SELF-e: Another way to get your indie book into libraries–a success story

selfe

As an indie author, I’m always looking for avenues to get my books into the hands of readers. At this stage, that’s more important to me than the revenue. So, when I first saw mention of LibraryJournal’s new curated collection for BiblioBoard back in September, I submitted Must Love Breeches, and then Steam Me Up, Rawley when it was published.

Curiously, I was notified earlier this month that Steam had been selected, but not Breeches. The email for the latter said they hadn’t yet made their selections for that genre.

What is it, and why am I posting about it?

As an indie author, it can be difficult to get into libraries. One way, is to use SmashWords to publish to Overdrive, a popular library software that allows library patrons to check out ebooks. Via Smashwords, the library pays for your book, like a regular book reader would. However, getting a library to even want to can be hard. We’re competing in a sea of self-published books, and getting noticed is growing increasingly difficult. Using NetGalley can help, as librarians use it to find books. As does getting a review in Publisher’s Weekly.

Now LibraryJournal has launched a new discovery tool to make it easier for librarians to stock indie books: SELF-e. Here’s what they say:

SELF-e is an innovative collaboration between Library Journal and BiblioBoard® that enables authors and libraries to work together and expose notable self-published ebooks to voracious readers looking to discover something new.

Finally, a simple and effective way to catalog and provide access to ebooks by local authors and build a community around indie writing!

Here’s how it works. You submit your book, and LibraryJournal will put it in their pool to evaluate. Then two things can happen. 1) Your book is selected for the nationwide module that will go to participating libraries that use the BiblioBoard software 2) Your book isn’t selected, but goes into your state’s module for check-out by patrons of libraries in your state that use BiblioBoard.

According to the email I received about Steam, it will be part of the nationwide module that goes out this summer, and will be waiting to go into the state’s module as soon as enough Alabama authors submit.

NOTE: Unlike OverDrive via Smashwords, you will not be paid for your book. However, I’m willing to gamble that the trade-off is worth it. Many readers discover new authors via their library, and this will be another way to have that happen.

How to Submit

It’s pretty easy, but make sure you have all of your book’s metadata to hand, as you need to do it in one sitting.

  1. Go to their Submit Your Book page
  2. Agree to their TOS, and also have the name of your local library handy
  3. Upload your book in either epub or pdf
  4. Answer the rest of their questions
  5. Submit and wait. Good luck!

Have you submitted yet? Do you know of other ways to get your indie ebook into libraries?

So, Apparently My Cover is Too Prurient for an Amazon Ad + Mini Rant

AngelaQuarles_SteamMeUpRawley_400pxBehold, a book cover too salacious to get an ad on Amazon. I’m not kidding.

Yesterday, Amazon opened up advertising to non-Beta testers whose books are enrolled in KDP Select. For various reasons, I’d decided a week ago to put Steam in KDP Select (for non-authors, this means I decided to make the ebook exclusive to Amazon for 90 days), and I thought I’d try out this new opportunity.

Some early Beta testers are saying it was a total flop for them, but I’ve always been of a mindset that no book’s path is the same as another’s, and I couldn’t know if this wouldn’t work for my target audience unless I tried. Plus, I’d decided to make it super-granular to be sure it was only my target audience that would see it, thereby reducing the chance that a click wouldn’t convert to a sale.

Here were my other arguments for trying it:

  • The cost wasn’t out of line with other promo opportunities, and if it performed well, it would be even better.
  • Publishers pay for coop space with online and brick and mortar stores all the time, so why not do the same for my indie title
  • Even if I got zero clicks (and so would have spent zero bucks), I got free impressions. That’s eyeballs on my cover, which helps inch me closer to that adage of ‘you have to see a product x times before you buy’ or whatever that adage is.
  • There was a chance (slim, probably) that Amazon listened to the feedback from the Beta testers and tweaked the code for better ROI. Stranger things have been known to happen.

So, I chose to show my ad on only 38 books’ product pages whose audience might enjoy my book too. So I selected Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, Kristen Callihan’s books, Bec McMaster’s, and Delphine Dryden’s steampunks, etc. I also unchecked the box that would allow Amazon to also show it on books that were similar. The way I figure, that meant my book would only compete with others to appear on the book page of just those 38 books.

Several hours later I got a rejection email saying my cover didn’t meet their advertising guidelines. I can only assume it was this part of the guidelines that flagged my cover: “Overtly provocative imagery such as partial nudity or blatantly sexual prurient content.”

I sent a reply asking: “So a bare-chested guy, which a child can see at the beach or even just seeing anyone jogging or mowing their lawn in the summer, is partial nudity??” I haven’t heard back yet, but someone else suggested that the pose is a little suggestive, and yes it is. It’s supposed to be. But is it “overtly provocative” or “prurient”?

Which brings me to my mini-rant

Why, why, why is sex in a loving relationship “bad” in our society? Why does our society find it okay to allow kids to see violence, but not images with sexual overtones, etc?

