There are so many choices for new authors who want to see their book in the hands of a smiling reader. The road to publication no longer follows a straight path to NY. It is often a twisting maze of luck and perseverence.

With new publishing houses popping up every day and other publishers imploding, leaving authors begging for the manuscripts back, it can be a mine field wading through facts and rumors. Add to that the loud voices of those that are finding gold in the hills of self-publishing and you have a plethora of confusion on what is best for your manuscript.

So where do you start?

First, decide what it is you want from your writing. The satisfaction of seeing your words in print? A little extra income? A living wage and writing full time? What is your ultimate goal? It will certainly give you direction. For me, quite honestly, it was the income. As so many of you know I had to give up teaching due to medical reasons. And though it wasn’t much in the grand scheme of things, my salary did contribute to the family budget. I want to have that again. And I will.

With that in mind I wrote my first book and began sending it out while working on my second book. Rejections piled up and still I wrote and sent out queries on my second book. More rejections followed. I finally stepped back and reassessed, looked at the market (because I wanted income) and wrote a book I thought would fit the erotic romance market which was growing exponentially at the time. I also realized my only avenue wasn’t print, but digital publishers. I queried several new up-and-coming publishers and three well established houses. I got four offers, an offer of re-write and a rejection. One publisher called me directly. Boy, was I thrilled. But I didn’t jump on it. Why? Because it was a publishing house that had been around only a year.

Here’s the thing I did next and I think more authors should take time to do. I emailed random authors on the publisher’s author list. Why? Because they’re in there and know better than anyone how the publisher works. The good, bad and downright ugly. I asked specific questions about editing staff and techniques. About sales and royalty payments. How long from contract to publication. I even asked about percentage of books going to print. Authors are wonderful people and most will be honest … brutally honest, which is what I wanted. Granted, there were some who did not respond to my emails, but that gave me information also.

From these emails I accepted a contract with Liquid Silver Books. And though I no longer have books there, I will be forever grateful to them for giving me such a wonderful start to my writing career. I HIGHLY recommend them and would tell that to anyone who asks. And let me just tell you, two of the four who offered contracts and whose authors never responded to me have recently gone under. Seriously, a little research goes a long way.

And what of self-publication? Another avenue to explore and consider. It’s not as difficult for someone like me who publishes digitally anyway. There are no huge formatting issues for upload so don’t let that slow you down. Nor does the marketing and promotion change. Because if you’re with an e-publisher already, you know the importance of getting out there and marketing your book. So what is there to consider? Editing and cover design, both of which can be a considerable outlay of money. Whether you have the readers who are auto-buys for your books or your looking to begin a readership. All are important things to weigh when you’re thinking of going this route.

There is money out there for sure, but don’t go into self-publication with stars in your eyes. The reality is many people aren’t selling. Many aren’t making money. *slowly raises hand* Sales get sales. If a book doesn’t have sales, it isn’t going to show up on the lists. If it doesn’t show up on lists, it’s not going to get the attention of new readers. And all the great reviews and marketing aren’t going to get your book in front of the general Amazon surfer, which is your ultimate goal. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t go that route. I’m simply saying, like all parts of the publishing world, go into it well informed.

My goal for 2012 is to have my toes dipping in all of the markets, mass market print, digital and self-pubbing. There is no one way that is correct. In this day and age, an author needs to weigh their options and make decisions that fit them best.

I’m going to admit a couple things here.

1) I had never purchased a book until 4 years ago when my friend had her debut novel released. (I was a library kind of gal.)
2) I STILL don’t own an e-reader. I know … scandalous right? Because I can’t afford an iPad, I vascillate between a Nook and a Kindle and people who own either “think they’re the best”. Anyway, I’m currently reading e-books on my computer.

So what’s the point of “true confession Friday”? Well, I have no idea how the buyer of digital books thinks. Are they looking for bargain books and willing to try new authors and genres? Are they still only buying their auto-buy authors? And what about freebies?

Yeeeeah, what about freebies? Do thousands of people just automatically download all free books on Amazon, Kindle or Smashwords thinking they may read them and if they don’t … whatever? Or do they pick up the free book by an author thinking they may find a new-to-them author? Does that in turn entice them to go buy more books by that author?

