Tilling Passions

I am soooo excited! It’s been an awesome week. I just got the latest designs for my Romance Trading Cards and they’ve been ordered and will arrive early next week. Check them out…

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I’m giving away sets of Romance Cards to US Residents. Just email me at Nina AT NinaPierce DOT com with your snail mail address.

And in more news this week The To Be Read Pile gave BLIND LOVE 5 STARS! And Shyla said…

…these characters have layers like onion. Each time Nina peels away more skin we learn something we didn’t know, or expect. Nina has a way with mystery. She tells the reader just enough to make them think they have the puzzle solved. Only to turn around and reveal they were dead wrong. Blind love has it all. A romance that ranges from sweet, to sensual, to holy crap my eyes may fall out of their sockets. Characters that are well develop and a setting you relate to from the first paragraph.

This book surpassed my expectations and I would def recommend it as a read.

Oh, and I have a release date for INVITATION TO ECSTASY, the second book in the XTC Resorts series … AUGUST 10! When I have a cover I’ll share it with you along with the first look at an excerpt.

Okay, so with all the book noise and chatter out there authors are always trying to figure out how to be heard in the din of thousands of books. We’re always trying to find that little gadget that will lead a reader to our books. One reader actually said “an author’s promotional item is like a little gift to me”.  And maybe little doo-jiggers don’t have readers buying your books, but simply seeing your name. It’s a general rule of thumb that someone needs to see your name 10 times before they stop and look into it.

So the question becomes … how do we spend that promotional dollar effectively?

On all the loops I participate in authors are discussing what draws a reader to buy your book. In e-publishing this it’s even more difficult as your product is sort of nebulous… not something the consumer can put their hands on… and that makes it a difficult sell.

So with all sincerity we’re discussing bookmarks and postcards; sticky notes and glitter pens; emery boards and flashlights; trying to come up with the gimmick that will make a person so fired up they just can’t wait to get home and download your book!

I’ve spent alot of time designing and printing romance trading cards for my books. I send them out to reader conventions that I’m not attending. I’m fortunate in that I have an artistic eye and putting something together like that is enjoyable. Anyhoodles… I thought they came out beautifully. But left to their own devices, sitting among all the other glitzy author material, will they entice someone enough to 1) pick it up and 2) buy the book or at least 3) check out my website. Frankly, I don’t know.

Through this whole process it’s occurred to me… I don’t buy books. (Or I didn’t until my friends started publishing, now I buy their books. And forgive me for even thinking this… but if it’s coming out in print… I wait to buy that version… oh, I should have my hand slapped!)

So, what’s the point of all this rambling? I’m just curious… if you can’t pick the book up in the bookstore and you only have promotional material available to you… what makes you curious enough to investigate the author/book? A snazzy bookmark? A postcard with a blurb about the book? Some cute trinket?

Tell me… I’m dying of curiousity.

Oh, and here’s a sampling of my trading cards. Email me Nina (AT) NinaPierce.com if you want a full set for yourself.

Seven years ago when I began this writing journey my vision of how a book would go from my imagination to a manuscript to the readers’ hands seemed like a pretty well-worn path. The whole author —-> agent —-> publisher direction was the only avenue I understood.

Enter digital books and small presses and publishers who read manuscripts without having them submitted by an agent. Suddenly the publishing world opened up and more authors were jumping up and down over signing their first contract. Many (including Romance Writers of America) were appalled by the lack of advances. They felt authors weren’t making good business decsions or worse yet, that they were treating their writing career as a “hobby”. But the truth is, with a higher royalty rate, authors (including me) were pleased with their contracts.

Then along came a respectable way to self-publish (called indie-publishing by some) and the world exploded for authors. There were authors talking about leaving their jobs to write full time and others talking about making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Not just the NYT and USA bestselling, big name authors, but authors new to the publishing world (EL James anyone?) and exploding onto the scene.

Now, before I go any further, I need to explain that I’m one of those people who wants to have all the information I can gather before making a decision. I received 4 contract offers on the first book I published. I actually went through their author lists and emailed to ask several questions about their publisher. From the author’s responses (or lack thereof) I was able to make an informed decsion and signed a contract that fit me. This blog post is really just me sharing some current information. I would not presume to make any judgments about other author’s choices for publication nor am I trying to steer people away from traditional publishing. I’m just throwing out some food for thought.

