Monthly Archives: March 2016

Book Spotlight: A Most Unusual Princess by Kelli A Wilkins

A Most Unusual Princess by Kelli A WilkinsHi everyone,

Today I’m sharing an inside look and spotlighting the making of my historical/fantasy romance, A Most Unusual Princess. This fun and sexy story is the first book in my “Royal Desires” trilogy. (The other two books are A Most Intriguing Temptation and A Most Unfortunate Prince.)

Together, they make up an exciting series, but each story stands alone as a separate read. Why? Because when I wrote A Most Unusual Princess, I never knew I was writing a trilogy.

A Most Unusual Princess is a sensual novella about unruly and willful Princess Elara, and Dalton, the handsome (and incredibly patient) guard tasked with protecting her while she searches for a suitable husband. The book is a unique blend of comedy, human drama, and romance. It’s also the first romance I ever wrote – and it was a lot of fun.

Although the fantasy genre wasn’t something I had written in before, I liked the idea of following a very headstrong and spoiled Princess Elara as she looked for a husband. From the outset, we learn that Elara is an opinionated young woman who is used to getting her own way. When Dalton innocently catches Elara doing something very unladylike, the Dalton-Elara love/hate/love relationship is born.

I enjoyed writing Dalton and Elara’s story and fell in love with them. I never expected I’d visit these characters again, but not long after completing A Most Unusual Princess, I knew Dalton needed his own book, so I wrote a sequel. And later, Elara’s brother, Prince Allan showed up and I decided to tell his story, as well.

I’ve been asked how I plotted the series. Did I use note cards to keep track of each character description? Did I make an overall outline of the whole trilogy, and then write each book?

Nope. The truth is… I just wrote the story that was in my head. I didn’t intend to write a trilogy – it kinda happened on its own. (With a lot of typing on my part, of course!) I wrote each book by itself, with its own setting, characters, plot, and theme, apart from the book that came before. So, although they make up a series, each book can stand alone as an individual read.

Here’s the summary and an excerpt from A Most Unusual Princess:

A Most Unusual Princess
Princess Elara needs to find a royal husband, but claims that no man can satisfy her. Her father hires Dalton, a special guard, to watch over her while she’s courting suitors. Dalton finds her unusual behaviors charming—and enthralling.

Dalton’s aloof manner intrigues Elara, and despite their differences, they share tender moments and intimate nighttime encounters. Elara is heartbroken when her father chooses a “proper” husband for her—until she meets the mystery man.

Bonus! This e-book includes a sneak peek at the second book in the “Royal Desires” series: A MOST INTRIGUING TEMPTATION.

The Excerpt:
Dalton walked past her and entered her bedchamber. She stood in the doorway while he searched the wardrobes and looked under the bed. After last night’s fright, she was taking no chances.

“There’s nothing… a-ha! What’s this?” He pulled a white silk stocking out from under the bed and waved it in the air.

“Put that down.” She raced into the room and lunged for the stocking. Dalton held it over his head.

“Is this what a princess wears beneath her dress?”

“Give that to me.” She knocked him backward onto the bed and pounced on him.
“This would make a nice remembrance,” he said, keeping the stocking out of her reach.

“Beast!” She squirmed as they playfully struggled for the stocking. A moment later, Dalton turned his head and his lips brushed against hers.

She gasped. Dalton had stopped laughing and was staring up at her. She closed her eyes and felt his finger caress her cheek.

“You’re beautiful,” he whispered.

The next thing she knew, Dalton’s mouth covered hers. The feel of his warm, moist lips sent a searing heat through her. After a few seconds of heaven, he pulled away.

“I should not have done that.”

She licked her lips. “I’m glad you did. It was nice.” Her heart hammered out of control, and her lower body throbbed. This was the feeling she was supposed to have when she met with her suitors. “Kiss me again.”

“With pleasure.”

Dalton curled his arms around her and pulled her down onto him. His mouth moved against hers, and fire flashed between her legs. She kissed him, tentatively at first, then with more passion as she was swept away by desire.

He slid his hands across her back and down to her buttocks. She moaned as he squeezed her through her dress. Was this what it felt like to have a man make love to her? Every night should be like this.

She ignored a faint rapping on the sitting room door. It was probably a lady-in-waiting coming to undress her for bed. She needed no help with her clothes tonight. Dalton was here, he could remove her dress and then…

“Elara?”

