Descriptions for heat levels in book list

------holding hands, perhaps a gentle kiss
♥♥ ---- more kisses but no tongue-- no foreplay
♥♥♥ ---kissing, tongue, caressing, foreplay & pillow talk
♥♥♥♥ --all of above, full sexual experience including climax
♥♥♥♥♥ -all of above including coarser language and sex more frequent

Friday, June 29, 2012

Luck of the Draw is the 10th

Well my tenth contemporary romance is up and now I am asking myself what the heck will I do with myself? On top of that I actually have created ten trailers one (sometimes more than one) for each book. Warning: making trailers proves to be addictive if you are an addictive type person.

Besides what I wrote before about this book, the basic plot, and the trailer, I wanted to add a bit about its history. Last year when I decided to do eBooks, I knew I'd be editing nine contemporary novels to eventually put onto Kindle. What I wasn't sure about was the tenth. It was still on paper and worse, the last few pages had been lost somewhere over the years. This was the only book I had never put onto a computer. I had to decide if it was worth doing.

Luck of the Draw began with a different title-- Eight Seconds to Ride. I actually began it way before Lane Frost was killed which led to a book and movie by that title and hence ended my opportunity to use it.

When I started writing it, I wasn't much older than the heroine, Sara. I got interested in the idea of a romance between a man coming through town with no intention of staying and a woman who was following a very traditional path for life, working in her father's store, oil painting but more dabbling than seriously, and probably drifting toward marrying someone and who would give her a life much as she had had.  What would happen if these two met? And what if the story all took place in one week?

So to start, I had to do a lot of research on rodeo. I learned how the events worked. Although I had seen rodeos, I hadn't gotten behind the scenes to understand the rules and all. I read books, then began writing and had a pretty good story, I thought.

Back then, Parapluie remembered she had done some drawings for me as possible covers. Another friend of mine read the story and especially liked the secondary couple who are an important part of the story. I put it in a box and never got around to even submitting it to a publishing house.

When I looked at the text, I had to decide whether I should update the story to today. That was an issue with a lot of my books that weren't historical. Until I began this project, I hadn't thought how much we have changed as a people with things like cell phones and computers.

And in the case of rodeo, the death of Lane Frost led to more use of safety vests, even helmets. So I decided rather than re-research this book, I'd set it back close to when it had been written (give or take ten years) 1974 which meant I didn't have to make it fit today. It allowed me to insert the politically main issue of the time--Vietnam, and basically I felt that gave it a good feel being set back then-- plus it allowed for an epilogue that brought it up to today and how it all worked out.

When I began rewriting the story, it was a pleasure as I am a lot better writer today than I was in those days. Tip: it would not have been published even if I had sent it in back then. I have no idea how popular rodeo stories are today, but I like this one and feel these characters were worth bringing them onto my hard drive and into a full partnership with the other manuscripts.

It's available on Amazon  for online or Kindle at $2.99-- Luck of the Draw

     Trailer on Picasa at Luck of the Draw

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Luck of the Draw

is about one week at Oregon's Pendleton Roundup in 1974. A man and woman meet at a time not convenient for either of them. It's about the kind of love that takes the person by storm and carries them in directions they never imagined. It's about the world of rodeo in the days before champion bull rider Lane Frost was killed in 1989. It was a time rodeo was going through a transition from the wild and woolly days to one of more professional athletes.

When bronc and bull rider, Billy Stempleton meets Sara Connors, it impacts both their lives. Billy knows what he wants from his life and rodeo. He has a plan and it does not include finding the woman of his dreams just yet.

Despite knowing it's pure foolishness, he pursues Sara, a woman who would've been everything he'd have wanted in ten years but could mean nothing but trouble to his plans when he's just working his way up the rankings. He tells her up front he'll only be there a week.

Twenty-one year old Sara has the opposite problem from Billy. She has no idea what she wants and has been taking the path of least resistance right up until she let this cowboy into her heart. Sara wants security in life. The danger in his life both draws and repels her. There is nothing secure about falling in love with a rodeo cowboy, but at the same time he inspires her to figure out her own dream, to take risks with the things she might want, and not let her goals be defined by anybody else-- not even him.