As far as traditional publishing, there may not be a better time to have your manuscript read. Recently, I’ve seen several publishers putting out calls for submissions. I suspect it may be due to the fact that slush piles aren’t quite as high with all the authors self-publishing. And if you choose that avenue, just go in with your eyes open. Not all traditional publishers are created equal. Ann Voss Peterson gives a great run down of her Harlequin vs self publishing experience. And Courtney Milan also gives a great accounting of her Harlequin and self-published book royalties and expenses. It’s easy enough to find out information about other publishers by simply asking around.

Maybe the disadvantages of traditional publishing outweigh the advantages for you. And you’re wondering .. Why wouldn’t I self publish? The answers are as individual and varied as authors. I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of traditional vs self-publishing. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has done a great job in THIS POST blogging about the differences between the two publishing options. (It’s really a wonderful post and totally worth reading if you have a manuscript and you’re sitting on the fence trying to decide what you want to do with it.)

So why did I choose to go the self-publishing route? For one, I had books whose rights reverted back to me after their contract expired at my first publisher. I didn’t think they fit at my other publisher and frankly, I didn’t have any solid reason not to try. As it turned out, self-publishing has been the financial boon I hadn’t quite achieved with my publishers. Yes, I’m still submitting and publishing traditionally, but I’m also choosing to spread my business across the self-publishing venue. With my last royalty statement from my publisher it’s become apparent that sales of my Tilling Passions Series has prompted sales of other books. Readers around the world are finding my books and that’s a very cool thing. But mostly it makes me happy because, for the first time in my career, my ledger is running in the black and I’m only 6 months into 2012!

I’m not shy in encouraging authors to give self-publishing a try. I know it made my knees quake before I actually ventured into the waters. But now that I’m there I’ve got to tell you, the swimming is easy and the water is refreshing. Am I saying I won’t pursue a NY contract? I’m not sure. Right now I don’t seem to have the patience to sit and write that novel that would fit the NY market. With everything going on in my life, my muse doesn’t seem to want to settle down. But with all the changes in publishing, I’m willing to stay flexible enough to take my career in the direction that works best for me.

What about you? Are you comfortable where you’re sitting right now? Are you looking to make changes or is status quo working for you? You know me, I’m curious about stuff like that.

 

Welcome everyone! Sundays I share 6 sentences from one of my books. (My apologies about last week, bad weather and circumstances made it impossible for me to post.) But since so many visitors enjoyed Cheat Her With Charm the last few times I posted, I thought I’d share six more from another perspective…

Crystal wanted desperately to know what motivated the handsome stranger from the internet and how much he truly knew about her. But whatever his reason—curiosity or a need for a relationship—she realized she wanted a more personal involvement in this man’s life.

Perhaps that was why she’d invited the guy to MIRL. Something about his conversations had made him sound sad, lonely—desperate. Something she definitely could relate to. At this point in her life, Crystal needed to be needed.

Click HERE to check out other authors from SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY. And thank you everyone for all your comments. They really mean a lot.

So today I have to think about doing some Christmas shopping. Mind you, I used the word think. I haven’t quite gotten to the actual motion of doing it, but hey, we’re counting down to a little less than 3 weeks and … what the heck? I’m not in panic mode … yet!

In the meantime, my crazy blog tour continues, with the accolades for DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE continuing to roll in from the reviewers.

You can find another excerpt at Cocktails and Books and The Wormhole. Who also gave me a most awesome 4 STAR review and said…

Fantastic story! I fell in love with the characters. Ayden is fabulous, Deirdre is amazing. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this one, but I was pulled in and couldn’t put it down. It’s a love story, but so much more than that. It tells a tale of love and loss, deceit and trust, faith and friendship. It questions what a person is willing to do for someone they love. I wasn’t expecting the twist at the end. I’m usually good at picking how the plot will play out, but I was so caught up in the romance and the relationships that I wasn’t looking for the end to come.
Well written, edgy and romantic. I went and bought books 1 and 3 as soon as I read the last page of Deceive Her with Desire ~ can’t wait to have time to read them too!

I don’t usually post the whole review, but that one makes me all warm and fuzzy.