Or are so many books being offered for free by so many authors that readers have become leary of the quality of the writing? With the instant availability of publishing to anyone with a computer the writing/story can range from fabulous to OMG! is English the author’s first language? Leaving the reader to wonder if the author knows the definition of “edit”.

Is a reader more likely to read a book if they have to pay even a minimal amount for it? Say $.99? Does even that small amount of outlay give value to the purchase?

Of course I’m asking because I currently have two sexy romantic suspense novels in my “Tilling Passions” series up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Blind Her With Bliss and Deceive Her With Desire. And now that I’m very close to getting the third book in this series published, I’m thinking about my pricing strategy.

Does giving away the first book entice people to read the second and third in the series? Or will it sit unread in the libraries of Nooks and Kindles across the country, never to be opened? I have no idea. This whole self-publishing seems to be a big fat roll of the dice all the way around.

So what about you? When you see a book on B&N or Amazon for free do you assume certain things? Do your feelings change if it’s $.99? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this because I’m currently BEYOND confused on what is best at this point.

I am a member of Romance Writers of America. Mostly I keep up my membership because I can then be a member of smaller chapters like Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal, Maine Romance Writers and the New England Chapter, all of them full of wonderful authors who offer advice and support my career.

When I started writing six years ago I was alone in the world with no clue how to navigate the waters of the publishing world. I found RWA and then my local Maine chapter. Thanks to them and several RWA sponsored writing contests I was able to learn my craft, hone my writing skills and publish. Of course back then RWA didn’t consider me published because I had chosen to work with Liquid Silver Books, a digital publisher (whom I would highly recommend). With no advance coming to me for my books they considered me little more than a hobbiest. Yeah whatever.

As the electronic industry grew and e-readers became part of the book buyer’s landscape, RWA could no longer ignore the fact that many authors were choosing to contract their books to digital publishers. For many writers, the high percentage of royalties was now outweighing the desire to sell books to publisher with low advances that rarely “earned out”.

RWA now recognizes authors as “officially published” who earn $1000 or more with a single book title either as an advance OR in royalties. Okay, well, no kidding authors of e-books who have received awesome reviews and have a readership have known this for a long time.

But if there’s one truth about publishing … nothing remains the same for long.

Now, authors are finding financial success publishing books directly to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And RWA has no idea what to do with these authors who earn sometimes more than the traditionally published mid-list author in NY. Because … get this … that author is only a hobbiest. They aren’t looking at their writing career as a profession.

Wai … wha?

It’s true. And there are some authors who are jumping on that bandwagon. Now don’t ask me why, in this time of Amanda Hocking, JA Konrath and Barry Eisler, who are making amazing money publishing their own books, why RWA would NOT consider this a viable publishing option for an author’s career. To me it’s a sound business decision to make sure I’ve tapped into all aspects of the publishing market.

I consider myself a “professional” writer. I intend to contribute substantially to the family budget, not just offer a movie and dinner night to Mr. Nina once a month when my royalty check arrives. But it is the rare author who makes a living wage right out of the starting gate. It takes time to market onesself and find a readership base. When will I consider myself a success? Hmmm, I’m not sure. I suspect every time I reach one goal I’ll be stretching toward another. What I do know is that I can’t decide for someone else how to define their writing.

There are some who really are just happy writing their stories and getting them out into the world, even if they don’t make much money. And others who are happy squeezing their writing time between a fulltime job, kids and the hubster, thrilled to have extra money every month or so to feed their book-buying addiction. Are they not professionals? That’s not for me to decide. And I know that’s not much of an answer.

The truth is, RWA is trying to juggle many writers with a lot of needs. It just seems to me that the organization is once again fighting the US (those who are published with recognized electronic publishers and traditionally published authors making a living wage) vs THEM (everyone still finding their way including those “self-pubbed” to Amazon) battle. I don’t know where the organization is going or what will be decided about authors who make their living publishing direct. I just hope the powers that be are looking at this from all angles, not just the one down their nose.

So, as an author does any of this affect you? And as a reader, does it matter to you where your favorite books come from (recognized pubs or Amazon/B&N directs)?

Welcome to Earth Day 2011. I hope you’re doing your part to protect our environment.

