All posts by jenniferfusco

Permanent Halloween with author AE Jones

How My Obsession Fed My Writing

Since it is October, I’ve got a confession to make. As a child I loved, loved, loved Halloween. All of it: the decorations, costumes, jack-o-lanterns, candy and the fun. And this obsession has not ceased in my adult life. I spend months coming up with my costume each year that I wear to work. I decorate my home with a different Halloween theme. This year it’s witches. I actually have more Halloween decorations than I do Christmas decorations. And of course, I can’t forget about the parties. I have a Halloween luncheon party for my co-workers and a costume party for my neighborhood.

What is it about Halloween that draws me to it? It’s the idea that for one day we shed our own skin. That we take on a persona that is different than our own. And that persona has its own story to tell which is oftentimes whimsical or grim or fantastical or funny. Halloween is about imagination and anticipation and a little thrill thrown into the mix.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I write paranormal. Writing paranormal romance/urban fantasies allows me to celebrate Halloween all year round. There is something special about delving into a world of beings with powers. It makes the telling of the story that much more exciting and challenging. And there is a wonderful contrast when powerful beings struggle with their daily lives and relationships.

In the writing, like in the donning of my Halloween costumes, I create my characters. And I ask myself, what makes them different? Sure they have fangs, or fur, or glowing eyes, but why should the reader care about them? Because a good story has us rooting for the hero or heroine. We want them to defeat the bad guy, or fall in love even though they are blocked by circumstances and their own insecurities. No one is perfect. If they were, the story would be over quickly with little to no fanfare.

In my series, my heroine, Kyle, is far from perfect. She was born with the ability to manipulate memories. She struggles with her own insecurities and straddles the human and supernatural world she lives in, not truly fitting in to either. And this idea actually stems from the age old fish out of water trope. As readers, we may not understand what it’s like to have fangs and live for hundreds of years, but we all understand what it feels like to not fit in. And that understanding grounds us in the story, even when the ‘otherworldness’ of it allows us to escape into a different reality.

And for me as a writer and a reader, the escape is what I yearn for. The escape to a world where I can empathize, befriend, cheer, and fall in love with the characters.

As it turns out, my obsession with Halloween now feeds my obsession with writing. Voices in my head that want to be heard. And this costume-wearing, pumpkin-carving, party-throwing, author is happy to share their stories. One supernatural word at a time.

About the author:

ae jones pic 180 x 270Growing up a TV junkie, award winning author AE Jones oftentimes rewrote endings of episodes in her head when she didn’t like the outcome. She immersed herself in sci-fi and soap operas. But when Buffy hit the little screen she knew her true love was paranormal. Now she spends her nights weaving stories about all variation of supernatural—their angst and their humor. After all life is about both…whether you sport fangs or not.

 

AE lives in Ohio with her eclectic family and friends who in no way resembles any characters in her books. Honest. Now her two cats are another story altogether.

2013 RWA Golden Heart® Winner, Mind Sweeper

 

An angel, a demon and a vampire walk into a bar. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it’s just another day in the life of Kyle McKinley.

 

Kyle was born with the ability to erase memories, and the inability to keep her opinions to herself. She and her teammates – a vampire who looks like a sexy pirate with fangs, and a Shamat demon with a penchant for Italian pastries – provide supernatural damage control when humans see too much. Today’s problem? A sword-wielding angel and a demon had a supernatural smackdown during happy hour in a Cleveland bar, leaving behind a headless vampire and a dozen human witnesses.

 

This latest supernatural slip-up is attracting all kinds of attention. So much attention that the police step in, and Kyle has to deal with Joe Dalton, a know-it-all human with the sexiest turquoise eyes she has ever seen. Kyle has no room in her life for yet another human who will treat her like a freak. However, Dalton definitely makes her naughty parts sit up and take notice, and it’s more than mutual. But before they can act on their attraction, they must join forces to solve a dangerous puzzle. And when they uncover the truth, the apocalyptic ripple effect forces Kyle to make a choice. Learn to trust again, or risk losing everyone she cares about, including Dalton.

finalrevised copy

Mind Sweeper is Book One in the Mind Sweeper Series.

Book Two – The Fledgling, A Mind Sweeper Novella (coming October 2014)

 

 

 

Book Two – The Fledgling, A Mind Sweeper Novella (coming October 2014)

 

fledgling cover compressed

Kait Ballenger’s Cover Reveal

Hi All,  Jennifer here,

Paranormal Romance author, the lovely Kait Ballenger, and I share the same agent.  When she posted on our agency’s loop that she needed help to promote her release Shadow Hunter at .99, I jumped right in.  I’ve read Kait’s work and its FAB!

ShadowHunter_FINAL

If you like awesome, well-written paranormals, then Kait is for you!

