I'm pleased to announce that the sequel to my superhero novel, "Blaze of Glory", is set for a January 2012 release!
Fight alone, die alone.
Blaze of Glory, Book 2
In the weeks since Jo “Surf” Tanis and her rough-and-tumble band of super-powered actors broke free of the government-sponsored superhero show, they’re all still dealing with the aftershock of adjusting to this thing called reality.
It doesn’t get much more real than a mission to dig survivors out of what’s left of Erie, PA, after a mysterious earthquake. A trembler that powerful is as out of place as Jo feels as the de-facto leader of the troupe. Not to mention the soul-shaking feelings she has for Hunter, a team member whose past as an Agency Guardian casts a heavy shadow over any possible relationship.
It seems one of the supers, an earth-warper named Ground Pounder, has gone rogue, using his freedom from the Agency’s brand of virtual slavery to put the “villain” back in supervillain. Failure to find him before any more innocent bystanders are hurt means the team could be back under the Agency’s thumb.
It’s a burden that doesn’t rest easy on Jo’s shoulders...especially when the man who’s invaded her heart is caught in the crossfire.
Just a note:
I've decided to explore a few ideas in a blog post called Love in the Afterglow of Hyperspace. It would be great to hear what other SFR authors have to say. So if you have a chance, drop by and share your thoughts and ideas.
Are you thinking about expanding your social media toolkit to include Google+? If you're like me, this was a tough call. I have enough writing distractions in my life, thank you very much. But a single post on the SFWA blog changed my mind. Drop by Spacefreighters Lounge today if you're interested in joining the discussion about Google+ for authors.
It's time to update our "Bases of Operation" blog roll. If you're a Brigade member with an active blog (new posts at least once a week) please email me at Lgreen2162 (at) aol (dot) com) with your blog address and we'll get your blog added, along with a thumbnail, a snippet from the most recent post, and a time stamp. (With one disclaimer that Blogger won't allow all sites to be added--but it will accept most.)
The blog roll automatically orders the list placing the most recent posts first so the more often you post, the more often you hit the top of the list. Yes, it's a nifty little tool that we're under-utilizing.
If you want to see the layout, you can find our current "Bases of Operation" blog roll on the right sidebar >>> scroll down.
Which brings us to the next question...
We'd like your input!
We're looking at a new layout that would show only one or two of the most current posts on the main page, and the blog roll would be moved to the bottom of the post section so it's wider and easier to see. (Older posts would still be available via the older posts link or the 'Search This Blog' function. This might help our members find posts they're interested in reading as well as improve traffic to our members' sites.
** Permission to forward and share both granted and encouraged **
Desert Breeze Publishing is currently seeking submissions to fill specifically our 2012 release schedule. Desert Breeze Publishing currently releases books twice a month, and as of April 2012 we will release books three times a month.
Desert Breeze Publishing is a royalty-paying publisher of romance in electronic novel format, but are excited to announce we will be releasing our top sellers in print in 2012. We publish from the sweet to the heated, with the exclusion of erotica or erotic romance and GLBT/alternative lifestyles. Our books are currently distributed through Amazon and Amazon International affiliates for Kindle, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks, Kobo, and the Apple iBookstore for distribution in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. All our Inspirational/Christian Romances are available at Christianbooks.com.
Romance should be the prevailing theme of your manuscript, not romantic elements. We are seeking manuscripts from novella length (between 25,000 and 35,000 words approximately) to super novel length (exceeding 100,000 words), with a preference for novels between 55,000 and 80,000 words. We are more than willing to accept queries on book series, and will consider a series concept when at least one book is completed and the series has been thoroughly formulated.
We are not seeking anything shorter than 25,000 words, with a strong preference for manuscripts of at least 30,000 words.
We will review previously published manuscripts; however, proof of release must be provided. We prefer to see some new material along with your previously published manuscripts.
We are looking for submissions in all of the following romance sub-genres: * Contemporary Romance * Romantic Suspense * Military-themed Romance * Romantic Comedy/Humorous Romance * Christian Romance * Inspirational Romance * Fantasy Romance * Paranormal Romance * Science Fiction/Futuristic/Speculative Fiction Romance * Steampunk Romance * Modern Cowboy Romance * Historical Romance -- both prior to 1900 and 20th Century/Vintage * Young Adult Romance in all genres * Manuscripts with specific celebratory or holiday themes
And while we're actively seeking all genres, there are a few types of submissions that would really excite us!
