Category Archives: Fun

Do you listen to BTR?

For those who haven’t heard of it, BTR stands for Blog Talk Radio, the latest in on-line entertainment and informational programming. Everyday professionals, experts, and entertainers are hosting their own radio shows and being heard by millions. These topic-driven programs allow listeners to hone in on their interests and hear the latest news in whatever industry that floats their boat. So what does that mean for readers and writers? So glad you asked! PJ Sharon here with the latest scoop on how to help writers find their audience and readers connect with their favorite authors.

Writers can share their books and talk about their writing process with interviewers while sitting behind their computer or on their phones, feet up and fuzzy slippers gracing their desks. All while sipping tea and chatting about their favorite things with whomever decides to tune in. Fans or readers can type in questions to be asked and answered in real time, or a link to the show can be used later for promotion and advertising purposes.

For readers who love romance, it’s a chance to hear your favorite authors dish about their characters, read excerpts, and maybe even share a few spoilers about upcoming books. Basically, it’s another way for readers and writers to connect in a fun, user-friendly format.

The really cool thing is that anyone can host their own show. Of course, that means adding consistent content, being entertaining and engaging, and building an audience over time. It’s not for everyone, but those that are doing it appear to be enjoying the up close and personal interaction and sharing it with listeners.

I’ve done several such interviews over the past year or so and I have to say, I love doing them. It means not having to actually be on camera, but being able to hang out as if I’m conversing with a pal on the phone. It’s very non-threatening. My most recent BTR interview was in February with Linda Mooney from Other Worlds of Romance, who hosts mostly sci-fi/fantasy writers and has a decent following.

She asked me to come on the show and read a steamy excerpt from WESTERN DESERT, book two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. Several listeners showed up to ask questions and I had a blast sharing my story with them, including behind the scenes insights into the third book, the title of which I’ll reveal at the end of this post as promised last month!

After the show, Linda sent me the link to embed into my website so readers can refer to it and listen at any time. What a great promotional tool and something I can definitely add to my press kit. I’m sure if I use it properly it could lead to TV/radio interviews in the future. It’s a way for media types to hear how well you speak about your books and interact with the interview process. You can find a list of hundreds of shows that might be willing to host romance authors here. Or you can go in and search categories for more specific shows that focus on your genre.

Just one more way to connect readers and writers in the digital age!

Now, to reveal the title of the third book in the trilogy…drum roll, please… we had WANING MOON, WESTERN DESERT, and coming this fall…HEALING WATERS, the continuing adventure of Lily Carmichael and friends as they make their way back home to warn the good folks of Stanton of a coming doom. Will they reach them in time…or is it already too late? Can Lily and Will overcome their differences and find their way back to each other as they race against time to save the human race from certain destruction?

Don’t forget to join me on my PJ Sharon Books FB page as I roll out the cover reveal for my next Contemporary YA novel, PIECES of LOVE, set to release June 21st. POL Picture4The big reveal will take place on April 18th, but pop over and “like’ my page now so you don’t miss out on the fun as I reveal a new “piece” of the cover each week along with an excerpt. Leave a comment on my FB post and be entered to win an ARC of the book, winners to be drawn on reveal day, April 18th, when you’ll also be privy to links for the release of my single, PIECES of Love, the theme song to the book.

Tell me, have you ever listened to BTR?

Meet Me in Milwaukee, by Katy Lee

Hello Readers!  On April 26, 2014 I am heading to Milwaukee for a fun day out with romanceVey logo readers.  The event is put on by the fabulous and beautiful Barbara Vey, a blogger for Publishers Weekly.  Each year she holds an event called Barbara Vey’s Reader Appreciation Luncheon, and boy, do readers get appreciated!  If you love romance of any and all sub-genres, you don’t want to miss this day made just for you.  There will be gifts and favors and books and conversations and books and…well you get the idea.  But if you want the details, click on Barbara’s site here.

There will be 40+ awesome and talented authors, each with their own table, and readers get to choose the author they want to hang with for lunch.  Seats are limited on a first come first serve basis, which is why I am getting this message out to you now.  I don’t want you to miss your opportunity to sit with your favorite author…or perhaps, you want to meet new-to-you authors.  Go for it!  Head to Barbara’s website to check the author list and scroll down to sign up.