Me? I’m a recycling fiend. Plastic, aluminum, paper, you name it I recycle it. When we were packing to move my oldest daughter, whose even more into it than I am, even found places for me to send used denim and crayons where they would be recycled. Though I will confess to not composting. I haven’t quite gotten that mess figured out. Maybe we’ll find one of those big containers you can put in the back yard for our next house. But then again, since there’s the whole brown, green, brown layer thing, it may be more than I can handle.

And of course there is the fact that my books can be purchased digitally thereby saving many, many trees in the printing process. As a matter fact I’m chatting about e-books and my newest release BLIND LOVE over at ADELE DUBOIS’ BLOG today. Come on over and tell me how you like your books … print or electronic.

Every once in awhile reality smucks me upside the head. You know those moments when something you’ve been doing every day strikes you as an OMG! moment. Okay, maybe it’s only me, but I’m going to chat about it anyway.

It happened innocently enough. Mr. Nina and I were looking at a house we’re thinking of buying and although two of our children are living on their own, their very interested in the houses we’re looking at. Soooo, Mr. Nina pulls out his iPhone (that came with his new job) and started clicking off pictures (which someone had just shown him how to do). Which is when Beautiful Girl called and he answered it. She wanted him to text the pictures, but he could only figure out how to email them. It was kind of amusing to listen to her try to give him directions on how to text them. Suffice it to say, he ended up emailing them, texting was just too far beyond him at that point. And since the whole touch-screen iPhone situation is beyond my little “regular” cellphone capabilities … I didn’t even try. But that wasn’t a big deal. Baby Girl had slowly walked me through the same instructions for my phone.

But it wasn’t until Mr. Nina pulled up the internet on his phone to look for a good restaurant nearby that I totally freaked. I mean, not like WOW! jumping up and down freaked, just a little, man-even-in-my-lifetime-things-have-changed-exponentially kind of freak. Because, in the grand scheme of things, I’m not that old and yet, technology has changed everything I do.

When my children were little my Nana began emailing. She was 70-something when her children bought her a computer. Mind you, she was born in 1911! She went to a one-room school house by horse and buggy. She saw the inventions of the television, telephone and automobiles. And here she was able to email her grandchildren rather than write a letter. Now, she could only reply to our emails. She had no idea how to type in a new address, but still … it was amazing for her to do that.

One of my first jobs was at a business that had a computer “system”. We each had a terminal at our desks, but it went to a huge computer in the back room. Each day I was responsible for putting on big tape reels and backing up the whole system. It took probably 30-40 minutes. And the internet definitely wasn’t something we surfed. I’m sure it was out there in cyberspace in its infant stages, but it wasn’t something even on the fringes of my world. Heck, Mr. Nina and I had a phone plan where we still paid a pretty penny for long distance calls. Overages on cellphone plans have nothing on my phone bill charges back then. LOL!

I’m such a horrible mother, I refused to have the internet in my house when my children were young. They still used our encyclopedias to do their research projects in elementary school. Try explaining to teachers that two college educated parents really didn’t have the internet and please stop assigning our children silly assignments that required they get on a computer. (Some homework situations just don’t change.)

I’ve been published less than four years. But even at that time my “electronic” books didn’t get any respect at my local writer’s meeting. They weren’t considered real. I’m not passing judgement, just stating the facts. But like everywhere else in publishing, electronic books are getting the same kudos as paperbacks. Why wouldn’t they?

NYT bestselling authors are releasing their out-of-print backlist themselves. With the amazing success of Amanda Hocking and J A Konrath how can anyone argue that technology has turned the publishing world on its ear! There is no doubt that more new things are coming and we all just need to hang on for the ride of a lifetime!

So yeah, that innocent phone call from my daughter just kind of made me stop and think about all that’s come and all the possibilities of the new inventions yet to be revealed. So does this age of technology sometimes blow your mind? Or am I just way out in left field. (Hey, don’t knock it, it’s quite peaceful out here. 😉 )

I’d like to welcome author SAPPHIRE PHELAN to The Block today.

Welcome Sapphire. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing
I’ve been writing since I was eight, maybe even younger. I wanted to make up stories (mainly animal and scifi ones) like I read. I wrote poetry when I was in high school besides short stories and one day discovered this poetry magazine when I was 17. I submitted three poems to them, “The Horse,” “The Leopard,” and “Sands of Time.” All three were accepted and I got a contract and was paid. That was my first paid publication.