My parents were pretty awesome–when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, nudity and sex weren’t taboo subjects for me. Heck, my mom’s an artist and she let me tag along to sessions where her and her fellow artists had a nude model, etc. Nudity was beautiful. Love was beautiful.

However, violence? No way! So I was the odd child in high school whose parents let them see Rated R movies that had nudity/sex, but Jaws? I still haven’t seen it. It came out when I was of an age where I was still under parental guidance, and since then I just haven’t gotten around to it.

So my book has a woman sitting in a guy’s lap in a playful, suggestive manner, and the amount of man titty (or mipple) is less than you’d see on any given summer day down here in the hot South, and it’s unacceptable to be shown?

On The Passive Guy, a commenter noted that hers was rejected because it had manchest too, but hers was just a surfer. No suggestive pose apparently. So it’s just a bare manchest that’s got their panties in a wad?

The rejection is also illogical

The thing is, this cover passed their review when it went live, meaning that it didn’t get flagged as erotic and so didn’t get put in what’s been called the Amazon dungeon where some erotic novels are shunted. (And to be clear, my book is not an erotic romance.) The Amazon dungeon is a place where they stick titles so they will not show up in a search, not even in the list of books by that author. So that means that my cover is showing up on other book pages right this very minute! Gasp! So Steam is currently showing in their “Customers Who Bought, Also Bought” pane, or their other search and display mechanisms they have in place to sell products that people want. So why is it that it can’t show in a sidebar ad? And if I really get lucky, and sales take off, I might even show up in the Also Bought pane for one of those 38 books… So weird.

What’s left?

Yesterday, an indie thriller writer reported that hers was rejected and the only thing she can figure is that her cover had some blood spatters. Another author in a private forum quipped that the only thing that sidebar ad pane will be able to show are sea adventure novels and women’s fiction.

What do you think? Leaving aside that this could probably be a big waste of money for an indie author, do you think this type of cover shouldn’t be seen? Did your cover get rejected? If so, for what reason do you think? Feel free to post your rejected cover in the comments so we can get a feel for the range of rejected covers.

ETA: If you’d like to post your rejected cover in the comments, use this code: <img src=”URLofYourImage” width=”150″ />

Hot For Fridays: Hot Kiss

BBC+blog+logo+final+whiteTrying a new blog hop, this one has a different challenge each week, which sounds fun! This week’s challenge is to post a hot kiss. Well, no prob! Since I did a hot kiss from Steam Me Up, Rawley this past Sunday, I thought I’d pull one from Must Love Breeches today.

Here’s the blurb:

HOW FAR WOULD YOU TRAVEL FOR LOVE?

A mysterious artifact zaps Isabelle Rochon to pre-Victorian England, but before she understands the card case’s significance a thief steals it. Now she must find the artifact, navigate the pitfalls of a stiffly polite London, keep her time-traveling origins a secret, and resist her growing attraction to Lord Montagu, the Vicious Viscount so hot, he curls her toes.

To Lord Montagu nothing makes more sense than keeping his distance from the strange but lovely Colonial. However, when his scheme for revenge reaches a stalemate, he convinces Isabelle to masquerade as his fiancée. What he did not bargain on is being drawn to her intellectually as well as physically.

Lord Montagu’s now constant presence overthrows her equilibrium and her common sense. Isabelle thought all she wanted was to return home, but as passion flares between them, she must decide when her true home—as well as her heart—lies.

The Hot Kiss

A little setup–the hero and heroine are at the British Museum:

The suddenness of the kiss stunned Isabelle. His strong hands, cradling her face firmly. His body, pinning her to the wall.

Whoa.

Probably the sexiest thing anyone had ever done to her. So manly. But she didn’t have time to analyze it, oh no. Right now, it was all she could do not to let her knees buckle as his mouth moved on hers and sent delicious shivers up and down her whole body.

She opened her mouth to him. His tongue hungrily plunged in and claimed her, made her his. At least, that was how it felt to her: possessive, primitive, and damn good. In desperation, she twined her arms around his back to steady herself.

A groan issued from deep within him and he pressed his body more firmly against her, his arousal hard against her lower stomach. She had caused this reaction? Hoo.

A hand left her cheek and slowly caressed her neck, each finger leaving individual trails of fire. She couldn’t help it—her neck was sensitive—and a little moan escaped her. Waves of delight chased up her spine and she arched her back. His lips abruptly left hers and traced a steamy path across her chin and down her neck, while his hand brushed across her shoulder and ever so slowly came to rest on her breast. She sucked in a deep breath and rested her head against the wall.

She should stop him, they were in a public place, after all. Though deserted. Still. But, wow, his lips… Now they suckled the soft skin of her ear lobe, and the puffs of air from his nose tickled her ear and shot warmth through her. She shuddered. He stroked her breast, and she held him tighter. How in the heck was she still able to stand?

Abruptly, he tore himself away and stood several inches from her, breathing heavily, one hand on her shoulder, another pawing his hair. He closed his eyes and took more deep breaths.

Isabelle breathed heavily, too. Wow, had they been making out in the British Museum? The thought turned her on even more. With shaking hands, she smoothed her skirts, trying to calm herself, and trying to think straight. He certainly knew how to mess with her senses, that was for sure. What were they going to do now?