Me and Barbara at RWA
Me and Barbara at RWA

And if you’re still not sure, let me tell you about the Keynote Speaker.  Perhaps you’ve heard of her?  She’s goes by the name of Debbie Macomber.

Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide. Macomber brings to life the compelling relationships that embrace family, community and enduring friendships, filling her readers with a sense of love and hope.

Macomber is the author of more than 100 novels, most recently the instant #1 New York Times bestseller Starting Now, and The Inn at Rose Harbor; two bestselling cookbooks; numerous inspirational and nonfiction works; two acclaimed children’s books and the Mrs. Miracle Christmas novels.  She is also the author of beloved and bestselling series of novels set in Cedar Cove, Washington on which Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, Hallmark Channel’s first dramatic scripted television series, is based. She is the recipient of a RITA® award; an RT Book Reviews Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a multiple winner of both the Holt Medallion and the B. Dalton Award. In 2010, the Romance Writers of America presented Macomber with their prestigious Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.

And she taught me how to knit!  Seriously.  I owe all this fine handy work to her.

Katy Lee Books' Sock Monkeys
Katy Lee Books’ Sock Monkeys

She is a wealth of knowledge.  You will be so glad you came to hear her, and I will be so glad to meet you, either at my table or during the meet and greet!  Start planning today!  And stay tuned to see what my table favors will look like.  Oh, the possibilities!  And if you have any questions, feel free to ask. 

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Pin it, Baby!

Hey everyone! Casey here.

PinterestOkay, I’m a bit late to the Pinterest party. For the last few years, I’ve actively avoided joining anymore social media sites that would siphon away from my writing time.

It all started out innocently enough.  While I was updating the appearance of my blog, I re-checked some of WordPress’ settings and noticed a Pinterest option.  In order to take advantage of the option I needed an account.

It was easy enough to create one. Then I made the mistake of looking around.

And – whammo – I was hooked. Because now that I had an account, I should add some boards because what if someone found me and I had nothing there? I would look pretty lame.

And where else could I post my cool Oogles the Owl photo collection?

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Oh, and while I was doing that, I figured I might as well start trying out the little red Pinterest button found on many websites too. So off I went, messing around with my favorites sites to see who had the red button.

Hear that sucking noise?

That was my writing time going down the drain. But the end result – I created some pretty cool boards (see them here) and I’ve been enjoying my friends’ boards (who are years ahead of me).

Honestly, Pinterest reminds me of a giant, web-based scrapbook. The only thing missing is fancy borders, colored backgrounds, and 3-D doo-dads.

The big question I have, what is Pinterest for? How does everyone use it?

As a photo album? For inspiration? To drool over food porn (or hunky men)?

If you’re on Pinterest, please share. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

10 Things I Wish I Could Say on Social Media

How many of you scroll through Facebook and find yourself rolling your eyes. I know I do. I know freedom of speech is one of our God given rights but I find myself wanting to tell some of these people to shut up.

Here are some of the things I find myself wanting to say, but can’t.

1. Your boyfriend is NEVER going to make it as a musician. He’s forty, cannot sing and is using this music thing as an excuse not to get his lazy ass a job.

2. Stop complaining about your job ALL THE TIME. Everybody’s job sucks sometimes. EVERYBODYS. That’s why they call it work. You’re not special. If it’s that bad quit. If you’re being dramatic, stop.

3. If everybody you know has a problem with you, then it’s you. Not them. Stop being so negative.

4. You claim to be a devout Christian and yet you KEEP having children out of wedlock. With different men. Really?  Don’t be such a hypocrite.

5. Stop telling us how happy you are with your life. Truly happy people don’t have to tell the world all the time how happy they are. They are out being happy. Not posting it on Facebook.

6. And on the same note, nobody needs to hear how much you love your kids. You should love your kids. You should take care of them. YOU’RE A PARENT. Show your kids you love them. Don’t tell us.

7. Stop bragging about getting drunk. You’re thirty. It’s not cute. You look like a loser.

8. Don’t air your dirty laundry in public. Not classy. I don’t care what your boyfriend/husband did. Be an adult. Talk to him. Make it work, because both are you are so crazy nobody else is going to want either of you.

9. No more political ranting please. You sound bitter and uneducated.

10. Vaugebooking. Either tell us what the problem is or don’t. If you’re attention seeking go see a therapist. Facebook is not therapy.

