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Welcome to the blog today, Melody Johnson! She’s here today to give us some writing tips!

Tips and Tricks to Fool Your Brain into Writing

Writing is a rough gig. It’s a solitary activity, so either you wake up at ungodly hours before the sun and your loved ones rise for the day, like me, or you give up part of your day to spend quality time with a blinking cursor and a blank page, both of which SEEMS less important when your husband is itching to go on an adventure and the sun is shining and the day is beckoning and staying inside the perfect little writing cave you’ve created feels akin to death.

Then why do we write, you ask? Because it IS important. Most writers, myself included, have stories and characters and unexpressed emotions tumbling inside their brains whether we write them down or not, but we’re compelled to put fingers to keyboards and solidify those stories. It’s an expression of self, an exploration of humanity and the ties that bind us, and God help us, we can’t stop.

Even when the last thing I want to do is write—even over laundry, washing dishes and scrubbing the bathroom tile mold—I need to find that perfect word to describe her regret. I need to solidify that first kiss I’ve been envisioning for months, and I need to flesh out a fresh, unique way for a damaged man to learn to trust again. That need fills me with drive, and after almost ten years of being in the driver’s seat of my writing life, I’ve learned how to smoothly shift gears, accelerate into the turns, and balance my day life and the people in it without crashing. And so can you.

Write what you love

Many people advise to write what you know, but I’d like to take it a step further. If your subject doesn’t excite you, if you’re not writing characters in settings exploring situations that excite you, than your writing won’t excite anyone else either. Whether you’re writing romance or non-fiction, write with passion and you’ll sweep readers off their feet along with yourself.

Writing is a long distance event, not a sprint

One page a day. That’s all it takes to write a 365-page book in a year. It sounds overly simplified, but it’s true. There are days I write much more than one page a day, but I never write less. It’s like training for an event. If you start to skip days in your training, you’ll never get back into shape, you’ll never be as in shape as the people training every day, and after skipping one day, the temptation to skip again is almost irresistible. Don’t skip. Don’t make excuses. Just write that one page.

Read, live, love

The books you read and the days you experience are the fuel for your writing. When the passion and drive for my characters and story overwhelm me and I’m bursting with inspiration, sure, I’ll spend my whole day writing, and then when I unearth my head from the deep, dark depth of my imagination, I realize I’ve missed a beautiful day at the beach or a cuddle/movie/popcorn day with my husband. So sprinting is great for one day, but no one can sustain that pace for an entire book and remain sane, keep healthy relationships, and enjoy life. And by doing so, you’re compromising the very thing that fuels your imagination: living. So take a book and read on the beach with friends. Or write a few paragraphs on your phone while in line for that concert. Being a successful writer doesn’t have to correlate with being a recluse or alcoholic anymore. That’s a stereotype long gone by the wayside. Let life inspire your writing by living it.

Learn the industry  

Writing is a solitary activity, but you are not alone. Hundreds upon hundred of writers are out there—the hundreds upon hundreds of books filling libraries, bookstores, and Amazon shopping carts can attest to that—and that’s only counting published authors. Find a writers group. Attend a conference. Surround yourself with other writers who are hungry to improve their craft and absorb knowledge from industry professionals. Not only will they inspire you to write, but you’ll better understand the secondary people you’re writing for: agents and editors.

Once you write your manuscript and then edit it to within an inch of its life, you actually have a novel! And then what? Then you get to research agents and publishers and decide your next step. You start crafting your query letter, you shape your synopsis, you submit to agents and editors, and you pitch to them at conferences. And where do you learn to do all these things? I learned them from my fellow authors at writers group meetings, at monthly presentations with industry professionals/speakers that my group recruits to teach us the trade, and at conferences. Become involved, and you’ll surprise yourself with how little you actually know about the business of publishing after reading and writing for a lifetime, or at least, I certainly did.

Don’t be afraid to delete

Your writing isn’t carved in stone like the Ten Commandments, and as Jodi Picoult so wisely said, “You can’t edit a blank page.” So just write. The great American novel isn’t going to pour from your brain onto the page in a first draft, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: it doesn’t for me either. It doesn’t for my favorite author or yours or anyone. We vomit the story onto the page until everything swirling in our brain is purged into some concrete format—usually Word but sometime the notes app on my phone and once in a great while, actual paper—then we take that mess of a manuscript and we get started on draft two. And then draft three. And then… you get the idea. So don’t let the fear of imperfection or mediocrity or bad writing prevent you from writing. Accept up front that it will be bad—it can’t be any other way because it’s a first draft—let go of the fear and excuses that do nothing but choke creativity, and just sit down and do what you’ve been dying to do all along: write.