Here’s the blurb!!

Vampire hunter Damon Brock’s first assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead.  But he isn’t the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family-and she works solo. But being alone is no longer so desirable when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. As they work to massacre the local covens, the line between good and evil blurs when they are forced to decide between their lifelong beliefs… and their newfound hearts.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Hunter-The-Execution-Underground-ebook/dp/B00K4M3I26/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1401256662&sr=8-2&keywords=Kait+Ballenger

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadow-hunter-kait-ballenger/1119434584?ean=9781459256347

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/shadow-hunter-10

 

Author Bio: Kait Ballenger is a full-time paranormal romance author, wife, former professional bellydancer, and soon-to-be-professor. She has a BA in English from Stetson University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. She lives in Central Florida with her screenwriter husband and three sweet furry babies, all three of whom are named after fictional characters. Kait hopes that one day with hard work and dedication, she will be a bestselling author, and then, people will name their pets after her characters, too.

 

Website: http://www.kaitballenger.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaitlynschulzromanceauthor

Twitter: @kait_ballenger or https://twitter.com/kait_ballenger

Google+: https://plus.google.com/108985176548347481138

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kaitballenger/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kaitballengerauthor

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about you!

For this post, you guys are always hearing about what’s up with me, the radio show, the new house ,  or how crazy my dog is. This time I thought it’d be fun to talk about you for a change.  Here are some random questions, answer as few or as many as you like:

1.  What’s your name?

2. Who is your favorite movie star?

3. How many books do you read per month?

4. Who is your favorite author?

5. What’s your favorite food?

6. What was the name of your first grade teacher?

7.  How many books or manuscripts have you written?

8. Who is your favorite superhero?

9. What’s your favorite holiday?

10.  If you could have dinner with three other people (living or dead) who would they be? and why?

 

The truth about SWAG

For a moment, let’s talk about S.W.A.G (Stuff We All Get) or rather; giveaways, at author events, conferences, and book signings. For this conversation, the term SWAG refers to author branded pens, jar openers, sewing kits, lip balm, recipe cards, bookmarks, etc. Any promotional item you can put your name on can be considered swag, and just as you wouldn’t show up at a friend’s house for dinner without a dessert or a bottle of wine, you can’t attend a signing without offering a little bit of swag.

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Over the years swag has become a “necessary evil,” one that authors have poured money into in the hopes that the reader will not throw their trinkets away.  But, now, I wonder if you and I are looking at swag through the correct lens. Instead of wishing our swag a long and dust collecting life sitting on a shelf, maybe we should make the most of its short-term existence.

Pondering if I was alone in my opinions of swag, I sought help. Fellow romance author, Kim Boykin gave me her opinion of swag. She says, “For newbies like me, it’s expensive, creating stuff, postage is the real killer. It’s hard for me to tell what giving it away actually does for sales. Does it build up your brand, lots of good will? Most definitely.  But does it sell books? Probably not. I think it’s one of those tools the industry used so people do it. Everything is so price driven these days, I’m guessing readers would rather have a discount or free books rather than stuff. I’m always amazed going through the SWAG room at RWA how much stuff there is and how much of that stuff is still there at the end of the conference. Except chocolate, that always seems to go. Fast.”

To Kim’s point, I’m often baffled by the author who labors over the perfect piece of swag and tries to get it “just right,” then complains post-event that she didn’t see her book sales spike. Have you ever purchased a book because you were given a free nail file? I haven’t. This leads me to believe that we are looking at swag the wrong way. Therefore, if we must invest in promotional items, we should come together to look at swag for what it is…a tradition. Let’s And readers do not feel obligated to buy your book because they walked away from your signing table with a free bottle of hand sanitizer. Let’s admit swag is expensive and after a few years it is possible to run out of good ideas for giveaways. Let’s accept tiny bottles of screen cleaner won’t sell a book. Let’s vow, in unison, not to check sales when our supply of pens is exhausted to only suffer disappointment when the expected uptick in sales isn’t realized.

Instead, let’s do this. Let’s make a promise to carry on a tradition. That if we do invest in promotional items, we do so with the following in mind:

  • We will try to make our swag as clever and unique as we can without breaking the bank.
  • We will strive for our swag to match the tone and theme of our book, and order just enough so that we aren’t giving away author branded hot cocoa in the summertime.
  • We will aim to imprint a visual image on our swag and recognize some people are better at remembering faces and icons because we are more than just fancy script and a web address.
  • We will attempt to make the swag work for us. We vow to share our ingenious ideas with our friends and fans on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
  • We will understand it is more important to place our swag in the hands of the readers than display it on a table to await its unavoidable meeting with the trash can.
  • We vow to look at swag as a gift to the reader, not as a means to a sale.