But despite all of that I love Facebook. I love cute animal pictures. Cute kid pictures. I like to see what people are watching. What people are listening to. What people are reading. I like to see the changes in people I knew from long ago. Where they want to go, where they have been.I even love food pictures. Facebook is how I keep up with my family members. It’s where I see their happy news, it’s sometimes how I learn of their tragedies. I’m probably never going to give it up.

So what are some of the things you wish you could say to certain people on Facebook?

Green Monster Mash

Hello my lovelies, Suze here. Today’s post is a Monster Mash(up) of fun stuff. I’ve got a squillion things to do, but I’ve got a few thoughts for you.

game[1]First, I’m off to Punkin’ Chunkin’ in Delaware. Click here for more information–and seriously, if you can get yourself to Delaware and you love pumpkins and machines that can make them fly, do it. What’s not to love about a festival whose mission is to support various charities, and whose motto is “We’re Gonna Hurl” ? If you go, let me know and maybe we can meet up over a cup of pumpkin chili.

th[1]Second, How ’bout them Sox? I didn’t get to see the final game of the World Series last night since Sister Scribe Katy Lee and I were at the Citizen’s Police Academy last night. I grew up in Yankees country but now live in the Red Sox Nation so I, ahem, swing both ways when it comes to my baseball loyalty. But seriously, folks. After the horrible tragedies in and near Boston over the past few months, no city deserves a World Series win more. Let’s all put on a beard and sing Sweet Caroline!

Reese's-PB-Cups-Wrapper-Small[1]And third, of course today’s Halloween. How will you be celebrating this most funnest of holidays? At our house we rarely get trick-or-treaters, but I buy candy just in case. The teenaged Crown Prince of Hardydom is officially too old for the mobile costume candy extortion plot, so we will have significantly less goodies in the house this year. I guess that’s okay–I only bought candy we like. My candy of choice is anything with peanut butter and chocolate–Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Payday, Nutrageous–or dark chocolate like Dove or Lindt.

What’s going on in your world? What’s your favorite crazy festival? Who’s your favorite baseball team? Would you wear the beard? And what’s your favorite candy? So many questions…

Here’s my favorite Halloween song for your listening pleasure (click here). Have a great day, friends!

Book Signing Success

PJ here, just off a long weekend at the Granville Harvest Fair. I’ve done many such book signing events over the past couple of years, but this one was by far my favorite. For one thing, I live ten minutes up the road, so it’s close, and I inevitably saw lots of familiar faces. Thousands of folks ambled by my booth, many stopping to chat–whether they were teens or simply teens at heart. The fact that I was a local author was also a big draw. Putting a face to someone local who has achieved what so many others only dream about, seems to be an instant conversation starter. I can’t tell you how many people I spoke to—young and old—who said that they write in one form or another, and that it was nice to meet someone who has actually published their stories. It was lovely to be a source of encouragement and inspiration.

I’ve said in the past, that book signings have netted me little profit in the monetary sense and I’ve wondered whether they were really worth my time, but this event has changed my mind. In addition to making a modest profit from book sales, I gained a couple of dozen names for my newsletter list, and made many potential connections–including school teachers, librarians, mental health professionals, and teens interested in finding me on social media or purchasing my e-books for their e-readers after the fair. All in all, a great success. I thought I would share some tips that I found helpful. I hope you’ll share yours in the comments section below, so others may benefit from your experience.

harvest fair pic 11) THINGS TO BRING-A sturdy, 10×10 easy-up tent, a comfy chair, a couple of tables with table cloths (I have a six foot and a four foot table), books in plastic totes (don’t forget to take inventory and keep track of your sales), swag (bookmarks, post cards, etc.), tape, scissors, pens, plastic bags (recycle those plastic grocery bags and carry them in an empty tissue box for convenience), or have some nice bags made up with your name, website, and logo if you want to make an impression. You might reserve those for people who buy several books. Don’t forget a cash lock box, business cards, and candy (no chocolate on hot days) or a treat.

2) SIGNAGE-Invest in a nice banner, which you can have printed up through Vista Print. I have yet to do this, but I made do with a homemade banner. Plastic stand-up sign holders from Staples work great for specific table top signs. You can make whatever signs you want on your computer to fit the 8×11 frames. “Local Author of Teen Books,” “Sign up for my newsletter and enter to win…,” “Follow me on FB, Twitter, etc.” and pricing signs, are just a few ideas. Be creative.