She’d been telling herself he didn’t feel the same attraction, that the kiss at the Crosley’s had been only a cover. But clearly his reaction now screamed otherwise. Someone of his demeanor and control, to suddenly toss that aside and kiss her so passionately, so spontaneously? In a public place?

Lord Montagu straightened. “Forgive me, Miss Rochon. I have behaved abominably. Shall we depart?”

Shall we depart? Gah!

If you’d like to read more hot kisses, visit this page for links to the rest of the participants!

AngelaQuarles_MustLoveBreeches_200pxMore about Must Love Breeches

She’s finally met the man of her dreams. There’s only one problem: he lives in a different century.

“A fresh, charming new voice” – New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare

“a delicious twist on historical drama and romance” — USAToday

“Filled with historical tidbits and larger-than-life characters, the sweet story is a delight…” –Publisher’s Weekly


 

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Weekend Writing Warriors – STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY – An energetic kiss

wewriwa_square_2Back from a long absence. I keep meaning to be regular about this, but, well. It just hasn’t happened :(

Those warriors who know the drill, my excerpt is below. For newbies, this post is part of a weekly blog hop where participants share eight sentences from their work. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to find new authors, so be sure to visit the link to the other Weekend Writing Warriors.

Today, I’m going to share with you the first kiss between the H/h in my steampunk romance STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY, which released this past Wednesday *throws confetti*. Also, today (Sunday) is the last day to get it at it’s release week price of 99 cents!

And he couldn’t help it–he cupped her face, pushed her against the wall, and crushed her mouth with his. Heat speared through him, tightening his loins. Just one taste of that fire, that energy. He had to feel that energy, experience that energy. He had to know that energy. What made her unsuitable also made her so delectable. Just. One. Taste.

Poor guy has no idea what he’s in for… To read more excerpts, visit Weekend Writing Warriors!

More About STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY

AngelaQuarles_SteamMeUpRawley_150px

Jack the Ripper might be in town. But is marriage more terrifying?

In an alternate Deep South in 1890, society reporter Adele de la Pointe wants to make her own way in the world, despite her family’s pressure to become a society wife. Hoping to ruin herself as a matrimonial prospect, she seizes the opportunity to cover the recent Jack the Ripper-style murders for the newspaper, but her father’s dashing new intern suggests a more terrifying headline—marriage.

Dr. Phillip Rawley’s most daring exploit has been arriving at his new home in America in a hot air balloon. A tolerable sacrifice, if it means he can secure the hand of his new employer’s daughter in a marriage of convenience. But Adele works, she’s spirited, and she has an armored pet monkey running her errands. Not only does she not match his notions of a proper lady, she stirs up feelings he’d rather keep in tight control.

With Adele hunting down a headline and Dr. Rawley trying to protect and pursue her, a serial killer is spreading panic throughout Mobile, Alabama. Can Adele and Rawley find the murderer, face their fears, and discover true love?

 

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Release Day for STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY + Giveaway!


Note: Stay tuned to the end for a giveaway!

To all outward appearances today, as I put out my second full-length novel, this is me at the start of this GIF, trying to be all cool and stuff, and then at the end, that’s me on the inside! This poor story had a rough start and I’m so excited to be able to finally share it.

Journey to Publication

I originally wrote it in May of 2012, all excited about the steampunk world I was imagining in Mobile, Alabama in 1890 and was eagerly revising it when I signed with my agent, who quickly shot it down, saying steampunk was dead. When New Adult started gaining in popularity, I tried to tell her this was New Adult, but it didn’t grok until a year later and then she wanted to see it right then, and I’d stupidly set it down and never revised it, so it wasn’t at all ready for my agent to see it. I delved into revisions and sent it out to Betas, but when I got them back I was also getting burned out and took a break from writing, so when I finally picked it up again last year, my agent wasn’t as keen to see it, which served me right. And then we amicably parted ways.

I had it in my head, even after I decided to self-pub Must Love Breeches, that I would seek new representation for Steam, but then luckily a lightbulb went off when I realized I didn’t have to shop it first. I looked at it objectively–did I love the story and hope others would too? Yes. But was it something that was sooooo commercially appealing NY would want it? No. I’d missed the boat on steampunk and according to what I was hearing from my agent and others, New Adult (from a NY perspective) wasn’t interested in NA that wasn’t contemporary, and after coming off of several years of waiting to see if they’d pick up Breeches, I just didn’t want to wait on something I knew they wouldn’t want. This doesn’t mean I won’t pursue a traditional deal, and I do have a project that’s in revisions that I think might stand a chance, but there was no sense putting Steam in the long queue for the inevitable rejection. This isn’t meant to be negative or sour grapes. On the contrary, I found it rather freeing, as it gave me options, which I love, and I think if one is to be successful, one has to look at one’s work in an objective, business-like matter. That’s what’s so great about indie publishing, as we’re able to fill a need for books of our flavors, but which aren’t in high enough demand to make it a viable business proposition for NY to take a chance on–NY can’t make a living catering to niches, whereas indies can.

