Thursday, June 14, 2018

Cowboys and Indians

Though none of the cowboy stories in our anthology The Cowboys of Clark’s Folly has any Native Americans, Texas was home to hundreds of tribes of American Indians. I’ll only name and discuss a few, living around the location in Texas where our fictional town, Clark’s Folly, would be.

The Apaches dominated almost all of West Texas and ranged over a wide area from Arkansas to Arizona. Two groups of Apaches, the Lipans and the Mescalaros, were of primary importance in Texas. Apaches were among the first Indians to learn to ride horses and lived a nomadic existence following the buffalo.
The Biloxis gave their name to the area around Biloxi, Mississippi, where they first encountered European explorers. They began to migrate westward in the 1760s to avoid white interference. By 1828, a group had settled along the Neches River in present-day Angelina County. The Biloxies became allies of the Cherokees and were caught up in the violence in 1839 that drove the Cherokees out of Texas. 
The Cherokees were one of the principal Indian nations of the southeastern United States. Wars, epidemics, and food shortages caused many Cherokees to migrate west to Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas in hopes of preserving their traditional way of life. Those who remained behind in the Southeast were eventually removed forcibly to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in the incident known as the “Trail of Tears.”
Cherokees settled in Texas near the Red River. Pressed further south by American settlement, in 1820 about sixty families under Chief Bowl (Duwali) settled in Rusk County near the Caddos. As Americans settled that area, distrust grew between them and the Cherokees. Hoping to gain a legal title to their land, the Cherokees invested a great deal of energy in cultivating a relationship with Mexico. Hoping to protect this relationship, they remained neutral between Texas and Mexico during the Texas Revolution.
The Comanches dominated a vast area of North, Central, and West Texas. There were at least thirteen active bands of Comanches, with five playing prominent roles in Texas history. These unparalleled horsemen led a nomadic lifestyle following the buffalo. They controlled trade in produce, buffalo products, horses, and captives throughout their domain. In the 1700s, the Comanches made their presence known in Texas by warring with the Apaches and the Spanish. Fearing that they would lose Texas to the Comanches, the Spanish negotiated a peace treaty with them in 1785. When the Spanish were unable to keep their promises in trade goods and gifts, Comanche raiding against the Spanish resumed, with many of the stolen horses being traded to newly arrived Americans.
There is also mention of the Cheyenne and who could forget the Kickapoo Indians?

The Cowboys of Clarks Folly is an anthology of four stories of love and romance in the Lone Star State.  Interestingly enough, three of the authors are from Georiga—MM Mayfield, MJ Flournoy and Carol Shaughnessy.  I’m a transplanted Texan, originally from South Carolina.  The settings are interesting seen from different views of the landscape of Texas.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Writing in Different Genres by Diane Burton

This blog is devoted to those who enjoy reading and writing paranormal romance. Paranormal is one of those genres that can include so much. Futuristic romance (now called science fiction romance) is a part of paranormal. So are vampires, ghosts, shifters, angels, demons, reapers, dragons, and many more. The paranormal world encompasses so much.

I’ve made no bones about how much I love science fiction romance. It’s a far-reaching glimpse into the future. It gives me hope for humankind. We will get to other planets, we will reach stars (and their planets) that are only specks in our sky. Maybe not in my lifetime, possibly in my grandchildren’s.

Science fiction romance give me so much flexibility as an author. I can devise my own worlds. My characters don’t have to be human or come from Earth. Faster-than-lightspeed (FTL) is possible. Wormholes allow us to skip over the universe.

As much as I love reading and writing science fiction romance, my reading tastes are eclectic. I love the here and now, too. Mysteries, romantic suspense, military adventures, along with the usual paranormal romances. My mind is a catchall for varied ideas. If I enjoy reading other genres, why not write them?

When I first started writing, I wrote romances. With each attempt, I discovered that I included a mystery, action, an adventure, something more than a romance. The more I wrote, the more I stretched my creativity. And that was exciting. Stories with a contemporary setting meant not having to make up a whole new world. I could take certain things for granted—like not having to let the reader know what cell phones and cars are. Even more fun is setting stories where I live (or have lived).