3) PRESENTATION-Consider your brand, your audience, and your space. Create a visually appealing stage for your books. harvest fair pic 3Use color wisely to catch attention of passersby and don’t overcrowd your space. Too much to look at can be a deterrent.

4) SELLING-You can offer book sets with special pricing/discounts, you could sell merchandise related to your books (cups, tee shirts, or in my case, wooden whistles which I also offer as a free gift to those who purchase both book one and book two in the Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy).

5) SALES PITCH-This is an opportunity to hone your sales pitch. Have a one liner to pull people in. Keep it simple. “Feel free to take a bookmark.” Keep it real and fun. “This is the glamorous life of an author.” This last phrase spoken as I used duct tape to secure my tent signage or while I peeled tape residue off my tent poles. I got lots of smiles with this one. Pitch to your audience. “I write books for teens…and teens at heart,” when speaking to adults and elderly folks who actually might enjoy reading my books. I describe my contemporary YA novels as the kind of books that would make great Lifetime Network or Hallmark movies, and note when I’m speaking to parents of teens that I write books that I wish had been available when I was a teenager. I mention accolades and awards, my million plus reads of SAVAGE CINDERELLA on Wattpad (which made that particular book sell very well all weekend), and try to hone in on what might appeal to the demographic to which I’m presenting. “The book is about a girl who is kidnapped as a child, left for dead in the high country of North Georgia and survives in the wild.” One sentence grabbers are essential! Comparisons also work well as in “Savage Cinderella is like Law and Order SVU meets Nell.” Of course this only works for people old enough to remember the movie with Jodie Foster, LOL. With teens, I might compare The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael to the TV show, Revolution, or books like The Hunger Games and Divergent, but not quite as grim and gritty. As time goes on throughout the event, you’ll find what works best. It’s excellent practice for agent/editor elevator pitches at conferences. You never know who you’ll meet, so always have a professional and friendly demeanor.

6) GIVEAWAYS-Book signings are a great place to expand your newsletter mailing list. Offer entry in a prize giveaway, a FREE download, or some incentive to get people to sign up. Reassure them that your newsletters aren’t spammy and that their information will not be used for any other reason. Be prepared to offer something for free. You can be generous without giving away the store or breaking the bank. It costs me nothing to give away a free download of ON THIN ICE (I get a coupon code through Smashwords, and have cards printed up through Vista Print with my cover on the front and instructions and the download code on the back. I can usually get 250 cards printed up for free or next to nothing when I’m ordering other items through Vista Print).

Most importantly, have FUN! Try to stay engaged with people and don’t stick your nose in a book or hide behind your computer screen. Fortunately, we had a dry and beautiful weekend with a great turnout. I met some amazing people! I also had some fabulous apple pie with Granville cheddar cheese…yum! And yes, I even sold a good number of books.

Any other ideas or things I missed?

Harvest Fair is Here!

PJ Sharon here. After record breaking temps the past week here in New England, followed by a rainy, wet and seasonably chilly weekend, I’m hoping for something in between for next weekend’s Granville Harvest Fair. If you’ve never been, it’s a wonderful time. The leaf peeping is superior this year and will be in full show this coming week. You won’t want to miss it.

Granville, Massachusetts is one of those idyllic little towns in the foothills of the Berkshires, the perfect place to celebrate autumn and harvest time. Granville Country storeCentered in front of the Granville Country Store—world famous for their outstanding homemade cheeses—several hundred vendors set up tents and show their wares. This is one of the best fall fairs in New England in my opinion. There’s everything from crafts and pottery, to hand crafted jewelry and woodworking. They have face painting for the kids, a pumpkin contest, and a free bus ride up to the top of the hill where you can enjoy apple cider and baked goods at the orchard, and see the magnificent quilts hanging up at the Old Town Meeting House. The little ones love the scarecrow and tractor display, and there’s nothing like a piece of warm apple pie with a slice of Granville country cheddar cheese on top and a cup of cider. My mouth is watering already!

As for me, I’ll be sharing a tent with J Monkeys, and signing books down in front of the library, right across from the country store.  You have to try some of their homemade pies and cheese bread…yum! I hope if you’re in the area, you’ll stop by and say hello. I’ll need someone to bring me a piece of pie.

Anyone in the area going? Are there other harvest fairs you’ve been to? Traditions you love this time of year?