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Azalea Week

azel

You need to make a statement this week. An Azalea Week rewards definite action. Be bright and bold in your wardrobe choices. Wear some power colours, some deep greens and hot reds and oranges, some vivid blues. Walk and stand and occupy your space so that you radiate the belief that here you are and here you belong.

But an Azalea Week isn’t about aggression or attention-grabbing behaviour. It’s about being brave so that your courage triggers others to stand up for themselves and their beliefs.

Bright colours and good posture remind us that we have a place in the world, an important and respected place. Maybe you use singing, dancing or something else to do that. Do whatever you have to do to start some positive energy, and then, go out and share it!

New Release: Summer Kiss

I’m excited to share my newest Texas Kiss with you. Summer Kiss is live! and for this weekend only, it’s also FREE! So grab it now on Amazon (or Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, or Amazon Australia).

summerkiss

Freedom! For the last eleven years, schoolteacher Tessa Fraser has been raising her much younger brother with the help of their grandmother. Now her brother is eighteen, headed for college, and Tessa is finally free to indulge her adventurous spirit. Only, Sheriff Caleb Gascoyne has other ideas.

Fishing at midnight, Caleb never thought he’d catch the woman of his dreams, but Tessa is sweet, funny and sparkling with the joys of summer. She’s a world away from his old life when he served his country on secret missions overseas. But she wants freedom, and he’s just settled back into Gascoyne Junction.

Tessa knows Caleb is used to far more sophisticated women than her. She’s spent her whole life in the Texas Hill Country, while he’s travelled the world. Never has she regretted her lack of sophistication so much as when confronted by an honorable, old-fashioned cowboy-sheriff who just won’t be tempted into a midnight kiss.

For fans of first kisses and gorgeous Texas cowboys.

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Clean Romance on Kindle Unlimited

Clean Romance is a category of story that isn’t necessarily Christian (non-preachy, at least), but does close the door on sex scenes, minimise bad language and violence, and generally guarantee its readers a story that they wouldn’t be horrified to find their twelve year old niece reading. That said, some twelve year olds are more sophisticated in their reading than me!

Clean Romance, kindle unlimited,Thanks to Kindle Unlimited I’ve been writing some Clean Romance stories and finding readers who love them. Kiss Me, Quick (A Cowboy for Valentine’s Day) started me on this adventure — and it was readers and reviewers who identified and enjoyed it as a Clean Romance. Thank you! Sometimes the hardest thing for an author is discovering how to market her books; that is, who will enjoy them.

Clean romance, Kindle Unlimited,After discovering Clean Romance, I then wrote First Kiss where my shyly daring heroine paints a Texas cowboy’s horse pink — brave woman! I realised that I loved writing these stories where the dance of courtship has to be shown subtly and sweetly. It means a lot of concentration on character development so that the growing relationship is believable, and most especially, the happy ever after.

clean romance, kindle unlimited I recently finished a third Texas Kisses romance, and Summer Kiss will be out next week (and FREE on Amazon May 15 – 17). As soon as Amazon gives me a buy link for it, I’ll post it here on my website, and on my Facebook page. This was an adorable story to write. It opens by a river at night in the Texas Hills Country where a small town schoolteacher is planning a summer of freedom until she bumps into the new sheriff who is gorgeous enough to derail a thousand plans!

Many of my other books include characters who aren’t so scrupulous at closing the bedroom door when things get frisky 😉 and those books are fun to write, too. But Clean Romance is heartwarming, enjoyable, and definitely part of my future.

Do you have any favourite Clean Romances?

New Release: Love, Coast To Coast

coastal romance, romance novellas,Love, Coast To Coast is out today. It’s currently LESS than 99c which seems insane value to me — that’s 5 coastal romance novellas for less than a dollar. When I saw the discount this morning, I needed another coffee. What a shock! If you haven’t snapped up my coastal romances before (this is a bundle of previously published stories that Escape Publishing put together), then I suggest you grab this now. As in right now before the price goes back up! coastal romance,

Travel coast to coast with five romantic tales from Jenny Schwartz, the master of Coastal Romance, now available as one digital volume.

In Mistaken Engagement, after a disastrous fake engagement, the Australia Day long weekend down at Grace’s family beach house is the perfect time to show everyone that Grace and Saul are friends, with not a broken heart between them. But can a fake engagement become life-changingly real?

