It's National Poetry Month! (and no, that's not an April Fool's joke) The Academy of American Poets set aside April to celebrate, read, and generally draw attention to poets and poetry for one month. So in honor of that, here's a link that shares ideas for celebrating poetry -- even if you're not an avid reader: Ways to Celebrate Your Favorite American Authors Two of my favorites from this list are to host a screening of "Dead Poet's Society" or "Shakespeare in Love" and sign up for tinywords, , a service that sends you a text message every day with a short poem.
Another website I love is Poetry 180, which is a site run by the Library of Congress and originally designed by famous American poet Billy Collins. It includes 180 really accessible, understandable poems and is intended for high school students, so they might read 1 poem every day for the 180 days of the school school. Neat idea, right? You can check it out here.
Of course, you can do all of the above AND treat yourself to a copy of my poetry collection Entwined, which releases tomorrow. That way you'll be honoring National Poetry Month along one of your favorite authors as well ;)
Title: Summer on Main Street: Six Sizzling Small Town Romances
Author: Crista McHugh, Liz Kelly, MJ Frederick, Allie Boniface, Rebecca J. Clark, and Cerian Hebert
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 23, 2015
TELL ME TRUE, a new novella from NYT Bestselling Author Crista McHugh
Welcome to Jackson Grove, Alabama, where some pre-wedding shenanigans provide the perfect opportunity to unite two victims of unrequited love, Hunter and Chelsea. Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps… or perhaps in this case, a skunk.
LEAD-OFF BRIDE, a new novel from USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca J. Clark (and Book 1 of the new series, Take Me Out to the Wedding)
Demoted to the minor leagues in Twin Rivers, Washington, to rehab a career-threatening injury, Jack McCauley doesn’t have time to focus on anything other than baseball because that’s all he knows, and all he is. So running into an old flame and learning he has a daughter he never knew about has Jack crying foul.
THE PROMISE OF PARADISE by USA Today Bestselling Author Allie Boniface.
Take one rich girl from Boston who’s fleeing a family scandal, send her straight into the arms of a sexy local mechanic, and watch what happens when the two end up sharing a rental home for one hot summer. Bonus New Companion Novella exclusive to this set: AFTER PARADISE continues this story after its original ending. Find out what happens next to your favorite secondary characters!
GOOD COP by USA Today Bestselling Author Liz Kelly.
When two best friends enlist a pony-tailed firecracker to help shake up their good cop/bad cop images, fireworks ignite. One steamy romance, plus a very funny bromance, equals lots of laughs and a helluva love triangle.
THE LOVE I WANT TO BE IN, a new novel in a new series from MJ Fredrick.
Single mother Brioney Mayburn has learned about responsibility the hard way, working as a maid in the motel in the small beach town of Avalon Island, Texas and looking after her younger brother. Local jack-of-all-trades Blue Maddox has loved Brioney forever, but she won’t look past his surfer-boy persona to see the love he has to offer.
LIGHT THE WAY HOME by Cerian Hebert.
Torn between the home she loves and the man she’s falling in love with, Hayden must decide which one she will leave behind.
Hayden Merrick has one thing in mind when she arrives in South Dakota. To meet her grandmother for the first time, then return to the life she loves on the Maine coast. She doesn't expect to discover the truth behind her mother's departure from South Dakota, find the father who abandoned her or a man who could prove to be the love of her life.
As soon as Ben Winslow meets Hayden, he believes she could be the woman he's always hoped for. First he has to convince her she could love the prairie as much as the ocean.
Crista McHugh is a NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING author of fantasy and romance with heroines who are smart, sexy, and anything but ordinary.
She currently lives in the Tesla-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.
To be the first to know about her latest releases or to be entered into exclusive contests, please sign up for her newsletter using the contact form on her webpage, www.cristamchugh.com.
Rebecca J. Clark is a USA Today best-selling author of steamy and sweet contemporary romances. She is the author of the Red Stilettos and upcoming Take Me Out to the Wedding series. When she’s not writing, you can find her at her local gym where she works as a personal trainer & teaches cardio classes, Fitball, yoga & Pilates. All this exercise allows her to eat her favorite comfort food—Cheetos—guilt free. Visit her online at her website, Facebook, Twitter, or sign up for her newsletter to receive book release updates, healthy recipes, fitness tips and read her serialized soap opera for subscribers only.