Dalton broke the kiss and bolted upright. “It’s your father!”

Order your copy of A Most Unusual Princess here:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CBX43D8
Look for A Most Intriguing Temptation and A Most Unfortunate Prince (Books 2 and 3 of the Royal Desires series) coming in April!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels. Visit her website and blog for a full title list.

In addition to writing romances, Kelli enjoys scaring readers with her horror stories. Don’t miss her spooky ebooks, Kropsy’s Curse and Dead Til Dawn.

Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative non-fiction guide based on her 15 years of experience as a writer. It’s filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor. She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/.

Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book summaries, excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.

CATCH UP WITH KELLI
Here are a few links to find Kelli & her writings on the web:
Website: www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins
Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kelli-A.Wilkins/e/B001JSAB24/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Amber Quill Press Author page: http://www.amberquill.com/store/m/149-Kelli-A-Wilkins.aspx
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1123678.Kelli_A_Wilkins
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

Book Spotlight: Made for Her by Jessica E. Subject

Made for Her by Jessica E SubjectDescription

After terrorists murder the love of her life, Colonel Mikayla Jones trains squadron after squadron of the clones he brought to life, to take to the skies.

When she discovers a young clone of her husband in her newest class, her world spins out of control. How can she command the look-a-like when she can’t help but yearn for him to fill an ache in her heart?

Dare was created to be the best. As the first Daniel clone to leave Onatria labs, he needs to prove he is more than just a DNA copy.

To do that, he must rely on the wife of the man who donated his genes. But when she refuses to train him, Dare faces discharge and returning to the labs. Can he convince Colonel Jones to finish his training and find a way into her bed? Or will long kept secrets unhinge the entire clone project?

Please note: Made For Her was previously published with another publisher. It has been revised and expanded from the original version. This version also includes the short story, Replicated Consequences, which takes place in the same world.

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-madeforher-1974458-340.html
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BCWNIPI/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/made-for-her-jessica-e-subject/1114137524
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Jessica_E_Subject_Made_For_Her?id=B-58CwAAQBAJ
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/made-for-her/id1080489280?mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/made-for-her-3
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/611866

Book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28926615-made-for-her

Date Published: February 29, 2016
eBook ISBN: 978-0-9948431-6-6
Genre(s): Science Fiction Romance, Erotic Romance, Clone Romance, Futuristic Romance, Military Romance
Heat Rating: 4 flames – frequent love scenes that are explicit and described using graphic and direct language
Word Count: 22,061 words (Made For Her only)

Made for Her by Jessica E Subject

Reviews:
“…a brilliant plot twist that was a tear-jerker, and had me physically reeling – I really hadn’t expected it.” – Critique de Book

“The entire thing was cohesive; the characters, dialogue, and setting were natural and well paced. Very glad I went with my initial instinct I read it…Highly Recommended!” – Books, Books & More Books

“I loved this twist on the Sci-Fi clone story… This was like a Top Gun story set in the future where cloning is real and space exploration is growing and alien contact is a reality for which the government has been preparing for years.” – Tracy Riva Books & Reviews

My Review of Made for Her

In a world where people can be duplicated, what does it mean to be human? Author Jessica E Subject’s Made for Her shows what can happen when technology conflicts with human emotions. When Colonel Mikayla Jones comes face-to-face with her late husband’s clone, she’s conflicted with having to adhere to her strict military training, while managing her feelings.

I enjoyed the story and couldn’t wait to see how the no-win situation between Mikayla and Dare would be resolved.  How much would she be willing to give up for a second chance with the man she thought she’d lost? This book doesn’t disappoint and delivers a twist or two right up to the end.  A satisfying love story that keeps the action and surprises going all the way through.

-Deborah

Author Jessica E. Subject’s Bio

Jessica E. Subject is the author of science fiction romance, mostly alien romances, ranging from sweet to super hot. Sometimes she dabbles in paranormal and contemporary as well, bringing to life a wide variety of characters. In her stories, you could not only meet a sexy alien or two, but also clones and androids. You may be transported to a dystopian world where rebels are fighting to live and love, or to another planet for a romantic rendezvous.
When Jessica isn’t reading, writing, or doing dreaded housework, she likes to get out and walk with her giant, hairy dog her family adopted from the local animal shelter.

Jessica lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and two energetic children. And she loves to hear from her readers. You can find her at jessicasubject.com and on twitter @jsubject.