So Steam got more revisions and Beta rounds and it went off to a developmental editor, who had fantastic feedback and made it much better (Thanks Jessa Slade!). Then it was off to my copyeditor, who I was really excited about bringing it to the next level. But luckily, I gave a launch date to Amazon that was a month later than I anticipated having it ready, because several days after it was due back to me, and I’m wondering what’s happening, I learn she’d been struck down by the flu, poor thing! So it was a mad scramble to find a replacement that could give it a good edit during that first week in December and Julie Glover did me a solid, thank you!

So what’s the deal with Steam?

  • it’s set in the Deep South, in a world where Lincoln doesn’t get shot
  • it’s got an armored pet monkey
  • it’s got a hot, well-intentioned, but bumbling hero
  • it’s got a Jack-the-Ripper style murderer terrorizing the good folk of Mobile
  • and a heroine who finds that less terrifying than marriage

I forgot to do a blog reveal of the trailer I made a week or so ago, so here’s the visual for ya:

Here’s the blurbage:

Jack the Ripper might be in town. But is marriage more terrifying?

In an alternate Deep South in 1890, society reporter Adele de la Pointe wants to make her own way in the world, despite her family’s pressure to become a society wife. Hoping to ruin herself as a matrimonial prospect, she seizes the opportunity to cover the recent Jack the Ripper-style murders for the newspaper, but her father’s dashing new intern suggests a more terrifying headline—marriage.

Dr. Phillip Rawley’s most daring exploit has been arriving at his new home in America in a hot air balloon. A tolerable sacrifice, if it means he can secure the hand of his new employer’s daughter in a marriage of convenience. But Adele works, she’s spirited, and she has an armored pet monkey running her errands. Not only does she not match his notions of a proper lady, she stirs up feelings he’d rather keep in tight control.

With Adele hunting down a headline and Dr. Rawley trying to protect and pursue her, a serial killer is spreading panic throughout Mobile, Alabama. Can Adele and Rawley find the murderer, face their fears, and discover true love?

I’m trying something new with this launch, and that’s pricing it at 99 cents for release week, so if you’re at all interested, pick it up before Monday, as it will go on it’s normal price of $3.99. Have no idea if this will help get it more exposure and find its audience, but I figured it was worth a try.

I’ve made some image quotes, which you’re free to pin or share:

SMUR_Quote3 SMUR_Quote4

Here’s some tweets, if you’re so inclined. Just click on the image or the text and it will prefill it for you:

Tweet: It's release day! Jack the Ripper might be in town. But is marriage more terrifying? STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY http://ctt.ec/buPlQ+ Tweet: It’s release day! Jack the Ripper might be in town. But is marriage more terrifying? STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY http://ctt.ec/buPlQ+

Tweet: STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY releases today, a #steampunk #romance at the release price of #99cents until 1/19 http://ctt.ec/2H91n+ Tweet: STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY releases today, a #steampunk #romance at the release price of #99cents until 1/19 http://ctt.ec/2H91n+

releaseblitz

Over 20 blogs are part of my release day blitz tour hosted by Twinsie Talk Book Reviews (thank you, Angie!) and some will be doing reviews, if all goes well. Also, there will be a 3 chances to win an ecopy of both Breeches and Steam over on twinsietalk.com! Here’s the tour participants:

Reviewers:

TwinsieTalk Book ReviewsStephanie’s Book Reports | Eyes on Books’ Next Favorite ReadLittle Shop of Readers

Blitz participants:

Rough Draft Book Blog  | Literary Treasure Chest | Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog | The Shadow Portal | Indies Steal Our Heart | Reading by the Book | Pinky’s Favorite Reads | Eskimo Princess Book Reviews | A Pair of Okies | author sandra love  | Writing Between Corsets and Bustiers… | D&S Book Blog | Musings by Mandy | Sweets Books  | Evocativebookreviews | Becca the Bibliophile | A Dirty Book Affair | Spreading The Word With Denise & Donna  | Imaginative Dreams | Verna Loves Books | Not Your Average Book Blog

Thank you!

Thank you bloggers participating in the blitz, and thank you to all who’ve followed me on here over the years and have supported me–the online writing community is truly amazing! This is me poking my head against the internets and saying:

Thank you

Oops

I set this all up last night so it’d be ready to publish when I woke up, and I forgot the buy links!

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Almost Kiss Blog Hop – Excerpt from MUST LOVE BREECHES

MLBQuote2It’s the 6th Annual Almost Kiss/No Kiss Blog Fest!

Participants post an excerpt from any work that celebrates that tantalizing moment when two people want to kiss, but don’t, or almost kiss. Sometimes it can be sexier than a full-on kiss.

I’m going to bring you an almost-kiss from my debut novel release Must Love Breeches: A Time Travel Romance. Here the hero and heroine are in a closed carriage and the heroine is trying to screw up the nerve to be brave and initiate intimacy, and she’s not quite sure if it will work. Warning: Only read if you like to have your palm and arm kissed and find that sexy :)

 

Okay, just do it.