In conclusion, dear authors, I ask you to stand alongside me to carry on the tradition of swag. Together we realize that from chocolate candy to refrigerator magnets it’s all been done before, and will be done, probably forever. Because just as readers have come to rely on a trinket given in good faith, we have come to expect to provide it. With nothing expected in return, except a smile.

10 Rules for Writing an Effective Press Release

Hi Scribblers,

Being a marketer, I was blessed with the gift of gab.  And, using my gift I’ve been quite successful getting my clients of Market or Die Author Services, LLC noticed in the media.  My client, Kourtney Heintz was even featured on a local TV station – and her book was the focus of the show.  But, getting the attention of traditional media isn’t easy.  I’ve gotten more no’s or no responses than yes’s over the years.  But, my wins have been big ones. Just last week I was on the phone with the producer of CBS This Morning discussing my client Ava Miles as a potential guest.

Having the contacts is part of being successful in the press. The other half of the equation is  writing an effective press release.  So, here are my top ten must-have’s for writing a release that is both professional and eye catching.

1.- The words FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE should appear on the top left of the page above the headline – No dates – Dates will be overlooked.

2. Next, the headline should appear in bold capital letters.  Write the headline to attract the attention of the reporter.  If you have a title before your name like, USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, make sure you use it here.

3. Avoid overused words like HOT, NEW, BEST EVER. Write simply and concise.

4. Make sure your book title appears in all caps.

5. Write your release in the 3rd person and do not use a title such as Mr. , Ms. or Mrs.  Just refer to yourself by your last name, such as, Fusco says this is her top ten rules for writing an effective press release.

6. Never use exclamation points in a press release!!!!!

7. At the bottom of the press release type the word “end” or designate the end by using ### .

8. List your website and social media information as well as your phone and physical address.

9. Your release should be no longer than 2 pages MAXIMUM!!!

10.  Submit your press release, and follow up about a week later. If there has been no response – accept that the venue is not interested and move one.  Further correspondence will only piss them off.  :)

Tawny Weber’s Excerpt Tour

Hey Gang:

I’m so happy the Scribes were asked to be a part of Tawny Weber’s excerpt tour. Just take a little read below. If this doesn’t make you want to buy the book, not sure what will.

Warning:  It’s HOT!!

A SEAL's Salvation cover (1)

A SEAL’S SALVATION

by: Tawny Weber

ISBN: 978-0373797875

 Subject: Navy SEAL Petty Officer Brody Lane

Current Status: On leave

Obstacle: The one girl who was off-limits…

Where Navy SEAL “Bad Ass” Brody Lane goes, trouble follows. Being run out of his hometown years ago for misbehaving with Genna Reilly—the sheriff’s daughter—was one thing. Now Brody is about to step into real danger. Not the suggestive letters he’s been exchanging with Genna, but the kind of trouble that can send a soldier home injured and broken inside…

Genna’s entire life has been orchestrated by her family. The right job. The right friends. Enough! Brody’s return offers the promise of lust-filled pleasures. Of flesh teased and tasted. She’s not expecting to find a soldier with distant eyes who has secluded himself from the world. But this good girl knows exactly how to bring a bad boy back to life….

Uniformly Hot!  The Few. The Proud. The Sexy as Hell.

Excerpt:

She was so damned cute when she got feisty. Brody couldn’t help but smile a little. Actually, she was so damned cute all the time, feisty or not. And sexy. Fascinating, entertaining, fun.

His smile fell away.

Maybe that was part of the problem.

He’d thought they could be friends. He hadn’t been able to resist spending time with her, and had thought he could control the intense attraction he felt for her. That he could channel it into making up for some of the lousy deal she’d gotten after he’d left.

But he felt as if he’d signed up for a torture project. Days spent talking and joking. Watching her bake, listening to her dreams. Nights spent hard and horny, diving into dreams so hot he thought the bed was on fire. He was a man used to pushing through the pain, well trained to overcome his body’s weaknesses. Except, apparently, the ones Genna inspired.

“Look,” he said, taking a deep breath and hoping for some semblance of tact and diplomacy. “This friendship thing, it was a mistake.”

Her eyes widened, surprise and hurt flashing. Then, with a sweep of her lashes, her expression changed. Intensified. It sent an itch down Brody’s spine.

“We’re not going to be friends anymore?” she asked in a calm, friendly tone. If it wasn’t for the fact that she was saying the right words, he’d have figured she hadn’t understood him.

As soon as he nodded, she gave him a brilliant smile and tossed off her coat. It hit the floor with a swoosh just as she reached behind her back. The move was quickly accompanied by the sound of a zipper. And Brody’s hiss.

“What, exactly, do you think you’re doing?” he asked, hoping like hell it wasn’t what he thought she was doing.

“Seducing you.”

Damn.

That’s what he’d been afraid of.