The world of rodeo is fast moving, dangerous. The people she meets, the experiences she goes through in that one week, challenge Sara to reach into herself for strengths she never knew she had while Billy has to make some decisions regarding his own direction.

While they both know logic says this week can't change their lives, that's easier said than done. Whether it leads to something more permanent or is only for the week, it won't leave either of them the same when the week ends.

Luck of the Draw comes out this week for Kindle. When I have the date, I'll post it here and a bit more about it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Moon Dust-- two free days

Awhile back I experimented with doing no eBook free days. The problem was sales also dropped off. The whole barrier for any indie writer to overcome is even being seen. People cannot buy your book if they don't see it's for sale. The more places you can get a book seen, the more chance you will sell a few. For that and another reason, I am doing two free days (June 25-26, 2012) for Moon Dust.

It is a powerful love story of a broken relationship, but it's something else-- information about the repercussions on adult males from childhood sexual abuse. I know it's an unpleasant topic but when you write, part of why is to give people a good read but also some information. This one came to me probably fifteen or more years ago because of some things I had seen in my own community.

Many do not understand the problem when it's boys who have been molested. Some even think-- wow hot teacher, what is to complain? Or so what if it was a coach, the kid got something out of it. We saw some of this argument with the Sandusky accusations and now guilty verdict. The boys didn't run away. They didn't tell. They didn't tell as adults. It was all very suspect to some people.

If people more understood that sexual abuse of a child is a crime of control, of taking away another person's power, they'd get what it does and why at the time and even later as an adult the person can have a hard time getting past what happened. There are many emotional ramifications of such abuse.

The story Moon Dust is about a marriage breaking up over that kind of secret. It is also about our educational system and all the conflicts being put upon it right now. It's about how we make a difference in another person's life-- and when we cannot.

Because it is a deep book as well as a romance, it's not had an easy time finding readers. It would probably do better in a straight literary category as such readers might be more open to such a tough topic. I felt though it also belonged in a romance because in the end it is about relationship-- and that is what all romances are about.

I have written two books that dealt with the adult ramifications of abuse. The other has not yet been published as it's a historical and I am not sure I will put it out as an eBook. I'm still thinking. In that one it was physical abuse. In both cases the abuser was in the family and that is the most common source of abuse for boys or girls. Sad isn't it!

So I hope it gets some takers with its free days. I hope that some who read it will learn more about the topic of abuse in a positive sense as we are only victims when we can't change something. Knowledge is power. Abuse is widespread in our culture. It doesn't just happen to girls.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The energy of the trailer

My learning curve is still evolving where it comes to eBook trailers. With some free time after finishing editing the last of my ten contemporary romances, I have become more involved in the meaning and doing of trailers.

From the get go, eBook trailers were a fascination to me for obvious reasons. Anybody who has been heavily into painting, photography and sculptures is going to find trailers a natural extension-- not only to view other people's but to create their own.  I loved all the imagery I could potentially find to depict parts of a story. It has been more like playing than work.

The problem is trailers need to also be thought of as marketing tools. It's fine to play with them, and I still enjoy creating the longer ones as kind of a love song to my stories; but they are an advertisement-- pure and simple. They are for the reader with the intention of letting them know what your book is about. It's great when people enjoy them as purely an art but their basic purpose (and there are many kinds of trailers beyond movie and book) is to sell or promote something.

A trailer is about images but more than that it is about energy. The first task then for the creator of a trailer (which often is a paid professional) is to find the energy of what the trailer is to promote. The creator has to know that or their trailer will fall flat.

I didn't fully understand this when I began creating them.  I have come to believe it's not so much about what happens in the story, not even the main points, but what will the reader feel and with what will they be left when they read the last word? A trailer has the goal of answering that question.

So in creating trailers for the last contemporary which is not yet out (but will be by the end of June), I got back into recreating them for the eBooks already out where their trailers were too long or missed the mark.

Here's the shorter, more snappy version for my Kindle eBook-- Moon Dust.

For those who hate YouTube (something that is beyond my understanding as to why that would be), I also put the trailer on Picasa at Moon Dust

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Branding extended

When I began hearing that I had to have a brand and it is what would sell my books, I wrote some about it here. I had my doubts about the idea as I wasn't that convinced an individual, indie writer would find it that easy to create a brand for themselves.