I love reading books set in places I’ve visited or where I’ve lived. Instead of imagining scenes, I can recall the last time I saw that beach, mountain, shop. Since my husband’s job took us around the Midwest and we love to travel, I can easily visualize stories in set in Chicago, Detroit, Phoenix, Colorado, Missouri, Florida . . . I think you get the picture. 😊

My mystery series (the Alex O’Hara Novels) take place in a fictional resort town similar to where I live along the Lake Michigan shoreline. It’s been fun including the things I love most about living near a beach, and also including those less than desirable reasons (like extra traffic and long waits at restaurants.

Years ago, I wrote a romantic suspense, One Red Shoe, starts in Iowa, goes to New York City, and returns to Iowa via Michigan. That was quite a road trip. LOL My upcoming release takes place in and around Grand Rapids (Michigan’s second largest city). Numbers Never Lie is a romantic suspense with action and adventure, what I include in every story I write. And, of course, a romance.

I love exploring different genres, setting stories in the present as well as the future, in places I’ve been or wish I could travel to. My stories will all include action, adventure, and some romance. I will always return to space and science fiction romance.

Do you read different genres? Do you write in different genres?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Guest Author Veronica Scott Talks Scifi Romance

By Veronica Scott

Thanks for having me as your guest today! I’m very nostalgic returning for a visit at Paranormal Romantics since I spent a couple of fun years blogging here earlier in my career.

I always like to include an element of the ‘inexplicable’ in my science fiction, something that my hard headed military heroes or the other human characters can’t explain but accept when they encounter it. I’ve had reviewers refer to it as my element of mysticism. I just know that part of me craves a universe where all things cannot be known.

 For the Badari Warriors series, which deals with genetically engineered soldiers created by an alien race to fight my Sectors civilization, there are various mysteries. The Badari feel they have ancestral memory, passed down from the race originally used by the evil Khagrish scientists to be the template for, and DNA donors to, this twisted science project.

One of the beliefs the Badari hold especially tightly is that their people worship the Great Mother, a benevolent, nature-based goddess. She often manifests her presence in dreams. The excerpt below the blurb is one such dream episode.

The blurb:  Taura Dancer has been pushed to her limits by alien torturers known as the Khagrish and is ready to die when suddenly the lab where she’s held as a prisoner is taken down by an armed force of soldiers.
The man who rescues her from a burning cell block is Jadrian of the Badari, a genetically engineered alien warrior with as many reasons to hate the Khagrish as Taura has. This set of shared past experiences and the circumstances of her rescue create an unusual bond between them.

Safe in the hidden base where Jadrian and his pack take her, Taura struggles to regain her lost memories and overcome constant flashbacks during which she lashes out at all who come near. Only Jadrian can recall her from the abyss of her visions and hallucinations.

As the war against the Khagrish continues, it becomes increasingly critical to find out who she really is and how she can help in the fight. Until she can control her terrors and trust her own impulses, Taura’s too afraid to pursue the promise of happiness a life with Jadrian as her mate might offer.

When he’s captured by the dreaded enemy, will she step forward to help save him, or will she remain a prisoner of her past?

This is the third book in a new scifi romance series and each novel has a satisfying Happy for Now ending for the hero and heroine, not a cliffhanger. Some overarching issues do remain unresolved in each book since this is an ongoing series but romance always wins the day in my novels!

The excerpt:
Being in her own bed in the familiar cave was a balm to her nerves after the tumultuous events of the day and Taura soon fell asleep, tumbling into a dream. She stood in the middle of an endless grassy plain, surrounded by wildflowers. Birds of all colors flew overhead, singing and chirping with abandon. Feeling something was missing, she put her hand to her neck and realized Jadrian’s amulet was gone. Spinning in a slow circle, she tried to figure out which direction she’d come from, so she could retrace her steps in an effort to find the precious necklace.  In the distance a grove of beautiful, tall trees grew in a perfect circle. She wandered in the direction of the trees, deciding that was as good a choice as any and wanting to see the glade enclosed by the sturdy sentinels. In the blink of an eye, Taura found herself walking past the first tree, strolling in the welcome shade and heading for the sunlit opening ahead. Now a sense of urgency overtook her and she walked faster through the ring of trees. As she entered the clear area at the heart of the grove she caught a glimpse of a woman leaving. Taura only saw her long white hair and the edge of an elaborately embroidered lavender gown.

