New Release: No Rescue

My final Coast-to-Coast romance novella is out today! No Rescue is hot and the setting is even hotter! Sydney Harbour.

sydney harbour, sydney romance,

She went to Sydney to hide, instead she was found by love.

Recovering from a tragic hostage situation, Miri Blair escapes to Sydney, and the anonymity of a friend’s apartment. She will go back into the world – just not yet.

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. With the harbour as a backdrop, Tad and Miri find romance by the sea, but Tad has a dangerous job and Miri has been through trauma. Will she have the strength to move away from her past and towards a future with Tad?

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“First Kiss” is out & FREE!

kindle unlimited, sweet western romance,

My new sweet Western romance, First Kiss, is out! Whew. This was a wonderful story to write, but sometimes I think that the closer a story is to my heart, the more nervous I am about it. To celebrate its release, First Kiss is free for the weekend (20-22 March). I hope you enjoy it!

If you paint a man’s horse pink, be prepared to face the consequences!

Alissa McLeod wants Craig Murchison’s attention. She wants him to see her as a woman, and not as his best friend’s little sister. But when Craig ignores her prettiest dresses, her shy flirtation and her award-winning chocolate raspberry cake, then there’s only one thing for it—she’s going to have to turn this Texas cowboy’s world upside down until he realises the one thing he needs is right in front of him: her.

For fans of first kisses, sparkling romance, ex-soldier heroes, and shy women who find the courage to risk everything for the men they love.

“First Kiss” is a short story, a 45 minute read.

first kiss, sweet western romance, kindle unlimited,

 

 

 

Release Day! Ran From Him

australian contemporary romance, kindle unlimited, perth romance,My new contemporary romance, Ran From Him, releases, today. Only 99c for a great category romance with a very special setting: my hometown of Perth, Western Australia.

Six years ago Cate Trapani fled emotional blackmail and a forced marriage with tycoon Daniel Garren. But now she’s back, determined to save her brother from a similar fate: his happiness sacrificed on the altar of their father’s business interests and her ex-fiancé Daniel Garren’s ambition. But Daniel isn’t the villain she remembers, and she’s not the awkward, innocent girl she used to be. This time, she’ll fight for what she wants. But so will Daniel—and what he wants is Cate.

Heat rating: sensual.

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And because I’m super-excited about the release of Ran From Him, I’m celebrating by putting my collection of paranormal romantic suspense FREE for five days. So grab Dare, now!

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Short Stories and Kindle Unlimited

short stories on kindle unlimited, short stories, kindle unlimited,

Are we living through the renaissance of short stories? I’m hearing people talking about the short stories they’re reading now on Kindle Unlimited (KU). This thrills me, both as a fan of short stories and as an author.

Now, some people might argue that in fact the surge of short stories onto KU is a result of Amazon’s policies that make it profitable for authors to list short stories on KU, but not so much novels. And so, subscribers to KU are being forced to read shorter works for lack of other content.

But there are heaps of novels on KU so I think that subscribers are actually rediscovering the magic of short stories. They’ve always been available in magazines and ezines and in anthologies, but now short stories are standing alone. It’s kind of like music. Instead of having to buy the album, you can just pick the song you want.

Which leads me to the point of this post, the praise of short stories.

I have seven points in favour of short stories:

  1. They respect how time poor we are — adventure, romance, intrigue, whatever, all in a stolen hour.
  2. Every word has to work. Like poetry, there’s no hiding behind volume. The reader is after quality not quantity.
  3. Quirky ideas that can rock a short story, but would never have sustained a novel, can be loosed on the world.
  4. Taste test. An author’s style is so clear in a short story. Reference point 2. There’s nowhere to hide.
  5. By freeing us from a long commitment (a full length novel) we’re liberated to step outside our reading comfort zones and try new things. In fact, we’re given extra reading time in which to try new things. Variety is the spice of life and all that.
  6. Short stories are closer to the natural length of a spoken story. They’re a medium of close communication between author and reader.
  7. Don’t underestimate the power of completing something. Short stories give you that — a complete experience in the time available to you.

And if you’re looking for something short and awesome, try my new Steampunk story, The Icarus Plot.

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Kindle Unlimited – Some More Thoughts

Kindle Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited discoverability, discoverability, Kindle Unlimited Short Stories, KU borrows, reaching readers on Kindle Unlimited,My first thought remains – I want it, now! When will Kindle Unlimited (KU) be available in Australia?

My second thought is me getting over my reader tantrum and putting on my author hat – how the heck do I get readers to find my stories in the huge jumble that is KU?

Discoverability is a major issue whether you’re lending your books in KU or selling them anywhere. With Amazon, though, I’m tempted to think that the primary selling tool is its algorithms. If you can kickstart those in your book’s favour, you’ll sell — until the next amazing new release kicks you down the mountain. Books are releasing like an avalanche at the moment, so the issue isn’t just the discoverability of a new release, it’s the ongoing discoverability of your backlist.

So, what can you do?

1. Pay bribes – which is my cynical way of saying, you’re competing for attention with a lot of authors (me included) who are paying for advertising. This varies from $1 or $2 to $100s at sites that promote free and discounted ebooks, at Goodreads, Facebook (and with FB’s changes kicking in from January 1, you’ll probably need to pay them something now and then to have any hope of any of your posts being seen there), review sites and magazines, and anywhere else you can think of.

2. Engage with social media — really wring the most you can out of your social media time to get the word out. Some people develop street teams (where amazingly generous people volunteer to help you get the word out).