She reached up to touch his scar. Man, her hand shook a little, but too late to turn back now.

His eyes darkened, the hazel one almost matching the brown one in color. Interesting. The space between them, so large, the time it took for her hand to reach him, embarrassingly slow. Oh, Lord, and she was leaning at an awkward angle toward him. To remain steady, she put her left hand down on the seat.

Finally, the gloved finger of her right hand reached his face and traced a path to the cleft in his chin, a feature on any man that made her want to go ‘Rowr!’

He was not. Doing. A thing. He only stared back. God, where was that black hole? So much for trying to take control, pushing past her fear.

She closed her eyes and let her hand drop, swallowing her mortification. Her breath hitched—something warm grazed her upper arm, while a hand grasped her wrist. Her eyes flew open. His fingers paused for only a moment as they delicately passed by her elbow’s inner curve.

Shivers flitted through her body and erupted as goose bumps on her skin. When had that body part become so sensitive?

The light touch of his fingers brushed down her gloved arm and slowly enfolded her hand in his. He turned it slightly, so her palm faced up, exposing the soft part of her arm. When the warmth of his lips met the tips of her fingers, her breath caught.

Somehow she’d moved closer to him on the seat, and as she gazed at his lips, transfixed, he moved his head lower and kissed her palm. His head moved a fraction and he placed another soft, tender kiss on her wrist. Her fingers curled inward.

Oh, God. Breathe. Air. In lungs.

No one had ever done this to her.

And it was so, so, well, so erotic. Who knew?

She couldn’t tear her gaze away from his slow progression. His delectable mouth moved up her arm with soft kisses until it reached the end of the glove, right below her elbow. He paused. His warm breath caressed her skin, raising more hairs across her body. What would he do next? Then, his lips touched her bare flesh for the first time, just on the inside of her elbow.

Heat seared around her chest and speared downward. Where had all the air in the carriage gone? Her head—fizzy. Their breathing filled the coach, heightening, joining, wondering. An urge to push him back against the seat and jump his bones gripped her.

Slowly, he raised his head. What would those painstakingly tender lips feel like against her own? She moistened her lips with her tongue, and his gaze snapped to them. It seemed like forever since he’d placed that last kiss on her arm. His head inched forward, his eyes roaming her face before meeting hers…

The carriage clattered to a stop and jolted her sideways. His strong hands grasped her waist, steadying her.

“Miss Rochon?”

She couldn’t catch her breath, but he seemed calm enough, the bastard. She pushed back to her side of the seat and took deep breaths through her nose, trying hard to look as if she were doing nothing like that at all.

If you’d like to read more almost kisses, visit this page for links to the rest of the participants!

AngelaQuarles_MustLoveBreeches_200pxMore about Must Love Breeches

She’s finally met the man of her dreams. There’s only one problem: he lives in a different century.

“A fresh, charming new voice” – New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare

“a delicious twist on historical drama and romance” — USAToday

“Filled with historical tidbits and larger-than-life characters, the sweet story is a delight…” –Publisher’s Weekly


HOW FAR WOULD YOU TRAVEL FOR LOVE?

A mysterious artifact zaps Isabelle Rochon to pre-Victorian England, but before she understands the card case’s significance a thief steals it. Now she must find the artifact, navigate the pitfalls of a stiffly polite London, keep her time-traveling origins a secret, and resist her growing attraction to Lord Montagu, the Vicious Viscount so hot, he curls her toes.

To Lord Montagu nothing makes more sense than keeping his distance from the strange but lovely Colonial. However, when his scheme for revenge reaches a stalemate, he convinces Isabelle to masquerade as his fiancée. What he did not bargain on is being drawn to her intellectually as well as physically.

Lord Montagu’s now constant presence overthrows her equilibrium and her common sense. Isabelle thought all she wanted was to return home, but as passion flares between them, she must decide when her true home—as well as her heart—lies.

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Meets the Hero in MUST LOVE BREECHES–Weekend Writing Warriors – 11/23/14

wewriwa_square_2Welcome to Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors! For those new to this, fellow writers post eight sentences from one of our works.

MUST LOVE BREECHES is on sale for 99 cents!

Oops, I’ve been absent for a while from this blog hop! Last I posted, she’d just met the hero but has no idea she’s travelled back in time. Now she’s dancing with the hero and asks him if he comes to these reenactment parties a lot. The first line is from him:

“I am not at all sure what you believe we are reenacting, but unfortunately, I find I am expected to be at these balls with an appalling regularity.”

He had the period syntax and cadence down pat. “Wow, you’re quite good at this. Don’t worry, I’ll try to play along.”

Her partner did the eyebrow-slanting-up-in-the-middle thing and looked away. She could have sworn he muttered ‘Colonials’ under his breath.

Huh? Wait, he was referring to her. “Hey, no need to be rude, and I’m not a Colonial. We soundly beat your hides and settled that score, like, two hundred years ago.” She gave him a playful swat on his shoulder. “Man, you British can sure hold a grudge.”

