Friday, July 25, 2014

Round Robin Blog Fest--Book Giveaways and Contests


     #Round Robin Blog Fest

I would like to thank Rhobin Courtright for the invitation to participate in this month's blog fest.  The topic: book giveaways and contests.



  How effective do you think book giveaways or contests are?

The key: forethought (know your audience). Careful planning, media blitzing, and a gimmick are the elements of a very successful contest. By gimmick, I mean a creative approach, one that is not a usual contest pitch.  Am I going to give you any never fail rule/a road map to success?

No--I wish it was only that easy.

You can Google names of media savvy authors.  Or Google my name and look at my website ( read my interviews, my archived contest info (the links are still on Google/ Bing, some are available on my web site).  This is not a do-what-you-see-others-do, it more of fact gathering tour.  You know your story/series, and you are the best judge of what will appeal to your fan base. 

After all, what is a successfully contest for me, may not spell success for you. If you write historical novels featuring a lineage page (I do enjoy researching genealogy but. . .) your readers would probably adore winning a book of Sonnets.  While my fan base (me included) are happy with a Starbucks gift card and an autographed copy of my latest eBook.

Be creative. Have fun.  If you don’t enjoy your contest, no one else will either.

    Do you think all the free books through Amazon and the library offered to prime members affect your efforts?

I believe the free reads and lending through Amazon (for prime members) has a positive effect on my efforts in promotion.  I’m willing to try a new author or genre because of the free read offers.  I have purchase 6 books this month as of this Amazon feature.  Amazon distributes a large list of books that are free, the lending library allows Prime users to read one book of their choice monthly at no additional cost to their membership 

However, on the down side, giving way books seems to brink out "rather vicious" reviews.  Which really puzzles me, especially when it's apparent the reviewer didn't finish the book/or read more than a page or two.  We all have our preferences.  Please be mindful of cyber manners--there is no reason post a hateful review.  Everyone that's pride in his/her work.  And every writer is mindful of our readership.  

Ginger goes into more depth on her blog post. You man wish to stop by her site also.

In order to compete with freebies, my publisher. Books We Love Ltd., lowered the prices of our books to try to be more competitive.  

And more good news: Jude Pittman, president, of Books We Love Ltd., with whom I'm published, released this statement as part of a press release:

Of course, any great author would be oppressed without an extensive distribution network for their work. To that end, Books We Love Ltd. has just signed a deal to distribute their books in print in the USA, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. Red Tuque will also be handling a portion of the distribution in Canada, with both distributors releasing a combined twenty-five titles this coming fall.

 “This print distribution is a big step for our authors, returning their work to its original format. Of course, we’ve not forgotten about eBooks and currently have over four-hundred titles exclusively available through Amazon Kindle. With each book priced at $4.99 or under, getting some of literature’s forgotten heroes into your hands has never been cheaper,” Pittman adds.

Exciting times. . . and great adventures! 

 What are the best promotions you've participated in?

I find that interviews generate the most exposure for me. Contests run as a group (with your publisher, online reader/writer group etc.) is second. Guest blogging (see I’m here!), and all of my combined online presence, is third.  I am visible in my community. I judge local and national writing contests, offer workshops and guest speaking engagement.  As for book signings—in the past this was a wonderful way to ‘meet and greet’ readers.  Signing 75 books during a 3-hour event was the norm, now author appearances aren't always sure-fired way to draw readers.  The Internet has replaced monthly newsletters that were sent via USPS. While downloadable bookmarks, e-authorgraphs, and facebook and google+ stream (the new fan club base) are all part of author branding.

The online shopping experience, or read a book at your local library and purchase it for your book shelf, seems to be the new norm. I believe to survive in this very competitive field, contests, giveaways, and series readership is a must. 

After all, a loyal readership is the key to success.  Write that ‘must read’ story that your readers will love and keep your name out there! 

Next on your Round Robin tour: Diane Bator at

Happy Reading, 


Participating in July’s Round Robin event: Ginger Simpson at Margaret Fieland at Connie Vines at Diane Bator at Rhobin Courtright at

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Very Exciting News from Books We Love, Ltd.

Loving this update from my publisher!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Hop

The Writing Process

(Connie gets to blog hop. Yay!)

One of my besties (and co-board member), Carmen Bydalek @ the GothRom RWA tagged me to participate in this month’s event.