Now I do know that I have a type of book I write. Even when they are historical, they have certain elements in common. That part sounds like a brand would fit. But I thought about it and realized successful brands of the past were broader than one writer or one company even.

So yeah Wranglers have a brand but they are also part of being jeans. The larger brand is a factor in selling the more tightly defined brand.

In romance writing, the most successful brand out there has been that of publishing companies. First Mills and Boon which was English and published romance novels in paperback, at reasonable prices. That led to Harlequin which was popular enough at one time (not sure about now) that people would subscribe to them and get four of their titles each month. This came no matter who the authors were. Silhouette did the same thing.

Those brands got more defined into like Silhouette Intimate Moments or Harlequin Superromance, etc. etc. Within the refined brand was more details that the reader could expect as to length, sexuality, violence, paranormal, etc.  Harlequin eventually purchased Silhouette or merged it or always owned it as I'm fuzzy on details but when I went looking for Silhouette the other day, only one 'brand' was left (I think).

So in this sense, branding helps a reader find the type of book they generally prefer. It now goes over into eBooks and a lot of the best selling romance books are still done by the big publishing houses based on their brand (which is why some of those big publishing houses-- like Harlequin--offer scant eBook royalties to their stable of writers. They know the important name is theirs, not the writer's.

Now how does an indie writer form that kind of brand? I think it takes a group of them, and I have seen some in the western romance field starting this. I have no idea how successfully. But the answer to a brand for a romance writer (or really any other genre) seems to me to be a well-organized group where when a reader sees that brand, they will know what they can expect. Short of a publishing house, can that be done? And if you use a publishing house mentality, pretty soon there is a rigid set of rules where some get excluded based on not fitting in. That puts us back where we have been before eBooks. Good the business end of writing, not so much the creative end.

It's not like I know the answer to this but it's one more aspect of this concept of a brand and how it might be used. I understood some of it when I began the blog-- Romance with an Edge. I thought then that maybe it would draw in other romance writers who also wrote with an edge as I do. Didn't happen. Which led to a blog easier for people to find if they know my name-- Rain Trueax. Which has me still scratching my head for what really works to both encourage writers-- and sell books.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Managing a Kindle

First a confession of sorts. I operate with folders on my hard drive. Although I do have loose bookmarks, mostly I create folders of topics and within that find the sites I want to return and visit. When I do have a loose link, it's generally because I am not yet sure I want to keep it.

Now why I do this, I am not sure but maybe it's a tidiness gene. Maybe it's to play around when I am between ideas to write. But it has carried over to my Kindle.

When I got the Kindle, I just began acquiring books. Their numbers quickly became unwieldy, and so I found where I can create folders there. The unfortunate part of technology is it never stays static; so I cannot actually tell everybody with a Kindle how to create those folders. I can just say think of your Kindle as a library (which it is). Your books will mean more to you and be more easily accessible if you have them in their own corridors.

I have currently 6 such corridors-- romances, classics, chick lit, nonfiction, writing, and my books. I might someday break out historic from nonfiction as right now I seem to have mostly historic books in there, but cookbooks are coming up in the stretch.

Folders make it easy to check what I have when I am in the mood to read or remember I got something I needed but where was it? A lot of these books I have gotten for free by regularly checking lists of 100 top free books updated each day, as well as other sites that offer lists of freebies.

To make your Kindle more manageable, the folders are handy but something else is also needed-- learning to delete unwanted books. If you don't, the good stuff will be buried in the less good. If an author, as I just did with Bannister's Way wants to update a book, offers it free, and you want the newer version, you also need to be able to delete the old one-- most especially if the new one is offered free as it should be in that situation.

It doesn't matter in which order you do this, but I'll start with the easiest as you will want to delete it two places.

From Amazon-- Managing your Kindle
Amazon has a list of all the books you ever purchased for your device. It will enable you to add them if you purchase a new Kindle. If you want to ever get a newer version of the book or you know you hate it, this is the place to go to delete the eBook you do have.

If you don't have a business folder (naturally I do), type in Type Kindle eBooks in the search line. It will take you to books to buy but alongside there is a link called Kindle eBooks. When you get to that page, at the top in small print, there is a list of functions. Look down it and find Manage Your Kindle. Here you might have to sign in again. but do it.

