Monday, 17 March 2014

We're getting HOT again

Don't be too shocked if you see this new post on HotDownUnder. We know it's been a while. And although we've been very quiet of late, we've all been busy behind the scenes. And we're going to get hot again...soon!

It's scary how fast things change. Since we've been here last, lots of people have had new books, some have been nominated for awards, others have won awards, some made best seller lists, and we've all been penning words (or typing them!).

Here's some of the things we've been doing and if you're interested in any of the books, if you click on the person's name, you should get more information through their personal website.

Beverley Oakley - released 2 books Her Gilded Prison and Dangerous Gentlemen

CT Green - released 2 volumes of the SERA files books, which are paranormal romance.

Cate Ellink - released The Virginity Mission

Kasey Channing - working hard

Keziah Hill - working hard and organising a conference

Kylie Scott - went from the apocalypse with Flesh and Skin, via the stars with The Colonist's Wife, to rock star status with Lick and we await Play.
Lexxie Couper - fitness fanatic and still producing masses of books, available now are A Single Knight and Lead Me On.

Marianne Theresa - working hard and travelling

Mel Teshco - Abducting The Princess is the latest paranormal erotic romance, and Mel has branched into a story a little inspirational, Believe.

Rhian Cahill - Catch 'n' Kiss is hot off the e-press, and Sand, Surf and Sunnie is out in print.

Rhyll Biest - some Russian swingers appear in Risk, and there's a Paranormal Erotica story too.

SE Gilchrist - Star Pirate's Justice, Storm of Fire, Dance in the Outback, Awakening the Warriors, The Portal, Bound By Lies, Legend Beyond the Stars and Bound by Love.

Shona Husk - Lunar Reunion, Temptation in a Bottle, Lord of The Hunt, Outcast Prince, Ruby's Ghost, Lunar Exposure, Dark Secrets... makes me exhausted!

Tracey O'Hara - working on new stories, and teaching some erotic writing workshops.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Confessions of an Erotic Romance Writer

smiley embarrassed
I don’t tell many people what I write. It makes some people squirm. Others react negatively (often vocally with abuse that I think is uncalled for and unwarranted). But yesterday I had the best reaction from people.

My aunt knows about my writing. I was visiting her. She asked about it, in front of a cousin who didn’t know. I had to confess that not everyone knew my habit. My cousin was shocked but laughed (in an embarrassed, OMG way). My aunt asked why I’d told her. It’s because she’s always been forthright, open in what she discusses and thinks. I’ve always admired this openness about her (openness and humour, a great mix). She was pleased.

My aunt had been in a job for years where everyone was around the same age. Then she had to change jobs. She was now one of the “oldies”. She said it shocked her that the younger girls would be talking about something and giggling, then when she came in, all went quiet. If she made flippant/sex-related remarks, they all tittered like she said something wrong. She realised she’d become “a grandma” and they didn’t think she should know these things. I didn’t know about this until yesterday. At about this time, I told her about my writing, she said it made her feel good that I didn’t think her staid and old-fashioned.

During the conversation that ensued, my cousin’s hubby supplied the name of a film-star my aunt couldn’t remember… for films not from Hollywood usually with a rating of at least one X. My cousin nearly fell off the chair. More of that OMG laughter, blushing, hands across mouth. But when no one else was horrified, the conversation continued as if there was no embarrassment. We conversed about sex in a normal manner – no personal conversations, just films and books.

It was refreshing. Refreshing to be with open-minded people in the majority, who carried on a conversation without having to squirm, abuse, or die of shame. It was amazing to have such a reaction, to feel unashamed, to discuss openly.

It made me wonder if I’d cheated others of such a discussion. Have I invented “grandmas” who would be open to my writing but I’ve kept it away from them, making them feel old and left out?

I know I haven’t told my Book Group. Some of them would be very supportive. Maybe I should be a big girl and own up to my writing. What’s a little more abuse or embarrassment anyway!?

Monday, 25 February 2013

Promoting & Marketing the Hot Way

I’m talking craft & going to touch on those scary words – promotion & marketing. As a very newby writer in the publishing world, those two words have the power to make me crawl inside a cupboard & lock the door. And put a blanket over my head. But even with a publishing house behind you, in this day & age with budget cuts & heavy competition in the written world, every writer is expected to do a certain amount of promotion and / or marketing of both themselves & their work.

So I’m going to cheat a little here by cross posting this blog onto both the Hunter Romance Writers' blog (of which I am a member) & my website as well with the hope of garnering more input / comments on this important subject to increase all of our knowledge. I’ll yak a little about my so far, brief, experience with this subject & what I’ve learnt to date then leave the field open to anyone who would care to comment on their experiences too.

Prior to about August or September last year, I’ve been blogging a bit here & there on my website with no real structure or plan apart from the vague idea I was putting my name out in the cyber world. I’d comment on random articles that caught my attention in the press (usually space or tech stuff) or ramble on about the craft aspects of writing. But when I held my first publishing contact in my shaky hands, I realised I had to take this aspect of my writing seriously; that writing is a business.

Since then I’ve gradually increased the number of my posts both on my site, on guest sites & on group author sites. I’ve increased my presence on facebook & twitter; I’ve been working diligently on increasing my followers / friends, hoping that this will put ‘my brand’ in the public eye. I’ve probably annoyed the hell out of people who know me in the real world. I have no idea what works & what doesn’t work but one thing I learnt (the hard way I might add) is that by putting all my energy into social networking, my writing time  has suffered.