Liz Kelly is the USA Today best-selling author of the Heroes of Henderson series. Growing up every summer in a place where dancing and romancing are literally part of its theme song, she can't help but be a romantic at heart. A graduate of Wake Forest University, where she met her handsome golf-addicted husband, (who is now sporting dark glasses everywhere he goes) Liz is a mother of two sons (also sporting dark glasses) and a miniature Labradoodle named Isabelle. They split their time between The Windy City of Chicago and the Fountain of Youth, a.k.a. Naples, FL where dancing and romancing continues on ad infinitum. Visit her website for an overview of her books, book club menu plans, and lots of delicious cocktail suggestions.
MJ Fredrick knows about chasing dreams. Twelve years after she completed her first novel, she signed her first publishing contract. Now she divides her days between teaching elementary music, and diving into her own writing.
She's a four-time Golden Heart Award finalist and a two-time Epic Award winner. She is the author of the Minnesota-set Welcome to Bluestone series and the Texas-set Lost in a Boom Town series, and loves to write about the interplay between people in a small town. You can find her online at her website, Facebook, Twitter or sign up for her newsletter for new release/sneak peeks!
Allie is a high school English teacher by day and a USA Today best-selling contemporary romance author by night. She is the author of the Hometown Heroes and Cocktail Cruise series and loves the magic and complexity of small-town stories. Visit her online at her website, Facebook page, Twitter account, or sign up for her newsletter to receive occasional updates and sneak peeks at her latest books!
Cerian Hebert, a multi-published author of small town romances like Sweet and Wild, Finally Home, and No Going Back, knew she wanted to write since she was twelve. From mucking stalls for top riding stables in New York to booking cruises in Maine, she’s kept on filing notebooks in pursuit of her dreams of being an author. Whether the stories are set in New England, South Dakota or Texas, Cerian keeps the romances in small towns with realistic characters all in search of romance. Currently she lives in southwestern New Hampshire with her husband, children, dog, cat, and three geckos. Visit her at her webpage or Facebook page to get sneak peeks into upcoming projects.
In honor of Writers' Wednesday, here's a shout-out to one of my new favorite authors and Passionate Kisses sisters, Rebecca J. Clark. She has a brand new release this month!
A sexy new romantic comedy by USA Bestselling author Rebecca J. Clark.
Book 2 in the Red Stilettos series--this is a stand-alone book (no cliffhangers in this series), but it might be more fun to read Book 1 first because those characters show up in this story, too.
A life she never knew she wanted...
Jet setter Ava Thompson is forced to spend the summer stuck in suburban hell to take care of her sister's house and dog, but cooks up some fun seducing the sexy single dad next door, never expecting to discover a life she never knew she wanted.
Rebecca writes funny, heartfelt stories that have great character development and wonderful, real-life situations. (I loved her book Shameless too, by the way -- another read that's highly recommended.) Grab either one of these books and enjoy :)
TGIF! I'm happy to say that Entwined, my poetry collection that will be a companion book to Labyrinth of Love, will be releasing early next month. I'm looking for some reviewers right now, so if poetry is your thing, and you'd like a sneak peek at the collection before April, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know! I have electronic files available in both mobi (Kindle) and pdf.
Entwined features 15 original poems (if you're a newsletter subscriber, you've already been treated to a few) PLUS the opening chapters of Vivian and Will's love story -- one of two love stories that make up Labyrinth of Love. If you'd like a free copy, in exchange for leaving an honest review on release day, shoot me an email :) It'll be a quick read, I promise.
Hey writers, today's heads-up is for you: TOMORROW, MARCH 19, Carina Press, the digital-first publisher of Harlequin, is holding a special open pitch session over on Twitter. Pitch your story in 140 characters (actually, 128 without the necessary #CarinaPitch hashtag). Carina editors will be reading and requesting full manuscripts all day long!
Happy Monday! Okay, maybe that post title is a little crude, but I'm always happy (and more than a little relieved) when my beta readers or editors return my stories and say "OMG this was my favorite yet!" Or maybe they don't rave that much, but they don't tell me it sucked. Or that it's full of plot holes. Or that they didn't like the hero, or the heroine, or the best friend, or...