“Hello? Wait!” She hastened toward the spot where the other had exited but as she approached the trees, she became confused and skidded to a halt. There was no path through the grove she could see. Immense trunks blocked her progress and no matter how she maneuvered or where she stepped, Taura was unable to leave the sunlit central area to follow whoever had been waiting here.

Baffled and frustrated, she retraced her path to the center of the grassy area and perched on a smooth boulder, which was shaped as if to be used as a bench. Why am I here?

There was no answer but as she glanced at the grass surrounding her seat, a flash of bright blue drew her attention. Rising, she plucked the amulet she’d been seeking from the greenery and placed the black leather thong around her neck with a sigh of relief. The stone was cool to her touch, reassuring in its unchanging appearance.

When she raised her eyes to the trees again, she inhaled sharply. Jadrian stood there, smiling at her. She stretched her hands out to him and took a step—
And sat up in the bed, surrounded the soft glow of the nightlight and the sparkling mineral accents in the rough stone walls. A bit disoriented, Taura stretched and glanced around the chamber. At least it was a peaceful dream.

A few minutes later, she strolled out of the bedroom area, more rested than she’d been in months. Jadrian was making tea over the fire, and he glanced up at her approach. “A smooth night then, finally? No dreams?”

Taking the steaming mug from him, she settled on her chair and leaned against the cushion. “No bad dreams anyway. The last one I had was lovely.” Since he showed more than polite interest, she described her dream to him in detail right through to the end, when he’d appeared in her vision. Taura chuckled a bit self-consciously.  Dreams never made much sense when the scenes were recited to another person. “And then I woke up.” 

Surprised by his silence, she glanced across the fire at him. Jadrian’s eyes were wide and glowing with golden fire. He’d risen to his feet. Afraid she’d upset him without realizing it, she set her cup on the nearby rock serving as a table and reached out to him. “What? It was a good dream, I swear.”

Buy Links:  Amazon    iBooks   B&N    Kobo      Google

Author Bio and Links:
USA Today Best Selling Author
“SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happy Ever After blog
 Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!
 She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

Book one of the series, AYDARR, is currently on sale for $.99!
Amazon      B&N  Kobo     iBooks

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Jumpstarting by Jane Kindred

If you’ve seen my recent posts, you know that I’ve been going through an extremely dry spell. The well of ideas I’ve been dipping into since childhood has been coming up with a ladle full of nothing but dust. Though I tried to drag two murky characters up to the surface and into the light (okay, so it’s a mixed metaphor; just go with it), “Armand and William,” mentioned in my previous blog post, refused to speak to me. Even after I threatened William with being called “Billy.”

I took a week off from work at the end of May just to make myself write something, anything…and did nothing but work puzzles on my iPad and color in my mandala coloring book while watching Hallmark mysteries and romances. (In other words, the same things I’ve been doing for months.) Since finishing the final book in the Sisters in Sin series in February, I hadn’t written a single word.

But this past Sunday, I decided to go to a cafĂ© down the street and try to write. Part of my difficulty with writing in recent months is dealing with my elderly cat and his literal caterwauling every moment that he’s not sitting in my lap, so I thought maybe a change of scenery with less howling would work. I honestly didn’t think it would, because I usually can’t write with other people around, but I was sick of hating myself for doing nothing. I got a latte and a pastry, perused social media until the pastry was done, and then set the timer on my phone, telling myself that I had to write for 15 minutes, no matter how stupid the words, and then I could look at Twitter again for 5 minutes as my reward. (A dubious reward, but these are dubious times.)

And despite the fact that there was music playing in the cafĂ©, another thing I usually can’t write with, I just started writing a completely new story. And I wrote for three hours.

It’s some serious crap at the moment, but it’s crap with promise. Two new characters (not the sulking Armand and pouting William—who can just sit there and think about what they’ve done until I’m good and ready to listen to them should they deign to speak) just came out to play like they’d been there all the time. I wrote 1,800 words, and on a second day at the cafĂ©, I managed another 2,000.

I’m still mostly unable to write at home (thanks, cat), but my head is no longer echoing like a new apartment without furniture or rugs while I wander around in it aimlessly. There are unpacked boxes in the corner to go through and interesting clutter lying about that needs to be assembled into something usable. And I’m also channeling my rage at current events into this new space instead of trying to keep it clean and nice for company, so things could get interesting.