 

Day Reaper
The Night Blood Series #4
by Melody Johnson
Genre: Paranormal Romance
On the brink of death, Cassidy DiRocco demands that New York City’s
master of the supernatural, Dominic Lysander, transform her—reporter,
Night Blood, sister, human—into the very creature she’s feared
and fought against for months: a vampire. The pain is brutal, she
could lose the career she’s worked so hard to achieve, and her
world will never be the same. But surviving is worth any risk,
especially when it means gaining the strength to fight against
Jillian Allister, the sister who betrayed Dominic, attacked Cassidy,
and is leading a vampire uprising that will destroy all of New York City . . .
When she awakens, however, Cassidy realizes the cost of being transformed
might be more than she was willing to sacrifice. But if Cassidy hopes
to right the irrevocable wrongs that Jillian and her army of the
Damned have wrought on New York City, she’ll need to not only
accept her new senses, body, and cravings, but wield them in her
favor. Irresistible and enigmatic as Dominic is, he no longer has
command over the city or its vampires. Only Cassidy has the
connections to convince the humans, Day Reapers, and the few vampires
still loyal to Dominic to join forces. And maybe, if Dominic can
accept her rising power over the coven he once commanded for the past
several hundred years, the two of them together might forge a bond
more potent than history has ever known. . .
Eternal Reign
The Night Blood Series #3
THE LEVELING
Last week, Cassidy DiRocco had some influence over the vampires that stalk
the streets of New York City. She was never completely safe, but with
her newfound abilities as a night blood and her honed instincts as a
crime reporter, at least she had the necessary skills to survive.
Now, thanks to the injuries she sustained while saving her brother from a
fate worse than death, she’s lost her night blood status just as
another crime spree hits Brooklyn. Dozens of people are being
slaughtered, and each victim bears the Damned’s signature mark; a
missing heart.
Cassidy will need the help of all her allies to survive the coming war,
including the mysterious and charismatic Dominic Lysander, Master
Vampire of New York City. But as his rival’s army threatens his
coven and his own powers weaken with the approaching Leveling, even
Dominic’s defenses might not be enough protection.
With nothing left to lose, Cassidy must find the power inside herself to
save Dominic, his coven, their city, and survive.
Sweet Last Drop
The Night Blood Series #2
Trust No One
Cassidy DiRocco knows the dark side intimately–as a crime reporter in New
York City, she sees it every day. But since she discovered that she’s
a night blood, her power and potential has led the dark right to her
doorway. With her brother missing and no one remembering he exists,
she makes a deal with Dominic Lysander, the fascinating master
vampire of New York, to find him.
Dominic needs the help of Bex, another master vampire, to keep peace in the
city, so he sends Cassidy to a remote, woodsy town upstate to
convince her–assuming she survives long enough. A series of vicious
“animal attacks” after dark tells Cassidy there’s more to
Bex and her coven than anyone’s saying. That goes double for fellow
night blood Ian Walker, the tall, blond animal tracker who’s supposed
to be her ally. Walker may be hot-blooded and hard-bodied, but he’s
hiding something too. If Cassidy wants the truth, she’ll have to
squeeze it out herself… every last drop.
The City Beneath
The Night Blood Series #1
As a journalist, Cassidy DiRocco thought she had seen every depraved
thing New York City’s underbelly had to offer. But while covering
what appears to be a vicious animal attack, she finds herself drawn
into a world she never knew existed. Her exposé makes her the target
of the handsome yet brutal Dominic Lysander, the Master Vampire of
New York City, who has no problem silencing her to keep his coven’s
secrets safe…
But Dominic offers Cassidy another option: ally. He reveals she is a
night blood, a being with powers of her own, including the ability to
become a vampire. As the body count escalates, Cassidy is caught in
the middle of a vampire rebellion. Dominic insists she can help him
stop the coming war, but wary of his intentions, Cassidy enlists the
help of the charming Ian Walker, a fellow night blood. As the battle
between vampires takes over the city, Cassidy will have to tap into
her newfound powers and decide where to place her trust…
Melody Johnson is the author of the Night Blood series. She graduated
magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative
writing and psychology. While still earning her degree, she worked as
an editing intern for Wahida Clark Presents Publishing. She was a
copyeditor for several novels, including Cheetah by Missy Jackson;
Trust No Man II by Cash; and Karma with a Vengeance by Tash
Hawthorne. Book #1 of the Night Blood series, The City Beneath, is
her debut novel. When she isn’t writing, Melody can be found hiking
the many woodsy trails in her Pennsylvania hometown or sunning and
swimming at the beach.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