We are interested in expanding the scope of our Vintage/20th Century category, stepping outside the most popular time period surrounding World War II. An exceptional amount of change occurred in the 20th Century, and our world was challenged in many ways. We would be interested in seeing novels set around the Korean War or the Viet Nam Conflict, novels with themes involving The Great Depression, the Space Race, the end of the Cold War. There are so many possibilities.
We wish to promote the growth and expansion of the Sci Fi Rom/Futuristic Romance/Speculative Fiction Romance genres by offering exceptional character-driven novels and series offering appeal to the die hard sci fi fan as well as the adventurous romance lovers. Sci Fi romance must be smart, well planned, well thought out to build amazing worlds and possible futures with strong characters and great character chemistry and development.
In the same vein, Steampunk (and all variations thereof, ie: Gaslight, Diesel Punk, etc) is a genre in high demand.
We would like to see both single title -- as well as series -- romantic suspense novels, especially with characters who serve in law enforcement, civil service, or the military. And that's not just limited to the heroes. We'd love to see books where the heroine is the one doing the saving and protecting, or works beside the hero in an equal position.
We are actively seeking inspirational and Christian novels with a bit more real world flair. It's not always easy being a Christian, and we would like to see novels that express that.
If you are offering a manuscript with a specific celebratory or holiday theme, please indicate this in your submission. It would be our goal, if possible, to schedule your book release to coincide with whatever holiday you focus on in your manuscript to optimize sales potential.
Full details on our submission guidelines and house preferences can be found at our website:
Revelations of Tomorrow, The first book in The Telomere Trilogy is now available.
The crew of Daring Star salvages a load capsule and finds the beaten body of Jetta McCree. Turns out Jetta's discovered her employer has developed a biochemical droplet and is contracted with terrorists to manufacture on a large scale. Captain Noah Bonney fights off corporate security forces, her ex-husband's pirate fleets, and carnivorous beasts to keep the young woman safe and transport her to the safety of the Imperial Home Port.
But the adventure brings to surface demons Noah's been suppressing and secrets from her people's history she's tried to forget. Now, she must face them if she's to reconcile with her daughter and keep the love of her life from leaving. With 450 years under her belt and nothing but eternity ahead of her, she's built a thick shell… one she's not sure she can break.
Excerpt "I haven't been that innocent for many rotations." Noah placed her holster and weapon next to the hat, closed the drawer, and unbuttoned her jacket.
"Yeah, but being 450 years old, that's a long time ago. How can you possibly remember?" Lieutenant Matthew Amherst smiled at her through the mirror from across the room where he set the last piece of silverware on the small table.
Noah scowled at him with a warning finger point. He only winked at her, slipped his hands in his trousers and strolled over. Part of her wondered how she remembered so far back. Sometimes it was easy, and other days the distance of it smacked her in the face. Matthew stepped up, wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his chin on her shoulder. He peered at her through the mirror, gave her a lopsided grin, and wiggled his eyebrows. She laughed again and reached back to rest her hand on his cheek. The worrisome thought slipped from her mind.
She grinned at him. "You younglings don't realize Telomere rotations are nothing in my circle."
"That is true." He pinched her sides and released her. "That is true," Matthew said again as he guided her to the table.
They sat to eat. Noah and Matthew usually ate in the mess hall with the crew, and usually separate. Occasionally, though, Matthew called a private evening. She couldn't resist, and in this instance she had a feeling it would be the last in a while.
"Have you given any thought to our arrival strategy?" Matthew asked in between bites.
"Yes. It's too late to feign ignorance, or hide her. I'm not sure how we can avoid altercation with space port security."
Matthew scowled over his food and mumbled, "Damn, pompous security. Love pestering Imperial vessels."
Noah suppressed a chuckle. As lead officer for the hangar and cargo areas, he had to deal with port security more than most. Catching her humorous look, he flashed a grin and shrugged.
"You're not going to give her over, are you?" he asked once his mouth was clear.
"Hell, no. That girl is too young to know what she's gotten into, but I'm not. We're Merchants." She stabbed at her food a little too vigorously, the fork clanked against the plate, and she glanced up.
Matthew stared at her, his eyes intense and smoldering. He reached over and ran a thumb down her cheek, causing her heart to race and her skin tingled. Sea green eyes twinkled against the tan of his skin. He'd showered so his black hair lay disheveled and curly. Her hand itched to run through the wet locks.