I still don’t know where or when the story takes place or any of the specifics of the plot beyond a very vague beginning and a fairly definite end (and, of course, a love story), but I’m hopeful that those will come. I might not have any idea where I’ll end up, but at least I have a beginning. Sometimes you just have to piece together a bunch of disembodied parts and apply a little voltage and see what happens. Even if what you end up with turns out to be a little misshapen, the important thing is that it’s alive.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Everlasting Love and Romance Supernatural Style

In ninth grade one of my assignments in English class was to read Romeo and Juliet—loved it!Then we watched the movie during class—also fabulous!I might have been one of the few students in the
class to be thrilled with the assignment and love every minute of the movie. 

Despite a true love of paranormal and the supernatural, there’s just something about a story of never-ending love. 

Therefore, when I find an awesome paranormal /supernatural everlasting love story, I’m buying the VHS tape…and then I’m buying the DVD/Blue-Ray once VHS players bit the dust just like my copy of… 
Bram Stocker’s Dracula.

A Horrific Romance

Sure, this film based on the novel by Bram Stocker is listed as a 1992 American Gothic Horror Story, but to me it’s truly the supernatural version of Romeo and Juliet, a story about true love. And even though I’m all for a love story between Johnathan (can you say Keanu?) and Mina, by the end, I totally felt for Vlad, I.e.: Count Dracula. This is saying a lot when most of the movie depicts Vlad appearing about four centuries old, and the centuries hadn’t been kind. 

This Dracula wouldn’t fit in with the sexy, vampires of Twilight. Perhaps in his time boasting a hairstyle uncannily resembling one’s pale, white buttocks was in style, and it appeared as if his nails hadn’t seen a manicure, well—ever. 

But the way the film subtly allowed the love story to grow… a few words, a look, a gentle touch. Granted there was the whole Dracula turning into a hairy werewolf-like monster, and some blood—he is a vampire after all, and it is considered horror, but I thought the love story was so spectacular that I watch it again and again.

Then how once Mina realized she discovered he was her true love from centuries past she certainly displayed how true love can be blind, and everlasting (again, keep in mind she was giving up her fiancĂ©—Keanu).

Runner-Up Ghostly Love

My runner-up paranormal love story would be the 1990 Romantic Fantasy Thriller, Ghost

There’s some fun comedy thrown in, but the scenes of the ache of love lost and how their love didn’t die with death—well, put it this way, I can’t listen to songs from the soundtrack without tearing up, and the scene where they must ‘push a penny’…sniff…

if you’ve watched the movie you probably remember. I’ve watched this movie more times than I can count, but if it’s on, I’m watching. 

Do You Have a Favorite Supernatural/Paranormal Love Story?

P.S. Today is my day at the The Romance Reviews Sizzling Summer Reads Party. 

It's going on the whole month of June with tons of fun and prizes, but you can check out my game today!

Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line. Find Maureen on her websiteFacebookTwitter

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Of Babies and Books by Sorchia Dubois

Launching, birthing, releasing—all terms we use to describe that magical time when something new comes into the world. Though glorious and life affirming, such events tend to be turbulent, overwhelming, and terrifying. For me, this year is going to be filled with such events. Not only will my daughter present me with my first granddaughter, but also I hope to release no fewer than three books by the end of the year.

The granddaughter will change the world as I know it, and you’ll be hearing plenty about that as the blessed day approaches (October 8—the day before my birthday.) Today, however, I want to talk about those lesser adventures—the books.

Launching a book, like launching a ship, carries great portent. But, with around 300,000 new books released each year, how are my little stories going to attract any attention?  Here's the blurb and a very fuzzy cover--since I've not done the cover reveal yet.

 Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen

Zoraida Grey needs help. With the witchy Logan clan holding her best friend hostage in
a haunted Scottish castle, she can’t trust anyone—certainly not beguiling but dangerous Shea Logan. And Al, her overprotective boyfriend, doesn’t believe in magic. 
Only one creature strikes fear in the blackened hearts of the Logan witches. Trouble is Jock disappeared five centuries ago leaving a trail of destruction across the Gulf of Mexico. Now he’s stepped into a steaming pile of Voodoo.