But it took until 2005 when I wrote my first erotic fantasy romance. It was about a knight cursed to become a dragon at night and the young woman who broke the curse and become his love. It was a twist on the virgin offered to a dragon.

Oh, I love dragons. Your newest release involves shifters as well. Could you tell us a little bit about it? 
DARK LEOPARD MAGIC is the second book in the Beast Magic universe. It is erotic male/male interracial novella with wereleopards as the two heroes.

Dev Tollen is a tortured soul who also happens to be gay and a wereleopard. He has never had the Dreaming until one day it happens and he sees his destined mate. Montsho first appeared in the first novella as a secondary character, BEAST MAGIC, as friend to Ramses, the werelion leader. He never thought a male wereleopard would be his mate, as he never thought himself as gay.

And there’s a mystery involved in the storyline besides being a paranormal romance.

Blurb for the book:
Dev Tollen is a man with a dark past and an even darker soul. More than that, he’s a gay wereleopard. He has never had the Dreaming and never met his true mate. But one night the Dreaming does come and reveals his lover, an African man named Montsho, also an alpha black wereleopard. Montsho will fight their love and their destiny. Dev will do all he can to win his beloved’s heart and keep him by his side always.

Then the ghost of a human begs Dev to solve his wereleopard lover’s murder. Both men will find that their new-found love tested and their lives in danger. Their idyllic time in paradise is about to be torn asunder when they discover who the murderer is.

Oh, two alpha males, they sound great. How did you come up with them? 
Out of my head, like all of my characters. I knew about Montsho and knew from the first book that he had to be the central figure in the second one. But I couldn’t figure out who should be his mate. Not until it hit me why he never found his destined mate. And when I started writing DARK LEOPARD MAGIC, Dev Tollen came to life and in first person. That Dark leopard didn’t mean because of Montsho’s black wereleopard form, but because of Dev having a dark past and even darker soul. I realized as I went into the book that I also had to have some chapters from Montsho’s viewpoint.

Sometimes those dark characters should come with a warning. If you came with a warning label what would it read? 
Beware: Author creating universes of hot sex and supernatural beings and aliens. She’s always trying to save the day, so take care of explosions, evil creatures, and hell breaking loose!

LOL! With a warning like that it should probably be posted over your desk. Could you describe your writing space for us? 
I write in a room that the office shares with my sewing room. LOL I do costuming so this was the costuming room first. I have piles of reference books and collectibles fighting for space. Everything helps me write. I always have something to look at to give me ideas. I like this mainly for my writing area, though I have taken my laptop and written while sitting on the couch in the living room when my husband needs to get to his PC (his and my laptop sit side-by-side), when I go to conventions I write up in my room and even during a writer’s workshop at my table! But I prefer my office the best.

I’m a little envious that you can write most anywhere. So tell us a little about your writing process are you a plotter or a pantser?
I think I am more a pantser—the stories just came to me. When I do a novel or large novella, I do write down the characters, descriptions and more so I can always reference back when one returns. I never could do outlines, even in school. I write the article, then do the outline. The teachers gibe me As, never knowing I never did it the way they asked us to.

I either have a cup of coffee with cream or bottle of diet Lipton green tea within reach. No music. I admit listening to a song on the radio one day while driving the car that inspired my paranormal romance, ‘His Girl” that’s included in Just Another Paranormal Halloween anthology, but I don‘t listen to any while writing.

So what happened to the first novel you wrote? 
I wrote this novel, Howling in the Night when I was in seventh grade. It was by long hand and since I was a kid, I doubted it was even 40,000 words, never mind what they want today. LOL it was a gothic romance with horror mixed in—paranormal romance before it was thought of.

I know this is completely off topic, but do these pants make my butt look big? 
No, I don’t think so. And after all, black is slimming as they say.

Mwah, just the answer I was hoping for. There is just something about sitting down to edit in leather pants … oh, sorry, I digress. How do you get through the editing process?
I try to write my book completely before starting to edit it. I try to do it twice to three times when I edit a book or story. I also take chapters or a story to my writer’s groups I am with and my critique buddies. They help me immensely. Once I feel it’s ready to submit, that’s when I do it.

