells me I can make friends with the brick wall. I enjoy being social and being around people.

What was your favorite vacation, and why?

That is such a hard question because I have wonderful memories about every vacation that I have taken. I guess the one vacation that really stands out is when I went to Mexico on a mission trip. That vacation/mission trip changed me and how I view things.

If you could have your book read by any celebrity, who would it be and why?

I'm gonna have to say I would want my book read by two celebrities. Temple Grandin; I can identify with her on so many levels. See, I couldn’t read a simple book when I was eleven years old. Nor could I speak correctly. The next person would be John Irving, because he has dyslexia.

Are there any social causes that you support?  If so what are they and why?

Yes, I do. I support American Disabilities and St. Jude.

Discover more about Karen Vance Hammond

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Romance Book Club Review Tour

Sign-ups for Romance Book Club Review Tour 
May 10th - May 15th

Book bloggers, are you looking for something to entice your readers?  We've got a book that we believe will do just that.  Ordinarily we would be building buzz for a new release by sharing the cover and excerpts from the soon to be released book, but this release is completely different!  Until release date there will be no cover reveal or information about the Romance Book Club, unless you're involved with the review tour. This is a way of offering your readers something unique that they can't get anywhere else.  Everything's being kept secret, because what really goes on behind the scenes at a Romance Book Club might just shock you.

For interested book bloggers, we will say that Romance Book Club is a contemporary romance with a sensual heat that takes it above the average romance read.  Basically, if you don't like books hot and steamy then you probably won't be interested in reviewing.  If you like your romance with sexy love scenes, and a unique perspective into the insight of an alpha male, this book may be your favorite of 2013.

By now you're probably asking what's in it for me?  You haven't told me much about the book, so why should I be willing to join in this blog tour?  So glad you asked, because book bloggers are the reason we live, okay that and fantastic readers!  As a participant for the review tour you will receive a digital ARC (advanced release copy).  We're keeping the lid so tight on this book that you need a background in computer science to get any information about it early!  Also we will plug your site to all of our 250,000 contacts during and long after this tour is over.  We don't forget the people that have our backs!

All tour hosts will be given a book cover, tour banner, and media kit to be included with the blog post.  Giveaway's for this tour include a $50 Amazon gift card, Five eBook versions in either mobi or epub, and one paperback.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Escape - Glacier National Park

Exploring Glacier National Park

Glacier Park is an adventure for all ages and for anyone who loves the natural beauty of the outdoors.  With over 200 waterfalls, horseback riding, glacier fishing, and of course white water rafting, it's a must add to our Friday Escape.  Lodging can be anywhere from rustic cabins, to upscale accommodations, so you get to choose how you want to enjoy the majestic beauty of this incredible location.  To discover all the great lodging you can visit http://www.nationalparkreservations.com/glacier.php

Horseback riding at Glacier Park can start with a one hour trip, full-day excursions or for those that want to experience how it felt to live on horseback, an overnight trip.  They offer riding with fishing packages as well, so no matter how you enjoy your outdoors you're bound to have a great time here!  Imagine having wranglers setting up camp for you and eating around the campfire, the stories you could bring home would be incredible.

Glacier Park Lodge

Our pick for lodging is the Glacier Park Lodge.  Almost a storybook view and comforts that allow you to enjoy the beauty of nature without actually roughing it. The lodge has scenic bus tours, a spa, evening entertainment, 36 hole golf course, evening entertainment, a boat cruise and was built in 1915.  The picture below shows the lobby.

If you're interested in the ultimate Adventure this year, we're listing Glacier National Park as one of our top 10 Friday Escapes in the US!  If you have photo's of a spectacular vacation that you would like us to discuss on Tears of Crimson drop us a line!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Romance Book Club

At Tears of Crimson, I think it's pretty obvious that we love romance books.  Not just one type of romance either, we love it all!  From paranormal to contemporary and the steamy erotic romance, any book that discusses the different ways people can fall in love will have a welcome place on our bookshelf.  We started Tears of Crimson back in 2009 to share our love of paranormal romance with our friends of Crimson, and no one on the staff had any idea our world would expand so much.  Today we have another new addition and that's the Romance Book Club on Facebook, and Twitter!

It started off on a whim last week, just a simple facebook page to share great stories and the fantasies they generate.  In less than three days we had 2,100 new friends, so we took that as people are interested in not only sharing romance books, but talking about the things they make them feel.  Discussing new romance books is great, but there are some incredible older books out there that people still have strong feelings about as well.  We think that's what makes the Romance Book Club really different.  Yes, we talk about the new romance of the heart being put out there, but we also live in memory of some of the great classics that never left our hearts.