Can Zoraida drag wayward Jock back to Scotland? And what’s she supposed to do with two men who promise completely different futures?

A Scottish wizard, stripped naked and painted blue—a Voodoo priestess bent on immortality—a yacht-load of Caribbean pirates. What can possibly go wrong?

Now, I don’t expect to sell a million copies and be catapulted into fame overnight, though I wouldn’t squawk it if it happened. I spent most of my life as a teacher, so my financial standards are low. On a good day, I and any one of my teacher friends would sacrifice our honor for a pack of post-its and an operational Sharpie. 
I’ve spent a good deal of time considering how to get my books off to a good start. I’ve thought of it with the write side of my brain and the read side and here are a few things I’ve found.

  • Get Reviews: I’m already sending out the ARC to all those who’ve reviewed my other books and mining lists for new victims. As a reader, I look at reviews before I purchase. The more reviews the better and the more 4 and 5 star, the better, too. 
  • Do a pre-launch blog sequence on my blog and as a guest on other blogs. I’ll do a cover reveal as soon as the book is available for preorder and a few other posts at that time. I’m working on a theme for these—maybe witches in history since my book is about witches. 
  • On launch day and for about a week after, I’m planning a series of posts about birthstones and astrology and tarot cards—The posts will tie the traits of particular signs and stones to my characters. 
  • A giveaway. I’m going to giveaway free e-books, signed print copies, and jewelry. To tie in with the birthstone angle, I’ve found a local gal who makes beautiful tree of life birthstone pendants. She’s agreed to give me coupons for 10% off of her merchandise to anyone who attends one of my events or my website. 
  • Freebies on the website. I want to be able to direct readers to some nice little gifts—nothing spectacular (see note about financial standards) but a free story, a crystal magic guide, and a legendary creatures guide—all things I already have. When I have time, I could even make them into e-books. 
  • FaceBook launch party. What are your thoughts on this? Do they work? What are the best things to include in such a party? I sometimes offer tarot readings and usually get a good response. I also enjoy meeting other authors as well as readers. 
  • Teasers and Promos. I use Canva and other software to make quick images that I can tweet or post on FB. I’m thinking about ten to get the ball rolling. These I share in groups and basically blast out into the ether every day. 
  • And, there are the paid promotions. Places like Goodreads and LibraryThing will do giveaways for a fee and then we have Instafreebie or Bookbub which are a bit more exclusive. Blog tours put together by services are sometimes helpful and expand the reach of my posts. 

If you are writers, what have I forgotten? What works and what should I avoid at all costs. 

As readers, what kind of info catches your eye and makes you want to plunk down money for a book?

Honestly, compared to launching a book, having the granddaughter is going to be a piece of cake—at least for me. My daughter might have a comment or two about that, but—hey—I’m the granny here.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Whaddya mean it's May 30th?

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me. So busy in fact that I almost missed my normal post day for the Paranormal Romantics blog! May 30th tried to sneak by me without being noticed, but I caught it two hours before the day was over. Needless to say, this is going to be short and sweet. I only have two things to tell you about, anyway.

First, I need your help. You see, today is the final day of the Blue Book Cover Brigade’s efforts to raise money for the ALS Association, and we’d like to end the project on a bang. That’s where you come in. There are three ways to help:

1) Go to our web page, peruse the selection of out-of-this-world SFR and PNR titles. Purchase one…or two…or more, and 25% of each sale will benefit the ALSA. (Note: some authors will donate 100% of their book’s May sales—Prophecy is one of those books.)

2) Have you read all these books already but still want to help? No problem! Go to our ALS team page and make a tax deductible donation to the team, or to the author of your choice.

3) Share this information and links with your friends on social media!

Remember, the project ends May 31, 2018!

Second thing, the third book in my Prophecy series is now available for pre-order!

Collision, Book Three of the Prophecy Series

A heart-rending loss…
Flora Bock will never forgive the Anferthian invaders for murdering her birth-parents. Growing up with the grandson of her sworn enemies is living a nightmare—until the day she sees him through the eyes of a young woman. But giving her heart to him is the ultimate betrayal of her parents’ memory.

 A life in peril…
There are precious few places in the galaxy where Fander K’nil is safe. One look into Flora’s beautiful, hate-filled eyes is proof enough that Terr is not one of those places. He must keep her at a distance and stay alive long enough to fulfill his destiny. No matter what his heart desires.