I still feel that twinge of apprehension whenever I send my writing to others to read, whether they are friends I've known for years or beta readers I've just come in contact with or editors I've recently hired. It's scary, putting your baby out there. As much as we writers think we're crafting the next Novel of the Year, we can't write in a bubble. We have to ask others to give us another perspective, and then we (I) hope they like and understand it as much as we do. (Of course, it's helpful when they don't too, because then we can fix the problems and make the story better.)
I got 2 different manuscripts back this past weekend, one from an editor and another from a beta reader, and while they gave me some good food for though as far as revisions, it also looks as though I'm heading in the right direction with the general story lines.....which means I should have more new books to share with you soon!
Hey, all, the Summer on Main Street Boxed Set is set to release in June....but first, a cover reveal! On March 27, 2015, we'll be revealing our super-colorful, summer fun-loving cover to the Web world, and we'd love any bloggers (or others who want to share on their social media sites) to join us!
Enticing Journey is hosting our cover reveal, so go ahead and sign up right here if you're interested:
One more cover to share today, for Inferno of Love!
And in other news, I've been thinking about putting together a street team for some of my favorite and devoted readers. What's a street team? It's one more promotional strategy some writers use. Basically, it's a group of readers that supports a writer by reading, posting reviews, and generally talking up that writer by spreading the news about releases and updates. What do the readers get out of it? Well, in addition to getting to read books before the general public, some writers give their street team members prizes, promo items, chances to win gift cards, etc. Plus you as a street team member get to feel like you're "in the know," chummy with the writer and getting to offer your opinion about stories, promo efforts, covers, and more.
I've had the awesome opportunity to get to know many readers over the last few years, and some of them (you) are so loyal and so fun to chat with that I'd love to form a special group just for them (you). Stay tuned for details on joining!
Happy Monday, everyone! I've been busy working with my cover designer (the fabulous Dar at Wicked Smart Designs) on rebranding my Hometown Heroes covers, and here's what she's come up with so far. I really like the overall effect (and of course, I love the "USA Today Bestelling Author" words at the bottom LOL). What do you think?
In other news, Labyrinth of Love (and Entwined, a companion book of poems) will release next month, so keep an eye out for those! And finally, Summer on Main Street, a bundled set of "small town" romances, will have its awesome cover reveal at the end of this month. So we have lots to celebrate and look forward to!
Calling all fellow readers and writers! This summer you can catch up with me in two places, both in July:
On Saturday, July 18, from 9 - 3, I'll be yet again at the Holiday in Homer in upstate New York, a fantastic hometown craft fair (that just happens to take place in my childhood hometown). I'll have copies of my new books, including the Cocktail Cruise series and (fingers crossed) Labyrinth of Love, the third book in the Hometown Heroes series!
And July 22 - 25, I'll be attending the RWA National Conference at the Marriott Hotel in NYC. I've been an RWA member for many years, but I've never gone to the national conference. Since it's so close to home this time, I didn't want to miss it. I'm looking forward to learning lots and meeting in person, for the first time, some of my fellow writers, including my Passionate Kisses sisters!
So there you have it. As I plan any other appearances for 2015, I'll keep you updated. Hope to see you!
In case you didn't see my crazy posts on Facebook or Twitter over the last 36 hours, I'm thrilled to say that I am officially a USA Today Best-Selling author! That's right: Passionate Kisses 2: Love in Bloom hit the list after its release week (if anyone's interested, we sold just around 7,000 US copies in that week). What do I love even more? My novella Setting Sail is featured in two of the reviews on the USA list page. Check it out!
This is a YA novel, and it's about as beautifully written as they come. Eleanor has bright red hair, some extra weight, above-average intelligence, and a home life made up of a beautiful but spineless mother, 4 younger siblings, and an abusive stepfather. Park is part-Korean, loves comics and music, and thinks Eleanor is the biggest misfit he's ever met...until they sit next to each other on the bus and become friends. The book unfolds over the course of a year as 16-year old Eleanor and Park slowly fall in mad, all-consuming first love with each other, amid bullies and parental crises. It's heartbreaking at times, uplifting at others, and has a *perfect ending*. It took me 2 days to read, and only because I put it down a few times because I didn't want to get to the end. This is a must-read for everyone! I'll leave you with some of my favorite lines (there are so many; these are only a few):
"Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive."
"There's only one of him, she thought, and he's right here, He knows I'll like a song before I've heard it. He laughs before I even get to the punchline. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes me want to let him open doors for me."