1.     What am I working on right now?
I work on multiple projects at once.  Is this a good thing?  Probably not—but I do it anyway.  I’m finishing up the last Act in my novella, Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow and I’m half-way through my anthology: Gumbo Ya Ya (for who like romance Cajun & men HOT & SPICY). And I’m outlining Rand, Book 3 in my Rodeo Romance Series.

2.    How does my work differ from others in the genre?
I write in multiple genres and each of genres have a different “tone and focus”—in other words, a different ‘voice’.  My YA novel, Whisper upon the Water (Dream Award Winner, Nat’l Book Award nominee), is told in the 1st person.  The novel is complex; not only a coming-of-age but a transformation of society as a whole (Tay is Apache, Nde). My heroine begins as a girl on the verge of womanhood, a member of her band, speaking her native tongue. She is kidnapped, held hostage, and escapes. Taken to a Native American boarding school, she learns a new language, skills, and encounters prejudice but also kindness.  Later, she must make a very difficult choice.  Her decision will impact her life, as well as the lives of others.  The novel is written for YA level and is reading selection for the G.A.T.E. program in numerous SoCal schools, but the subject matter is not light, however, it is historical accurate.

In my Rodeo Romance Series: Lynx, Book 1, is a contemporary western romance and set in Montana and Texas. This book is lively.  Rachel is spirited and Lynx is hot and sexy—but both have had hardships in life.  My secondary characters add elements of comedy and unexpected plot twists. (Winner of the Award of Excellence, Finalist: H.O.L.T. Medallion, Orange Rose and Rocky Mt. Gold).  Brede, Book 2, is a western romantic suspense, set in New Mexico.  Since the novel is romantic suspense, I do not wish create a spoiler in this blog.  I will say everyone one loves old Caldwell, the ornery old cook, and his cohorts.  Brede is strong-willed and caring; Amberlynn is beautiful and in mortal danger.  Rand, Book 3, is told in the 1st person: ChickLit meets the Wild West and goes Hollywood. Lights, Camera, and a boot-full of Action! I am having, fun, fun with this novel!

My stories are different, because I am different.  My stories take place in places I have lived, or where I have vacationed. I know my subject matter--my father rodeoed while in high school; I have been involved in Native America culture and education programs; my husband is a Louisiana country boy; and, finally, I live in SoCal—of course I have met several Hollywood television stars (and facilitated workshops), actors are often spotted at local SoCal tourist spots, and preform in local theater.

3.    Why do I write what I do?
The story calls to me, it is really that simple.  I have a feeling of time and place.  Then I begin hearing snatches of dialogue (like when you are sitting in a coffee shop and you over hear snippets of conversation).  The story invades my life (well it does, just ask my husband).  At the moment, I’m listening to Zydeco music and I have gumbo in my crockpot.  He’s complaining (only half kiddingly) that I brought bayou weather to our house (92 degrees, 50% humidity with full cloud cover and rain at 3PM).  I am compelled to complete the story.  Native American culture says, “The story comes to the Story Teller to bring it to life.”  And this is what I, as are all writers, tellers of stories.

4.    How does my writing process work?
For short stories, novellas and anthologies, I utilize the basic W-plot with extra twists and pivotal points.  When I am writing a novel, or a novel series, I plot in acts and work with three chapters at a time (1-3, 4-6, etc.).  With the exception of short stories, I compile detailed backgrounds, motivation, and personality traits. I also conduct interviews, research, and immerse myself in the ‘culture/environment I am creating.  It is then I begin the first draft of my novel.  This will change as my characters begin to take over the book.  Any writer will agree with me, under no circumstances can you force you characters to act against his/her will.  You can, however, place huge obstacles in the way and see what happens.

Is my first draft perfect? No.  Is my third draft publishable? It’s probably close.  At this point in the writing process, I have writer friend (usually Geeta Kakade) read my novel. She will give her opinion and suggestions—which I may, or may not follow.  Writing, after all, is subjective—as is a reader’s preference for one novel over another. 

To read the first chapter teasers or to purchase one (or all J) of my novels please follow this link:
Or visit my website: 

Remember to watch my book trailers!

Thank you for stopping by.

TAG!  Next on the Blog Hop:  C. G. Williams  

Connie Vines