An empire at stake…
Just as Fander and Flora begin to discover the depth of their feelings for each other, they are thrust into a deadly game of politics and assassination with an enemy who stops at nothing to stay in power. With the lives of everyone they love at risk, they must find a way to avert a new invasion before it’s too late—even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.

Haven't read books one and two in the series yet? Check 'em out...

Prophecy, Book One of the Prophecy Series

A woman who's lost everything, a man betrayed by his own, but together their destiny is greater than ever imagined. 

Salvation, Book Two of the Prophecy Series

One incurable disease, two reluctant Healers, three worlds on the brink of war. What could possibly go wrong?

And, boom! I finished my May blog with about an hour to spare. See you all next month with a well-prepared and informative blog. I hope.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Embracing His Roar by @meganslayer #gayromance #pnr #paranormal #shifters #bobcat #lion

Embracing His Roar by Megan Slayer

Sanctuary, Book 11

Gay Paranormal Erotic Romance


From SuperNova Indie Publishing

A bobcat who doesn’t think he belongs and a lion who believes he is unlovable…can they make a relationship work?

Avan has made his share of mistakes, but those are in the past. Moving forward means forgiving himself and having a life at the Sanctuary. He wants just one shifter—Oscar. The bobcat shifter soothes his soul and seems to see the best in Avan. But will he want to be with Avan, even after everything Avan’s done?

Oscar’s lusted after Avan since he first saw him. He doesn’t care what Avan’s done because he believes everyone deserves a second chance. But Oscar’s got a past, too. He’d never felt like he belongs, even at the Sanctuary. The one place he feels safe is with Avan.

The odds a bobcat and lion should be together are low, but the passion between them sizzles. Can they find common ground and embrace their roar or will their differences destroy the blossoming relationship?

Available at


Barnes and Noble:


Google Play:

In Print:

Sunday, May 27, 2018

That funny little number. What the heck is an ISBN and do I need it? by L. A. Kelley

What is an ISBN?
ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It has 13 digits and consists of 5 sections separated by spaces or hyphens. The first group is the prefix element, either 978 or 979.  Next is the registration group. It’s between 1 and 5 digits and identifies the country, geographic region, or language. The third is the registrant, up to 7 digits, that identifies the publisher or imprints. The publication element is fourth. It has up to 6 digits and establishes the particular edition and format of a specific title. The last is the single check digit used in some fancy-schmancy mathematical formula you and I can’t care less about to validate the ISBN.

Now that I know what it is, what the heck is an ISBN used for?
An ISBN is a product identifier. That’s it. The number is assigned to publications and used by publishers, booksellers, libraries, internet retailers and others to order, record sales, or manage stock. The ISBN identifies the registrant as well as the specific title, edition, and format. ISBNs are assigned to single publications such as books, but not to serial publications such as journals or newspapers. Any book made publicly available, for sale or free, can be identified by an ISBN, but so can individual chapters of books or articles from journals and periodicals. An ebook doesn’t require an ISBN, but a publisher can attach one, if desired. However, each format (e.g. paperback, hardcover, EPUB, pdf) requires a separate number, so if you choose to assign an ISBN to an ebook, it must have a different number than the paperback version.

What does that have to do with the copyright?
Nada, zilch, zippo. The ISBN is an identifier. Simply having an ISBN on a book doesn’t convey any legal or copyright protection. Nor does it take any away from the author. The ISBN only identifies the publisher of a particular edition. In effect, the person or company who ponied up for the ISBN.

How do you get an ISBN?
Some countries issue them for free, but in the USA you have to buy it and they’re not cheap. The only authorized representative in the United States to sell ISBNs is a company called Bowker. ISBNS are $125 for a single ISBN, but they have reduced rates if you buy in bulk.

Does a self-published author need an ISBN?
Maybe. Maybe not. If you only plan to publish an ebook then an ISBN isn’t necessary. Paperbacks or hardcovers are different stories. Companies such as CreateSpace will give you an ISBN for free if you publish with them. Again, this has nothing to do with copyright. The number will only identify the publisher as CreateSpace, and you will still be the author and retain all rights.