To join in the fun and see the other wonderful writers, go to Weekend Writing Warriors! Thanks for stopping by!

MUST LOVE BREECHES now available on all major retailers

AngelaQuarles_MustLoveBreeches_200px

She’s finally met the man of her dreams. There’s only one problem: he lives in a different century.

“A fresh, charming new voice” – New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare

HOW FAR WOULD YOU TRAVEL FOR LOVE?

A mysterious artifact zaps Isabelle Rochon to pre-Victorian England, but before she understands the card case’s significance a thief steals it. Now she must find the artifact, navigate the pitfalls of a stiffly polite London, keep her time-traveling origins a secret, and resist her growing attraction to Lord Montagu, the Vicious Viscount so hot, he curls her toes.

To Lord Montagu nothing makes more sense than keeping his distance from the strange but lovely Colonial. However, when his scheme for revenge reaches a stalemate, he convinces Isabelle to masquerade as his fiancée. What he did not bargain on is being drawn to her intellectually as well as physically.

Lord Montagu’s now constant presence overthrows her equilibrium and her common sense. Isabelle thought all she wanted was to return home, but as passion flares between them, she must decide when her true home—as well as her heart—lies.

Available for order:

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Join my new street team

I’m forming a street team to help create buzz on my release, so if you’d like to join, contact me and I’ll add you to my super secret facebook group :)

Cover and Pre-Order Reveal for STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY + 99c Sale on MUST LOVE BREECHES

AngelaQuarles_SteamMeUpRawley_800px

Super excited to reveal today, the cover for STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY, Book 1 in my new series Mint Julep and Monocle Chronicles. It’s a New Adult steampunk romance, and boy did I have so much fun writing this! Once again, I hired the fabulous Kim Killion for the cover, and couldn’t be more pleased! 

I wrote the first draft in May of 2012, and after many revisions, it’s close to being ready! It is also available for pre-order. I picked the farthest date out I could, just in case I had some unforeseen circumstances with the editing rounds, so it says February 3, but I hope to put it out before then. The copy editor has the manuscript and she’s scheduled to have it back to me by first week of December, so with the turnaround time from the proofreader, and then formatting, I’m crossing my fingers for an early January release. Of course, y’all will be the among the first to know (first will be my street team and mailing list).

SMUR_Quote

Here’s the details:

Steam Me Up, Rawley
New Adult Steampunk Romance
Series: Book One in the Mint Julep & Monocle Chronicles
Projected Release Date: Jan/Feb 2015
Length: Novel (94,000 words)
Ebook Pre-Order Price: $3.99
ISBN: 978-0-9905400-3-8
Content advisory: Adult language, explicit sex
Cover artist: Kim Killion

The print cover:

AngelaQuarles_SteamMeUpRawley_POD_Web

Blurb

Jack the Ripper might be in town. But is marriage more terrifying?

In an alternate Deep South in 1890, society reporter Adele de la Pointe wants to make her own way in the world, despite her family’s pressure to become a society wife. Hoping to ruin herself as a matrimonial prospect, she seizes the opportunity to cover the recent Jack the Ripper-style murders for the newspaper, but her father’s dashing new intern suggests a more terrifying headline—marriage.

Dr. Phillip Rawley’s most daring exploit has been arriving at his new home in America in a hot air balloon. A tolerable sacrifice, if it means he can secure the hand of his new employer’s daughter in a marriage of convenience. But Adele works, she’s spirited, and she has an armored pet monkey running her errands. Not only does she not match his notions of a proper lady, she stirs up feelings he’d rather keep in tight control.

With Adele hunting down a headline and Dr. Rawley trying to protect and pursue her, a serial killer is spreading panic throughout Mobile, Alabama. Can Adele and Rawley find the murderer, face their fears, and discover true love?

Originally, this was meant to be the sequel to Must Love Breeches, but my agent wisely advised me to make that into a time-travel series, so Steam is a spin-off from Breeches instead. The events that take place in Breeches make the world that Steam is set in.

To that end, to celebrate the cover reveal and pre-order ability for Steam, I’m putting Breeches on sale this week for 99c on iBook, Amazon, B&N, and Kobo! Thank you to Free Kindle Books & Tips and The Fussy Librarian for helping me to promote this sale!

MaggiesWinner of the Unpublished Maggie for the Paranormal Category!

Last month, I was ecstatic to learn that Steam Me Up, Rawley won first place at the Georgia Romance Writer’s Annual Conference. Someone at the awards ceremony posted this pic of the program.