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MASKED DESIRE
The Masked Arcana #2
by Alana Delacroix
Genre: Paranormal Romance
A Perfect Disguise
As security chief of the supernaturals’
ruling council, Michaela Chui has seen more than her fair share of
disaster. For centuries, she’s survived through caution and
strategy. But when the only human councilor is viciously murdered,
Michaela knows the coincidences that keep blocking her investigation
are a sure sign of bad things to come. She needs answers fast. And
her only ally is Cormac Redoak: wild, unpredictable, unreliable—and
worse, distractingly attractive.
A Hidden Truth
An exile from the court of the Fairy Queen, Cormac has all the
experience with careful strategy and veiled intentions he can stand.
But he also has the fey talent for getting his way, and he’s sure
his way lies with Michaela’s. No matter that she can change her
lovely face at will; there’s a clarity to her being that he’d
know anywhere. Working with her will be temptation and frustration
bound together. Somehow, though, he must convince her to trust
him—without revealing the secrets he dares never share . . .
MASKED POSSESSION
The Masked Arcana #1
A Man Who Can Wear Any Face
Caro Yeats doesn’t run from much. As a former investigative reporter now
working PR for Toronto’s supernaturals, what she hasn’t seen
mostly isn’t worth seeing. But the assignment to “rebrand” Eric
Kelton’s out-of-control alter egos has her on edge from the start.
Kelton is the heirarch of the Masquerada, beings able to change their
face—their entire persona—on a whim. Eric’s charisma muddles
her instincts. How can she trust a man who can become anybody?
A Woman Without A Past
Eric has never met anyone like Caro, with her lightning wit and uncanny
insight. But desirable as she is, he’d be a fool to let her near.
Struggling to hide the sudden loss of his powers, Eric can’t risk
becoming entangled with a woman who scorns her supernatural side and
claims not to play politics. The enemies on her trail are strong,
clever, and vicious. And when they force Eric and Caro together, the
fallout could shatter far more than two hearts . . .
Alana Delacroix lives in a little house filled with books in Toronto,
Canada. She loves exploring the city, on the hunt for both the
perfect coffeeshop as well as ideal locations to set her paranormal
romances. A member of RWA, Alana worked as an archaeologist before
forging a slightly more stable career in corporate communications.
Follow the tour HERE
for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

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Today I’m hosting USA Today Bestselling and fellow Lyrical author Desiree Holt and her romantic suspense, Hide and Seek. Desiree is giving away a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card, as well as a chance to win an action-packed prize package when you pre-order. So make sure to comment, check out the other stops on the tour, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card

Leave a comment and check out the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!


Anything can happen when you let your guard down . . .

After receiving a violent threat on the heels of her father’s disappearance from the town of Arrowhead Bay, Devon Cole fears for her life—until Vigilance, a local private security agency, steps in to shield her from danger. Although she isn’t usually quick to surrender her freedom, she has no problem stripping her defenses for her new sexy bodyguard . . .

Tortured by the painful memory of lost love, Logan Malik is determined not to fall for a client again. So when he’s tasked with watching over Devon day and night, he’s focused on doing his job. Day is no problem, but as tensions rise at night, nothing can protect them from giving in to unbridled passion . . .


Hide and Seek is on pre-order for only $2.99!

http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/35516

All readers who pre-order will receive exclusive content and will be entered into a drawing for an action-packed prize-package, including:
A copy of HIDE AND SEEK by Desiree Holt
A $5 Amazon gift card
An Alex & Ani nautical charm bracelet in green velvet bag
Kensington “Romance Socks” which feature HIDE AND SEEK


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Desiree Holt is the world’s oldest living published author of erotic and spicy romance. A graduate of the University of Michigan with double majors in English and History, her earlier careers include agent and manager in the music industry, public television, associate vice president of university advancement, public relations, and economic development.

She is three times a finalist for an EPIC E-Book Award (and a winner in 2014), a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, winner of the first 5 Heart Sweetheart of the Year Award at The Romance Studio as well as twice a CAPA Award winner for best BDSM book of the year, a USA Today Bestselling author and winner of the Holt Medallion for Excellence in Romance Literature.