And if I haven’t given you enough places to check out the second book in the Tilling Passions series, you can skip over to Sara Makala’s Blog for some more excerpt and promo goodness. DECEIVE HER WITH DESIRE is on sale during this whole blog tour for a mere 99 pennies. Heck, you can find that in the couch cushions or under you car seat. Wai…what? You actually vacuum your couch and your car. My bad.

Later folks. I’m headed out to my monthly writer’s meeting. Can. Not. Wait. They always motivate and inspire me. And my muse knows, I’m in desperate need of both!

Authors love to write. It’s what we do. There’s an internal drive to turn the voices in our head into a book. Regardless of that fact, it is very scary to send our babies out into the world and risk rejection.

Of course we think our manuscripts are awesome. Beautifully crafted and entertaining. Our families and critique partners have gushed and given a thumbs up. But there is still the chance the editor at our dream publisher won’t feel the same. And when they do, there is still the readers and reviewers who may not fall in love with our characters the way we did.

There are some authors who don’t read their reviews. Don’t worry what the critics say. I’m not one of them.

I read every review, celebrating each 4 and 5 star review and kicking sand when someone only gives my book 3 stars or *gasp* lower. I totally understand that my stories aren’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, but it still stings. But the interesting thing about these lower reviews, after the initial disappointment, I usually learn something from them. Those well written ones from readers are especially beneficial.

But so few readers even write reviews. Even author-readers. I always try to write reviews for my friends’ books I enjoy. They don’t have to be long or written in flowery prose. They don’t even have to be a synopsis of the book. Just a few honest words about how you enjoyed the book. Anne Allen has a wonderful blog post talking about reviews, the ease of writing them and the impact they have on book sales. You should take time to read it.

Seriously. take a moment … I’ll wait.

Good right? I especially like how she compares review stars to rating a pair of jeans. She makes it so easy to understand.

So what about you? Do you write reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble? If you don’t why not? I’m always curious about these sorts of things.

And today you can check out a review (and give away) of “Deceive Her With Desire” at TBR Pile. I also have an short interview at Lisa’s World of Books. And I’ve got an excerpt from “Blind Her With Bliss” at 99 Cent Books. Whew. Busy day.

As a continuation of last week’s six, I thought I’d share another from Cheat Her With Charm from the hero’s perspective.

Peter didn’t want to admit he hoped meeting a strange woman in the honeymoon suite of a Boston hotel would fill the desperate void in his heart. He knew what people would think and what conclusions they’d draw if they suspected his deception. To hell with them. No one understood what he was going through. And even if they did, it didn’t matter.

He was like a train whose conductor had thrown the wrong switch—compelled to continue on this course until the bitter end.

I know it looks bad, but you should check it out … things aren’t always what they seem in romance novels.

Be sure to check HERE for all kinds of other authors joining in on SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY.

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Welcome to Six Sentence Sunday. This week’s six come from the opening of my newest sexy romantic suspense CHEAT HER WITH CHARM.

Meghan Tilling’s body quaked with fear and the bone-chilling thirty-eight degrees of the cooler where she was trapped. She pressed her forehead against the icy metal of the door. Her palm caressed its pebbled surface, trying to fight the panic lurking like a sinister shadow and threatening to overwhelm her in despair.

How ironic that the annoyance of driving in a Maine snowstorm had kept her at Tilling Gardens and Plants, the business she co-owned with her two sisters. Finishing the shop’s holiday arrangements and festive decorations had seemed a better alternative to a white-knuckled drive home in the heart of a nor’easter. Except now, instead of being stranded in a ditch on the side of the road with a chance of being rescued, she was going to freeze to death alone in the walk-in cooler that was the lifeblood of her business.

Click HERE to check out other participating authors.

It’s here! FINALLY! It’s taken more months than I’d like to admit, to say that the third and final book in the Tilling Passions series is finally out in the world! Yay! Yes, this book was previously published and I LOVED it when it went out into the world, but ya know … I’ve learned a lot about writing and storytelling and so it’s gone through a major overhaul before I could re-release it. And here’s the gorgeous cover (designed by DAR ALBERT who is the absolute best!