Steam Me Up, Rawley Available for Pre-Order

Amazon| iBook Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

You can also put it on your virtual shelves:

Goodreads | Library Thing | Shelfari

Steam Me Up, Rawley board on PinterestOfficial Book Page

Tweetables/Shareables

Help me spread the word! Click on any of these links below to automatically generate that tweet:

twitter-24x24 Tweet: MUST LOVE BREECHES, a #timetravel #romance by @AngelaQuarles, on sale today for #99cents #books #kindle http://ctt.ec/a8COy+

twitter-24x24 Tweet: MUST LOVE BREECHES, a #timetravel #romance by @AngelaQuarles, on sale today for #99cents #iBook #Apple #iPad http://ctt.ec/5XUEf+

twitter-24x24 Tweet: MUST LOVE BREECHES, a #timetravel #romance by @AngelaQuarles, on sale today for #99cents #nook #deal http://ctt.ec/my16G+

twitter-24x24 Tweet: Jack the Ripper might be in town. But is marriage more terrifying? #PreOrder STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY #steampunk #romance http://ctt.ec/a5g73+

facebook-24x24 Link to share sale on Facebook. Suggested content: To celebrate Steam Me Up, Rawley’s cover reveal, Angela Quarles has MUST LOVE BREECHES on sale for 99 cents!

facebook-24x24 Link to share pre-order. Suggested content: STEAM ME UP, RAWLEY, a New Adult steampunk romance, is now available for pre-order!

pinterest-32x32 Link to share cover on Pinterest

Do you like to read steampunk despite the industry saying it’s dead? Do you think New Adult has room for non-contemporary genres?

Deep POV: Befores and Untils, do you need them? Truly?

deepPOV1

I haven’t done a writing craft post in a loooong time and since I just sent Steam Me Up, Rawley to my copyeditor, these types of considerations are fresh in my mind. For the last week or so, I’d been doing searches for particular words that can signal that my prose is telling. Sometimes I leave it, because telling in that part of the story was what needed to happen (typically at transition points).

First, my standard disclaimer: These are not rules to live and die by. Using ‘before’ and ‘until’ is not wrong, and sometimes it’s exactly what’s needed. Like any craft tip, absorb it and then see if it applies, or not, to your prose and that particular point in your story.

Like many other romance writers, I like to write in what’s called Deep POV, which means we try as hard as we can, in either first or third person POV, to eliminate as many filters and barriers between the reader and the POV character so that the reader can be as immersed as possible. There are a lot of tips and tricks, and some of them are well-trodden in writing craft posts on Deep POV, like eliminating filter phrases, not naming emotions, etc. But I thought I’d dedicate a post to two words that don’t get as much attention: ‘before’ and ‘until’

The potential problem with BEFORE

BEFORE is a word that can cause what Margie Lawson calls a mini speedbump and can be a form of telling when it’s used to describe what the main POV character is doing. It might only take a split second for the reader to parse what you mean, but why make them do this? Instead of moving forward, the reader stops to absorb what happened before something else happened, as if the order wasn’t right to begin with. If you use subject and verbs, in the order it happens, the story moves forward without the reader having to take that micro-pause. Not only that, but as a sentence structure device, it can certainly get overused. I’ve read some books where the author used this all the time, like every paragraph, sometimes even in the same sentence, and it developed into a predictable habit. Especially in action scenes, you want the action to be straightforward and full of power, and loading it down with ‘befores’ and ‘untils’ can make your action scene lose steam.

What about UNTIL?

UNTIL is also another word to look out for, as it often shows up in told prose. It’s a good word to search for because then you can look at what is around it and see if it can be made more active-it’s a good ‘flag’ for possible telling. Oftentimes, it’s putting distance between the reader and the POV character because the narration is subtly telling the reader that the narrator already knows what’s about to happen, instead of dropping them more into the moment. Again, sometimes telling is what you absolutely want to be doing–just make sure that when you’re telling it’s because you’ve made the conscious decision to tell, and not because you accidentally did.

Some examples

Here’s some examples of sections I revised last week in Steam Me Up, Rawley. These might change even more once they come back from the copyeditor, but here’s how they stand as of now.

Before

She hadn’t realized how hungry she was until she took her first bite.

Okay, several problems here. The word ‘until’ was higher up in my polishing checklist, so I got to this sentence first from that search, but notice that it also has the filter phrase ‘realized’? That is also on my list, so I would’ve gotten to this sentence from that word search too, but I’ve noticed that a lot of times, these words like to hang out together, like they’re all telling buddies or something, like they’re huddling together, sheltering from the fear that they will get nixed on the next Deep POV sweep.

To fix it, I didn’t angst over it too much, as it was not a pivotal scene. It just needed to get the job done, and didn’t need to be told, and could be stronger with a slightly deeper POV. So I switched out the realization that she was hungry to show her taking the first bite and showing that realization instead:

At the first bite, she groaned. So good.

Sparkling, award-winning prose, this isn’t, but the sentence didn’t require fancy. It just needed to be a bit deeper, that’s all.

Here’s another:

He angled up toward Dauphin Street, and she waited until he disappeared around the corner before she set off after him.

She peeked around the corner. His tall form weaved through a light crowd.

This is an action scene, so I definitely didn’t want these in there. Notice I had bother words in there. Again, I didn’t belabor the prose when I changed it:

He angled up toward Dauphin Street, and disappeared around the corner.

She scurried to the corner and peeked around. His tall form weaved through a light crowd.