Where to find Jessica

Website: http://jessicasubject.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/eX1Zw
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jsubject
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-E-Subject-author/205759796126370
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jessicasubject/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100079570422204018357/posts
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/jessicasubject
Goodreads Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4959083.Jessica_E_Subject
Authorgraph: http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/jsubject

Made for Her Excerpt

Colonel Jones grabbed the remote before focusing on the three-dimensional holographic picture beside her. Another presentation for the general public, but she doubted it would work to recruit anyone. The audience was always more curious than willing to enlist.

“In 2084, as you know, Earth made first contact with the Rafkels, a peaceful species living on the planet Raf, located twenty light-years from Earth.” She pressed the button to show her spectators an image of the still-foreign planet. “While meeting this species remains years away, their message warned us of other intelligent life forms in our own galaxy.”

Mikayla rolled her eyes. The actual message had not been a warning, rather a fact, but the government insisted on changing the wording to garner more recruits and support for cloning. “Since then, world governments have combined efforts to develop a spacecraft that will take us faster and farther into space.

“If you join the military today, you will learn how to fly these vessels and train the clones for future wars. Science fiction has now become our reality.” Yeah, like that would work to recruit people. Who wrote the speech, anyway? Very few, if any, would ever make it to the SFTC, Space Flight Training Center. “It will never be your life on the line, but that of men and women created only for that purpose. Serving your country is no longer about sacrifice, but about honor.”

She cringed at the bullshit words. People still died all the time. Terrorists, like the ones who’d killed Daniel, still objected to cloning, causing destruction and death. Just last month, a popular off-base nightclub, known to be a military hang-out, had been turned to rubble in a matter of seconds after a suicide bomber with known allegiance to the Al-Tidoa group blew himself up inside the building. Many, both clone and human-born, had died.

When Mikayla switched the display to the live feed from Onatria’s main lab in Geneva, she sighed at the collective gasp. Robotic arms transferred material between Petri dishes at various stations while other, more complex equipment dissected strands of DNA.

Human-born and clones alike wore white lab coats and watched new life grow under their microscopes. And in a glass-walled clean room, casket-like clear chambers held young clones attached to a multitude of tubes. Except for the military and Onatria staff, this was the first time anyone had seen the labs. The government had grown desperate for people to enlist.

Amazon Takes Aim At Scammers But Hits Authors | David Gaughran

Formatted your TOC in the back of your book? It’s a red flag that might get your buy buttons removed. Author David Gaughran breaks it down.

Amazon is an extremely innovative company – and usually quite responsive to self-publisher’s concerns – but sometimes it gets things very wrong too. Today is one of those times. I’ve received…

Source: Amazon Takes Aim At Scammers But Hits Authors | David Gaughran

How I Self-Published My Audiobooks on Audible

Think Like an Entrepreneur by Deborah A BaileyThis a continuation of my earlier post about my self-publishing resources.

My first audiobook, Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life was published in 2014.

After I published that book in 2010 I hadn’t planned on an audio version. But, after reading about the growth of audiobooks — which reached approximately 1.47 billion in 2014 – I decided to dive in.

Here are some things to keep in mind for the self-publisher:

There are other platforms for audiobooks, but I went with ACX  (Audiobook Creation Exchange) which is owned by Amazon. Using the same login/password you use to publish your books on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), you can login to ACX. Once you’re on there, you claim the books you’ve published on Amazon.

Once you claim your book, you’re guided through steps to set up your book so that you can get auditions from narrators.

Getting Started

I usually pay the voice artist up front. Those fees can run from approx. $50 per finished  hour or more, depending on the voice artist’s fee. You can indicate your budget after you claim your book and open it up for auditions. (Finished hour is exactly that. You’re paying for the hours that were recorded and completed, not for the total hours it took to create the audiobook.)

ACX automatically creates a contract that you can download. Once the voice artist accepts your offer, you’re good to go. So far I haven’t had an offer rejected, so I can’t speak to that. But it is a possibility, so keep a plan B in mind.

Usually they’ll upload an initial 15 minute recording to give you a feel for what they’ll be doing going forward. The voice artists that I’ve worked with have also produced the audiobook, so all I had to do was provide a copy of the manuscript. I gave them pronunciations of names/words (particularly ones I made up for my fiction) and shared the backstory so they’d have a context.

Recording

Listening to all of the recordings as they’re being created is, in my opinion, the best way to go. You can correct things (if necessary) and let the narrator know if they’re on the right track.