"You're such a wonderful person, Noah," he whispered. "Be with me, always."
Sadness pressed down on her and pushed away the lust. Noah searched for her voice, trying to find the right words. "I am, Matthew." But always is such a subjective term.
Though his eyes dimmed, he tapped her nose good-naturedly. It hurt Noah more knowing she was the cause of it. There was nothing to do about it, though. "Your eyes give you away, love. You're worried. The differences between us, I don't care about them."
Noah pursed her lips. Sharp pain of emotions ached in her heart, intensifying. She pressed her hand to her chest and turned to stare out the window for a moment. How could he ever understand? Only in his thirties, he had barely scratched the surface of life. Guilt pulled at her conscience. She shouldn't be with him, if she were honest with herself. But the happiness and affection she felt toward him took control when she saw him. It wouldn't end well, that she knew for certain.
"You don't understand. I can promise you your always. You can't promise me my always. I just can't do that to myself, or to you, Matthew."
If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home.
Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman.
The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.
The path was clearly magical. The foliage, although wild and unkempt, glowed with greenery and flowers. Giant mushrooms, some the size of dinner plates, sprouted under the bushes. Birds twittered in the trees. Kat ducked as a bumblebee as big as her fist droned past her head on its way to another blossom. Here it was spring, just like on Galdorheim under the shield.
Kat pulled off her parka and draped it over her knapsack. Rune soon did the same, even though his tolerance for extreme temperatures was usually much higher than Kat’s. They were strolling along, enjoying the warmth, the flowers, and the buzz of the bees, when Kat looked up to see an eagle riding an updraft in a lazy circle above them. “Look!” Kat pointed. Rune glanced up at the bird.
“Interesting…not! C’mon, Kat, it’s just an eagle,” he replied.
Kat looked down at her feet and mumbled, “I thought it was interesting.”
A few moments later, Rune stopped abruptly, holding up his hand.
“Shhh! Do you hear something?”
Kat listened but heard only chirps and buzzing. “No, but your hearing is better than mine.”
Rune turned slowly in place, trying to home in on the sound. Kat watched, puzzled.
The hillside by the path trembled then heaved upward. Dirt and rocks flew through the air. The shaking earth knocked Kat backward. She plopped onto her behind with a yelp, ducked her head, and covered it with her arms to fend off flying gravel. Peeking out from beneath her upraised arms, Kat's eyes widened, and her mouth dropped open. In front of her, the shaking earth rose and unfolded. Then a monstrous glob of rocks and dirt rose higher and higher into the air. Two huge boulders blinked at her. Kat screamed. A gaping mouth appeared beneath the eyes, and a monstrous nose jerked and wriggled its way to a place between the eyes and mouth.
Rune grabbed her arm, jerking her to her feet. “It’s a giant! Run! Run!”
Kat sprinted after Rune, who quickly outpaced her, as the giant continued to grow and take shape from the rocks and earth. Kat risked a quick glance over her shoulder. A horrendous, rocky fist swung in a downward arc, its target appallingly clear. She tried to force her flying feet to move even faster, hoping to outrace that ponderous, clenched hand. She looked up to see the eagle plummeting downward, its wings folded against its sides. Kat aimed a thought at the eagle. “Help me!” The eagle flared its wings and stopped abruptly in midair. It then turned and flew away. She was disappointed but not surprised when the eagle left. No use. She picked up her feet and raced after Rune.
While QB does indeed have much in common with THE DIRTY DOZEN (and while we're at it, THE DEVIL'S BRIGADE), the inspiration for the story actually originated from another source--especially since I was too young to even know about THE DIRTY DOZEN when it came out (scratch that--I hadn't even been born yet!).
However, in writing a futuristic tale about criminal underdogs who save the day, I added a couple of fresh twists. One, of course, was a romance. The other is a new ingredient that most other Dirty Dozen style tales possess in abysmally low quantities.
If you'd like to know more about how QUEENIE'S BRIGADE evolved as well as the innovation it brings to stories of its type, I invite you to read my guest post at SF Signal: THE DIRTY DOZEN...in Spaaace!
I'm also making an appearance at the Red Sage blog in the form of (cue the Wonder Twin chant) fun facts.
Science fiction romance is a niche subgenre and therefore requires a variety of tools in its arsenal to increase its visibility. Readers can’t read books they don’t know about. There are a variety of ways to connect readers with sci-fi romance stories, and these days quite a few can be accomplished from the comfort of your own living room (or bedroom, or home office, or kitchen table as the case may be).