These are just subtle tweaks, that when applied throughout your novel, can help keep the reader submerged in your POV character. A reader might not know why they weren’t fully invested in the characters and story, but chances are, fixing things like this can go a long way to helping.

In this example, I was telling something that didn’t need to be told at that moment. Since she didn’t know what she was about, since this was something she did without thinking, I shouldn’t have the POV character conscious of this.

Before she realized what she was about, she found his hand near hers and clasped it, entwining their fingers.

I simply changed it to this and left the realization to several paragraphs later, when she actually becomes conscious of what she did, and I showed it, instead of saying ‘she realized':

His hand lay near hers, and she clasped it, entwining their fingers.

 Wrapping Up

These are just small subtle things that can add up to a lot of impact. Yes, it is tedious to do word searches for these, but the payoff is great. Like anything with Deep POV, I don’t worry about this when I’m drafting, only when revising. And I only do this checklist search as the last polishing step before handing it to my copyeditor.

What about you? Do you have any questions? Do you also search for words like this?

Epub Coding: Making that first line small-capped with some CSS-fu

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OR, HOW TO STYLIZE THAT FIRST PARAGRAPH WITHOUT ASSIGNING IT A CLASS

I thought I’d share a little bit of CSS coding I used in my ebook release MUST LOVE BREECHES. This will be a short post, but I thought there might be some who would like to use the code, so I’m sharing :) For those totes familiar with CSS, this won’t be a revelation, just sayin’.

So, on most e-readers, my chapter beginnings look something like this:

ereader2

Today, I’m going to share my code which stylizes that first line without having to wrap any SPAN tags around the first letter or the first line or first couple of words. In fact, the first line always gets stylized no matter how much the reader enlarges or reduces the page. In the example above, if the reader had reduced the type enough to have “truce” on the first line, it would be stylized correctly.

I’m indebted to Carolyn Crane for part of this code. I was reading INTO THE SHADOWS, one of her awesome romantic suspense novels, and it happened to be when I was struggling with stylizing my epub’s first line (I wanted to have some of the words small-capped, etc), and I noticed her whole first line was smallcapped, and I was like, wait, how can she know how many words that would be? So I expanded my text and it was like magic! I probably looked like a doofus at the restaurant as I made this discovery (I was eating dinner at my fave watering hole). So when I got home, I DM’ed Carolyn on twitter and she was gracious enough to share the secret (not really a secret, but it felt that way to me) CSS code that did this witchy magic:

p.firstpara:first-line {
font-variant: small-caps;
}
p.firstpara:first-letter {
font-weight: bold;
font-size: 130%;
}

I then took her code and made some changes to the CSS so that I wouldn’t have to give a class to every opening paragraph. So here’s the HTML for the opening:

<h1 title="Chapter Two"><a class="nolink" href="../Text/contents.xhtml#tocchapter2">Chapter Two</a></h1>
<p class="doodad"><img alt="New Chapter" src="../Images/doodad.png" /></p>
<p class="epigraph">I had a dream which was not all a dream.<br />
Lord Byron, <i>Darkness</i>, 1816</p>
<p>Isabelle slowly opened her eyes and brokered an uneasy truce with her stomach. The colors and shapes seemed overexposed, too sharp. Nearby, French doors led to the balcony.</p>

Notice that I have no class assigned to the opening paragraph, and yet it’s stylized. Here’s how I did it in the CSS stylesheet:

.epigraph + p {
text-indent: 0;
}
.epigraph + p:first-letter {
font-size: 1.2em;
font-weight: bold;
}
.epigraph + p:first-line {
font-variant: small-caps;

}

What I did above was essentially “say” that if there’s a P tag following the EPIGRAPH class (.epigraph + p) then don’t indent it. And then the next bit is telling it that in that paragraph following an epigraph, I want the first letter to be a tad bigger and bolded. And then the next one is telling it to make the first line of that paragraph have small caps.

So, with that bit of coding on the CSS side, I didn’t have to go through all of my chapters and add a specific class to the opening paragraph so that I could control it (or laboriously put span tags around the first three words to small cap them), I instead controlled it through its neighbor, saving me time.

EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to mention, that I also have the first line in scene breaks stylized too, and since they’re all preceded by a scene break image, I used that image class (doodadScene) to manipulate that first line:

.doodadScene + p {
text-indent: 0;
}
.doodadScene + p:first-letter {
font-size: 1.2em;
font-weight: bold;
}
.doodadScene + p:first-line {
font-variant: small-caps;

}

And if your opening paragraph simply follows your header, your code would be:

h1 + p {
text-indent: 0;
}
h1 + p:first-letter {
font-size: 1.2em;
font-weight: bold;
}
h1 + p:first-line {
font-variant: small-caps;

}

So where to put all this CSS code? No need to put it at the top of every chapter (if you have separate html pages for each chapter). Just open up your stylesheet.css file and put it in there. You only need to put CSS code at the top of a page if you want that page to be different than other pages; your master stylesheet is the default styling for all of your pages.

Hope this helps! If you have any questions, feel free to ask, or if I could have made the code even leaner, let me know.

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