If you plan to market mostly ebooks and only sell hard or softcovers through a website or conventions then this is a good cheap way to go. However, you can pretty much forget about bookstores. Most are loathe to take on self-published authors anyway, but a CreateSpace ISBN is the kiss of death. First of all, it’s an Amazon company and indy bookstores don’t want to throw any more money at the Big A. The biggest reason is that most publishers like CreateSpace don’t have a buy-back option for booksellers, so a retailer can’t return unsold books. Indy bookstores aren’t particularly welcoming to self-published authors, but you may be able to talk a few into carrying your book if you have an ISBN from a company that offers buy-backs, so they’re not out any money if your book doesn’t sell. This means becoming your own publisher. Don’t worry, you don’t need to invest in typesetting equipment. Simply buy an ISBN and use a company that offers buy-back, such as IngramSpark. It won’t guarantee sales, of course, but may put you one step closer. Good luck.

L. A. Kelley writes science fiction and fantasy adventures with humor, romance, and a touch of sass. Planned to name first child ISBN, but family members objected. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Falling in Love With Social Media (In Spite of Yourself) by Nancy Gideon

When I started out as an author, social media was simple – Type up a newsletter, make copies and tuck it into an envelope. If you wanted to get fancy, you’d include grainy photocopied images of yourself and your cover. Contact with your readers was through those scrawled fan letters or face-to-face at local bookstore signings. And, if you were lucky, the local paper would do an article on you, usually with the slant “Housewife (or Stay-at-home Mom) Pens Happily-Ever-After Love Stories.” Isn’t that cute? Then Romantic Times(RIP!) and Affaire de Coeur coaxed me to spend my hard-earned royalties on magazine ads which quickly spiraled into the bookmark and romance trading card crazes for collectors.

Then, socializing with your reading public went electronic. And time management hopes went to hell in a hurry!

I fought it tooth and nail – first the writing loops (on Prodigy!), then the social groups, springing up like weeds everywhere you looked where you were expected to join and post and chat and still, somehow write those books you had to promote. There were conferences (both professional and fan) where you had to giveaway clever attention getters (my vampire teeth were always a hit!) and smile until your face ached worse than your feet.

Then, suddenly, you never had to leave your laptop. It was all right there with a click of the mouse. My Space, Facebook, chapter and genre loops and groups, Pintrest, LinkedIn, Instragram, Twitter, Wattpad, Snapchat, YouTube . . . and on and on and on. A website wasn’t good enough. You had to blog, and Hop and do events. You couldn’t just write a book, you had to promote it with SWAG and tours and booktrailers and playlists and banners and excerpts and Street Teams. You had to learn about alga rhythms and click-throughs and GDRPs. You had to not only write the book but pitch it, produce it, advertise it, hand sell it, design it, find editors and BETA readers and learn about tag lines and pull quotes . . . And still have time -and the energy- to write.

I confess, some of all the hoopla is really fun! I’ll never, ever enjoy hand selling my books to the public. I’d rather conceive and create in the privacy of my own office. That aspect of social media I adore. From my first bootlegged copy of Photoshop to my subscriptions to Deposit Photo, Neo Sounds, QuotesCover and Canva, I’ve become a graphics whore. An artist by no means, I still love to play with details of text and color and images and sound. Even though I have a Virtual Assistant, I find myself doing much of the leg-work myself because . . . I enjoy that creative aspect of my writing (and I’m somewhat of a control-freak!). I’ll devote my lunch hour to designing banners like this one, endlessly tweaking with text and tone:

I’ll browse graphics for hours, hunt for book trailer music clips and pace the text and images over and over in my mind. I’ve even become addicted to creating YouTube music video playlists for each title.

I could be writing . . . but I’m having too much fun.

You have to draw the line somewhere or you’ll have no product to promote. Creating one flashy bit of text with a buy link and graphic that you can use over multiple medias in a planned approach seems the smart way to go. I’m still learning. Now I know what I can do, what I can tolerate, what I can farm out, and what I’ll let pass without regret.

But I never forget . . . it’s all about the writing. And if nothing’s written, there’s nothing to promote.

What are your favorite media outlets (or distractions)? Best bang for your buck or suck on your time?

Happy Loooong Weekend (with a birthday thrown in for me – Yay!)!
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Nancy Gideon on the Web