Thank goodness for crit partners. Who or what do you attribute your success to? 
All those writers I’ve read short stories and novels and nonfiction books of. Like Shirley Jackson (her The Haunting of Hill House is still a big fave ghost story), Ray Bradbury (this man knows how to write and keep you reading), Anne McCaffrey, etc… I also attribute my success to my friends and family who have backed me, to my editors who made sure my stories are the best they could be, and most of all, to my readers, who buy and read my crazy worlds. Thank you all.

Rapid Fire Questions …
Vampire or shifter? Shifter, natch’!
* Coffee or Tea? I like both
* Cats or Dogs? I like both, though all we own right now are two cats. It’s hard to be a cat herder
* Shopping or Massage? Mmmm. . .massage
* Happy Ever After or Happy for Now? It’s depends on the story. Both work for me
* Boxers or Briefs? How about commando?
* Sugar or Salt? Sugar
* Wine or Beer? Wine
*Quiet night with your honey or a party with friends?  I like both, but a quiet night with my hubby beats it all
* Flowers or Candy? Flowers if in a pot and I can plant outside. Candy—yeah, I like this. Me though, I prefers books and eBooks

Well it looks like the cabana boys are heading this way. Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers before we dive into that pitcher of margaritas? 
Keep reading. And do contact me, letting me know how you liked my heroes, heroines, and worlds they play in. I always love to hear from my readers. I try to write the stories of my heart and I am glad you have embraced them well.

Sapphire Phelan is an author of erotic and sweet paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction romance, along with a couple of erotic horror stories. She also writes as Pamela K. Kinney, for horror, fantasy, science fiction, and nonfiction ghost books. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two cats, Ripley and Bast. She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house and husband sometimes suffers for it! Most days you can find Sapphire at her website or her blog. And follow her on twitter and facebook.

**CONTEST ALERT** Sapphire will be giving away a download of DARK LEOPARD MAGIC. So leave a comment with your name and email so she can check back and draw a winner from ALL the blogs on her tour on NOV 29.

Today I’d like to welcome debut author Lynda K. Scott to the Writer’s Block. Lynda’s first book, Heartstone has recently been released by Mundania Press.

Welcome Lynda, tell us a little bit about you and how you got into writing
I’ve been writing since the time I could first hold a pencil in my chubby little hand, but my 4th grade teacher, Mrs Moore, gave me the real impetus to create stories to entertain others. She gave my class a writing assignment – to tell a story about entering a magic tunnel, what you find there, what you do, how you get back. I’m not sure what her goal was, other than to see how much we’d learned from our English lessons. Or it may have been a way to encourage us to stretch our imaginations.

I’ve taught creative writing at my local community college and used an assignment similar to Mrs Moore’s to show the students that although you can write about the same subject, your stories will be very different. So thank you, Mrs Moore!

What a wonderful teacher, but you’ve come a long way since those crayons and magic tunnels. Could you please tell us about your book?
Prior to writing Heartstone, I’d only written short science fiction. Oddly enough, all of the short fiction (except the few horror pieces) had romantic elements. So my writer buddies, all experienced and published romance writers, suggested I should try my hand at romance. I’m always up for a challenge and a few months later, Heartstone was born. Then these same friends suggested I enter it in contests for more feedback. I did. Heartstone finaled and won several of the contests it was in. I’ve been writing science fantasy romance ever since.

It’s amazing how good contests can help focus a writer. But before the focus comes the inspiration. Where do you get yours?
Inspiration can come from just about any source. I watched dust motes drifting through a beam of sunlight one day and came up with a scene for a story (not yet contracted). Heartstone itself arose from a series of what if questions. What if a woman didn’t know she was born on another planet? What if she didn’t know that the ‘psychological problems’ she thinks she has are really a manifestation of a rare talent prized by her people? What if she was married at mere months of age after a seer foretold who her destined mate would be?

On another story, a short SF with romantic elements, the entire plot and characters sprang to life after a dream I had about dust bunnies. A news story about a binary star inspired another SF story (also with romantic elements – you can see why my friends suggested I write romance, lol)

I don’t have any one source for inspiration. Everything on God’s green and blue planet inspires me in one fashion or another.