At the Romance Book Club we don't just discuss the book, we explore the scenarios.  What would it be like to walk in the steps of the heroine?  That's our focus.  It's amazing what people share about their own lives when you start talking romance.  So what really happens behind the scenes at a Romance Book Club?  Come join us and find out!  Not convinced yet?  Well how about a little tease...

...after reading the first book in the Anne Rice Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, I couldn't stop thinking about the scenes in the book.  I'd never even dreamed people consider such things.  That led me on a journey of self-exploration that still fascinates me today. The book was published in 1999 and at the time AOL was the first real social media connection for normal people, not just computer geeks.  There was a group in chat called Le Chateau' and  when I found it I couldn't believe people were living out a lifestyle that wasn't as intense as the one in the book, but it had some of the same qualities... After a year of chatting with people living that life I had to know the real truth, not just what I'd read in a book, or heard people discussing online.  

I met an incredible couple that invited me to their home to share with me a lifestyle that would remain in my thoughts long after I returned back to my own hometown.  The experiences were like nothing I'd ever dreamed of before, and a love of the world of dominance and submission was born.  It was captivating, sensual, and I was enthralled.  It would be years later before the world finally accepted this as a safe, sane, way of exploring fantasies, but thanks to an incredible author... and a wonderful group of friends, I discovered a world of sensuality that finally has become mainstream.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Behind the Book with Kimberly Brouillette #WW

          We are excited today to bring the you the first Behind the Book Writer's Wednesday (#WW)  This is new platform for Tears of Crimson and we hope you enjoy this unique perspective of what the Author's are actually thinking as they write a book. Please give a warm welcome to Kimberly Brouillette!

Secrets in the Shallows

      When did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

I began writing poetry at a young age. In all honesty, I didn't really discover my talents with editing and writing until I was well past college age. After earning my M.A. in Biblical Studies, I was contributing editor for the book “Abram’s Journey: Quest for the Man in the Stars”  (Goodreads Link_) authored by Pamilla S. Tolen. I truly enjoyed performing the in depth research with Pamilla, and then bringing that era to life. Developing an original perspective on Abraham’s life was very rewarding. 

            Tell us about your life when you're not writing?

Writing affects probably 40-50% of my life in one way or another, since I do work at a regional magazine. Some things I have always loved to do include graphic design, drawing (mostly pencil, graphite or pen and ink), listening to music, playing piano, traveling (especially historic locations), and spending time with family, loved ones and our dog, Max. I do enjoy doing several new hobbies that I hadn't focused on prior before meeting my fiancĂ©, Chris Matheny. In the spring or summer, we may take a bike ride up to the Carolina mountains or historic locations. We also enjoy doing paranormal investigations, and have a web show called, “What Lies Beyond? A Quest for the Truth.” 

           What's the one thing people don't know about you?

I have actually lived in two other countries besides America. During summer break prior to my seventh grade year, my family became missionaries. About a year later, we moved to a small town in Mexico near Monterrey. During that time, we lived with a family for several months in order to get a ‘crash course’ in speaking Spanish and try to prevent a great deal of culture shock. Within another year, we moved to San Jose, Costa Rica, where my parents taught free Bible courses to pastors in cities and villages throughout the country.  

          If you weren't an author, what would your other career choice be?

If I weren't an author, I would either be an editor or graphic designer. Actually, I already do all three almost daily. My current primary job is in sales and marketing for Cabarrus Business Magazine. Out of all of the things I do, the one I wouldn't mind giving up is sales. Even though it is not my favorite, I am grateful for developing several skill sets that are very useful for any author. At this time, I feel that I am doing what I should be doing.

           Was there any one person that helped you decide to pursue this path? If so who?

I would say that my parents, especially my mom, were very influential in my path. They made sure I could earn a university degree, and even got me the job at the ad agency after graduation. Even though I didn't start out as a book author or editor, it was through the career path I traveled that provided the skill sets  and environment to discover what I enjoy doing.  

           How do you come up with the stories you write? 

It depends on the project, but the best stories always are developed by having great brainstorming sessions with my fiancĂ©, Chris Matheny. For ‘Secrets in the Shallows,’ the first book from the Monastery Murder Series (with co-author, Karen Vance Hammond), I was brought into the project after the initial story plot had been written. 

       What's the most frustrating part of being an author in your opinion?