A SEAL’s Salvation Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0373797877/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0373797877&linkCode=as2&tag=tawweb-20

Tawny Weber

USA TODAY Bestselling author of over twenty hot books, Tawny Weber has been writing sassy, sexy romances since her first Harlequin Blaze hit the shelves in 2007.  A fan of Johnny Depp, cupcakes and color coordination, she spends a lot of her time shopping for cute shoes, scrapbooking and hanging out on Facebook.

Readers can check out Tawny’s books at her website, http://www.tawnyweber.com, or join her Red Hot Readers Club for goodies like free reads, complete first chapter excerpts, recipes, insider story info and much more.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Websitehttp://tawnyweber.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/TawnyWeber.RomanceAuthor

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TawnyWeber

Pinterest:   http://pinterest.com/tawnyweber/

A SEAL’s Salvation: http://tawnyweber.com/books/seals-salvation/

A SEAL’s Surrender: http://tawnyweber.com/books/a-seals-surrender/

A SEAL’s Seduction: http://tawnyweber.com/books/a-seals-seduction/

A SEAL’s Kiss: http://tawnyweber.com/books/seals-kiss/

A SEAL’s Salvation Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0373797877/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0373797877&linkCode=as2&tag=tawweb-20

A SEAl’s Salvation Barnes & Noble:  http://click.linksynergy.com/link?id=U2Z6CH9yWnc&offerid=266972.9780373797875&type=2&murl=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.barnesandnoble.com%2FA-SEALs-Salvation%2FTawny-Weber%2Fe%2F9780373797875

A SEAL’s Salvation Harlequin:  http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html;jsessionid=4806944D326FA240103DB9727254679F?iid=50156

Email:  tawny@tawnyweber.com

An Independent Publicist or, What the Heck is an Independent Publicist, and Why Do I Need One?

jennifer_hires 600x600An Independent Publicist or, What the Heck is an Independent Publicist, and Why Do I Need One?

By Market or Die Author Services, LLC   Jennifer Fusco and Melanie R. Meadors

Melanie’s contributions to this article are in bold.

Let’s face it. In today’s book world, the market is flooded. Everyone who thinks they want to publish a book has the ability to do it. So, it’s not uncommon for an author to feel the pressure of the crowd when they are about to release their book into the wild.  Many times our clients will feel alone, like they are the ones jumping up and down in the back of the room begging readers to “buy my book,” and that’s not their job.

An author’s job is to deliver the best story possible and to sweep the reader away emotionally, so they are not only compelled to finish reading the story, but crave to know more about the character and their future journeys. Yes. And I know I sound like a broken record at times, but I always say, an author’s best marketing tool is their next book. It’s really hard to market nothing, after all, and even harder to market something that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves during its production.

Our goal as independent publicists is to ensure our client’s work gets the attention it deserves. Through whatever means necessary. With the author’s approval, of course.

MelOur relationship with our clients is based on trust, focus and good planning. And I personally think this is the key to why an author should hire an independent publicist. Trust: you need someone who has your back. When I go into a bookstore, as I do…once…twice…OK, probably five times a week, and I don’t see my clients’ books on the shelves, I see to it that they get there. How are they supposed to sell books if they aren’t in the store, after all? Focus: This is my strong suit. I have ADHD. Hyperfocus is my middle name. When I do a job, I do it thoroughly. Writers WRITE. They can’t have that singular focus on the marketing aspect when they are on deadline at the same time their book is released. By hiring an independent publicist, they have someone who can be there to answer the emails and snap up sudden opportunities that they may not have had time for. My eyes are always open for opportunities for “my authors.” It’s not realistic to expect an author to do all of this herself. And good planning: this is where a publicists knowledge comes in handy. We have connections to blogs and media outlets. We have experience. We know when things should happen, such as blog tours or when press releases should go out.

Often, we are hired to create buzz among readers, and we do that by arranging blog tours, soliciting the press, throwing live events, creating marketing plans and giving our clients opportunities to talk about their work with venues like Authors on the Air. Publishers may arrange some of these things for their authors as well, with their in-house publicists. However, remember that these publicists have other authors they are working for, authors who may, to be frank, be more “important” to that publisher because they draw in more money. These in-house publicists are often stretched thin, and their assistants can often be very inexperienced. An independent publicist works directly for the AUTHOR. Every one of our clients is just as important as the next. The only priority we have when selecting who we should work for next is maybe the release date of their book. We also personalize everything we arrange for an author. No two blog tours are alike–this is because we know that different readers go to different blogs, and we make sure we pay attention to that. We also keep in mind what the author wants, and what his strengths and weaknesses are. It’s much more personal than with a big publisher’s marketing staff.

Bottom line is we love books. We LOVE our authors and there really is no better job in the world.