There they are, every book you ever bought and at the end of the line with the book info is a box to click [actions] with options including delete this book. They warn you that you will have to repurchase it if you delete it; but if you want it gone, you don't want to repurchase. You just have to hope you can remember its title to not make the mistake of getting it twice and hating it.

Deleting from a device Part I
For me, with mine having a small keyboard at the bottom of the device and little buttons, it's pretty easy. Turn it on with a sliding key at the bottom. I would also do it with the wireless off (I do that from the menu button), touch the button labeled home, then find the title I want.

To get specific, let's say I wanted to delete a recent freebie, Backpack Gourmet by Linda Frederick (I don't), I would bring my pointer down to it using the arrows (they are alongside the button that you click to do things and there are 4 tiny directional arrows). When I am on the book, I click the arrow pointing right which takes me to another page where I could add it to a collection (thinking of a cooking one) or by looking down that list, I see-- Remove from Device. If I went down there, I'd be able to take it off my own Kindle quite easily.

For me removal is two stages. I can take it off my device and leave it on my Amazon list-- or take it off both. When I wanted the free, new version of Bannister's Way, I had to delete it both places to then get the new one.

I am not sure how this works with Farm Boss's Kindle touch screen; so he is finding out and will write the next instructions.

Deleting from a device Part II
For those with a touch screen device; go to the home page using the four bars at the bottom of the device. Find the title you want to delete and touch it, hold it until a menu appears. Select the option-- move to archive. From now go to your online [manage your kindle] and follow above instructions for the steps.

Monday, June 18, 2012

free today-- Bannister's Way

Don't forget-- free today Bannister's Way with a new title (used to be Golden Chains), new cover, and expanded length to 100,400 words. If you haven't tried contemporary romances, this is a good time! If you had the old version, want the new one, instructions on how to remove old one are in an earlier blog here. I really like the energy of this story better now. Those additional scenes added a lot to my own enjoyment in writing it. Maybe all books should be 100,000 words ;) Oh, it is spicy but it was before too....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Free Day for Bannister's Way

Free on Amazon Kindle on June 18-19, 2012-- Bannister's Way.  

which usually means by 1am PDT, tomorrow morning. Always  check before clicking [buy] to be sure there is a line through the book's regular price which in this case will be $4.99. Prime can confuse buyers. Amazon is usually pretty good about putting books on free when they are scheduled but better safe than sorry.

Read more about the story in the blog ahead of this one. This book was previously published as Golden Chains and now has new title, new cover, and an expansion of the book's length. If you haven't previously bought it, give it a try. If you have, the instructions for how to handle that are in that previous blog.

Remember for those without Kindles, you can read eBooks online. Below the [buy] button there is an explanation for how to get a free Kindle Reading App.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Recreating a creation

Well, we did it. It was a brand new learning experience regarding publishing eBooks. We took a book whose title wasn't working for readers, came up with a new title, a new cover, and then I looked at the story and realized I wanted to expand a few key characters which would take the book up to 100,000 words and give it a different sort of energy.

I asked my publisher (who happens to be my husband) what he thought the energy of the book is using one word. He had not read it previously; so he couldn't compare it to that, but he liked it a lot now. He said the one word that came to him was empowerment.

The story is set in Oregon and revolves around a small art community in a liberal arts college where a brutal murder had taken place a few months previously. It starts when Raven Lawrence and David Bannister meet for the first time after their divorce twelve years earlier. They were childhood sweethearts who were married two years before their differences became too great and after a bitter fight, he left.

Bannister is part of a shadowy investigative organization and has come with his partner to Oregon to find the murderer. He is also hoping to reconnect with his ex. He is not planning on posing nude for her life drawing class. David and Raven both have a lot to learn this time around.

What I think makes the story empowering is how it explores relationships between the estranged couple, between sisters (in this case of women in two different age groups), between parent and adult child, between friends, and even between student and teacher as well as those who work together and try to maintain a collegial environment. Maybe if using two words for this book's energy, they would be empowering relationships.

The new title came to me as I thought about how the hero was a determined man, the kind who did things his way. It was, however, the very thing that the heroine found objectionable.  With some adventure, spice and fun, I liked how the expansion changed its emphasis in a positive way.