The most frustrating thing at this time is not being able to devote my time solely on projects I would choose to do.  

           What's the most positive part of being an author in your opinion?

The satisfaction of knowing you created something out of nothing, which others can enjoy for themselves.

          What category do your books fall under?

‘Abram’s Journey: Quest for the Man in the Stars’ is historic Biblical fiction, while ‘Secrets in the Shallows’ and the other books to come in the series are paranormal, murder mysteries and suspense. There should be additional non-fiction books related to Biblical archaeology in the future, if I can ever allocate enough time to research and write them properly.

            Have you ever considered writing outside that category? If so which one and why?

Previously, I was contributing editor for a historic Biblical fiction book. For the past eight years, I have focused many years on approximately twenty-five editing projects for various authors and publishers, as well as periodical articles. It was only a few years ago that I began focusing on my own aspirations of authoring or co-authoring a book. Currently, I have several projects underway to some degree in the mystery, suspense and paranormal categories. I have stopped trying to limit where my ‘mind’ goes when it comes to genre. I gain inspiration through anything, from current events to fantasy characters.  I think it stifles our imagination if we keep ourselves in a box that confines our creativity.

           What advice have you followed that has made a significant change in your perspective?

Probably the most significant change I had actually begun when I was earning my Masters degree in Biblical studies. I credit one of my professors for Biblical archaeology for my epiphany moment. I realized that I needed to start asking the why’s a what if’s in order to think for myself. I needed to ask those questions in order to gain understanding of anything I wish to know. I realized that for many years, I had accepted many things completely on other people’s truths, instead of discovering them for myself.  It is not that I changed my beliefs, but I have an understanding that is my own. In essence, by asking those questions, it has enabled me to break out of the daily mold I was in.

            If a new author came to you and asked for advice, what advice would you give?

There are several pieces of advice that I would give to new authors, based on my editing experience. The first thing I would advise is to create an outline in order to write your manuscript in a logical manner. For fictional books, I also recommend developing a history for each character. It is also helpful to drawing simple sketches for primary locations; and even understanding how a building or landscape may be laid out. It is much easier to develop stronger characters and deeper storylines if you understand these facets to your story.

I have many things I could tell others based on my experiences, but there is one thing I have found is a misconception among authors. Do not expect your publishing company to carry the ball for your marketing efforts. If you have a very successful writing career, then you are one of the lucky ones.

In order to sell their books, 99% of authors have to be proactive in their own marketing efforts. Do not expect your book will take off simply because you put it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or managed to get it in the ever-diminishing brick and mortar bookstores. Only with your efforts can you gain exposure to your target audience of readers. A publicist can be very helpful for you if you wish to make appearances on radio or television shows (if it is a topic of interest for those shows), and can afford the additional expense. If not, then learn how to tackle that hurdle by reading books, doing research, or finding someone you know who is good at it. The Thrifty Author Series by New York TimesTM bestselling author, Gail Z Martin, is very helpful if you would like to learn how to properly market and sell your book.

Above all, I strongly recommend that you get an editor. There are different types of editors, and you need to understand the difference as well as which type(s) you need. Editors are not simply proofreaders. They are not simply grammarians. ‘Line editors’ focus on both of those facets, but they also will tell you if the story makes logical sense for the reader. They will probably make some suggestions on content, but their primary goal is to make sure your manuscript is up to par and ready for the publisher to look at.

I am what you would call a ‘content/story editor,’ who finds the ‘holes’ in your manuscript. In other words, content editors let you know what the reader is not getting from your book, as well as give suggestions on how to ‘fill those holes.’

           Would you rather be a self-published author or signed to a major publishing company?

I would rather have a strong publishing company that has the marketing dollars to support my efforts. In working for a publishing company, I have found that there is a relationship that is developed by the publishers, distributors and bookstores. It is very difficult to get books onto the bookstores lists unless a publishing company has developed those ties.

On the other hand, if getting your book into brick and mortar stores is not in your aspirations, then there are several small publishing companies that focus on E-book sales primarily. Some of them offer alternatives for print options. No matter which one you go with, you need to make sure you completely understand your contract and its requirements. Some have lengthy time requirements, and some may charge additional fees for some services.

           What's the difference between your online personality and your personal life? 

I admit that I have strong opinions about certain things personally; however, with regard to my online professional personality I try to just be myself, whether it is through radio, pod casts, blog interviews, or social media. I do share some things about my personal life, especially film, web cast, and writing projects that I do with Chris Matheny.  

           When you think about writing, do you consider this more of a professional career or a hobby? 