One such strategy is SEO. This is a term that’s bandied about often, but what exactly is it? How can authors of science fiction romance benefit from using it? With those questions in mind, I invited author Lindsay Buroker (ENCRYPTED) to present some information about SEO in the form of a Q&A.
Ms. Buroker runs a highly resourceful blog about “e-publishing, ebook marketing, and blog promotion for authors.” She makes it her business to uncover and feature strategies authors can use to broaden their online presence. Such methods are essential in the age of ebooks. Given the plethora of digital sci-fi romance releases, authors need every advantage they can get.
Without further ado, here is Lindsay Buroker’s presentation on SEO (with eye candy!):
There have been many useful initialisms over the years, eg., M.Y.O.B., B.Y.O.B. Now, with the rise of the Internet, we have “SEO.” What does it mean?
Search Engine Optimization, also known as the fine art of making your site/blog seem particularly useful and important to Google; therefore, it’ll list your pages higher than those of other sites. Whether or not your site is actually better than those other sites…isn’t really the point, now is it? ;)
When people use search engines, they type in search terms or “keywords” (which can be single words but are more often combinations of words). The search engine attempts to deliver the most relevant results by looking at a number of factors such as:
·Instances of those keywords on a webpage or blog post (i.e., if the keywords are used in the title, text, and the web address).
·Links from other sites, especially links that use those keywords in the “anchor text” (the clickable underlined words).
·Overall age, popularity, and authority of a site (authority is determined by the number and quality of links pointing to a site)
Pretty dry stuff, huh? The important thing is to start thinking about what terms people may type into the search engine to find you. For example, if you’re a science fiction romance author, people might enter that or perhaps “SFR” or “SF romance.”
You can play around with something like the Adwords Keyword Tool to get an idea for which phrases are searched for more often. Once you decide which keywords would be applicable to you, consider making an effort to use them on your website or blog (just focus on one term per post). This alone will put you ahead of lots of other authors!
Please list more than one but less than 5,000 of the most successful SEO strategies an author can use.
For the purpose of this interview, I’ll assume your goal is to get more people to your blog (people who might just go on to buy your books). That way I can keep the strategies list to under 5,000. Maybe even under 4,000!
1. Set your blog up so it’s “SEO friendly”
If you haven’t chosen a domain name (a yourcoolname.com address) yet, you may want to work your main keyword into it, especially if your name is already taken. An example might be janedoemysterynovels.com or janedoesfromance.com. Don’t go crazy with the keywords, though, or do anything too long as you want people to be able to remember your web address.
You’ll want to use your main keyword in the title of your site as well. Instead of something like, “A random writer’s musings…” your blog might be “Jane Doe SF Romance Diva” (It’s always a challenge to work in your keywords without having the title sound clunky, but you’re a creative authorly type, so I’m sure you can handle it!)
If you visit my fantasy author site (see me working those keywords into that link?), you’ll see that I didn’t use my keywords in my domain name. People generally have a tough time spelling my name correctly, so I didn’t want to add anything extra (also, it’s an original enough name that the domain wasn’t taken), but you’ll see that I do have “fantasy author” in the page title. I just point this out, so you know the final decision is up to you. Do what you feel makes sense and looks good to you.
In addition to thinking about SEO for your site overall, you’ll want to pay attention to individual blog posts. Each article is a potential doorway onto your site, so you may want to consider using keywords here too (not necessarily the same ones you’re using for your blog in general but ones that make sense for the specific post).
For example, say you’re reviewing Linnea Sinclair’s Accidental Goddess. A lot of bloggers would choose a title like Sinclair Serves up Another Winner. That’s okay, but if someone does a Google search looking for “Linnea Sinclair Accidental Goddess Reviews,” then you’re a lot more likely to pop up if your title is something like, “Linnea Sinclair An Accidental Goddess – Review.” (You can add more words to give it flair, but the idea is to use the words people would most likely look up in your title and the text of your post.
Okay, that was a lot of information. Are you still with me? Don’t worry, we’re halfway through this question. Progress!
2. Get links to your site
This is the other half of the battle. Back in ye olde days of the internet, you could just fill a page with lots and lots of instances of a keyword in order to rank more highly for it. The search engines have since wised up. They figure that links to a site count as votes of confidence. People usually link to things that are useful, so the more links to a site, the more likely search engines will consider it an authority and rank it accordingly in their index. Also, links from older, more authoritative sites count more than links from lowly sites with no visitors of their own.