Because it had been for sale previously and because it had been free, with others having the old version, I am going to set a time for two free days. I have to enroll it in Select first and then will let readers here know the dates for the free version. I am not sure but it's also possible owners don't even need a free day as I think when a writer puts up a new version of the same book, the readers are able to request it from Amazon. This free day would be simpler though.

To keep your Kindle uncluttered, previous readers can clear out the old version by going to Golden Chains then to the 'go to' page, looking down the list and hitting remove book from device. To also remove it from your online Kindle storage, go to manage Kindle and you will find all the books you have bought. Find it, say to delete it and it will leave it free for the free one to come on board. I am not sure what would happen if you left it as this new one has the same number; but it might work anyway. I don't lose my reviews for Golden Chains or its ranking (lowly though it was). For now, the author page still has the old cover but it will change and if you click inside for the sample, the new cover shows up.

I am happy with the story, the characters, and as part of recreating it, I wanted it to have its own trailer on YouTube:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gathering material

Although I try to keep myself upbeat regarding this business of publishing, there are those down times and it'd be ignoring reality to not sometimes write about them. As a writer, any writer, you put a lot of yourself into each manuscript. There are not only hours, but your own set of beliefs and values. When that work is rejected, there is no way to feel anything but depressed. What you try to do is pick yourself up and concentrate on other things for awhile.

Because I haven't put dollars into this business of marketing books, I have some comfort that at least I haven't pulled money from one need to feed another. But emotional blood, sweat, and tears, there's been plenty of that. And there have been dollars involved even if indirectly.

For instance this week-end, I finally thought I had the right weather to get a photo of a home that would fit one my heroine owned in the book I am redoing. I had put together most of a trailer for it but wanted her home, as it's an important part of the story and figures prominently in several key scenes.

Getting that photo required driving around 80 miles to the Portland area. The photo (yes, I found one) didn't come for free given gasoline prices-- but we often like to go for drives. This was an area Farm Boss had been a lot as a young person; so it was kind of fun on that level.

This drive was also a step back in time for me. The house I had written about was based on one an uncle had rented between having sold one home and having a better home built. His mother, three kids, and he (he was a widower) spent a summer at that house on the banks of the Tualatin River. I loved when I came to spend a few nights. You could swim off a dock that was right below the house. The home was kind of sprawling, old and not in great shape, but I had had my heroine buy it that way and do the remodeling before the book begins.

Although I didn't get the photo of that house (it has since been nicely remodeled and was not accessible from the public road), we did find a very nice, public trail and park that they have put along the Tualatin. We walked about half a mile down it and got some photos through the brush of homes on the other side. One of which will work nicely for what I needed. I'd hate to try and figure out what that one photo cost though-- so I won't.

The two photos above are not the house. The second one was on the lane leading to the house I once stayed in.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Republishing a book

As is obvious here, I have been ignoring blogs in favor of other projects and some real life issues. I am writing though, staying active in my mind even if words don't make it to the blog world.

One thing I think I have learned is that I can republish Golden Chains with a new title and not have to lose reviews or its history. Its Kindle number is what determines that and unless I deleted the book, it would remain. I will have to mention the prior title in the product description to be fair to previous readers and not have people mad at me.

A far better title came to me and with it a new cover. I created a trailer which I think is going to mostly stay as it is with a possible tweak of a photo or so. It will go up when the book does.

It has pulled me away from working on the rodeo story, but I want this one to be recreated in a way that is truer to what it is. That is one of the problems a writer has-- promoting a book in a way that reflects its energy accurately. It sounds easier than it is even when the writer is the one most familiar with the book.

When I decided to do a new cover and title, I also decided to expand the book's length and change some of the emphasis within it. I think it'll make a better story-- although this is more like adding highlights and accents than changing the basic plot.

Now in doing all of this, I will also do something I had said I wouldn't do again-- offer it free when it goes up. I feel that's only fair to previous purchasers (few though there were).

So when I get it done and republished, within a few days it'll get two free days, and I will definitely be mentioning that here. So far I feel good about it and the trailer that will go up at the same time. The editing is ongoing...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Blogs that help

Besides blogs out there, like mine, which are by writers helping writers both be seen and providing information on writing, there are others by those who don't write but are concerned with promoting books. Some are primarily aimed at promoting independent writers because they believe in this brave new world.  Laurie is of that ilk and not an author (yet-- those things can change fast sometimes), but she really gives indie writers a chance and does it for the love of reading.