Actually, I happen to work at a magazine, and I contribute articles as needed. There are very few days that are not affected by writing in one way or another. At night, I typically am working on either an editing for other authors, or on one of my own writing or graphic design projects. So, to answer the question, my professional career is very much aligned with my writing. In fact, I may be working on several types of writing projects in a given day; including creative writing, periodicals, marketing materials/brochures, or book manuscripts.

             If you could have your book read by any celebrity, who would it be and why?

I would love to have my book read by Nathan Fillion, who plays a mystery writer on the ABC series, CastleTM. Even though he is an actor, I would imagine he has gained a unique perspective by playing a writer on a successful TV series. I have enjoyed watching his characters since first watching his other hit series, FireflyTM

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sending Tears of Crimson Love to Boston

Our Hearts are with all the people in Boston 

When such a tragedy strikes in the US it really brings the realization home that no matter where in the world we live, none of us are safe from terrorism.  Regardless of whether this was home grown terrorism, or was the act of another radical group, it's still terrorism in our eyes.  The lives lost, those injured, and those families that will suffer because of this act of stupidity, is just so senseless.  From everyone here at Tears of Crimson we want the people of Boston, and those outsiders visiting for this incredible event to know how sorry we are that this happened.  We truly hope that the criminal(s) responsible for this outrageous act are punished to the strongest degree of the law!

To the family of the eight year old boy who lost his life, our heart bleeds for you.  When a child is touched by the senseless violence of ignorant adults, it just makes the entire situation even worse. We will keep you in our thoughts, as well as the other victims, and encourage all our readers to do the same.  No matter what your religion, or lack of, human compassion is something we can all believe in.  May the sorrow in your hearts be eased by knowing that we all weep with you.  

For our American Brother's and Sister's when one person is harmed by such evil intent, we will always stand by their side, United We Stand always.  Despite the political differences that have ravaged this country, we at Tears of Crimson still believe that American's at heart stand together especially in a time of tragedy like this! To the people of Boston, and all those affected, we are sending Tears of Crimson Love!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Getting Organized at the Tears of Crimson Mansion!

Spring Cleaning at Tears of Crimson, LLC

This has been a long time coming, and finally we are getting organized!  You might have noticed that there's a schedule tab on the right of the site, and that's because we're attempting to create a site that has some organization involved.  We've been blogging since 2009 (wow has it really been that long already) and over the years Tears has undergone many changes, but organization, well that's never been our strong point.  This year we are changing that.  Thanks to the success over the last year, we have found ourselves with less time to keep up with the many ideas we've started up and after sitting down and contemplating how to offer a positive experience, we decided to limit ourselves somewhat.

Currently we have chosen two days during the week that are cemented.  Wednesday at Tears of Crimson will be focused solely on Authors.  We will offer author interviews, behind the book glimpses, and also helpful tips that authors can use to promote or even prepare their manuscripts.  Coinciding with #WW Writer's Wednesday on Twitter, we think this idea just fits the mold.  Friday's here at Tears will be focusing on great vacation escapes at least through the summer, and then we'll rethink that at the end of the season.

For those of you that aren't aware, we handed the Books Debut over to Wanda, who runs a great review site on facebook.  She has a group of honest reviewers and we feel that she and her team can serve those needs better than we can.  Please take a moment to visit them at www.thebooksdebut.com    While we will continue to do author interviews, and accept guest blog posts, we are no longer doing book reviews at Tears of Crimson.  We all wish we had more time to offer that service, but unfortunately we just don't.

We hope this will be a positive experience for our readers, and as always we will continue to look for the greatest stories to add as filler during the five other days during the week that aren't scheduled.  We would like to note that new book releases from Tears of Crimson may fall on the other scheduled days, and they will come first.  Outside of that, we want to make it easier for our friends of Crimson to know what days we'll be offering certain information.

If you have a comment or suggestion for a site, our ears are always open.  We've had to moderate all responses due to an abundance of Spam and people that don't understand what being a professional is about (grins) but we will always post responses or suggestions made in a positive spirit.  Our readers call the shots at Tears of Crimson, so please any ideas you have send them our way.

Tears of Crimson, LLC CEO Michelle Hughes

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Escape - And Bonus Free Kindle Book

We had a little schedule conflict this week with our Friday Escape and the free book days for Undercover Submissive, so we decided to combine them into one big Friday event.  Of course this had our minds trying to come up with an adventure that went along with escape into a dungeon and the only thing that came to mind was a trip to New Orleans.  Before you think we've taken leave of our senses, there is a club in New Orleans called The Dungeon! It has nothing to do with the book Undercover Submissive, but you see how we're trying to tie in two conversations at once, right?