It’s easier to communicate using email (instead of ACX) and I recommend it. But when it comes to approving the recordings, indicating that you’ve paid the voice artist, etc., those things have to happen on ACX.

When you give your okay that the recordings are all as they should be, the amount due is automatically totaled (depending on the number of finished hours).

I’d rather not go through the work of recording my own books (especially after the work of writing them). So, I have no problem letting the experts do the work in this case. The only thing I have to do during the process – other than listen to the draft of the audio – is to create a new cover.

Hathor Legacy: Burn by Deborah A BaileyCovers

The sizing is different, and you’re not allowed to just change the dimensions of your book cover. For Audible, your cover has to be 2400 x 2400.

Four of my books are audios, and I was able to do the covers myself for two of them. But if you’re not comfortable using a graphics program, consider having a graphic designer do your cover.

You can use one of the templates ACX provides. However, they’re not exactly aesthetically pleasing, so I don’t recommend that option.

In a pinch you can use the record cover template on Canva, and design something there with a lot less stress. (Use Canva’s album cover template for starting point for the sizing, or use the custom design dimensions.)

I’ve used Gimp (a free download ) and Photoshop (not free, but you can get a subscription for as low as $9.99 per month). There are tutorial videos on YouTube and all over the web, if you’re feeling industrious.

Costs

Hathor Legacy: Outcast by Deborah A BaileyYou can find great voice artists at a lower rate, but it all depends. Rates aren’t necessarily tied to experience.

I’ve used experienced voice artists who were breaking into audiobook narration, so their rates were in the $50-100 per finished hour range.

One thing to note is voice artists who are members of the SAG-AFTRA union will have a set minimum rate.

Be aware of the approx. total hours your book will need to be completed and choose accordingly. Set your budget in advance and use that to filter voice artists who have higher fees than you desire to pay.

There are other options, for instance, splitting the royalties and having the producer/narrator take on the production costs. I haven’t gone that route, so I can’t  say if it has an advantage or not.

Getting Paid

You get paid monthly as long as the amount is at least $10. Otherwise, it gets rolled over to the next month.

Also be aware that unlike ebooks and paperbacks, you don’t set the price. So making your investment back depends on the net sale price. (The royalty at ACX is currently 40%.)

If your book is added to Whispersync, most likely it will be discounted if a reader wants the ebook and audiobook combo. You’ll receive royalties based on that discounted net sale price, not on the regular retail price (the price without any discounts).

Royalties are also sliced and diced depending on whether the buyer is an Audible member and if they used credits for the purchase. (Buyers who get your book on iTunes are considered “a la carte” buyers and will pay the regular retail price.)

If someone buys your audiobook, joins Audible as a member and remains current for a specific amount of time, you’ll earn a $50 bounty.

ACX provides reports you can download and there’s a lot of online documentation. I find the customer service to be pretty responsive, as well.

Free Codes

One big plus is that once your book is published, ACX provides you with 25 codes for free audiobooks. So you can use them to gift to reviews, friends, fans, etc. You will receive royalties on the regular retail price when those books are claimed–so you do get paid for them. If you want codes for the UK store, simply contact customer service and they’ll send them.

Publishing

When all the work is done, the voice artist has acknowledged payment, ACX runs a check on the audios and cover. Then about 10-14 days later (give or take a few days) the book will be published and distributed to Amazon, Audible and iTunes.

If your book ends up in a category that you don’t want it to be in, customer service will take care of that too. Unfortunately they don’t have a science fiction romance category, so if that’s what you write, you’ll have to decide where you want your audiobooks placed.

The downside is that I changed one book, but not the other. Which means right now they’re in two different categories. Does that help or hurt? I can’t say. But when the third book in the series comes out, I’ll ensure they’re all placed in the same category.

Check out my audiobooks and listen to samples on Audible: http://www.audible.com/search/ref=a_pd_Sci-Fi_c2_1_auth?searchAuthor=Deborah+A.+Bailey

Extras

If you’re looking for audiobook promotion, check out AudioBook Blast for some options. So far I’ve done pretty well with it for reviews.

For some additional reading and opinions from other authors (including yours truly) check out this post from Sci-Fi Romance QuarterlyThe A to SFR of Audiobooks (Part 1)

If you’ve created an audiobook and have a different experience to share, please do so in the comments. Or if you have questions, those are fine too!