VIRTUALLY HERS came out Oct. 2009. Get it at SAMHAIN Publishing. VIRTUALLY ONE coming soon.

I've also made available at Amazon BIG BAD WOLF a COS Commando book, an earlier manuscript about Killian Nicholas Langley. You can sample the first five chapters right here. EBOOK now available for KINDLE, NOOK, and at SMASHWORDS for $4.99.

I appreciate all your emails. If you'd like to buy Virtually His NEW, please contact me. Thank you.


Big Bad Wolf Author's Note/CH. 1

Big Bad Wolf CH. 2

Big Bad Wolf Ch. 3

(more chapters on left side bar below)

To read excerpts of VIRTUALLY HERS, scroll down & click on the links on the right.



VIRTUALLY HERS OUT IN PRINT AUG 2010! Discounted at Amazon!

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Some Post-RT Thoughts

I know, I know, I'm a week late with my post-RT thoughts. I swear, the older I get, the longer it takes me to catch up with real life and find time to take a breather. It doesn't help that taxes is due this weekend. Bah.

I had a great time, of course. It's always fun to hang out with my buddies, the great stars of today: Sylvia Day, Jeri Smith-Ready, Victoria Dahl, Lauren Dane, Megan Hart, Cherry Adair, just to name a few, and have a couple of days just talking about books and writing. I also got to meet Catherine Coulter! She was on my panel and I was very excited to just be next to her ;-). I also said hi to the legendary Dean Koontz. And since RT is in Hollywood, I was happy to get a chance to sit around and listen to screenwriters like Michael Hague.

There seemed to be fewer attendees this year, but maybe it was just perception because the hotel was huge, with four stories of shopping. Being an RT veteran, though, I did notice the absence of several longtime attendees at this conference. It could be because of the West Coast location.  On the other hand, I met many new booksellers who hadn't made the trip to the other RT Cons before.

The parties/balls were great, as usual, but I must say I enjoyed the Ellora's Cave Bollywood theme the best. Almost everyone wore a saree (or Indian-themed costume) and they had an Indian dance troupe to perform several numbers on stage. Maybe they could do it again next year, even though it'd be in Chicago so the "Hollywood" pun wouldn't quite fit.

Another memorable party was one held by my publisher, Samhain, which had a Steampunk theme.  There were some cool costumes.  Also, the table decors were given away at the end as raffle prizes and I so wanted to win the Steampunk goggle-bowler hat. It would look good on me on the roof, I tell you!

Many of the Mixers hosted by authors were very fun. Some had attendees asking questions to different authors to determine the answer to a set of questions on a sheet of paper.  Others had puzzles for games. The main thing was to get readers to interact with the hosting authors and get to know them and also get to win some cool books.

This RT was a busy one for me. I networked with many author-friends, wanting to know what's going on in their private writing lives. I was curious about their thoughts about self-publishing and the lack of contract money out there in the NY publishing world.

It turned out, everyone was talking about it.  Many were openly considering turning to self-publishing, whether their backlists or manuscripts that they couldn't sell, and many, like my buddy Sylvia Day, had dual careers, scheduling their writing timetable between NY contracts and self-pubbed books.

It's all very exciting and a bit scary. It seems to me, that all the big timers are going to stay where they are (except for the few who had decided to be adventurous and jumped on the self-pubbed ship) and a majority of the mid-listers are seriously thinking of going off on their own because of the money issues.

Then there were the workshops. There were plenty on self-publishing, with panelists such as Mark Coker (Smashwords), Delilah Devlin, H. P. Mallory (she of the 100,000 sales), Colleen Houck giving a lot of advice on how to promote and market one's books on the Internet. I was even on one of the panels, Digital D.I.Y., to share my experience on my first try-out with Createspace two years ago, with Big Bad Wolf. I did caution that it's a lot of work, hours that could have gone into writing, and self-promotion the key in this brave new world. Even the savvy and the successful might get tired of all the work, ala Amanda Hocking.

Besides that, everyone was either selling or writing a Young Adult novel. There was even a YA Meet and Greet event and it was cool to see so many young readers there, looking for their favorite authors and books.  After talking to a few YA author friends, I've come to the conclusion that their publishers give them a lot of publicity support as well as better contracts.

The funniest thing was how many times I was stopped by friends and readers who wanted to know--not about my books--but about MikiSquirrel!!! The little girl sure is famous these days! Some even suggested that I should write a children's book starring MikiSquirrel because of her crazy adventures.  Hee. I'm thinking about it.