Dreams are wonderful sources of inspiration to be sure. I find movies great inspiration as well. If you were sick in bed what would be your comfort movie?
Okay, don’t laugh. My comfort movie is Zulu, with Stanley Baker and a very young Michael Caine. It’s a story of unmitigated bravery against an overwhelming force where a handful of British soldiers hold a small fort against the Zulu uprising over a period of three days at Rorke’s Drift. It doesn’t glorify violence or death and there are not four letter words or sex (the only woman wears long skirts and is covered up to the neck) but the characters and the characterization are beyond anything else I’ve ever seen. This is the kind of movie where certain lines or scenes are emblazoned on your memory for all time…at least they are if you’ve watched the movie as much as I have, lol.

Sometimes those sweet and innocent movies are the best. Speaking of sweet and innocent where do you do all your romance writing? 
Right now, my writing space is a disaster. I’m in the middle of re-doing my home office to make it a tad more efficient and comfortable. So let me talk about how I hope it will be when I’m done. I have a large V-shaped desk with my desk top and my laptop sitting in the V middle section. I share my office with my kitten, Wookie (you can see her picture on my website) and her bed sits on a small chest in front of the window facing the street. That’s so she can catch any stray sunbeam…you knw how cats are about sunbeams, lol. I also have an easy chair to read in beside a small table with a gorgeous tiffany style lamp I bought years ago, a small TV and Wookie’s unmentionable area (she’s strictly an indoor kitty). The walls are painted lilac and I talked my hubby into putting a series of shelves on two walls to hold my ‘keeper’ books. Those shelves will be next on my list of things to reorganize…which means ‘how can I get more books into this limited space?’ I sometimes wonder if the anchors fastening the shelves to the walls will be able to hold all those books up? I won’t be putting my desk under them. No need to take dangerous risks, right?

Oh, no living dangerously for you? Well then if we asked your friends to name 3 personality traits that do describe you, what would they be? 
Most would get a mischievous gleam in their eye that would worry me if I didn’t know their secrets too, lol. They’d keep the gleam but they’d say honest, smart and loyal. Those are the character traits I prize in my friends so I hope I have them too.

Oh, and speaking of traits, when you’re reading someone else’s books what male traits make the hero a turnoff for you? 
First let me say, I love fictional alpha males but some can get too close to a point that’s almost abusive and that makes me a little uneasy. I’ll also say that even though they might get close to that line, they never actually cross it. If they did, the book would never make it to the library donation box, it’d go straight to the trash.

Trash a book? Yep, that happened with my first book. What happened to the first novel you wrote? 
That would be Heartstone if you’re talking about finished novels. I have a whole bunch of other novels that were never completely finished for one reason or another. Mostly because they even bored me after awhile, lol.

Wow! I’m impressed your first finished romance manuscript was published. I’d like to find something romantic for Mr. Nina’s birthday, any suggestions? 
Well, knowing Mr Nina as well as you do, you’d get something that would make his eyes sparkle. It could be a dinner at his favorite bistro or an evening at the game of his choice. Perhaps it would be a new dress for you that makes his eyes sparkle? Or an evening at home with his feet up, the newspaper at hand, and a cold one on the table beside him. The key is to know him and what he likes, what he thinks is romantic. Knowledge is power <g>

Oh, and I do know him so well! *wink wink* And since you know your characters so well if you could be one of your characters who would you choose and why? 
I’d be Tara Rowen in my third novel (currently uncontracted and looking for a home). She’s a star ship captain, a jill-of-all-trades, who has a break even operation hauling merchandise from one star system to another. I’d love to travel the galaxy, to see new sights and people, to walk on different planets and smell the roses…or the nicturins as they may be called.

Oh, traveling the universe sounds wonderful, but not very relaxing. Which would you choose for a little down time … a hot soak in the tub or a smokin’ BBQ with your friends? 
I can’t have both??? Or maybe start with a smokin’ BBQ with friends and everyone goes into the tub later?

A woman after my own heart, naughty to the core! Okay something on a more serious note. What advice would you give aspirting authors? 
I’d give the same advice my creative writing professor in college gave – Write every day…even if you think it’s garbage put the words down. Keep going until you’re done. Then let it rest for a week. When you go back, you may find it’s a whole lot better than you thought. If not, figure out why. What doesn’t work? Fix it. Make it shine. Once you’ve done that, find a home for it and start writing something new. The more you write, the better you’ll get.