Here is what I’ve learnt so far (ok, I’m assuming that you have a reasonably professional-looking website, have decided on your brand & have some basic computer knowledge):

1.      Time – write first, promote / market second. Something I’m now doing after taking a hard long look at the date & my goals for the year & realising how far behind I am!
2.      Be courteous, promote not just yourself & your current story but other writers too. Blog posts are a great tool here. Request guest posts on other writers’ sites (& don’t limit yourself to writers in the same genre, branch out, you never know where you might find new readers), return the favour & host guest blogs on your site – best on a regular basis, even if its one guest author every two months for example. Try to make it quirky or interesting by not just being a sales pitch; give something back to the reader & engage them.
Having guests blogging on my site is still on my list of things to organise - J.
3.      Participate in blog hops. There are free ones out there as well as ones you need to fork out those hard earned dollars on. They can be time consuming but if you chose the timing to coincide with a new release it could be worth the effort.
4.      Promote your release day with a special celebration, offer giveaways, think of fun ways for readers to engage with you on your site to get them interested in you & your stories.
5.      Set up & keep up to date the following: Author page on Amazon, Goodreads, Romance Reviews, The Romance Studio, Savvy Authors, The Romance Novel Centre, Author’s Den & if you’re a member of writing organisations such as the RWA, NZRW, Savvy Authors, RWAmerica etc.
Out of that list, I have six that are up to date & five still to do. (Eeek.)
6.      If you are writing a series, you could set up a fan page on facebook for the series.
7.      A lot of authors are now doing their own newsletters. (Muttering to self, here now)
8.      Don’t promote / market yourself ALL the time when on social media. Share something of your life without giving food to any would be stalker. I’m interested in animal welfare, the environment, anything to do with astronomy & new tech stuff, so I like to share any snippets or articles I find, usually via twitter.
9.      Don’t do everything or your brain will implode. No seriously, none of us are Super Jane & we don’t have twenty clones of ourselves sitting by to be programmed into effecting multiple tasks. If you are time poor like me (ie have other claims on your time) why not pick one or two promo / marketing tools & focus your energies there?

As you can see, this is not a long list. My experience is limited & I’m still learning. But if I have twenty hours of time to put towards my writing business each week, then out of those twenty hours my social media / marketing time should be ONE HOUR. So the one biggie for me is TURN OFF THE INTERNET!!!!! & WRITE.

As writers, what works for you & do you enjoy this aspect of the writing business? As readers, what irks you most when you read writer’s blog posts?

Of course, reading is CRITICAL so why not check out the Hot Down Under stories for some creative ‘research’.

Thanks for dropping by & I hope you’ll leave a comment should you have the time.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Valentine's Day HDU Style

Looking for an e-book to top up the Valentine’s Day presents? Let me give you a hand.

First Tip: If you don’t have a book in your Valentine’s Day gifts… you’re really not doing it right!

More Tips:
If you’re giving a gift to a fun friend, try Rhyll Biest’s A Sporting Chance. It’s a cracker story, loads of fun, and you could get some lovin’ on the side.

If you’ve got a long distance love, try Cate Ellink’s A Real Online Fantasy. You too could try online sex, or a face-to-face meet.

If you’re looking for your man to submit, or your woman to dominate, go for Lexxie Couper’s Powerplay. Maybe ditch the visitor though :)

If you’re into camping and the outdoors, go for CT Green’s Dream Lover. Who knows what could happen when the sun sets.

Got a future-looking friend, then you can’t go without the two futuristic tales - Kylie Scott’s Room With A View, and SE Gilchrist’s Paying The Forfeit.

Trying to get a message through to your loved one? Then go with the not-so-subtle, Shut Up and Kiss Me by Rhian Cahill.

Got a best friend you want to turn into someone more serious? You can’t beat Marianne Theresa’s Hidden Passions, Mel Teshco’s Beneath The Light Of A Silver Moon, and Shona Husk’s Midsummer’s Eve.

Want three wishes? Try Tracey O’Hara’s The Final Wish.

Need forgiveness? Beverley Oakley’s Saving Grace, is all about truth, forgiveness and love.

Want a third person in your tryst? For an extra female see how you go with Keziah Hill’s Business With Pleasure. For an extra male, Kasey Channing’s Shelter From The Storm.

See… we have you covered for Valentine’s Day too!

Get these and more reading matter from Momentum.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Gifts to avoid this Valentine's Day

I will garrote you with these, yes I will…
February is traditionally the month for promoting really crappy Valentine’s Day gift ideas. Here are some of the worst offenders I found online.

Love apron. If anyone were stupid enough to buy me a cooking apron that read  “Love: It’s what for dinner” I would have to garrote them with the apron ties. In fact, any apron gift would be used that way regardless of what it said. Ditto goes for tacky lingerie.

Jerky. That’s right, there’s a company that believes you should express your love with a subscription for beef jerky. Confused as a goat on astro turf? So am I. If anyone made me a gift of jerky, I would assume it was because one of us was a bit of a jerky.

Microbrew Beer Bucket Gift Basket. Admittedly, this is not a bad gift idea for someone who really likes beer. What disturbs me is the galvanized bucket included. Perhaps it’s just me, but gifts that say ‘and here’s something to vomit into later’ just aren’t very classy.

Custom Engraved Dog Tag Set. Okay, someone’s crack pipe was running hot when they came up with this concept. I’m not sure what this gift could mean other than ‘I love you so much I dream you’ll join the military and get posted to a far away war zone’. Ouch.

A monogrammed set of four ticking striped handkerchiefs. Don’t worry if you just said ‘what the f*ck?’ because that was my response, too. Apparently this gift is for ‘emotional moments or dabbing eye make-up’. I guess you could give it to a girlfriend as well.

Plush teddy bears are not a bad option. They are highly flammable and make a satisfying bonfire during break-ups.

However, the safest bet gift-wise is buying erotic romance fiction. Buy several books to be sure they like at least one or two. You can't go wrong with any of the Hot Down Under books for sale on Amazon. Trust me, I'm an erotic romance writer...