I really appreciate the feature she put together for my latest book, Sky Daughter. If you have time, head on over and take a look. Bookmark her blog for future reference as she does both paranormal and non-paranormal books on two different blogs where she provides a mix of reviews, interviews and information.   

Naturally as a writer, where the hardest part after writing is getting a book even seen, I feel much appreciation to her.  She put a lot of work in making this blog look good with so much information. She definitely has a marketing gift.

But as a reader, I think she is also providing a real service to help people like me find out more about the books and writers before I buy. This kind of thing can also educate future writers about different aspects of writing. Thanks again, Laurie.

Friday, June 1, 2012

profanity and fiction

There are a lot of choices a writer must make-- well anybody putting together a creative project. How much do you reveal of what is there? Where do you sugarcoat something to make the reader comfortable? When do you lose authenticity if you do that? Profanity is one of those issues.

Mostly in my stories, I stick to minor cursing for my lead characters.  Once in awhile I put in a -- he cursed graphically or used words she'd never heard that way. But in general I feel it's not necessary to put in the cruder curses. On the other hand, it is definitely ignoring how a lot of people do talk routinely.

Although I rarely curse myself, it's not because I don't know the words. I grew up with a father who had quite a vocabulary. He stopped that language when my babies were born. I am not sure when my husband's father had quit but he evidently also had a pretty wide ranging vocabulary which at a certain point he stopped as I don't remember ever hearing him curse.

Years ago we lived next door to a very nice couple, both doctors, and that lady had come from Brooklyn (which might or might not relate). The swear words she could use and did were unbelievable, and they spewed out no matter who was around as part of her routine conversation. I kind of cringed a bit as I had small children then, but they already were learning words in school that I didn't learn until I was in college.

It was around 1962 when my family was spending an overnight with an aunt where I would be sharing her bed. I had had a date that night; and when I got home, she and I talked awhile lying in bed. I asked her the meaning of a word I'd heard for the first time. Fortunately she knew it.

I had to explain the meaning of the same word to my daughter when she was in the second grade which was likely around 1973. The world had changed a lot in not many years. I lay some of that to videos where movies came into people's homes with language that at one time would have been censored before it hit the small screen.

Personally I am not offended by swear words from others with only a very few exceptions. There are many that used to seem totally unacceptable in polite society but now are heard frequently and from the mouths of very nice people. Some really do express certain situations better than any other words.

Where I don't like to hear them is when someone is angry. It offends me more than I can say if I am having an argument with someone-- which pretty well means my husband as he's about the only one I argue with-- and he uses a coarse phrase. Even more than that I would leave an area immediately if I heard someone using profanity when they were in a rage. Perhaps it goes back to my own childhood because it scares me.

Swearing as part of a routine conversation-- no problem. 
Swearing when infuriated-- I'm outta there.

So that's life and how I handle it. In the books though it's often something I have to consider. It's not even just crude words but also those that the religious take offense at hearing. It's nigh unto impossible to write a man's conversation without some of that unless he is a religious person.

So when writing dialogue, I always ask-- should I write it as they would say it-- or as the reader would rather read them saying it? It's a question I ask with each book. Now some characters will never swear as it's not part of their persona. Some wouldn't use a truly crude word. Others though, they do and it's part of who they are. To write their dialogue without it simply gives up part of what makes them who they are (the assumption being that means uneducated or quick to take offense-- but my very educated and not quick to anger neighbor proves that's not always the case).

One absolute for me-- more accurate or not-- I will not use a word that demeans another race or class of people even though I grew up hearing those words too. I just feel they should be forgotten-- not that they will be.

This issue has me thinking about it again as I am editing a story of the rodeo set in 1974 which I plan to put out as an eBook in June. When I originally wrote the story, I sugarcoated the language. Now though it seems as though I'd be leaving out an important part of the atmosphere and energy to do that. By its very nature, this should be a grittier story than some of my others. Earthy language seems not only appropriate but part of the books' truth. The language when a group of men are talking together should be what it would be. Language also differentiates these characters from those who are gross and those who are of a more gentle nature.