She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times, The Huffington Post and numerous other national and international publications. She is also the Authors After Dark 2014 Author of the Year.

“Desiree Holt is the most amazing erotica author of our time and each story is more fulfilling then the last.” – Romance Junkies

www.desireeholt.com
www.desiremeonly.com
www.facebook.com/desireeholtauthor
Twitter: @desireeholt
Pinterest: desiree02holt
Google: https://plus.google.com/113212301982441064210
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/desiree-holt-a7272526/

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card

Leave a comment and check out the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

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This past March, I celebrated the second anniversary of my first book being published. It’s not the first thing I had published, but it was my first full-length book and the ‘big deal’ that kicked off my career as a published writer. Of course, I use the word career in the literal sense, because I’m by no means making a living off it, which is an entirely different thing.

In those two-plus years, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned things I never thought about before I got published. I’m still learning, trust me. I don’t think there’s an end to this education, no matter how many books you publish or how long you’ve been around–that’s largely because the industry is always changing. Not even the biggest, most bestselling authors you’ve ever heard of can just sit back and dust their hands off because they’ve learned everything there is to know.

Today, I’m going to share with you some of the things I’ve learned, give you some advice, and no matter where you are on your publishing journey, maybe you can take some wisdom from it.

Here’s some of the things I’ve done/learned since I’ve gotten published:

DIVERSIFY

My Siren Song series is published with Kensington Books’ Lyrical line, which is by far my biggest publisher, but it’s not my only publisher. Kensington isn’t one of the Big Five (which used to be the Big Six), but it’s the largest and oldest independent publishing house in the US and definitely considered a prestigious New York publishing house. I make more money off my books published with them than all my other publishers combined. This is, of course, because they are a big publishing house and therefore their publicity and promotion efforts are huge, they have a vast reader base built in, and they have high visibility. I should want to publish all my stuff with them, right?

Except, I decided early in my career that I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. I’m also published with five other, smaller publishing houses. Those being Tirgearr, Muse It UP, Siren-Bookstrand, House of Erotica, and most recently, Evernight Publishing. There’s three key reasons why I would diversify like this:

One is that it keeps my options open. If I write something and one publishing house rejects it, I have other publishers I can send it to. Also, I might want to write something that doesn’t fit in a certain publisher’s catalog. That’s all right. I have other options. Also, once you’re an in-house author it’s much easier to get other works accepted by them.

Two is that it increases my luck. I wrote a post about the role of luck in author success a few weeks ago, in which I discussed ways to get ‘closer’ to luck. One of those ways is to get yourself into as many circles as you can so luck has a higher chance of finding you. Being involved with different publishing houses expands my chances of running into the right person or big break that I need. Maybe I’ll catch the eye of a huge reviewer who likes to read things from one particular publishing house, or I’ll come across an industry professional who can promote my career. It’s always good to try to meet and mingle with as many opportunities as you can.

Three is for the simple fact that I want to test the waters. Not all publishing houses are created equal. Some have a huge base of readers who might love your book, some are very involved in your promotion and some aren’t, and they all treat you a little differently, give you different levels of editing and creative and practical support, and have a unique brand that appeals to different audiences. Myself, I want to try as many flavors as I can at the buffet and then decide which ones I like best. If a publisher doesn’t work out for me, I simply won’t submit anything to them in the future.

LEARN TO PLAY THE GAME

Make no doubt about it, at the end of the day, publishing is a business. That means if you want to be part of the publishing world, you have to treat it like a business. Be professional, follow the rules, and always put your best face forward. You might not agree with the processes you run into, but they’re in place for a reason and bucking the system won’t get you far.

I’m constantly dismayed at new writers who think they’re going to ignore guidelines, do want they want, and still be so awesome and special they get a publishing contract. I blame this on the fact that in all industries, we tend to focus on the ‘trail blazers’ and people who ‘didn’t follow the rules’ and still became successful. The thing is, once again, these people ran into some luck. They also aren’t telling you about all the times their deviant behavior didn’t work out for them or set them back. Also, even ‘innovators’ followed the rules to a certain extent, they just found new, unique, and more creative ways to do things that made sense.

There is a game you have to play in publishing, and that’s figuring out where and when you can jump in the mix and have it work out for you. I can’t fully explain it, but after you’ve done it for a while you’ll start to recognize it and you’ll develop a knack for it. You’ll start to see opportunities and know how to do the backflips and cartwheels that will land you in the right spot. You’ll figure out how to work things to your advantage, where you have the best shot at succeeding, and the right things to say to get the appropriate attention.