Wow, I think we’ve covered it all, but if we haven’t is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
At one time, Heartstone had a prologue. My current publisher decided not to use it but I wanted it available for readers who might be interested in how the story began. It can be found on my website.

Great News! If you buy Heartstone through the Mundania site, you can use the code LSCOTT10 at checkout and receive a 10% discount on your total (Heartstone plus any other book you might want) purchase.

Eric d’Ebrur is out of time. He must find the legendary Heartstone and fulfill the ancient Gar’Ja bond he shares with the Stonebearer. But when he finds her, he discovers that love can be more dangerous than the Gawan threat. Eric can defeat the mind-controlling Gawan but will it cost him the woman he loves?

After terrifying episodes of hypersensitivity, Keriam Norton thinks she’s losing her mind. When handsome shapeshifter Eric d’Ebrur saves her from the monstrous Gawan, she’s sure of it. But insane or not, she’ll find the Heartstone and, if she’s lucky, a love to last a lifetime.

Well, Lynda finished the interview and she headed over to the pool house with a couple of the cabana boys and a pitcher of margaritas. If you want to keep up with all her happenings visit her blog or friend her on Myspace, Facebook or Twitter. I’m sure i will be able to pull her away from the boys after a nice massage so please leave her a comment. She loves to hear from readers!

w00t! w00t! The news on people buying Kindles and Kindle books is nothing but encouraging. USA Today reported in July that Kindle continues to change and adapt to remain competitive in the market place. The price of the ereader has dropped significantly making it more affordable to more people. This change just further supports the fact that Amazon’s kindle books out sold hard cover books recently. Go digital!

What does this mean to me? Simply put, more readers with digital devices may very well find their way to my books. I had an epiphany in the middle of the night (which seems to be when my muse pulls me from my sleep to “chat”) and that was including KINDLE buttons on my website to make it that much easier for readers to connect to the kindle version of my book! Yay me! It’s a tiny thing …


But just click on it … oh, come on, you know you want to! I’ll wait!

How cool is that? Of course on my website buttons take you directly to the book page. Sometimes I’m just brilliant. *pats own shoulder lovingly*. (Yep, and no lack of self-confidence either. LOL!) And ooookay, I came up with the idea, but it was Jenn at Sapphire Designs that actually did all the programming … because she’s amazing like that!

So tell me … what are you reading these days. Ebook or print? And if it’s an ebook what do you read it on?

** NOTE: Before you even begin reading this post I need a little disclosure. I am not (did I say NOT?) making a judgement about any of the book covers posted here today. I’ve just thrown some up here for point of reference and to illustrate this discussion. That being said …

So another interesting thing happened on my way through my inbox the other day. A discussion was started about book covers. Now as readers we understand the draw of a beautiful book cover. Especially if it’s a new-to-you author. The colors, the feeling, the sensuality (hey, we’re talking about romance here), it’s all important. Authors understand this better than anyone. Great covers are celebrated with squeeing parties of pure joy. And a cover that doesn’t quite hit the mark? Well … let’s just say it’s not a happy place.

But then we began talking about e-books and someone innocently mentioned they couldn’t understand why they have covers. I guess this reader either didn’t download the covers to her e-reader and/or shopped by title/author and didn’t bother to look at the cover. Some others mentioned a plain cover with the title and author name were all they needed. Huh. I don’t own an e-reader (I know … let’s not go there.) but I do enjoy beautiful covers in the pdf format of e-books I do purchase. I don’t peruse stores looking for books. The purchases I do make are titles others have recommended or I’ve found on my loops. Therefore, I’m neither turned on nor off by the cover.

I did go over to kindle and picked out a few covers of different books available (I did try to download a couple of plain covers, but they wouldn’t work for me) …

These are from kindle, but basically these covers can be found at most e-book retailers. So the question is, are you affected by the cover image? Does it determine your digital book buying? or do you buy your books based on excerpts and blurbs you’ve read on Yahoo loops or blogs.

I know the digital publishers put a lot of time and talent into covers for their books. (Just look at my cover yumminess in the right-hand sidebar.) I know I would be extremely disappointed if my publishers went to a plain brown wrapper format for covers. I like seeing the hawt couples on my covers. Even authors who are publishing straight to kindle often times shell out the bucks to some talented person to create an eye-catching cover. But in the end … does it matter? Because you know me … I’m nosy like that.