BLURB:
He has a secret past. She has dreams for their future. Together they have a problem that may just kill them both…

Floral designer, MEGHAN TILLING, has been in love with her fiancé since college. With her business, his promotion and a family illness, she’s finding the demands on her time are keeping them apart. PETER MADDOCK loves his fiancée with a fierceness that claws at his soul, but finding answers to his past becomes an obsession he can’t ignore. When bizarre accidents threaten Meghan’s life, he wonders if his secrets have finally caught up with him. Can they both discover the truth without paying the ultimate price …their lives?

EXCERPT:
Peter wasn’t sure what to do for Meghan after the horrendous weekend she’d just endured.

First the episode with the cooler, which still knotted his stomach with guilt, then the death of her beloved cat and today she’d had some argument with Deirdre that had brought tears, but no explanation. Now her father lay in the ICU, fighting for his life yet again. Yeah, sucky didn’t quite cover his fiancée’s life at the moment.

Meghan dragged herself out of the car in the garage and through the door Peter held open. Stepping up into the breezeway and into the kitchen seemed an almost insurmountable task for her. At least he’d gotten the garage door to work, and she wasn’t schlepping through the freshly fallen snow.

Another winter storm had rolled in somewhere around midnight, accumulating several inches an hour, making the forty-minute drive from Bangor a treacherous one. Thank goodness her mother had agreed to ride back to Delmont with them. Alice was tucked in safely at home down the street. Deirdre and Ayden had gone home an hour ahead of them, leaving Julie and Damon, because their apartment was so close to the hospital, to take the first vigil at John’s bedside.

Absently, Meghan slipped out of her winter gear and threw it over the back of a dinette chair. Slumping into the seat, she looked like every cell of her body had been drained of energy.

“Babe, can I get you something to eat?” Peter walked across the kitchen and stuck his head in the refrigerator. “We’ve got eggs, bagels, leftover soup.”

“It’s three o’clock in the morning, Peter. How can you think about food?” A weak laugh escaped her lips. “I’m too tired to eat, but help yourself. I’m just going to take a shower and wash off the hospital before falling into bed.” Instead of standing, she laid her forehead on the table. “I should be able to get several hours of sleep before heading over to open the shop.”

Peter abandoned his quest and came up behind her, rubbing at the knots in her shoulders. “I think the good citizens of Delmont would understand if you didn’t open the shop today. There’s no doubt word has already made it around town that your father’s in the hospital.”

Turning her head to look at him, Meghan’s eyes filled with tears. “What if…”

“Don’t, Meggie.” Peter knelt beside her and cupped Meghan’s face in his hands, his thumb brushing a tear from her cheek. “Your dad’s a stubborn man. He’s pulled through before, he’ll do it again.”

“I just don’t know what I’ll do if he doesn’t.” Her voice trailed off.

Peter pulled her tight to his chest, protecting his own shattering heart. John had been the only father figure he’d known. His only memory of his mother centered on his fourth birthday, party balloons, and a bike. Shortly after that he’d been placed in state custody. His mother had never shaken her drug addiction long enough to regain permanent custody. Though he’d always believed she would come for him, her death when he was ten sealed his fate. He’d come back to Maine in search of the happy memories of his childhood and found love in Meghan.

“Hey, where are you?” Meghan’s finger trailed along his brow.

“Nowhere.” He stood and pulled her with him. No sense hashing over a past he couldn’t change. “Let’s get you to bed.”

“How about you climb in the shower with me?”

“Meghan.” The word came out on a husky breath. As exhausted as they both were, desire sparked in her eyes, and the heat shot straight to his groin. How had he ever doubted that she was enough? His lips came down softly on hers, the contact gentle but filled with unspoken hunger.

He swept her into his arms, cradling her against him, her cheek pressed over his heart. He carried her past the bed they shared, where she satisfied every part of him. He set her down, kissing her tenderly, her mouth hungry and eager for him. There would be no bondage tonight. No spanking or sex toys. Just sighs of pleasure and sweet caresses. As he pulled the T-shirt over her head and bent to kiss the luscious curve of her breast, he marveled at the many sexual personas of his fiancée; insatiable tigress, wanton sex-slave, and alluring angel. All his—whenever he wanted.

“I love you, Meghan.” He sighed the declaration into her ear. He didn’t need to say it out loud. His hands roaming her body communicated it so much better, but the emotions bursting from his heart required a voice.

“I love you too.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Oh, and did I mention it’s on sale for the next couple of weeks for $1.49?

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