But remember, it’s still a business, and you need to be a business person.

NETWORKING

No writer is an island, and you don’t want to get stranded on one, either. You have to make connections in the publishing world, even if only superficial and strictly business. This opens up doors you didn’t have the keys to previously.

Let’s be clear on this, though: you need to have realistic expectations about networking. Telling a publisher “I’m friends will Big Time Author,” will never get you a publishing contract on its own. Even if Big Time Author gives you a glowing recommendation, that’s not an automatic in. Publishers will judge your work based on the merits of your writing alone, and decide if they want you on their team. Even if JK Rowling descends from Heaven with your manuscript clutched to her breast and delivers it directly into the publisher’s hands, this will still not get you a publishing contract if your writing isn’t up to snuff.

However, Big Time Author might give you a guest spot on their blog, or a shoutout in their newsletter, or recommend your books to their readers. That’s something.

There ARE people who can help you get published though, people who have actually had their hands on your manuscript–an editor you worked with before, an agent who found your work appealing but couldn’t represent you for various reasons. These are the sort of people you want to get a rapport with too. Networking is part of playing the game.

These are a few of the things I’ve learned in the past two-ish years. There’s a lot more, of course. Maybe this advice will be helpful to you. Have you learned some things you’d like to share?

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Today I’m excited to be hosting fellow Lyrical author Rebecca Zanetti and her paranormal romance, Realm Enforcers: Books 1-3. Rebecca is giving away digital copy of the three-book bundle. So make sure to comment, check out the other stops on the tour, and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Enter to win a digital copy of the three-book bundle

Leave a comment and check out the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!


If you love Rebecca Zanetti’s Dark Protectors, try the wicked hot Realm Enforcers, together for the first time…

Wicked Ride

Seattle vice cop Alexandra Monzelle’s short skirt and sex-kitten heels are tools to lure her suspects into talking about the deadly new drug hitting the streets. But Kellach Dunne is complicating matters. An affair with an immortal like him could undo everything—including every bit of her resistance…

Wicked Edge

When Coven Nine Enforcer Daire Dunne spots Cee Cee across a Titan’s of Fire party, it’s not long before she’s back in his apartment. Where after one overheated kiss, she drugs Daire and steals valuable files that can’t fall into enemy hands. The second he comes to, the hunt is on . . .

Wicked Burn

Irish witch Simone Brightston didn’t get to her position on the high council without serious power. But of all the men she’s known, Nikolaj Veis is the hardest to intimidate. So when he pulls up on a roaring bike and tells her to climb on or fight it out, the only thing to do is grab a handful of jacket and hold on tight…


EXCERPT:

Wicked Ride

“When I knock a woman out, I like to make sure she survives the experience.”

Heat ticked down her spine and uncoiled in her abdomen. Why the hell did everything he say sound sexual? She narrowed her gaze.

“You assaulted a police officer, buddy.”

“Kellach. Kellach Dunne.” He smiled, revealing perfectly white teeth in stunning symmetry. “I didn’t mean ta hurt you, Alexandra, and you know it.”

True. He had been busy shielding her from careening fire when his shoulder had connected with her still aching face. “Detective Monzelle to you. How about you come down to the station with me and answer some questions?” She carefully slid from the bed, her bare feet touching cold concrete.

“No.”

She glanced around the pristine room again, wondering if she could take him down. “This isn’t what I expected,” she mused to herself.

“This is your first time in a bed at Fire?”

She stilled and turned to face him, hiding her vulnerability. “I try not to fuck motorcycle gang members, especially those involved in the local drug trade.”

His grin was slow—dangerous—and amused. “Club. Motorcycle club members. Titans of Fire Motorcycle Club, to be exact.” He stood and leaned against the door, blocking the only exit. “We need ta discuss that allegation before we get to the bedroom.”


BUY LINKS:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/?field-keywords=9781601838704
Apple: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781601838704?uo=8
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781601838704&c=books
Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=9781601838704
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/9781601838704


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner – only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes contemporary romances, dark paranormal romances, and romantic suspense novels.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day—or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.

Website: http://rebeccazanetti.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaZanetti.Author.FanPage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RebeccaZanetti

Enter to win a digital copy of the three-book bundle

Leave a comment and visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!