Try to get people to link to your main page and also some of your individual blog posts. Eventually, if you maintain a useful blog (or you’re a kicka$$ author), these links will come naturally, but it’s tough getting noticed in the beginning. (Kinda like with selling books, huh?). Guest posting is a good way to get links. (Click that link to read an article I just wrote on the topic.)
How soon can an author using these strategies expect results?
Blogs, even SEO-friendly blogs, take a while to take off. That’s common for everyone.
I started my author blog back in November of 2010 when the notion of self-publishing first entered my head. I remember taking a tally in February, and I’d sold 8-10 of my ebooks through my blog over the course of the month (I use Amazon affiliate links to track sales that originate on my blog—and make a few extra pennies), and I had about 1500 visitors that month (I was working the social media angle, especially Twitter, or I wouldn’t have had nearly that many).
It’s the end of September as I write this, and I’m up to about 6,000 visitors a month with many of those coming from links from other sites and even more from keyword searches. It’s pretty common for me to have two or three of my ebooks sell through my blog a day now. Of course, a lot more books sell through other means, but it’s nice to know my blog is somewhat effective! I also sell other people’s books as an Amazon affiliate (but making money with one’s author blog is a subject for another post!).
The point is that it takes time for a blog to take off. SEO helps, but it’s not magic. You’ll probably notice a gradual increase of blog traffic over the first six to twelve months, and then you’ll have to worry less about promotion because lots of people will know about your site and link to your new posts of their own accord.
I should note that you don’t have to blog. If all you want to do is maintain a static author website with a few pages, just figure out which keywords you want to target (you can use the Adwords tool I mentioned above) and build your pages so that those terms appear in the title and content.
I love to bake, but one time I forgot to add the sugar in a muffin recipe. Oh, the culinary mortification! That said, are there any SEO mistakes authors should avoid?
What’s a muffin without sugar taste like? Bread?
Oy, it wasn’t even that good!
As for mistakes, yeah, don’t do anything that sounds shady or too good to be true. Out in the SEO world there are “black hat” and “white hat” techniques. The black hat stuff can work in the short run until it gets you penalized and kicked out of the search engine index altogether. I doubt many authors are going to stumble into that stuff, but just be wary of buying SEO services (especially off a site like Fiverr or some such). Since, by nature, you like to write, you’ll do fine just doing the stuff I mentioned. Producing good, quality content gets you a long ways!
Are there any free online SEO tools authors can use?
I already mentioned the Adwords tool, and here’s someone’s video on how to use it (someday I’m going to make one of my own, but this is a nice little demo). Don’t bother paying for any keyword research tools. That’s for folks who do this as their day job and work for dozens of sites in highly competitive areas.
Depending on which browser you use (i.e. Firefox or Google Chrome), you can download an SEO plug-in that shares stats about the websites you’re visiting (such as the Alexa Traffic ranking or the Google PageRank – measures of a site’s popularity and authority). This information can be useful when you’re deciding where to spend your time guest posting--remember links from more established, authority sites will count for more).
That’s going above and beyond the call of duty though. You’ll be surprised how few authors are even writing blog posts with decent titles, so doing even a little SEO work could get you to the top for your genre.
Do you know any SEO jokes?
How often does a search-engine-optimization specialist get laid? Yeah, about as often as you’d think.
Okay, I’ll keep the day job.
Hm, yes, er…moving on. Is there anything else authors should know about search engine optimization?
Final advice: Keep it simple. Don’t stress over this stuff. J
About the author:
Lindsay is a full-time indie author who's been making a living online, one way or another, since 2003. Blogs and SEO were a big part of that! You can visit her official fantasy author site to check out her books or read the articles on her new self-publishing blog to learn more about book promotion and (don't get scared now) SEO. Most of what's there is applicable to traditionally published authors as well as indies. We all have to promote!
Fellow SFR Brigader Misa Buckley has put out a call for submissions of Science Fiction Romance short stories from 5,000 to 10,000 words for an anthology with the following premise:
Venus Ascendant is a space station situated in the Andromeda Galaxy. With its open-to-all policy, it attracts beings from all over the universe as a destination for R&R, dangerous liaisons and romantic getaways.
The sentient, empathic AI ensures that whoever comes to Venus Ascendant finds exactly what they want and “rooms” can be anything from luxurious boudoirs to sunset-lit beaches to dark BSDM dungeons.