3. Write what readers want – Oh yeah! Now, now, don’t respond with an eye roll. Amazon’s algorithms throw up lists that pretty much tell you what readers currently want. There’s lots of data available. My theory is that the more you search it out and absorb it, the stronger and more accurate your gut instinct will be. Instincts need to be fed.

4. Define your brand — what do you promise readers? Deliver it.

By now, you may be thinking that I’m being very brief, perhaps even glib. Maybe I am. The thing is, all of these elements of publishing strategies are pretty much well known. The magic is in getting the balance between them right. Where do you put your energy? What do you gamble months of writing time on?

Discoverability is about meeting the market. If you write what people want, and communicate with them where they live (online), your books will be “discovered”. Amazon’s algorithms are like most things in life — success is rewarded. Amazon (which wants to sell a heck of a lot more than books) rewards you with greater visibility if you’re drawing in customers to its site.

Which brings me to a final point. If you think your readers aren’t primarily subscribed to KU or interested in being Amazon customers, then maybe KU isn’t for you. The exclusivity clause that locks your KU books into Amazon is a significant issue.

So that’s my thoughts on KU as I wrap up 2014 and plan my publishing schedule for 2015 — more on that soon!

Edited to add: I was just reading this article by Brian Heater in Mashable, KU: Worth $10 a Month, Needs More Books. Very interesting couple of points. First the lack of content as mentioned in the article’s title. Second that KU subscribers can’t just search within KU. Intriguing. Could Amazon be wanting authors to have books both in KU and outside it? Might a couple of sites pop up guiding readers to books within KU – although how could this be made to pay? Author advertising?

Hmm. New iOS Kindle app opens up buffet of Kindle Unlimited books – seems like Amazon is addressing these issues of accessing KU & finding books within it.

Related posts:

Book predictions for 2015

Kindle Unlimited for short stories

paranormal romance, demons, magic, romance,Demon Hunter is my latest KU release, a paranormal romance novella. Also available for 99c if you’re not subscribed to KU.

Demon Hunter is Free!

paranormal romance, demons, magic, romance,

Today is the official release day for my new paranormal romance, Demon Hunter. To celebrate, I’ve made it free (yes, free) for five days – exclusively on Amazon (which is the annoying bit – to get Demon Hunter into Amazon’s lending library, Kindle Unlimited, where it can go on being free for subscribers to read forever, Demon Hunter can only be listed with Amazon – sorry!).

You can bleed and die banishing a demon, but Fay Olwen discovers there are worse hurts. Betrayed by the Collegium and by her father, she must build a new life away from New York. Leopard-shifter Steve Jekyll would have her build it with him. But loyalties are never simple and new love never easy. When demons are unleashed, Fay tracks the evil back to the Collegium, and now all hell will break loose because Fay fights for the innocent, and Steve will protect what is his.

For fans of kick-ass heroines and shifter heroes who are alpha-male and sinfully sexy.

Demon Hunter is a paranormal romance novella.

Get it free, now!

You can read an excerpt or check out the app I created to accompany the book.demon

Book Predictions 2015

2015 predictions, publishing 2015,

Every year I challenge myself to predict the publishing landscape for the year ahead. And every year I’ve been too cosy, too focussed on my own little world, and so, I never get anything right. And yes, you do hear some frustration there.

So let’s go a bit broader. I’ve already discussed lending libraries/book subscription services and how I think Kindle Unlimited will lead to a short story bonanza.  But ebooks have also encouraged a lot of longer length work. The reason being that the cost of printing paper pages is no longer constricting word count. Both short and epic length books will hold a place in the book market. How authors make money at the different lengths is one of the many challenges of 2015.

Jeff Bezos, Mr Amazon, is on record as saying he wants to drive down the price of books. This will make them “more accessible”.

But I’m ignoring Bezos in favour of Amazon’s algorithms. They fascinate me. The thing is, they’re both a tool of discoverability and an assessment of authors’ activities. Yes, the algorithms are skewed to Amazon’s purposes, but they’re also about matching what readers want with what authors supply. If my books are low in the ranking, I’m not supplying what readers want – as much as I want to tantrum that it’s all the algorithms’ fault for “hiding” my books, it’s not.

There’s gold in them thar algorithms and that’s something I intend to exploit in 2015.

However, eggs in one basket is a foolish strategy. FOOLISH. Authors need to go wide. Self-publish with retailers other than Amazon. Submit to traditional publishers and work with them to push your books. Write, write, write so that you have products to sell.

Social media has been a huge distraction for years. Get over it. Yes, I’m a daily user of Facebook and Twitter, but I can tell you, it’s not moving my books. I need to be there so that when readers look, I’m present, but it is definitely not the best use of my time. My advice? Work out early (even before you start writing the book) where its audience hangs out and spend some of your rationed social media time there. Be strategic. It’s not rude, it’s smart; as long as you act with respect and according to the norms of the community you’re joining. Don’t join to use them. Join because you share their love for the sort of book you’re writing and which they read.

When it comes to considering trends in what books will be big in 2015, I’m still convinced that Coastal Romance has potential, especially with its theme of freedom. In fact, I suspect freedom in some form or other will define the key books of 2015. Millennials have expressed society’s general dissatisfaction with the status quo. Stories celebrating defeating or rejecting the system will resonate with many readers. Millennials don’t expect the system to work for them, so stories that show other paths will feed their hope.

In the end, and always, this is why I write: stories of hope keep us all going, build community and sustain our belief that we can change things for the better. Happy writing! Roll on, 2015!