Well hello there! Happy Monday. Today a very quick talk for writers about how participating in a boxed set can drive your other sales. Most of you know I've been involved in two boxed sets, Passionate Kisses and Passionate Kisses 2, and among the many benefits is the way your book in a set can drive sales of your other titles.
I saw this incrementally with the first set. My story in Passionate Kisses was Beacon of Love. It was ninth of ten books in the set, and sales of Inferno of Love, the book that follows it in the Hometown Heroes series, picked up around 1-2 months after the set released. Inferno continues to sell moderately well, and I attribute that to new readers picking up the set and finding a new story/series to buy.
This time around, the effect has been much faster and more dramatic. My book in Passionate Kisses 2 is Setting Sail, the prequel to my Cocktail Cruise series. It's also fourth of the ten titles in the set. Since last Tuesday, release day, my sales for the full series, the first title in the series, and (interestingly enough) my one free title, have all picked up. What makes me even happier is that the Cocktail Cruise series is $7.99 - not a cheapie purchase by any means, but people are still buying it.
This is why I highly recommend anyone participating in a boxed set to use that set to springboard your own sales. An author friend of mine said it very eloquently on a Facebook group I belong to, so I'll leave you with this thought. Happy writing! "Since we are essentially "giving away" our books in the boxed set, the big payoff comes when new-to-you readers buy your next book. It's really important to have your next book available at the time of our boxed set release, so that when they finish your story - and loved it - and want more - there is more for them to buy. That's how you make your money. That's how you build your readership.That's how you harness the power of a series."
We've been partying all day over at our Facebook party site (stop by before Thursday morning and you could win some great prizes!)
We are currently in the Top 100 at Barnes and Noble and on 3 Top 100 lists at Amazon.
And we are running a Thunderclap campaign this Friday that we'd love you to support. Not sure what Thumderclap is? It's a way to harness the power of social media by agreeing to use your Facebook or Twitter accounts to post one single, focused message at a single time. We'd love your support, and all you have to do is click right here to join.
Happy (early) Valentine's Day! No matter how you might be spending tomorrow, here are some fun facts you might not know about this day...
More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine's Day each year.
On average, men shell out $130 each on candy, cards, jewelry, flowers and dates. That’s more than double what women commit to spending.
About 8 billion candy hearts will be produced this year; that’s enough candy to stretch from Rome, Italy to Valentine, Arizona 20 times and back again.
About 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged in US each year. That's the largest seasonal card-sending occasion of the year, next to Christmas.
Worldwide, over 50 million roses are given for Valentine's Day each year.
Women purchase 85% of all valentines.
In order of popularity, Valentine's Day cards are given to teachers, children, mothers, wives, sweethearts and pets.
73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.
Men buy most of the millions of boxes of candy and bouquets of flowers given on Valentine's Day.
In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.
The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine's Day.
Richard Cadbury invented the first Valentines Day candy box in the late 1800s.
Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent on the telephone, an "Improvement in Telegraphy", on Valentine's Day, 1876.
The oldest surviving love poem till date is written in a clay tablet from the times of the Sumerians around 3500 BC.
Well, here we are at another Wednesday. Happy Hump Day, everyone! I have a project I've been working on, in the very newest stages, but I'll share with you some of the news today: it looks like I will be part of another boxed set, releasing this summer! This time all the stories will be set in small towns -- because there's just so much delicious conflict and characterization that can happen there, right? We're tentatively titling it Summer on Main Street, and we hope you'll look forward to spending part of YOUR summer getting to know each of our small towns.
I'm happy to say that the following authors will be part of this set as well. Please check them out, follow them on Facebook, sign up for their newsletters...you know, all the usual stuff so you get the earliest peeks at when this set is releasing!
Happy Monday, everyone! Well, as the white stuff is coming down outside, I have two mentionables to warm your day. First, in honor of Passionate Kisses 2 releasing next week, we're holding a day-long Facebook party, with lots of sneak peeks, excerpts, yummy pictures, and of course GIVEAWAYS! Join us by clicking below:
And....speaking of giveaways, A Girl and Her Kindle is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader AND a year's subscription to Kindle Unlimited (all the books you can read for a year!). Want to enter? Just click below to see all the ways you can win chances. And stay warm!