Another good surprise was finding Virtually Hers being given away to readers in the Goody Room.  My publisher also made me some cool bookmarks for my signing and everyone loved them.  Samhain is awesome.

The week ended with the mangeant, the Mr. Romance Contest.  These guys showed off their six-packed bodies and answered some standard pageanty questions.  They also got to dress up in different "hero" costumes--Mr. Darcy, Captain Jack Sparrow, King Leonidas from "300," etc--and in the end, the Viking became Mr. Romance 2011. Everyone had a great time.

As in every year, there were some in attendance who opined that RT should end the Mangeant because it was politically incorrect and that they hated it.  Unsurprisingly, many of them belong to the group who hate man-titty on their romance book covers, and generally don't care about sexy covers.  Those who enjoy this annual show usually love their clinch- and bare-chested covers, buying books that have their favorite male models on the covers, as well as calendars, teeshirts, etc.  Like it or not, this is a very popular part of the romance book business.  When I asked them whether they wanted the Mangeant to go away, a few said that it's what makes RT different.

"I don't want it to be like Celebrate Romance or RomCon," one told me.  "I like the crazy parties and the stuff that those romance readers don't want at their conventions."

"Hey, this convention has sexy books and those books have sexy covers to catch my eye. I don't see why the models can't be part of it," said another. "There's nothing wrong about seeing in flesh what we're reading in our fantasy fiction, you know."

"Other conventions, like Comic Con or other sci-fi cons, have weirder and worse stuff that are considered to be part of readers' activities. Like a hentai movie party. You think there are many female fans in that* one?" pointed out another (Hentai is Japanese anime that contains a lot of sexual violence, especially of rape and torture of female characters).

Anyway, the models told me they had a good time, and wanted to come back next year.  Many of them were quite savvy about promoting their sites and books. I also thought that this was a good venue for them to promote to self-publishing authors looking for good covers, as one did, with lots of eye-catching covers at his very own booth. After looking at those, I certainly am thinking about using him on my cover. He was YUMMY to look at.

I can hear you now--but Jenn, where are the pics? You always have pics.  (Hangs head) I haven't been able to download them because of work and taxes.  Maybe in a few days.

I'll also talk more about the panels I captained in the next post(s). My guests were wonderful and shared many writing secrets as well as laughs with readers.  All in all, a pretty successful week, promotion-wise.

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j3nny said...

It sounds like you had an awesome time! I'm excited that RT will be in Chicago next year, as I've never been to one before. However I'm nervous about even attending it. Even though it's a whole year from now, after reading different authors' blogs about RT, I feel like I need to grab a buddy who can show me the ropes. I actually wish I can find some more readers accounts of RT rather than authors.

I guess I can say I wasn't too surprised that the self-pub topic was on everyone's mind. There's been lots of interest generated in that area especially with the rise of digital sales. I'm anxious to see how things are going to be in the future. Good? Bad?

I was just at Borders in Chicago earlier today and it's a day away from being completely closed. They literally still had hundreds of books left at 80-90% off. I was able to buy a bunch of paperbacks that I have ebooks of already. When I got home I realized I didn't have enough room on my bookshelf and I had to play around with the books to get them all to fit. It made me think of how easy buying ebooks are (they hardly take up any space). But seeing Borders (or any bookstore) closed down makes me sad because I'll miss browsing at bookstores. Book browsing in a store just feels different than browsing online.

Oh lemme finish this long comment by saying, yes please post pics :)

Gennita said...

Oh, I hope you get to go, esp. when it's so close to where you are. It's really a great convention, especially if you like costume parties. You don't have to worry about being alone--there are MANY readers who come. I can't emphasize enough the amazing number that come from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Britain every year, and they love to party!

The only advice I tell newbies is to come with an extra suitcase or $$$ to send boxes of books home. And oh, have lots of fun meeting your favorite authors!

Deborah Blake Dempsey said...

I have never been to one of these conference, but I think I'm going to try and make it next year. It looks like so much fun and the panels you mentioned sound interesting.

Personally, I love the idea of the mangeant. These are the men who grace the covers of many of our favorite novels and a cover model's got to eat too. This a great venue for them to become known and drum up business and contacts for themselves. Not only does the audience have fun (most of them anyway) but the guys are enjoying themselves as well - they wouldn't do it otherwise. And, having been to other conferences, this makes RT different, memorable and a lot of fun. If the naysayers don't like they don't have to go to it, but I hope they keep it.

I can't wait for the pictues and J3nny. Hopefully, I'll see you there next year.


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