In Memories of Love, when her family home burns down, it’s the final heartbreak for Rita Jorden. Her boss, Ivan Novak, steps in, offering her his home and his help. But Ivan has his own demons, and although he’s interested in Rita, there’s darkness in his past that could cause her harm.

In Second Chance Island, Laura Robertson is working at a tropical resort on the Great Barrier Reef, biding her time and nursing her wounds when her ex-lover Phil Cooper arrives on Topaz Island. She’s spent her whole life fighting to save the reef, and her time on Topaz Island fighting for her self-respect. Does she have enough left to fight for a second chance?

In Ice-Breaker, Kiara and Selwyn’s first encounter is dramatic, and their attraction instantaneous. But Kiara has commitments, dreams, and plans – and Selwyn doesn’t fit into any of it. But he’s not willing to give up on the chance at love, so he plans a second encounter just as dramatic. Maybe all they need for a chance at real love is a break from real life.

In No Resuce, after a tragic incident, Miri Blair has escaped to Sydney, and the anonymity of a friend’s apartment. Then, one day, she finds herself acting out a Romeo-and-Juliet balcony style scene with Sergeant Tad Robertson of the Water Police, who dares her to risk living again. Will she have the strength to move away from her past and towards a future with Tad?

contemporary romance, coastal romance, romance novellas, Australian romance

 

 

Pampas Grass Week

pampas

In a Pampas Grass Week feel the wind in your hair and taste freedom. This is the week where you acknowledge that life has its problems, but you give yourself permission to ignore them. Take a break. Take flight!

You MUST steal some time for yourself.

In fact, this is the week when taking a walk alone is going to show you something fascinating. You might be walking through a shopping mall or along a beach or just around your neighbourhood’s streets, but at some point you’ll see something that’ll change your thinking. One of your life’s most insoluble problems actually has a way around it. The problem won’t go away, but you can work around it.

Take a walk, empty your mind, stop fretting, and voila! There is an answer.

The Value of Social Media

Blissed out on paperbark flower nectar
Blissed out on paperbark flower nectar

I was intrigued by this article on Blendle initially because it offered a way of making journalism pay for itself, but then because of something said in the article: “people don’t want to spend money on the ‘what’, they want to spend money on the ‘why’.” In other words, people expect to get news (the what) for free on the internet. Understanding the story behind the news is what they’ll pay for.

For authors, who are pushed by publishers, peers and the challenge of discoverability to self-promote, this is a major issue. If we have a new book out, this is news. We splash it around everywhere we can think of because we can see that doing so works for big name authors.

Ah, there’s the point. For big name authors, their substantial fanbase values the news of a book release. So the what (the news) is also the why (the author’s name). But for those of us starting out, our author name is not a value statement, which means we have to go a step beyond an announcement of our new book to communicate why it is important to its audience.

There’s so much in the paragraph above.

For a start, do you know your book’s audience? You’d better, because you need to know who you’re communicating with if you want to reach them. Where do they hang out?

What is your author brand, your promise to readers? If you’re aiming to be a big name author, this has to be clear. Make a promise and deliver it, again and again.

Most importantly, what value is your book to its audience? Why must they add it to their lives? Sometimes we answer this question with the book’s hook, the attention-grabbing premise of the story. Sometimes with quotations from reviews, recommendations by big name authors, excerpts to showcase the writing, or visually with the cover. Covers ought to say a lot about the book and what it will deliver.

Believe it or not, this is the start of your marketing plan.

Is your book entertainment? emotional catharsis? informative? cautionary? what? Now, why is that important and to whom?

Keep this in mind and work out how the message is best communicated. Which social media will you use and how will you use them? Don’t forget images! Be aware that you’re often competing against paid promotional activity. If you have a budget to do some yourself, research like crazy the best (as in, best for your book) media for reaching your book’s audience.

Remember that you can add value to your new book news by adding a discount or free promotion with a motivating end date. You can add a code to a free bonus story or anything else you can dream up. Just keep on message: your promise to readers, the value you bring them.

People complain that social media is an echo chamber, a crazy waste of time, a place where authors annoy everyone with “buy my book” messages — and it’s true. But it’s also false. News announcements are the empty noise, but deliver something of value and it cuts through.

If you want to make your social media time count, remember two things:

  1. You’re communicating with real people, and that means listening and responding, valuing them. Don’t be all “buy my book”. Be interesting and interested.
  2. Stay on message. When you’re doing a “buy my book” post, ask yourself: what value does this deliver to its intended audience?

Social media can be both fun and effective, if you remember why you’re there.