So we don't confuse you more than we're already confused at the moment, let's discuss the book first! Undercover Submissive will be free exclusively on Amazon April 12th and 13th.  If you enjoy steamy passion, with a little detective and intrigue thrown in, this one will be a great add to your library.  This was one of Tears of Crimson's first erotica ventures into the BDSM world, and a story that is still dear to our hearts.

 Blurb:  Twin Sisters, hidden secrets, and dark passions.. let the deception begin!

Cayce Miller is a serious minded librarian. She adores her twin sister Cait, but they are identical only in looks. When Cait goes missing and the police department seems unwilling to help, Cayce is forced to assume her identity in an effort to discover the truth.

Taking her sister's place leads to a charged and dangerous game, played in a steamy world where all the rules have changed.  Time is running out and Dylan St. Clair may be her only source of hope in revealing her location.

Will going undercover destroy Cayce or will it reveal a side to her she never knew existed? 

Only time will tell in this tense erotic thriller ....

For our Friday Escape Adventure, we recommend enjoying the incredible fun in the French Quarter in Louisiana.  We've always supported this incredible place, and believe that it's the one place in the world you should visit if you never vacation in another spot.  There's something there for everyone from incredible nightlife, to museums, and festivals that outshine any others in the world!  While you're visiting New Orleans, why not talk to the folks at Big Easy Tours and give yourself an incredible adventure.

Big Easy Tours offers Bayou Airboat Tours, Cajun Critter Swamp Tours, Tours of Cajun Country, Plantation Tours and so much more.  There's definitely a tour for everyone in your party.  New Orleans isn't just for Mardi Gras.  With a great culture of folks who are always welcoming, coming home to New Orleans is how we've always felt when we arrived.  

Don't forget the incredible walking tours put on by Haunted History either.  Ghosts, Vampires, and Voodoo, if any of those tickle your fancy, these folks do a wonderful job!  Tears of Crimson enjoyed the Vampire Tour the last time we were in town and it was hands down the most informative tour we've been privileged to enjoy.

Don't forget, we want to hear about your adventure ideas!  Drop Michelle a line or click email TOC on the tab.  We'll be waiting to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Has B&N Decided to Join in the Real Game with Nook Press?

I've been waiting for changes at B&N for the last year, as several authors and I discussed how hard it was to promote books with their platform.  Books that were doing well on Amazon, couldn't seem to get a jump ahead at B&N.  I hope this new change to Nook Press finally offers a solution to self-published authors.

I'll be going over the details for Nook Press in the next few weeks, but one thing I did notice immediately was the 65/40% on eBook royalties.  The 65% was for books priced at $2.99 and above, and 40% for those placed under $2.99  obviously for the lower priced books this is an increase from Amazon's rate of 35% whereas the 65% is lower than Amazon's 70%.  This might be just personal opinion here, but it seems like they are targeting books with the less than $2.99 price tag.

Some of the features might just be worth the loss of 5% royalties for books priced over $2.99.  Not only does Nook Press claim to have an online manuscript editor, but they also claim to offer collaborations online with their program (not that I'm a big supporter of working with co-author's these days).  You can read all about what they are offering at Nook Press by following this link.

The question for me is, when will they start offering a program like KDP Select, to this author that seems the logical next step.  B&N will have to offer some very impressive marketing tools to join in on that game.  But if they put it on the table I have to admit that I'd be interested to see if selling at B&N could increase profitability on their site.  In my opinion,  they are at least on the right track now.

For many of the authors I know we've become huge supporters of Amazon, because their promotions help sell books.  While we all love our books like babies, it's our priority to sell them to the greatest amount of people that really keeps us showing the love to Ammy.  It's a competitive market, and if B&N wants to keep up as far as self-published authors are concerned, they've got to keep inventing ways to market books for authors like us that don't have tens of thousands of dollars to put into a marketing campaign.

This could be a step in the right direction for B&N and I'm hoping it is.  I'm an author first, but a business woman second, and if a company can help me reach a broader market, they have my attention.

Starting next Wednesday we will be featuring a new Author each week here at Tears of Crimson.  This is part of our Discover an Author debut.. We are going to get the scoop on what makes the author tick, not just the things you get to read about when they are promoting a title.  We hope you'll stop in and show your support!  If you'd like to join in the fun, look above for the tab and send us your information!

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